Is 2-channel SACD noticeably better than CD?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Donald_Spry, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

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    Is 2-channel SACD's noticeably better than a regular CD through Mid-Fi components. Lets say Paradigm 40's, Kef Q-series, or Von Schweikert VR-1's and NAD power?

    Or is the 5.1 versions the only worth-wild purchases? I have just picked up a SACD player and have it my bedroom's 2-Channel setup. I would prefer to keep the 2-channel setup for space reasons, but is the 5.1 experience the true reason for SACD?

    I am not sure I have any discernible logic here. Hopefully you guys can help.

    Thanks,
    DJ
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Why don't you pick up a hybrid stereo SACD and decide for yourself! They're not that expensive, and the CD layer will be usable in most CD players.
     
  3. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

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    I have already ordered a SACD. I am wondering if I should start saving for more speakers!

    I was hoping to actually get some other peoples thoughts on the difference in sound qualities.

    DJ
     
  4. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    Well, I can give you my opinion.

    1) There is no such animal as "mid-fi", and if there was I wouldn't consider your equipment to be so. Sounds to me like you have a nice stereo.

    2) The difference between 2-ch SACD and regular CD's is not subtle or small. It isn't something you need $10k in equipment to recognize. It is there immediately, and over the long term. Barring a piss-poor recording on SACD (which I haven't heard yet) SACD will be an improvement over CD. Period.

    3) Multi-channel vs. Stereo is a 'nother argument. Multi-channel music can range from beautiful to neato to gimmicky, depending on the mix and the artist's original intent. It also depends on what you are looking for. There are far more stereo SACD's than M/C, as it should be in my opinion. Some multi-channel productions, such as Alison Krauss + U.S. - New Favorite and Beck - Sea Change are phenomenal. But don't add 3 speakers just because you think you should.

    My three cents.
     
  5. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff,
    That is what I was hoping to hear. Believe it or not, the SACD I have on order is the Alison Krauss- Forget About It. I almost got a Beck as well. I saw him on Austin City Limits- very good.

    I was afraid to consider my stereo as a hi-end based on some of the equipment/systems I read from the other members here- but I LOVE my HT! I am debating on replacing my KEF Q3's w/ Von Schweikert VR-1's or JM Reynaud TWIN MK 3's for a pure 2channel.

    Thanks again,
    DJ
     
  6. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Donald, if you want to get some near reference discs try Krauss' NEW FAVORITE and absolutely get Jorma Kaukonen's BLUE COUNTRY HEART. On a certain level, it's kinda funny that you don't fully trust you're rather nice stereo![​IMG] Which player have you chosen, BTW? I prefer stereo SACD not because I thnk it sounds better or anything like that. I'm not any kind of stereo purist, for sure! It's just that I spend so much time sitting between 5.1 speakers watching DVD's and LD's that I've decided I like my SACD in my stereo system in my playroom. I don't want to spend all my time on the sofa in my theatre.

    I like M/C SACD and I'll get it again in my theatre again when I buy my next DVD player. Hopefully, I'll find a Universal player that suits me eventally. No worries mate! SACD's sound good any way you play them. Best wishes![​IMG]
     
  7. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    I honestly have yet to hear the Beck in stereo, but I have some faith in it. For one, the CD is a good'un. For two, the multi-channel is so good, they would almost have to be trying to make the stereo not so good (how's that for 1am logic?).

    Oh yeah, the music is great too, if it perhaps presents a smaller musical scope than a couple of his other albums. If you like slower and moody (I do) with enough details to keep one interested (indeed I do), I think you'll like it. Several sing-along hooks, too, if you're me.

    Then later, if you just want him to lighten up, get the funk on and switch from Prince-style Rhythm and Blues to... what is that? some sort of sick Bluegrass?... get Midnite Vultures. But it's a (shudder) CD.

    Or Rachael might tell you it's a record [​IMG]
     
  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  9. Dan Joy

    Dan Joy Supporting Actor

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  10. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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  11. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Definitely a big improvement in sound with SACD over CD. Even the most militant DVD-Aers will attest to that.

    I also have a mid-fi system, including a NAD receiver, and I hear it clearly.

    I still need to get that Beck disc.

    NP: Miles Davis, Live in Montreal, DVD
     
  12. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    I would say you will be OK with a stereo only SACD system just due to the fact that there are more stereo only discs being released today then those with stereo and multichannel. I have found noticeable improvements over the redbook counterparts in most cases. Give a few a listen and let us know what you think.

     
  13. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

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    Rachael,
    I just picked up a Sony DVP-NS500V player from the Hardware FS forum. Also, I checked out your website. Your show looks hilarious!

    Jeff,
    I think you hit it right on the head with your last post. That is what I was trying to get across.

    Justin,
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Donald, multi-channel SACD is a nice bonus, but I find that most of the mixes are gimmicky. I have a surround-sound system, but I rarely use it for music. As my main interest is stereo music, my two stereo systems are considerably better than my multi-channel system.

    Regarding stereo SACD, I have what most audiophiles would consider mid-fi systems, and I can clearly hear the benefit of SACD over CD. For your reference, my main system consists of Totem Arro floorstanding speakers and an NAD C 370 stereo integrated amp biamped with an NAD C 270 stereo power amp. My second stereo system has Energy e:XL 26 floorstanders and an NAD C 350 stereo integrated amp. Even on the second system, SACD is more open (greater layering of instruments with a wider soundstage). CD is congested by comparison.
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Donald,

    One more thing. It has probably been mentioned here, as I did not read through everyone's posts in detail, but the SACD specifications mandate that all discs have a discrete stereo SACD track. So, you will not be shut-out with a stereo system (i.e., by the tide turning to exclusive multi-channel releases). This is very important to me.


    Lee said:

     
  16. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Donald, thanks for the kind words! PNT will return soon. I'm rebuilding my cheap TV studio in my new, I just moved, furnace room. It's loads of fun to make. We'll get back to the sunday eve tapeing sessions soon.

    I've never heard that player but I saw it in Busted Buy last year. Does the BB near you not have the little SACD section back in the audio hardware section in the back of the store? You should find Sony, Universal, and a few Telarc discs there.

    You'll have to mail order some discs or likely have somebody locally order them for you...? I know how high the sales tax is in Texas. You'd be better off to mail order stuff IMO. You might find a fair selection of SACD's if you have a Tower store in your city? If you at all like the Stones, pick up a copy of the LET IT BLEED hybrid from BB. Of the non-compilation albums it's one of the best. It'll be in a digi-pack and say Stones Remastered and will be in with the regular CD's. Best wishes![​IMG]

    P.S. - Jeff I haven't heard the Midnite Vultures but with a name like that they could be alien contacts![​IMG]
     
  17. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    My wife just picked up Carol King's Tapestry. The worst surround mix we now own. It's like the engineer just spun the channel select knob randomly.

    A few of our discs are are great in multichannel are:
    Satriani's Strange Beautiful Music.
    Oldfield's Tubular Bells

    If you are into classical, Both Hillary Hahn violin concertos are excellent multichannel recordings.

    Even on my "low-fi" system with "party speakers" the difference is obvious between CD and the SACD on Boston/Boston which I have in both formats.

    Sony 222ES SACD Player
    Outlaw ICBM
    Sony 444ES A/V Receiver
    Speakers
    Main L/R: Infinity SM-120
    Center: Infinity SM-Video
    Surround L/R: Infinity SM-165
     
  18. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    Let me threw in my 2-cents here because I've been wondering the same thing until very recently I added a Pioneer DV-45A to my system. I still only have 5 discs(both SACD and DVD-A). The 1st SACD was Kind of Blue by Miles. Comparing it to the
    Sony Mastersound gold CD, the difference was slight at best to my ears with the SACD edging out the gold CD. I just got In A Silent Way by Miles and it completely blows away the CD, even the 3 disc box set which in itself is worth the price.
     
  19. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    On the subject of mid and low end audio systems with SACD, any opinions on the Sony and Philips low end SACD players (PHILIPS DVD963SA and SONY DVP-NS755V)?
     
  20. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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