VS. Thriller Showdown - SACD against CD Remaster! This is a track by track comparison of the Thriller Super Audio CD and the recently released Gold Remaster CD. I listned to each track in its entirety on each disc and made notes as I went along. I traded off between CD and SACD as far as which tracks I listened to first. In other words on Track 1 I listened to the SACD first, then the CD, and on track 2 I listened to the CD first and then the SACD. I've been as completely honest as I could in regards to what I heard and how the tracks sounded on my system. Whether or not this is representative of what you will hear on your system is inconclusive. I used the same player for both discs, even though they travelled a separate path to get from source to speakers. The SACD needed a +3db boost in order to be level matched to the CD. This is most likely due to the compression of dynamics on the CD. SACD has a much larger dynamic range, so there is a need to alter the volume somewhat to compensate for the CD's compressed dynamics. Here's the gear I used for the review: SACD/CD Player: Modified Sony SCD-C333ES Redbook DAC: Perpetual Technologies P-1A/P-3A Combo, powered by Monolithic P3 power supply. Stereo Pre-Amp: Parasound P/HP-850 Stereo Amplifier: Parasound HCA-1500A 205wpc The SACD player feeds the Pre-Amp directly when playing an SACD, and feeds the PerpTech P-1A with a "BetterCables Digital Coax Cable" when playing a CD. The P-1A feeds the P-3A via an I2S cable and the P-3A feeds the pre-amp Speakers: Paradigm Reference Studio 40's v.2 Subwoofer: Acoustic Research AR112PS Speaker wire is "BetterCables 12ga. Bi-Wire Premium Speaker Wire" Ok! On to the Showdown! Track 1: Wanna be startin something Remaster CD: Tight and strong bass to lead off the CD. I noticed that the high end seemed to be a little sharp, but very listenable. The soundstage is good with excellent directionality and decent depth. SACD: Bass is well-defined, but doesn't seem as strong as the CD. Soundstage is nice and wide. Vocals are better defined and there is a real tangible depth to the recording. Track 2: Baby be mine Remaster CD: Good bass. Vocals are very clear. Soundstage is nice and wide. Listening to the shaker in particular you can hear he clarity. SACD: Bass is very smooth, soundstage very deep. The image as a whole seems clearer and more focused. The soundstage doesn't seem as wide as the CD though. Track 3: The girl is mine Remaster CD: First thing is that the vocals are louder than they are on the SACD. A nice soundstage and good clarity. Not quite as immediate as the SACD is. SACD: Nice & wide Soundstage, Paul's vocals are very clear and palpable. There is great separation in the instruments and the finger snaps are clear and well defined. Track 4: Thriller Remaster CD: Very Wide opening pan, good bass, and a wide stage. The vocals seem a little compressed thoughm and somewhat back in the mix. Vincent Price's monologue is wide and spacious SACD: The opening pan is not quite as wide, but the overall soundstage is very wide and directionality is great. This one sounds cleaner and there is more presence to the vocals. The horns sound more natural and Vincent Price's voice seems deeper. Track 5: Beat it Remaster CD: Great bass, great separation and a very deep soundstage. The Vocals are sharp and the solo is clear and well defined. SACD: Virtualy the same decription as the CD. If anything, the soundstage seems a little more 3-dimensional than the CD did. Track 6: Billie Jean Remaster CD: Wow! Very punchy opening. In your face Bass! The vocals seem back in the mix, there's less immediacy. The soundstage is nice with good depth and width. SACD: Best track on the disc in terms of sheer dynamics. The opening punch is amazing. Vocals are better, more upfront, great soundstage. Awesome Track. Track 7: Human Nature Remaster CD/SACD: My personal favorite track on the album. This song is so well recorded it sounds amazing on both discs. This one is much too close to call...a tie. Track 8: P.Y.T.(Pretty Young Thing) Remaster CD: Great soundstage here. Good bass and vocals. SACD: Much cleaner separation of instruments. A Wider soundstage and nice tight bass. Track 9: The lady in my life Remaster CD: Excellent bass and a nice soundstage. Vocals are good but exhibit ever so slightly some PCM artifacting. This is apparent during the very quiet passages. SACD: A Dead Black Background...fantastic. Great immediacy, wide stage, and the vocals seem much more real, with more presence. Final Verdict: Well, there you have it. Overall the SACD is a better recording for this album but the CD is astounding, and one of the best Remastering jobs I've ever heard. There are a few tracks here that are so close between the two that I'd even be hard pressed to pick them out 100%. Others are much easier to determine, but the CD is a great recording and a definite pick up for someone that doesn't have SACD capability. Thanks all!