SACD- my intial thoughts....

Having now given my Sony DVP 900 close to 350 hours break in I thought I would report back with my findings.
First off cleary this Sony machine is not at the top end of Sony SACD players but from what I can gather it's fair to consider it a mid-range player.
As an aside it's a great machine in terms of build,picture quality and seems to have a very good transport.
As a CD player it's decent.
From my limited listening experience on SACD I have came to the conclusion that it is a format that has potential but does not exhibit sonic differences that blow you away.
The presentation on SACD is smoother, less edgy but to my ears doesn't offer much more detail.
In some ways it is preferable to CD however I do find on some tracks CD sounds better wether that's because I'm used to CD sound or due to something else isn't clear to me.
The latest Stones CD/SACD hybrids show the effect up clearly,to my ears there really isn't much to choose between the layers in any sonic aspect.
The CD layer has a bit more spikiness or edge.
I have had two friends remark that the CD layer is actually slighty more suited to the Stones sound.
I concede perhaps the Stones aren't the best band to show off sound reproduction but there is the odd really well recorded track where SACD doesn't really come through superior on any aspect of it.
Whilst I have only heard about 25 different artist's on SACD and some dozen or so discs, to me the key to any new format is early on recognising this is clearly an improvement from what I've heard before.
Perhaps my expectations are too high but to me SACD has major problems in surviving and growing.......
Oh boy, Ben, I hope time proves you wrong -- or, there's no hope! I too have listened to sacd hybrid or conversions (from pcm? I don't know) that fatigued me. I remember Sean commenting on a similar experience. But I have listned to original dsd recordings (i.e. contemporary) that were superior to redbook. Now, of course, I was comparing Sony's 1 in sacd mode to the big 2001 Krell (whatever it's called) in redbook mode. Proac active speakers.

Of course, the question still remains: do we want a new format? There is so much readily available on cd... and we'll have to invest, yet again, in our favourite music collection...
I think, we would like a new format, BUT it MUST be EXCELLENT if we are to invest! I.e., clearly better than, say, vinyl. A dream: remote control vinyl, with little or no maintenance, and a full symphony orch. smiling at us. 64 bit, 128 bit -- the best: 1.800 bit, 64x oversampling. We may even get brass harmonics @ 80kHz so our dogs smile!
Thanks for yr hospitality, Ben, today's not my day!
On my Sony SCD-1 SACD's are simply superior by a fairly significant margin to redbook. The sound staging and detail are simply outstanding. This is not to say redbook is bad on the Sony, quite the opposite in fact, as I have compared this player to some very highend units.
I am sure the lower level SACD machines are not up to the standard of the SCD-1 on either redbook or SACD. But if SACD does not make it then I would consider giving up this hobby and buying a Bose accoustic wave radio. After hearing what I have heard with SACD I simply can not go back to redbook only and going vinyl is simply out of the question.
Sony is not doing itself any justice with the lower price units. I heard what SACD had to offer on the cheap NS500V that I bought for $199. While it didn't blow me away, it got my interest to where I picked up a used Sony SCD-1 and found out what this had to offer. Now, I have found out that these machines, as well as the lower end units, can be modified to hear what all the fuss is about. The SCD-1 sounds positively great, from what I have read, and the lower priced units have a significant improvement over the stock units, within their capabilities.

So, don't throw the baby out with the bath water. This format has yet to get started and get some high end SACD players going. I have heard that Shanling, with their fantastic looking Redbook player, has come out with an SACD player that looks just like the aforementioned unit.
I think this thread has already yielded some excellent comments on SACD, especially those relating to how SACD is just getting started. For example, consider the unbelievable improvement in CD's and CD players over the last 5 years, let alone almost 25 years. I have only heard SACD in unfamiliar situations (shows, friends house), so I can't really comment critically on SACD, but it seems to hold some promise. Today's best redbook CD players probably, IMO, get to 80-90% of the sound of a good analog setup, BUT I can't afford these players ($2000 - 3000+). If SACD players can be improved to give me this 80-90% "LP level" and, at lower price than todays top redbook players, then I will purchase a SACD and embrace the format. Until then, I'm sticking with vinyl!
A different question . . . . has anyone heard much in the way of SACDs of NEW recordings? Almost everything that I have seen has been repackagings of older (pre-1990) albums. It seems to me that many (if not all) of these could be remastered on Redbook CD and STILL sound much better, just due to the remastering. So on the Stones SACDs, for example, how much of the improvement is the SACD format, and how much is the remastering?

I have a couple of pure DSD recordings if that is what you are talking about. They due sound noticeably cleaner than the remasters i.e. no tape hiss and are very dynamic.
I had a SCD-333ES and although SACD was good on Blue In Orbit. I never found it better then my record player. I listened also to the 777ES for several hours.

I was first a skeptic of tubes then of vinyl :>)

Guess what sounds the best now after giving the so called primitive formats a chance?

The main problem with SACD is no one really wants to spend good money on an unsure format that is really inferior to vinyl in every aspect save convenience. I wanted to be on board with CD, I really don't like having to flip records every twenty minutes. I also don't like having to get up to adjust the volume.

Anyway, I hope to see a great digital format. I doubt that will ever happen. I think it's because the asshole music world isn't willing to make it happen. Kinda like no one REALLY wants to find the cure for cancer.

Tstart makes a few key points which I ommited to be brief on my original posting.
The lack of new releases (by this I mean new albums just out) is awful I would have though by this stage it would at least a handful every month,no chance.
The Stones one hits the nail on the head,the new remastering is the BEST sound so far heard for the Stones on digital but the actual difference between SACD and CD layers is marginal-so what is to be gained by having an SACD player?
Czbbcl could you please clarify the pure DSD recordings by naming the titles?
I still think the format has potential but..........
Just a comment. This week our local Zellers store had a sony dream system in its flyer...yes, sacd for the masses at zellers.....Is this a sign that sacd is gaining momentum? Also, future shop on the web is cleaned out of sacd players. A friend of mine is having his sony modded....I'll give that a listen when it happens....what we need is a under 1,000 universal machine that does everything well then trickle that down. In the meantime vinyl is, Zellers here in Canada is like your K-mart in the states.
Maybe I am a minority, but I am not dissatisfied with CD; we all have a few wonderfully recorded CD’s, if we could just get the industry to up their standards on recording as some already do, this would make me happy. I have said many times that I do not doubt to potential of new formats being better than CD, they should be able to do better by now.

SACD has been out for 3+ years now and progress is slow going, there are not a lot of players and software selections are few, IMO. I owned the SCD-1 for a short time and there was only one SACD title being produced that I wanted; I purchased two SACD titles that I would not of chosen had I not wanted to try SACD. As with some experiences others have found, neither of my two choices set any new standard for me, this is not saying there are not better choices. I chose to sell the SCD-1, I was not a big fan of the player, and purchased a very good CD player that lets me enjoy all my software that I have now and that is available.

I think Tsrart brings up a good question.

Many have invested good money into CD, both hardware and software and some people wonder why others are not that excited about the new format? We all tweak our systems the best we can to get the most from them; we are to buy a player that plays the majority of your software ok and a few (a very few) excellent, rather buy (or keep) a player that plays our software it’s best.

This is irrelevant, but I feel the new formats were not brought about in hopes of making a superior sounding format, but rather one where protection could be encrypted and incorporate multi-channel.

Bluenose, that may be a good sign, for SACD. Where I live, when I asked retailers if they carried SACD’s, I got that strange stare and then the would slowly repeat back, S.A.C.D, what is that?

Go to and puruse their web site under SACD/DSD there is a heading titled pure dsd.

I went the middle route and purchased the Sony 9000ES. Then I sent it off to Modwright for 1600 bucks worth of upgrades. The SACD is really, really, good. Especially in that it's so not-fatiguing (I can listen up to 12 hours at a time, never more than 2 or 3 with redbook). As a Redbook player it's better than my BC DAC2 because of the Superclock upgrade and all the Bybee filters (5 in all). If Sony/Columbia released everything in hybrid disc it would take all of two years to dominate the market. And why shouldn't hybrids be the new standard? Why does one format have to win out?

I couldn't agree more. I have several hybrids.

This is interesting. I just received a sony flyer on the 3 sony dream systems to be viewed at their sony lifstyle website.....they are being toted as all in one home theatre with dvd and sacd......I'm wondering if sony[columbia house, canada] is about to start carrying hybrid sacds? It can't be long off....
that a well made sacd player will sound excellent on sacd and excellent on redbook by virtue of its excellent construction and attention to detail -- So, a Sony SACD 1 should sound better then a SCD333ES on redbook and SACD. Better quality, better sound, right?

I understand that there are exceptions to every rule, and comparing different technologies gets us into the apples and oranges thing. My specific point is, that we should not expect a revolution out of a $500 player just because its SACD. It takes a lot (parts, engineering, good recordings, etc.) to make good music. That's my two cents....
It stands to reason that a well made sacd player will sound excellent on sacd and excellent on redbook by virtue of its excellent construction and attention to detail -- So, a Sony SACD 1 should sound better then a SCD333ES on redbook and SACD. Better quality, better sound, right?

I understand that there are exceptions to every rule, and comparing different technologies gets us into the apples and oranges thing. My specific point is, that we should not expect a revolution out of a $500 player just because its SACD. It takes a lot (parts, engineering, good recordings, etc.) to make good music. That's my two cents....
I guess the point I was trying to make was this.
The reason DVD has been such a massive success was that everybody could see the improvement in picture quality and sound over video tape-word of mouth and actual experience has made this format massively successful.
Whilst it wouldn't be fair to expect that kind of difference on an audio format-I think it's crucial a new format exhibits reasonable advantages over what has went before.
The price of the player hasn't really got much to do with it if that player cannot exhibit a reasonable improvement on a hybrid disc.
Many audiophiles have given up on the format due to this,even at the top range and well the lack of software arguement has been made many many times.
Joe Public just isn't going to be impressed when he hears the SACD layer on the new Stones discs on that Sony DVD player he just bought because the CD layer sounds just as good.
Why is he going to support the format?
I don't think it should be underestimated how damaging this could be.
SACD as a format is just trickling through to the public,the longer the present problems continue the more likely it'll never get the word of mouth support any new format needs to break through.
I respect those who are enjoying the improvements that SACD brings them.
However I think there are just as many who hear only marginal improvements.
I want the format to succeed and I believe it has potential but I fail to be convinced that it will even though inevitably I will be supporting it.
Some people don't care sound quality, and some are not well educated to tell the difference.

I am an engineer, so let me put it in this way.
Higher sample and more bits of info need more data storage. What you gain from there? Higher sample rate will have higher bandwidth and therefore make it easier for smooth high frequency sounding. A similar DAC/amp CKT will sound more refined and smooth on SACD format. More bit will give you more dynamic sound. For example, most of music are in the middle loud range, so a CD will give 12 bit (just for example) to record the music to cover enough detail for most of music in moderate loud range. However it leaves only 6 bit for very loud or quiet level. Therefore a CD might lose the resolution or layers when the music comes to very loud or whisper quiet.

In real life, a SONY 775 playing SACD rivals redbook player >$500 (even >1K redbook machine). Why? a higher sampling rate makes DAC/amp CKT easier to achieve high resolution and smooth sound. So 775 may not have a fancy OP or DAC, but still not bad for SACD. A redbook player has to have expensive DAC/amp to sing not be edgy. A expensive redbook can get rid of edgy sound by good DAC/amp design (which SACD can do too), but they will not have the same layers (namely dynamics) as LP/SACD.

For dynamics, did you ever wonder why a pop CD always give you the same punch in the music? Some are from electronic instrument, and some are from the compressed data in CD format. They ain't sound bad acoustically, but just lacks of layers like drummer is repeating his work without emotion. Try to hear a LP or SACD playing symphony, the drum or bass/cello winding low freq. They have loud, Loud+, very loud, damn loud...., suddenly all layers are there, and the music is more exciting. Then you realize that the performers are more creative than you thought hearing in CD. It sound more like a human playing not a robot. The extra bits help SACD to sing more like a analog source.

Of course, some people don't care, they are happy with what they have. Some enjoy VCR as much as DVD, nothing wrong with it. You save $$ if so. But "people don't care" is not "there is no differece".

Some do care and maybe they are willing to buy the products which makes music more expressive.
Bluefin-it's interesting what your saying my friend was saying his biggest disappointmet with SACD was the LACK of dynamics.
As you explained he thought the potential was there for a big improvement over CD-he expected to be blown away.
He simply can't hear any improvement and he has a reasonably serious system.
All the theory in the world is great but if you can't hear it,you can't hear it.
The only difference we both can hear on SACD at this stage is a smoother sound which shouldn't be dismissed but dynamics,detail and even realism?
Not yet.
Tbadder brings up an excellent point about the hybrid discs. I don't have SACD but bought 2 SACD/CD of the Rolling Stones recently. I was so impressed with the sound I was thinking how much better could it be on SACD? Some of the tracks were better than others and I did notice more clarity and greater dynamics. I was dissapointed with "Sympathy for the Devil" which had a thin sounding bass line (and I love that bass line too!) but most of the tracks are great! I too think that all SACD's should be hybrid discs because after I own enough of them, I'd probably buy an SACD player. The other thing Sony needs to do is put out some more "popular" re-releases - i.e., albums that have a high sales track record. DVD-A is all over Sony on this aspect, with a bunch of great releases, including the release of Pink Floyd's Dark side...Moon later this month. Suprising we haven't seen Sony scrambling to put out the Beatles on SACD.
My experiences with initially the Sony SCD-1, then the Marantz SA-1, and now the Lindemann D680 would suggest that Ben's problem is the Sony DVP 900. Initially with the SCD-1 I could hear some improvement of the sacd layer over the cd layer--more extended highs and better sound staging, etc. The Marantz proved superior in these regards and proved to be a far superior cd transport, allowing me to sell my CEC TL0 Mk II. But the Lindemann has blown away any contest from the cd layer. The realism is uncanny and the dynamic scary. This is not to say that the Lindemann is a poor performer on cds as it is probably the best I have heard.

I think that like cd players technology will ultimately allow quality low cost sacd players, but I do not think that time is here yet. In an age of MP3 and cheap computer sound boards, I can only be hopeful that sacds will flurish, as it is clearly superior to cds. I can also hope that the current rash of new sacds will continue allowing me to switch to mainly listening to sacds rather than LPs and cds.
Tbg-I don't doubt you are right but consider you have now changed players three times(or audtioned) to get a difference of a large magnitude.
My point is that the lower end players do not show a marked difference on performance-to me this is key in breaking the format.
Of course it is very early days in the development of SACD but when I hear some people describe the difference on the SCD-1 as marginal I do worry.
The good news is SACD releases is picking up momentum and this will help.
My 6 month experience with SACD was with the Sony 9000ES. I would say that the well-recorded SACD's were significantly better than well-recorded CD's. I feel that there is definitely an improvement over CD. However, I felt very limited by the availability of titles, and could only find about a dozen that I really even wanted. While the convenience of digital was nice, eventually the lure of vinyl took over, and now I have better sound and all the titles I want, for less money. I do hope that SACD makes more titles available, and has some success, because it is better sounding, if only a certain percentage, and if this doesn't go over, the manufacturers may just forget about high end sound, and go for MP-3 type formats. This would be very bad for you digital guys. If they see no support coming from the high end, it spells disaster for audiophile digital sound.
I would tend to agree but Brubeck's Time Out is hardly a well recorded session. Even on the SCD-1 it sounded much better than on cd, but on the Lindemann it is approaching realism. Would it not be great to have all DSD recorded sacds?

I believe some of SACD are remastered of old master tapes.
If CD was done in earlier days while master tape still in its prime. Then, there may be some CD sounds better than SACD version, plus recording/remaster engineer's ear has to do with his/her capability of remastering tape to a digital source.

On the other hand, dynamic range has a very rigorous scientific definition. I believe SONY's gives the exact number in dB in its introduction paper of every SACD. The advantage is definitely there, and scientifically measurable (For sure, this part is not just simple mental effect). A well recorded SACD is for sure having a more dynamic sound than CD. However, a good LP setup still has a larger dynamic range than SACD. If your friend is referring to LP, I agree, analog is still the best in this regard. I am not sure how your friend compares SACD and CD. But remember the trick in my privous post, enough punch yet resolution. In real life a drummer does punch its drum exactly the same twice. In CD, lots of drumming sounds single toned, but in LP or good SACD not only can sound louder also more expressions because of beter resolution. You can hear the difference of differnt beat. Drum is easy to hear, actually the same applies to all other instrument. (That's why I still like pi-li-pi-li LP).
Piano is another good instrument to hear. Hear all bass/cello in an orchestra winding up and down. I don't think you can hear more music on CD than a LP or SACD.

Also digital processing and coding technology today is much better than old days. Actually, you will gain more than 6 bits of information (or I should say music or expressioins), considering coding/deciding is more advanced now.
Bluefin-I am not dismissing anybody's findings-I truly accept those who find SACD to be noticeably superior to CD.
They have no reason to say otherwise.
Clearly there are reasons why it should be better on a technical basis.
I can accept that my $750(list price) DVD/SACD player must be limited in comparison to other players,likewise my friends all-format Pioneer must too be limited,maybe why his comparisons with CD do not show the differences they should.
His sits in an approx $10K system and mine in a $6k system.
My point is merely this,in Audiogon terms our systems are pretty small fry but in the "real" world our systems are way above average-my fears lie with the lower and casual audio fan who imho has a likely chance of dismissing SACD as no better than CD.
Also I am struck by the amount of SACD players available on Audiogon and some learned 'goners who do not hear "big" differences between SACD/CD.
I am at the very early stages of assessing SACD and the format clearly is in it's infant stages hopefully over time the differences become clearer to me.
Having discussed this offline too I am told (rightly or wrongly) that the 900 is a moderate SACD machine,close to the Philips 1000 and a bit behind the 9000es.

Yes! thanks for reading and understanding my post.
TWL would be happy to hear people like LP (I need your suggestion in the end).
I believe some new audiophiles can gain something if I explain it clear enough.

One suggestion for other audiophile's listening.
The output of a CD or SACD are not exactly the same.
Some from recorinding and coding, and some from output CKT design. If your CD player output has a slightly higher voltage or output impedance is different, by setting pre-amp at the same position, that CD player would sound louder than other CD or SACD players. Some may take it as more dynamic, but actually it is simply louder not more dynamic.
Some modify CD player's output (higher) to use a passive pre-amp, that's for different purpose.

We can always turn up the volume to sqeeze your power amp for extra dB's. However, a dynamic sound in SACD can tell the difference of 50 and 50.1 dB (just for example). But a CD may only give your the difference 50 and 50.2 (e.g. 50.1 is compressed to either 50 or 50.2 dB).

TWL, I have an old Oracle with Grace arm. I used BPS or Grado Platinum and it sound very good with ARC PH3. Since my PH3 can certainly take higher output than that, you think what should be my next step up? I am not rich, so please give some suggestions, which I can save money to finish. Can Grace handle MC well (which?) or I should save for years to get another arm or table?

My wife and I first heard a SACD while auditioning some Vandersteen 2ce at a local high-end, single owner shop back in 2000. It was an intimate setting as there was only one other person in the shop and the phone wasn't ringing! He had some CD's for us to browse while he hooked up the speakers. It was all to be hooked up to a McCormack amp and preamp (model?) We chose Natalie Merchant's Tiger Lilly - the NON-SACD version - as I was very familiar with the recording on my home system. The CD player he used was the Sony SCD-1. Natalie sounded fantastic! The soundstage at the end of "Carnival" sounded like I was standing on a sidewalk in Central Park - very impressive. I wasn't sure if this was the player, speaker, associated equipment or all of the above. I asked a couple of questions about the player and he said it was a Sony - their new "SACD" player. I asked if what we just heard was an SACD and he said no although he had an SACD sampler disc he could bring out. For grins he replaced the Sony with Parasound's flagship CD player at the time (don't rememer the model but was selling for around $1900). I currently own a Parasound DAC and have owned other Parasound equipment in the past. Parasound is capable of making excellent equipment IMO. Anyway, I auditioned "Carnival" one more time over the same system only with the Parasound in place of the Sony. There was something missing with the Parasound, a realism and simbilance that the Sony did very well. The Parasound, while sounding very good, did not convey the realism of the Sony. The soundstage was lush with the Sony and very layered with a clarity that was remarkable. This is just comparing the redbook source! Needless to say I was truly able to see the impact of the machine on the whole system. I was really taken with the Sony while the sound with the Parasound in the chain sounded close to my current home system. When John brought out the SACD sample CD, I was ready to hear it - even my wife was excited! He played only one track from it (I don't remember the title) but there was a drummer right in front of me (sonically) using a brush on the cymbals. It sounded scary REAL. The prices I have seen these sell for recently (used) are right in line with what the Parasound was retailing for 2 years ago! I wish I had the $$$ for one, even at today's prices! :-( BTW: My wife loved every second of our visit - a testament to the equipment and the kind of shop and owner where this can be done! Tony
I just heard "kind of blue" on SACD , then redbook on the musical fidelity trivista. I have been very curioius for a long time... The SACD sounded more "detailed" and multilayered, but also more fractured, and less like music, kind of like a recording where you can hear the splices. I was missing the flow and organicism of the performance. When we put the redbook in, it was such a relief. It just sounded more like music.
Hi Ben

I share your experience 100%. I have not compared the CD layer with the SACD layer, instead I have used a red book CD and compared to the equivalent SACD. I think have a decent reproduction chain with Adcom 750 pre Mark Levinson PA (200+200) and Martin Logan ReQuest(6'tall). Kimber is my standard cable. The front end is the recently released Philips SA963 which has 192Khz oversampling on CD. My previous CD player was the Meridian 500/566 combo which now plays paper weight. The most noticeable difference between the two standard is more musicality, will it blow off your socks?
No, do not think so. My experience is sattle details here and there and a bit expanded frequency range. As said the improvement I enjoyed most is the musicality and lack of edgy and too sharp not natural reproduction that some time effects CD. But is it the CD standard or the mastering and recording??? Why some CDs sound wonderful and other so harsh and anything but musical?

Bottomm line is, I do not think the general population will spend $30,000 to bring out the small enhancement of the SACD standard.
I agree with Buxter66. I've heard SACD and find it to be overly detailed to the point of fatigue. Sometimes, too much of a good thing is bad.

I much prefer listening to CDs on my MF Nu-Vista CD player. The sound is simply glorious.
If the gear can't handle the details of a SACD, it can't handle a good redbook player either. A SACD DAC at higher sampling rate is easier to design being smooth sounding.
If you put your Nu-Vista on the same set-up, I think, it will not sound as good as in your set up either.

Details will not annoy anybody's ear, it is the edgy sound somewhere caused by bad source, IC's, or amplification. With the same $$ with Nu-Vista, those SACD players should be good enough and I don't think they are the source for edgy details. Unless you tell me that you try to use a low end SACD player to compare with your Nu-Vista.

Also get a SACD recorded recently, not some reissued from 10 or 20 years ago. The mother tape is already old, your CD was coded when the mother tape was fresh. You are comparing a raw fish sashimi with a well cooked old fish.
If the fish is too old, a better wasabi can't save it.

Well, there's the rub. The SACDs I've heard (on an SCD-1) were reissues of older titles. Quite frankly, I've yet to hear any "pure" DSD recorded stuff. Perhaps those will sound better, although the titles don't thrill me. And, I'm not about to replace my entire music library with SACD of titles I already have if they generally sound as fatiguing as they do.

This may be the key to the ultimate failure of SACD and DVD. If the new mediums only sound great on music recorded specifically for them (rather than reissues), why would anyone choose them? Personally, I find that a well-remastered redbook title usually sounds fabulous and beats the pants over SACD reissues. In this instance, the well-cooked, raw fish wins.
I do not have a SACD player, but have bought several hybrid discs for comparison at a local store. They have a Sony 999ES in a room with Krell/B&W equipment. The sales person was intrigued by SACD and had been trying to hear a difference. All he had was a Stones SACD and he could not hear much improvement between the layers.

I played an original DSD disc on this system from APO by "Wild Child Butler" titled Sho' Nuff. All it took was 10 seconds and the SACD was obviously superior to the CD layer. Smoother, more dynamic, bigger soundstange. No contest.

I was not very familiar with the setup and would probably hear more difference on my home system. But I've heard enough to be convinced that SACD is clearly superior. So is the salesman. He placed an order for a new Krell player. If you do not hear the difference, please consider that it may be due to an older recording or the associated equipment.

I am debating whether to buy a SACD player, like an upper end Sony, and have it modified, and sell my Theta. Or buy a mid-range Sony (like the 9000ES) to use as a transport for the Theta and accept lower quality SACD sound for now. I do not want to go backward in CD sound and am not ready to spend big bucks for a truly top end player.

Any thoughts on this decision are welcome.

I enjoy the discussion on this thread and wish you all happy listening.
I have owned the Sony 999es player since December. While the redbook sound is inferior to my DTI-PRO32 and DAC, the SACD does sound better on MOST of the SACD recordings I own. I have found that newer recordings in general, regardless if it started off analog or DSD, sound better on SACD. A few examples of titles where I feel the SACD is superior to the redbook would be Aerosmith (greatest hits 2disc set), Alice in Chains GH, Rolling Stones Hot Rocks, YoYoMa's Silk Road Journeys and the Dances With Wolves soundtrack. The following titles seem to be on par or very, very similar sound to the redbook; Journey's GH and Boston. There is only 1 disc I have where I feel the redbook is superior to the SACD and that is Santana's Abraxas. So there is obviously something in the mastering/transfer process that is not consistent. BTW: I was comparing the SACD to the DTI/DAC combo NOT the Sony's internal DAC. If someone wants to know specifics in sound between redbook and SACD on any of the above titles, let me know. I do look forward to the release of more SACD titles in the future and do feel they are worth the extra $1.00 (I pay) above the reg. CD price. Can't wait for Pink Floyd's DSOM to be released next month!!! Tony