While I'm asking about DACs, I also wonder if there is one that will decode DVD-A, SACD (two-channel AND multi-channel), HDCD, etc. in addition to the up-and-over sampling?
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Gthrush1--don't expect a DAC any time soon, if ever, for decoding DVD-A, as the discs themselves at this point won't let you pass a digital signal at the higher bit/sampling rate, and SACD decoding will depend on whether an industry standard interface for sending a DSD signal is adopted (for example, my Audio Logic DAC will decode a DSD signal because it takes the pcm signal and converts it to DSD in the DAC--a number of other DACs are designed this way too, I understand--but since there is no standard interface I can't take a DSD signal into it yet). I would expect dCS to offer something beyond their 24/192 standard at some point if they get caught up in the khz race, and they can decode DSD (and use their own interface to do that) in their current models. Quite frankly, I am not convinced I hear ANY difference between 96 and 192 khz sampling rates with the dCS gear I've heard, and wonder whether all we're really looking at is marketing to get us to believe our two-year old DACs are now obsolete. Of course, my ears are getting old, and I'm also getting somewhat cynical in my old age.
i have a boulder 1012 dac/pre. it has the power to decode sacd but cannot do so unless boulder buys a "license" from sony. the current price for that license is stupidly set at $75k. for that fee, boulder would be allowed to install an 'input" decoder. you'd still need a transport with a sacd "output decoder." unless and until sony changes its marketing and licensing strategies, sacd will continue to be DOA. -cfb
I agree RC. Personally, I don't foresee SACD hanging around too long. I could be wrong but only time will tell.
I do find it kind of funny that it took SOOOO long to achieve the current high level of reproduction that we have. After all, CD was marketed as being "perfect sound forever". It has only taken us 17 years to come this far from "perfection". The main benefit that i see with future formats is that, if the manufacturer's are smart ( ha ha ha ), they will incorporate all of the best technology learned along the way into future products. If they do that ( which they haven't even with multi-thousand dollar SACD players so far ), we would all benefit.
Part of the problem with any new format is that you have to upgrade ALL of the associated recording equipment. With new equipment, the engineers need to become familiar with how to optimize its' performance. That only comes with hands on use and trial and error. Since this can only be done by "practice runs", you can expect the best of any new format and the associated recordings to NOT be as good was what we can get out of it sometime down the road. Experience ( or lack of it ) does account for a lot of what we hear in various recordings.
Obviously, not all studios, production companies, etc... would feel the need to upgrade to a newer standard unless the results were SO astoundingly better. As such, we'll continue to see 16 bit redbook standards for quite some time to come. As such, i'm glad that i bought my upsampler and will continue to enjoy it. That is, until something else that is both a proven format AND has a good selection of recordings to choose from comes along. Sean
Another part of the problem for us perfectionists (nuts?), I suppose, is that for a while we will be stuck with less than high-end equipment (the Sony SCD-1 and 777ES were comparative exceptions, and due to their excellent transport mechanisms were great platforms for mods to the analog stage) on which to play the new format until it's established and the high end manufacturers can risk putting money into it. I might be interested in a high-end DVD-A player, since I can't use my 24/96 DAC to play the discs (which does tick me off), but who among the perfectionist manufacturers is going to make one till the format wars are settled? So while I hope SACD catches on, I agree, redbook CD will be around a long time--that's why I bought a Purcell a couple of years ago. Always hedge my investments...