SACD or not SACD?


Hej

I have two DAC:s but just one transport so I thought I'll buy another transport for my head speaker rig. But then I thought, maybe I should  look for a SACD player instead (have some classical discs with SACD and my interest for classical music is growing so there will surely be more SACD hybrid discs).
I've read some reviews of SACD players and the conclusion is always the same; SACD sounds better than CD. But they always compares SACD vs CD on the same player. Never the SACD player as a SACD player vs a dedicated CD player with the same SACD hybrid disc.
And I've even read that some people says that a SACD plays can't read Red Book properly.
So the question is; how much do I have to spend to get a SACD player that plays CD:s at least as good as my Cambridge CXC transport paired with LAB12 DAC1 SE or at least as RME ADI-2 DAC FS? Or maybe a SACD player that would be at least as good transport as my Cambridge CXC. Yes, I realize that the chance that anyone have had the chance to compare these combinations are almost none, but...

Any thoughts?
simna
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+1 elizabeth! You nailed it!
There is no consistency you can hang your hat 🎩 on for much of anything. Redbook CD, 20 bit CD, SBM CD, SACD, even Japan SHM CD and SACD. It depends on the recording engineer and the mastering engineer. Too many variables. Some sound great with terrific dynamic range but it’s getter harder to find the early uncompressed stuff. Everyone and his brother is dumping overly compressed CDs and SACDs like crazy on eBay, in thrift stores, dumping them as fast as they can get them out of the house. Including your humble narrator.
I agree that it depends on recording and mastering.  As an example, I have Norah Jones - Come Away With Me SACD hybrid and vinyl, but later I found out the SACD version I have was mastered from redbook (wrongly done by Sony engineers) - that's why the SACD layer sounds horrible.  I then downloaded the correct version where the SACD layer was converted from analog master - it sounds so good just like vinyl.

I have many other SACDs which sound good, especially when played with my Marantz SA-10.  Right now my preferred format for digital music purchase is DSD, up to DSD 4x, as it sounds so good.

The OP does not mention budget.  My suggestion is to consider SACD players which has USB Audio input (that means possible to use the SACD player as a DAC) and/or USB external drive input.  This will allow you to purchase and play high-res digital music with the player.
Of course the recording and mastering matter, so cds can sound better than sacds, but IMHO, sacd is a superior format.  If you plan to buy a lot of sacds get an sacd player, if only an occasional sacd, put the money into a better cd player or dac.
One of the feature SACD is 5.0 multi-channel (full frequency, not Dolby surround). If you have a 5-channel amp and 5 full-range speakers and large enough listening room, you are going to create a music hall in your house. I did this and the music image and sound stage is unmatched by 2-channel system. Yes, if you could do SACD, just do it.

I know about mastering, compression and those things but that is another story. I was talking about comparing the same production as Red Book and as SACD (in my case hybrid SACD discs).
I"m not planning to buy SACD discs of albums I already have on CD. I just thinking of playing the hybrid SACD:s I have and will buy in the future.
My first thought was to buy a CD-transport (max 1k). But if I could buy a SACD player (max 3k) that would give me a superior sound from the SACD layer, compared to what I get from the Red Book layer from my Cambridge CXC transport + LAB12 DAC1 SE, it would be interesting. I assume the CD/SACD drive in a 3k SACD player will be better than Cambridge CXC.
But your posts made me think. And I think; why must it always be so difficult? :)


Steve Guttenberg has an interesting video on that very subject. 
I happen to agree with him. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSBJKOjBWlc
Just curious, when I play a DSD CD on a CD player what am I listening to? Redbook? DSD? Is DSD a form of Redbook?
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For 3k budget, I recommend consider the Marantz SA-KI Ruby.  You can then use the Ruby as transport for redbook CD playback into your existing R2R DAC.  You can use the Ruby for SACD and high-res music playback.

To posters who hate high res audio, try download free samplers from Blue Coast and Native DSD (and many others) where studio performance were recorded straight to DSD without going thru PCM conversion or upsampling.  Normally they have 44.1k & 96k WAV and DSD 2x and 4x versions in the same download folder.  If you can't hear any difference, then something is really wrong.
elizabeth,

The only thing you have not mentioned is DSD files burned on DVD (discs), as rare as they may be.
When transferring SACD from a transport to an external DAC most do so by converting the signal to PCM, though there are a few exceptions.
SACD of course. Even if you don't buy any SACD's  you may get
some as present. 
I have no idea what Elizabeth  is talking about.  I have about 200 SACDs.  Some have room ambience, some don’t.  Same with Red Book.  It depends what is in the original recording...
  I have owned several SACD players but get my best playback using either an Oppo 105 or Sony 9000ES as transports into my Bryston DAC3, which has 4 HDMI inputs.  Both the players output DSD over HDMI.
  To answer the question....how much $....the Bryston DAC goes for around 3-4 K.  current Sony Universal Players also are supporting output DSD over HDMI and can be had for $20o new.
I primarily use a Cary SACD 306 pro for SACD, am pro SACD/DSD, and agree with mahler123.  It depends on the recording.

I don't think OP would go wrong with one of the recommended Marantzes and a targeted collection of classical SACDs.
To which I wold add that if you have not heard your SACDs as rips (and your CDs too) you probably haven't heard them at their best.  Running a silver disk through a machine can do nothing to improve the SQ of the music files they contain.  Only detract.

I have been thinking of what Elizabeth wrote (what happened with her post?) and Steve Guttenberg's video and I’ve decided to skip the SACD player and instead do as I intended to do in the first place; buy a transport for about 1k. The extra 2k (max for a SACD player was 3k) I will use for something else in my rig. Yes, it had been nice to hear the SACD Hybrid Discs at their best, but today they actually doesn't count for more than a fraction of my "silver disc" collection. So it's only logical to upgrade something else in the chain that all the "silver discs" will benefit from.

But thank you very much for your thoughts.


Uh, oh! Looks like man/woman down! Nurse! Thorazine! Hurry!!
Thorazine? Didn't know what that was. Had to look it up.
Hmm...but you know about Thorazine ...

I just gave the idea a second thought after the input from you all. Not that strange, is it?
Yes, I know about Thorazine. Roses🌹 are red, violets are blue, I’m a schizophrenic and so am I.