SACD layer sound differences


Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 2048
Registered: Oct-04
Problem: sound quality is different on surround layer than on 2-channel layer in many SACDs. Why?
I've recently set and re-set my player to read either surround or 2-channel on a half dozen classical albums. In some, the 2-channel layer is clear, in others, slightly bright and seemingly less accurate. same with the surround layer on some discs.
Why should this be? Is it my player, or the discs themselves?
I'd like some input from folks who can take time to compare a few SACDs. Many thanks.
Respectfully. . .LarryR

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 14474
Registered: May-04

How are you doing the set up? If the SACD has distinct two channel and 5.1 tracks, then there have been different masters made for each layer. That would mean a difference in the disc. If you're telling the machine to reset itself from 5.1 and output all channels folded into a two channel (front L/R output) only mix, then the machine is making the difference.


Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 2049
Registered: Oct-04
Jan: Thanks for the reply. These are "hybrid" discs - each with three layers, as you know: 5.1, 2-channel and CD. In changing back and forth between 2-channel and 5.1 layers there are sonic differences on some of the discs. Some have more natural sound on 2-channel, others have more natural sound on 5.1 - and I'm just curious as to why this should be? I have just enough knowledge on such things to make a fool of myself, so I thought I'd bring it to more knowledgeable souls for guidance.
Meanwhile, i save up for the 83SE. . . .(drool)
Respectfully. . .LarryR

New member
Username: Hirezsqwave

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-10
The player is designed to play all 6 channels faithfully at full frequency range in accordance with the frequency response characteristics of the player. When the 5.1 material is mixed to two channels by the various methods available: Pyramix (using DXD - a 24 Bit PCM @ 352 kHz sample rate), or Sonoma (DSD-Wide 8-bit @ 2.822 MHz), or from Sonoma 8 Track Analog out to 2 Track DSD A-D conversion, various signal artifacts occur due to the various kinds of distortions that are inherent in the chosen production chain. The Sonoma solution is the best quality choice when mixed digitally using DSD-Wide technology.

But the strongest artifacts that you are noticing are due to the various comb filters that are naturally created as a result of mixing down the 6 channels to 2 channel stereo. These artifacts are most noticeable when there are high-frequency sibilant reverberant components of the overall entirety of common identical (or closely identical) audio signals among two or more channels. In some cases, this kind of distortion-artifact can also cause mono incompatibility when a stereo mix is played back (equally combined) on a monaural speaker (L+R).

There is probably nothing wrong with your SACD player. If there was something wrong, then all your SACD discs would sound different when A/B'd between two different SACD players playing back the same multichannel area of the HD layer of the SACD.

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 2220
Registered: Oct-04
OK - thanks. To me, then, that means that I should leave the priority of playback at 5-channel, not 2-channel, even though I'm only using my two mains speakers?
Losing the "surround" is relatively minor to me, anyway.
Never knew there was so much to be learned in this HiFi thang!
Respectfully. . .LarryR
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