First do a search here and at aa to search the archives. Then ask yourself if there are enough DVDa titles to keep you interested- you may not like every SACD title out there but at least the numbers are growing rapidly and there are over 1500 titles available at this moment. Also look at high end players, what's available for DVDa compared to SACD, there are more then a few $5k+ sacd players and maybe one or two DVDa- the extreme high end seems to show the future of where audio is going. I have listened to both and have chose SACD, even the best DVDa sounds dark to me- not to mention the need for a "monitor" to navigate some discs- I don't even own a TV let alone want one near my system!
I think its good to bring this up for discussion from time to time because this is the future of hi-fi(at this point) and the news changes constantly and NO one(not even Sean) can keep up with everything that is going on. I may be wrong DVDa may win, but SACD will still sound better, and I am gathering as many SACD's as I can just in case. Last summer there was rumor of SACD2 coming out with the same problems DVDa had(graphics, need a monitor to navigate discs, problems getting rights to said graphics), and it was suppose to be confirmed in September and all of the DVDa camp folks were claiming it was the end of SACD and DVDa had won. Well needless to say September has come and gone and no mention of SACD2, it was just a rumor. Something else I have noticed lately in non-audiophile magizines, there have been full page ads for SACD, can't say the same for DVDa. Check out http://www.sacdinfo.com
it lists all of the SACD's available see if there is much that interests you, and then make a decision.
If you were smart(unlike me) you would wait for the dust to settle and side with the winner.
That is why I recommend a top-notch universal player for now, anyway.
I'm using an SCD-1 for SACD and a Toshiba SD-9200 to dabble in DVD-A. Of course I'm listening to both formats in 2 channel.
Actually both formats can be pretty good. Overall, SACD reminds more of analog than DVD-A, but DVD-A often has a sense of presence I haven't heard before from any other format.
The vedict is still out, in my opinion. Of course, with the lack of DVD-A titles, if may be moot.
Actually I know what the kid is saying, and he is right. While the selection of DVDA's pales in comparison to SACD software, There are more DVD's that will blow you out of the water. Selections like The Big Phat Band, The Blue Man group , not to mention Steeley Dan actually sound mind bogglingly good on DVD Audio. It is a highly underated format that is ignored due to people feeling they must take a side. And thats ashame. SACD while also a High rez format , is an entirely different beast. It is not designed to have electric guitars and a massive horn section knock you over. It is designed to bring you closer to the actual perfomance. For example , take the recent Stones releases. I Love them. To me they sound analog, and capture what the Stones sounded like on vinlyl back in the 60/70.s Is a young kid going to appreciate this , I dont think so. Now the biggest problem with many of the first batch of SACD releases, is that most of them sound like crap. I have no idea whether they did not have the right equipment or the engineers had no concept of what they were doing. However the good news is the Software is finally catching up to the Hardware . My last 5 SACD purchases have showed a major improvement in revelealing the beautiful sound of SACD ! Dylan, The Who, Roxy Music Avalon , to name a few sound downright breathtaking ! So in the end, do not shut yourself out of either format. Its best to have the capability to play both, otherwise you will miss out on some of the best sound available today. The quality of Software is key. Peace !
I would have to agree with Darrylhifi's comments and views. I've had a Marantz DV 8300 universal player since last February, so I enjoy both. The lack of quality software, in either format, was frustrating at first but the selections are improving. Personally, I'm glad to have the ability to listen to either format. The Pink Floyd DSOTM sacd is incredible as is Yes Fragile dvd-a. Why not be able to enjoy both!
As a side note, I started out being amazed and caught up in multi-channel mixes. After awhile though, they began to sound gimmicky to me, and now I listen to either format in 2 channel. The sound of sacd especially reminds me of my old Garrard/BSR analog setup I had when I was a kid.
As a final thought, some folks consider this a "format war". With the improving lists of software titles and universal players out there, I believe we the consumers win on all accounts.
The "superiority" of SACD is a creation of Sony marketing efforts. Either format eliminates the problem of marginal resolution of redbook CD, and any real differences are the result of how the various discs are mastered.
My sonicly best discs happen to be DVD-A, but I am willing to believe that this is not due to any technical limitation of SACD.
For purely commercial reasons I am quite sure that the DVD-A format will survive. I hope that SACD does also, but I am less sure.
I just read some sales figures on these two hirez formats.
While the best selling SACD's are
Dark Side of the Moon SACD averaging 5546 sales/week in the USA.
The Police at nearly 3000.
The Stone's Let it Bleed at over 1500.
Latest market figures show that even the best selling DVD-As are selling under 200 a week in the US.
and vinyl is KILLING them both.
I could care less about DVD-A because I have no video monitor in my music room so I cant play them anyway. But at these numbers how many studios are going out of their way to produce new titles in this format?
Leasingguy...You don't need video to play a DVD-A.
Perhaps you should research worldwide sales figures. Several European audiophile labels are turning out superb DVD-A discs. I look for these first, and buy SACD as a fallback.
The best sounding format to these ears is sacd whith good sonics from DSOTM, better sonics from Steve Earle's Guitar Town and the best sonics I have ever heard from Joe Satriani's Strange Beautiful Music and Allison Krauss Live or her new release.
I find dvd-a superior to redbook on both REM titles I own, but find the Eagles Hotel California to sound rolled off in the highs and to have certain frequencys sucked right out of the recording.
There are only a handfull of songs from either of these formats that sound good in multi channel whith the exception of the entire DSOTM and Aliison Krauss Live where mostly the applause and ambience is done in the rears.
Overall, there both an improvement, but I believe that sacd has more potential and that multi channel has a ways to go.
It's amazing to me so much confusion about these formats still exist. DSD,aka SACD,returns to multibit when dithered. Therefore only new recordings offer the advantages of true DSD. How many new discs are there? Granted just remastering anything into multichannel is more of a gimick than an Audiophile solution. Enter AIX records. Native resolution recordings all of new performances. Not recorded as gimick but as natural means of recovering lost ques from live recordings. Again at CES AIX will share with Meridian and Piega showing the true potential of multichannel DVD-A in it's purest form. Panasonic will also be displaying it's latest DVD-A car system. All this in room 1401 at Alexis Park .
To quote from Scott Wilkinson of Stereophile Guide to Home Theater, October 2003 from the HE2003 report. "A Meridian 800 DVD-A player pumped data into an 861 processor, which was connected to a Butler 5150 5-channel power amp feeding five Piega P-8 speakers; the processor was also connected to a Piega subwoofer. The results were magnificant,dispelling any doubt that DVD-A can sound every bit as good as SACD. "He also called it "one of the best sounds at the show." The only error in his writing is the speakers were C-8 ltd.
We would like to invite all show attendees to visit and gather your impressions of this format on a true Audiophile System. Makes for some good Forum after the show.
My 2 cents...
Best isn't always what the "market" selects for survival. Remember the era of the beta vs. vhs wars... beta was technically superior but the limited supply of titles and poor marketing doomed it to extinction. I fear that DVD-a although superior may suffer the same fate at the hands of skilled marketers. They are more interested in cranking out a product with "mass appeal" than catering to those of us that can really tell the difference.
As in the vhs vs. beta war, I think that the number of software titles will certainly dictate the winner. Until a victor is chosen, I'm going to sit this one out until the dust settles.
Mn_glacier- I agree with most of what your saying, however could you clarify.
I fear that DVD-a although superior
It seems misleading to say the least.
The problem with those sales figures, is that SACD isn't the reason they are selling. In fact, hard to even find SACD label on any of them. I would handily bet 90% plus sold aren't being used on sacd players.
I'll admit that you've caught me on a point that can be argued a number of ways. As we all know, audio equipment with the best technical specifications isn't always the gear that sounds the best. I was stating that DVDa was better based on a technical stanpoint and may not legitimately be the best sounding format in many personal situations. I'll agree that comparing formats can be ambiguous when left to the imperfect science of determining "listening pleasure" and just give you a rundown of the technical specs that I found during some of my own searches.
Check out http://www.techtronics.com/uk/shop/600-dvd-audio-vs-sacd.html for some technical information. The posts below the tech-specs also seem to show that listening pleasure doesn't necesarily equate to specs. There seems to be quite a war starting about these formats. May be the newest VHS - Beta war!
I'll just chart the data here as well.
Bits: CD = 16 (typically), SACD = 20? DVDa = 16-24; basically a wash here.
Playback Frequency range (kHz): CD = 20, SACD = 100, DVDa = 48 in 6 channel, 96 in 2; again a wash... after 20kHz, who cares (except maybe our dogs). I doubt I can hear well above 12kHz as an ex-rock musician.
Now it gets interesting:
S/N (dB): CD = 96, SACD = 120, DVDa = 144.
Data Rate (Mb/s): CD = 1.41, SACD = 2.8, DVDa = 9.6
Storage Capacity (Gb): CD = 0.65, SACD = 4.7 (single layer), DVDa = 4.7 (single), 8.5 (Dual)
I hope this helps... I STRONGLY recommend auditioning both formats if you are torn rather than going with specs. Of course the number of available titles will probably dictate the winner, as I said in an earlier post.
Thanks for your responses to my thread.A great discussion!
I predict the market will go dvd-a and sacd will join
laser disc,mini disc.Which is better argument has less to do with it then the already huge penetration of dvd in car and home.The mobile market money alone dwarf hi-end hi-res
and mostly older customer.The big markets want the younger
customer of today/tommorow and so on,face it kids are nursed
on game consoles,pc,mobile first by and large.Our hi-res
manufacturers will spin DVD-A into gold just hope its sooner rather than later cause I am gettin' old.
SACD sounds better to me. Of course there are far more high end SACD players available than DVD-A. Which means more shops have them setup and inserted into really nice systems.
But I digress, any Hi-Res format is better than none.
"DSD,aka SACD,returns to multibit when dithered. Therefore only new recordings offer the advantages of true DSD"
With all due respect, I feel a clarification is in order.
Dither is added to PCM digital audio to try and overcome the distortion that occurs at low nomerical values (quantization error). Now, it is true that when DSD is resampled into PCM, there is noise shaping involved. But let's not confuse the two. Noise shaping is employed to acheive a higher perceived resolution in the critical band (midrange) of PCM by shifting noise components into the ultra HF. Dither is randomized noise that is added to PCM in order to subjectively reduce quantization error that occurs at low numerical values (low volume portions of the audio).
Now, this issue about "pure" DSD recordings. Due to the mathematical properties of the 1-bit system, and the fact that there is no "word" at all in DSD, all DSD recordings edited, mixed and or mastered in the digital domain on DSD Digital audio workstations have to undergo a transformation into some sort of a multi-bit audio stream whenever any sort of digital signal processing is involved. Processing in this case can mean something as simple as pulling a virtual fader to change gain, the use of dynamics processing, or the implementation of EQ. The PCM involved is extremely high resolution [64fs in most if not all cases (64 x 44.1kHz or 2.8MHz!)] You can also think of it as almost 30 times more samples than the 96kHz DVD-A standard. However, here is where Noise Shaping comes in. Here is also where the controversy of SACD's dynamic range in the high frequency extremes comes into play.
So what is pure DSD? Unless you've been at a DSD recording session/demo that played back unaltered DSD, or you've heard an SACD that didn't undergo any processing or that involved active mixing in a DSD workstation, you have not heard pure DSD.
Does this matter? Not really. It's all just numbers on a page at this point. Both DSD and high resolution PCM have their technical issues. Both offer a huge improvement in resolution over the 16 bit 44.1kHz standard. It's also practically impossible to compare the sound qualities of both of these modulation schemes. The DAC's employed in PCM are dramatically different (electronically) than the ones employed in DSD. Even if you have a DAC that converts both PCM and DSD (such as Meitner or Genex), it's hard to make real comparisons. You end up hearing the implementation of the different D to A circuitry. It's still apples and oranges.
So, who wins? You pick. SACD seems to have a jump start on sales of both hardware and software. DVD-A has some cool video features.
Me? I like DSD and SACD. It's just such a mathematically cool way of looking at digital audio. It's almost zen... but I'm also a huge nerd...
For a couple of years I was a strong pro-SACD proponent and in fact had 3 SACD players (between office, home) with 70-100 SACDs. With the availability of universal players, I purchased the Denon DVD-5900, and consequently about a dozen DVD-Audios to experiment. To be honest, there are well recorded (and crappy ones) in both camps. In all honesty, I actually like having the "bonus" of some visual information about the disc I'm playing (be it artist's pictures, a video, background text on the disc, etc). My future purchases will be biased in favour of the DVD-A, but I'm an equal opportunity guy. Both sound great with my new Denon DVD-5900 and Maggies 3.5s.
How do the SACD's and the DVD-Audio discs compare to one another sonically on your Denon DVD-5900 player?
Which is generally sonically superior, SACD or DVD-Audio?
Thanks for your response!
I'll chime in here.. In my experience DVD-A has the edge. I've been using an Esoteric DV-50 for about a month, and the DVD-As are just a hair more engaging and fleshed-out.. The SACD (in my opinion) is a bit..how should I say?... "crispy" at the upper frequencies...
..but believe me, this is splitting hairs...
Popped in to admit my poor clairvoyance,appears the crowd may have left both standing in the ring.