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Help, I'm ready to buy into either SACD or DVD-A


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#1 of 125 OFFLINE   MattCPT

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Posted June 26 2002 - 12:09 PM

I need a DVD player, and I want one of the new high-resolution formats to be included. I've read a lot of posts about one being better than the other, so I've done a bit of researching outside of this forum. I have made a list of possible pro's and con's. I say possible because there are so many claims and accusations made by the makers and supporters of each format that it seems impossible to know what is true or not. These are some points that I have listed for each to help make a decision:

SACD
PRO'S-
1. The ability to play hybrid SACDs on regular cd players as well as SACD players.
2. Many 2 channel SACDs available. (important because many multi-channel formats don't sound true to the original)
3. If this article is right then there will be a lot of choices when it comes to buying SACDs. This article states that Universal may start producing all hybrid SACD. [url=http://www.stereophile.com/shownews.cgi?1353]

CON's
1. Limited choice of DVD/SACD players, and most of them are Sony (not a company know for quality under $500)
2. According to this article the DSD technology is inferior and is intrinsically only 6 bits of musical information vs. 24 bits for DVD-A. The accusation is that SACD is unable to smoothly produce high frequencies above 8000 Hz.

DVD-A
PRO's
1. Ability to play excellent audio in 2 channel or multiple channels.
2. Many DVD-A players and companies to choose from.

CON's
1. Can only be played on DVD-A player (useless for use in my car)
2. Doesn't seem that 2 channel audiophile sound is the goal with most releases. Seems to be more multi-channel.
3. According to this article from a Stereophile you CAN hear the distortion/degradation of Watermarking.
[url=http://]http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?257

I would like to know if anyone agrees/disagrees with these points. I'm also open to Pro's/Con's that I may not have listed. If anybody has a SACD player, I would love to know if you notice the distortion of sound over 8000Hz (reading the article about this may help to understand what the distortion would sound like). I was leaning towards buying the Sony NS 755V when it comes out in a few weeks for $270, but now I'm not sure that the SACD sound is what they say it is. Thanks for any useful information that anyone can give.

#2 of 125 OFFLINE   Al B. C

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Posted June 26 2002 - 12:55 PM

3. According to this article from a Stereophile you CAN hear the distortion/degradation of Watermarking.


According to Sterophile! They're probably using a reference system costing $20k or more to do the tests. At that level of hardware you could just about be deaf and hear distortion or degradation.

I've got a Toshiba SD-9200 DVD that's hooked up to a Sunfire system (Cinema Grand/Theater Grand II) and being played through Klipsch Cornwalls and have never heard any Watermarking distortion.

#3 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 26 2002 - 01:12 PM

Matt, I don't get caught up in theory. To my ears, SACD sounds outstanding. I prefer the sound of SACD to DVD-Audio, though I will be the first to admit that I am using different music and hardware for the two formats. However, I would not let theory tell you which format sounds better. Let your ears decide. Furthermore, compare the software catalogs for the two formats and see if one format offers more music that you enjoy.

You said in regards to SACD:

Quote:
CON's
1. Limited choice of DVD/SACD players, and most of them are Sony (not a company know for quality under $500)

I disagree with your assessment of Sony, especially when considering its SACD players. The DVP-NS500V and 'NC650V DVD/SACD players are excellent in all respects for the money ($200-300)

You said in regards to DVD-Audio:

Quote:
According to this article from a Stereophile you CAN hear the distortion/degradation of Watermarking.


I have never heard watermarking or anything unusual on any of my 21 DVD-Audio discs. Don't let this Stereophile story bias you. I've read many comments on the web to the same effect in regards to watermarking from people with an obvious agenda (pro-SACD, anti-DVD-Audio). Some people will say anything in support of SACD. I like SACD very much, but there is a limit to how far I will go.

You inquired:

Quote:
If anybody has a SACD player, I would love to know if you notice the distortion of sound over 8000Hz


No. I have four SACD players and have heard nothing unusual in the upper (or lower) registers.

As I said, in the end, let your ears decide which format to choose. For $270, you could go with the Sony DVP-NS775V for SACD. Alternatively, Panasonic will soon be releasing the DVD-RP82 as a budget single-disc progressive-scan DVD-Audio player. Those are two players to consider. Other budget DVD-Audio players to consider are models by JVC and the Toshiba SD-4700 and '5700.
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#4 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 26 2002 - 01:18 PM

Matt, one other option to consider, which will cost a bit more money, is to get one of the budget DVD-Audio players and then the Sony SCD-CE775 carousel SACD/CD changer. You could buy both components for under $500. The 'CE775 is selling for $180-200 these days, though it is getting more and more difficult to track down. Try authorized mail-orders dealers like Oade Bros. (1-229-228-0093 and 1-229-228-4480), J&R Music World (1-800-221-8180), and OneCall (1-800-340-4770). The 'CE775 is excellent for the money, and it doesn't play DVDs, so your components wouldn't be redundant. Also, the 'CE775 would give you the convenience of a carousel changer.

If you find that both formats offer you a good amount of music that you like and you like how both formats sound, consider getting a budget DVD-Audio player and the 'CE775. For an extra $180 (the price of the 'CE775), it would be worth having both formats, again if you like the selection and sound quality of both.

One last reason to consider the two-component route is that Panasonic's recent DVD players have gotten high marks for the quality of their progressive-scan video output. For example, the DVD-RP56 and 'RP91 do not show the chroma bug. The forthcoming 'RP82 could follow in the footsteps of these players and provide excellent video quality. Then go with the 'CE775 for SACD.
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#5 of 125 OFFLINE   Matthew Anker

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Posted June 26 2002 - 01:27 PM

2. According to this article the DSD technology is inferior and is intrinsically only 6 bits of musical information vs. 24 bits for DVD-A. The accusation is that SACD is unable to smoothly produce high frequencies above 8000 Hz.


I suppose that was the article from IAR? Moncrief somehow has an agenda, but I'm not sure what. I'm afraid Peter GoldenEars has lost all credibility with SACD fans on that one. That article has been disected on Audio Asylum multiple times, and found to be technically flawed. Just listen to the music, the highs blow redbook CD away because they are so pure.

Put simply, THERE IS NO DISTORTION. I listen to SACD on a set of electrostats that produce sound up to 40,000Hz!

I was leaning towards buying the Sony NS 755V when it comes out in a few weeks for $270, but now I'm not sure that the SACD sound is what they say it is.


Get a CE775 while you still can, it's a hell of a player for $200. The 755V looks just like the 500V, maybe a little better.
-Matthew Anker
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#6 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 26 2002 - 02:46 PM

Matthew Anker, I have not read Moncrief's article. Is it similar in any way to Lipschitz's controversial paper at AES awhile back?
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#7 of 125 OFFLINE   Matthew Anker

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Posted June 26 2002 - 03:11 PM

I understand it is similar to Lip"fulla"shitz's paper, just in the form of a stupified rant against SACD. If you actually use your ears, then you know that they're both full of crap!

The 'CE775 is selling for $180-200 these days, though it is getting more and more difficult to track down. Try authorized mail-orders dealers like Oade Bros. (1-229-228-0093 and 1-229-228-4480),


Too late. I purchased every single CE775 Oade had left (4). They arrived on Tuesday.

Going with two players sounds like a good route. If you can't find a CE775, I'm getting some great sound out of my modified NS500V.
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#8 of 125 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted June 26 2002 - 04:23 PM

Matthew,

Vanderkooy and Lipshitz are academics. They have no vested interest in either PCM or DSD.

OTOH, it would seem you run sacdmods.com -- safe to say that's a vested interest.

Here's the whois info on sacdmods.com:
Administrative Contact:
Mathew Anker (e-mail deleted to protect privacy)
Address omitted to protect privacy
Cambridge, OH 43725
USA

Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
Mathew Anker (e-mail deleted to protect privacy)
Address omitted to protect privacy
Cambridge, OH 43725
USA




I'll make it easy, let's just deal with this one issue.

Messrs Vanderkooy and Lipshitz have asserted that noise is a serious factor with DSD, and that that it will be manifested by diminished SNR beginning within the audible band.

To date, every SACD player that has been tested has exhibited this behaviour.

I haven't even talked about the signal path, and the fact that if the recording requires any mixing, editing, or signal processing, it is no longer a 1-bit format.

How many recordings have no mixing, editing or signal processing?

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
Opinions are my own, not representative of the publication I write for.

#9 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 26 2002 - 11:21 PM

O.K., where is Lee Scoggins? Posted Image
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#10 of 125 OFFLINE   David Judah

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Posted June 27 2002 - 02:23 AM

Get one of the Pioneer combo players and you won't have to make a choice. See this thread for info. on the new players that will be available.

I have both formats and I think they are both excellent from the best ones I've heard so far.

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#11 of 125 OFFLINE   MattCPT

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Posted June 27 2002 - 09:59 AM

Thanks for the good information. I'm going to take your advice and focus on what MUSIC is available in each format. After all I'm only going to be happy with the format if I can listen to the majority of my favorite artists. I'm open to buying both players if I find that there is enough titles in each, but I'm more likely to buy just one DVD/high-resolution player.

#12 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 27 2002 - 10:52 AM

Matt said:

Quote:
I'm going to take your advice and focus on what MUSIC is available in each format.


Sounds like a good idea. What type of music do you like?
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#13 of 125 OFFLINE   MattCPT

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Posted June 27 2002 - 03:21 PM

Keith,

Like most people I listen to a wide variety of music. I love classical and some jazz. As far as bands/artists I listen to Rush, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, Metallica, Van Halen, U2, Queen, David Bowe, Journey, Pink Floyd, etc...

I see that you have a large collection of SACD as well as DVD-A. I'm really leaning towards buying the Sony NS 755V when it becomes available in a couple of weeks. Can you or anyone else make recommendations on some of the best sounding SACDs you've heard given my choice of music. I understand that some of the older releases may not sound significantly better than the cd version I already own. I'm interested because I own Journey, Meatloaf, Boston and some others already and don't want to buy the SACD unless the difference is very noticeable. Also I would like to know some of the better classical SACDs that you own. I would love to have a few ready when the player arrives. Thanks for your help.

#14 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 27 2002 - 03:43 PM

Matt, SACD is the way to go if you like classical music and jazz. There is a lot of great classical and jazz on SACD. DVD-Audio, by contrast, is lacking in these departments.

As for my SACD collection, I am not a big classical music fan, so I can't make many recommendations. I own and like Telarc's Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith.

It is true that some older classic rock SACDs are not significantly better than the CDs. They are better, but not by leaps and bounds. Examples include the Meatloaf and Boston SACDs. However, I have found the Journey Escape and Greatest Hits SACDs to be better than the remastered CDs.

Some of my favorite sounding SACDs (in absolute terms and relative to the CDs):

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Couldn't Stand the Weather

Rebecca Pidgeon The Raven

An Introduction to SACD (Chesky sampler)

Alison Krauss Forget About It

Alison Krauss Now That I've Found You: A Collection

Keb' Mo' The Door

The Isley Brothers 3 + 3

The O'Jays Ship Ahoy

Joe Satriani Engines of Creation

James Taylor Hourglass

Chris Botti Night Sessions
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#15 of 125 OFFLINE   Eujin

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Posted June 27 2002 - 05:00 PM

MattCPT, I'm a classical music fan as well and I have to say that there actually isn't all that much out on SACD, relative to the amount of classical music out there--especially if you have favorite recordings by certain conductors/soloists. It really is a toss-up between the quality of the recorded music and the actual performance itself. Right now, my favorite classical SACD is the Midori performance of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. This is a Sony release in multi-channel, recorded in DSD. If you get this, you'll understand why people rave about the highs on this format. A brilliant disc in my opinion. I'm not sold on multi-channel and I usually listen to SACDs on two-channel, but this disc is extremely well done. As for DVD-A and classical--you can forget it for now. There are some "notable" releases like the Barenboim Beethoven discs, but I just can't stand the way that multi-channel is handled on these discs--I don't much like the feeling of sitting in the pit with the orchestra. But that's just my personal preference. If you like the sound of major instruments coming in on either side or behind you, then you may enjoy it.

Like KeithH said, SACD has a huge advantage over DVD-A for Jazz, Classical and Blues/Folk/Roots music. More popular mainstream stuff can more easily be found on DVD-A. I had a DVD-A player at one point, but sold it in order to upgrade my SACD player. For now, the music on DVD-A just isn't important enough to me to warrant that format.

#16 of 125 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted June 28 2002 - 12:03 AM

Quote:
That article has been disected on Audio Asylum multiple times, and found to be technically flawed.
The inmates at that Asylum could disect the statement that 1 + 1 = 2 and find that technically flawed.
Quote:
I'm a classical music fan as well and I have to say that there actually isn't all that much out on SACD, relative to the amount of classical music out there--especially if you have favorite recordings by certain conductors/soloists. It really is a toss-up between the quality of the recorded music and the actual performance itself.
Toss-up schmoss-up. I'd take a good recording from a favorite conductor (Hogwood, Norrington, Harnencourt) over a technically better recording of an unknown source or one that I would not prefer.

MattCPT, Neither format has seen much in the way of new releases recently. I'd base my descision on what software you can get right now, today for each.
Quote:
I disagree with your assessment of Sony, especially when considering its SACD players.
I'm surprised that you'd disagree with Sony's poor reliability given your recent experience with Sony MD gear and your receiver (is it still in PROTECT mode?). I also have had not one but two Sony MD players blow up on me and a third on the way out. In general I think of Sony like the GM of audio gear. When their stuff works it's fine, but it's not very reliable.
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#17 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 28 2002 - 11:02 AM

Philip, the minidisc player was unfortunate, and I have no explanation for what happened there. However, I am convinced that the receiver was fried during an electrical storm. The storm occurred the night before I got back from my Memorial Day vacation. I got back and found that a surge protector and cordless phone were toast in addition to the receiver. I highly doubt the receiver just died on its own. As a result, I will not fault Sony for what happened. Meanwhile, the repair shop is still trying to find out what is wrong with the receiver. The technician found out that the power amp section was damaged, but he could not figure out exactly what needs to be replaced. He handed the receiver over to the shop's engineer, who was on vacation for a couple of weeks. The engineer just got the receiver in his hands, and he is testing it out. Hopefully I will know something soon.
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#18 of 125 OFFLINE   Micahel C

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Posted June 28 2002 - 01:55 PM

Quote:
Matt, SACD is the way to go if you like classical music and jazz. There is a lot of great classical and jazz on SACD. DVD-Audio, by contrast, is lacking in these departments.


Keith, I'll agree that currently, jazz is short on supply on dvd-a, but as for classical, out of the 280+ titles now available, over 100 are classical. I'd hardly call that lacking. The problem is that most people seem to think that there are just a few labels doing dvd-a (Warner, DTS, 5.1 Entertainment Group etc, when in reality there are now 30 different labels releasing in the format, a number of which are releasing nothing but classical music. This is especially true of the Japanese labels like Denon and Exton. Might also want to check out Tacet, Hodie, MDG and Angel Classics and there are others as well.

#19 of 125 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted June 28 2002 - 02:28 PM

Micahel, admittedly, I am not much of a classical music buff, but it has always seemed to me that SACD has more classical titles and more major classical titles.
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#20 of 125 OFFLINE   Micahel C

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Posted June 28 2002 - 03:29 PM

Keith, Given that sacd's outnumber dvd-a's by just over a 2 1/3-1 margin currently, I would expect that. I was only making the point that there are more classical titles on dvd-a than folks are familar with. I too am not a big classical fan, but I have purchased a few of the mainstream titles like Hodie's "Bach: Brandenburg Concertos" and Telarc's "Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture" along with a few others. BTW, all of the Hodie titles are 192/24 stereo and 96/24 mc.


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