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  1. #1
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    The future of SACD

    I have been informed by a number of recording engineers of various labels that the future of SACD "remains uncertain." Still, at least two companies are steadfast believers in the SACD format as "the best thing that's available," and the only medium to effectively contain all the sonic attributes of the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording system. I too share this belief, not only based on my own listening experiences, but on some amazingly detailed and very well thought out explanations of the enormous differences inherent between the recording capabilities of DSD system and the PCM system provided me by Paul Blakemore of Telarc.

    According to Paul, an engineer and audio editor at Telarc, and one with over 30 years experience, when the same material is available on both SACD and CD (as are all Telarc hybrid disc), and is played back on loudspeakers of sufficiently detailed performance, "CD pales in comparison."

    When I first purchased the Marantz SA-8001, I did so largely due to the excellent reviews the unit received for its redbook CD playback capabilities. That it played SACD's was, at least originally, only an added extra feature I suspected I'd probably not use very much. Boy, have I ever been proven wrong!

    According to the folks at Marantz, the unit needs "from 50 to 200 hours" to properly burn-in. I haven't yet got 200 hours on it, but it sounds noticeably better than it did when I first turned it on, and even more significantly, the difference between the CD and SACD layers of the 8 or so Telarc hybrid discs I own has grown - so much so, that I can hardly believe how much better the SACD layer always sounds over the CD layer.

    As it has been carefully explained to me by Mr. Blakemore at Telarc, as the same amount of care and diligence were afforded both the SACD and CD layers, it is the superiority of the medium itself that is providing the increasingly noticeable differences that I'm hearing: it's as if I've somehow lifted a heavy veil from my speakers, and also managed to provide a new sense of three dimensionality and space (or "air") around instruments that wasn't there before.

    OK, so I too think that SACD's (at least as played on the 8001) are "the best thing out there." Why then is the future of this amazingly better device "uncertain?" It's the increasingly popular use of "digital downloads" as opposed to purchasing "manufactured product" that has many recording companies worried, not only about the future of SACD, but of their own survival as well. (Fortunately, Telarc isn't one worried about its survival - only that of SACD's).

    This isn't much diffferent than the fact that those awful 8-tracks, or pre-recorded cassettes vastly outsold the infinitely superior LP of the same product back in the 70's. Convenience always seems to take precedence over quality.

    If the SACD format does indeed die a slow death, I for one will be sadly disappointed. I don't have either the financial wherewithall to duplicate my speakers and amplification for multi-channel, nor the space either, so that admittedly wonderful aspect of SACD's is one I can't take advantage of. I suspect Marantz realized that there were many folks like me, and that's why they introduced the 8001, as it plays only in a 2- channel mode, but plays exceptionally well in that mode.

    I can't think of any other current format in the audio industry that makes as much of a sonic improvement as do SACD's, and to have them possibly disappear from the scene will be a terrible loss.
    Last edited by emaidel; 05-25-2008 at 03:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    DSD, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I have been informed by a number of recording engineers of various labels that the future of SACD "remains uncertain." Still, at least two companies are steadfast believers in the SACD format as "the best thing that's available," and the only medium to effectively contain all the sonic attributes of the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording system. I too share this belief, not only based on my own listening experiences, but on some amazingly detailed and very well thought out explanations of the enormous differences inherent between the recording capabilities of DSD system and the PCM system provided me by Paul Blakemore of Telarc.

    According to Paul, an engineer and audio editor at Telarc, and one with over 30 years experience, when the same material is available on both SACD and CD (as are all Telarc hybrid disc), and is played back on loudspeakers of sufficiently detailed performance, "CD pales in comparison."
    ...

    As it has been carefully explained to me by Mr. Blakemore at Telarc, as the same amount of care and diligence were afforded both the SACD and CD layers, it is the superiority of the medium itself that is providing the increasingly noticeable differences that I'm hearing: it's as if I've somehow lifted a heavy veil from my speakers, and also managed to provide a new sense of three dimensionality and space (or "air") around instruments that wasn't there before.
    ...

    If the SACD format does indeed die a slow death, I for one will be sadly disappointed. I don't have either the financial wherewithall to duplicate my speakers and amplification for multi-channel, nor the space either, so that admittedly wonderful aspect of SACD's is one I can't take advantage of. I suspect Marantz realized that there were many folks like me, and that's why they introduced the 8001, as it plays only in a 2- channel mode, but plays exceptionally well in that mode.

    I can't think of any other format in the audio industry that made as much of a sonic improvement as do SACD's, and to have them possibly disappear from the scene will be a terrible loss.
    Thanks, emaidel, for the interesting information you have passed on from Telarc folks. Telarc I believe is the largest single producer of SACDs and I'm very glad to hear about their emthusiasm for the medium. I share your hope the SACD will live for a long time because like you and Telarc I consider it the best medium, (though my own reason for saying so leans to the multi-channel capabilities).

    DSD has two aspects. (1) A recording & mastering medium, and (2) a distribution medium, i.e. SACD. I don't know which really came first. I believe I heard that for producers early DSC recording/mastering options were limited and might have slowed the early growth of SACD output. I suppose the issue has been overcome. It's interesting the Telarc guys are enthusiastic about DSD recording, but of course, plenty of SACDs have been mastered in 24/96 or 192 PCM converted to DSC only for distribution.

    Deutsche Grammophon has released quite a few remasters using this PCM process -- I don't think they sounds as good as Telarc in general, but the few I have are, indeed, remasters of matter the predates the digital era altogether, e.g. Carlos Kleiber conducting Beethoven's 5h and 7th symphonies. In fact DG has remastered a lot of material, (a lot to CD only), using PCM to do elaborate processing of their orIginal records that used numerous, closely-place microphones. They call it "Original Image Bit Processing". I'd say that there is an audiophile consensus that the sound is better than the original, but the original recording process is huge limitation. I can't say I much admire the overall results, whether on SACD or CD.

    I wonder whether DSD recording & mastering would survive the death of SACD. Which raises the question of the survival of the latter. What are the threats?

    Let's dispense with MP3 and lossy media. They will satisfy most listeners including most music lovers, but there will always be a true audiophile minority.

    However, as I've said ad nauseum, the LP remains a huge threat -- perhaps the biggest. Vinylphilia is understandable amongst middle-age audiophile with large collections; what is stomach-turning is the supposed growning support from younger audiophiles, (hello, JRA), which is gleefully report by the more decrepit audiophiles and the music press. Maybe the continued use of LPs by DJs is factor but I certainly have no idea personally. Such reports might be exaggerated, or so one hopes.

    Doubtless BluRay is a threat too, and it could well be SACD's successor. As discussed in other threads, audiophile BluRay will be niche market like SACD, but perhaps replacing it. I'd speculate that that will largely depend on the adoption of the necessary recording & mastering equipment and techniques by the music producers. As far as I can tell, they don't have much to do with DSD. Sir Terrance, any comments? Speculation again, but I'd guess that early BluRay opuses will be from those producers who are mainly movie/video producers, an not mainly music producers who might now use DSD such as Telarc.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    .

    I wonder whether DSD recording & mastering would survive the death of SACD. Which raises the question of the survival of the latter. What are the threats?

    I suspect it will. The CD layer of Telarc DSD/SACD remasters of older Soundstream recordings sound markedly better than their redbook companions, due to the sampling rate of the DSD process. Of course, the SACD layer sounds better still.

    The first Telarc disc I purchased that was recorded via the DSD medium was one of Respighi's "Pines of Rome," amongst other works, and I was amazed at how good it sounded as compared to other, "ordinary" Telarc CD's. I had no interest in, or knowledge of SACD's at the time, and was just impressed at how much better CD's themselves could sound when recorded via this new system.

    I've stated before that the best sounding CD I own is "A Sea Sympony," by Vaughan Williams on Telarc. It is recorded via the DSD system, and now I'm all but salivating to buy the SACD version of it to see how much better that sounds.

    Finally, Telarc intends to continue recording exclusively with the DSD process, SACD survival notwithstanding.

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    On the hardware front it certainly seems promising with more and more brands coming up with new SACD players . Amongst the recent ones being Arcam and Marantz . The other heavy weights such as Esoteric,dCS, etc are already there.

  5. #5
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    Regarding the question as to why SACD isn't doing better in the market, DRM is very much the issue in my opinion. Record labels belonging to the RIAA are selling SACD albums that use DRM to protect the high resolution layer of audio data. This locks buyers of SACDs into using proprietary SACD players if they wish to play their music in enhanced resolution. This lock-in inhibits the use of PC based audio playback for SACD media, and is one of the reasons why SACD is not doing well in the marketplace.

  6. #6
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I have been informed by a number of recording engineers of various labels that the future of SACD "remains uncertain."
    I think its death will be determined by Sony's steadfast refusal to allow the DSD stream to be stored on anything other than their proprietary disc format. Although I've got a bunch of players, the notion of computer based music servers is beginning to take hold. I've already taken the first step and ripped all my CDs to one of my computers. At present, only the in-ceiling speaker house system uses the server, but in time I'm sure I will convert the others.

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I can't think of any other current format in the audio industry that makes as much of a sonic improvement as do SACD's, and to have them possibly disappear from the scene will be a terrible loss.
    Well done 24/192 PCM addresses the Redbook limitations as well.

    rw

  7. #7
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    SACD is here to stay

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    As it has been carefully explained to me by Mr. Blakemore at Telarc, as the same amount of care and diligence were afforded both the SACD and CD layers, it is the superiority of the medium itself that is providing the increasingly noticeable differences that I'm hearing: it's as if I've somehow lifted a heavy veil from my speakers, and also managed to provide a new sense of three dimensionality and space (or "air") around instruments that wasn't there before.
    Actually, it's been my experience that many hybrid disks have a different recording from the SACD one. Telarc disks are usually pretty much the same, but that isn't always the case with other distributors. I would also wager to guess that upsampled CDs, HDCDs, and higher bit rate disks will offer incremental but subtle degrees of improvement over the standard CD recording. Also, the specs on BR audio are much higher that those for SACD, but my opinion is that they will remain very niche because BR is primarily a video format and because the improvement over SACD will be hard to hear on most average systems.

    Also, I'm not too familiar with the Marantz 8001 player, but I've often wondered how it converts a surround SACD stream to two channels. For example, if a disk has only a multi-channel SACD layer, how does the Marantz player handle the conversion back down to stereo? And how does it compare to a disk that has the actual stereo SACD track?

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Excellent info!

    I think SACD will slog on as a niche format, so long as the remaining manufacturing capacity remains intact. For one thing, it's the only high res audio format that can piggyback onto a regular CD, which BTW remains the dominant form of music distribution, both in unit sales and revenue.

    All of the other formats like DVD-A and the forthcoming Blu-ray music disc releases, require retailers to maintain dual inventories and/or set-aside sections. Unless any new music format supplants the CD or can consistently show sales growth, retailers will not indefinitely support multiple formats.

    As others have pointed out, SACD's achilles heel was the copy protection/forced analog output. I think it kept a lot of enthusiasts on the sidelines, and kept the format from fulfilling its potential particularly with multichannel playback. With HDMI 1.3, the SACD bitstream can now be output digitally. But, the horse left the barn quite a while ago, and as far as I know the only SACD player on the market that will output the DSD bitstream is the Oppo Digital DV-980H.

    Another weakness, and one that likely will not be addressed is simply the lack of DSD hardware support in general. The market has a broad range of aftermarket DACs, processors, software tools, and chipsets that support high res PCM. The chipsets for DSD are limited to the processors issued by Sony, Burr-Brown, and Cirrus Logic. Anything beyond basic decoding cannot be done using DSD.

    For consumers, support for DSD basically stops at whatever processing occurs within the SACD player. You cannot rip the DSD bitstream, cannot do any editing or processing, and can't even play it on a computer without attaching the sound input to an external SACD player.

    Multichannel receivers and processors can routinely apply bass management and time alignment adjustments in the PCM domain -- adjustments that are typically needed to optimize multichannel playback. SACD players cannot do any of this natively -- they all require DSD-to-PCM conversion before the time alignment and/or bass management can be done. And even doing a straight analog output will still require a redundant analog-to-PCM-to-analog conversion, since the bass management and time alignment functions on nearly all receivers/processors is done digitally using PCM.

    To me, by far the biggest improvement that SACD brings to the table is the multichannel capability. As nice as the improvements are between the CD and SACD layers, it's really the multichannel mixes that render the difference between hearing a well-done recording versus something that more dramatically approximates the live experience. Of course, some of the high res PCM sources I've heard can also do this quite well, and PCM is much more widely supported.

    But, even with classical, I think downloading is an inevitable trend. For one thing, companies like Deutsche Grammaphon now offer digital downloads for specific concerts from several orchestras. Given the limited market for classical, these downloads are otherwise the only way that most of these concerts get distributed, since otherwise only a select few performances might have enough sales potential to justify the costs of a CD release. In recent years, most record companies have drastically curtailed the number of new classical CDs they issue (most classical releases are library reissues rather than new recordings). With digital downloads, companies like DG can make a lot more concerts available to the public than otherwise possible with CDs.
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  9. #9
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Regarding classical

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    ...

    But, even with classical, I think downloading is an inevitable trend. For one thing, companies like Deutsche Grammaphon now offer digital downloads for specific concerts from several orchestras. Given the limited market for classical, these downloads are otherwise the only way that most of these concerts get distributed, since otherwise only a select few performances might have enough sales potential to justify the costs of a CD release. In recent years, most record companies have drastically curtailed the number of new classical CDs they issue (most classical releases are library reissues rather than new recordings). With digital downloads, companies like DG can make a lot more concerts available to the public than otherwise possible with CDs.
    Wooch, can you pass on some sources that docment that classical releases are declining and that are reissues? It might well be true but one doesn't come that automatically come to that conclusion by browsing the classical recording mags such as Gramophone. The extinction of classical music has been predicted much longer than that of SACD, CD, or even vinyl, and it is much less likely to actually happen

    A casual reader (like me) more easily forms the impression that classical selection is greater than ever before. Also, that most of the music (in terms of titles) is comprised of less well know or comtemporary classical works rather than the "war horses" of threpertoire. Smaller labels are relatively prevalent, (maybe paralleling the "indie" phenomonon in popular music). It would be easier to believe that the majors, (Sony, Warner, EMI, Universal), have cut back though.

    Unlike the popular genres, classical on CD has much less competion from MP3 -- or vinyl for that matter. As I mentioned, CD is hugely the favorite medium for classical music lovers. This isn't startling given classical folks are usually interested in complete albums or at least complete, multi-movement works, not individual "songs". It tends to be as cheap and convenient to buy a physical CD as to down load the 8, 10 or 20 individual tracks that comprise a classical CD. It could be that this is somehow related to that the fact that SACD enjoyed much more success in the classical genre than others.

    Yes, downloading will tend to increase for classical too, but it will take much longer for it become prevalent than for other genre.
    Last edited by Feanor; 06-04-2008 at 05:56 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Also, I'm not too familiar with the Marantz 8001 player, but I've often wondered how it converts a surround SACD stream to two channels. For example, if a disk has only a multi-channel SACD layer, how does the Marantz player handle the conversion back down to stereo? And how does it compare to a disk that has the actual stereo SACD track?
    I don't know the answer to your question, but I do know that the 8001 performs this task very well. Prior to shelling out $900, I spoke with Jack Renner (former founder/president/chief recording engineer of Telarc) about whether or not I'd benefit from the sound of a hybrid SACD when listening to it only in 2-channel. His response back to me was ,"YES!" (Jack, like everyone else at Telarc, is an enthusiastic supporter of both the DSD recording medium, and the SACD playback medium.) I have to agree that the hybrid discs I've purchased sound very fine indeed, and that there's a noticeable difference between the SACD and CD layers, but insofar as mixing down several channels into two, I haven't the faintest idea how that is accomplished. All I do know is, it works.

    I guess this isn't much different than playing back those old CD-4 records as stereo, and not 4-channel records. Those discs had a "carrier" signal on them which, when fed into a demodulator, split the signals out to four different speakers. If those records were played with a standard stereo cartridge (and not one fitted with a special "Shibata" or "Quadrahedon" stylus), that carrier eventually was worn off completely, but without any deterioration on normal, 2-channel playback. Perhaps a multi-channel SACD also has such a signal. I really don't know whether or not this is so, but it would make sense, no?

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    A short answer

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    ....

    I guess this isn't much different than playing back those old CD-4 records as stereo, and not 4-channel records. Those discs had a "carrier" signal on them which, when fed into a demodulator, split the signals out to four different speakers. If those records were played with a standard stereo cartridge (and not one fitted with a special "Shibata" or "Quadrahedon" stylus), that carrier eventually was worn off completely, but without any deterioration on normal, 2-channel playback. Perhaps a multi-channel SACD also has such a signal. I really don't know whether or not this is so, but it would make sense, no?
    The short answer from a non-expert is that SACDs have separate tracks for stereo and multi-channel. It's categorically true that there is no "decoding" information as on the Quadaphonic LPs.

    I believe also the SACD standard specified that ought to always be stereo tracks although is there a very small number of multi-channel only discs. Likely most 2-channel players, and m/c players in stereo mode, will play the front channels in case of a such a multi-channel only disc but a few might have "mix-down" capability.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Wooch, can you pass on some sources that docment that classical releases are declining and that are reissues? It might well be true but one doesn't come that automatically come to that conclusion by browsing the classical recording mags such as Gramophone. The extinction of classical music has been predicted much longer than that of SACD, CD, or even vinyl, and it is much less likely to actually happen
    This is something I read a while ago. It's not about the extinction of the classical genre per se, but more about the decline in the number of new recording sessions that get released on CD. The record companies would rather repackage and reissue titles from their libraries, since those reissue series tend to sell well and cost less than producing new recordings. I think it's a combination of perennial best selling composers already having multiple landmark recordings out there, and lack of exposure for newer composers.

    This is not all that different than what's going on in all music genres. On the pop side, record companies have been jetisoning artists right and left, and curtailing the number of new artists and CD releases. Whereas before, an artist might have had at least two or three albums to prove themselves, that kind of leeway doesn't exist anymore. Not surprisingly, they've been trying a whole slew of ways to try and milk their library titles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    A casual reader (like me) more easily forms the impression that classical selection is greater than ever before. Also, that most of the music (in terms of titles) is comprised of less well know or comtemporary classical works rather than the "war horses" of threpertoire. Smaller labels are relatively prevalent, (maybe paralleling the "indie" phenomonon in popular music). It would be easier to believe that the majors, (Sony, Warner, EMI, Universal), have cut back though.
    I was referring to the majors, so that might be where the confusion came from. I'll plead ignorance to what some of the smaller labels are up to!

    Classical music is not dead by any stretch. In fact, in cities like L.A. and S.F. where the orchestras have gone with young and dynamic music directors (including 28-year old phenom Gustavo Dudamel due to take over the LA Phil next year) that take chances with bolder and less traditional programming, the popularity of classical music has soared.

    But, the technology and the distribution are also changing fast. For example, the Chicago and San Francisco symphonies have formed their own record companies, and that might be the wave of the future where classical music organizations go more to the direct selling model. The SFS has indicated an interest in getting more into digital file distribution, which would obviously open up the number of releases that they create. In addition, the NY Philharmonic has begun satellite distribution of its higher profile concerts for live digital projection at movie theaters around the country. As more movie theaters install digital projectors, they can now host televised events like these.

    The LA Philharmonic already has a digital distribution deal with DG, where several of their concerts are available for MP3 download. Again, this opens up the number of recordings that would otherwise not be available to the public.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Unlike the popular genres, classical on CD has much less competion from MP3 -- or vinyl for that matter. As I mentioned, CD is hugely the favorite medium for classical music lovers. This isn't startling given classical folks are usually interested in complete albums or at least complete, multi-movement works, not individual "songs". It tends to be as cheap and convenient to buy a physical CD as to down load the 8, 10 or 20 individual tracks that comprise a classical CD. It could be that this is somehow related to that the fact that SACD enjoyed much more success in the classical genre than others.

    Yes, downloading will tend to increase for classical too, but it will take much longer for it become prevalent than for other genre.
    I'll need to look this up. I recall that classical in particular has shown surprising popularity on iTunes and other download services.
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  13. #13
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Classical downloads

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    ...
    I recall that classical in particular has shown surprising popularity on iTunes and other download services.
    Thanks for all your comments, Wooch.

    At the classical music sites I occassionally visit, (my favorite being Good Music Guide), it's easy to spot the dominance of CD. Vinyl is rarely mentioned and when it is, it usually about someone's decades-old collection.. Downloading is more often discussed: see the Classic Download Tread. (The beginning post opens with, "Like it or not ... " ).

    So it isn't surprising that classical downloads are becoming more popular. However in my visits to the iTunes Store, (not for a few months), I notice that the classical seletion is extremely pathetic compared to a good online classical retailer such as Archiv Music or Classical Music Depot. And beyond selection, as an audiophile, I'm really only interested in lossless downloads that are unavailable from iTunes (last I checked). Of course it's very true that not all classical music lovers are audiophiles and many, (though propably not the majority), are content with 128kbps.

    But let it be said that I personally would go for the download if only (1) lossless were available, and (2) the download price was no more than the physical CD. (The content of the CD booklet would be nice but I could forego it in many cases.) Today I listen 90+% to CDs ripped to computer. There are many people who delight in handling the physical medium; vinylphiles in particular often express their pleasure looking at tthe large album covers and with the disc-diddling rituals that LPs entail. Personally these mean little to me and, on the contrary, the handling was one of the biggest reasons I stopped buying LPs almost twenty years ago.

  14. #14
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    This is just my personal opinion. DVD-A is a dead format. With bluray there there is no need for packing data based on MLP. Bluray has a 48mbps pipline to use, and 50GB to store data on, so any idea of packing data for storage savings is unnecessary.

    SACD is on the breathing machine, but it is still living. They have finally dealt with the issue on how to edit DSD via DXD recording at 24/352khz, and with the roll out of about 4 million SACD players in the form of the PS3 60-80GB(which does SACD better than the universal players out there) there might still be a niche life left in it.

    I think the best form of high resolution music, and the best supported will come from bluray because it is PCM based, and almost if not all studios in this world support PCM(DSD is even a niche in the recording community). There is the potential to record data at much higher resolutions than DSD can( 24/352khz, which may not be necessary for playback), and it brings the advanced audio codecs into play which increases its reach even further. What really makes me believe this is information I got from a music symposium on recording. It seems that the major record companies are eyeing the bluray format as a possible platform for releasing audio only music. It looks like most of them want to give the bluray format a couple of years of expansion before releasing any product to it.

    I am just finishing up a review of this title

    http://www.sa-cd.net/showthread/28253

    This was a real treat for me, as I was able to hear so many resolutions in a direct comparison. I did not have the oportunity to hear the 24/352khz DXD master as a comparison, but I was able to compare all of the formats against each other. Very ear opening I would say.
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  15. #15
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I guess this isn't much different than playing back those old CD-4 records as stereo, and not 4-channel records. Those discs had a "carrier" signal on them which, when fed into a demodulator, split the signals out to four different speakers. If those records were played with a standard stereo cartridge (and not one fitted with a special "Shibata" or "Quadrahedon" stylus), that carrier eventually was worn off completely, but without any deterioration on normal, 2-channel playback. Perhaps a multi-channel SACD also has such a signal. I really don't know whether or not this is so, but it would make sense, no?
    It's way different with SACD. With the multichannel releases, you actually have two separate sets of tracks -- one for two-channel playback, and the other for 5.1 (or 4.0 or 3.0 in many cases) playback. The mixes are different, and the sound quality can be radically different, depending on the amount of remixing that was done with the multichannel layer.

    In many cases, the multichannel layer actually sounds much cleaner than the stereo layer because the mix was redone from the original multitrack master. This potentially eliminates a lot of the signal processing used to produce the phantom center effect, and eliminates the signal loss that might have occurred from mixing with inferior analog tape recorders. The two-channel mix is typically transferred directly to SACD without any significant reworking, whereas the multichannel track almost always comes from a new remix.

    Actually, some of the best sounding multichannel SACDs I've heard come from recordings that were originally done for quad. Even the "discrete" quad formats suffered from phase inconsistencies and other issues that limited their audio quality. SACD tracks are all discrete and high res, with no remodulation or other phase decoding required.

    Multichannel adds a significant new dimension to my listening. Not all of the mixes are well done, but if you don't like how a multichannel track sounds, just punch the button and switch over to the two-channel track.
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  16. #16
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    It seems to me that both SACD and DVD-A are slowly dying. I suspect they will both probably disappear altogether before too long. With the whole world seemingly getting hooked on ipods and mp3, there is just not enough interest in these audio formats. The scarcity of titles available is evidence enough of the lack of interest. I have a mere handful of SACD and DVD-A titles in my collection, and I am hard pressed to find any new titles being released that I am personally interested in buying.

  17. #17
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I think the real question here is:

    Does emaidel still own the Marantz SA-8001. Just Kidding.

    At this pace, Vinyl will last longer than SACD, without a doubt. There is too much money to be made with analog gears.

    Here is another unfortunate software that never made it as much as it should've. D2D. Much like crossover-less speakers and DAC/PhonoPre with a volume knob, simplicity will offer more pure sound.

    I have a fcuking Yammy CDP with volume control that is plugged directly to my power amp, and I prefer it over my BAT pre and THE Marantz SA-8001. My setup is far from audiophile quality, but it's something when a Yammie can replace $4,000 worth of gears.

    JRA

  18. #18
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I have a fcuking Yammy CDP with volume control that is plugged directly to my power amp, and I prefer it over my BAT pre and THE Marantz SA-8001. My setup is far from audiophile quality, but it's something when a Yammie can replace $4,000 worth of gears.

    JRA

    what yamaha cdp is that?

    if you really like the sound more than your pre and cdp, maybe then you should look for more neutral sounding gear then, than your BAT and Marantz...

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  19. #19
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    I think the real question here is:

    Does emaidel still own the Marantz SA-8001. Just Kidding.

    At this pace, Vinyl will last longer than SACD, without a doubt. There is too much money to be made with analog gears.
    Considering that vinyl albums now typically sell for over $20 (and closer to $30 for many releases), someone's obviously spending money on them.

    The issue with SACD is that it basically piggybacks onto a CD release, so there's no additional money to be made. CD/SACD hybrid discs typically sell for the same price as a CD. The record studios handicapped both SACD and DVD-A by forcing them into that hackneyed copy protection scheme.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Here is another unfortunate software that never made it as much as it should've. D2D. Much like crossover-less speakers and DAC/PhonoPre with a volume knob, simplicity will offer more pure sound.
    As much as I love direct-to-disc (I have five of them in my LP collection), there's no way that kind of format could ever get widely adopted, regardless of its sound quality merits, for one simple reason -- it requires the artist to record an entire album side live and uninterrupted with no mistakes or issues on the production end.

    Having a cutting needle going live with the session means that any mistake on any track will trash everything that preceded it. This happened multiple times with Sheffield's D2D sessions, and some of their liner notes outlined the agony on the part of both the engineer and the artist when some great song takes had to be thrown because someone missed a timing cue on the last song on that side. There's also no opportunity for post-production that can clean up or rebalance the audio.

    Of course, I don't necessarily agree with the notion that pure sound automatically equates to better sound. A crossover-less speaker can sound like crap if the driver characteristics don't coincide precisely. And in my experience, most rooms are ill suited to using a subwoofer unless you equalize it.
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  20. #20
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    what yamaha cdp is that?

    if you really like the sound more than your pre and cdp, maybe then you should look for more neutral sounding gear then, than your BAT and Marantz...

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Hey Bert, stop trying to give me more ideas. It'a bad enough $3K on Agon is starting to look "budget".....

    CDC-845 is the model and I find myself going back to it quite often.

  21. #21
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Considering that vinyl albums now typically sell for over $20 (and closer to $30 for many releases), someone's obviously spending money on them.
    Guilty.

  22. #22
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Where you been kohai?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Hey Bert, stop trying to give me more ideas. It'a bad enough $3K on Agon is starting to look "budget".....

    CDC-845 is the model and I find myself going back to it quite often.

    Ain't that the truth.

    Do you think thw switch from the Maggies to the Tylers may have something to do with it as well? I'm guessing that the more direct transmission and the SACD's resolution may be a bit much for your accoustically-challenged, vinyl-lovin' ears

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