SACD Player--Do you use it and feel you'd replace it if it broke?


I've always been curious about SACD.  For many years I was near 50% cd and 50% vinyl in my listening.  I ditched CDs and went all vinyl for awhile. In the last 2 years I have upped my digital game with a great tube DAC and enjoy Tidal quite a bit.  As I now have better sounding digital I've wondered if my previous bias slightly against digital clouded my view of SACD.  

I'm thinking that if I bought one and had 10-15 killer SACDs I would feel it worth it.  This would require the SACDs to be of great music I love and also offer something special sonically. 

And now, THE Question:  What can you tell me about your SACD use and would you replace the player if it broke or was otherwise out of commission? 

Thank you so very much.  This forum makes it possible to get intel like this without knowing a living soul using SACD that I could have a beer (or two :) and learn more from a firsthand user. 
jbhiller

jbhiller


I own around 200 SACD discs and buy more every year. For me, I would replace any SACD player if one owns this kind of collection. There are many bargains to be found in the demo/used marketplace.


Happy Listening!

Thank you jafant!  This is encouraging information.  Interest is piqued further!

Do you stream music and if so how do you compare the two? 
If you have good DAC also red book CDs sound great not only SACDs.
I have more vinyl than cd's. I have about 10% Hybrid SACD's compared to standard ones. They in most cases they sound better but it depends on the recording. I have the ability to play downloaded HR audio but haven't purchased any. I may in the future due to limited space concerns. I may also look into streaming. Should the SACD player break I would probably repair or replace it. I like having access to the physical media with art work and information about the recordings. 
I have a Marantz KI Pearl SACD player and maybe 30 SACDs.  I listen to vinyl most of the time, but if I'm honest with myself, the Pearl is the best source I have and most of the SACD's sound gorgeous through it.  I'm sure I'd fix it or replace it if I broke.  I also have an old Onkyo SACD player that I bought for (relative) peanuts from Japan in one of my secondary systems.
jbhiller

Good answers already. My POV is that some SACDs do indeed sound better than redbook, but the most important factor is the quality of your DAC, whether in a CDP or standalone plus transport. My suggestion would be buy the best-sounding gear you can, and if it also supports SACD, so much the better. But, as already metioned above, your redbook CDs will sound better too. My experience has been the better the gear, the less difference between redbook and SACD.
Hope this is helpful.

Tom
Thank you all!

I'm definitely going to give it run and try one.  My DAC is wonderful.  I pulled out an old Rotel HD CD player today and played a couple of CDs through it, running the signal through the digital out to my DAC.  Comparing it to Tidal feeding the DAC on the same music, the Redbook sounds great.  It's a close race with the Redbook slightly ahead on clarity of some notes from instruments in the background.
I agree with Tom.With a really good dac redbook  gets  very close to SACD sq.
I had a Sony SCD 1 for about 12 years. It ceased playing SACD but was great on Redbook CD. New lasers for it were not available so I sold it and bought a Marantz SACD player. I really like the sound quality of SACD.
Unquestionably the SACD format is better than CDs, and is in many ways the equal to vinyl in tonality.  I would definitely replace a broken SACD player, in fact, I have already done so.  My current player is a McIntosh model 600 which is superb.  I had a lesser player which skipped terribly. 

I have purchased about sixty or seventy SACDs, mostly jazz, with some classical and rock thrown in.  I just wish more titles were available.

jbhiller


My pleasure. Those older Rotel players are still very good for CD playback, IMO.  If considering a SACD spinner, check out offerings from, Marantz, Pioneer Elite or Sony ES.  No, I am not into music server/streamer(s).  There has never been a better time to play CD/SACDs.


Happy Listening!

I have McIntosh MCD-450 and I would say the SACD version usually sounds more alive than redbook. No comment on quality of recordings. My general perception. However, the difficulty in finding SACD I want to listen seems to outweigh the benefit. Not readily available in my local market which I prefer to support. Granted haven't made much of an effort to search online. Have tried but get intimidated by what is SACD and what is not based on the advertising. If there were a site that was easy to navigate, I would love some input on this. In the end however when I compare SACD to my vinyl version, the vinyl is usually more pleasing to my ears.
yes i would replace my SACD player if it breaks and can not be repaired
I would buy and replace. My current player does  not do multi-channel SACD, but more and more I just might put my old 999ES in for that purpose alone. I love the format.
Yes, I would replace my SACD player if it can’t be repaired. I have a pretty decent collection of SACD’s and continue to buy the titles that are not available on Tidal/Qobuz. 

i just bought Japanese pressings of Gary Karr SACD’s and they are simply stunning. 
@jbhiller 
Which tubed DAC are you using?
I use an Esoteric K-01 and hope it does not break. I have found with some albums i prefer the CD version to the SACD. For example Willie Nelsons Stardust i have the Mastersound Gold CD, Japan SACD and K2HD CD, I prefer the K2HD CD by a wide margin. If you like that album i highly recommend the K2HD CD the sound is awesome. So my point is SACD will not always offer the best sound, i now search on the Steve Hoffman forums before i purchase a Disc to get an idea of the best sounding Digital version.

I must say the K-01 is a killer CD player so maybe this has a lot to do with my findings. I believe to get the best out of any CD/SACD player you should look into isolation, i have my Esoteric on a Townshend Seismic Platform and every Disc i play simply sounds so much better. I installed the Platform about a month ago and i am simply enjoying the music so much more.
http://www.townshendaudio.com/hi-fi-home-cinema-equipment-vibration-isolation/hi-fi-home-cinema-equi...
I would absolutely replace my SACD player if necessary.  I only own about 15-20 SACDs but six or eight of them are my favorites (can’t live without).  My son streams from Tidal and I’ve tried to share this music with him but much of it just isn’t available on Tidal. So not only is this some of my favorite music, the sonic quality is superb.
I'm in SACD since it started in the early 2000s and own today a collection of over 3500 SACDs - both hybrid and single layer (SACD only). If the player is high end you can notice a difference - more detail, more tonal colours, especially more space. But this you will only experience with a good and expensive machine. I also bought a cheap pioneer D06 SACD - but it is not worth the money. Even with redbook CD my ML 390s shatters it to little pieces. A quite different picture with big Marantz SA-players. In a KI Ruby or an SA10 that old Levinson finds its master.
When you buy an SACD player, keep in mind, that digital out only functions with CD. For SACD data the digital interfaces (koax or optical) are blocked, if you use digital out you will only get redbook data stored on the cd layer. If you play back a single layer SACD, you will get no digital signal at all. Only very few high end player/dac combinations, fe dcs, were using an interface capable of transporting the SACD digital data.

Greetz, Hans
I have 763 CD's of various types including 82 SACD's, all but one of which are hybrid.  They are a mix of pop-rock, jazz, classical, etc.  I have owned a Marantz SA-8004 SACD player for a couple of years but did not want to be out of luck if it broke, so this spring I bought a Denon DCD-A100.  It turned out to be a nice upgrade, but I am keeping the Marantz as backup.
Is SACD worth the effort?  Other things being equal, it will offer better sound quality--clarity, detail, and nuance, especially--than redbook CD.  But other things are seldom equal.  Quality of the recording and mastering come before format.  SACD hit its stride in the middle of the loudness wars, and many pop-rock SACD's were mastered louder and with poorer dynamic range than previous redbook CD's of the same titles.  Early CD's produced from 1982 to about 1995 tended to more closely resemble what one heard on the LP record, and it is common to see them recommended over a later remaster.  I sorted through six versions of Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and set aside five of them to be sold (including the 2003 multichannel SACD) before settling on the one to keep.  I have learned to check the online dynamic range database (http://dr.loudness-war.info) and user comments before buying.

Some music lacks the nuance to benefit much from SACD.  Reliving my teenage years, I bought all of the Creedence Clearwater Revival albums on SACD.  The remastering is consistently very good, but redbook CD would have served just as well.
SACD shines when the music is vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, jazz, or classical.  The 2012 SACD remasters of Norah Jones' catalog are a great example, especially in contrast to the infamous 2003 SACD release of "Come Away with Me" that reportedly used a previous redbook CD mastering for its stereo layer.  Others are "Count Basie and the Kansas City Seven" and Diana Krall's SACD's.  It's a great format when done right.
@ericsch I’m using a DOGE Audio DAC 7.  It has taken first place over my NAD Masters M51.  I just couldn’t see dropping $5k on a DAC when the technology has changed so very much in the last decade. 
I was excited to get a highly regarded Oppo for blu ray and SACD, bought some SACDs, especially a series of Oscar Peterson's 'for my friends'. (wonderful in any format!).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusively_for_My_Friends

What's the difference between CD and SACD? My take is the noise floor is lower, the music comes from 'liquid black' if that makes any sense. Michael Jackson, .... some other excellent recordings to begin with, that is my simple summation.

Is such quiet natural? Is listening for a difference distracting? Is it as involving?

In either case, as with all digital, I think digital does not get the overtones 'as right' as analog does, also my simple summation of why I prefer analog (and tubes).

I decided not to bother with the SACD versions. I listen to a lot of vinyl and R2R tapes, the noise floor is nowhere as low as SACD, but both Analog formats are more involving than either CD or SACD. I still enjoy my CD's, but nearly always go to vinyl or R2R for fully immersive music, and those have been culled for excellent recording quality as well as primary artist and musician's talents and of course the specific selections. 

Younger people listen differently than my generation. I am 71, we learned to listen to radio singles and whole albums at home. R2R and Vinyl, I listen to the whole album, in the order that was selected for presentation. CD's, not often, but frequently, I select which tracks. I had a programmable turntable (linear tracking for that). I used it to make tapes of selected tracks, that was great, but when listening to the album, I listened to the whole album as usual. Of course, it wasn't the highest quality, so I reverted to my Thorens/SME/ShureMR and gave the tracking TT to my friend. 

The problem with R2R is the format/pre-recorded content stopped, so my most involving format is limited by content.
I made cassette tapes with that TT to give to friends. A very nice Onkyo dual cassette player, still in the system, hardly ever used.
Yes, I would replace a broken SACD player.  I have 2 Oppo BDP95s.  Best SACD disc for me is Steely Dan's  Gaucho, it is everything that CDs promised.  My musician friends can't get over the 'liveness' and quality of the music.
Of course I would replace it. Were you thinking that I might throw away (or donate) my SACDs? I don't keep things around me that don't work. No need for a long-winded reply.
I have been into both SACD and DVD-A since their early years.

For some reason, I seem to like DVD-A better.

Oppo 83 and Oppo 205 owner 

Gaucho illustrates the ups and downs of the loudness wars.  The first round of CD's released in 1984 (Japan for US, US for US, UK Hoffman master) all had excellent dynamic range of 14 or 15.  The 2003 multichannel SACD's 5.1 layer had DR15, its stereo layer had a mediocre DR9, and the redbook layer DR8.  The 2014 Japanese SHM-SACD (single layer) had DR14.  These figures are from the online database I linked to and from my own measurements.
I listen primarily to Classical,the genre that has kept SACD alive.  In general, SACD sounds much more realistic than redbook, and the effect is enhanced in Multichannel.
Timely discussion for me.  My Oppo BDP 83 SE just stopped loading discs displaying a. O disc message on dvd, sacd and cds.   I will send it for repair and am probably going to buy a used Denon 
DVD 1920 for $60.   Seem like a good player.
I just upgraded my digital system to an Esoteric DV60. Sounds sublime on redbook and SACD. One thing I considered is whether the transport/sled can be replaced in the event of failure. The Esoteric offers this benefit; unfortunately the older Marantz players do not. Pity as they sound great as well. 
gasnsteering

Keep us posted as you send the 83 SE to Oppo for repair.

Happy Listening!
daveyf

Nice score on the DV-60 player. I really liked it for SACD playback only but was unsure of critical parts being repaired/replaced per Esoteric.

Happy Listening!
Had all my CDs ripped to flac (about 400 including 40 SACDs) and thought I’d no longer listen to the discs.  Sold my Marantz Player.  But I have a Cambridge universal disc player: DSD output to my Marantz AV 8802a that I use as preamp.  I find the DSD files do sound a little better than my flac files ( which I route through a Cambridge 851n). So yes, I would replace, but only with an SACD “transport” that would get me a DSD signal via HDMI. 
@jafant. TAP told me that all of the parts are available for these models, they have no problem working on them.
daveyf
Thank You for the confirmation.  Happy Listening!