SACD my thoughts at this time.....................

I have been on other threads accused of being consistantly negative on SACD as a format.
I'll put my full thoughts on the format here so those members with differing views can express their issues with my opinions.
Hopefully it can be archived and new posters can be directed to this thread.
I also don't claim to know all the answers so others can offer more information or contradictory evidence.

It's long been my contention SACD will probably survive as a niche Audiophille format.
I do not see it breaking into the mainstream nor do I see a time when the majority of releases make it onto SACD.
Of course I could be totally wrong and this is guesswork at this stage in the game.

Also as a music nut with an interest in audio replay I do not rule out further down the line owning a main replay machine that gives me SACD capability to go along with my higher end Redbook capability at this stage.

I'll break my points into main headings.

Clearly the number of SACD's available are increasing but is it enough?
Sales have risen also.
My opinion is that the large rise in sales is related directly to the large reissue sets of Dylan,The Stones,The Police and the mega-selling DSOTM by Pink Floyd.
These hybrid releases will tie in strongly with my argument on my second and sixth headings.
But the success of these releases lies in their ability to be played in most CD players.
Even pro-SACD members do seem at times to be worried by the quality of some SACD remasters or releases.
A major boo boo in trying to break the format.
Most importantly for me also is the close to complete lack of releases that are new and indeed non-Audiophile related.
Surely another boo boo.
The movement on software in general terms has been too slow.
Whilst no doubt some will cite CD quality and early problems however SACD does not offer the new intial convienance over vinyl CD did.

I bought my DVPSN900 on the reviews stating that it was a good audio machine as well which highlighted SACD superiority over Redbook.
It is but the difference between the Redbook and SACD replay is not noticeable to my ears nor others who have heard it.
Surely this is catastrophic for the format?
A dip in the water buying machines such as these will leave potential SACD progressive adopters unimpressed.
Sony has clearly introduced many cheaper SACD players over the last few years.

This one will sound daft to most Americans but when I was considering a higher end SACD machine to hear,there was nothing in my price range available in Glasgow,a major city in the UK and probably the biggest hi-fi city outside of London.
None of the big Audio stockists in the city have had much success in selling players.
I wouldn't doubt in a lot of European cities this is similar.
I've also not heard a single UK dealer rave about the format,maybe for the same reasons,my local dealer constantly turns down SCD-1's for trade in because he's had difficulty moving them.
American Audiophiles maybe don't realise that their market is a lot more vibrant despite the economic gloom.
Seems here in the UK after the intial burst of SACD there is a large gap in the availability market which hasn't been filled.

Outside the elite world of the likes of Emm Labs etc it seems the new players have been indifferent.
Doesn't the mediocre reviews/feedback of such big boys as Linn and Krell not bring another problem.
This month's Hi-fi+ reviews the new Classe Omega (£12K!)and describes it's Redbook playback as mediocre.
Shouldn't we by this stage seeing the technology drift down and be wowed by the new players?
Will the new Sony make a difference?
Clearly another big issue is the likes of DVDA.
With new generations adopting different types of software,is there any place for SACD?
Even the humble CD seems to have a reasonable future at this stage purely as the dominant format to buy new music on.
Of course it too is under threat but does anybody really think SACD will bypass CD?
Imagine you are reasonably interested in sonic reproduction but have a moderate to low-end system and you've just bought a newly remastered SACD hybrid of some classic.
If you notice a big jump in the CD quality will that intrigue you on SACD quality or will you think I'm not going to spend x$ on a new SACD player when I'm getting benefits where I am.
If you read a bit about it you might consider those who have heard the differences on older recordings to be very slight.
SACD worth the investment?

Is this an issue?
I think this is key where Audiophiles are concerned.
Will a $3k SACD machine match a Redbook only player in Redbook replay.
It was this issue which ultimately led me away from trying to kill two birds with one stone.
A problem for me here in here the UK but what about in America where the overall selection is better?

It's my contention that SACD has too many different issues and unknowns at this stage to make anyone think that it's future is certain.
I'm sure I will hear a lot about Sony's investment and their copyright worries but will that matter if the format does not sell or grow sales?

Let's here your views-those who await further developments before investing in SACD,those who have early adopted and got out of the format and those who love it,embrace and believe it has a long future.
Reminds me of Super VHS. "What VHS should have been in the first place, yada, yada, yada". And of course VHS had won out over the superior Beta format, which is much like DVD-A in this comparison. I bought into the SVHS format, albeit late, only because the price of SVHS camcorders and SVHS decks had dropped way down in price. But the format never caught on. Now camcorders have built in DVD burners so all video tape machines are on their way out the door. Just like SACD will win out over DVD-A but will never become mainstream. Just like Ben says. And for all the reasons Ben lists. I'll stick with my Theta redbook CD playing frontend thank you. Great post Ben.
Very thoughtful post Ben. As one that is strictly analog based I probably shouldn't contribute to this thread. My reason for doing so is that as one without a lot of disposable income for other formats I fear any decision I make would become obsolete all too soon. I already live through that fear factor when CD's were released and record stores stopped stocking vinyl. I do believe that SACD is superior to CD since so many respected folks have offered that viewpoint. Home theatre will drive the digital domain as the masses seem to want a theatre in their homes and care little about superior music playback. Still, I really believe that all things audiophile will remain forever a niche market and we all will be catered to, albiet expensive for what we get.
Several more "boo boos":

1. Often a new recording will be release on CD, and then a few months later on SACD. I am now nervous to buy new releases in fear that it will soon be released in a better format.

2. One of the real beauties of the SACD format is that it is backward compatable. If the big record lables came out with many hybrid discs at a reasonable cost, than mainstream would buy them, only later to realise that they owned a lot of SACD's, and would consider purchasing a new player. Instead, many of the releases are SACD only, or if in Hybrid, very expensive.

3. Labeling: Why do the manufacturers insist on such poor identification of the format. (The Stones series doesn't say anything about the SACD format.) I have some discs that are SACD only, but other than a SMALL symbol, it is impossible to tell that it is an SACD. I pitty the poor schmuck that buys them with only a CD player at home.

I have a very large CD collection with most of the titles that I want. Over the last couple of years, my purchasing of CD's has really dropped off. With the new SACD format, I am again buying more discs, but the releases that I want a few and far between.
I agree that the SACD format will stick around for the audiophiles amoung us, but the manufacturers have blown the marketing of it as a big seller. .. both as a medium and as hardware.
Oh, and by the way, the sound of the SACD, is definitely superior to the CD! ... and my SACD player surpassed any CD player in it's price range and beyond.

As I see it,
Restating my opinion...the bigest problem with SACD is the existance of DVD-A. With a well-made disc and a good player SACD is better than a CD. But the same can be said for DVD-A, which shares technology with the mass market for DVD-V, and represents a simple straightforward correction of the marginal resolution and data rate of the CD, (not to mention the flexibility to do multichannel and even higher resolution 2-channel, and some video.) If DVD_A did not exist the success of SACD would be certain. But in this real world, I doubt that it can long survive.
My solution was to buy a Sony SCD-1, used for SACD playback only. For Redbook, I use the SCD-1 as my transport (and a damn fine one it is too) feeding the digital out to an Electrocompaniet ECD-1 DAC. In this configuration, Redbook performance is considerably better than the SCD-1's Redbook playback.

In some cases, the SCD-1/ECD-1 Redbook combo outperforms the SACD playback- but I truly suspect that's due to mastering. I've found no digital source that can yield the timbre of instruments as well as SACD.

I suspect DSD holds even more than the SCD-1 is delivering....I look forward to the day I can try an EMM or DCS high end DSD Dac.

Just my opinion.
Good reading! I have noticed lately that there are fewer and fewer DVD-A sightings, whether advertisements or players. SACD seems to be winning but I think it will only be successful as a niche market. Whenever I mention SACD to my non-hifi buddies, they don't even know what I am talking about. I casually test everyone I know and I have yet to have one person be familiar with the new format "wars." I think that puts it into perspective. Anyway, enjoyed the posts. Arthur
Ben, as you pointed out; your situation is a little unique based on your location.

I live in a fairly small community but was able to buy my SCD 777es locally without any trouble. There are at least three major music store who sell SACDs.

To respond to you experiences:
1) I have not found (with my CDP anyway) that the two formats are virtually indistinguishable. There have been occasions when I would have prefered the difference to be more obvious, but in my experience (and those for whom I have auditioned the two) SACD does sound better than redbook CD.

One big problem with sound quality may be similar to what we experienced when the first CDPs were foisted upon us us, in the rush to release material, the record companies never learned to use the technology. CDs one may purchase now are much better than CDs available in 1983.

When manufacturers learn how to better use SACD the recordings will sound better. There is going to be a learning curve.

2) I'm not familiar with your CDP, but the quality of the payback machine is always going to be a huge issue. I know Sony has lots of lesser quality machines on the market, but I doubt that those machines will do anything for the sale of SACDs. I'm not denegrating your CDP, I'm just saying that the payback unit has to be of sufficient quality to recognize the potential of the format.

3) If I knew of a retailer who was turning down SCD-1's because of their inability to resell them, I would be in his shop right now telling him to snag the next on, and that I would take it.

4) I'm surprised by the poor reviews of some of the supposedly better (Krell, Linn) and newer units. Just because they did not do justice to their own units is not the fault of the format! Or is it!?!

5) I watched the format wars for a while, and I don't think DVD-A is going to be the winner between these two, so I voted with my wallet.

6) Where would any of us be if no one had bought CDPs in the eighties. The format was poor, and did not deserve to survive. The record companies knew it, so they did not give us a choice. The destroyed all the vinyl and the only choice we had was to buy CDs. I will readily admit that I prefer to listen to vinyl, but some of the things I want are too hard to find. If I want to have it, I have to buy it in digital.

7) Redbook playback on my SCD 777es is as good as the CDPs I have had before (Magnavox CDB 650, California Audio Labs Icon mk II, and Nakamichi ?) These are not as good as the very best CDPs available obviously, but even some of the best SACD players cost a lot less than them, so what is a poor audiophile to do???

8) I'm not usre how to respond to this comment, but in the long run what difference does it make to me. I can't control it, so while I can, I will continue to buy SACDs since the better SACDPs are close in quality to what vinyl can do.

Only audiohiles will be able to control the success or failure of newer, higher resolution digital formats. The masses will continue to feed off of whatever boob they're instructed to, so if any of us want something better than redbook quality digital, MAKE IT HAPPEN! If not, stay on the sidelines and let the masses decide for you. But ask yourself if you would be happy with your system if the masses were the ones who determined what kind of amp, speakers, or cable you owned!
That SACCD and DVDA has not taken the world by storm might be an indication of many things, some of which have alraedy been discussed here. Perhaps, its failure to take the public market place by storm, might be a good thing. Within the next couple of years the DVD format is due for a major storage upgrade to allow for HD. Perhaps this impending technology might offer a vehicle for the kind of improvement in sound that SACD and DVDA promised and has yet to impress the pubic market place with. Perhaps a quick and sudden death to both these commercialy disappointing improvement offerings might actually be a good thing. On the other hand it might discourage manufacturers from catering to high end audiophiles in the future. Albert Porter has previously sugggested that perhaps the 5 gig DVD RAM format might offer the best audio format. Maybe we need to demand even more/better?
I have been able to hear the sonic improvement of sacd over cd on 7 different players.
I have had in my system, a Sony 9000 stock and later whith Modwright signature mods.
A phillips 963sa stock and whith mods, A sony 777, Phillips sacd 1000 and Denon 5900.

The only two of these players to do justice to both sacd and redbook are the two modded players.
I do not get the connection on how poor redbook performance has anything to do whith sacd, as it is the designer of the player who is responsible for the redbook playback.

As far as some recordings not sounding as improved as some expect, again this is the fault of the recording and can be heard whith any format so again, where is the connection whith sacd.

It seems that some are nit picking to be making such comparisons that are not sacd specific, just trying to make up b.s. to justify there lack of appreciation for an obviously superior format.
Or maybe they feel left out because they can't audition a certain player or find much sacd software in there area.

If I am wrong, then lets hear about the different models you have had in your systym besides an el cheapo player.
Not players you heard elsewhere but rather have had in your system for at least two weeks or more.

As far as dvd-a, anyone who thinks this format is going anywhere had better think again.
Joe average doesan't even no that he may have dvd-a on his new dvd player and could care less about dvd-a, even if he did.
Audiophools by a large margin prefer sacd, and anyone who has been involved in hi rez from the beggining can't argue that fact.
If one has to go, it will be dvd-a, but I hope they both stick around as dvd-a is superior to redbook on most material but not all on both the 500.00 Denon 1600 and the 5900 that I have had in my systym.

Again I base my opinion on lots of experience whith several players and sacd and dvd-a releases from the 70's, 80's and current releases, not just sonically bad recordings from the 60's or old dead guys.

If you anti sacd or dvd-a format people are so happy whith your "Perfect sound Forever" format, then why don't you go enjoy it and leave the hi rez to those of us that can hear the difference and are more likely to support new formats and buy the music?

One last opinion...multi channel for the most part = gimmick in either hi rez format whith few exceptions.
I think it's interesting that Cornfedboy's thread about coping in an age of uncertainty is still topical after almost 3 years now. There's no question that all things being equal, SACD is superior to redbook. The issue is SACD vs DVD-A, not vs. redbook. Until that's resolved, I'm content to limit most of my CD purchases to the better labels like xrcd, chesky, acoustic disc, mapleshade, telarc etc. where the differences are not as great, and still have more to choose from than both of the hi-res formats combined.

One thing I know is that the quality of the original recording is still the key. That's probably why there are mixed reviews. A well recorded cd played on a top notch player will sound as good or better than a poorly recorded hi-res disc.

No one can predict with certainity which format will win out. SACD got the early start, but Sony's marketing strategy has been terrible. The reason they don't emphasize SACD on the label is probably because they don't want to dicourage sales from people who think they are just buying new release cds. The DVD-A camp on the other hand has been equally inept. They do however have the upper hand in professional recording circles. As was pointed out before in this forum, there is absolutey no mention of sacd anywhere other than among audiophiles, not enough of a market to sustain Sony's dream of replacing CD with SACD.

Only time will tell and I'll wait until the times are a little less uncertain.
Good thoughts from everyone here. I enjoyed the read.

Without extreme cooperation from the record industry SACD will never take over the mainstream. The vast majority of mainstream playback systems are incapable of resolving the difference. Just adding a SACD machine into a low-fi system isn't enough. Without a clear advantage over CD the mainstream will not spend more $ on SACD. Just look at MP3 with its clear advantages over CD. MP3 plays well enough in low-fi systems and uses very little storage space. The mainstream perception of MP3 is equal sound quality to CD and increased storage capacity.

Back to audiophile land. Even comparing the CD layer to the SACD layer of Hybrids can be misleading. Each layer was done on different equipment and mastered seperately. To further complicate this is the playback capabilities of the machine used to compare each layer. Without spending the huge money for a dCS or Meitner system we are left comparing apples to oranges. Obviously comparing SACD to CD on a single unit like an SCD-1 is not fair to CD.

I am purchasing Hybrids however. This is blind faith based on what ive read from people that have had the chance to compare both formats on high end equipment. Ive been pleased with the redbook layer of many Hybrids. The SACD layer is simply icing on the cake. When the time is right and my system improves, I will buy into SACD. Already I see enough SACD titles available to justify purchasing a player.

Richard made a point that I very much agree with. The fact that the majority of SACD's now produced are hybrid discs, this makes the format backward compatable. I think many people who are buying hybrid discs and don't have an SACD player are probably asking themselves; "How much better will it sound if I did have an SACD player?" As for the labeling of the SACD, it is hard to determine from the cover or sleeve if it is an SACD disc (but can be found somewhere on the cover). For the "unaware" who buy hybrid discs and don't own SACD players, it becomes evident once the little Sony SACD brochure slips out after they open the jewel case. This *may* prompt them to buy a player or at least take their disc down to a hi-fi place to listen over an SACD system. Also, people who are buying DVD players are probably getting SACD, DVD-A (or both) playback capabilities. All of a sudden some non-audiophile buys Pink Floyd's DSOM (in hybrid form) and for Christmas next month gets a new $350 Sony DVD player that also plays SACD. Once that person hooks up their new present to their $300 receiver, they now have an SACD player and at least one piece of software to play it on (not including the SACD promo disc that comes with the player)! I truly feel it will be that SACD technology and *capability* will "creep" into living rooms over the coming years. Will it catch on? Will people notice? I hope so. I will say, Sony gets the nod for having a better marketing and packaging strategy than DVD-A IMO. We are really only 3 years into the launch of this format and I have noticed that the more recent SACD releases are sounding superior to the ones I bought last year. I also know that CD's I bought in 1985 didn't sound as good as the ones I bought in 1995 - and on the same player! I too have a ton more CD's than SACD's but I also agree with another poster above and that is that I have bought maybe 1 or 2 redbook CD's over the last year but have purchased about 10 SACD's over the same period of time. I do hear a difference between the two formats, sometimes a huge difference sometimes a subtle one but a difference none the less. -Tony
Thanks for starting this most thought provocing thread, Ben. Lang may your lums reek.
These are entertaining and enlightening discussions! It seems to me,
however, the market is going to determine the survival of any format.
Frankly, I believe the future of music delivery will be computer based
whether we audiophiles like it or not. SACD, and DVD-A will be the
domain of audiophiles only, with a limited library dictated by a small but
fervent sliver of the music buying public. The music industry is driven
by kids and young adults who download music. They are a mobile, on-
a-budget, market force that has limited discretionary buying power.
They all own computers, and the computers become the default music
playback system for these kids. Dedicated stereo systems (or multi-
channel systems) are way down their lists of priorities. They purchase
(download) files at an accelerating pace. In turn, the music industry and
its related distribution systems are adjusting to the buying patterns of
these young adults. Apple and Microsoft see the reality (and the
potential profits). Our discussion of SACD vs. CD vs. DVD-A is quickly
becoming an academic exercise. The market simply will never adopt
SACD or DVD-A as a mass market music delivery system. Those who
choose SACD rejoice. Those who choose redbook CDs, continue to
enjoy their collections on the best possible equipment. It's all eventually
going the way of vinyl.
It took the microwave oven 20 years to catch on as a mainstream
appliance. There were automobiles long before there were roads or gas stations. Foretelling the future of SACD is beyond our capability -- there are no Kreskins here. So, the point is that high-rez digital sounds better and anyone who is in search of better sound should be ENCOURAGED to explore high-rez, either DVD-A, SACD, or both.

I have a problem with a poster like Ben who admits that he traded up to a high end CD player, an Ayre, without auditioning high end players with SACD capability because they were *UNAVAILABLE* in his area -- and then seeing him trying to discourage others from exploring SACD. Sort of like missing your flight and then bashing

Further, I find it ironic that on this forum, *ANY* piece of equipment
or software -- either digital or vinyl -- should be criticized because it
happens to be esoteric. SACD will only live on as a toy for Audiophiles? LOL. Look around, folks -- how many of your friends
own Tube amps? Still listen to vinyl? How many of them
have even heard of the companies that make most of your equipment?

The people who should be complaining about high-rez are the
mainstream consumers -- not audiophiles. The industry is
luring them in through the backdoor by releasing hybrid SACD's with a remastered CD layer. IMO, this "Trojan Horse" strategy should be applauded by the audiophile community -- because
we are the winners in this analogy.

I also find it ironic that on this forum SACD should be singled out
as somehow unique in that it sounds better on high end equipment. What are we saying? That redbook CD sounds
peachy on low end players? IMO, redbook CD only sounds
TOLERABLE on a higher end player and only begins to sound great at the high end.

It only stands to reason that EVERY format will sound better on higher end equipment. Mr. Campbell didn't stick with a low-end player. To get more out of redbook CD, he upgraded to a high end redbook player. So, his comments regarding the need for a higher end player to enjoy SACD ring particularly hollow. For better or worse, this is an expensive hobby and most of us are constantly
upgrading. So, it only makes sense that -- as one upgrades, it would be wise to at least explore players with SACD capability.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances, when Mr. Campbell went shopping, he did not have the opportunity to explore higher end
players with SACD capability, and I am epathetic to his situation, but others do have the opportunity and -- this is my opinion -- those that do should only be encouraged.
I've enjoyed the comments so far,thanks.
I particularly enjoyed Nrchy's comments because he clearly disagrees with much of what I had to say but has stuck to the broader issues and done it in an adult,respectful manner.
This is what debate should be about.
Others have chosen to personalise much of what they've written around myself my personal experience(or lack of) with SACD players.
Of course I voiced these wider issues to help get away from that aspect because it wasn't the only issue I had with SACD.
I wish to state this for the record a final time,I have in every thread surrounding SACD ENCOURAGED the poster to go listen for themselves to whatever SACD player they are considering.
I am probably unique,but most of us are pretty unique people and Rsbeck is right to point out what we do is a marginal hobby.
However I do not stay in a backwater,I had one of Europe's top Audio dealers on my doorstep and a handful of other good to decent dealers close by.
The fact that there was close to no (The MF Nu-vista was available but out of my price range)SACD players available to demo-may well indeed be my loss but it is the reality of my situation-hardly great work on behalf of Sony and their related manufacturers.
My best friend in Audiophile terms also invested heavily in a Levinson 390s this year despite having tried SACD-again some will turn their noses up at this because he never heard SACD at a higher level-the fact remains some of us are investing our money outside of SACD because of many the issues listed above but also the damaging first impressions entry level machines have done.

If the quality and availability of SACD software is not the fault of the format and their manufacturers as Ears suggests then I do not know where the fault lies.

Let me finally say as a guy who has bought somewhere in the region of 120-140 CD's this year-do you not think if the vast majority of this software was available on SACD (rather than the 21 hybrids I've bought) I wouldn't be even more interested in hearing what the format could do?
Even amongst those 21 discs there is some debate amongst pro-SACD members as to the quality difference.

I've read enough on Audiogon to convince me,as I have believed for some time that at a price point SACD probably does outperform CD.
I also imagine somewhere up that ladder I will get Redbook performance to match my Ayre CX-7.
However I do not have a firm idea what player would do this nor do I have the motivation with all the other issues surrounding SACD at this time to pursue it any further.
A lottery win could change that though and hopefully Rsbeck could offer advice with the Emm labs equipment I would consider buying.
However in the meantime I'm too busy buying and exploring music.

If the quality and availability of SACD software is not the fault of the format and there manufactuers as Ears suggests, then I do not know where the fault lies.

Ben, I do not suggest that there is a fault whith SACD, and do not agree that the differences can't be heard on meager 500.00 players, as I clearly hear the benifits on all players even though none are the caliber of my other gear whith redbook and/or SACD except the modified players.

Quite frankly, you are the only poster that I have ever seen suggest that redbook on a cheaper player sounds better or equal to sacd.
When I say that the only players out of seven to do justice to both formats, I am talking about the redbook performance and not sacd.

All mentioned players clearly show SACD's superior sonics over redbook whithout question.

It is common knowledge that [most] universals or sacd/ cd players are not up to snuff on redbook until you get into the 4k and up range and/or have them modified.

If you take a turd of a recording, no format is going to make it sound great and I do not see why anyone would single out SACD for this, so please enlighten us Ben?

As far as the software, I live in a metro area of only a little more than 1 million people and can buy Sacd at no less than 10 stores that I know of and as much time as some of us spend online, why not buy sacd's off the net where they are plentiful from many sources.
To say theres not much available locally, is a cop out as not only can they be bought online, but you can hear others opinions of different recordings before purchasing.

Ben, do you think that the Stones remasters redbook layer sounds as good on your Ayre as more recent recordings?

If not, is this the fault of redbook or Ayre.... or is it because the original recording was a turd to begin whith and no player or format can make it sound near as good as a newer Recording?

Why can't I buy an Ayre it bad marketing on Ayres behalf?
This is about how much sense your argument makes to me.

If I could buy the Ayre locally, you can bet that for everyone sold there would be at least 500 players sold whith sacd capability for every Ayre sold.
People seem to forget that hi end redbook only players make up a very small segment of the audiophool market and that more and more Audiophools are buying modified universals or higher end universals whith or whitout a dac for redbook.

Joe average is into free music and could care less about
any of this.

Ben, I am not picking on you, but rather trying to make sense of what seems to be a campaign against an obviously superior format.

Why not pick on dvd-a for having odd sized cases, no redbook layer and having to turn on my projector to set it up when using it?
Has anyone heard Neil Youngs Harvest on dvd-a....yikes it must be that dvd-a is not what it is cracked up to be...or is it the original recording thats at fault.
I blame the original turd of a recording and not the format.
Even though it has all these faults, I still support it and whith more and more music that is less than redbook quality[mp3 ect] audiophools should be supporting any format that offers superior sonics and not hold out for some future format, which may or may not even happen, and even if it does, old turd recordings are not likely to benifit any more than the two current hi rez formats can offer imo.
Ears has an excellent point as he says "turd" original recordings have no business ever being released in any high resolution format[SACD,DVD-A].I can't understand why these are being released but they are on a regular basis. Heard many red book disks beat the SACD of the same title on my previously owned modified Sony SCD-1.

Harvest is not a turd recording. Ever hear the Nautilus vinyl?? If it comes across as such on DVD-A then it's either the format, an engineering mistake or a copy of the original recording several generations removed. It took quite a while for mastering techniques for CD's to become good. The same is probably true for SACD and DVD-A. There is definitely a learning curve for all involved in the process. I do agree though that you can't make a poor recording sound good. It's just that I take issue with the one you picked on.
Ears-I think you misunderstood my point on SACD software availability in terms of being able to buy it-this was not an issue at all-I bought somewhere in the region of a dozen SACD only discs.

Ok let me put it another way shouldn't Sony or whoever made sure that badly mastered or bad recordings didn't hit the market?
Again even pro-SACD Audiogoners have complained about the quality of some SACD discs.

Whilst The Stones don't do Audiophile production,I actually like the ramshackle production of Let It Bleed and it sure as hell benefits from the new remastering.
Sure maybe new recordings do sound better maybe if there was much more available on SACD it would promote the format further.
It really just proves my point if the choice of titles has been wrong.
Watch the end of year polls in the serious music magazines and see how many of them were released on SACD.
If a turd is a turd as you put it then I can't help that-you also said you don't listen to dead guys either which rules out a helluva lot of good music.

Also whilst you claim not to be picking on me,didn't Tvad in the other thread relate very similar experiences whilst comparing SACD vs Redbook as me?-noticeably on both a modded machine and the Shanling SACD player.
I have also see varying reports from pro-SACD members on the difference,it's a complicated argument involving lots of different parameters.

On the broader issues many Audiogon members relate, partialy relate and indeed have even have offered some concerns of their own on the format.

I think some of the subtlities of my argument are not getting through-I am NOT campaigning against SACD.

As for the availabilty of players,well when I have the choice of all kinds of esoteric CD replay machines and a dedicated Sony centre then I think there is a problem that I can't dem anything except 1 quality SACD machine which I can't afford-in the following 10 months I now have the extra choice of 1 Shanling player-wow.
If you don't think being able to dem a quality SACD machine in one of Europes main hi-fi cities then fine.
There is not a single high end dealer interested in the format in my city-tells it's own story.

If indeed SACD is not for the average Joe then there's two problems.
Sony have concentrated recently on the average Joe end of things in terms of new players.
More crucially for the reasons stated above-they have largely ignored the Audiophile market by not getting the software right and by not following the intial hype surrounding SACD by a second wave or third wave of quality players.

As for other formats,I'm talking about my experience,I didn't try DVDA because from what I could figure at that time SACD was the better format.
If it makes you feel better DVDA has been probably handled worse but as I state I haven't experienced that.

This post was raised by me to allow debate around SACD to be expanded out into wider issues not just to focus on one aspect of my problem with the format which seems to be growing into an absession with some people.

I'm not sure if I am an Audiophile or not,but I do know I wanted to embrace SACD and I do know that it was the weight of issues against it that made me not pursue it any further.
Of course I meant obsession...why'd they take away that edit function I liked that.
Lugnut, I have never heard a digital version of Harvest that I liked, the alblum itself is wonderful imo.

I read on AA that Neil wanted SACD for Harvest, but I am not sure it would have been sonically much better.

Ben, I guess you woud have to blame the record companys including Sony for trying to make turds into a diamond but I still don't see the connection whith [dsd] SACD.

To me, the technology and the record companys marketing are not one in the same.
Just listen to any well done re-issue or dsd based recording and compare to any redbook version....there is NO comparison.

So if you are questioning the quality of any release, then question the labels, not the technology imo.
Ears...Two minor factual corrections.

1. Most DVD-A (the ones I buy anyway) come in cases that are the same size as CD's. The larger ones that a few discs came in were really much better, but the manufacturers must have heard a lot of complaints about the size.

2. It is not necessary to turn on video to play a DVD-A.

IMHO it is not necessary to knock DVD-A in order to advocate SACD. I have excellent discs of both types, and also lousy ones. Same for CDs, LPs. Tapes.

As to survival prospects...I will look to see what happens to automobile audio. Will they offer DVD-A or SACD, or maybe both? I think this will give an early indication of what will happen.
Eldartford, all of my dvd-a's are in the larger case and the vast majority at the local stores are in the larger cases as well.

I am not knocking dvd-a, but rather using the format as an example for my point of view.

Both machines I have used, the 1600 and 5900 required video not necessarily to use dvd-a, but to adjust channel configurations ect.
I fully support dvd-a as well as sacd, its just so far, more releases that I am interested in have been on sacd and by the looks of things, more releases that I would purchase are about to come out on sacd.

There are some Warner releases such as Dire Straits that can't be relesed soon enough on dvd-a.
Much like sacd,I whish they would get moving on releases a little quicker and I believe it will benifit either format to step it up a notch.

I believe that both formats will be around for the next few years minimum and will continue to buy any worthy releases on both formats.
Even though I hear sacd as more natural sounding than dvd-a, does not make me anti dvd-a so please don't stick me in that catagory.

Not only car audio but Home theater could also benifit from either hi rez format imo.
I run into more and more people of all ages that prefer free sonically inferior to redbook music on cdr, so if anything does away whith either hi rez format, it will be the I want free music even if it sucks sonically attitude.

In other words if audiophools don't support hi rez and continue to nitpick, we may all have to eventually settle for something less than redbook
Ears... I guess we buy different DVD discs. Most of mine are "audiophile" labels from Europe purchased via internet, and they have small cases (and large price tags). Apart from the larger size, which may mean new storage facilities, don't you agree that the big DVD cases are much better than those old flimsy "Jewel" cases that come with CDs?

The setup part of playing DVD-A needs a video display, but so does setup for SACD. Once the setup is done it isn't needed each time you play a disc. I first needed video for setup of my Rotel SS Processor, so I invested all of $63 in a dedicated 13" TV set which is simply part of the audio equipment rack. No problem.
Eldartford, I would prefer the normal case for storage but will not let it deter me from buying them.

My biggest complaint is no redbook layer on the dvd-a format.

I have never had to use video for sacd set up, whether 2 channel or multi channel whith any player including universals but now I am nit picking.

My 4k c2 that is equal to the McCormack map-1 all analog multi channel preamp for non digitized multi channel as compared by Widescreen Review is now up for sale as I will not be supporting multi channel in either format.
I will support 2 channel hi rez only.
I spent a lot of money giving multi channel a fair shot whith audiophool speakers and cables all the way around, not to mention a new multi channel amp.

I spent well over 12k to add 3 channels and give multi channel hi rez a shot and urge others to try it whith a receiver or cheaper gear first before spending any large amount.
I highly doubt so called "Audiophile Labels" would make a big enough difference for multi channel hi rez software as far as multi channel goes.

Like I said, I will continue to buy both formats but only in two channel.
Ears...If you insist on only two channels, DVD-A gives you that via a mixdown. Remember that the "stereo" CD is also a mixdown from a dozen or more channels. Audiowise, such a 2-channel DVD-A signal is exactly like a CD except that there are 24 bits instead of 16, and a sample rate of 96 KHz instead of 44.1 KHz. (Can't hurt). Given this capability, the only reason for a separate redbook layer is for marketing to people who lack suitable players. However, this is a valid reason, and the DVD-A spec will soon be changed to provide for a redbook program on the flip side of the disc.
DVD-A spec will soon be changed to provide for a redbook program on the flip side of the disc
I don't believe that has been finalised yet.

Metralla...Not finalized, but inevitable. I hear that disc thickness in a few existing players is the only hang up.
Production / Engineering is Everything! In the 5 years of tweeking the sonic bliss of SACD. I have auditioned in my system, & out of my wallet every inital wonder transport that has been ravingly reviewed. From list prices of $1200 up to $8000, and am now back to using a Sony Scd-333es 5 disc changer for this format. In this time frame I have only kept 1/4 of all Sacd's that I have purchased as most disc's have been a disapointment. So I guess it does have a future, once they stop treating it like pcm. Until then Cd's are getting better everyday, & I have re-embrassed Vinyl to fill the Analog nich Sacd just isn't cutting the mustard on right now w/ no regrets. I haven't abandoned complete hope on Super Audio yet, but haven't found the a player either that sounds just as well on Redbook. Leaving a seperate Box in my system just for super audio to finally fully evolve???
I picked up a Denon DVD-2900 last fall and had the audio upgraded. I've bought a number of SACD and DVD_A and find that the high resolution audio quality is easily capable of outsripping the redbook playback of my $7000 DAC.

Between DVD_A and SACD, I generally prefer DVD_A sonics and completely fail to understand why an audiophile would disregard that format, except on the basis of those ridiculous earlier "comparative reviews" where high end SACD players and low end DVD_A players provided the playback and the typical DVD_A software was that original mediocre sampler. A far cry from an apples to apples comparison.
A thought for Trevor:

Maybe your player just plays DVD-A better than SACD's.
(no opinion is implied)

My Vecteur L4,2 cd player(using transport)and Chord Dac64 combo superior than Krell sacd standart s sacd performance
(only the soundstage depth is somewhat better on sacd)unless I do not play early 90s redbook records,after 2000, redbook record technology improved so much, and most XRCD records are
put most sacd records in a shame.
Recently I have packed my Krell and bought a budget dvd-a player to use its digital out for my dac64 s second BNC input (Vecteur uses first BNC input) getting 24x96 resolution (however Chord makes it 64x....)and tested 4 dvd-a records,the result is really fantastic,I do not miss sacd sound.
PS: I had used Sony xa777es before Krell
I'm basically in the same position as Ben. I have used a Sony SCD-1 for the past four years, but it has now been put away in favor of a CD only player -- a Naim SCD3. I found that switching between the CD and SACD layer on the SCD-1 typically exhibited subtle changes in favor of the SACD layer. Music tended to flow more naturally and less mechanically with the SACD layer. Also, the SACD layer sounded far less compressed in front-to-back dimension (saying "less compressed" rather than "more depth" is to emphasize that analogue still sounds better in this regard).

However, the differences between SACD and CD layer on the Sony machine is so trivial compared to the across-the-board superiority of the Naim cd player vs. the Sony player doing either CDs or SACDS. I don't think redbook can be counted out as a source of high quality sound given the continuing improvement.

How does the Naim CDS3 compare with a comparably priced SACD machine playing SACDs? I really don't know. Because there are no local dealers for such machines like the Meitner DAC and transport, I cannot hear them in my own system. I don't purchase anything where I cannot do a home trial. What's the point of having a great component if it sucks in MY system?
I think highly of the EMM Dac6, but I sold it. I have had the Sony SCD-1, the Marantz SA-1, which was better than the Sony, the Lindemann d-680, which was better than the Marantz, etc. My point is that the SCD-1 is hardly state-of-the-art, and I think you are making your judgment prematurely. My present Exemplar/Denon 2900 costs $3500. I expect that you would find it far superior to your Naim and you would not find the sacd minisculely superior to cd. It and the even lower priced Allen Wright Sony DCP-9000 mod are why I sold the EMM Dac6.
I debating whether to upgrade my Muse Model 9 to Model 11 with SACD and DVD-A for $1,900. Given what I saw at Best Buy last week for software there didn't seem to be much that interested me. However we are still at the beginning of these new formats and there should be more releases coming.

Also in the past year I was given about 400 records in good condition, mostly classical and I bought another 70 from an estate. Don't have the time to listen to them.

On the other hand, if the sound from SACD and DVD-A is that much better than Redbook then I should pursue it. Only have about 125 CDs so doesn't make sense to me to buy an expensive CD player to listen to them when new releases should be coming out in the new formats.
Slingshot, given your vinyl committment and few cds, I would invest little in a top sacd player. I think sacd is far superior to most cds, but vinyl is as yet unsurpassed. Yes, digital is much more convenient, but obviously you are will to make the extra effort.
TBG: Your are probably right. Just installed BPT 3.5 last night and will be writing a review after I listen too it some more. Also looking for better cables. Should probably buy a better cartridge instead of SACD.
The key to both of these new formats -- for the record companies at least -- is that you can't put them in your computer, make copies, convert them to MP3s and send them to your friends or strangers. You can't burn them to DVDR etc.

The record companies will give SACD/DVD-A players away if it will cause the formats to gain traction and bury redbook CDs.

And they'll be sure that no one comes up with software or hardware to convert these into sharable files.

Paul Green
Slingshot, I will be getting my upgraded Model 9 Signature (to Model 10) within a week or so, and will post results.

Although the Model 11 does it all (CD,SACD,DVD and DVD-A), I went with the 10 because (according to Kevin) it is a superior sonic solution for PCM playback, which includes CD and DVD-A formats. It is supposed to better the Model 9 Sig on redbook CD, and better the Model 11 on everything except SACD, which the 10 will not do. I guess after researching things I am in the camp which believes the PCM formats and DVD of some form will ultimately be mainstream, even if on a dual disc. This thing may ultimately be software driven where there both SACD and DVD-A will survive, or some other future format. If DVD-A bombs I will still have a great redbook player, that will do movies also. However, knowing Muse, I am sure the Model 11 sounds pretty darn good in all the formats. I doubt you could go wrong with an upgrade to the 11.

Regarding the lower priced players out there, I think it is great that a wide level of consumers can afford the new formats. This should ultimately improve the software availability. However, I seriously doubt the sub $500 players talked about on these forums can match the better players (such as MUSE, Meridian, Theta, and others) using improved power supplies, better chips and boards, better chassis and isolation, and high quality connectors.
Well said Ben, here is my view from another thread that I've answered.

"If I want the best sound, I'll put on an LP. It trumps dvda sacd or whatever four letters you want to come up with. For the titles not available on vinyl I have a wonderful CD player (Redbook) (Cary 308T) - why in the world would I want a 3rd format? I enjoy music and why would I want to screw that up.

I think most people get angst because they feel they are going to miss the boat. Well the boat is moving very slowly. How many years have these new formats been out? And look at the dismal selection. I don't know if there is more than a couple of releases I'd even want to listen to; so there is no reason to worry. And who's to say another "new" format won't come out soon that is better than SACD and DVD-A, I know for a fact engineers are working on it as I type!

Vinyl is alive and the last CES show had more new analog components than it ever had before for the gentleman who said analog is on its way out. Analog is what digital is trying to approach, how can it be on its way out?

If you like, keep stressing over what is compatible with what. I'll be sitting back in my stereo room lost in my music just enjoying the beauty of it..."