My take is...
"SACD is a needlessly complicated way to improve the marginal resolution of Redbook digital recording. The same result is obtained simply by increasing word length to 24 bits, and the data rate to 96 KHz, (called DVDA)".
The benefits of SACD are most obvious with large-scale acoustic music, IMHO. SACD just gets strings and suspended cymbal--that audiophile favorite--right. FWIW, I'm an orchestra musician. Not genre bashing, but by the time pop music is pushed and prodded into its final form, it has most likely been processed in so many ways that the original acoustic is tainted beyond recognition. Hi-rez can't help here. Those who hear no appreciable difference don't have good equipment, are just parrotting what they're read, or haven't listened to pure DSD or analog to DSD recordings. Heavy-hitter recording engineers the world over have chosen SACD over hi-rez PCM almost every time, even though SACD costs more. What more proof does one need? 2500 issues and counting, the Berlin Philharmonic just started its own label in SACD, right under PCM-happy EMI's nose. (They haven't released any Classical SACDs.)If you don't like Classical or Jazz, stick with redbook. IPOD and Bono/U2 have just started a major add campaign for IPOD with pics, (and soon video), so the IPOD people have stolen the would-be DVDA consumer once again just as the first dual discs have been recalled for bad editing. DVDA is...well, it's too ugly to describe.
SACD is like vinyl in that both discs are round.
SACD is a marginal improvement, sometimes, not all the time.
About smoke and mirrors, I don't know. But another gimmick to get a collector to buy their 15th copy of Reiner Conducts Bartók, yes.
Then theres is vinyl. Yes. Thank God for that!
SACD is not just marginally better than redbook CD. If SACD is recorded properly and using DSD master. To my ear it is a huge step ahead redbook.
"sacd is like vinyl without the clicks and pops" (NOT TRUE)
"sacd is a marginal improvement, if any, over redbook" (MAYBE)
"sacd is a smoke and mirrors ht campaign designed for multi-channel use and copyright protection agendas" (DON'T KNOW)
SACD is usually a marginal improvement over CD if any, see the Stereophool article on Norah Jones this month. There was NO change and they validated it. They queried the recording company and I have not heard the answer yet.
As for vinyl, when the BEST of SACD gets close to vinyl I'll buy more, until then me, and my Keith Monks will continue to search the used market and tolerate the occaisional pop and click.
BTW: Vinyl burned to CD on a simple HK CDR20 unit sounds much better than commercial CD's. Whaz up with this??
Until my car takes vinyl, it's the best medium out there, and at about 50 cents each to burn a disc to vinyl and make it transportable, well it's a deal. Yeah I pay for the CD-Music format.
Even people I have given a dup of a disc from vinyl to ask about the little click from time to time. I explain it's just old fashioned wax, and watch their mouth drop.
Hmm, Vinyl is the way it should be.
SACD..with its DSD digital protocol is definetely better than redbook. I can easily hear that on my modest system.
w/the right DAC, redbook is not dissapointing.
i've only heard one high end vinyl setup, and it was like liquid music pouring over me.
I have yet to get that experience w/any digital front end...but then again i've never heard really high-end digi..something like an EMMLabs DAC6 and SACD transport...
or the Sony 9000ES SACD and matching reciever that takes pure DSD over i.Link format.
I'm convinced that DSD is a better sounding format than PCM.
From what i've heard from people who have had the exposure (and whos ears I trust) is that anything Ed Meitner gets inside of tends to sound very good... and that until you've heard something like the EMM labs equipment, then you have not fully heard digitals potential.
There are plenty of great DACs out there, but one that upsamples to DSD designed by a guy who has been so involved on that protocol for so long...that says something (to me). And from what I understand that is what the DAC 6 does.
fwiw, that is also what the sony STR-DA2,3,5,9000ES digital recievers do if you feed them a PCM signal.
Any way....this peaks my interest to stay with digital for the long haul as I *know* that the technology to unlock those bits will just continue to improve and get cheaper, where as vinyl doesn't seem to sway in that direction, me thinks.
In my opinion, there's a lot of musical information buried in redbook cds that, once extracted, can make the differences of any format negligible.
I consider dedicating much time toward extensive vibration control, AC treatments, and line-conditioning to be a great equalizer in this regard.
I hope everyone read the link cited by Albertporter (11/3).
Two things are obvious to me.
1. Digital PCM may be imperfect, but 24 bits are better than 16, and 96 KHz is better than 44.
2. SACD superiority is a snow job by Sony, and many audiophiles have been fooled.
In my experience SACD is much better than Redbook, but only under the right circumstances. Old remastered junk thrown onto SACD is generally not very good, or marginally better than redbook.
SACDs that are mastered correctly, or those that are done specifically for SACD (not just another layer) can sound very good. True, there are not ticks and pops, but they also do not have the life of an LP. I don't know why SACD doesn't sound better than LPs, but I have yet to hear and SACD that sounds better than the same thing on vinyl.
I base these conclusions only on listening. I have had an SACD player for over three years now. I listen predominately to vinyl, even though in many cases I have the same thing on CD and SACD. I don't know why vinyl sounds better, I just know that it does sound better.
I'm going to stay out of this for the most part (I've made my feelings known on other threads like this) except to correct a misstatement by Loon above which I think is misleading. The Stereophile article pointed out that the Norah Jones SACD was mastered from the same 16-bit/44khz master tape as the CD, not an analog, 24-bit or DSD master, that's a big reason why it sounded the same as the CD and something Marks pointed out specifically in that article and rightly kvetched about. His point is something I've always been concerned about with SACD, which is if a record company is going to release a digital recording in multiple formats, there is no way, unless the company states it on the label (which few do), to tell if the SACD (or DVD-A, for that matter, I guess) came from a 16-bit, 24-bit or DSD master. I view the Norah Jones SACD as an absolute rip-off by the record company; I could get the same effect they produced by playing the regular CD through my Audio Logic DAC, which converts pcm to DSD internally.
Ivor Humphreys of the Gramophone Magazine in UK reflects on SACD and DVD-A on page 81 of the most recent issue (Awards 2004):
“Finally, a few thoughts on comparing SACD with DVD-A. Several technically secure hi-fi peers are insisting that SACD doesn’t rival DVD-A, yet most of the finest sounds I’ve heard have come from SACD. It’s tempting to blame the system for a lackluster sound, but with SACD and DVD-A, streets ahead of CD in terms of resolution, the key, I feel, is far more likely to be the microphone lay-out and/or mixing ahead of it. Get that wrong (and it’s very hard to get it right) and the carrier is practically immaterial. I’ve heard a few stunningly good sounds, and far too many indifferent ones on both.”
Well said, Ivor!
In my own extensive personal experience, a well recorded DVD-Audio disc simply sounds better in the highs, and more focused and alive, than most all SACD discs.
I have did many comparisons in my system as well as in my friends systems. They all came to the same conclusion!
When I first heard a great SACD I was fairly impressed and thought,"this sounds great, better than CD, but something is not quite right about the sound, especially in the highs". I still have reservations about it. Most all SACD titles I own are either basically equivalent to their Redbook counterparts, or only very slightly better.
I have also come to the conclusion that most all mainstream multi-track pop and rock recordings sound better and benefit more from DVD-Audio in the High Resolution Stereo mode than SACD in the two channel mode.
On the other hand, when I first heard a well recorded DVD-Audio disc, I was blown away immediately! This was the best digital I ever heard by far! I was, and still am very impressed by well recorded discs. There was a "rightness" to the sound that I noticed immediately.If DVD-Audio fails, and it looks like it probably will, I for one will be very disappointed!DVD-Audio has the sampling rates and bits that Sony should have used when CD was first introduced! I think audiophile consumers would have been much happier with the sound of CD's and digital in general. And imagine how good it would have sounded today with those 22 years to refine it!
I still think that a high-end vinyl set-up sounds better than any of the digital formats. More palpable and real.
But, these analog systems that I heard were EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE! And I agree with Loontoon about good analog burned on a CD-R sounds better than the commercial CD versions of the same material! I burned many of my records onto CD-R's a couple of years ago, and was EXTREMELY impressed with the results!
As far as bang for the buck, I think DVD-Audio is hard to beat! Granted, this MY opinion based on MY system and friends systems, and based on MY tastes in audio sonics and music. Others may totally disagree with me.
Now you all can throw stones at me!
IF you have speakers that go well beyond 20K there is no doubt SACD is worth it. Some simple DQ-10's will prove that to you. Just play Becks "Sea Change". Those first notes glisten like never before.
Vinyl, Redbook, SACD, DVD-A, none of them compare to the musicality of MP3
Slappy KNOWS what is best. Thank goodness he visits Audiogon and sets the record straight!
No problem Mr. Porter! Happy to clear things up.
any educated audiophile knows that there is really nothing above 10k hz worth listening too anyways. As long as it hits the bass so hard you cannot hear the treble, you have a true "audiophile reference system"
I love this quote:
Regarding SACD vs DVD-A, Hawkford(Professor at UK's University of Essex),stated that SACD could be better in lower-priced equipment, but that "cost-no-object gear may favor DVD-A." In either case, "bass management is a major pain," he stated to sporadic applause. Hawksford also left little doubt as to his feelings about SACD releases sourced from PCM recordings: "They should be banned!" File under the heading "Weapons of Music Destruction."
This issue with the same people replying has been covered time and time again- we all know the lines have been drawn and for what ever reason your on one side or the other. There aren't many middle ground people in this debate. Let the good horse die with out another beating.
I got yer middleground right here.
THEY ALL SUCK. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
SACD is a boring improvement over CD and to me not worth the limited amount of software and players. Its like HDCD taken too seriously.
Mostly due to bandwidth difference, below my particular price/quality point I would rather listen to a SACD/CD player over a turntable. In actualizing full potential, however, vinyl is the best by a hell of a margin.
I know you're a dedicated audiophile/music lover, and hopefully, we're all in this for the music, and the thrill
of finding a way to get closer to it.
Unfortunately, with DSD, Sony/Philips has turned their backs on the music in search of greater profits.
Even the genius of EMM Labs can only do so much to make
Lets hope recording engineers made a 24/96/192 or analog copy of all their recent work, otherwise, we've lost a lot of great musical information.
We'll, my feelings on this topic have been expressed many times over the last couple of years. The link that Albert Porter provided gives an objective scientific view which was sorely lacking from most of the debate over the years.
All I can say at this point is "fool me once (betamax) shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me". Lets hope we all remember this the next time Sony tries to lead us into another format war.
I have in all these years progressed from Vinyl>Vinyl+Tape>CD>SACD and the funny thing is I keep going back to likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Beethoven etc etc. They all sounded great back then and still sound great today. After all it's about music isn't it?
I will in my lifetime not be able to afford all the vinyl, CD's, DVD-A's and SACD's nor I will be able to afford to buy all types of equipment in different formats that are out there. I get whatever I can afford today and as many albums I can lay hands on that my funds allow, relax sit back and let the music play.
Once I did a comparision of Vinyl , CD and SACD since I happen to have all three formats of an album. Is my turntable the best? NO! Is my CD player the best? NO NOT AT ALL! Is my SACD player the best? NO WAY! Are the three albums mastered in the same way? NO! Then why the hell am I comparing them? What am I going to achieve after I spend hours listening to the equipment rather than music for which it was originally bought? I gave up in the end.
I now listen to all three formats depending on the album I have in my collection.
Happy Listening everybody!
I don't have a sacd player. I have bought some hybrids, though, because I've heard the cd layer is usually the best sounding version, compared to other redbook issues. I've found this, so far, to be true. In addition, I can at some point buy a sacd player if I want, or simply continue listening to the cd layer. I would never buy a sacd only disc.
Of all the posts, I find Gaudio_eek's quote of Ivor Humphreys the most salient; why do so many of us in this hobby chase tweaking the noise? Really, Albert's referenced article is dealing with a worse case scenario of -40db in the upper register. Please! There's 10,000 times more other stuff going on with these recordings!
At a certain level (just for a guess, I'd say a $5,000 system) the details we're hearing are mostly the decisions of the recording engineer and mixing artist (yes, artist). And while I love 'air' and 'etched details' and 'palpable' and all that other stuff, there's some lower order terms we tend to miss in all this minutia: things like rhythm, melody, harmony, and tonal communication.
In other words: music!
I'm not attacking those who can hear the differences between formats (for they do exist, and yes, I have heard them). Instead, I am asking why do we feed this machine? Why do we buy this equipment when there are satisfactory formats (CD for simplicity, Vinyl for high res playback, MP3 for portability)? And this is hardly a Luddite anthem, but it is an appeal to reflect on the rationality of our purchasing behavior with respect to the primary goal: the joy of music.
I really do not understand what the purpose of this thread is. I have great capability to play LPs, cds, sacds, dvdvs, and dvdas. I certainly do not have every performance in all of these formats and no intension, even were they available, to have everything in multiple formats. I find LPs superior when everything is perfect but a major pain in the ass. I have had an enormous improvement in the quality of my cd performance thanks to modern dacs and clean power. Now I could listen to cds exclusively. I have found sacds to sound more realistic than cds with a considerably better sense of the sound stage, but with less dynamics (XRCD24 clean their clocks). I thought that few if any dvdas were worth having, but system improvements have shown some are excellent. I am not looking for a victor in the format wars and just enjoying what is available. I will continue to buy sacds when they become available.
Hope you guys understand that the article was pointed out only for discussion.
I don't have conclusive proof of which digital format is best or what the engineering limits are in the various digital formats.
I am strictly an analog guy and the sum of my investment in digital is a Sony 9000es. It is capable of playing SACD, but I have so few titles I would hesitate to compare.
No doubt the new generation machines such as the EMM Labs would crush my stock Sony, the problem comes (for me) paying the price for the EMM Labs and having it crushed by my analog rig.
Still it's an interesting debate and I thought the link I provided was worth sharing since it was precisely on topic.
The subtle differences between SACD and DVDA, and perhaps CD may require a high end system to be distinguished. On the other hand, even the most lowly LP system reveals, and is limited by, clicks, pops, warps and skips due to dirt balls on the stylus and/or the slightest damage to the grooves.
Eldartford, your LP rig might be limited but mine is not. Perhaps it's not prudent for everyone to buy a Walker or Rockport, but for those of us that want the ultimate and have an existing library of analog music, it is well worth the investment.
Please know I my comments were not a veiled attack on your contribution. Instead, I found it an interesting articulation - in absolute terms - of how small the objective difference is, that leads one to say a $25k turntable would "crush" a $15k digital rig.
The non-linearity of that observation is staggering!
The ironic thing is I have no doubt I would come to the same conclusion if I listened to each source on your rig (which is amazing, btw). But then I would ask: does this $10k difference truly get in the way of my experiencing the inspirational meaning of the music? In other words: what are we listening to - music or engineering (format)?
If someone starts pressing HQ LPs from the analog mater reels of 1968>1974 Grateful Dead concerts, I'll go analog.
nothing short of that effort will do.
sometimes your taste in music (or lack of) locks in into a certain media type, as in my case. Its all digital or nothing.
Mprime, your comments are completely understandable, particularly for a music lover like myself.
If I were as young as my son, beginning my first year of college, I might not pursue analog at all. His software is primarily CD and MP3 (Apple iPod) and almost no analog, particularly compared to what I own.
For me, much of the classical, jazz, pop and rock and roll released over the past 50 years, is (or was) available on Vinyl.
For example, I just did a search at EBAY and there are 160309 vinyl records for sale today. Assuming duplicates and excluding a majority of the titles over content, a 2% hit rate would provide you with a library of more than 3000 records.
Those like myself with a large collection, replacing these titles with Redbook or SACD makes little sense. Of course that is exactly what Sony wishes we would do, all the while telling us we are missing the boat by not falling in line with the newest format.
Andrew Litton who is a Grammy Award winner for his classical releases and also conductor for the Dallas Symphony is part of my music group. It would amaze you guys to listen to one of his master digital tapes on our system and then compare it to the publicly released Redbook CD or DVD. You would be horrified, I promise you.
By the way, he is the only member of my group who owns MORE vinyl software than me. He had to build a separate room to house the collection.
There are about fifteen members that attend our weekly (my home) and monthly (bottle head members home) and most are like me, dual format. I have had some very expensive digital gear in my system over the last few years and none of it competes with analog.
I guess since I have not heard the EMM directly in my system I cannot say how well it would do. I did hear a demo with Steve Hoffman (Denver AudioFest) where we listened to analog tape on a Stellvox and compared to Redbook. Again, you would be horrified at how miserable the CD was in comparison. Any of you that know Dan at EAR USA can ask him, we were sitting beside each other.
Anyway, music IS what it's all about and I respect everyone having passion and commitment to their personal favorite. I have developed a rather strong bias through testing and am still waiting for the "next" digital player to come along that will convince me to step up to the bar and lay down the cash.
Albertporter...My point (which you didn't get) is that real world problems of LPs, clicks, pops, warps, dirt on the stylus and groove damage aflict even the most modest system. You don't have to spend much before these medium-related problems limit sonic quality. Even a super high end system like yours cannot overcome these problems, although it might sound good with pristine LPs. On your system, a scratch on the LP will be reproduced with stunning fidelity! Various electronic devices were developed to cope with these problems, but I am sure that a purist like you would not use them.
By the way, did you ever experience DBX encoded LPs? Now that was really superb vinyl technology. It was just as quiet as digital, which is what most people liked, but also phono pickup performance (distortion etc) was greatly improved by avoiding extreme groove modulation. Too bad it died.
Eldartford, I appreciate your position, but the comments are not necessarily applicable.
I have had people sit in front of my system for three, even four hours before a single click or pop is heard from my vinyl rig. Plus, you seem obsessed with picking up on a rare occurrence of noise, even at the expense of listening to an overall presentation that is inferior in fidelity and believability.
You owe it to yourself to visit someone with a properly set up Walker so you can understand that every record player is not alike.
Albert ,it always happen to me,after I listen to vynil
I have a hard time listening to sacd,cd.There is
something on vynil that my ears really enjoy.It takes
at least a day to go back to digital.The SACD of Mark
Levinson are the one that I would play, after a day
of recovering from vynil.But again I dont listen to
vynil a lot, because of convenient reasons.
Albertporter...A system that can recover the most subtle groove modulation cannot avoid response to groove defects. If what you say is true you are fortunate to own LPs in perfect condition. It was my experience that even new LPs from good labels usually came with a few audible defects.
I have heard some very expensive vinyl equipment, although I could never afford/justify owning it. Like a race-tuned Ferari it's nice, but not practical for real world use.
Read MikeLavigne comment on the thread Denon Exemplar
vs Meitner gear.Its very related to this topic.Since
He own both the sirius, and the Meitner gear.
the first time i heared vinyl on a high end stereo was at the RMAF, and i gotta tell ya, it knocked my socks off. I had no idea how good vinyl can sound. i diddnt notice any pops or clicks or static, maybe i diddnt listen long enough, however, for the level of fidelity possible with a good vinyl based system i cannot imagine anybody saying it is less than breathtakingly astonishing. My problem is getting into that level of analog is a bit beyond my financial means.
So we find ourselves in violent agreement :-)
The funny thing is I can see - sometime in the distant future - swapping out a lot of my Redbook collection for vinyl; strange to go "backwards" in the quest for higher fidelity.
The thing about vinyl is, if it's a good recording i don't even notice the clicks, pops, etc. A well recorded album is wonderful. Unfortunately, a lot of them aren't.
I love the "pop in" convenience and snap/crackle/pop noise free aspect of CD playback. I disdain the digital glare and sonic confusion I hear from CD playback.
I love the smooth glare free musicality of LP playback. I disdain the futzing and fussing and the noisiness of LP playback. In my system in my house.
Both have strengths and weaknesses. I'm sure that the "ulitmate" level of either is pretty amazing. I do not possess, nor will I ever possess either. Poor poor pitiful me.
It's just music, baby.
A better question might be, (since this tread is about 'curious' RIAA numbers), is: How many of your SACDs were bought overseas?
Of my 43, 30 were bought over at JPC and amazon UK in Europe, and 13 here in the states.
"A better question might be, (since this tread is about 'curious' RIAA numbers), is: How many of your SACDs were bought overseas?"
jdaniel- This thread is about Phasecorrect' questions
about the SACD format.
I think - "sacd is a smoke and mirrors ht campaign designed for multi-channel use and copyright protection agendas," best describes the format. What do you think?
After purchasing another Redbook CD made from a DSD recording, the high frequency problems outlined above are very audible.
A friend of mine who has the Wadia 850, Cary 2A3, VPI TNT Jr and Alon Adriana's has finally decided to buy the Grahams Turntable and some good arm to upgrade his vinyl gear, his budget is between $3,000-5,000. He heard the SACD and after that made the decision. If he decides to sell his VPI TNT Jr, I will have the option to buy it off him, but, if he decides to keep it, it will go into his bedroom system.
I personally think he is wise in making the decision to follow the vinyl route.