whats the lowdown on SACD

paulf-2007

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I have a dvd player that plays SACD but not having any SACD's I know nothing about them. In fact I have never experienced SACD. Is the sound quality better than cd or does the whole chain of kit have to be top notch as I suspect it would to make any difference.

 

catcando

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Hi Paul

I think it is a bit like watching an HD channel, on a non HD set; you can still see, and appreciate the difference.

With SACD, it is the same; many of the SACDs are better sounding; some because of the SACD format, and others, because of better mastering, etc.

You can hear they are better, but of my multitude of CDs, only a handful are SACD.

 

paulf-2007

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thanks Gregg, so a bit hit and miss just like ordinary cd and vinyl, some good and some not so good. So I may as well not bother, that way I won't miss anything if I haven't heard it.

 

f1eng

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thanks Gregg, so a bit hit and miss just like ordinary cd and vinyl, some good and some not so good. So I may as well not bother, that way I won't miss anything if I haven't heard it.
Spot on. The recording quality makes much more difference than the medium it is distributed on. I am underwelmed by SACD since most of what I want to listen to isn't available on SACD and I'd sooner listen to music I like over the phone than shite at supreme sound quality...

 

MrSammy

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One other point is that your DVD player may convert the SACD to PCM rather than play DSD straight from the SACD so you may not be hearing pure DSD at all but a rate converted PCM which may well defeat the whole point of the exercise. It's often quite hard to tell what is going on with a digital signal with these off the shelf chip sets.

 

meninblack

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If you like classical, there are a lot of very nice recordings on SACD. If you like rock or pop, not so much. Lots were released in the early days of SACD but the format never caught on, so used ones can go for £££.

As others say, the quality of the recording itself is FAR more important - same with hi-rez downloads.

 

gjm

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This is something which still gives me cause to pause and think.

I have SACDs, and CDs. If playing a CD via a CDP, output is typically from the coaxial connection to my DAC, and then on to a pre-amp. If playing SACD this isn't possible, of course.

However, the real eye-opener for me was just after we moved and listening to Hiromi's "Another Mind", a hybrid SACD - it has both SACD and CD playback. The 'system', if it can be called that, was an unmodified Oppo BDP-83 and a Panasonic LCD TV, but the musical quality of the sound was so much better than I had expected. It was genuinely enjoyable to listen to.

Playing the disc on a CD player just didn't bring the same involvement. Everything was there, but it was as though the SACD reached far deeper into the music, producing a much more involving experience. The CD playback was good, but much more of a presentation siimlar to looking at a painting in an exhibition. Much less involving.

I like SACD and HDCD. I prefer what I hear. With CD, improving the playback system brings more detail and clarity, like standing closer to the painting. But SACD (especially) involves me in the music, even with budget replay.

 

telecat

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I Have the Denon DVD-2900 which plays SACD without converting to PCM. It's pretty good, so good I spend my time looking for SACD's of my favourite Music. I have several Queen SHM-SACD's from Japan, Most Depeche Mode Remasters and a few others. Some are bargains. Sting's "Sacred Love" for example seems to be about a fiver and the SACD version revived my listening of this album. I would say it is worthwhile having and it to me is clearly superior.

 

gjm

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I'd go as far as to say the difference between SACD and CD can be compared to the difference between CD and vinyl. Not in terms of audio or musical quality, but in as far as there is a difference and one that will leave many people happier with a 'cheaper' solution.

Of course, the relative scarcity of SACDs means this is not a solution for everyone.

 
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Could never see the point. On my Audio Note DAC plain old redbook CDs sound better than any SACD player of whatever price that I've had in the house.

People get carried away over digital formats, resolution, bit depth etc. I'm not saying it has no bearing at all but the quality of the output stage is, for me, the critical factor.

Imagine you could only buy modern vinyl going back say 10 years - combination of a small subset of newly released material, and a few random old potboilers guaranteed to sell. No enormous 60 year back catalogue. The majority of new releases and most of your old favourites not available. (Oh and silly expensive as well).Would you bother with it? I certainly wouldn't.

We have CD, we have vinyl, we have downloads of various resolutions. SACD is a proprietary format that never quite lived up to its promise and while it might limp on, it's not going to achieve mass breakthrough now. There was justification for taking a punt and buying a player in the mid noughties, but not any more. Some decent players out there at cheap money second hand but pointless to buy them just for SACD - they are only worth the money if they have a decent DAC input and make a decent fist of redbook CD as well (unfortunately a lot of them don't).

 

def

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Hi Paul, been a while, hope you're good.

I don't have a great many sacds for the reason that others stated, there arn't a great many available I'd be interested in. If they were available I'd buy them. While mastering will ultimately determine the worth of a recording and cd can sound better than sacd I'd reckon 90%+ of the sacds I have sound better than the equivalent cd. That doesn't necessarily mean it'll turn a lightweight 70's recording into one that will beat a stunning cd master just that it'll likely sound better than the same 70's cd. They generally offer greater clarity and all that comes with it.

Thing is though the rest of the system has to be up to reproducing the greater transparency to get the best from the format, it took me a long time before I began to think sacd was worthwhile in my system. The improvement was minor given their cost.

 

paulf-2007

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all good nick, I thought for a minute you were going to send me some sacd's to try out:p . I totally agree with the kit being as good as possible to notice any difference. Once I have rebuilt my horn/ob speaker boxes and got it all set up I may try to scrounge a loan from someone, possibly something I have on cd ordinaire.

 

def

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all good nick, I thought for a minute you were going to send me some sacd's to try out:p . I totally agree with the kit being as good as possible to notice any difference. Once I have rebuilt my horn/ob speaker boxes and got it all set up I may try to scrounge a loan from someone, possibly something I have on cd ordinaire.
PM me when you're ready

 

JVS

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My Nagra plays SACD ok, but the output is much lower than with CDs so I have to crank up the volume to get the same level.

Any idea why?

 

RichardG

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Could be a different / better master on the SACD layer? Perhaps the dynamic range has been left intact on the SACD layer rather than compressed to death on the CD layer.

Having said that, if it's classical discs you're experiencing the difference in volume with then that's unlikely to be the reason.

 

telecat

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SACD's tend to have a wider range than Modern CD's On my S500 Modern CD's tend to be too loud at 9 o clock on the Volume. SACD, DVD-Audio and older CD's you can "open up" the Volume and get it closer to 11 o'clock without it being too loud.

 

gjm

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There's several things that can cause it, including those listed above. Another is that the kit used for replay is set to output in 5.1 when only 2 channel is being used.

Are the SACDs you've tried produced by Living Stereo? Quite a few SACDs manufacturers used lower gain levels, but Living Stereo were/are particularly guilty of this.

 

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