I auditioned SACD today

After reading all the positive reviews and posts on SACD I decided to take a serious look at this format. I have 22 dual layer SACD in my collection so I took 4 SACDs of music I know the best. To my surprise one of the local dealers still had a demo Sony SCD 1. The sales person led me to the room and said take as long as I would like and left. Since I read all the reviews on the SCD 1 I was able to operate it without difficulty.

There was no question that the SACD layer had a bigger soundstage and better detail than the Redbook layer but the difference were not as great as I expected. I wondered how the Sony compared next to my Audiomeca Mephisto 11.X CDP. Then a strange thing happen, I noticed a Linn LP 12 turntable to the side of the equipment rack. I cued up one of the lps and played it. As a former owner of 2 LP 12 over the years I had a good idea what to expect, the sound was full , warm , detailed and most of all musical. I should add that I have over 7000 lps and 5000 cds and listen to both, prefer the sound of vinyl but love the convenience and catalog selection of cds.

To make a long story short I decided to forgo the purchase of a SACD player and continue to ad to my vinyl and cd collection and just enjoy the music. I may look at SACD again in the future as the hardware improves and the software growa in numbers.
I think you should send all those old nasty LP’s to me and replace them with SACD.
SACDs to my belief still only have an "audiophile approved" artists thus the choice is very very limited for this new format.

The quality was supposed to get much better than a conventional red-book CD but the computerized digital mastering had replaced more expencive knowlegable human intrusion.

As to vinyls they can also be nasty, warped and poorly mastered.
What you have going over there a library beginning with Tomas Edison?

How much of that do you actually listen to? I only have a 800CD\2K LP collection and find it hard to listen to 1/10th of it and try to consolidate things on CD o listen to.

Must be a nice collection!
The improvements of SACD over CD to my ears are small, incremental differences. I did not expect night and day, so I was not disappointed, but I do like what I'm hearing with them.
I enjoyed your summary of your experience. So many of these threads are just blind praise or hatchet jobs. You recounted your valid experience and come to a thoughtful conclusion.

While I have and enjoy a decent SACDP and have chosen another course, I respect the way you handled your expereince.

P.S. Albert is a vinyl junkie, if you send that stuff to him you will only encourage his weakness. For the love of humanity don't send anything to him!!! Send it to me.
So let me ask, do you think vinyl is still better than digital? Of course you do or you would not have posted this SACD/REDBOOK shoot-out. Let me make a guess, you were listening to all this through a tube system and that just brought it all home!!!
If the SCD1 can make redbook CD's sound almost as good as SACD, I
would say that is a point in favor of the SCD1. I have the Emm Labs Dac6. This CD/SACD player also makes redbook CD's sound almost as
good as SACD -- that's one of the reasons I bought it. But, almost as good is never quite as satisfying as the incremental step upwards -- that's why the word "almost" was coined in the first place, isn't it?
dear Rec

if you are looking for new home for some of your Lps(7000 lps is way too much, pls let me know).
happy listening.

Just a few problems that vinyl still has: 1) Surface noise that completely smashes the virtual reality when a quiet passage comes along. As a composer I know that silence is also part of the music. And 2) changing sides every 30 mins. really sucks and I do not care how good it sounds for individual instruments, with wow and flutter pitch is never spot on like it is with CDs or SACDs or even DVD-As for that matter. Analog and vinyl is akin to some hooky old religion whose proponents never shut-up;) And I'll bet you listen to mosly rock, pop, and jazz?
Rec, I agree that vinyl done right is superior to SACD.

That being said, SACD offers the convenience of silver disc, with improved sonics over CD. You are also right that SACD is not the night and day improvement over CD, that you and I were perhaps expecting. However, after getting my bearings, I sort of came to the conclusion that my expectations for the level of improvement possible were unrealistic.

As has been said, for those listening on a boombox or clock radio, SACD is irrelevant. I cannot go along with the manufacturer's assertions that people can hear the benefit in these low resolution systems.

What SACD has proven to me, and the reason I am hoping the format takes root, is beyond the convenience, the "incremental improvements" are not only real, but important to me. Perhaps a bit difficult to detect at first, but they become more apparent in the confines of my own system at home. Two of my main complaints with most of the non - exotic CD players are the failure to deliver convincing response below the midrange and the chopping up of the music(digititis), destroying the flow of the music. SACD seems to correct these two complaints, in my mind.

Again, I have yet to hear a serious vinyl front end be approached.
I have to agree that 7000 lps is too much, just ask my wife. I have been collecting since I was 10 years old and I am now 55. I have about 5000 lps in storage and keep the rest to play. Thank you all for your offers and I will keep you all in mind if I ever decide to reduce my collection. That aside,I do agree that SACD is an improvement and I didn't hear it im my system. The store system was ss (Krell preamp and amp) and my system is tube so it may not of been a fair comparsion. I was just expecting more of an improvement over cd. I think if I had a choice of new releases and reissues that were duel layer I would pick the duel layer on the idea that I would someday purchase a SACD player. I really don't have the space(or money) to start collecting everything again on SACD but would purchase new releases and reissues if they came out at the same time. Thanks for all the responses, it's always great to hear other views, it's a part that makes this hobby so much fun. Good listening to all.
I have a good cd front end and an inexpensive dvd/dvd-a system. My redbook cd beats the dvd-a (not by a lot but better). Then I put on the same album on my Nottingham Spacedeck turntable - no comparison - sounds more musical than hifi ish.

Granted I don't have a $2k + dvd-a setup
but why go with an inferior medium with limited stuff available
I was fortunate enough to get a really high end CD player (Audio Aero Mark II) from a fellow who really did love it. I do believe him as I had read many of his earlier posts here on Audiogon.

What he realized is that his entire investment in recordings was in vinyl and he decided not to duplicate that which he already had just so it could be player on his new component.

The point is this: with your investment in vinyl and CDs, why move on just so you can start buying it all again? Is the extra 10% in quality worth the huge reinvestment?
When I got my SACD player, I was expecting, the difference, say in old dolby surround to dolby digital. The difference there can be heard on any system, not just high end ones. I never dreamed I'd have to strain to pick up anything. Of the dual layered SACD's that I own, I've made a copy of the redbook layer, cued them up at the same time on both machines, then switch back and forth. As the French chef on those commercials, "NO deeeferonce"
After reading the first posting and others it made me think that maybe the new hi-rez formats maybe in trouble. The poster is obviously a music lover with an exceptional collection. If he is reluctant to jump into SACD what is the everyday Best Buy or Circuit City stereo customer going to do? I just don't see a mass market appeal if the most serious music lovers among us aren't jumping in. I don't know, it's just an observation, what do you all think?
I think the premise that "the most serious music lovers among us are not jumping in" is flawed. Serious audio enthusiasts *are* jumping in. Secondly, I think you have to do a little study of adoption cycles. I just read a curious fact; The first VCR was built in 1956 and was as big as a piano. How many people bought one of those puppies? The Automobile industry had a tumultuous infancy -- many people didn't want to trade in their horse and buggy for an automobile because there were very few gas stations and even fewer people who knew how to fix one. It took the microwave oven 20 years to catch on. So -- the *MASS MARKET* is never the first to jump in -- they are always the very LAST to adopt any new technology. The first to adopt any new technology are called "Early Adopters." They are always a tiny esoteric group, usually affluent, and usually male. The first to adopt High Rez certainly fits that demographic. So, what you can say is that there is nothing about this early adoption phase that makes High Rez Audio unusual in comparison to other technologies that were eventually adopted by the mainstream consumer. So far, it looks like a typical EARLY ADOPTION phase. But, this does not
necessarily fortell the success of High Rez Audio, either. Unless the EARLY ADOPTION PHASE is eventually followed by a wider pattern of adoption, it *could* reach an evolutionary dead-end. Anyone who claims to be able to fortell either the failure or success of High Rez Audio AT THIS POINT -- is pulling your leg. On the other hand, virtually everything is going digital and digital tends to evolve towards HIGHER RESOLUTION. DVD replaced VHS. The first DVD players cost thousands of dollars. TV's have evolved towards higher resolution. HDTV and HD-DVD are on the horizon. Digital photography started with one pixel cameras that cost thousands of dollars and have evolved towards higher resolution and the price has come down along with the spread of the technology. High End SACD players like the Meitner EMM LABS Dac6, which costs around $15,000 (Transport plus DAC) are enjoying sold-out production runs, with lines of back-orders. Finally, when I read this writer's experience, it illustrates perfectly why it is the best interest of the music industry to push a High Rez revolution. When this poster switches to High Rez, he will likely want to replace some part of his collection with SACD's and he'll want to replace his CD player with an SACD player. It is in the music industry's best interests to get us all to buy our music again. It makes great economic sense. Similar to how many of us had to replace our VHS library with DVD's, or Vinyl with cassettes or cassettes with CD's, etc. And, the music industry is employing a sort of "Trojan Horse" strategy with mainstream consumers by selling them "remastered CD's" which have a High Rez layer. At some point, the average CD buyer will wake up to find that he/she already has a music library stocked with "HYBRID" CD/SACD's with a High Rez layer -- and by that time, the technology in high end SACD players will have filtered down into lower cost machines. A consumer will go to buy a CD or DVD player and will be told that he/she can listen to the High Rez layer on those HYBRID CD/SACD by buying a UNIVERSAL player for a little more money. Like buying a progressive scan DVD player instead of one without it. And by that time, you will be able to hear the difference between CD and SACD even on lower end players. How long will all this take? Your guess is as good as mine, but I see it happening at some point. Because it is a superior format and there is money to be made by getting consumers to switch.
Rsbeck, you made some good points. However, Rec found that the performance of SACD did not clearly better CD or LP. Personally, it appears to me that the trend that the mass market is being fed is convenience rather than sound quality. The masses seem to be targeted by the idea of hundreds of songs on one small convenient package. I just saw a commercial for some new fangled device that allows for playback of hundreds of songs on one small device with no loss in sound quality (yeah, sure).
There are many vinyl recordings that better CD and vice versa. I think that this whole new format idea is a great one for sony, after all, their patent on CD will soon expire. Why not get the masses on some new technology in which to collect royalties for another twenty years.
It is all about the blood, sweat and tears that goes into producing a great sounding recording. It has been done with vinyl, it has been done with cd and it has been done with SACD.
The people who frequent the high end stores and these forums are mostly the only ones who appreciate the different levels of sound quality that the (any) technology strives for.
Twenty some years after the advent of the cd, many still tout the LP as superior in producing the ultimate audio experience. Neil Young believes that too much is lost in the ones and zero's to produce the entire musical picture.
It is like looking at a digital picture. If you look close enough, you can see the tiny squares that make up the picture. You will never see the entire picture as clearly as if you were there. Your brain will eventually decipher all of the info that the ones and zeros offer, but the seamless flow of info that analog offers will leave your mind exploring the recording possibly indefinitely.
I am young enough to be one of those guys who didn't begin their music collection until the age of the CD. I have a few LP's lying around somewhere and nothing sends shivers down my spine more than a stylus touching the vinyl. There is some kind of intangible quality to the microphonic retreival techniques used by a nice TT setup that the digital format just doees not have.
That being said (I hope nobody has fallen asleep yet), I personally believe that the ultimate format (for those of us who actually care)will be a convenient analog format. Until somebody finally does this, I believe that Sacd will eventually line the pockets of the Sony. Not because of the sound quality. The average consumer (read mass market big box store stereo purchaser) wants a cheap, CONVENIENT way of listening to music in the background. The potental for better sound is an issue for the small percentage of us who seek the "nirvana" of a carefully put together system. There is no new level of convenience of sacd's, but like Mr, Rsbeck said, the new format will be implemented.
The vcr was new. The auto was new. The sacd is a rehashing of a 20 year old idea. It is a subtle tweaking of a well accepted technology.
I was over at a friends house last weekend and he just got dvd player that can play CD's , Sacd's and dvd-A. This is how this new format will be distributed.
Remember what cd players or vcr's used to cost (mass market ones)? This unit at his house cost not even a few hundred bucks. And it was a higher end mass market player.
The point I am making is that the dollars that will make the profits will not come from those who want the better sound. The dollars will come from the people who probably don't even know the difference (or can't even hear the difference). It is about new formats and new patents to keep the money flowing.
Sorry to all of you who have fallen asleep during this post.
Rec wrote, "There was no question that the SACD layer had a bigger soundstage and better detail than the Redbook layer..." So, it is not correct to say that he heard no difference.
The sonic improvements of hi-rez are not likely to compel the masses to make a switch. But the multi-channel afforded by the format may.
I think you'd really have to have a tin ear or a system that's rather not accurate not to hear the benefits of SACD. I bought an el-cheapo Sony NS755V SACD/DVD player combo that was sitting as a floor model at Best Buy just for less than I've paid for a car tire. I picked up a copy of Orff's Carmina Burana and Mahler's 5th to go with it just for grins. I hooked it up and was just FLOORED in about 5 seconds.

Never, EVER have I heard dynamic contrasts and just plain MUSIC like this from any CD playback system. It just doesn't happen. The Carmina Burana was especially telling because I've performed this piece myself. Very, very good. I could actually stand to turn it up to realistic levels without having my ears bleed (if you play this music softly, you need a real-life, front row concert check!). I was ramming close to a 1000wpc into the speakers on peaks before the amp started to compress a bit and the lights started to dim. This just doesn't happen with CD because it hurts. The dynamics and detail are just MIA next to even this cheap POS SACD player.

I recently just got the 1812 on SACD too. Maybe the recording is just better, I don't know. But it beats the stink out of any LP or CD I've ever heard. To my ears, its the difference between Beethover performed by the high school orchestra and Beethoven by the local philharmonic. I would suggest that if the difference isn't immediately apparent, you have some serious system rethinking to go about, because something ain't right.

I've had an SACD player for 2 months now and I am still amazed at how great it sounds and what a difference this format makes. I did see a bit of an improvement in regular CD'and concert DVD's from the upgrade to a decent quality DVD player but SACD really does bring the quality to a whole new incredible level. I found Acoustic Sounds which carries a great selection of SACD's and am having a blast exploring this format!
Wow, I think SACD blows LP's away and for sure CD's. I go back to Mono tube FM systems. I currently have a turntable I listen to once in a while, but good SACD multi channel is better sounding in so many ways. The new Sony Reference SACD player has 18 DAC's and cost 3000.00. which should fit nicely into anyone's high end set-up. I have the $1000.00 NS900v which sounds wonderful. I read somewhere that there is currently 1600 SACD titles, with more coming weekly. It will become the Audiophile standard because of the sound quality. Remember for the full surround effect one must have five identical full range speakers equidistant from center seating. Talk about 3-dimensional holo-graphic imaging, it's a reality, been there.
An interesting (if not very fresh) discussion on cd/sacd/dvd-a can be found here. This site is also a magnificent treasure of information on our hobby!
No SACD that I posess is as good, sonicly, to several of my DVD-A.
Why do American audiophiles put down DVD-A vs SACD?
I don't know, but I do know that several times I have queried the forum
for suggestions for DVD-A players. When the subject of SACD comes up,
you can always count on a flurry of posts from people talking about how
much they love their SACD players and the sound of SACD. I see none of
that with DVD-A. I got few responses to my DVD-A queries, got the distinct impression that not one of the respondants was excited about any DVD-A player -- none of the effusiveness I see from proponents of SACD. Granted, this is anecdotal at best and does not represent a scientific study, but -- to me -- it is telling. I see a few posters who will predict success for DVD-A over SACD, but even those posters don't enthuse over the DVD-A format or over the fidelity of their players --
certainly -- nothing like the enthusiasm I hear from SACD proponents.
On the other hand, I think it is stretching to say that there's a concerted effort to put DVD-A down. I just think DVD-A sometimes gets lost in
the swell of enthusiasm audio enthusiasts seem to have for SACD. That's
just my take on it.
Eldartford-I think SACD got it's software sorted out a lot quicker and also I think there was clearly an effort towards Audiophile quality machines on SACD that was totally lacking from the DVD-A camp.
As such I'm not sure Audiophiles even had the choice and as such the guys on the cutting edge have invested in the format have indeed already made their choice.
What player could Rsbeck even consider to challenge his Emm Labs Dac?
More possible bad news for DVD-A with this report.....

Warner Music to Drop DVD Audio?
An article in the U.K.'s Financial Times by Richard Milne provided the biggest news of the day in the High Resolution Audio arena and talk at CES. In it, Milne highlighted some of the progress the Super Audio CD format has made over the past year with some of their big name releases including the Bob Dylan Remastered Series, Sting's "Scared Love" album, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", The Police and the Rolling Stones Remastered Series.

He notes that some of the titles, primarily those being released as "single inventory" discs where the Hybrid SACD serves as both the SACD and standard CD release of the album, are selling quite well, with several titles moving over 100,000 units - a target seen as an indicator of strong sales in the industry. The article also quotes officials at Universal Music, Acoustic Sounds, Sony and Philips citing audiophile interest in the format and its high quality audio and copy protection aspects.

However, the section of the article that drew the most attention is Milne's comment that "Warner is the only one of the five record majors not producing SACDs and rumours abound that it will soon pull out of DVD-A." There has much speculation about where Warner Music will go in the high resolution audio market now that the Music Division is being sold off to the Bronfman Group. AOL Time Warner has owned some Intellectual Property (IP) used in the DVD Audio format and this has given them a strong incentive to remain faithful to the DVD-A format and their DVD-A release plans. If the IP rights remain at AOL Time Warner after the sale of the Music Division is complete, the new owner may not have the same financial incentive to continue in that direction. We will watch and see what develops next.

People will be accussing me of being pro-SACD next!
Just talked to a guy who attended the show in Vegas. He tells me they were demonstrating car audio systems that play High Rez, SACD and
DVD-A. Universal players for the car. So, High Rez does not seem to
be going away.
For both SACD and DVD-A (and CD) the limiting factor for sonic quality is probably the analog output circuitry, which, in a universal player, is shared for all media. The Denon 2900 as modified by Underwood HIFI (and perhaps by others) addresses the issue of this circuitry, and replaces it with what is pretty much as good as it gets. Such a player would give a fair comparison of the two media.

I have an unmodified (so far) Denon 2900. Using it, I have several DVD-A that will make your jaw drop, but no such SACD. I really think it is mostly in the mastering of the disc itself, and in Europe there are "audiophile labels" who are making good use of DVD-A. I don't see similar work in the SACD field.

I would like to buy a few good DVD-audio disc's, I have only a couple and would like more. I sold my sacd player and have not picked up another one yet, but I do still have my DVD-audio player so I would like to use it for something besides cd's. I like all music styles, two channel and multichannel are fine. Any suggestions would be of help.

Sogood51...Try ANY of the Tacet Chamber music DVD-A's available from elusivedisc.com.

It's hard to choose among them, but the Mozart Flute Quartets DVD D107 is I think the best example of multichannel recording. This one shows you why you need good speakers in the rear.

The Schubert "Trout" Quintet DVD 106 is a good performance of a favorite work.

For a change of pace, try The BlueGrass Sessions, Tales From the Acoustic Planet Volume 2...Bela Fleck..Warner Bros.
This is a jam session in your living room.

For an orchestral work, try Mozart Piano Concerto, MDG 940 0967-5 (again from elusivedisc). This one is mastered in 2+2+2 speaker configuration which is way better for audio than the 5.1 configuration designed for movies. It sounds good in 5.1 playback mode, but you might want to rig up the 2+2+2 arangement as an experiment. By the way, this 2+2+2 setup and others which incorporate a "height" speaker demonstrate the flexibility of the DVD-A protocol (in comparison with SACD). The video display of the program, and ability to select tracks from the on-screen display is neat too.
Thanks Eldartford, I'll try all of those. I remember the older thread on the 2+2+2 setup...did you ever get anywere with that experiment? and if so, what did you use for a height speaker? Don't you have Maggies for fronts? Wondering, I did do some reading on that setup after that old thread but did not have the extra speakers at the time. As you can see from my system pic's I have a pair of Apogee Centaur Minors that I am playing around with in a center channel setup with the minors on their sides..on stands. These are extra speakers (I have another center channel speaker) and am only toying with this two center speaker setup. I had planed to use the Minors as side speakers in the long run (7 channel setup) but nothing set in stone as yet.

Sogood51...You have some nice equipment, so I understand why you couldn't afford sheet rock. At least you have priorities right.

Yes I have three Maggies in the front, and no, I did not properly set up the 2+2+2 configuration. It is difficult to do with the Maggies, and the switching needed to go back and forth between 5.1 and 2+2+2 is complex. I have small B&W and small Dynaudio speakers to play with, but I don't like the idea of introducing boxes into the system. I have listened to the height signals, and they sound like the main front signals recorded at a greater distance from the source. Perhaps there is delay also. What I may do is to put the "Height" channels at the top of a stairway leading to the living room. Nevertheless, I can believe that in a room with a high ceiling and with good speakers all around the 2+2+2 setup would be great.

If I were in charge of things the speaker configuration for music would be 3+2+1. LF, CTR, RF, RR, LR, Height/LFE. Only the Height/LFE channel would require switching between movies and music. Music people who need a subwoofer would have to derive their own signals by biamping the front channels (which is the best way to do it anyway).

Hope you enjuy the music. Good discs do exist out there but it isn't always easy to find them.