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Is SACD and DVD-A for me?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Carmel, Maine USA

Post Number: 12
Registered: Jan-06
I wouldn't call myself an audiophile, but I enjoy my music collection and my humble little system.

Rotel RB-1050
Rotel RC-1070
Alegria Lings on homemade stands
Sony ES CDP-555 300 disc changer

I think my weak link in the system is the Sony CD changer and have been thinking about getting something different. My inital thoughts were revolving around a universal player (redbook, SACD, DVD-A) such as the Cambridge DVD-87. I haven't listened to DVD-A or SACD and compared it to a redbook CD. I'm doubting that I'll really hear any difference on my humble system and my untrained ear.

If you were at this point in your audio life, would you opt for a nice redbook CDP or take the plunge into a universal player?
 

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 612
Registered: Mar-04
Aaron, some thoughts...

I think with your setup and even an inexpensive universal player you would see a nice difference between SACD/DVD-A and redbook cds played on your Sony. That difference may get a bit cloudy however when comparing a higher-end redbook CDP with a universal player - I guess you get what you pay for.

My situation - I have a NAD 5.1 receiver and 5 PSB speakers plus a HSU sub. I picked up an inexpensive combo player, the Pioneer 563A a couple years ago ($99), and am generally amazed at how well it does the hi-rez discs. Check eBay for the 563a or its follow-on the 578a. When they show up they generally sell for well under $100 I think. Not a bad price to jump in and test the water.

I think Larry R. has the Cambridge model you mentioned above. Do a search to check out his comments, but I think he's quite happy with it.

Good luck with you decision.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 13
Registered: Jan-06
Thanks Sem. I believe it was one of Larry's posts that got me interested in the Cambridge.

I really need to get out and hear some hi-rez stuff.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 3709
Registered: Dec-04
Your last line says it all. Bytesiz
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 14
Registered: Jan-06
Yeah, yeah... I know.

Time to find a SACD that I already have a redbook cd of...
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 15
Registered: Jan-06
After some poking around here on ecoustics.com, I think I'll pick up the 30th Anniversery Edition of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in Hybrid SACD. I'm already quite familar with the redbook... seems like a logical choice for comparing redbook to hi-rez formats.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4462
Registered: Dec-03
Bytesiz; Yes, but it has been remixed and remastered. I've been asking for a reference disc for fair comparison of CD and SACD for some time.

Dark Side of the Moon has many versions. There is DVD-A, too. I believe they are all different.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 16
Registered: Jan-06
Since it's a hybrid SACD, I'm thinking I could burn a copy of the CD layer using EAC to use as my redbook source. That's assuming the CD and the SACD layers are the same mix...
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4464
Registered: Dec-03
I think they not the same mix. I read a review of an up-market CD/SACD player (Krell I think) sometime in 2004. The reviewer analysed what was on the hybrid disc, and concluded that the two layers carried different mixes - the frequency spectrum was altered as if the two versions had been recorded with different equaliser settings. So the reviewer could not compare the sounds of the two formats, even on one player. I read somewhere else that the same was true of the Bob Dylan SACD re-issues on Sony.

I commented because I have the same question as you and have not found an answer.

All this makes me, at least, sceptical about the claims for audibly better resolution in SACD-DSD sound - the engineers seem to have gone out of their way to prevent a true comparison. How a consumer can decide between them, I have no idea. When we also consider that the original studio masters of these sorts of things were analogue, on recording tape, in the first place, it is difficult not to feel bamboozled by the various claims being made. If the SACD of a 60s or 70s recording is really better than the CD, it must be because it is closer to the analogue source. Do digital cannot be better than analogue, after all.....

I have a few SACD-CD hybrid discs, and took some to dealers for demos, but still never got a straight answer to the question.

Surround is a different issue.

I was very keen on DVD-A two years ago, and posted on this forum about that. A direct comparison of two-channel DVD-A sound with CD is also difficult to make, even though they are basically the same format (PCM) at different sampling frequencies and sample sizes. DVD-A is much better than Dolby Digital, that's about all I can testify.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 17
Registered: Jan-06
Back to the drawing board I guess...

Is the general conscience that the 30th Anniversery Edition of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in Hybrid SACD is a good example of a SACD or should I get something else? Maybe Peter Gabriel, So? Not a hybrid, but has gotten good reviews and I'm very familar with the redbook CD.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dobyblue

St. Catharines, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 72
Registered: Oct-05
Peter Gabriel So is an excellent Stereo SACD.
I have the CD also and I feel the difference is stunning, particularly on the quieter songs like Mercy Street.
If you want a multi-channel PG then the Play DVD has all the videos in DTS 96/24. I still find myself listening to the SACD 2 channel discs of So and Us more often that the DVD though.
There's tonnes of SACD reviews in the "Rate your hi-rez" thread.
Elton John's "Madman Across the Water" and Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" are also excellent hybrid SACDs.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 18
Registered: Jan-06
Thanks Steven. I've skimmed the "Rate your hi-rez" thread and it's where I'm coming up with these ideas actually. A good chunk of the highly rated stuff I'm not famliar with so I'm sticking with what I know for now.

Brothers In Arms is already in my Amazon shopping cart. Can't find hi-rez PG on Amazon... I've got a bunch of credit there that I'm trying to use up.

I'm not interested in multi-channel stuff just yet.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dobyblue

St. Catharines, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 76
Registered: Oct-05
Then Us and So are well worth picking up for two channel. They're both available from Amazon new or through Amazon sellers used.

So - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000092Q8K

Us - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000092Q8M

For other 2 channel discs I've thoroughly enjoyed Death Cab For Cutie's "Transatlanticism" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 19
Registered: Jan-06
Well shoot... how come I couldn't find that?!

Thanks Steven... they are in my shopping cart now.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pointe

OttawaCanada

Post Number: 47
Registered: Jun-06
If you like Peter Gabriel and don't have Up, you should get it. It's an interesting disc, and available in hybrid.

It has two channel and 5.1 mixes. I can't tell you whether the 'frequency spectrum' is the same on the CD layer as it is on the SACD, but I can tell you that they sound extremely similar, and I could only tell the difference once I was really familiar with the recording. That said, the SACD sounds great and I love it.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Pointe

OttawaCanada

Post Number: 48
Registered: Jun-06
Also, the Police Zenyetta Mondetta is available in hybrid. Neat disc. I've got the CD layer playing now!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 20
Registered: Jan-06
Thanks Geoff. Up is in my shopping cart.
 

New member
Username: Jamoson

Lancaster, PA USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-06
The important thing in HI-REZ music is who Mixes the album and what there approach to engineering is. Also whether it is multi channel or just Stereo. There are many albums that have been remixed and the engineers were able to add things that were originally recorded but for one reason or the other were not able to make it to the original mix. Now with the extra bandwidth and in some caes increased soundfield they are able to approach the mix differently. Roxy Music's Avalon is a good example of this . The peter Gabrial stuff is great too.If only there were more material on Hi-Rez particularly Surround.
 

Gold Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 1064
Registered: Dec-03
This is a pretty good list of music and many are SACD.
https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/243272.html
In my personal experience I've found the selections from First Impression Music to be of the highest caliber and worthy of use as a standard to get an idea of what HiRez digital is all about.
http://www.fimpression.com
 

Silver Member
Username: Jimkw

Columbus, Ohio USA

Post Number: 141
Registered: Jun-05
My personal favorite is Elton John Honky Cheteau. I like the material better on Madman Across the Water, but Honky Chateu seems so have much better surround sound. When anybody comes over and wants to hear surround, that's the first one I play.

I was actually dissappointed in the SACD of DSOTM. I like the regular CD better. I have not been able to get the DVD-A version.
 

Gold Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 1065
Registered: Dec-03
Was that the 30th Anniversary issue of DSOTM or the older MoFi version?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bytesiz

Bangor, Maine USA

Post Number: 22
Registered: Jan-06
Finally had a chance to compare Redbook and SACD playback on the same gear. I used an SACD of Peter Gabriel So and it's redbook. There was an obvious difference. The SACD had a lot more depth and made the redbook seem a bit boring by comparison. This is encouraging. I think some more (lots more) investigation is needed.

I listened to these thru a system that should be much better than mine. Quad 22L speakers, Conrad Johnson MV60 amp and PV14LS pre-amp. Source was a Denon 3910 (I think). The Quads sound good, but lack the soundstage that my Lings give me. I missed that. In fairness to the Quads, I was sitting too close to the speakers.

Next test is to trade the Denon out for something more in my price range... like a Cambridge DVD-87 and see if the differences remain.

Final test will be to bring the Cambridge (or whatever I decide on) home for a trial.

Thanks everyone again for the reccomdations.
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