It appears that there is no winner at this point. I like the availability of Redbook recordings(most anything you want), how ever more then a few good friends have told me that the latest DSD SACD multichannel realises are absolutly amazing. So its not as simple as cd, dvda or sacd you have to add in sacd multi-channel now, that all being said I just ordered a new nearly $9000 redbook player, that's where I am putting my money. Besides the idea of 5 or more speakers sort of confuses me, KISS(keep it simple stupid). ~Tim
I agree with Tim. I am also putting my money into redbook CD. I'm hoping this will still end up being the ultimate standard. Neverless, I still am not ready to replace all my redbook for whatever. Then again, There is always vinyl, but we won't go there. Unfortunately, you don't have the new releases.
It doesn't matter that who will win the "Format Wars". Whatever the winner is, it will be replace in a few years. As I see it, the SACD already reaching the middle of its product life cycle. It is a dieing format. Something newer or better(they claim) is coming very soon and kick the SACD out of this planet.
In my Audiophile Club, not a single member switching to SACD. They are all waiting and waiting to see what is happening and still waiting.................................
So the best thing that everyone should do while still waiting and waiting.... are to explore the LP analog play back system. With a excellent LP analog player set-up(with Hi-End cartridge and tonearm) and listen to a 50 cents(like the Oscar Peterson - We get request) LP that you pick-up in a garage sale. I don't think you will ever go back to anything digital again. It happens to me already ....and you might be the next lucky one!
Hybrid discs is where it's at. High resolution formats are continuing to make inroads.
I think it depends on what price bracket you are in. At the super high end, sticking with CD's may be the thing. But as you creep down the scale, to me it makes sense to get an SACD player with digital out for the CD's--the SACD's are great, the multi channel ones are unbelievable. There is no need to REPLACE your old collection of CD's, but if you get a player that plays both, you can sample the new format and if it fails you haven't invested that much. Sony SACD players are what I have in mind here
I was interested in SACD and DVD-A when the formats came out, thinking the redbook standard was so aged that we were due for an upgrade. I looked into the software availability and found the selection was limited and almost exclusively classical and jazz recordings. I decided since the source material wasn't really to my tastes I'd wait and see how things developed. I re-looked at the SACD offerings lately, expanded library and plenty of stuff I'd consider buying but...the SACD's are three times the price of redbook CD's. Buy some JVC XRCD releases, listen to some records, and wait out the storm.
I figure sooner or later someone will make a player that will play them all. I have a DVD player that does DVD-A. I got it real cheap. The price of the disc is killing the format. They sound great. But i have a up scale Theta setup that sounds just as good with regular cd s.
If you don't have money to burn right now, I'd hold off for another year or three and wait for universal players to become standard (and improved by the audiophile manufacturers, not the large corporate manufacturers). They exist now, but there aren't many and I don't think any of them are all that great in their stock form. DVD-A and SACD seem to be split down the middle. There are different companies releasing albums for both formats, but it doesn't seem like many companies release both...they choose one or the other. Why buy a player now and limit yourself to half of the hi-res releases when you can wait a few year and buy a good player that can play CD, DVD, DVD-A, and SACD. I really believe universal players need to become the norm if any of those formats expect to survive and prosper in the long term, and yeah...hybrid discs would also be a very smart move on the part of the labels too.
I got a Sony DVP 9000ES (DVD, CD, SACD) player. In my system redbook CD's can sound very good. However, SACD's can add another 15% giggle and grin factor (IMHO). For both CD and SACD I am at the mercy of the recording. Good recordings sound good, lesser recordings are a waste of time and money.
You can get a "good" SACD/CD/DVD player starting around $600 street. Go for it.
Well mono vinyl lasted perhaps 40 years (1920's to 1960's), stereo vinyl 30 years (1960's to 1990's, say), stereo CDs 20 years (late 80's - now), multi-channel audio CDs ? years. But isn't there a trend here (somewhat forced by me and ignoring reel-to-reel,8 track, and cassettes) ? It seems that the velocity of turnover of formats has accelerated as the manufacturers 'improve' their product cycles. Problem is that the consumer is getting confused. 'Cause now we have to decide Audio vs. Audio visual (home theater). I'd suggest there's more value-add to the consumer with adding visuals than adding additional channels. But with the home theater you get both, with somewhat reduced audio quality (remember home theater has had it's format problems what with VHS, Beta, Laser Disk, DVD).
But any way you look at it have moving parts in a player to pick up digital signals is dumb. DUMB. There will be a day when you either can download content or purchase it on a static memory card. Main problems will be identifying the content in your library, and fixing a format so we can 'invest' in audiophile players. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Oh well. I needed to rant about this 'cause I just went red book 'cause I would have to 'upgrade' my Pre-amp/processor to do multi-channel pass through, and it's only 3 months old. Why can't the manufactures of players do a digital signal so we can software upgrade our processors to use the new format ? B*st*rds !
My money is on neither SACD or DVD-A making it. By making it, I mean getting to the point where all new releases appear in that format (at which point a substantial chunk of the back catalog will be remastered for the format as well). The best music (not the same as the best sound) is on CD today, and will be until it is replaced by a format-flexible universal download system.
An analogy ?
Vinyl transitioned from 78s to 33s. Perhaps that's all that's going on with CDs. Transitioning from low density, 2 channel, red book to multi-channel higher density something. So if we look back we find that the players quickly responded to play both formats (as well as 45s)until 78s were fully superceded. Strikes me that this will happen with digital disk players too. There appears to be a convergence on the physical format, now the engineers need to get the information off the disk and into the system.
Meanwhile we, as consumers, can be bleeding edge and respond to every format change or wait. But someone has to buy into a given format, otherwise it will be killed rapidly. And there's nothing compelling for mass consumers to adopt DVD-A or SACD vs red book CD. The content is more expensive, rare, and duplicated on regular CD. The stuff will sound about the same on a 'normal' audio system. So it's only engineers and audiophiles who care about the nuances of improvements of one format over another. So we wait for a more compelling format. One with a higher value-add for mass consumers. Unless DVD is it. For now.
Do you want to hear something closer to music than what your current digital source provides you? Then spend the money to get it. There is no clear argument for not seeking better source material other than "save your money." The object of our hobby, or obsession, has never been to save money, but always to obtain the best reproduction of sound events. High rez digital, maybe in either format but definitely in SACD, will get you closer to the original event than any other format. You can buy a mid-fi SACD player and improve any hi-end audio system. Will it last forever? Of course not. Will it grow to include every release ever made in every other format? No way. Will it make you a better person for listening to it? Maybe. Will it make your jaw drop and your eyes widen? Without a doubt.
Every advance in technology implies obsolescence of older systems and is often more expensive than what it replaces, especially early in the cycle. But frequently, there is a bigger payback for the bigger investment: better sound, more music.
How much dough did you blow on your last cable upgrade? That was just a refinement of the same old technology of drawing wire. High rez is still digital, but it really is closer to the original promise of digital than CD can ever be. For under a grand you can get a nice player and 20 SACD's. You will hear music reproduced more true to life than ever before.