SACD vs. Vinyl

I've not jumped on the SACD bandwagon. I listen mainly to vinyl via a Marantz TT15 Benz Wood SH MC combo. I've a Sony XA7ES cd player that has served me well over the years, but even it doesn't get enough play to justify moving up to a SACD player.

Since I've yet to convert to SACD over the past decade what have I missed? I should add that I've 8 or so SACD discs that I've played via my Sony BR player that didn't sound much different than standard digital, but granted that playback was observed through my HT only system.

Can someone whose a huge vinyl fan establish a case for SACD as well? I just can't imagine anything getting close to the dynamics one hears on vinyl, for sonically vinyl seems to blow digital playback out of the water.
1894e114 b2a6 4dc1 a8e2 a69cda2424a4coltrane1
You have opened a can of worms. I have tried every configuration there is and to me Vinyl Rules. Sure they get close with digital, but it still is not as dynamic as vinyl. You can take a 1000.00 TT set up and 9 out of 10 times it will blow away any 5000.00 digital.
I tried SACD and yes it was good, but not great. Plus I could never find what I wanted on SACD so my library was about like yours.
You've already made up your mind, so why ask the question?
SACD is a flop, for various reasons (the economy, young people don't care about 'hi-rez' as much as baby boomers, etc.). the good news is that CDs have improved a great deal. stick with what you've got. if you really want to increase your listening pleasure, get a good DAC or even go to a HD-based digital front end.
SACD done well can be very good..... Whether or not it is better than your vinyl rig is up to you..... The enjoyment of the music is the important part not how you derive it ...
I am a big vinyl fan, but have a small library of SACD's. I have a few titles on both vinyl, r2r, cd and SACD. The title best known is Miles/Blue. I would rank each media, best first, as r2r (pre-recorded commerical 7.5 two track), vinyl, sacd, cd. In general, the r2r sound best with the vinyl second.

So, I don't recommend you jump into SACD. Wait until audio blu-ray starts to issue in some classic titles. Miles/Blue is due out shortly. If the mix and resolution is done right, it should be the best media of that title.
Why are you buying the same music over and over?

If your buying music that is not available on vinyl then for me at least, SACD is worth it. If you can get it on vinyl why wouldn't you.
Heard a Diana Krall cd then heard the SACD, it was worth the upgrade to me. YMMV
SACD will always have an advantage over any PCM digital; no matter the resolution (even 352/32). 2X DSD is even better than regular DSD (SACD). i have lots of high rez PCM files (many 192/24) which i do enjoy. but better SACD's are better. and 2X DSD that i have heard is better yet.

all the math that PCM subjects the music to exacts it's cost on the music.

this is assuming you have a sufficiently high performance SACD player.

generalizing about how analog compares to any digital presumes very high quality digital and analog sources. at the top of the heap of analog and digital that i have heard vinyl surpasses any digital and RTR is superior to vinyl. but again; at source quality below the top it's a mixed bag.
Although I am amazed at how good vinyl can sound for so little money ..... I got back into it with a used Thorens td166mkII. a musical fidelity v-lps and a denon dl103r cartridge along with a spin clean and assorted brushes all for about six hundred bucks and it sounds amazing ....

I have an original release of Sting (Dream of Blue Turtles) and it is extremely clean and dynamic sounding. Same with my Pink FLoyd pressings of The Wall and DSOTM and a couple of Led Zeppelin discs.... Great Stuff indeed ....
Mikelavigne - SACD looks pretty much like output of sigma delta converter before filtering (1-bit). SACD is equivalent to about 20/96 and it supposed to sound better than redbook layer. Problem is that many people dislike sound of any form or PWM (Sigma-Delta converters, class D amplifiers) - they might not like SACD as well.

I've never considered SACD since it was initially too expensive with very few titles and no option to make backup-copy (of very dense disk) not to mention that my music resides on Hard Drive (server).

New standards should be promoted. It should be advertised. SACD should be, initially at least, cheaper than CD - since it doesn't cost more to print and being impossible to copy, prevents piracy that cost industry a fortune. Unfortunately greed took over and they started selling SACDs over $30 a piece killing pretty much any interest (including mine). I remember seeing similar failures with Sony Beta, Iomega Zip drive, Sony Mini-Disc, HDCD, DVD-Audio and few others.
Assuming that you are interested in RBCD, you will get more by retiring the Sony for a RBCD player capable of giving the Marantz/Benz(and whatever phono stage) serious competition.

what might change your mind about DSD-SACD-2X DSD would be a visit to a mastering studio where an analog source can be switched quickly to any digital format, including hirez PCM up to 352khz/32 bit. there is a mastering studio near where i live which happens to do the majority of HD transfers in North America for many different lables. he can take a source and run it thru any level of digital processing you might choose, and can switch seamlessly between them. he has many different DAC's and processors as you might imagine. in that 'no boloney' environment DSD smokes any PCM.

which is not to say that everyone subjectively likes anything and that everyone's been exposed to SACD done right.

i own 1000+ SACD's, 4000 CD's and have maybe 2500 hirez (88/24 or higher) PCM files on my music server. i own three tt's and three RTR decks. what i hear in that studio is what i hear in my system too.

you might convince yourself that SACD is flawed in theory, but so is any digital. DSD is harder to process than PCM and it's not music server friendly yet because of it's copy protection. but compare a recording mastered in DSD with one mastered in PCM; no contest. and 2XDSD rivals vinyl in fidelity, whereas any PCM is a mere shadow of analog. OTOH a 2XDSD file is huge, so it's not yet a consumer format.
Mikelavigne - I did not say that SACD is flawed. I think that it is vastly superior to redbook (as Beta was to VHS). In addition to better quality (20/96) DSD used in SACD is created without antialias filters that screw-up transient response in traditional A/D conversion. Transients are used by brain for spatial localization.

You mentioned easy format switching but it was from analog to digital and not digital to digital?

SACD is not good candidate for the server not only because of copy protection but because of its scheme (PWM).

As it is right now - SACD selection is very limited, I cannot use it on the server, cannot make backup, is still too expensive and format might become obsolete.

Stereophile mentioned that format might be dead since many Blu-Ray don't even have SACD decoder.
I know that you can still buy SACDs but the same is true for DVD-audio. Would you buy DVD-Audio now?

sorry if i misinterpreted your post. i agree that DSD has it's challenges in terms of flexible EQ'ing. this mastering guy typically will use an analog EQ for his DSD files since a PCM EQ will do so much harm to the signal.

this mastering studio is able to easily switch from any PCM format, to any DSD format, or to analog; all applied to any source. he gets master tapes, or digital masters, and then does his magic to create the commercial end product. he has analog EQ and all sorts of digital EQ as well as reel to reel and even Lp. he also does recording on site and movie soundtrack mastering and mixing.

i can tell you that there are things in the works to be able to listen to DSD and 2X DSD files from a home music server. the big problem now is the bandwidth to transfer files for the current home DAC's and music servers....but that is getting solved.

file storage is getting to be less and less an issue.

if i had to predict the future of hirez music it would be away from PCM toward DSD as it is so much less harmful to the source.
Mikelavigne - I wish I could see operation of recording studio. I will look - they might have tours.

the studio is run by Crna39, an Audiogon member. it's called Puget Sound Studios.

here is a Stereophile blog entry which talks about Crna39's work.
"Can someone whose a huge vinyl fan establish a case for SACD as well" Yup,WITHOUT A shadow of a doubt.!!!!Once your set-up is up to the mark,the Quality of the recordings become more important than the format..I fully agree with Mikelavigne about the superiority of DSD recordings.This has been my experience too...

"I've 8 or so SACD discs that I've played via my Sony BR player that didn't sound much different than standard digital, but granted that playback was observed through my HT only " yup,you are right there.Bring those SACDs{I hope they are one of those 'proper'SACDs ,not a mimicker]to a properly set-up SACD rigs and hear the difference!!!
"Once your set-up is up to the mark, the quality of the recordings become more important than the format.."

Well said, but getting one's front end up to that "mark" is precisely the problem. Short of that mark one's relative opinion of the formats is colored by systems limitations. Most systems are below that mark(including the OP's, in the sense that SACD and RBCD players are available today that will surpass his vinyl rig.) Thus for most purposes the question is better answered in context than at the extreme of SOTA. A mid-line SACD player is not a significant upgrade over a mid-line RBCD player. Assuming that there are financial constraints, the best option is to avoid the cul de sac SACD collecting, and commit precious dollars to a better RBCD player or perhaps a hirez server option. A better RBCD player can close the gap with a mid-line vinyl front end while leveraging the ubiquity of the CD.
None of these media formats were ever actually meant to be "better" than another or "the best" or to compete with the others for such a title - they all are only meant to sell you stuff, to make profits for the media companies...

Alast some do sound more pleasing than others, although ALL are flawed...

Many of us have lost sight of these simple TRUTHS and folks will argue till they are blue-in-the-face that one is best. Let us not go there.

As such, I'm of the opinion that the best strategy is to decide which media YOU enjoy the most and invest in that ONE. Nothing wrong with having several types to choose from playing, but only go ALL OUT on ONE. in other words, 10 grand + invested in one media playback source is going to sound better and please you more than having 10 grand + invested equally in 2, 3, or more different types of playback sources - jack of all trades, master of none... And you are really going to need to invest at least 10 grand in a single source to get over the flaws of the media itself, before you can start moving on.
One of the benefits of SACD is the dead quiet background. I hate the snaps clicks and pops of vinyl. Some vinyl is very quiet while others are not . I am in the process of sending an album back because of excess snaps, clicks and pops and it is a brand new 180 gm recording. I never had to do that with any of my SACD's. And when it comes to classical music a dead quiet background is a must (IMO).

Not one person thus far has compared the outstanding dynamics experienced on vinyl to what's heard on SACD.

So is there anyone out there whose familiar with vinyl and it's fabulous dynamics that can make a comparison to what they're experiencing on SACD that is on par to what they've experienced on vinyl?

Grateful makes a very valid point of investing into one format, however everything isn't available on vinyl, which is the point of inquiring about the SACD format. Although, I don't hear what all the fuss is about with multichannel discs, for the few I have are master recording discs that I don't hear anything substantive in multi channel format...but then again I'm probably just a jaded 2 channel guy.
"So is there anyone out there whose familiar with vinyl and it's fabulous dynamics that can make a comparison to what they're experiencing on SACD that is on par to what they've experienced on vinyl?"YES,and occasion exceeded the performance of Vinyl...........I ahve been quite late arriving on the SACD scene,being stuck on Vinyl for the longest time,but I know now that what SACD fuss is all about.It's all in the recording and pressings quality....

"however everything isn't available on vinyl, which is the point of inquiring about the SACD format."-Precisely!!
Coltrane1, IME with a highly modified CDP the grip on the room and effortlessness and scale of SACD approximates a high-end vinyl rig. However RBCD on the same modded player is not far behind, and easily surpasses SACD on the same player with stock circuitry. Dynamics of both RBCD & SACD on the modded CDP surpassed my TT until further strokes to TT. To echo Grateful, YMMV and wars between the formats become an arms race.
In my experience the dynamic range of most SACD's is superior to vinyl ...........
I believe that the problem is that people, perhaps even the original poster, get dynamic-range and "dynamics" confused. There is no doubt that digital formats of 16 bit depth or greater have more dynamic range than both vinyl and magnetic tape (reel to reel) playback. What is happening here is that due to psychoacoustics, people hear increased dynamics due to compression of the low-end (low frequencies) and high-frequencies. I listened to some very high price SET monoblocks at a local audiophile's home a couple of years ago and was amazed as to how much bass energy his 22 watt tube amps could produce; upon deeper thought it was clear that what was happening was low end compression and thus a thickening of the low frequencies that manifested itself into the aural sense of greater bass energy. This is not unlike the results that one gets from compressing the low end in the studio, or with a mastering set-up like the one that I have at home. At the time I quickly noticed and informed the system owner that although there was plenty of bass energy to be heard, that the bass sounded monotone. Do not mistake perceived dynamics for dynamic range as they are actually the antithesis of each other!
Carlos269, Seems to me that LF quality(as opposed to undifferentiated quantity of LF) is a result of issues particular to the formats and also the relatively high level of LF distortion found in typical audio systems. In my anecdotal experience, a very good SACD player delivers in all areas of LF control, authority, and extension. Vinyl offers a generally high level of LF delineation & tonality, but in the average set-up often lacks LF extension and the big dynamic envelope of SACD or even some of the better RBCD players. However, even high-performance RBCD players are nagged by slightly undifferentiated and monotonous LF. For me the escape from LF slurring is what leads back to the LP.
Dgarretson, We are in complete agreement regarding SACD and its ability to deliver low-frequency information, extension and low level details. As far as the "LF delineation & tonality" that leads you back to the LP is concerned, I would characterize it as enhanced low frequency "intelligibility" caused by increased background noise and an enriched harmonics spectrum caused by the mechanical nature of the tracking by the cartridge's needle on the vinyl.