A thorough review that shows SACD to be very inferior to DVD-A

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Westly T, Apr 8, 2002.

  1. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    A thorough review from International Audio/Video Review that shows SACD to be very inferior to DVD-A and on it's way out.
    Read it Here:
    It's very long, but they start with the more basic information, and then go to the reasons why.
    Having just purchased a SACD player this weekend and a DVD-A player to be delivered today, I will soon be able to listen for my self. Because of the titles available on DVD-A I choose this for my main system. I only paid $199 for the Sony DVD/SACD player and it comes with 5 free DVD's, so it's definitely a good deal regardless of what happens to SACD. It was purchased to replace my failing Panasonic in my bedroom, and the TV is not progressive scan capable.
     
  2. tony randall

    tony randall Stunt Coordinator

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    Whew! That is longer than one of my posts!

    5 pages to bash SACD. Even though I prefer the SACD format so far, I finally feel that I did the right thing when I returned my SACD player got the DVD-A player instead.
     
  3. BeatCrazy

    BeatCrazy Stunt Coordinator

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    This is obviously a lot of propaganda aimed to flame. A quote from the text:

     
  4. Troy LaMont

    Troy LaMont Supporting Actor

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    Westly,
    In skimming through the linked article, the summation of DVD-A's superiority is based on 'their' opinions! Nothing scientifically conclusive was used as a basis.
    It comes down to personal preference really. Not only that, but this issue has been beat to death in the forum for the past year or so. [​IMG]
     
  5. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Interesting read, but I can't help but think that the author (or whoever he works for) has an ax to grind against DSD. He lost what little objectivity he had with me when he basically placed DSD below MP3. And quotes like:

     
  6. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Agent

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    This article is old news, and it has been discussed to death on Audio Asylum, where most individuals thought it had little/no credibility.
     
  7. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    I'm seeing some comments like "superiority is based on 'their' opinions!" Can anyone supply other "unbiased reviews" for me to read that are more then just opinion? To me this one seemed to be much more then just opinion, and they weren’t just saying one sounds better then another, but one is more accurate then another. They definitely are very opinionated, but they pointed out many non-opinion "facts" in my perception. I’d love to read more reviews of this type.

    Based solely on the article I read today:

    I can see how SACD could sound better to some, even if it's not completely accurate, just like a picture can look better then another that is more accurate. What I want to know is how well does it reproduce the original sound. Think of it like what you do when you use video essentials to setup your display. Without something to compare you can adjust it so one picture looks good to you, but it may look nothing like what the original image looked like. Over time you will find things never look right and you are always correcting things. While some pictures look good, others don't because it not right. From the article I read, SACD is like this, sounds good for some things but is not accurate. As a result things aren’t as they were intended and it won't do well for many things. The ones that do sound good, still aren’t as they were live, but still have a different good sound.

    Again all of the above is drawn from the article I read today. I'm looking for more reviews and will soon be listening for my self. The little bit of SACD music I listened to this weekend sounded very good to me. I have yet to hear DVD-Audio.
     
  8. StaceyS

    StaceyS Stunt Coordinator

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  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    That article is heavily biased (as others have said, there is no data to support the conclusions), so don't let it in any way influence your purchasing decision. Let your ears decide. Hopefully they are more objective than the guy that wrote that article.

    Stacy, to my ears, cymbals sound much more natural on SACDs. On CDs, they sound compressed and fake. By the way, I agree with you 100% about Audio Asylum. That is not a place for a newbie to go for a balanced perspective on high-resolution audio.
     
  10. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  11. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Todd,

    What utter simplicity is that? The 1-bit in / 1-bit out simplicity?

    That's true provided your signal path includes no editing or signal processing. There are only a few recordings that are done this way.

    Once you start talking about any kind of editing or signal processing, that beautifully simplistic model is complicated. They have to noise shape while converting over to an 8-bit internal mode for editing and DSP. Then they do their editing and DSP in multi-bit mode (quasi-PCM at this point). Next, their is another round of noise-shaping in the converstion back to 1-bit for consumer delivery.

    The beautifully simple path that Sony sells is a far cry from the reality of the formats entire delivery chain.

    Regards,
     
  12. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,

    I hear things this way for cymbals (increasing fidelity):

    CD / DSD and 24/96K / 24/192K

    The problem is that I find the ringing / shimmer of the cymbals with to be unnaturally gritty, with a bit of an edge that isn't present in the real world. One could point to it as being particular to a recording, except that I see this on most every disc, across multiple players.

    OTOH, I think DSD shines on the midrange with voices (limited of course to the recording). Take JTs Hourglass as an example, or if you want another option, take something along the lines of the Bob Mintzer Big Band Homage to Count Basie.

    I think some of the enthusiasm for SACD is the immediacy of the midrange -- which is very, very engaging. Music lives and dies in the midrange for the most part.

    Just my thoughts, I'd be interested in hearing yours in return.

    Regards,
     
  13. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    I would be remiss if I didn't point out that TAS' Robert E. Greene also participated in a test where DSD and 24/96K PCM were compared and that group too came to the conclusion that 24/96K PCM was the superiour sound.

    Regards,
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John, I am not an expert on the technical aspects of DSD, but in some ways, it appears that the fact that SACD is an 8-bit format in practice, and not 1-bit, is advantageous. Recall Prof. Stanley Lipschitz's seminar at an AES meeting a couple of years ago that sent people on Audio Asylum in an uproar. He criticized DSD because of the limited resolution inherent to a 1-bit encoding scheme.

    Regarding cymbals, I was only comparing CD and SACD. To my ears, cymbals sound much better on SACDs. The only 24/192 DVD-Audio disc I have is Hotel California, and that's not an overly cymbal-intensive album as I recall. I know you have had more access to 24/192 material than have I.

    I agree with you about the strength of the midrange on SACDs. In comparing CDs to SACDs, what always jumps out at me is how much smoother, fuller, and palpable vocals are on SACDs. The sense of presence of Hourglass, and "Gaia" in particular, is scary, and I'm just talking about the stereo track.
     
  15. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,

    It doesn't solve the noise problems at all. It's a function of the initial 1-bit encode.

    Regards,
     
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thanks, John. I have not kept up with the technical bantering that has come and gone on Audio Asylum, but I remember people there (and here occasionally) refuting Lipschitz's anti-DSD statements in saying that SACD as implemented in the home is an 8-bit format, not 1-bit. So you are saying that is not a factor. Does that mean that there is no creedence in the 8-bit argument? It sounds like it from your previous post.
     
  17. Marc Rochkind

    Marc Rochkind Second Unit

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    Well, I know very little about the technology, and can barely follow what's being said in this thread, but I did read the article. (OK, truthfully, I only skimmed parts of it.)

    The article is horrible to read, although the words are spelled right and the sentences are well formed and it's well organized, because it's very wordy. The author takes forever to get to the point, and trails off into way too much detail on some of the analogies. This is a writing style that I hope is unique to this writer.

    But, that aside, the article is highly credible to me. I don't understand the comments earlier about the author being biased. Perhaps he is biased, in the sense that for reasons not stated in the article he came into the process already convinced that DSS/SACD was bad, but I would like to see some information about this bias. I know nothing about his background, so I can't say.

    But as far as the article itself goes, the writer is simply reporting what he heard in 4 or 5 demos and comparisons, and also reporting what some other listeners said. He also gives a technical explanation of the problems he sees in DSD/SACD. I followed his technical argument, and it's reasonable. Whether he's got his facts right I can't say (maybe someone else can), but I did follow the mathematics.

    So, pending some more information that maybe someone here can offer, I'd say the article is pretty convincing.
     
  18. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I got DVD-A first and I like it OK. I think DVD-A might ultimately have some tecnical advantages over SACD, but I've not always been thrilled with the format's mixes or how the format is currently implemeted. A major DVD-A disadvantage is the array of player/ disc malfunctions, which player will play which disc. Player or disc incompatibility issues are relatively rare with SACD.
    I like SACD's simplicity. I's lub's dem hybrid SACD's!!!! SACD is clearly better than CD and I like it. I have 53 SACD discs and have had zero refuse to play! What I like about SACD is that is purely an audio format. It's simple-stupid[​IMG] !
     
  19. Emil Stoica

    Emil Stoica Second Unit

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    Here is all you need to know about this farse of an article:
     
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael said:

     

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