Why bother with buying SACD/DVD-A in stereo?

Discussion in 'Music' started by JediFonger, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    unless the content is released as 5.1 in a hybrid multichannel OR 5.1 24/96 in DVD-Audio, why would you wanna' listen to a "marginally" better technology when the CD is more convenient?

    a recent example i had is top gun sountrack. it was released as SACD-only stereo. i had both and wondered, why would i want something i can only play @home? so i gave that to the library and bought the regular CD version (all extended tracks of course).

    first, hybrid SACD's are awesome because regardless of stereo or multichannel layers, the regular CD layer still works. but even if i bought a hybrid, i still want the SACD layer to be 5.1 multichannel (or have it mixed with the intent of the audience listening in 5.1) because i don't want to pay a premium so somn only marginally better.

    second, DVD-A MLP is tough because i can't take it out in the car unless i spend upwards of $1,000 to get a headunit that plays back DVD-A MLP and i DON'T want DTS/DD playback. i realize there's 24-bit/192kHz worth of goods in the stereo mode vs. 24/96 in the 5.1 but still, i can't TELL of the albums i've listened to.
     
  2. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    On a high-end rig, SACD stereo is a definite improvement over regular CD. There wouldn't be much noticeable difference in a car or on a portable player, of course.

    If you don't have a system capable of resolving the difference, of course, then there's no need to buy SACD stereo instead of a regular CD.
     
  3. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I have about 20 stereo SACD's and a few stereo DVD-A discs. I don't think the difference is worth much of a premium over CD and I don't replace CD's with high resolution stereo discs. One example of a more noticeable improvement to me is the Neil Young Greatest Hits 96kHz/24-bit LPCM DVD-V compared to the CD but even then I doubt I could conclude the difference is worth the additional cost. Many of my stereo SACD purchases were because the price was the same or about the same as the CD. My stereo DVD-A discs, Neil Young "On the Beach" is one that comes to mind, was purchased because I read it was a big improvement over the CD but I haven't got the CD to compare to see if I agree.

    Overall, unless you are one of the few that think CD is terrible, I don't see any reason to buy high resolution stereo over CD unless the price is comparable.

    Chris
     
  4. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I should add, I am sure there are some that can cite examples of high resolution stereo being a significant improvement over the CD and worth the premium, and we would all agree after hearing the discs. In my opinion, that would be the exception and not the rule snd most often a result of a poorly done CD or a remastered high resolution release.

    Chris
     
  5. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    i've demo'd about 10 SACD's in stereo via $50,000+ pair "high end" speakers through "high end" amps and so on. not a big diff to me. i believe SACD's (in stereo vs. CD stereo) requires a "high end" person to hear the differences. another words, it's not like CD's over tape or DVD's over VHS.

     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I can hear huge difference on my system on CD and SACD in 2-channel. Even with a high end outboard DAC that sounds great on CDs, the $400 Sony ES changer in the bedroom system sounds better vs. better CD playback. I've put the changer in the main system on several occasions and demoed it for others.

    An expensive system does also automatically equate to one that is set-up right. You'd be reallty surprised at how many buy things because of a ranking in a magazine vs. stuff that has good system synergy. I had a friend who worked at a high end shop and for over a 5 yr. period I did virtually every delivery and install with him. I saw lots of expensive stuff that did not sound all that great in the particular room/set-up incl. $85k speakers hooked to $20k amps and a $16k preamp with expensive source components. Also don't assume a universal player or a CD/SACD player will be equally optimum on the formats it plays. Also don't assume that every hybrid disc will have huge differences. There are things I have that are just a little bit better and things that are a lot better. There is lots of skill involved in the mixing and mastering process and I have CDs that are really much better sounding than other CDs.

    I have quite the opposite taste/approach. I don't like about 85% of the multi-channel mixes I have (over 250 discs) on hi-rez discs. So I could care less if it has 5.1 or not. I'll listen to the 5.1 mix and if I like it is a bonus. Even on the 15% I like, there is a fair % of those that I still prefer the stereo mix.

    That being said, I have great CD playback and on most things don't feel the need to re-buy most item on hi-rez should it be released later. If it is music that I really love, I will.
     
  7. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    i think hybrids are great because you can play it on non-sacd players (like car headunit) and SACD's if you want. that's one minus for DVD-Audio.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    It depends on what you are listening for. IMO, I don't need every album and every song for that matter in hires, but there are definitely recordings where SACD really shows what they are capable of. Having said that, the ability is present on regular CD already to reproduce a very high level of detail even without very high end equipment. I have Jazz at the Pawnshop on CD and I have to say it already rivals the best SACDs I have. It is available on SACD also, but I'm still not ready to drop $60 on it (2 disc set) because I can't imagine it is that much better. I have some albums that I double dipped on and I have to say mostly with newer releases that if the original was already a good master and they used the same one, there isn't a huge difference. On Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue, I can hear the difference between the SACD and CD layers though, and to me, that is an album that is worthy of SACD (2ch only). Sorry to say, there is no way I'm going to carry around my expensive SACDs to listen to in the car...I burn the CD layer on hybrids and carry around the copies.
     
  9. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

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    I used to base my SACD purchases on the 5.1 mix, but after buying a few Stereo only releases quickly changed my habits. I am probably now at 60/40 MC to Stereo (or 3 ch) only. I guess my gear is mid-fi (Studio 40v3, 570, ADP, Anthem AVM30, Elite 59AVi, Parasound amps) and in 'most all' cases I like the stereo SACD layer over the CD layer (or can hear a difference). I listen to copies to CD in my car, like John I won't drag my SACD's along for the ride.


    John, the 2 SACD set Jazz At The Pawnshop is now my favorite 'reference' material, even over some HDAD 24/192 stuff I have. Have not heard the CD's but the SACD's are worth the money IMHO - whether the price diff over the CD is worth it I cannot answer....
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I like Jazz at the Pawnshop on SACD too. I got it at the NY Home Entertainment Expo 4 yrs. back for $40. I too don't like any of my media in the car and burn CD-Rs.
     
  11. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I carried hybrid SACD's back and forth to and from my car for many months but after reading the suggestion here, I started making CD-R copies of my hybrids too. I have done the same with some of my DualDiscs and I was afraid to even play those in my car, thinking they might be too thick for the slot loading player. I just leave those cheap CD-R discs in the car, how lazy have I become? I never hurt one of my SACD's but it would have happened soon and some of those discs are irreplaceable at any price I am willing to pay now.

    Chris
     
  12. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    can you gentlemen describe what you hear about the SACD stereo that's better than the CD?
     
  13. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    On my very modest rigs, I hear what many others have mentioned in other threads:

    1) no high-frequency digital harshness; instead, a more natural upper treble response that reduces listener fatigue;
    2) wider, more airy soundstage;
    3) richer instrument timbres, especially woodwinds, brass, and massed strings.

    You might not hear much difference on rock releases, especially those originally recorded using PCM. However, I can certainly hear a difference with good classical recordings.

    Doug
     
  14. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I only have the Cafe Blue CD and like it but there is no way I could conclude the stereo SACD is worth the price. That thing is expensive. I think hybrid SACD is the best audio format ever, the discs play in every DVD and CD player I own, and I own a bunch. DualDisc is ok and DVD-A/CD sets better, but if there could be only one high resolution format, I sure wish it had been hybrid SACD.

    Chris
     
  15. dany

    dany Supporting Actor

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    Like going from 8track to cd is going from cd to SACD/DVD-A.
     
  16. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Very well put.
     
  17. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    i've got B&W DM303's and pioneer 588 w/denon a/v receivers. i think it's OK, definitely budget oriented. i have Star Trek Nemesis (1st soundtrack to be recorded in DSD), Titanic and Norah Jones hybrid SACD's.

    in both regular CD stereo vs. SACD stereo. i can't tell any diff. i listened @0dB reference level.

    now, can ya'll recommend me titles that will make me hear the differences like doug puts it?

    i'll need a title that i can comfortably play over and over again. the SACDs i own are titles that i enjoy on a regular basis. that's why i have very few of them (+CD's as well). my taste is EVERYTHING, but it has to be to soooooooooo good i won't tire of it after 10 replays in a row. i mean that's what i do in my car. most of the CD's i own i can replay tirelessly over 16 hours straight no problem.
     
  18. dany

    dany Supporting Actor

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    Man,any of the D Fagen Discs,even just DTS is so good.
     
  19. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    For stereo SACD listening, the two titles that comes to mind for me are Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" and Steely Dan's "Gaucho". I, too, use a budget system, which consist of a Sony DVP-NS500V SACD/DVD/CD player with Grado SR60 headphones.
     
  20. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I just did some comparing of CD layers to SACD layers, using the Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" and Bob Dylan "Highway 61 Revisited". I like these two stereo SACD's really well, but the difference between CD and SACD layer is not much. The SACD offers only what I can describe as slightly better fidelity. I don't hear the CD harshness or too bright sound so many complain about. I will continue to play the SACD in the house of course, but I am not rushing out to replace any CD's with stereo SACD's.

    Chris
     

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