New format players the future?

Ok some questions on the future of the new digital formats (DVDA/SACD) players for you Audiogon people with technical know-how and a degree in predictions.

1.Multi-format players are starting to arrive,Pioneer have one out,is it possible to make a machine that can excell in all formats or will it always be a compromise situation?

2.Will the quality of the new format machines improve as time goes on?
Or if there is mass market success will they actually decrease?

3.Is there the possibilty then the quality of both standard CD discs and CD replay will decrease due to the new formats?
With 300.00 SACD players hitting the stores this format will not die.The software will catch up
Ben, this is not an easy question to answer.

I have done a lot of research, listening to music, and to others knowledgeable (and open-minded) with respect to the new formats. Let me start by saying that I have both DVD-A and Multichannel SACD integrated into my system --- and both are reasoanbly "high-end". Do they surpass vinyl? Well, let's just say they certainly level the playing field, with the addition of multichannel bringing me an experience of involvement equal to that of the very best two-channel setups, with the added bonus of a true 3D soundstage.

Yes, I have heard Redbook systems with better resolution and soundstage than my multichannel SACD (a $170K+ Pipedream setup comes to mind), but that's another price league, and I would even stretch to say that SACD multichannel offers an equally involving or, (and I'm going to take some flack for this), superior experience.

Let me also suggest, that after reading the posts above, you hang out on the dedicated high rez thread, as there are more SACD and DVD-A enthusiasts there and you can get a clearer picture of just what these formats have to offer and how they contrast and compare to "traditional" 2-channel. (Not to mention a few more open minds.)

Frankly, I 'm surprised at the previous threads -- SACD is a clear step above 44 KHz. Moreover, you need to spend $3K+ used to get a Redbook player or transport DAC that will seriously challenge a good SACD player. Granted, the quality/mixing style of the recording often determines "good" and "bad" with respect to SACD, DVD-A or Redbook -- I have discs that would make you keel over in all formats, while other SACDs and DVD-A are true revelations.

SACD and DVD-A are ever-so-good at one thing -- getting rid of the digital edge that has so long plagued Redbook -- an edge that still takes a very good DAC or one-box player to overcome. The problem with previous SACD players is that they were mediocre at Redbook -- and let's face it, living in SACD-only world is akin to living in a closet -- even with 500+ titles, the percentage of penetration into the totality of recorded music offerings is miniscule. But, there is some rather nice multichannel stuff out there and the library of available titles is beginning to gather steam, with new releases every week.

Getting back to the subject of mediocrity when playing Redbook on SACD players, my SCD-1 (which I just sold) was NOT in the same league as AA Capitole, EMC-1 II or other Redbook standard barer -- but when playing SACD, the SCD-1 vaulted over those players and never looked down. But still, Redbook was a problem.

Enter the new Sony XA777ES -- this is a one-box player that offers multichannel SACD with bass management and DSD 3X DAC processing on Redbook -- serious competition to the DCS crowd and other premium Redbook setups -- at a fraction of the price. I'll reserve final judgement on the new XA777 after mine receives the full audiomod + superclock modifications, but I fully expect for it then to be in Accuphase and DCS territory -- all for a total outlay of $3,600 including the mods.

At the other end of the spectrum, Sony's new $300+ players offer a level of refinement previously unavailable to that low/mid-fi price level. The problem is that the rest of your system is just as critical -- thus, a "matching" $400 HT receiver will not bring out the best that even a $300 SACD player has to offer. So, well the masses may be able to financially experience SACD, I doubt they can truly experience it sonically on a typical $1-2K HT setup.

DVD-A faces an even greater dilemma -- its multichannel format NEEDS full range, direct radiating speakers all around, as multichannel (SACD or DVD-A) sounds terrible with even high-end dipoles in the rear. Hence, there is a dichotomy between HT and "surround sound" (I hate calling it that). I've spent a lot of time setting up a high-end multichannel and it is expensive, time-consuming and technically challenging. But worth every dime and minute.

To further answer your question on one-box DVD-A, SACD and Redbook players -- the answer is: "not quite yet". The expensive Pioneer you mention is wonderful at DVD-A (Pioneer does that real well), but its SACD and Redbook are so-so. That said, there are players that do two formats well: In addition to the new flagship XA777Es, many SACD enthusiasts enjoy the DVD video performance of the Sony 9000. And some of the better DVD players are also very good at DVD-A.

In the quest for the ultimate one-box? Watch out for Audio Aero's new SACD multichannel and Redbook player due out in January.

I think that 2002 will be the year that SACD begins to challenge our traditional thinking, proving once and or all that this is not the quadraphonic 70's revisited, and that these exciting new formats will indeed take hold. --Lorne
To further confuse this thread : How do these new format players perform as transports for redbook cd's? I ask this as I know BC has a collection of hot rodded dac gear.
Lorne, I read your comments above and agree with your feelings on SACD to a degree. I'm very confused by your comments on DVD. From the final few paragraphs I either mis-understood or your confusing DVD-V and DVD-A. A Pioneer DVD player that also plays redbook and SACD is only a DVD-V player. DVD-A is a different format that is only able to be played back on a DVD-A player. There are less than 100 titles out on DVD-A, are you sure you ment to include DVD-A? or was it DVD as we've known it for years you were talking about?

This is the exact reason I feel DVD-A is doomed, the confusion is constant. SACD is new we all understand that. DVD, DVD-V, DVD-A what next DVD-VD? This would be a sextually transmitted illness contracted between HT and audio people.