I don't think the CDs are indistinguishable from the CORRESPONDING DAD/SACD (i.e., from the same master tape)--the highs are smoother, more natural and have less hash, the dynamics are better and there is an openness or ease with DAD/SACD that you don't get with standard CDs. That said, they are certainly getting more and more information onto CDs, and I have heard CDs so well recorded (such as the Reference Recordings and Harmonia Mundi Cds) that I would agree that they sound better than a lot of SACDs and DADs, particularly when run through an upsampling dac (I don't care how they do it, it does sound better). You're right about recording and mastering, because a DAD or SACD may get you closer to the master tape, but you may not like what you hear on that tape. I'm hoping that more new recordings get made with the new technolgy (the Telarc and Sony Classical DSD recordings are stunning).
I also have a Muse 9S DVD/CD player and notice also that the newer cds do sound much better than they used to. I'm sure part of that is the upsampler in our Muse players and the fact that the cds are mastered better. I did hear the Sony SACD player ($5000) playing a SACD and will have to admit the sound was much more open, smooth and natural sounding than the same music played on a standard cd player, but when a regular cd is played on the $5000 Sony player the sound is not as good as when it is played on a Muse 9S DVD/CD player.
I only have 3 Classic DADs, but they do sound better than the originals. More subtle details, and they're mastered much better...I actually get to use my volume knob! I think that's their big advantage. Most modern CDs are mastered too loud, and that's a form of compression. Most labels do it because they want their CD to sound "louder" than the next. Properly mastered CDs will sound smoother and less fatiguing than CDs that are mastered too loud. I do think that remasterd 20/24 bit CDs are a big improvement over the originals. They are more detailed, but the DADs still sound a bit more natural to me. They seem to reproduce the details in a much more organic way.
There is a HUGE difference between SACD and CD. It is like listening to live music vs. a car stereo. It is easily the best I have ever heard. I personally have not heard DVD-A as of yet, but I find it hard to believe that it could be as good as SACD.
The response by "Jtinn" conforms with my experience. SACDs are simply qualitatively better than CDs. To me, SACDs have all of the virtues of analog and none of the flaws. The sony SACD 777ES, at $1500 or so, is simply a phenomenal "bargain" by the standards of highend audio. A $20K CD system cannot compete with the sound of the Sony on SACDs, although top flight DAC/transport systems sound better thand CDs on the far less expensive player. Even then the differences do not seem to me to make up for the 10 fold difference in price.
Darrell, the Muse Model 9 does not upsample. Muse does not believe in upsampling (neither do I) and there is a very good white paper on their site explaining why.
My point is that newer XRCDs, HDCDs or even some great quality regular CDs like Reference Recordings and others sound as satisfying to me as many Audio DVDs. However in most cases comparing a regular CD to its DAD or SACD version is unfair since the regular CDs in most cases were mastered several years ago. You'd have to compare a recent issue CD with its Audio DVD or SACD counterpart, which I haven't done yet.
Joe: I do agree with you on the best quality CDs being musically satisfying, but listen to the Telarc Dukas disc, the Delos Mahler 2 or the dmp Gaudeamus-Sacred Feast discs--all recent, very good CDs and hybrid SACDs. It's tough for me to explain the difference except to say there's more of an ease when I'm listening to the SACD; I don't know if you'll necessarily notice it in an A/B comparison.
Telarc Dukas SACD and CD are the best if not the best sounding records, rspectfully (however, not performance). There is HUGE difference between CD (or DVD) sound and SACD sound. Everyone, who listen to live acoustic music, particularly orchestral one will admit, that SACD is much closer to the live music then vinil, DVD-A, 24/96, upsample 16/44.1, tape 8-track etc. Joe_Coherent, we discussed playback comparison with live acoustics on other forum. Just listen. There is another factor, however. SACD produces the best dynamic range, truthfull bottom, realistic (take it least unrealistic) soundstage then anything else (except again a live music) that your amp/speakers etc is under pressure to re-produce it.
Anyone picked up the latest Ultimate Audio (Winter 2001) issue? Great review of the Muse Model Nine Signature DVD Player titled- "A Better Musical Envelope".
Whenever someone says that a recording or piece of equipment sounds "dry and clinical" I go out and listen to it right away, and often end up buying it! They said it about the wonderful Bruel & Kjaer 1" measurement mics, they said it about DAT, they said it about Scan Speak 2905-series tweeters and about Meridian CD players. I've heard it said about B&W 80x-series loudspeakers. In all cases, they sounded accurate, transparent and involving to my ears. I guess it's time to put SACD on my "want" list!
I am a diehard analog person, but after only 36 hours and 5 SACD's with my Sony DVP S9000ES player my ears tell me that SACD is the real deal that rivals vinyl and analog recordings. The Red Rose/Sony demo at CES convinced me to try it. The $6000 worth of hardware(speakers/SACD player/Sony receiver) used in the demo rivaled--not beat--some of the finest analog I've heard. For point of reference my analog front end is a VPI TNT5/Koetsu Urishi/Aesthetix IO/Nordost Quatrofil IC's. The poor S9000 uses Canare coax IC's. Got to do something about that. dr
I have heard many A/B comparisons with SACD and CD. There is no comparison period. CD's sound broken compared to SACD’s, I would also agree with ? that the Sony 777 is the best deal on the market.