Just Bought C555ES SACD Player, Jury Still Out After 2 Hours

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug_B, May 12, 2002.

  1. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Like the subject says, I haven't had much listening time yet, spending most of the eve rearranging equipment and connecting cables. My dealer will let me audition for a few weeks and return if I don't like it.

    The one SACD disc I have where I was able to do some informal comparison is Spyro Gyra's In Modern Times, a hybrid. I had been getting familiar with the redbook layer for a couple of weeks and thought that the sound quality was very good. As such, I had a tough time discriminating between the SACD 2ch layer and the redbook with this disc. Granted, the 555ES is new, and I have not fooled around with level matching (there does appear to be a difference in levels between each layer).

    I'm wondering if this is an isolated case, or is it generally true that for excellent redbook recordings / masterings, SACD isn't going to improve on it much. I'd like to get feedback from folks for cases when the redbook version is very good quality but the SACD version is noticeably better. Please, no classical stuff (actually, I'm very hard to please wrt music; I've led a sheltered life).

    OTOH, the other SACD I have (haven't opened the samplers yet except for one that my dealer gave me) is the Blood, Sweat, and Tears album (stereo-only SACD layer). This was markedly improved versus BS&T's greatest hits redbook CD, where some of the songs are on both. The greatest hits CD is expectedly of marginal quality due to its age.

    BTW, I do have what I consider a revealing system: Anthem AVM-20, Odyssey Stratos, Soundline Audio SL-3 mains (planar ribbons). Also, all interconnects are Outlaw's PCAs (not the stock dental floss that Sony included with the player).

    Doug
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug, your system certainly isn't the problem. The difference between CDs and SACDs will depend on the quality of the recording and the method used for recording. Good recordings can sound very good on CD, and the improvement afforded by the SACD is likely to be subtle, but observable on a good system. Also, PCM recordings will still show the digital edge even when converted to DSD, so again, SACDs may not be leaps and bounds better than CDs. SACD is an outstanding format, but cannot make miracles. There are limitations.

    I don't have the Spyro Gyra or Blood, Sweat & Tears SACDs, so I cannot comment on them. An SACD and CD you ought to by that shows what SACD can do is The Isley Brothers 3 + 3. The SACD blows away the CD. I also bought the new Isley Brothers greatest hits CD, which sounds quite good, but "That Lady (Parts 1 & 2)" on this CD still doesn't come close to the sound of this song on the SACD.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug, one more thing. Give the 'C555ES some time. I am not going to say that break-in is real or not, but you might experience a change. Also, consider picking up some more SACDs.
     
  4. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    Break-in is crucial, so give it time. Also, be wary of comparisons between the CD layer and SACD layer on hybrid discs. Often times material re-released on SACD has been remastered and the redbook layer comes from the remaster as well. Also, the redbook layer may be derived (ie. downconverted) from the DSD of the SACD.

    These facts make it difficult to directly compare SACD vs. CD. Comparing against previous redbook issues is not so cut and dry, because often the material has been remastered.

    /Jeff
     
  5. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Guys,
    I was a bit tongue-in-cheek with my post, including the subject. I'm not anywhere near a judgment on this format. However, Jeff, I am glad you mentioned your point concerning mastering first, as this was really the gist of my thinking. If one does an excellent job of mastering (assuming the original recording is not crap), will it really make much of a difference what the final encoding should be (starting from redbook)? Or another way of asking, is that if all these engineers who put together the DSD/SACD masters instead just encoded to good ol' 16/44 PCM, would we notice much of a difference vs SACD?
    Of course, less of a gimmick means less of a new market to create. In any case, my decision is now based in part on the reality that there are remasters out there that are encoded only in SACD, with questionable quality redbook masters (and possibly the remasters will never be encoded in redbook format). Are there enough such cases for me to want to stay on the SACD bandwagon? Probably yes, even though I don't have a wide variety of music tastes, because just a handful of titles will be enough for me to justify the expense of the player + software differential. And I have this and other forums to thank for these new obsessions [​IMG] .
    Doug
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug, simply, give SACD a chance. At this point, you have two SACDs. I have 68, including the CD version of almost every one, and in most cases, the SACDs are superior to the CDs.
     
  7. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Doug, I'm not a big believer in break-in except maybe for ears. I'm a firm believer that our ears adapt to the new sound of new hardware players and new music. I have both of your SACD's myself. I think the Spyro Gyra album is a real above average souding SACD. The CD layer seemed pretty darn good when I was dubbing a few tracks to MD a couple weeks ago. The Blood, Sweat & Tears sounds real good to me, comparable to the records.

    With the audiophile label albums I've aqquired on SACD, that have a CD layer, the CD usually is pretty good. It's not always very easy to find the differences but the bass line seems stronger and less distorted or boomy on the SACD layers and horns are very sweet and analog sounding on SACD, IMO. The decay of piano notes sounds better on SACD to me too, atleast it's a little thing you could notice.

    Sony should be boycoted for omitting a CD layer IMO! Stille, they have some nice sounding discs but they should be slapped with mackrels for making these single layer discs! Try some of the Telarc releases. I think they have some really exceptional sounding discs, hybrids of course. I'm listening to Mobil Fidelity's Patricia Barber-MODERN COOL that just arrived as I type this. Sounds muy excellente so far.

    I'm avoiding Sony releases for now. I'm betting they'll be re-releasing their stuff, yet again, as hybrids down the road. They'll have to if they want to keep up with the Joneses. Rounder, Telarc, Chesky, Virgin, Linn, DMP, Mobile Fidelity, ect. are all doing great hybrids and prices are falling.

    You need a few more discs to sort out your oppinions me thinks! Best wishes!
     
  9. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Rachael,

    How does Modern Cool compare to the CD? I like Patricia Barber a lot and was wondering if it's worth getting the SACD as I already have the CD. Thanks.
     
  10. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Eugin, I don't have the CD and I haven't listened to the CD layer yet. One thing that jumped out at me was that the levels were not pumped up to maximum steroid level like so many CD's are. It sounded really good to me. I got CAFE BLUE too and I'll be listenig to it soon. Before I ordered these two albums by her, the only CD of her I had was A DISTORTION OF LOVE. Best wishes!
     
  11. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Rachael, I hope you post your impressions of both discs when you've given them a listen. CAFE BLUE is a great album, although I think I like NIGHTCLUB better.
     
  12. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Eujin, my impression of Mobile Fidelity's first venture into SACD is very good. I listened to MODERN COOL twice and CAFE BLUE once last night. I say go buy them. Elusive Disc sent me an e-mail after I ordered these two, informing me that NIGHTCLUB was now in stock too.

    Some of the Sony SACD's I've heard lately, Ricky Martin in particular, have silly boosted levels like so many CD's do these days. That wasn't the case with the Mo-Fi duo. I proably won't listen to the CD layer until I decide to dub some tunes to an MD. I can't think of anything to complain about. Best wishes!
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael said:
     

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