While i basically agree, the advanced circuitry that is required to make DVD-A and SACD possible should also increase redbook resolution and sound quality at the same time. This is due to the wider bandwidth circuitry, which should result in less phase shift and smearing of high frequencies.
As to price and marketing of discs and artists, that is an absolute joke. Once again, Sony comes up with a superior design format and shoots themselves in the foot. This is proof that you can have both brains and skill and still not know how to use them. Sean
hopefully, even if already dead, will force the mass marketed stuff to push the envelope a little more. Great post...i guess that my question is answered...save up for a turntable instead of a high end dvd/sacd player.
I tested around 30 SACD's on a loaner player and found most of them were not significantly better than their Redbook counterparts were (where comparison available) or would be, IMO. BUT, the few that were recorded with DSD were breathtaking, by far the best recorded sound quality I ever heard, practically supernatural.
So I'd add to your list of problems with SACD acceptance, the fact that most SACD's don't have sound quality justifying the additional fuss and expense.
BTW, a reviewer in the NY Times several months ago may have badly damanged SACD progress. He had similar results in his testing as I did except he apparently did not experience any of those few DSD recordings. He declared in his article that there was no significant sonic difference between SACD and CD.
As we already know, the the regular CD format is only about 20 years old(roughly). Then came the so-called SACD. How long will SACD last? From what going on in the digital field(it is basically computer technology), it might be already outdated since some other "far better format" is brewing right now.
It took me a long time to collect some of my favourite CDs. I don't want to do that again and buying the same title in SACD format(I don't think I can find it in SACD format).
When I compare any digital format to my analog turntable system, they both sound horrible. The best thing is that the LP format is roughly 80 to 90 years old and it won't obsolete..............
SACD RIP, who wants the same limited titles available when cd's first roamed the earth
once again Sony fails to learn from BETA-MAX
maybe they can start selling typewriters to college students?
DVD-A - a limited future, the video market will get people buying the inexpensive combo players which are better than their cheap cd systems. must expand the titles available and bring the prices down soon
LP - withstands time but in a small scale
cd - long life with upsampling and remastering improving things further (treat yourself to a new dac)
The music industry can still save SACD/DVD-A, by simply phasing out production of redbook-only disks, and selling hi-res disks (readable on CD players, of course) for at most a nominal amount more than the current price of CDs. Then, over time, consumers will build up collections of hi-res disks, and the audio companies can market hi-res players as a way to "get the most out of the disks you've already got." I don't see any other way to make this plane fly, Orville. (Also, this will only work if there's a single hi-res format. Otherwise, the slogan becomes, "Get the most out of half the disks you've got." Not exactly catchy.)
I also agree with Joe on hi-res digital vs. optical. For good clean sound, my vote goes to digital. But for obsessive fun, vinyl's got it all. Plus, there really is software out there, albeit used.
To some extent, though, this debate is a little short-sighted. Eventually, disks themselves will be obsolete, and you'll just download everything you want (for a fee) at whatever resolution you want into your terabit iPod. Once the bandwidth is there, hi-res becomes very feasible.
I have no fundamental disagreement with the premise -- I haven't spent a dime on either SACD or DVD-A because the format war hasn't been resolved. (A similar logic applies for me to the whole 6.1, 7.1, 10.2, etc., approach to home theater. I have a very good 5.1 system that works just dandy in my home, and until the storage medium for video sees a quantum jump, I can't see any sense in just buying more speakers and more amps.) Of the two formats, DVD-A has the greater likelihood of mass market acceptance, simply because it is more compatible with DVD-V playback.
The other cogent point that has not gotten discussed is that both SACD and DVD-A may soon be obsolete due to the next leapfrog in optical storage medium technology: fluorescent multilayer disks (FMD). FMD has many layers (up to about 100, as I recall) and uses a dichroic dye that has a very short fluorescing time, which acts like an on-off switch when illuminated by a laser beam. The chief advantage of MFD's is that they can store a vastly larger amount of data than either SACD or DVD-A, and thus offer much greater potential for high definition video recording (to say nothing of audio). The theoretical data storage limit for FMD, as I understand it, is roughly equivalent to 470 CD's (at the theoretical maximum of 100 layers and 300 gigabytes). The technology for FMD already exists, and may appear in consumer products in several years. So, we may soon see the launch of a much-superior storage medium that will make SACD and DVD-A largely irrelevant. (For more info about FMD's, there was a very good article on this technology in Widescreen Review magazine, issue 55.)
The only quarrel I have is with Joe's suggestion to buy a $3-6K CD player. To my mind, it makes much better sense to buy a good CD transport and an excellent separate DAC unit that can be upgraded as necessary. Frankly, given the state of the format wars right now, I couldn't advise anyone to buy a top-end standalone CD deck.
I also agree that vinyl is a format that appeals mainly to those who already own a lot of vinyl, or who just love the inherent appeal of the analog process. I have a substantial investment in my LP collection and analog front end, but if I had not begun building an LP collection some 40 years ago, I seriously doubt I would bother now.
Joe; I too am in almost total agreement with your thread post. The one place I disagree is that SACD or DVD-A or DVD-V has something like 7 times the storage capacity of a redbook CD, and in the LONG, LONG term this gives it a significant advantage over CD (but maybe not for music?).
BTW,I've now seen SACDs for $17.-- same as "new release" CDs. But my local small town music dealer has never even heard of SACDs-- and they've been out 3 years or so? Amazing.
Right now though, you're right on-- industry is fumbling with converting from a basically low storage disc to a high storage disc-- at least for music. And I for one am not about to give up my ever growing CD collection. As you noted, CDs can sound excellent too, and at age 59, that's where I'm staying. Maybe someday the next generation can look back to the golden age of CDs. Good Luck to us all. Craig
Nice post Scott. The FMD technology you describe sounds very "Star Trekish". Craig
yep...Noel are you listening? Abandon the SACD thing, it is dead before it is born. All the reasons already listed and more besides.
No, it may be “better” under the right circumstances but it isn’t better enough and accessible enough to make it work. The business model doesn’t seem to scale to the average consumer very well and the high end audiophile can’t support a specialized product like this without tons and tons more software. Despite the gear orientation many of us in this hobby, most, are musicphiles too.
If I go looking for a redbook CD today I have 10s or thousands of choices in every genre imaginable. SACD? DVDA? What a couple hundred after 3 years? Some of us have collections of CDs and LPs in the thousands, what are we supposed to do, replace all this? Give me improvements that make my current software better not the other way around. No, they are dead they just hasn’t fallen over yet.
PS Sony isn’t so dumb, remember the Walkman? Sony was also one of the founding members for DVD video weren’t they? DVD players are the hottest selling electronics in history. My local Blockbuster is supposed to be one of the pilot stores to convert to almost 100% DVD, now that’s software.
Bye bye to SACD and DVDA…they were so young, but you know what they say, “Only the good die young”.
I hate to admit it, but SACD and probably DVD-A are not going to make it. That's a shame, really. I have a DVD-A player with an Outlaw outboard base management box and it works great in multi-channel mode. I would not bother with 2-channel DVD-A. There are,of course, drawbacks--lack of popular discs, pricing, and some pretty mundane music. The biggest problem I see is the record companies who are more concerned with copy protection than marketing a good product. I've heard SACD at audio shows, but I have never seen a disc in a retail store(Tallahassee). At least my DVD-A player is a good DVD player in and of itself. What to do? I will continue to listen to my 1000+ vinyl collection and to my CDs on my 2-channel tube based system (I just bought a pair og Quicksilver tube amps off this site and love them). By the way, the best CDs I've heard are JVC XRCDs. They are without a doubt the best produced and re-mastered CDs you can buy.
Got off track a little bit but there is a lot of good stuff to listen to
Why it has taken so long for the consumer to understand what is basically common knowledge within the manufacturing community is perhaps the real question here. While I agree with the basic premise of the article, I would add that DVD-A will continue to grow in market share, if only due to its close association with DVD-V. While neither I, nor anyone else harbors any illusion of DVD-A "taking off" it should continue to enjoy slow but positive growth over time. At some point in time, it is highly likely that all DVD players sold (except perhaps those at the very bottom of the price point) will include support for DVD-A material.
What is truly interesting is the fact that a small scale war has been in progress for sometime and the battle ground has been the high end community. The reasons for this are simple; the high end market is considered a ÂsafeÂ place to wage a war. Why would super powers choose to lob bombs at each other, when they can pick a small ÂislandÂ where they can test out their latest weapon, all at the same time being careful not to disturb eitherÂs home lands? With willing participants (perhaps unknowingly) like the high end press and the small audiophile record labels, it is a simple matter to throw a very small amount of resources at the battle. Just like its equivalent third world counterpart, the only real victims are those that must endure the battle, in this case, it is the high end community. The fragmentation and confusion that this struggle has caused has been very costly to the growth of the high end industry. To truly understand the reasons, one only needs to Âfollow the moneyÂ then everything becomes clear.
I agree - especially since HDCDs and XRCDs sound so doggone good - and CHEAP, too - I recently scored 5 HDCDs off the Internet and paid a total of $21 for all 5, delivered to my door!! Sony has a history of fuck-ups, and I'm not about to jump on their broken-down SACD bandwagon. Long live HDCD/XRCD!!
BTW, if you dig Roxy Music, their "Avalon" HDCD is a gift from Heaven - it sounds *marvelous*. And The Other Ones' HDCD "The Strange Remain" 2 cd set is going for $7.00 on Half.com - this is a deal and a half, boys! I'm *still* trying to find the Creedence XRCDs that Garfish exclaimed about, anybody know of a supplier?
SACD will succeed because the companies that are producing the music want it to. The lesson has been learned by the music comapanies that if they don't copy protect their product, they can't stop "piracy". The new formats are copy protected, in their digital form, and that is the goal. They are not about to let MP3, Napster, and all that happen again. Also, the Sony patent on CD is running out, so that is going to get the phase-out treatment just like vinyl did. All the new players will have CD and SACD capability so you can play the old and the new. But, you won't digitally record the new. The music companies and the big electronics industry dictates what we will listen to and on what format. It is a top down structure. We will get what they decide to give us. In the case of SACD, I'll take it. Anyone who can't hear the difference between CD and SACD is deaf.Just play the Tubular Bells disc on a good redbook player and then on an SACD player. If you don't hear the difference, then take up golf, or some other hobby. I do not bemoan the demise of CD, as it was technically flawed from the outset. All of this audiophile hocus pocus over the last 20 years was simply trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. And remember, none of the audiophile griping affected the market dominance of CD after a few years. It was shoved down our throats whether we liked it or not. Yes, a few of us stayed with analog. My prediction is that SACD will provide the "Trojan Horse" of copy protected software that the industry desperately wants. We should just be glad that they are giving us a little "sugar", in the form of higher resolution, with the poison of copy protection. Copy protection was coming anyway. So at least we will get a little better sound along with it. IMHO.
Twl: I've had the same suspicion you do, that the record companies will embrace hi-res because it's a medium they can copy-protect. But they can't just shove it down our throats; they have to sell it to us. And I can't see the market that matters (that would be non-audiophiles) spending an extra $5 a disk for something that isn't obviously an improvement--and to them, it certainly won't be. That's why I think a complete switchover to redbook-compatible hi-res disks at near CD prices is the only way.
I think most of us are going to play golf...........
Now you are the only consumer left..................
and for sure SACD will die........
I agree that the industry wants to find a way to protect CDs but these are the same folk who made available to the public CD burners. Made them cheap enough to put in every PC made in the world. As for protection, DVD video was protected but now recordable DVD players are becoming standard equipment on PCs. Regardless of the format, someone will find a way to re-record it. After all, they make copies of those CDs for resale right? That means the copier already exists, it just isn’t cheap enough for the consumer to buy it…yet. I think you would be 100% right if all the electronics companies were owned by the software companies but thankfully, that has not happened…yet.
I don't think the manufacturers are so hot on the new format, if they were, we would see thousands of new CDs sporting the format.
Vinyl didn’t disappear because the bad men at the top made it disappear, it is because the average joe/jolean couldn’t see the value in analog and CD was sooo much more convenient and so much better than cassettes (the other option). Vinyl was already losing to cassettes and CDs were so much better than tape it was a no brainer choice. Just like DVD is superior to VHS, nobody is forcing DVD down anyone’s throat, the fact is, once someone sees DVD they never want to go back. The SACD story is not as compelling. Although everyone I know who is an audiophile says SACD is better than conventional 2 channel, the difference isn’t so clear to joe/jolean. We hear the difference because we are trained. If it was blow-you-away better, where no person could deny it, like DVD vs VHS, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So vinyl lost because it was a pain to maintain for the consumer, not because the executives decided to thrust it upon an innocent unassuming population.
Yes, the big guns try and drive things to a degree but they have to rely on the public to respond. They have hyped this thing for 3 years and the mainstream, the real money, isn’t buying it. Now, I haven’t even mentioned the extra costs involved with multiple channels. No, the road is too long and too rough. SACD/DVD-A is not going to make it. I will bet you a CD of my choice in my format vs one of your choice in your format, what do ya say?
TWL, I hope you are right. SACD is better and I hope we at least get there. However, unlike Scott, I've taken the full plunge in the multi-channel department and now have 27 speakers (that's 22.5) in my living room.
If you think SACD is high res you need to get a new cd player! Its just another mass market gimmick. I do think DVD-A is high res but the gain is not worth the price of the disc!
Bbtuna hits on a lot of good points.
SACD and DVD - A have failed(I feel OK in saying that) because they offer nothing to 99.9% of the public. Neither offers the improvement over vinyl or cassette that the CD offered. DVD - V vs VHS is analogous to CD vs cassette. It only took 15 more years.
How does the sonic superiority of SACD over CD come across on a boom box? How do you justify a 5.1 channel DVD - A in an automobile?
Unlike Kevin Halverson, I feel that the failure is the direct result of not duking it out in public. The rest of the world decides what is a success, and what is a failure. They pay the royalties, we just exist on what can be gleaned from the already available. We don't keep companies like Sony in business. It's the DVD players, the tvs, the phones, the ...
The foolish companies involved target both mediums at us. We, the lunatic fringe are left to decide which of the two high resolution formats is to be deemed the chosen one? It is incredibly stupid.
Audiophiles are not interested in players from the likes of Sony, Philips, Technics, and Toshiba. We buy Audio Aero, Cary, Linn, Musical Fidelity, and the like because they are able to make their machines sound better. Which is all that we are really interested in when it comes to this hobby. But those companies only venture into new technology when they are confident the medium is established and it offers good value. Good value for the companies and the audiophile consumers. Just look at companies like Musical Fidelity and Audio Research. They could have produced an SACD or DVD - A player, but they instead produced CD players instead.
If the powers that be want either of these formats to succeed, they need to do one thing. Put out the software that will create the demand for the hardware. That means rather than Miles Davis and Muddy Waters, they need to sell Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Ja Rule, Mary J. Blige, NSYNC, Madonna, DMX, No Doubt, etc. in only SACD or DVD - A. At CD prices. THAT is the music that sells. They would be amazed how many people would then line up at Best Buy for a high resolution player.
If your premise were correct then we would have a much,much larger inventory of copy protected sacd's as we speak.Not only that, but we have seen a recreation of the overnite vinyl phase out of the mid 80's happening to cd's...didn't happen! Just because the patent runs out doesn't mean that all the cd manufacturing plants will automatically switch over to making copy protected cd/sacd hybrid disc's.In fact that is the least likely scenario due to cost conversion, the need to jack up the price of this new cd.and the need to buy a new player.(audiophiles would revolt at the thought of buying a decent hybrid player to hear this newly corrupted medium and their copy protected cd's) I think you can already see that the majors are very,very careful about copy protecting cd's right now because of the backlash that will and has occured from the patent holders of the redbook standard,i.e. any cd w/copy protection will and should be labled as not conforming to the cd standard.
And also remember that sony is by far THE largest and most sucessful electronics manufacturer. Do you really think that a sony/philips patent will just walk out their door?As for SACD vs. CD it all depends on your ears and your equipment.Just because T/bells sounds better to you on sacd doesn't mean that holds true for everyone.I can find cd's that will blow away sacd disc's that's all personal taste nothing more .
Hey, I'm sticking with my "state of the art" el-cassette deck!
I still think analog is better than everything so far. I don't have a turntable setup, but I used to have a very good one and I hear the difference. I think SACD is next best. I have some CDs that I think sound quite good. However, I have a difference of opinion with some posters on this thread about the strength of the big corporations. We will surely see what the outcome is. All I really want is a good sounding format to succeed. I have an SACD/CD/DVD player, but if SACD does not succeed, I do not really have a problem changing over to whatever does. I agree wholeheartedly with the posters who complained about the lack of SACD software. I have found only a few that I really wanted out of the whole list. I don't really know why they haven't been more forthcoming with alot of titles. I do think, though, that the copy protection issue will drive the future format winner. And, whatever we get, I hope to God that they don't decide to do some kind of copy-protected compressed crap like MP3. If all they worry about is mass consumers, then that's what it might be. And even though some posters do not agree, if the new format is all that is produced, then that is what everyone will have to buy. You can't buy something that the record companies don't make, if you want commercial pre-recorded music. And if they decide to do that, the sales to the generally dumb public will provide the revenue needed because, as we can see with this Rap stuff and such, they will buy anything. And they will pay $25 a copy for it because that is what they all will cost. I don't know the answer, but I sure know the problem. I hope it comes out good for us in the end.
Re: Rlwainrights question about CCR CDs. The new re-masters were done using JVCs 20Bit K2 technology which is just PART of the XRCD process, but the new CCR CDs sound much better than the old originals. I emailed Rl.
The new CCR CDs should be available in just about any full service music store, but please note that they are not specifically an XRCD disc. The XRCD technology is actually a "process" used from beginning to end to produce these superior CDs.
This is an interesting topic to kick around but nobody knows the outcome for sure-- I just hope it sounds good. I also hope CDs will be around for years to come. I've heard SACD on a good system and was not particularly impressed-- but no CD to do a direct comparison. The BEST digital I have ever heard is Jacintha's new XRCD2 on my own system. Cheers. Craig.
I think we should all convert back to the original cutting edge medium...8 tracks
Untill Pioneer came out with players that could play both new mediums (too little, too late?) it forced the 1%'ers (consumers who must have cutting edge) to choose or buy both , in either case risking the embarssment of being suckered.
For the true pioneers ( the literal, not the company) a lack of digital out not only denied them copying but an uncompromised out put into digital room correction and equalization.
For the audiophile the lack of a digiatal out was an anathema. Thier past experience with early all in one digital players with cheap op-amps, weak power supplies and generally dissapointing performance had shown that the most improvement could be made with out board DAC's. The very same DAC's that now made thier vast libraries listenable. So much was made of the surround sound potential the new formats. But audiophiles knew that balancing 2 channels was challenging enough (and expensive enough). If asymetrical rooms provide the best sound tell me how you can balance a surround sound system where some speakers have more distance to the sides and others have more distance to the rear. Never mind that in this over populated world, how many people have a room large enough to sit in the center and allow for proper driver integration? IMHO opinion the only way to make this work at all (never mind just practical) is with room correction, but Duh thats not possable. I'm sure I'm not the only out here that argues
that I won't add anything that doesn't sound at least as good as what I have. Now I don't know about you but I can't justify the expense for, I don't know lets say 1000 recordings between them , many which I already own, and get this the majority of which haven't even been recorded with the very same technology they are trying to sell, in fact many were recorded with even older technology than the one they aim to replace. Lets also consider how they presented the current formats. Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital, DTS, 96/24, CDR, CDRW, DVD, DVD A,DVD RAM, DVD Audio, SACD 2 Channel, SACD surround,coax,toslink,component, Progressive scan it goes on and on with more to come, but the compatability certanly doesn't. Now we have already been through Edison cylinder (brilliant, same speed all the time),33.3,45,78, reel to reel, 8 track, casette, el casette, mini disk, DAT, a boat load of quadrophonics, etc.,etc.. AT least to some degree there was a sense of evolution. Today everything is thrust upon the consumer as revolution. No wonder the consumer is skeptical. Perhaps we should take a deep breath and set up a forum amongst ourselves and decide what we want instead of being told what we want. As was posted earlier we have been the beta group all along. Enough is enough! Forgive my rantings, I'll step off the soapbox now.
Remember back when we were still using 18 to 20bit DAC chips and HDCD came out? HDCD was suppose to be the future. Then 24bit DAC chips came out that made standard Redbook CDs sound as good, and HDCD was almost gone overnight.
I suppose soon we will have our new 32bit redbook DAC chips that will sound as good as SACD. This will be the final nail in the coffin.
I now have 53 SACDs, with 7 on the way. This is more than the number of CDs I bought in the first 12 years of it's existence. My LPs are wearing out; my SACDs shouldn't wear out in my lifetime. Please don't declare the end until there is no new hardware or software, which certainly isn't the case at the moment.
Oh, Lord, "Clueless" has thrown down the gauntlet! Now I will have to set up three 10.2 systems in my house, which given its modest dimensions will mean that systems must be added to the bathroom and the kitchen (and maybe the garage). How in the world do I convince my wife this is a good move?....
I bought a new DVD player with DVD-A ability and bought 2 DVD-A s and have to say while one disc really sounded EXCELLENT the other did not! So with the cost of these things I have to agree ! However I tend to think that where they need to make progress in the sound of the product (cds) is in the DAC . So with that in mind go check out the April ( I believe ) issue of Stereophile and read SAM TELLIGS article about the new Musical Fidelity A324 DAC . Sam says this thing makes your current cd player or transport sound almost as good as SACD !!!! Says it makes your 6 dollar used disc sound almost as good as the 20-25 buck SACD . So if that is the case then SACD AND DVD-A are REALLY DEAD, GONE , and FORGOTTEN!!!!!!!!
While i can't say that i've listened to a lot of SACD, much of it has been very dissapointing. Then again, i've also heard it sound pretty solid, so a lot of it would boil down to individual recordings and / or system synergy.
Out of curiosity, has anyone else noticed fatigue when listening to SACD's at all ? On two different occasions and two different systems i've had this experience. I do know that we were using discs from one specific "hi-end" recording company at both times, so maybe it is a problem with something that they are doing. Sean
In the digital age, new formats are born to die. The hardware and software (music) industries are working at cross-purposes. Movies now drive the hardware, ownership protection the software. The average music consumer just wants affordability, portability, and easy access. DVD will stick for a while because it is the CD to VHS's LP. DSD will persist as an archival recording and remastering standard because it is flexible in that capacity. DVD-A and SACD will flail in the wind and nobody will notice or care, except for hopeful audiophiles, about whom nobody notices or cares (nor should they). CD's and MP3's will continue until the content providers eventually leave behind the hardware/disk paradigm altogether. Will any of this matter to me in an age in which the dominant popular musicvideocelebrityindustryproductadvertisementmachine is dead as an art form? (I gaze fondly toward several nice-sized stacks of recently liberated-by-me obscure old scratchy mono 45's and frankly don't give a damn....)
"...Sound almost as good as SACD...".Stupid afirmation.SACD is not the reference as all digital should be compared.there are true Reference CD Players(Accuphase,Audio Aero Capitole,Linn...),vastly superior to any SACD!!
no one has mentioned the trouble with recording multiple channel yet
I have heard some of these recordings that sound like a 1970s quad sound engineer got a hold of them
I guy is playing sax and I hear a cymbol, clearly cut through the music...behind me
Someone needs to tell them we are trying to recreate a live experience not just an interesting one
JB7272 just wait until the next issue when Telig completely reverses his position or at the very least modifies it to some degree as he always does. He is of absolutley no use to consumers. Between selling scam trips to where ever he's interested in travelling to, advising you to rub some miracle liquid on your CD's that may actualy deterioate them or to not having any usable measurements appear for months after the review (and after changing his mind), telling about what Scotch he drank and with whom to what a nice piece of salmon he ate the other night I have no respect for his opinion. I believe his popularity arose from his "audio cheapskate" days when many new audiophiles wanted to join in but not make the financial commitment. In all fairness he always admitted to his own neurosis and he is one of the best writters (not reviewers)in the biz. Upsampling has some promise but a better original format with at least the same selection availability, compatabilty, similar price point, and with out denial of an upgrade path is long over due.
Sean, I noticed fatigue listening to a Sony 1. I'm not sure, but I think it was when listening to DSD... Possibly due to hi-frequency mismatch with the rest of the system? I don't really know -- but I do remember that upon leaving the room I felt momentarily relieved. I also remember it sounding very good! Cheers!
Sean, I have experienced some of the fatigue you mention. It's very surprising because among SACD's most obvious qualities to me is that it sounds very relaxed and completely free of edginess.
...no wonder for me since I've NEVER listened SACD on quite a few reasons:
1. There is no music I can find that I like printed on SACDs.
2. There is no SACD player that is affordable to me or at-least worth paying money for
3. I can't afford buying SACDs in the quantities that I have records and red-book CDs.
4. I love analogue.
Interesting that a few people have noticed listener fatigue with SACDs. This is pure speculation on my part, but it is possible that SACDs are being mastered with a little extra "sizzle" of the kind that can get to you after awhile. Maybe to make the comparison with CD more dramatic (wouldn't be the first time), or maybe for no particular reason at all. ("Hey, does this sound better to you? Let's do it.")
One thing to remember about cross-media comparisons: mastering matters a lot. All it takes is a little EQ to make two otherwise identical recordings sound dramatically different. A good thing to keep in mind when evaluating new formats.
Pardon me while I go burn a "best of" Fabulous T-Birds CD-R. The recordings are mediocre at best but the MUSIC IS GREAT. I have many obsessions, but SACD and DVD-A are not among them-- at least for now. Cheers. Craig
Obviously, it would be easy to agree with the majority of your comments on SACD/DVD-A but just as easy to disagree. To take the opposing viewpoint: I love SACD. Here's why. Five years ago, if I could have had an audiophile dream, I would have imagined a brand new format, with improved sampling rate and resolution. You know, CD done right, like it should have been done in the first place. Of course, that would have only been a dream, unapproachable, never to happen. To think that this has happened at all is amazing. Now, as we speak, you can actually buy a "Class A rated" SACD player for $550 (on ebay) and have hundreds of software titles sitting down at Best Buy for easy convenience. It's incredible. It's an audiophile blessing! It's an acceptable digital format. CD is the bare minimum. Its 44.1 kHz sampling rate is a dead giveaway that the ability of the human ear/brain was not valued highly enough. It's just enough sampling rate to cover up to 20 kHz. As for resolution and dynamic range, 16 bit is approximately 65,000 amplitude possibilities. Give the human ear/brain more credit than that. Especially when you're talking about a seasoned audiophile.
Okay, maybe Sony is blowing the SACD marketing, and maybe it is going to die out. That would be terrible. But, its not dead yet. Right now it is still pushing forward. It appears to be better suited as an audiophile format rather than a mass market format. If audiophiles take this advancement in technology and adopt the "gloom and doom" approach, nothing will ever happen for us. We will be the ungrateful ones who spit on the new formats.
1. Concerning the artists that are chosen as SACD releases: Many of the artists who have SACD titles may have low mass market appeal but also have high audiophile market appeal. That is another reason for audiophiles to embrace this format. If all that was available on SACD was driven by the top 40 Billboard rankings, we'd really be in a mess. I probably don't need NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears on SACD. There may be little to gain from them. For great music with many layers of information hidden in it, SACD can reveal musical detail unattainable by CD, no matter how good the CD players get. Remember, they will still be 16 (or 20) bit, 44.1 kHz. Upsample as you may, you will always be limited by the world length (16 or 20 bit ) and sampling rates of CD. Upsampling is a wonderful and glorified example of interpolation. On the other end of the spectrum, MP3 is another example of interpolation. Upsampling for CDs is becoming more common. The fact that CDs can benefit from it just shows that their original world length is not adequate. I PREFER real resolution, not interpolated resolution. Yes, I'll take my CDs upsampled please, because they need it but I would rather have something that already has an adequate word length.
2. First of all, for the sake of arguing about price, it sounds much worse to say that SACDs cost $25 than to take a look around and realize the truth is that they are $16.99 for Stereo and $18.99 for Multi-Channel/Stereo at Best Buy. $16.99 is only about $3 more than a CD. I'm willing to pay that much for the sonic improvements being offered. We pay alot more than that for an MFSL, DCC, or other re-mastered version of a CD. And I must say that the players don't really cost that much more either. Of course, they will get cheaper, but right now you can get a DVD/CD/SACD Multi-Channel player for $199. That is affordable. And, as I said earlier, you can get a "Class A rated" SACD Multi-channel player for $550 on ebay. I have one, and I believe it deserves its Class A rating for both SACD and rebook CD.
3. Much of the music industry is embracing SACD. Software titles are available and more are on their way. They are putting some time and effort into SACD. Just because they are busy fighting MP3 doesn't mean they're not doing other things. They are offering quality over quantity. 99% of the time, a pound of gold is worth more than 100 pounds of dirt.
4. SACD offers a clear cut advantage: measurable and perceivable increase in dynamic range, resolution, and frequency response. What does the average person get? They get what I just mentioned, they just can't appreciate those qualities. But audiophiles can ! Maybe we should embrace SACD and tell people that it is better than CD instead of assuming it is going to die out soon.
5. There is no reason to think there will be compromises on the CD playback chain as SACD players become more affordable. As always, time brings better technology. CD will get better in SACD players, not worse.
My recommendation: Embrace SACD and enjoy the benefits it has to offer. I hope this response is taken for what it is, just food for thought. There are always many angles at which to look at something. Somehow, mine is always right. Bufus.
Good Post Bufus!Which player did you get?Sacd owners buy more and they will release more.SACD's sound as good as MFSL Gold cd's[cheaper too] and sound better so far to me.I'm happy with my $200 Sony SACD/DVD player.When more titles are released I will upgrade my SACD player or have it modded which will sound even better.Roger Waters,Byrds,Carol King SACD vs Redbook=No contest.Santana Abraxes,B,S&Tears vs MFSL=SACD has the edge.Can't compare but Tchaikovsky 1812 is incredible. System is all tube including surrounds,dac,preamp,amps maybe why I don't get fatigued listening.By the way R.Waters SACD 5.1 Analog sounds better than 5.1 Dolby digital DVD,Much Fuller sounding.I hope all the format's get better thus more to choose from.Enjoy the Music!
You will know what the next format is when it is available as an option on Chevrolets....
I warm to Bob's positive attitude. But, can we get the plethoric disography available on the cheapo (and poor-sounding IMO) cd medium on sacd -- *with* sonic advantage? Advantage, that is, commensurate with the investment that we will have to make? (I mean, the average music collection on this site runs in the thousands... we speak mostly of gear, but the underlying factor is satisfactory reproduction of MUSIC).
As Bob notes, just food for thought; SACD *did* sound good to my ears -- but how can I get Furtwangler (Hooker, Davis, etc) on DSD mode?
J k: lol, you write like Oscar Wilde revisited :) Good for you, that's probably future reality!
Actually, there is probably alot of truth about knowing what the next format is when it is available as an option on Chevrolets. Chances are, that will be DVD-A. There are already DVD players showing up in mini-vans. It wouldn't take much more to throw in the DVD-A part of it. Around here (DaimlerChrysler) we would probably go with DVD-A. There are no set plans that I know of. I really can't imagine us building a player that supports SACD. But, since there are beginning to be processors that support DVD-A and SACD both, who's to say? (I think the new Apex DVD/DVD-A/SACD/CD player uses one of these processors.)
According to a salesman at Crutchfield, SACD car players and walkmans are coming this summer. BTW, I have experienced the opposite type of listener fatigue as the others mentioned. When I listen to SACD, I am relaxed. When I listen to even good CDs, I notice a tenseness, especially in my shoulders because that is where I usually tense up from other stress. When I put on Weather Report(Heavy Weather)SACD, my shoulders just relax and I feel like I am listening to a vinyl album - almost. Just my observation. Another thing I am noticing here on this thread is that many of the SACD doomsday predictors talk about not wanting to buy new software, or they have big money invested in Linn,Audio Aero,or other megabuck CD players. Could it be that they don't want SACD to succeed because of their large vested interest in the CD format? Just a thought. Also, there is the usual resistance to change that may be showing up here, too. I listen to both CD and SACD regularly. I think it is easy to tell that SACD sounds better. I welcome the new format and I really hope that they come out with more titles quickly. I can listen to CDs all I want on the same player as SACD. My CD collection is not obsolete and it will sound just as good as it ever did. I will buy an SACD player for my car. The comparison reminds me of when I was buying a turntable and some people told me that direct drive was the best. It was obvious to me that good belt drive sounded better. Everyone laughed when I spent thousands on a Linn analog setup, and they all had Technics DD tables. It can't be better, they said. But more information got into the system and resulted in better sound. If there is more music information on SACD, which there IS, then the result will be heard out of the speakers. I really don't see why this is so controversial. If anyone wants to jump on me about the comparison, I will say that, given equal quality of players, the SACD will outperform the redbook CD. If you want to campare a Linn CD12 to a $199 cheap SACD player to confirm your predisposition, then by all means delude yourself. But, on a level playing field, SACD is better. I think it's funny that some say XRCD is great and then they don't like SACD. That is like saying, I like Ferrari, but only the mid priced line. Not those better ones. To each his own, but this is my humble opinion.
I think that most people have admitted that SACD sounds better but that doesn’t mean it will or should be adopted. I think you are right about comparing players of equal quality. This is my experience. The SACD players don’t play redbook as well as a comparably priced cd player. Example; SCD1 (5k) compared to Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 3D CD player (5k). SCD1 you get the benefit of quality SACD but the regular CD play on the unit is comparable to, say a $1500 to $2000 player. If someone could come up with a player that did both equally well, then I say go SACD. If not, the prospect of having two players, which a friend of mine does, to be able to do both is inappropriate for the high end hobbiest.
Now joe/jolean average public don’t care about the difference, but almost everyone posting on here does. I like the idea of 24/192 upsampling getting more refined because it improves every disc I put in the machine and not only the specially treated ones. I don’t think it is quite SACD but it isn’t far away and if the industry keeps striving for improvements I think it can give SACD a run for its money.
“Another thing I am noticing here on this thread is that many of the SACD doomsday predictors talk about not wanting to buy new software, or they have big money invested in Linn,Audio Aero,or other megabuck CD players. Could it be that they don't want SACD to succeed because of their large vested interest in the CD format?”
Well, I think that is taking a bit of a shot at people without knowing for sure but even so, “So what?” Many of the people have mega bucks invested in their CD collections and it makes sense that there might be some resistance to something that might make them replace the whole dang thing. Put the shoe on your foot, what if someone was introducing a new way of delivering vinyl that was clearly better (ha, not in our lifetime). But this meant you had to get rid of your current turntable and to buy different vinyl at 80% more than you currently pay. What then? What if the turntable they replaced it with couldn’t do your previous collection? What if it could do the collection but it was not as good as your old set up but you still had to pay the same amount for the table as you did your last one. This is wear many of us are at. I think this is a real and legitimate concern.
The recently released muti-layered CDs are kind of cool and I think they could help SACD/DVD-A survive. However, the price of these discs needs to come down to joe and jolean’s level or the plane just won’t fly.
Well it will be fun to see how the whole thing shakes out.
Chrysler, Ford, Chevy, Toyota... Who cares... For this hobby, you are going to have to take a risk if you want to ride the edge of the wave of technology.
I think the main issue here is the lack of people willing to make a commitment to a changing industry and finding out that they made the wrong commitment. High end Manufacturers are having the same trouble with this decision. My point with the automobile analogy was you will know the next mainstream media form when all of the auto vendors offer it in the dash.
I personally have a good upper end digital play back system with a collection of media that cost 2x more than the player.. I would welcome a $150.00 box to blow it away -- then I could turn more cash towards my other hobbies.. I won't buy one right now 'cause there is only a handful of SACDs I would really like to get.
Yep, been saving for a vinyl setup also.... Had a HDCD, Laser disk, Beta, 8 track, reel to reel, cassette.... It is going to be a while before this settles out any time soon. Just look how long it is taking for HDTV to catch on with the 2 or so satellite channels available + network channels... Sounds suspiciously like the same issue.
My point -- I am just as anxious to get a format that SOUNDS BETTER in all circumstances at all price points than CD or vinyl as the rest of you. In the meanwhile, take advantage of all the bargains on people itching to ditch their CD, SACD and DVD-A players.. Yhe cost to performance ratio has never been better...
To answer Jdlepera, my SACD player is a Sony SCD-C555ES. It is rated Class A in the latest recommended components list of Stereophile. I think mine is more than 90% broken in and it really brings out more detail and has more transparency in regular CD playback than my Rega Planet. The cool thing about this Sony is that you can get a brand new one for $549 on ebay right now. It is SACD Multi-channel, plays CD-R/CD-RW, and is a 5 disc changer. That makes it a steal when you consider the features and performance it offers. Stereophile labels it as an outstanding value even at its $1200 retail price tag.