Questions about SACD vs.analog for classical music

I've just ordered a VPI Scoutmaster. A rather impulsive decision made at just the point when I was about to have my Sony 9000es modded. Not quite just at the point, but right after I removed my Hw-19jr/pt-6/Glider/blackcube rig from storage in order to get the parts ready for shipping to they new owners. I had what i thought would be my last night listening to the TT, after a several year hiatus, and you know what? There was that organic something, that harmonic coherence in certain recordings that I noticed only in the very best SACDs. In some of my LPs, that 'present' or 'real' feeling exceeded all but one or two of my SACDs (only the Rite of Spring on Telarc, a few tracks from the telarc classical sampler 2, and one other were superior to anything I heard on the VPI). OK, the SACDs were obviously cleaner sounding and more extended (I was using Stax sr-lambda phones) except when compared to a couple of the highest quality analogue productions lps I own, but it got me thinking: hey, if my humble jr. sounds this good now, I can only wonder how good one of the purportedly much improved high-end rigs would sound. The Sony mods would have cost upwards of $1300, but selling my jr. and lumping all that dough together and allocating it to a renewed involvement in analog looked, well, promising.
So I ordered a new Scoutmaster (at substantial discount) with the JMW-9 arm and am now by the way researching my options for cartridges and preamps. I've sold my blackcube, but have a Jolida JD-9 on load from a dealer, which sounds very nice with the jr. (the sold TT about to be shipped) - very vivid and harmonically satisfying, well articulated, etc - though it's not as quiet as the 'Cube and I even can hear some AM radio coming through my phones when I turn up my linestage preamp volume. But here I digress.
My main reason for starting this thread, aside from having some assorted questions about carts, preamps, and the like, is to ask for some objective and subjective opinions regarding the decision I just made. Bear in mind that my main interest is classical music, especially chamber (esp. string quartets, trios, wind quintets, etc) and piano with some orchestral, followed by classic rock and some Blue-Note era jazz. The SACD route seemed promising at first, and I told myself that, even though there were only a smattering of sacd recordings for many of my favorite classical performers (eg. Elly Ameling Soprano, Yo-Yo Ma, Rubinstein), there were so many truly talented lesser-knowns on the sacd scene (e.g. pianist Freddy Kempf on BIS, Csaba and Heisser on Praga digitals, and of course Paavo Jaervi on Telarc) that I deemed my chances of attaining long-term satisfaction with purely sacd (and a little redbook on the side) to be very good. Especially after sacd mods. As for classic rock, the SACD of the Police Synchronicity just blew me away (through Sennheiser HD600w/cardas cable).
But THEN it occurred to me that the only way to possibly hear my very favorite string quartet - the Vegh Quartet - in better than redbook fidelity was through vinyl. Ditto for numerous other performers who will never appear on sacd. Then of course there's always the Beatles, Stones, Jerry Garcia and others to sweeten the deal for vinyl. By the way, I sold my Ikemi redbook player in order to open up some new options and try something new. Even my girlfriend almost cried to see the Ikemi go, her having been converted just enough to an audiophile that she could absolutely see someone justifying having spent almost four grand on a source component (even a non-disc changer)
So what do you guys think? When my scoutmaster arrives, am I in for some visceral thrills and deep musical connection? I know that it's also dependent on the rest of my system, and so far I've narrowed cart choices down to the Lyras and the Shelters, leaning heavily towards the former. As for phono preamps I'm considering the Linto, Ear 834p mm/mc, and a few others including a modded Jolida JD-9 or something along those lines.

Is the scoutmaster, fitted with a $1000+ cartridge and a similarly priced phono preamp, going through Cardas golden reference into either a Bryston B60 integrated (and then to Sennheisers or B&wdm603) OR into a Stax srm-t1 tube driver of my Stax electrostats, going to 'knock my socks off' as suggested by Mike at VPI yesterday? How close can I get to SACD (especially to the 'pure DSD') fidelity through this setup? I know speed stability and noise floor will be drastically improved, giving tones accuracy and timbral accuracy, and i expect bass to be better and overall macro and microdynamics as well BUT... am I going to be able to achieve some of the same absolutely organic, sparkling, and pure sound of some of the better DSD recordings? What about the musical clarity per se of redbook, in particular when listening to string quartets and the like? Will I get a 'clean' sound in the tonal sense, not overly dark, but a sound that seems right? What about the upper octave of piano?
I once read an article long ago (i believe it was in stereophile) in which the author admitting to prefering cassette tape over vinyl due to it having cleaner and more pitch accurate upper octave reproduction. That was then, this is now. What do you guys think? (last time I'll ask that, I promise!)

I am with Lazarus28 the capability of top notch or highly modded digital player on both redbook and sacd is simply amazing. Vinyl (IMO) simply can not touch the resolution and dynamics of digital let alone the blackness of the background and with sacd you get all that timbre and realism.

I have a Scoutmaster/Sumiko Blackbird, playing into a Musical Fidelity a308 integrated with phono. I listen through JM Labs speakers, but also through a headphone rig consisting of Sony MDR-R10s amped by Earmax Pro Anniv Ed. My digital front end is not Meitner, but I have a modded Sony SCD555ES, and also a Bel Canto PL-1 Universal Player, so I have good digital. You and I are almost identical in musical taste. I am an amateur cellist and chamber music is my favorite, followed closely by other classical and classic jazz (Coltrane, Ellington, Basie, Rollins, etc.). My favorite classical vocalist...Elly Ameling (who else sings bach Cantatas like her?) And the Vegh quartet, lovely... who does Beethoven better?

Don't sweat your decision. You will find those older artists from the 50's through 80's that never will make it to SACD. My forst steal was a $5 copy of the Quartetto Italiano playing Mozart's "Haydn" quartets. Used but plays like mint...and so it goes. Classical albumns are usually well cared for. I've bought several used Amelings (Kaffe Cantata, Wedding Cantata, Jachzut gott in allen landen, all used and almost pristine... for a coupla bucks.

Now soundwise, I do love noise and still natural sounding. I haven't yet decided whether the vinyl is absolutely better because I don't yet have that many direct comarisons. For me now, a good SACD is CHEAPER than a reissued "audiophile" pressing. For example Living Stereo SACDs, Mercury Living Presence. I have the SACD vedrsions of Janos Starker's Bach Cello Suites. Do I need a $90 vinyl version? There isn't that much difference I bet. The Miles Davis Kind of Blue SACD sounds terrific. Do I need a vinyl version if it costs 2x or 3x as much. Maybe, just to try it out!

The fun with the vinyl is the tinkering with the setup, getting up every 30 minutes and flipping the side. And its true vinyl wipes CD's butt, but not SACD. Even the true aficionados have to concede that SACD is pretty close. You get to go to garage sales and find incredible collections of good vinyl CHEAP. Its an adventure.

Enjoy the Scoutmaster.
SACD does not cure the digital sound. It may soften it with the Emm labs set up, but vinyl just sounds different. It's a matter of preference rather than rehash the same old arguments, go listen for yourself. By the way you can better the EMM labs for a fraction of the cost with vinyl, and the software will cost $1-2 a peice. And there are 1,000's of classical LP's to choose from.

If digital bettered vinyl, they wouldn't be releasing all these TT's and cartridges because it's a pain in the arsh to play, setup LPs, but we go through the effort because it sounds better.
Wow thanks for all the feedback. It;s fun to read and write about this stuff. So the Scoutmaster will - barring catastrophe - definitely arrive tomorrow, as will a used Ear 834p deluxe (chrome) which I was the first to snag here today for $800 (seemed a decent price anyway, from resale perspective at least), and a Lyra Helikon (normal 0.5mv version). I settled on the Lyra and 834p on the basis of having read of, and further intuited the implications of - with respect to my own taste - each's pros and cons; the Helikon's purported slight pushing of detail over musicality well complemented by the Ear's reputation for the opposite. Moreover the deep line-contact aspect of the Helikon really penetrating down to the cervices of previously unreachable (by other cartridges) pristine groove depths of my LPS kind of sealed the deal. That and the fact that this particualr Helikon was at the right place at the right time today
I should be listening to the table set up tomorrow with the 1.25mv Glider I already own ( the rest of the hw-19 jr walked out the door today), and with the Helikon either Saturday or Monday depending on when it arrives (I got to trade some LPs to partly eat up what was already a good deal). The Scoutmaster box will arrive sealed and have a recent serial number, and will I be tempted to open it? You betcha. I'll lose the option of modding the sony for at least many months to come, but I already enjoy the SACD sound of the unmodded unit enough to connect with the music, given the best performances (IMO ones such as the Brahms Violin Sonatas and Clarinet Quintets and Beethoven Piano Trios, plus all the great piano and orchestral - but DANG hardly ANY classical guitar, of which I'm one of the lesser amateurs).
The last LP I listened to before packing up the hw-19jr/pt-6/glider rig was "The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd" (Analogue Productions). This recording and (to a somewhat lesser extent its music) never fails to blow my mind when heard through either my Stax or or Sennheiser HD600/cardas. The percussion in particular is breathtaking, especially the bossa nova type stuff on side 2. I had the guy (and his more experienced audio buddy who is reintroducing him to vinyl and advising him) listen to the first 2 1/2 tracks on side 2 through both my humble B&W DM603 (which he also bought from me) and through the HD600. His mind was also blown, as was his friend's. Just such a great recording and the delightfully round notes and variously textured nylon string guitar licks, slaps, and chokes ajockeying for position among the traditionally percussive elements - these in turn backed by a deeply organic and well defined acoustic bass as the third instrument - was a sonic and (again to a lesser degree, musical) experience so far unrivalled by my unmodded 9000es.
It's not a very fair comparison, since I have no Charlie Byrd on SACD, nor do I think that the jr. could have reproduced a vinyl cut version of the DSD Rite (among others), but the magic conveyed in the Byrd trio recording seemed SO musically 'right' (slight buzzing in the very loudest passages not withstanding) and at the same time expressive of all acoustic and musical elements for which I would ever hold an allegedly faithful rendition accountable, that I could only surmise that, yes, the scoutmaster/jmw-9/helikon/ear will indeed be all that and more.
Only downside is, i had to sell my only non-minature transducers (the Dm603) in order to enter the game on this level.
I'll report back with my first impressions. Ready or not, I'm ready for some hardcore slouching on the couch this weekend, for what one person predicted will be '[my] week of sonic revelation'. And to the guy above who has the same musical taste as I - thanks for giving me an philosophical escape hatch through which to crawl should a modded Sony turn out to have been the 'correct' path for me, given my [our] listening tastes; such escape hatch being that leading comfortable into the notion that, hey, there will always be the fun of finding cheap vinyl that sounds great. So my Scoutmaster and 9000es can get along like cats and dogs raised in the same home from birth, and curl up together in a manner vaguely and stereotypically reminiscent of the yin and yang.
Cheers, and keep it coming!
Dear friends: I agree that with a top CD/SACD/DVDA player, like dSc, EMM Labs, meridian, etc. , the " digital sound " almost dissapear and the quality sound reproduction is nearest to the analog one and to the real music.
I'm saying this with SACD/DVDA at 24/192kHz and only when the original recording was recorded in that native digital format.
Still with all the best digital technology the natural tonal balance ( top to bottom ) that the analog medium has is not even with digital, it is near but only " near ".

It is very dificult to compare both mediums because both are extremly different technologies, each one with its own advantages and disadvantages. We have trade-offs in both mediums: which one is best for us -?, this is a question with several answers because our music sound reproduction priorities are very subjective ones and singular for each person.

We ( Jos{e and I ) build our self design CD/DVDA player that at least is in the same league that EMM Labs and other top digital players ( in some quality sound reproduction characteristics our design outperform EMM Labs ) and I could live hearing that unit instead of my analog rig. The digital technology at this performance level is really great.

There are several differences between both technologies but the real differences exist at the frequency extremes: the digital medium has advantage at the low bass range and the analog one has advantage at the high frquency range.
Now, there is a really big disadvantage in the SACD/DVDA technology: SOFTWARE, it is almost cero. The recording companies are not supporting the SACD/DVDA medium and never will. Everyone can ask then: why am I investing 15-20K in a technology that can't give me any support ( software ) in the future?

Regards and enjoy the music.