All I can say is WOW! The twinkling highs of Beck "Sea Change". The details previously lost and now found in Dylan "Blood On The Tracks". Even the unimprovable Roxy Music "Avalon" has been truly improved
If you have speakers with crystalline highs, jump right in. The "old" high-end ain't nothin' compared to even a cheap version of the "new" high-end. (I only have a 963SA).
And the multi-channel is a BIG plus when done properly.
I love SACD. I use it exclusively in a dedicated listening room in only a two channel system. I bought a Sony 333 in 2001. It replaced a Nakamichi CD2 that I had bought new in 90/91. It was a definite improvement in regular CD over the Nak, (it made the Nak sound kind of like a cracker jack plastic kazoo-and I love and own other Nak gear). In SACD it was a whole other ballpark. Very very clean but full. The people (and I am one of them) say analog like. Incidentally, I own and use two turntables and never gave up records/analog. I personally prefer SACD over analog. I just bought a SCD 777ES a month ago from another Goner and just love it. It has better depth and extends the image/soundstage farther out to the sides than the 333 on both CD/SACD on my Logans. I recommend you listen for yourself, but I honestly cannot understand why SACD which was introduced, marketed, and designed for the audiophile market doesn't have more boosters/public acceptance.
Nothing is perfect and recording quality varies on SACD just like redbook or records for that matter. However, on quality recordings I think it is a big step up from redbook.
I have a "good" setup, CJ tube pre & amp, Thorens and JVC tt's, Revox R to R, and Martin Logans. I am extremely impressed with SACD. Go Listen!!!
I have a Modded Philips 963SA playing throught an Anthem AVM20, Aragon 8008BB and B7W 805N Signitures. THe sound of SACD is an improvement over redbook CD. The problem I have with it is lack of software and high prices. Lately, some reasonably priced hybrids have hit the market.
Jb3-first of all if I were you,I'd do a search on SACD here on Audiogon,on previous posts.
You will find there various opinions on a lot of the questions you have,you will not find a definitive answer however.
In fact some threads were so heated they were deleted unfortunately destroying some decent debate.
Secondly what is a quality system?
There are those who will say that my £500 DVD/SACD player in my £8k system does not do justice to the format.
Perhaps if you did that search,you would see players in your price range debated.
Thirdly regarding does CD replay suffer,well again there is only debate surrounding that as well,it depends on your perspective and what is important in your price range.
From my perspective I believe the format has been debated to death on this forum and I have nothing new to say on it.
I tried it and got out of it.
If you need more info e-mail me direct but I think the majority of debate is still here in previous posts.
I own about 50 SACDs, and have been involved in that format for about a year. Personally, I have found a lot of SACDs coming down to the $14.99 range, sometimes even more like $12.99 (especially for hybrids, as Prpixel astutely notes). Granted, you sometimes have to look around for decent pricing (various brick-and-mortar vs. the web), but most SACDs, except imports and two-disc sets, can be had for 15 bucks or less. See www.sacdinfo.com for information on all available discs, about 1500 in total and climbing quickly.
It depends, more than anything else, on the quality of the remastering job. Some of them have been great, and if you want to hear the best versions of some classic recordings, you've got to have an SACD player.
I have a Sony SCD 777es which is a two channel player. I have no use for nor any interest in multichannel gear. I'm running Krell for amp and pre-amp if it matters.
I have had the Sony for about a year and have been very impressed with it. If you have seen my comments here before, as a rule I do not like CD for anything other than background NOISE. It is a flawed medium that has been tweaked to sound about as good as it can. SACD is another issue altogether. The sound is within a stones throw of vinyl, which I still consdier the superior medium.
Most of the design flaws inherant in redbook CD playback have been dealt with in the new format. Whether or not it will survive in the long run is anyones guess. It has potential, and if the better companies like; Krell, Levinson, CJ, or whoever take up the format and make better playback systems (unlike the current Krell SACD) the sound will be amazing, but people need to support it in it's infancy or it will never grow up!
CD sounded terrible when it was first foisted upon the listening public, but it is much better now. SACD now is much better than CD, if it gets the support required for capital investment it can grow into something worth having and keeping.
Ben is right--check the recent thread SACD vs. Standard CD--Minor Differences? for a debate on the subject. My observations, which are pro-SACD but recognize that the differences are not as night and day as some say, are in that thread. I think the differences become a bit more pronounced as you get into the best players like the EMM Labs, dCS and heavily modified pieces.
Never go in over your head with out a life jacket.
I thought it was good, but not spectacular when I first heard it. Not enough of a difference to see what the hubbub was all about. Your "Life Jacket" in this is to either start with the stock player and have it modded and hot rodded or, just buy one that way. The Redbook soundstage sounds self-contained where the SACD modded sounds like your walls don't exist. Mind you though, there are some spectacular Redbook recordings that somehow manage to get the same result, Maplesahde being an example.
I am on my second universal player, Denon 2900 following a Pioneer DV45A.
With the Pioneer, both SACD and DVD-A were superior to CD, with the caution that all media are strongly impacted by the audio quality of the particular disc. However, I found that SACD was a disapointment after all the hype from Sony. DVD-A seemed better.
With the Denon, SACD matches DVD-A within the variable sonics from disc to disc. It isn't any better.
From this I conclude that SACD technology does not lend itself to good implementation in a low cost player (compared to DVD-A) and this does not bode well for the survival of the format in competition with DVD-A.
When SACD is done right it is incredible. No question. The ease and the delivery is completely natural when done properly. But it be just good or plain bad. Very recording dependent. I stepped into the waters very slowly expense wise with a Phillips 963SA player. Really a value for the money. Rest of my second system includes Hovland HP-100, ARC 100.2, all AP solo crytal interconnects and speaker cable, FIM Gold Power cords, 2" Brass Cones below the player and 6 heavy brass discs on top, Mc Tube tuners etc. Dylan, Stones, Dave Brubeck, Marvin Gaye, several female jazz singers, WIllie Nelson Stardust have all been first class. I don't think I will ever do multichannel ever again due to diluting the quality of everything just to get those extra channels and the conspicuous trashing of a room with all the extra speakers, subs etc laying all around. To each their own, but for me I rather retire early and spend more evenings watching the sun set.
Opps, forgot to mention my speakers are Talon Peregrine X mark IIs on the Nest Stands.
SACD is the real deal. As soon as you listen to a good recording on SACD you will instantly notice that your ears will realax. The tension in the neck is gone replaced by a liquidity that rivals vinyl. Voices are sharper and have more body. Transients explode like the real event. The depth and witdth of the soundstage is expanded. But the one thing that really catches you is that the air around the instruments is unlike any recording on redbook CD. To put it plainly SACD does everything the a regular CD does an order of magnitude better, plus it is much easier to use than vinyl!!
In my system, the most noticeable quality of SACD is a sense of ease, a kind of relaxed sound. Next is smoothness...which could actually be a defect for some people, who prefer a more etched high-end. On better recordings, there is a sense of what I would call 'tonal colour'. Overall, the difference is noticeable but not huge. I'd love to hear one of the top end players, e.g. a Meitner or dCS.
SACD is a definite improvement over redbook cd's. The whole frequency range is clearer, and sounstaging is much larger. However, that being said, there isn't enough software out there for me to go bonkers over SACD. I own a Sony DVP-S9000ES, which serves my DVD as well as SACD needs. You may want to look in this direction. I still prefer my tube cd player over the Sony for regular cd's. In my experiences, I found DVD a good reason to try and enjoy SACD. I cannot recommend a expensive SACD only player, only because of the very limited software choices.
BTW, when I really want to listen for unrivaled musical bliss, I choose LP's.
What else is there now or in the near future? I've heard more than one oversampling dac/player. Some redbook cds sound good to me oversampled, some don't. If I ever buy an oversampler, I want the option of oversampling or not!
I own a Sony SCD-777ES player. It sounds very good on redbook CDs & GREAT on most (not all) of my SACDs.
I have $1427.00 invested in this player. I have heard better redbook players at my local dealer (DCS-$34K, YBA-$8K, Electrocompaniet-$5K).
If something better shows up anywhere near the Sony's price , I'll buy it.
Shane Buettner states in his review of the Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista CD/SACD player: "While the upper-end Sony players have been consistently good to excellent SACD players, they are all thoroughly mediocre as CD players".
I say he's full of it! And my fellow local audiophiles agree.
I do believe he's just another video reviewer masquerading as an audiophile.......
I agree with most of the comments above. That is, on a decent player with a good recording, SACD is capable of measurably smoother sound with greater detail and spacial cues than a competitively priced mass produced redbook player. BUT, and this is a BIG "but", the quality of recording is the main factor here. I have purchased some SACD's that sound like crap i.e. just as crappy as the redbook versions. As such, i've been pretty selective about what i've purchased on SACD. I'm not going out of my way to buy SACD's, but if i've got the choice between a strait SACD or hybrid disc and a straight redbook version, i'll buy the SACD or hybrid first.
As far as multi-channel SACD goes, the majority of older recordings are being re-mastered by incompetent idiots. Just as engineers liked to fiddle with the pan pots ( balance controls ) when we switched from mono to stereo, these guys are in their second childhood with five or six channels to play with now. While the effects that they come up with might be cool if you were totally inebriated or looking for a "sound effects" recording to demo your multi-channel system, it isn't much good for listening to music. At least not on the majority of multi-channel discs that i've heard, which isn't too many. Like everyone else though, i'm willing to be convinced, so if somebody knows of either "killer" SACD's or multi-channel SACD's, i'd like to know about them. Sean
I just bought a Sony DVP-S9000ES with SACD and was trying out the difference on a Hybrid of Boccherini's "Stabat Mater" and the SACD layer seemed what I expect from music, so alive and present. The CD layer was shockingly flat in comparison but then I realized that it had the sound I was used to... I can imagine hearing the differences in the makers of violins with SACD. It is amazing. It's not just one thing that's better, it's the seductive whole. Just one guy's opinion.
SACD sounds more natural -- the differences between CD and
SACD are subtle, but profound.
Sean...If you can tolerate Bach, try the multichannel Sony SACD SS87983, E Power Biggs playing Toccatas and Fugues using the four organs installed in the cathedral of Freiburg. The multichannel aspect of this recording is not a creation of the recording engineers, but merely reflects the antiphonal character of the music and the instruments.
There are many more good DVD-A than multichannel SACD. The "killers" are Tacet DVD-A. They put you in the midst of a small chamber music group (eg: quartet) as if you were one of the musicians. Unless you have experienced this perspective, this may seem like a "gimmick" dreamed up by the engineers, but it really is not.
Some of the % of differences everyone is hearing comes down to the system. I have the Sony SCD-777ES along with Pass Labs X-1 and X-250 along with B&W matrix 803s. I have been auditioning speakers in my system and now have a pair of Talon Raven-Cs in the system now. The differences that I can now hear in my system such as details (especially micro), and dynamics is night and day over the B&Ws. So IMHO it all depends on the SACD and CD players you are comparing the paly back on. I have heard a few of the Agon member systems that have posted above me and in one system we compared my stock 777 to the same model with a mod. The difference was pretty much night and day. I also heard what a $10K CDP combo transport and DAC can do versus the stock Sony and again the differences are very much real.
There are also some poor SACD and redbook recordings so in my system, the differences can be small or large depending on the recording.
I have found in my system that SACD is a little smoother sounding with less digital edge, has better mirco details, better dynamics and overall more listening pleasure. I have not compared the Sony to other stock units like the Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista to see how much better that player is over the stock Sony or an EMC-1, Audiomeca or Wadia on redbook play back.
So I do not think that SACD is a gimmick and there are probably bigger differences in the top of the line players that Rcprince mentions.
Yikes, looks like I touched on a hot topic. You guys are right, I should have done a search. Good info though, plenty to go on. Thanks.
Stuart--I too have the 9000ES, and it's important to remember that this particular player isn't exactly a godsend on redbook. In other words, there are other SACD players that provide a less "flat" presentation on CD, and I one day hope to be able to upgrade to one of them. SACD players have improved by meaningful strides, especially with redbook presentation, with each passing generation.
SACD is for real no gimmicks.
Of course there is a big differrence on SACD,
the SACD is way much better than redbook,I
have the sony 9000es signature mode with tube
output,SACD shines on this player,its true
also if the recording are bad,then its bad,
what can you do, play it on the boombox.
my peso opimion.
Jb3, if you decide to go high resolution, do yourself a favor and get a universal player that can handle both SACD and DVD-A so you won't be a victim of the format war when it finally ends.
I agree that SACD is a subtle, yet definite improvement over CD.
SACD seems to correct my two biggest complaints with CD. First, there is a foundation to the music which I cannot get past in CD. Second, the flow of the music restored, as opposed to 1s and 0s I sometimes feel chops up everything. Both of these complaints are why I feel vinyl so superior to CD.
That being said, I feel that SACD is still not up to the level of vinyl done right. But, that is just me, and I am holding out hope for the future.
I would not recommend a universal player. This is not the way to
get great sound. I own the Yamaha U-player, which I bought for
$1,000. Then, I moved up to a Sony SCD XA 777 ES CD/SACD
player, which I bought slightly used on Audiogon for $1,600. The sound quality of the Sony was a quantum leap forward. You pay a sonic price when they try to stuff everything in one box. I would recommend splitting your digital play-back into two boxes. Get a dedicated CD/SACD player like the Sony and then get a DVD/DVD-A player such as the Denon 1200. You'll get better sound, a top notch DVD player and you'll have everything covered -- plus, your upgrade path is easier and more cost effective from two boxes. If you want to upgrade from a U-player, you'll end up using your U-player as a very expensive DVD player with capabilities you no longer use. Spend a little more to get two boxes and you'll be richly rewarded.
Rsbeck...I'm not going to get involved with the argument about whether single media players are better than universal ones, but if you are correct about that, the explanation you cite is not the reason. "Stuff everything into one box". Practically everything necessary for one media is necessary for the others, and there is lots of empty space inside even a universal player. There is absolutely no technical reason why universal players should be inferior to single media ones, and there is certainly oportunity for cost reduction. Put the $ that would go for an extra transport, power supply, chassis, marketing, etc. into better clock and analog output circuits.
Well Eldartford, if that is the case...then why do almost all redbook player only lovers report that sacd players have poor redbook playback when compared to their beloved redbook only players? Help us out here!!
The best SACD setup I heard was no better than the best CDPs I have heard to date. Im sure SACD has better future potential no question, but we have still yet to find the true limits of basic 16bit 44.1khz players. Ive heard a few stunning CD players that were just plain incredible.
I have heard SACD and DVD-Audio extensively through different players and systems.Players I have used or heard are:Stock Pioneer DV-47A and DV-47Ai, stock and modified.A Sony DVP-999ES, and a Rotel unit[DVD-AUDIO].My opinion is that SACD is great, better than CD.Warmer, denser, more open, and detailed, without HF grain and edge, and generally smoother and slightly more laid-back than CD's.But to my ears DVD-Audio is as good or better.I was much more impressed the first time I heard Dvd-Audio!To me and my friends it sounds even more open,had better impact, better focus, and was slightly more dynamic and immediate.On the other hand, some of the discs had a little grain in the highs.
If I had my choice, I would choose DVD-Audio as the medium of the future.I get more excited and involved emotionally in the music when I listen to DVD-Audio over all other formats.I would recommend a good universal player such as a Denon DVD-2900 or better,a Denon DVD-5900 or a Marantz DV-8400.That way you can play all formats and choose for yourself.I think you would like both SACD and DVD-Audio over regular CD's if you have a good system.
Eldart -- I understand what you're saying, but I think we're talking about the difference between theory and reality. In theory, there
*may* be no reason a U-player like the Yamaha or the Denon
should be sonically inferior to a dedicated CD/SACD player like the Sony SCD XA 777ES. In fact, with all of the theoretical savings
in production costs, it *may* be that the less expensive U-Player
*should* be sonically competitive with the more expensive Sony.
But, in reality, there's no competition. The dedicated CD/SACD player is a quantum leap forward. So, I don't recommend the
U-Players. Perhaps the producers of the Universal Players are
charging a premium for putting everything in one box rather than
using the theoretical savings to increase the quality of the parts.
The Sony did MSRP for $3,000 which is three times the price of
these U-players and doesn't have DVD or DVD-A play-back, so
perhaps that explains it. Bottom line -- I still don't recommend the Universal Players -- I recommend spending a little more money to get player like the Sony, used, and combine it with something like a Denon 1200. You'll get much better sound, you'll have all your
formats covered, top notch DVD play-back, and your upgrade path will be easier and more cost effective. So, I will concede your point
that theoretically there should be enough room inside a U-player
to produce quality sound, but in reality, it doesn't work out that way.
I have to agree with Rit. Last night, after I made my post above, I went to a friends house and listened to his new Simaudio Moon Eclipse CD player.WOW!!I never dreamed CD could sound so good!!CD's were extremely open, detailed,present,focused, immediate,open, and airy.The imaging and soundstaging were first rate, and the bass was exceptional!CD definitely still has lots of potential!When my friend begged me to come and listen to it I was skeptical.But, as soon as it started playing, I was stunned!My jaw dropped!If I owned a CD player in the same league as this one or better, I would TOTALLY Forget about DVD-Audio or SACD!Anyone else out there own or have heard the Sim Audio player?
Sogood51...If I had invested $6000 in a CD player, human nature would bias me to prefer it to my friend's $800 universal. Audiophiles are (I think) human. Besides, the $6000 player probably does sound as good as can be achieved with the marginal resolution of the redbook CD protocol.
Existing universal players, up to now, have not generally aimed at the highest level of performance. However, there is a mod for the Denon 2900 for about $1000 that supposedly makes it as good as the best. Mostly analog audio circuit upgrade, plus clock.
Trelja: I'm glad that you continue to post here. You consistently sum up my thoughts and feelings in a very short, simple and accurate manner. Kudo's to you for knowing what to say and how and when to say it.
Kana: While most folks here know that i am basically a "fan" of J. Peter Moncrieff and IAR, i have to disagree with him here on a relative basis. As a general rule, i personally think that relatively inexpensive SACD players with a good SACD recording is noticeably superior to the average redbook player that costs more money. That is, when comparing redbook to SACD. As Joe ( Trelja ) stated above, SACD sounds more like "flowing music" rather than someone going through the mechanized motions of trying to make music.
In absolute terms of the best redbook recordings and machines vs the majority of SACD players and SACD recordings, that "may" be a different story. Dollar for dollar though and where the mass majority of "audio geeks" are spending their money, i do think that SACD is a step in the right direction. I also believe that it will get better with time. After all, look how long it took to fully develop vinyl and redbook. I wouldn't think that SACD would be all that different, other than the fact that technology is currently growing at a much faster rate. Having said that, even the current offerings better the first generation machines and SACD is still in its' infancy.
Then again, this is just my opinion, which i continually subject you people to on a regular basis. Thanks for not having me tarred and feathered : ) Sean
Ritteri: I have a very transparent, revealing high-end setup with a Wadia Transport, dCS upsampler and dac, Innersound monoblocks, and ML CLS IIz electrostats. Yes...there are stunning CD players......but SACD through a decent multichannel setup will knock your socks off. The sense of space in well made recordings is quite amazing.
Sean- I'm not fan o J.P.M., but his article makes me think
that we haven't heard the true potential of 24/192 PCM recording yet. Due to Sony/Philips' financial muscle, there's been more focus on SACd by hi end equipment makers.
I'm looking forward to Classic Records'24/192 releases next
month. Right now I'm enjoying redbook on my power dac.
I have a sacd-1 I do feel sacd sounds better it should it sample`s 56 times more than a cd filling in the voids giving it more detail and depth in the music. Here`s were I get into trouble my vinyl rig most definently is better, that`s just my 2 cent`s. David
Kana: I agree that "redbook" is capable of pretty darn good performance if EVERYTHING is done properly. Since that is rarely the case, we are left with something that is far from perfect. As such, taking steps to provide better performance is always welcome in my book, regardless of the format chosen.
If the sampling rate is stepped up, as Cylinderking mentions, there are less "holes" to fill in or "empty spaces" for the player itself to interpret. Taking that a step further, going to a higher sampling rate while minimizing or removing filtering from the signal path can create a FAR more realistic presentation. Not only is the recorded data spit out in a more flowing manner with less "guesswork" involved, there are less problems with in and out of band phase-shifts taking place. Since very few manufacturers are bold enough to build such a product, most redbook based systems suffer drastically. Once you hear the difference that such a design makes ( if well implimented ) in terms of liquidity, air and harmonic structure, you won't be going back to "mass produced" redbook machines any time soon.
SACD, on the other hand, addresses both of these problems ( sampling rate and filtering ) to some extent right off the bat. Since most machines designed to play SACD will conform to the majority of these standards, that gives it a head start / upper hand right off the bat. Less is open to interpretation of the machine / circuitry itself and the side effects of filtering have been further reduced. Having said that, i don't doubt that a "really tricked out" SACD player would sound really, really good. That is, if one could find a recording that was up to snuff to demo such a piece of gear. Sean
Im not talking about "mass produced" "redbook" cdp's here. Im talking about the edge of the art units that bring "redbook" to a whole new level never thought possible only a few years back. Ive heard a handful of CDP and DAC/TRANSPORT combos that I feel put out sound that is just plain incredible. Im sorry but sampling rate and filtering doesnt automatically mean better sound. Like stated earlier, these newer formats may have a higher ceiling potential, but in reality its proven that redbook has yet to hit its ceiling of performance still. Burmeister,Linn,Wadia and a few others make players with enormous potential. Ive yet to hear a SACD player do anything that one of these players couldnt do for our ears sonically. Im sure down the road this will eventually change whenever that time may be.
No doubt redbook CDP's are evolving and there some great players, including the Emm Labs Dac6, whose redbook playback in second to none. Still, the SACD play-back is even better.
If your price point includes the Burmeister and Linn, you need to hear the Emm Labs Dac6.
Thanks for the kind words, Sean.
I may agree that, in principle, the best Redbook CD is as good as SACD. However, the priorities of my life don't allow me to have the best in Redbook CD. Sure, were I to spend $5K - $20K on an Audio Aero, Electrocompaniet, Linn or other machine of that caliber, CD would sound glorious. But, I cannot.
This past weekend, a VERY discerning audiophile visited with a new pair of speakers(NHT monitors) he just bought on a lark. We hooked them up to my second system. They impressed me, especially for the price. Very nice. Later, I wanted to give him a taste of SACD. He was quite surprised. He didn't think it could be that much of a step up. Mingus' bass was so forceful, lifelike, and present. The rest of the music was just as sublime(again, vinyl done RIGHT still has the edge). I have not heard CD, in almost any of my experiences, be able to do that. From a player that anyone can pick up at very modest cost, I would say it's a no brainer.
I've owned a Levinson 39, 37 & 360s combo, sony SCD-1 & 777es as well as a BAT VK-D5 and Wadia 860...many others have also been demo'd at my home! SACD is not better than truly well recorded (current) redbook recordings from the likes of labels like New World Records etc... Redbook playback and software has come a long way in the last 4 years or so...so much so that with good equipment throughout a system you can place yourself in symphony hall!!! My last toy was the 777Es from sony...what a great piece..so much right about it that the rest doesn't matter! I am awaiting my Krell SACD player..Stereophile's Michael Fremer loved it!!! FYI...power cords, cables, outlets and component interactions vary so much that most people hardly ever hear what they have to it's fullest...and that is what drives many..including myself at times running for the next great thing. By the way, I've owned tons of amps and preamps as well..all absolute sound or stereophile category 1 and class A material..tubes and non tubes...at the end of the day I have found current generation Krell Class A components to deliver the best balance of both...i.e..you can close your eyes and be transported to the hall, goose bumps intact!
I myself have listened to the format where I work and I have'nt heard a real good "sound" yet. I am from the old school (Carver,Hafler,Nakamichi,etc). I right now own a Pioneer Elite Changer 20 Bit, and it sounds just fine to me. I have heard a slight difference in timbre response in the SACD format, but I can't say that it is any different then anything else I have heard, to make me want to go out and spend money on it. I think if you would update the D/A converter to an external device in the 24 bit - 96/192KHz range you might come close to the sound of SACD in sound depth and appeal, the problem with this format is that it has to be a certain type or it won't play on a standard cd player at that level and it is a waste of money if the cd player at home is sacd and the one in the car is not. It has to be hybrid or it just won't play at "full throttle".
This is my opinion of course, I hope this sheds some insight.
The IAR article in Kana's post above, says it all, I think. SACD doesn't work above 8k hz. Although, it does sound very good below that range. DVD-A has the potential to be the superior medium, as soon as they get serious, and start to pump out some titles that are 24/192, in 2 CH.
I think people that are in this hobby deserve better than what has been handed out by the HI-REZ companies. Audiophiles seem to get the short end of the stick, when it comes to producing software, and hardware, for that matter. Perhaps we should form a lobby group, so WE can inform them, what we want.
From my experience, most people that listen to music in surround sound, turn on their MP3 players and press the "HALL" button on the receiver!
So to answer the question about SACD, I think it's a temporary fix, until the next format comes along. I would suggest an inexpensive universal player, for now.
HI JB3, Gimmick no, however; SACD is in its infancy as CD once was. The question you pose is complex and multi-faceted, in that it depends on what equipment you are playing now. If you have a high end CD front end as in transport, dac and upsampler you would be IMO wasting your money buying a one box SACD at this point of time. Is SACD good yes, the timbre is dead analog and spacial relationships are real good, however; if you have a real high end system and objectively a/b CD to SACD you might be surprised. My current CD front end is CEC transport, Mark Levinson Dac and a DCS Purcell upsambler. I owned a Sony SCD-1 and although pretty good, my CD front end crushed it. Not that the Sony did not do timbre better, it did, but everything else was clearly better with the CD front end. I sold the Sony. My Audiophile friends have brought over their Krells, Esoterics, Modded Sonys and Linns all with the same result. In comes one my friends with a DCS Elgar/Verdi duo and my CD front end was finally trounced. The duo was better in every respect. Therefore, IMO opinion, SACD, if successful is the future, I would however; wait for the two box Sacd combinations to come to the marketpace as in, the rumored Mark Levinson and MBL. I've heard through the grapevine that the MBL combination is astounding.
There *is* a two box combination on the market. It is the Meitner Emm Labs Dac + transport. It comes in a two channel version or multi-channel. Its CD playback is second to none -- and it's SACD playback is even better. There's no contest. As amazing as is the CD playback, it is a clear step down from SACD. There's no way I would choose to listen to CD over SACD. Plus, more and more music is being released on SACD. My SACD collection is now over 100 SACD's and multiplying rapidly. Doesn't make any sense to me to spend this much on the rest of my system in search of better resolution and then limit myself to a lower resolution playback system. There is no CD player that can compare to SACD playback on the Meitner. I don't think there are even any CD players, DAC + transport, etc -- that can compete with the Meitner's
CD playback, much less its SACD playback. This is, of course, going by my ears, my taste in music playback, etc. But, even if one wants to limit oneself to CD and wants the ultimate player, I would still recommend the Meitner -- its CD playback is that good. But, its SACD playback is still better.