To hell with this hi-fi garbage I am going back to Bose were happiness can be found. ~Tim
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Perhaps that is why they put those ultrasonic filters into the early players, if they are actually getting amplitude rises like that. I don't notice any "headache" reaction to SACD with my Sony player. But I definitely will say that it is not the equal of analog. From my listening experiences, I prefer SACD to redbook on the same player(S9000ES). Not all SACDs sound great, but the good ones I've heard sound better than redbook to me. The tones are more round, and the detail is improved. The "life" of the music is still not there, and I have not ever heard "life" in any digital format. Whatever the problems are in these digital formats, I wish that they would get them figured out. This is getting tiresome to continually have promises of greatness, and never match the "big black discs that you play with a needle". If they can do it, then I say do it. And quit messing around with stuff that doesn't make it. If they can't do it then let everyone go back to analog and quit the "perfect sound forever" promises. Thanks for the info, Sean.
I always thought that some of the SACDs that I've heard did not sound natural in the high frequencies. The above disclosure in Stereophile may explain why. I never bought into the format and now I'm glad I waited. With upsampling, I get decent performance out of many Redbook CDs and of course, vinyl is my refuge.
Curiously, I find the high frequencies on many DVD-V movies to be quite natural and pleasing. Maybe they should dump SACD and DVD-A and explore what can be done with the standard DVD-V format.
I can't help but be discouraged with the state of digital recording. Most of the young folks I know think that MP3 is just fine and are building large libraries of music in that format. I tell them that MP3s sound bad on good equipment and they couldn't care less -- looking at me like I'm from Mars or something. They know very little about SACD or DVD-A (and these kids are among the more informed and technically savvy young adults I know). It is really scary to think that the easy distribution of MP3 files via the Internet could elevate that format to the future medium of choice.
One 20-year-old told me today that they are coming out with computer hard drives for the car with writable CD-ROM drives for saving music files (in MP3) from the digital tuner. He said such a unit costs about $1500 now, but that prices should drop as these units become more common. He was so excited.
My apologies for having strayed from the topic.
Sean, I haven't seen the article in question. Does JA give any explanation for why he thought the SACD's lower HF dynamic range was academic? If the noise is very low to begin with -- as it should be for a player of this caliber (also evident from JA's statement that the player's dynamic range is excellent) -- a 15 dB increase in the SACD noise floor at 20 kHz may not be problematic, much less audible. Again, I haven't seen the graph, but I wonder if this may be what he meant by "academic." What is the baseline noise floor (i.e., what level was the 15 dB increase measured from)? How much dynamic range do you think is needed at 20 kHz to ensure fidelity of a recording? Does the SACD's slightly compressed HF dynamic range approach or exceed your threshold of concern?
The 80 dB rise in the noise out to 70 kHz is of greater concern to me. But here too, if the baseline noise is very low to begin with, even such a large noise increase in the ultrasonic may not be problematic, particularly since most systems greatly attenuate signals above 25 kHz. Then again, in very extended systems, perhaps some of the SACD's ultrasonic noise could get through and be sensed by certain listeners. Do you know if anyone has tried to measure SACD UHF noise from the speakers?
Don't know the answers - just putting out some stream-of-consciousness ramblings to see if we can come to understand the curious and somewhat troubling results you've pointed out. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, along with everyone else's. Don
I never cared for the way my 9000es sounded on redbook(I've made that statement before and some people get upset but its my view) it was better on SACD- perhaps it is marketing indirectly to get us interested in SACD, sounds like something a mega corporation would do ;) But the new capitole sounds MUCH better then the best SACD I have heard, so I didn't plan on putting much stock in SACD(in particular for the price of the software).
Regardless of the specifications, I found the Sony SCD-C555ES SACD player (< $600) sounded great to me, better with SACD than redbook, and better than my Rega Planet. Obviously, an analog setup is going to have poor specs in comparison to CD but that doesn't mean that CD will sound better (most of the responders on this thread prefering LP.) Also, keep in mind that DVD-Audio does not have the extreme rise in noise floor at high frequencies like SACD does. In my limited experiments, on a tight budget, it seems like SACD just sounds better than DVD-Audio. OK, sorry for aimless rambling.
I have never owned anything but redbook CDs and have stayed away from SACD because it is a limited and expensive format. Add to that the fact that its future, or any new digital format for that matter, is questionable. I held out a good 10 years after digital hit the market place and like many here feel analog is still the most musical, although there is no shortage of bad analog recordings. Like many here I too have owned a plethora of inexpensive and expensive CD players and DACs over the past 10 years or so including 2 Accuphase units. But the only unit I've found to come close to the sound of analog are Jerry Ozment's tube output designs. I currently own my second Audio Logic model 34 DAC having sold the first one to a friend. I tried several after that sale including an Accuphase DP-65, but nothing came close to the Audio Logic. I was happy when I found a great deal on the second one here on Audiogon. Frankly I'm surprised more here on Audiogon have not caught on to Ozment's designs (he designed some for Jadis, Altis, and VAC I believe). Perhaps Audio Logic is just not mainstream enough to have gotten the reviews that drive this silly hobby so much. It surprises me how close the model 34 comes to the sound of my Well Tempered Reference and with good recordings it can be quite stunning. I also use a CEC TL2 for a transport, which I have found to be the most analog sounding so far. For me it has always been about the music and for the moment it looks like redbook is here to stay, and the used market is flooded with redbook CDs, however good or bad they may be. Seems no one feels that SACD players sound as good on redbook CDs anyway. For now anyway I'll stick with my Audio Logic and would encourage others to check out Ozment's designs. Just my two cents worth in this never ending debate.
After experimenting with SACD via a Sony 333 changer I have decided to maximize my extensive redbook collection. I have the new Mcintosh changer which sounds great and is utterly non-fatiguing, and I am going to audition an MSB Platinum Plus and a few other DAC's just to see if they make dramatic improvements. There are tons of redbook CD's out there and SACD just does not have enough titles I want at reasonable prices.
I can't speak to the numbers discussed earlier in the thread, but SACD is just nor practical for me. Good thread, thanks,
Um, a one-bit system like DSD has a HUGE amount of noise that cannot be eliminated. That's why they use nosie-shaping--to move the noise into the ultrasonic range where (best evidence suggests) it won't matter. So all that noise is supposed to be there. It's inherent in the process.
That said, it's a little disconcerting to see a substantial amount of noise in the audible range as well. As Djjd says, it might not be audible. But it ought to give SACD fans pause.
Sean, maybe JA needs to upgrade his cables. I'd recommend the new the "Zeus Jitter-Litter 2002s They use an advanced proprietary transmission-line method to redirect the incident and reflective waves caused by the jitter. Its really straightforward. The wavelength of the JitterLitter mechanism is equal to the Square root of the frequency divided by the change in angular velocity divided by Pi:
λ= √f/∆ω /π
Ive used this cable to keep my toaster from popping up prematurely for years.
Tswhitsel: Nice to see another Audio Logic fan. Jerry's designs turn the pcm stream into DSD in the converter, which is why they sound as good as they do, in my view. Now imagine his analog stage, with a separate power supply, used in place of the Sony 777ES's analog stage for SACD, and you'll have what I've been enjoying for the past almost 2 years. A definite step past redbook, and I think Fremer's article on the Accuphase hits the differences between SACD and CD right on the head. I have not been bothered in the least by the distortion figures above 10Khz, which is well beyond anything I really listen for anyway (take a look at where the frequency range of instruments ends, you'll see what I'm talking about) and borders more on a theoretical rather than practical concern. I'm very happy with SACD, but I'm not a zealot; I could be equally happy with 24/96 DADs, as I have playback of that in my system as well. Unfortunately, Plato's early post is most telling. In my latest conversations with the estimable Mr. Ozment, he says most of the consulting work he's been getting these days has been for MP3 type products. He's not at all confident that the hi-rez formats will ultimately stick, which would be a shame but, hey, we're not the folks the music industry is listening to, we're a small minority. Hopefully the smaller specialist labels will stick with the format, and maybe the release of the Stones' catalog on SACD will act as a catalyst for the medium. In any event, I'll enjoy the fine recordings I've got on SACD, and keep putting the vinyl on the turntable for ultimate enjoyment.
JA's data suggests to me that good engineering design and layout remain paramount in high end players. A good format won't offset bad execution. We have seen LP playback equipment change and evolve for better sound (e.g., Graham, VPI). We have seen unanticipated redbook artifacts like jitter be discovered and designed away. It seems to me that the high frequency dynamic compression and noise may be artifacts inherent in DSD/SACD, and the big guys, i.e., Sony and Philips, may have addressed these issues (I,too, am happy with my SCD-1) while the smaller guys with lesser resources, i.e., Accuphase, may have either missed them or decided not to try to fix them. Notably, the fact that the Accuphase did not properly control jitter suggests that this product was not well thought out, perhaps developed hastily. While I agree that allowing such problems in a $16,500 machine is unforgivable, I expect a "new, improved" second generation offering shouldn't be too far behind.
Forgive me if I state what has already been stated, I don't have the time nor desire to read all that was posted prior, that said, I read most of the review in question and this review also goes on to state that his SACD test smoked CD playback. So, whether there is or is not trade off's, SACD is still superior to CD!
I feel these issues (comments/threads) come up sometimes so people can justify staying with CD's; I am not pointing fingers here, just making a statement.
A new revelation! maybe the idea of a combination isn't so great, what do you know! We all pretty much agree that on our combination players SACD is superior and redbook is lacking, but I challenge ANY SACD player to do what the Capitole does on XRCD2's(I gotta have my over priced software as well, to keep the challenge fair) it is truly amazing and any one who has expereinced this knows what I am talking about- SACD doesn't come close; or at least if it does I haven't heard it or rumor of it. ~Tim
Tswhitsel and Rcprince:
Don't come over here much, but just happened to look at the thread and saw your mention of Jerry and AudioLogic. I've got a 2400 and my transport is a CEC TL-1X (just back from Richard Kern who installed the Reference mod - clock, etc.). Man oh man! Talk about life, musicality, dynamics, soundstage, emotion, smoothness, clarity, extension at top and bottom, incredible midrange - etc. I honestly think it outperforms my Basis 2500, Graham 2.2, Graham Nightingale, Rowland Cadence vinyl front end - no, I'm not kiding.
Have been playing around with a Marantz 8260, which I bought used on Audiogon for $650 so I could try SACD. For the price I'm very impressed with the Marantz on both CD and SACD, although it comes nowhere close to the Audiologic. Would love to know how it would sound on SACD with Richard Kern's mods and Jerry's analog output stage. Last time I talked to Jerry he was no longer doing output stages for SACD players, but that was over a year ago.
If more players and transport/dac combos had approached what Jerry achieved with redbook, nobody would even be talking about SACD.
I agree that SACD is a superior format more information is more information and one step closer to pure analog. This is obviously an over simplified comment but true non the less. The decimation and interpolation filters used on many pure redbook players try to create something that is not there. I have heard most of the top gun redbook players the capitole included and while they are very good (IMO) SACD is still superior.
As far as price of the software it appears to be coming down as more labels and releases are created. You can now buy hybrids for around $17.00 and in some cases less. I guess I have strayed away from the original topic but.... my two cents worth. However, most important irrespective of which format you prefer (enjoy the music).
It seems that some people are using the comparison of SACD to redbook based on results of listening tests of the two formats on their SACD players.
I find it hard to believe that Sony, Marantz or anyone trying to sell a SACD machine is going to focus as much attention to the Redbook side of their machines playback.
I have heard the cd playback from the Marantz and Sony and think it is terrible. My $1500 Redbook only machine kills both of them on this format.
As a matter of fact, I have heard Redbook systems beat the tar out of even the SACD portion of these players.
I felt the format was cold and uninviting.
Maybe I just read it wrong but felt the impression given was that SACD is better than Redbook should not be based on playback from these machines. Also comparing SACD to one of the older generation Redbook machines is not valid in my opinion either as many older machines were hard and analytical compared to the better players today.
Just my opinion.
Here's my take. It's really ridiculous to compare the SACD layers and CD layers. An SACD player is DESIGNED to play SACD better than redbook. Conversely, a really top notch CD player (e.g., MF 3D CD, Accuphase, etc.) is DESIGNED to to play redbook as good as it gets.
All these comparisons are realy illusory. Is SACD better than redbook. Maybe, maybe not. DSD's lack of filtering can make SACD very harsh in the top end, despite the clarity.
Bottom line is that MOST collections of CDs are not going to be replaced with SACD versions ... IMHO, if you've got tons of CDs, get a great redbook player and stop worrying already.
Putting conspiracy theories aside, isn't it possible, and obvious, that the new formats are superior formats? They have higher sampling rates and longer word lengths. SACD and DVD-A are superior "formats" by definition. Since we're still at the beginning of this madness, there are some CD players that sound better than some SACD/DVD-A players. This should all even itself out over time to the point where, in general, superior format machines will sound better than inferior format machines.
you guys know a lot more about cd and sacd than i do. i really know zip about sacd and i would for the sake of this question, at least, grant that it can produce a better than redbook sound. what i want to know is where is the software going to come from? i already have a huge library of cd's which i don't intend to duplicate, even if someone desides to convert them to sacd at 24.99 a crack. i spend most of my money in vocals, jazz and classics and i just don't see that much new coming along in that format? what am i missing? are we ever going to see a unit that excels both at redbook and sacd. Will sacd survive the dvd format?
Djjd, sorry for the phenomenally slow response. Depending on what test JA was doing, the noise level within the lower registers of the audio passband measured anywhere from very well to at least quite good. As noted, as frequency would climb, so would the noise floor. With that in mind, the noise floor anywhere near the accepted audible range was somewhere around -90 dB's or better. When it hit 70 KHz, it was somewhere around -50 dB's or so.
According to theory, something like that should be completely and utterly inaudible. However, Ben Duncan has done research in this area and published an article about noise floors within a specific series of Integrated Circuits and the results were quite interesting. Not only did he show that so called "identical" IC's with the same part numbers from different manufacturers measured quite differently ( some were literally twice as noisy as others ), there was a difference in the "blackness of background" when going from one IC to another. I would highly recommend checking out that article if you can.
Besides all of that, even if it was 50 dB's down at 70 KHz, with my "golden ears", i can still easily hear that : ) Sean
PS... It doesn't matter where you are or how far apart we are, i can hear you laughing behind my back : )
Let the music(data) be your guide not some preconceived notion of why something can't sound as good because of the manufacturer or looks or etc, etc. You have in fact determined the outcome(mentally) before the experiment has even begun.
There are a couple of threads here on AG ,maybe many, on the topic of hearing differences with various digital pieces and the impact(improvement) they make in these listeners systems. I have determine in my system the test players showed little improvement over my 10 year old philips cd80. With my electronics and speakers the SACD players playing SACD(various listeners over extended listening periods) were the winners more often than not with redbook being mixed.
However, keep in mind hearing recall is very subjective and in and of itselve unreliable.
Just to add my 2 cents... at the 2002 HEC show in NYC, the Joseph Audio room used a Classe Omega SACD/CD player and you could not distinguish between cd and sacd. They both sounded great through Manley electronics and Joseph's Pearl speakers. However, the finale of an old Duke Ellington song on vinyl stole the show. It convinced me to stick with cd for now and consider adding a turntable instead of sacd. I upgraded my cd player and will wait to see how the current competing digital formats evolve before making any more purchase decisions.
Djjd: the article appeared in Stereophile.
As a further note, i was digging through some old Stereophiles trying to find a review of an older piece of gear. While i did not find what i was looking for, i did find a review of the $1300 Audio Alchemy ACD-Pro transport. In direct comparison to the $16,500 Accuphase SACD player, the results were pretty staggering.
The ACD-Pro had a measurable jitter of 17 ( SEVENTEEN ) picoseconds. In comparison, the transport on the Accuphase was directly responsible for FOUR THOUSAND ( !!! ) picoseconds of jitter. When performing the same 1 KHz dither tests on the ACD-Pro as JA did to the Accuphase, the 5+ year old ACD-Pro was 40 dB's quieter at the same 70 KHz measuring point. So much for "bigger & better", "new & improved" and "increased technology", huh ?!?!?!
I would like to add one more thing to this. I am NOT slamming SACD as a whole here. I have heard SACD and previously commented that i did find it to sound quite appealing in many ways. As was also noted, both i and my brother have received headaches while listening to SACD's. The headaches went away shortly after we went back to listening to redbook discs.
As such, my comments are primarily aimed at this player and what your $16,500 is going to buy you in terms of measurable performance. I need to go back and find some other reviews / technical measurements of SACD players that Stereophile has performed and compare them to the Accuphase. This would give us a better idea of whether these results are an isolated case having to do with this specific product or if the situation is something that all SACD players are going to have to deal with. I want to use Stereophile reviews only though, as other magazines may use slightly different methods of testing and / or be done under slightly different conditions. Using one source of references for all of the testing would allow the most "apple to apple" results that we as consumers could hope to achieve. Sean
I thought I would pass along part of Fremer’s conclusion of the DP-85 to keep things in perspective. “In any case, in every performance parameter you can think of, the SACD layer through the DP-85 positively smoked the CD layer through my reference Musical fidelity Nu-Vista 3D player, though I preferred the CD layer through the 3D. But forget about comparisons – the DP-85’s SACD performance set a new standard for digital anything in my system and in my experience.”
I agree with Sean that at 16.5k, the CD playback should be stellar as well. It appears this player has a high jitter rating for some strange reason. I am not sure about the 17ps that you mention Sean for the Audio Alchemy, in comparison to the players I list below, this is quite low. (Then again, measurements are not an area I have knowledge of.)
Wadia 850 -- 167.6 picoseconds peak-peak
Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 3D -- 156.3
Meridian 508.24 -- 144.2
Sony XA-777ES -- 171
Sony SCD-1 -- 146.8
Here is another quote, this from JA, that I came across when looking at his measurement testing of the SCD-1. “As a conventional CD player, Sony's SCD-1 features state-of-the-art technical performance. Even if it didn't handle SACDs, the SCD-1 would be worth buying for its CD performance, in my opinion.—John Atkinson”
Hmmm. All those jitter figures sound high, except for the Audio Alchemy player at 17 ps. Are these just being measured differently?
My trusty EAD T-7000 transport produces less than 10 ps of jitter. I don't know enough about how jitter is measured to know if there are different ways of doing it that will generate significant differences. However, the EAD T-7000 Combined with a Sonic Frontiers SFDII MkII DAC (and an Assemblage DSD-1 in-between for good measure) sounds absoultely fantastic. I'm waiting to recieve my super-modded S9000ES from Mod Wright (goes beyond Level III mods) to see how SACD compares. The DVD-Audio out of my (un-modded) Technics A-10 sounds nice, but unconvincing and a bit flat compartively on Redbook. I'm wondering if the modded Sony S9000ES will be as good as the EAD/Sonic Frontiers combo on Redbook so I can have a single player for both audio and video.
Heres a parapraph no ones mentionned in the DP85 review which i think puts things into perspective:
"its very possible that the DP85's CD performance was actually so highly resolving and transparent that it passed on CDs inherent flaws along with the abondance of detail. Whatever the cause, as a CD player, the DP85 beat what i heard with the Marantz SA-1 or Sony SCD1 playing plain ol CDs, but i guess i prefer a bit less information".
And i agree with this paragraph. I have both the DP85 and the AA Capitole MkII in my system and on CD playback, i prefer the DP85 sound. But on certain CDs, the MkII is more pleasant because it has less resolution and so reveals less flaws in the recording. Again IMHO it could come down to your personal taste, your CD collection and your system.
As far as the jitter is concerned, how would high jitter manifest itself in the sound reproduction ?