SACD basics question

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Steve_L, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Steve_L

    Steve_L Stunt Coordinator

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    All, can someone straighten me out on SACD audio. I have a Pioneer 578A DVD player with all of the ability to play SACD and DVD-A sources and have it set to output Multi-channel area of the SACD. I have a Pioneer VSX-1014TX-K receiver.

    So I thought that SACD kind of implied multi-channel audio, but I guess now I am realizing it really doesn't. I am listening to a Mofi SACD I just bought, SoulTrane, John Coltrane, and it is apparently a Monaural recording. The Pioneer senses the incoming signal only on the Multi-channel In and then only gives me front L/R. If I switch off Multi-channel In, which would be for incoming Digital signals I get nothing.

    Apparently SACD recording, does not imply a 5.1 output. Is that a correct statement? This CD, as great as it is sound wise, is strictly L/R channels and Monaural at that.

    I guess I was thinking that most SACD recordings would output 5.1 of one format or another.

    Can anyone give me a pointer to a good read about SACD for the beginner?
     
  2. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    SACD originally came out in two-channel only. The hybrid CD capability was always part of the plan, but, according to Sony (I've read this in several magazines--didn't hear it from Sony directly), it was cheaper and faster to get product out in single layer at first (I think that was a bad move. If they'd all been hybrid from the get-go, as single inventory releases, SACD would be in a much stronger position.). Sony claims MCH was always part of the plan, but there are conflicting reports in the press regarding this issue: was it always planned or was it a response to the MCH DVD-A that hit the scene around the same time? I don't know. Either way, it doesn't matter. There is no rule that requires a MCH mix, either for DVD-A or SACD. SACD DOES require a hi-res stereo (or, in some cases mono) mix as part of its protocol, whereas DVD-A does not. Thus DVD-As WITHOUT MCH mixes are rare (and those with both MCH and stereo are, while not as rare, not that common either). SACDs always have at least a hi-res two-channel mix, can have a MCH mix and, increasingly, have a CD layer. The packaging usually indicates if something is in MCH or not. So far, I've found SACD packaging to be accurate in that regard, but DVD-A labels are less careful (a couple of discs are labelled as having a hi-res two-channel mix, e.g. ELP--BRAIN SALAD SURGERY, but that mix is not on the disc).

    Short version: Not all SACDs are MCH. You should read the labels carefully in this regard.

    Edit: DVD-As carry a Dolby Digital (sometimes DTS) mix that is usually MCH. That will be output via the digital connection, like a movie, but it is NOT hi-res audio. DVD-As are supposed to include such a mix to make them compatible with any almost any DVD player out there. SACDs do not carry a lower-res MCH mix, even when there is a hi-res MCH on the disc. They are not obliged to be compatible with anything other than an SACD capable player, but almost all new releases have a CD layer (thus making these discs HYBRID SACD/CD) to make them playable just about anywhere. DVD-A has responded to this with a new format, DualDisc, which is a DVD on one side and a CD on the flip side. Do a search on DualDisc and see what the fuss/problems are. SACDs are not "flipper" discs.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Hi there, Steve: This question is about an A/V source, which is why it has been moved from Receivers/Amps to here. JB
     
  4. Steve_L

    Steve_L Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul, thanks for the explanation. Great info! Thanks!!

    No prob for the post move Jack.
     
  5. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    You're welcome.
     
  6. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Brian Moura, of highfidelityreview.com. has his own website that list just about every multi-channel SACD available in the world. You can access it by clicking here.

    Another source would be sa-cd.net, where just about every SACD released in the world is listed.
     
  7. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    and don't avoid sacds just because they're not multichannel. you'll be missing out on some great-sounding remasters, if you do.
     
  8. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    There is a hi-rez 2 channel mix on my copy of BSS, and it sounds better than the MC mix, IMO.
     
  9. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    How do you access it? I haven't been able to see it anywhere in the menu (and I'm not afraid of looking foolish if it's a simple matter).
     
  10. dany

    dany Supporting Actor

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    Dont forget how good CD's in DTS surround sound.
     
  11. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    I'm pretty sure access is via the main menu, but I'll check it tonight.
     
  12. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG] I must have been thinking of another disk. I checked my copy of BSS and the only stereo tracks are those for the videos. The DVD-A tracks are MC.
     
  13. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    Not to worry. DVD-A labels are generally less accurate than others, I've found.
     

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