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Yamaha S2300 is great, but it's going back


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted May 02 2003 - 05:25 PM

I purchased Yamaha's universal SACD/DVD-A DVD player a few weeks ago just to see what all the shouting was about. I got a pretty good deal on it--$750 as a demo and closeout (the dealer, Magnolia HiFi, will no longer sell Yamaha because it's competing against its parent, Best Buy).
I have demoed SACD in the past, but nothing I heard really floored me. To try out my new player, I purchased the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon SACD, along with Alison Krauss live and The Police Every Breath You Take. I also already owned the Rolling Stones two-disc SACD hybrid. On the DVD-A side, I purchased Fleetwood Mac Rumours, and borrowed a few more from a buddy.
To be brief, everything I listened to sounded great, tremendous. But I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to go out and repurchase my old CD collection in SACD or DVD-A. It's not worth it. At least not to me. I have, however, satisfied my curiosity about hi-rez music.
So the Yamaha is going back for a full refund. I highly recommend the player. It has its quirks, but all in all its audio performance and video display are excellent.

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted May 02 2003 - 07:53 PM

Hmmm... I hear ya, but... I made the mistake of replacing half my lp collection when CDs came out because of the promise of "perfect sound forever." I won't make that mistake again. Posted Image So in most cases, I won't go back and replace CDs either, but for my favorite bands, or for discs that get overwhelmingly good reviews, I will. For example, listened to DSOTM last night on SACD. I have a Japanese copy of the original EMI/Harvest release that beat the pants off the 90's remaster. I was surprised, but the SACD version was clearly better. And I am not even that big a fan of this disc! For me, Animals and Wish You were Here is where it's at.
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#3 of 19 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted May 03 2003 - 12:17 AM

Mark, hang on a minute. You said that SACD and DVD-Audio on the 'S2300 sounded "tremendous". Did you directly compare the same titles on CD and then SACD or DVD-Audio? If so, did you feel that the hi-rez discs sounded better? Did you demo the hi-rez formats in surround sound?

I bought my first SACD player two-and-a-half years ago and first DVD-Audio player just over two years ago. Both formats are clearly better than CD to my ears. However, I am not looking to replace my CD collection. I buy the SACDs and DVD-Audio discs that I really like, but I still have my CDs, and I buy plenty of CDs. As of this writing, I have over 2,000 CDs and just 94 SACDs and 23 DVD-Audio discs. I greatly enjoy hi-rez, but I am not exactly replacing my CD collection. In fact, the hi-rez formats have actually exposed me to music that I never bought on CD.

My advice to you is that if you find SACD and DVD-Audio to beat CD, go for it! Besides, the hi-rez formats offer surround sound.
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#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Tomoko Noguchi

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Posted May 03 2003 - 01:00 AM

How long did you listen? I have heard all players take about 100 hours to burn in properly. You aren't going to get the best sound if you return the player so quickly.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   CurtisC

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Posted May 03 2003 - 02:19 AM

KeithH said it all!

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted May 03 2003 - 03:39 AM

Believe me, guys, I understand the pros of hi-rez. But I have a high-end two-channel CD system (Nautilus speakers, Classe integrated amp, Marantz changer). That's what I want to use for my music listening. When I compare two-channel SACD on my HT with regular CD on my dedicated system, there's no obvious advantage. The only advantage for Hi-Rez, at least in my circumstance, is surround.
But let's face it: in the end, if Hi-Rez does trickle down to the masses, we'll all be re-buying discs.

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   ReggieW

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Posted May 03 2003 - 07:13 AM

Mark,

Why don't you simply buy an audio only SACD changer like the SCD-222es or SCD-555es, or if you can afford it, the single-disc SCD-777es, place one of them in your dedicated music system in place of the Marantz and THEN compare it to your redbook CD's. It's not really a great comparison if you will not include hi-rez in your dedicated listening system. Why don't you?

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#8 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 03 2003 - 08:34 AM

I think what Mark has found out is possibly similar to me: when I finally received my Pioneer DV-656A dvd-audio player and listened to my dvd-audio's stereo tracks (all at 96kHz or 192kHz sampling rates) they did sound better than their CD counterparts but I had to actively analyze the sound to reach this conclusion. Nothing just jumped out at me. High frequencies lacked graininess (good) and voices were more "in the room" (good). And imaging was a little better too. Bass was the same though--I never thought CD's bass reproduction needed help anyway.

This was not unexpected. Because at high end audio salons I have experienced the same thing with the same discs. All the way up to a system made up of Krell amplification, Nautilus Signature 800 speakers & a McIntosh dvd-audio player--@$34,000 total price. Obviously there was more resolution on this system than my Boston/Technics/Pioneer rig--duh--but IMO still nothing to yell about (uh oh I can sense the golden ears squirming in their seats at that statement! Posted Image).

I guess if you live to hear every teensy-tiny detail in a recording, hi-res IS awesome. It really does pick up the little stuff CD can't. But personally I don't enjoy analyzing my music intensely enough just to hear the recording studio's paint dry or to hear gnats pass gas as they flit pass the microphone. On my class of equipment (receiver + dvd-audio player + speakers = $1025) stereo hi-res is kinda like dessert after dinner: it is nice to have but it's not absolutely neccesary.

Surround music on the other hand is a whole other ballgame......Posted Image Posted Image

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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted May 03 2003 - 09:20 AM

Lance- I agree! Posted Image

SACD/DVD-A is in most cases clearly better than CD when you're doing critical listening. But for me for example, I'm ususally doing something else in addition to listening to music (reading, web surfing, etc), and in those cases, I don't feel there's much advantage to a hi rez source.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Lewis Besze

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Posted May 03 2003 - 10:14 AM

Quote:
When I compare two-channel SACD on my HT with regular CD on my dedicated system, there's no obvious advantage. The only advantage for Hi-Rez, at least in my circumstance, is surround.
You mean you demoed it on 2 different systems,never in the same?

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted May 03 2003 - 02:34 PM

I just did this afternoon. I couldn't tell a difference between redbook and SACD when switching between inputs on my Classe integrated; Neither could my wife or a friend of mine who were also listening.

The summary of all this, for me anyway, is that while SACD and DVD-A are indeed wonderful in surround, two-channel SACD is not head and shoulders above redbook when played on my dedicated two-channel system. In short, it's not worth it to me to spend even more money repurchasing my redbook CD collection in favor of Hi-Rez.

My HT setup will return to being used only for DVD concert videos and movies, while my dedicated stereo system will remain redbook.

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted May 03 2003 - 04:31 PM

Mark, when you compared CD and SACD in your stereo system, did you play CDs on the Marantz changer or the Yamaha universal player? I ask because I would expect SACD to shine when compared to CDs through the Marantz changer. No offense intended, but I feel the Marantz changer is clearly the weak link in your stereo system. I'd have a hard time believing that SACD on the 'S2300 and CD on the Marantz changer would sound so similar. Now if you used the 'S2300 for both formats, that's a different story. Of course, I'd wonder how good the 'S2300 is with SACDs. Posted Image
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#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted May 03 2003 - 04:52 PM

Keith:

I tried it both ways: regular CD to SACD on the Yamaha and regular CD on the Marantz to SACD on the Yamaha. I couldn't tell a difference on Redbook between the Marantz and the Yamaha either.

By the way: the Marantz CC-67 changer may be a few years old, but it is definitely a cut above the Best Buy level. I believe it near equal to my old Cal Audio Icon Mk II. It's definitely not a weak link.

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 03 2003 - 05:26 PM

Mark: do you know if your Classe does any kind of internal digital conversion? If it does and it is less than 96kHz/24bit it probably really will make everything sound like a CD. Posted Image

BTW: did you ever try any 96/24 or 192/24 dvd-audio tracks?

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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted May 04 2003 - 03:07 AM

Lance:

I don't know what the Classe does to the signal. That's why I primarily tried out the S2300 in my HT, because at least I knew that the Hi-Rez signals were going through my Rotel's analog multi-inputs. That's one of the frustrations of Hi-Rez: If you don't have all your ducks in a row (proper connectors, proper settings, proper equipment) one can end with much less than Hi-Rez.

I did listen to 96/24 on Fleetwood Mac. At least the disc menu said that. Unfortunately, the Rotel doesn't have that capability, so in the end it downmixed it to regular CD.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted May 04 2003 - 05:16 AM

Mark said:

Quote:
the Marantz CC-67 changer may be a few years old, but it is definitely a cut above the Best Buy level. I believe it near equal to my old Cal Audio Icon Mk II. It's definitely not a weak link.


I've used Marantz changers, and they certainly are above "Best Buy-level" players. However, you have a first-class amp and speakers, and I think you could do better in the front-end department without breaking the bank. Just my $0.02. I've never used the Cal Audio Icon Mk II, but from what I have read about it, I would not have expected the Marantz changer to come so close to it. That's surprising. Still, I'd be curious to hear your impressions of some current CD players in your system. I'm thinking of players in the $1000-2000 range. Examples include the Arcam DiVA CD92T, Rega Planet 2000 and Jupiter, Sony SCD-XA777ES, Exposure CD 2010, etc. I'd also try the well-regarded Musical Fidelity A324 upsampling DAC with your Marantz changer.
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#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted May 04 2003 - 06:16 AM

Keith:

I'm sure there are better CD players out there, but my point is I have come to the conclusion I am perfectly satisfied with redbook playback in my dedicated two-channel system to the point that I will not repurchase all the redbook music I now have in favor of Hi-Rez. It's just not worth it.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted May 04 2003 - 07:01 AM

Mark, I think if you heard some of the better sounding stereo SACD's played on a Sony 555ES, 777ES, or 9000ES on your system you'd start to hear more difference...? I'm suspect of all the uni players...Best wishes!
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#19 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted May 04 2003 - 09:43 AM

That is my biggest complaint about dvd-audio: the tiny amount of new music available on that format. I haven't given up hope on it though: Linkin Park's new album Meteora and Madonna's American Life are rumored to be be coming out on dvd-audio (according to an HFR article--very last paragraph), and The Flaming Lips' newish Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots IS going to be out in dvd-audio form late this summer.

And for more adventureous people, AIX Records is always releasing something new (well, sometimes classic stuff but a NEW high resolution recording of it).

And purely for exposure's sake: :bHi-Res Music. Strictly stereo reissues in 96/24 or 192/24 form.

LJ





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