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How do you connect your SACD player?

Discussion in 'Music' started by JohnRice, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    I finally decided to give some SACD a try and have been picking up a few titles, mostly Classical. I have a used Oppo 970HD on the way, which I purchased here on HTF, and I'm wondering how people choose to connect their SACD players. None of my gear is particularly new, but I do have excellent Thiel CS 3.6 speakers driven by an Aragon 4004II amp, so the audio capabilities are well above average. I also have an excellent outboard DAC, but it is 15 years old, so I doubt it can handle the SACD digital output. So, I understand I can just use the regular digital audio output from the Oppo 970HD (No hdmi in my system yet) to my receiver, which is a Pioneer VSX-56TXi. Does this work? I'm guessing the DACs in the Pioneer are better than the ones in the Oppo. I do have one concert DVD with 24/192 DTS, which the Pioneer does decode, so that leads me to believe it can also handle the high res digital output from the Oppo.

    Also, are there really any DVD-A titles released anymore? Are they mostly more modern stuff, as in, not Classical? Another thing I'm curious about is feedback on some of the old Telarc recordings which have been remastered and released on SACD. How do they measure up, in general, to the newer recordings?
     
  2. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid a regular digital connection won't work with DVD-A/SACD. It's a copywright protection issue and possibly not enough bandwidth like BluRay's DolbyHD and DTS-MA. The OPPO 970 will transfer hi-res via hdmi though. But with the 56txi you will need the 5.1 analog cables to hear SACD. With the the 5.1 analog inputs the 56txi will act as a volume controller only, no processing so no MCACC, Bass/Treble controls or any other DSP modes. Opps! Almost forgot to mention-there's no Bass Management thru the 5.1 analog inputs either. BM is performed in the OPPO's speaker setup menu. The x-over is fixed but I can't remember what it it (I had a 970 for a while).

    From OPPO's websit FAQ

    Q: Why is there no audio output from the coaxial or optical digital audio port when I play DVD-Audio or SACD discs?
    A: The copyright protection feature of the DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD) disc format prohibits unprotected digital audio output. Since the coaxial or optical digital audio output has no copy-protection ability (i.e. pure audio stream without encryption and authentication), audio from DVD-Audio or SACD cannot be output via these interfaces. To enjoy high resolution digital audio from DVD-Audio or SACD discs, please use the 5.1-channel analogue audio output. If your A/V receiver supports HDMI 1.1 (or above) digital audio, you may also use the HDMI port, which has the required copyright protection mechanism (HDCP).

    BTW, I'm using the i-Link connection and it's marvelous! Since i-Link is a digital connection it allows all the processing to be performed.

    Also, which concert dvd is 24/192 DTS? And I'm surprised the Pioneer decodes it thru a digital connection.
     
  3. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Gene. I had read a review from Stereophile where the reviewer used the 970HD to play back through a high end DAC. It must have had an hdmi input, I guess. Eventually I'll have to update my receiver for greatest flexibility.

    The concert DVD with 24/192 DTS is this one...

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Symphony-DVD-Within-Temptation/dp/B001DPC52C

    The Pioneer reads out right on it's display "24/192 DTS" when it is playing.
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    My mistake, the soundtrack on the Within Temptation DVD is 24/96, not 24/192.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

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    I connect my Sony ES SACD/CD player via it's 5.1 analog outputs to the multi-channel analog inputs of my receiver. I also own an Oppo 980H DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio player, and this is connected via HDMI to the receiver. I prefer the sound of Sony over the Oppo for SACD -- and the Sony is a carousel player, too, so it adds convenience for music listening.

    I have not tried the Oppo via the multi-channel analog connections, mostly because I am content using the Sony for CD and SACD listening. Instead, the Oppo is being used for mostly SD-DVD playback, with the occasion DVD-Audio disc thrown in.

    As Gene mentioned, SACD is not supported via a digital coaxial or optical link. Since you do not have HDMI capabilities with your receiver, you will need to use the multi-channel analog connections.
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Premium
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    I have an Oppo 980 in the bedroom system connected via HDMI. Before I had an HDMI receiver and Blu-Ray player in the bedroom system, I had the Oppo and Sony 2000ES CD/SACD changer in there. The Sony 2000ES was much better with analog connections vs. the Oppo 980. The HDMI output on the 980 is better than its analog outs to my Marantz SR6300 rec'r. I have my basement system connected via analog (Sony 2000ES and soon to be Marantz DV9600 I'm moving from the main system as I have my Modwright Oppo BDP-83).
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    I guess I'll have to settle for the analog outputs on the Oppo for the time being. Hopefully next year I can update the receiver, probably to an upper level Denon or Onkyo and get better SACD decoding.

    Has anyone had experience with the older 50kHz Telarc recordings on SACD? I've picked up a couple of them and just wondered how they measure up to the DSD recordings.
     
  8. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Well-Known Member

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    With my older Pioneer 563a, and Denon 2200, I used the 5.1 analog outputs.
    With my new Oppo BDP-83, sacd and dvd-audio work over the HDMI connection. I'm loving it.
     
  9. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Well-Known Member

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    I have an Onkyo DV-SP506S universal player that can output the native DSD bistream using its HDMI output, but until I have a receiver that can decode DSD, I am using the analog outputs.
     
  10. Dan Lassiter

    Dan Lassiter Well-Known Member

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    John, I got the Oppo 980 about six months ago and just love it. I'm hooked up via HDMI, which is great because you have a lot more control balancing and managing the sound. One really strong recommendation is to check out the RCA Living Stereo SACDs. They are from historic performances from the dawn of Hi-Fi and stereo. Many are from the mid 1950s and early 1960s, with Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony and Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony being prominent in the series. RCA released about 60 of these discs, many of them feature 3-channel recordings and they sound amazing with many great performances. Of note are Pictures at an Exhibition, Saint Saens Symphony #3 and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherezade." These discs are normally about 9 bucks each, but until November 30, they can be ordered from deepdiscount.com for $6.99 each which is amazing for what you get
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Guys.

    Dan, Dale had mentioned you got an Oppo for SACD. I've been leery of the Living Stereo recordings due to their age, but I'll probably give some a try. Until recently I did not have a truly matching center for my Thiels, so I tended not to use the center for music. I honestly doubted I would ever afford a Thiel center, but I finally got one. What a difference. I still prefer plain old stereo, but I expect those 3 channel recordings are a different issue. Eventually I'll be using hdmi, but I don't have that available right now, so I am limited to the audio quality of the used 970HD that is on the way to me now. I'm afraid the audio on it is so inferior to what I have for regular CD that is may negate any benefit SACD has.
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Not sure if you want a recommendation, John...but the classic Van Cliburn disc in that Living Series series (with the Rachmaninoff 2nd and Tchaikovsky 1st piano concertos) sounds terrific.

    Of course, I listened to my dad play that LP about a zillion times growing up. Never sounded this good.
     
  13. Dan Lassiter

    Dan Lassiter Well-Known Member

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    John,

    Don't let the age of the Living Stereo SACDs scare you off. I love every one that I have gotten (about 15 so far) and that includes the wonderful Van Cliburn disc that Mike above mentioned. Another really good one is the Symphony Fantastique. I think they might spoil you because they sound that rich. I have also gotten some of the newer Telarc 5:1 SACDs and they are pretty good. I haven't yet tried any of the stereo SACDs of the classic older performances on Telarc though. I imagine they would sound pretty nice.
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    I'll probably give that Tchaikovsky/Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto disc a try. Too bad it isn't Tchaikovsky's 2nd instead, or better yet, a Beethoven. I'm not wild about the 1st. I have to say, of the ones I've picked up so far (listening to the CDDA layer for the time being) I LOVE the Benjamin Zander, Telarc, Mahler 1st. It is one of my favorite pieces anyway and he made some extreme choices, particularly regarding tempo, but it is dazzling. I'm considering the Karajan Beethoven Symphony series from the late 50s/early 60s. I'd sure like a set of Beethoven Piano Trios. Of course, I already have two full sets, but I also have three of the Symphonies and I doubt that will stop me from biting on an SACD set eventually.
     
  15. Dan Lassiter

    Dan Lassiter Well-Known Member

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    The Van Cliburn 1st is very perky so you might like it more than you think. I have the Zander 1st, 3rd, 5th and 6th Mahler symphonies on Telarc and like them all, but I agree, the 1st is in a league of its own. I also have the Living Stereo SACD of Mahler's 4th with Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony and I think it is very good. You might want to pick up Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon SACD (Japanese pressing) for when you get your full surround going because it is a demonstration quality disc. The surround mix is very tasteful and the sound is incredible. Also, if you like some mellower sultry female jazz singing, you might try one of the Dianna Krall SACDs which are still fairly available and moderately priced. I'd recommend "The Look of Love." The are on the Verve label, and once again, a very tasteful surround mix is used. Also still available are about a half dozen Elton John albums on SACD in surround. I like them a lot but some people, especially on the Steve Hoffman forum, find them a little crisp for their taste. I think they really kick, but with 54-year-old ears, I might be rounding off the highs just a little bit these days.
     
  16. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Originally Posted by Dan Lassiter
     
  17. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    Since nobody has commented on this yet I'll give it a shot.

    SACD seem to have released many more classical/jazz titles than DVD-A which seems to be mostly popular/rock. But both formats have titles in all categories.
    I think there are still the occasional release every now and then but they are few and far between. Often times they are included with a cd in the packaging (CD + DVD). But you have to be carefull. They may be called DVD-Audio but some of them are old-fashioned DD or DTS and not hi-res. And you can't always tell by taking a closer look at the label.

    There were also a few older releases that were labeled DVD-Audio but were actually DD. I don't remember the the company that released them but they were in a white package and were mostly live performances. I remember one being Marvin Gaye.

    Ans as I recall, there were at least a couple of SACD's labeled as multi-channel but were in fact stereo. The Kinks School Boy's In Disgrace is one of them.

    The hope, of course, is that BR will take over for SACD/DVD-A. There's an interesting article in the latest edition of S & V mag (they did a few pages on multi-ch music) where Tom Petty talks about his new BR live concert and at least some of his earlier albums might be re-mixed for BR as audio only.
     
  18. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Originally Posted by Mike Frezon
    Thanks for the info Gene. I had also forgotten about the Dual-Discs. I don't recall if those were typically DVD-A or just regular audio only DVDs.
     
  19. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Originally Posted by JohnRice
     
  20. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I wasn't talking about Dual Disc, which was a single disc with a cd on one side and (almost always) a DVD-A on the other. I was talking about a seperate cd and dvd in the same package. I completely forgot about Dual Disc too .
     

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