SACD or vinyl? Looking for great sound and mid $$

I'm planning to upgrade my system and software as I find myself enjoying listening to music as I never have previously. The music that I plan to add is more jazz and classical which I am just starting to appreciate and therefore have a limited collection. Perhaps, I should provide a little background:

I began my quest for musical nirvana listening to a great number of speakers (B&W cdm, reference 3a, totem, opera, pro-ac, etc.) in shops with vastly different amplification and sources. I started to question the validity of the auditions when I began noticing my dislike of different systems that had the same sources (e.g. Music Hall cd 25 and the cambridge 500).

Reading all the while that I should start my upgrade path with the source, I thought a hybrid cd/sacd player would be the place. I heard a DSD recorded SACD that blew me away but I became sidetracked when I couldn't find a single sacd that I wanted available at my local store. I then thought I should just get the best cd player my money could buy (enjoyed the audio note 2.1x), and then I heard vinyl...

My question is should I get a SACD based system or vinyl? I've heard some of the most lifelike sounds ever in SACD (the cymbals and snare drum in Bennie Wallace's, "Moodsville" were sensational). On the other hand, the vinyl version of Johnny Cash's guitar strings in American Recordings was also stunningly lifelike and gripping.

I understand that the number SACD releases is increasing and the number of vinyl releases is decreasing, however we have a great used record store locally and the software is quite reasonably priced. On the other hand the convenience of SACDs is very attractive - my wife won't laugh at me or begrudge the fact that I am washing my LP's instead of the dishes :)

I'm also curious about price points. With a good LP, where does one need to start price wise for a tt/arm/cartridge to get the equivalent of an SACD playback of say the Shanling scd-s200?

I hope you can help a soul in search of good sounds.
I am also of the opinion vinyl is still better sounding, besides it will take some time before SACD can catch up as far as availability of albums is concerned. I have seen a long list and only few I personally was interested in getting. There is no point in getting albums you cannot relate to even if everyone is ranting and raving about them. It is after all a matter of personal taste and one listens to music to enjoy it. There is something in vinyl that I think is missing from SACD but I am still not quite able to understand what it is.

For those who are looking for a good source for SACD check, looks like they list every album currently avialable on SACD. As for the reviews on the site I advise caution, some of the reviews are plain garbage.
One benefit of going with vinyl is that classical vinyl is dirt cheap ('shaded dogs', mercury living presence, etc. excepted). Hit the garage sales and you'll be able to pick the stuff up for a buck a pop. That being said, if you're into opera, the pain in the butt factor of changing records 26 times for a single opera vs., say 3 or 4 cds could be a factor. Also, even though vinyl sounds better than digital, the dynamic range on lps can be problematic (i.e.the noise level on the soft parts is as loud as the music and the loud parts are not as loud as they're really played). For jazz on vinyl, the OJC reissues are great: well made, great sounding and cheap!
Forget the sonic differences for a second on a $500 SACD player vs a $500 turntable/cartridge combo. Concentrate on the medium.

Vinyl for $1-5 each. SACD for $20-25 each.
Vinyl with gads of music. SACD with limited selection.

Your choice should be easy..
Great point Bob. The enormous supply of affordable jazz and classical LP's should clinch the decision. Unless he's into new jazz, everything he likes is available now. Who knows when or if much of it will be reissued on SACD, or at what price?

I'll respectfully disagree with Musicslug about dynamic range, since the experience in my system is decidedly the other way around. LP's contain musical information at much lower levels than CD's, and also contain dynamic peaks that can relocate the sofa. Whether you can reproduce either or both is a function of your system and how well you clean your records. Ms. Concious should be pleased if he starts washing anything. That's more than most guys do!

The Shanling scd-s200 retails for about $1900. Lots of decent analog front ends could be had for that budget.
I'll offer a different perspective. I am a vinyl-addict. My system is all-vinyl, and I have a record collection of over 6000 LPs. I'd love nothing better than to see more people heavily involved with vinyl. But, would I recommend someone else dive into vinyl as their primary playback medium? Hmmmm, I'm not so sure.

Yes, I think vinyl sounds better than CD, SACD, DVD, etc. But, good digital playback can be pretty satisfying, it is a hell of a lot easier to use and maintain, CDs are also reasonably cheap and plentiful on the used market even if SACD is not. In many cases, good CD playback can sound better than SACD.

This is not an easy equation, and I would not presume a choice on this matter for someone else. For me, the additional effort and care needed to maintain a high-quality vinyl playback system is well worth it. But, it does require extra care: Extra care of the software, extra care of the equipment, replacement of cartridges that deteriorate over time and usage, setup and alignment that requires some knowledge and experience to accomplish...

I'm also of a somewhat different opinion about the cost of a vinyl front end. You can get some good deals in the used market on a turntable and tonearm. But there is some risk that they are functioning correctly, that the bearings have not worn, that the tonearm can be properly aligned, etc. These issues are not trivila and should not be ignored. If you are not already a knowledgable user who is able to evaluate this for yourself, be sure to have an acquaintance you can rely on for these things. Assuming you are comfortable here, be mindful that there is a higher risk in buying a used cartridge. Some people I know have done this successfully and been very pleased with the outcome. I'm sure there will be other who can attest to their experience in this forum. But that is one piece of equipment I've never been brave enough to buy used - and I've been doing this for over 30 years. If you share my reservations, you're talking about buying a new cartridge. So, my cost calculation places me easily over $1200 and proably closer to $1800-2200. As is so many things related to audio, YMMV. But I thought an alternative view needed to be expressed in this thread.

Good luck in your search for the right solution for you. If it turns out to be vinyl, then WELCOME!