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  1. #1
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    How about a SACD primer

    I would like to get into SACD recordings. Can you all let me know how you are experiencing SACD? I don't know dit and don't have much green to feed the pony. What do I need to play SACD back through my computer? Where/how are you getting your SACD recordings? What are some good quality inexpensive players (if there are such a thing)? Informal pondering on all things SACD would be appreciated. .

  2. #2
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    SACD is not computer friendly. I have limited experience with SACD because, 1) there are few titles available 2) I'm not big into multi-channel music since I'm not able to sit and listen for adequate length of time 3) I can't convert it to a portable format or put it on my music server. Most my SACD came from bargain bins. Why? Because no one was buying it and, thus, good stuff was in bargain bins. I took my SACD/DVD player out of my system a few month ago and don't miss it.

    Otherwise, what little SACD I do have sound fantastic. It's a good format and when quality recordings go in, quality comes back out.
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  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    The selection of music on SACD is quite limited except for classical music. Check out current and past SACD release at SA-CD.net - Recent Additions

    There is no practical consumer method to rip SACD to computer files. (You can rip the CD layer of hybrid discs, but the result is CD quality.) You will need some sort of SACD player to listen to them.

    The lowest cost SACD-capable players are the Sony Blu-ray players, e.g. the BDPS590 which outputs multi-channel SACD in PCM (or native DSD) via HDMI. Thus vitually any AV receiver with HDMI input can be used to play SACD. This is the cheapest way to get into SACD assuming you have a half-decent HT system.

    There are other SACD players, many of them stereo-only, e.g. the Marantz SA8004, which is well-regarded both as an SACD and a CD player.

  4. #4
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    I am a huge supporter of the SACD format, but unless you're a classical music fan (which I am), and like remasters of classic 70's rock, such as The Doobie Brothers and Eric Clapton (which I do as well), you don't have much selection. Still, despite the claims that the format was doomed, there are well over 6,000 titles available.

    I bought the Marantz SA-8001 2-channel SACD player a little over 3 years ago, and it has given me many hours of delightful listening since. As Feanor pointed out, its latest successor, the SA-8004, is also highly regarded and costs $1,000 - only $100 more than the 8001 did. Considering that my very first CD player (an Onkyo model) which I purchased in 1984 had a price tag of $1,000, and sounded pretty awful, I'd say the SA-8004 is a bargain by anyone's standards.

  5. #5
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    Hmmm. I guess that kinda explains the lack of qualitative information I was finding on SACD; few recording and 4 channel.
    I am trying to go back to 2 channel. I look at 4 channel kinda like I look at women. I can't handle one how could I possible handle two. I was never really as happy with 4 channels as I have been returning to two. I just could not seem to control 4 and be happy with the sound and my placement in it. Maybe SACD is not a direction I should be going.

  6. #6
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoJonJovi View Post
    Hmmm. I guess that kinda explains the lack of qualitative information I was finding on SACD; few recording and 4 channel.
    I am trying to go back to 2 channel. I look at 4 channel kinda like I look at women. I can't handle one how could I possible handle two. I was never really as happy with 4 channels as I have been returning to two. I just could not seem to control 4 and be happy with the sound and my placement in it. Maybe SACD is not a direction I should be going.
    SACD is 6 channel. 5 full channels and one LFE. Several of the SACD in my collection are 3 channel recordings (L, center, R). Using the center channel really makes a difference. I'd rather have 3 channel than 4 (L+R front, L+R rear). Once upon a time I had a 4 channel setup for movies and it never really worked for me. So my 2 cents, don't give up on multichannel until you try a good center channel.
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  7. #7
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    the majority of releases these days may very well be classical BUT there are still a good number of jazz and pop/rock releases, many of which are re-releases. still there are the new jazz and rock items that make it worth while getting SACDs. now and again, used sacd pieces are available used for decent prices. i bought a majority of mine early on to encourage the manufacturers to proliferate sacd. i did not buy any dvda product then as i didn't want to let them compete in the marketplace on my dime.

    the multi-channel features are NOT the only reason to be in this market. its the recording quality provided by the sheer number of samples per second. one ting missing in redbook CDs is the relaxed/satisfied feeling you get while listening to them, much like what you might experience from listening to vinyl.

    sacd capable players are readily available for not a lot of money OR a lot of money which tells me they wont be going away anytime soon. i made it my business to also have a player that will do DVDA as well as i would hate to pass up a dvda for that reason. i have all the hardware needed for multi-channel playback in case i get the urge. the new release of pink floyd's 'wish you were here' was certainly impressive at my friend's house.


    another reason to have an SACD capable player is that RBCDs sound better on them than many conventional cd players.
    ...regards...tr

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff View Post
    SACD is 6 channel. 5 full channels and one LFE. Several of the SACD in my collection are 3 channel recordings (L, center, R). Using the center channel really makes a difference. I'd rather have 3 channel than 4 (L+R front, L+R rear). Once upon a time I had a 4 channel setup for movies and it never really worked for me. So my 2 cents, don't give up on multichannel until you try a good center channel.
    That actually makes a lot of sense to me.

  9. #9
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoJonJovi View Post
    Hmmm. I guess that kinda explains the lack of qualitative information I was finding on SACD; few recording and 4 channel.
    I am trying to go back to 2 channel. I look at 4 channel kinda like I look at women. I can't handle one how could I possible handle two. I was never really as happy with 4 channels as I have been returning to two. I just could not seem to control 4 and be happy with the sound and my placement in it. Maybe SACD is not a direction I should be going.
    There isn't a lot of reason to go for SACD unless you're into classical music because there just isn't the selection.

    On the other hand if you're looking for a new CD player anyway, SACD capability might sway you to a machine with that, such as the Marantz SA8004.

    For stereo, does SACD sound better? For a long time I didn't think its higher resolution was audible but not I'm not so sure. Actually it was a combination of a new DAC and hi-rez, 24/88.2 downloads ripped from SACDs that has caused me to question my earlier conclusion.

    As for ripping SACD, this is neither legal nor convenient. There might be consumer devices available that convert HDMI input into multi-channel S/PDIF. This being so, then if you player converts DSD to PCM for output via HDMI, then ripping might be possible. With a quick search I discovered a couple of devices that will convert 2 channel PCM from HDMI to S/PDIF coax, but none that would do multi-channel.
    Last edited by Feanor; 06-13-2012 at 07:18 AM.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Before you even ponder that question, I suggest you look up your "essential" albums and see which ones are even available in SACD format.

    SACD is a nice format that could have been so much more if not for all the copy protection paranoia and lack of support by the record companies. These lockdowns put all sorts of restrictions on the format that made it way more cumbersome than necessary, and serious impeded its adoption.

    For starters, you cannot play SACD on a computer. It requires either an analog output or a copy protected data stream (such as HDMI). For enthusiasts with a multichannel setup and calibrated bass management, the lack of digital connectivity in the early stages was a major shortcoming. Even now, with HDMI taking care of the copy protection, there are few receivers and disc players that are digital capable.

    Also, even though SACD has a hybrid CD/SACD disc format, the record companies never standardized their new releases around SACD hybrid discs, even they could have easily done so. If more new releases came out in SACD, then the format might have stood a better chance.

    Right now, most of the SACD releases still coming out are classical titles. If that's a genre of choice, then SACD remains quite viable. I bought my SACD player primarily so that I could listen to the San Francisco Symphony's Mahler SACD series. It's a great series, with incredible performances and very true-to-life sound quality (the 5.1 tracks are much closer to approximating the acoustics of Davies Symphony Hall than the two-channel tracks). The SFS' subsequent album releases have continued to use CD/SACD hybrid discs. The London Symphony Orchestra also has its own CD/SACD series that continues to churn out new releases.

    As far as disc players go, I think that Sony's $150 SACD changer is no longer available, and aside from the high priced audiophile models, the only SACD players remaining on the market are Blu-ray players.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks so much for all the feedback.
    I feel like I am primed.

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    go for it

    I use my SACD as my reference recordings including Dark Side of the Moon Wish Were Here and Dire Straits are great music that sounds fantastic

    I also have some jazz and classical, which I enjoy however I do admit I wish SACD had become mainstream

  13. #13
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    I like SACD as my primary interest is jazz and I only listen in 2 channel. There are many great SACD jazz titles available as well as classical. I find that with hybrid SACD discs ( containing both redbook and SACD track ) the discs in general just sound better even on redbook. There seems to be greater effort made in their quality vs regular cd's. Although I like the convience of PC playlist through a good DAC I still hear some compression which I don't experience with SACD.

    I have a Sony CE595 SACD changer which was sold at BB for $150 until recently and a Marantz 8004. They are both dedicated SACD players which usually sound better than the universals.

    I have found that some of the best sounding red book players are those with the TDA 1541A DAC chips which are no longer made. There are lists of these CDP's on line and you can find many of these players for sale on ebay for around $100. They will outperform many newer and more expensive players. My old Rotel 855 ( contains a double TDA 1541 ) with a good redbook recording is not too far behind my Marantz 8004 playing SACD.

    I also enjoy a highly modded SCPH-5501 ( original playstation one ) which is a shockingly good redbook cd player. You might like reading about the SCPH-1001 which also has great mod potential. I can't resist buying the 5501 or 1001 at flea markets when they're priced at only $5. I usually give them to a friend who mods them and sells them on A'gon.

  14. #14
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    I have become a big fan of the SACD format and was late to the table on it. I am always looking for SACD players or discs when out thrifting and have managed to pick-up several of the Sony SACD players, many of which enjoy a better reputation than most mid-level Sony gear.

    I own a small but growing SACD collection. Among my favs are Miles Davis "Kind of Blue"- Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon"- Elton John "Mad Man Across the Water" and Mahler's "4th Symphony". Bob Dylan seemed to embrace the format as he released or re-released a lot of his stuff on SACD.
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  15. #15
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    Sony SCD-CE775 + DSOM = Bliss.......

    Moved the Sony SCD-CE775 into my Adcom/VR-2 2-channel set-up.
    Put in "Dark Side Of The Moon" SACD.
    Turned volume up to just below half-way.
    Sat back and listened to the house just melt away.......
    Wife and kids came into the room and we all just sat and listened.
    They do not even like Floyd but they do tonight.....
    Last edited by thekid; 06-23-2012 at 06:53 PM.
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  16. #16
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    poultry..

    i had a rotel 855 and it was superlative. it lost a channel somehow and i ended up with a sony ns500v which is another fantastic player. i got it for sacd after reading a positive review of it in tas (and people say tas only reviews stratospherically priced gear) and rbcd sound the best i have ever heard it in my system.

    i used a kimber PBJ interconntect with the rotel and it was a magic combination. for that reason, the pbj still resides in the system between the ns500v and the preamp.
    ...regards...tr

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    The first buy for any SACD player has gotta be "Dark Side of the Moon" after that it was "Friday Night In San Francisco" for me.

  18. #18
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    The first buy for any SACD player has gotta be "Dark Side of the Moon" after that it was "Friday Night In San Francisco" for me.
    I'm not exactly arguing, but DSM uses surround music; (I have a copy myselft). But it doesn't try to simulate a real concert hall experience. Listeners to classical music will be totally unconvinced by it.

    My SACD collection is small, but I'll try to come up with a couple that simulate the concert hall quite well

  19. #19
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    I'm not exactly arguing, but DSM uses surround music; (I have a copy myselft). But it doesn't try to simulate a real concert hall experience. Listeners to classical music will be totally unconvinced by it.

    My SACD collection is small, but I'll try to come up with a couple that simulate the concert hall quite well
    Bill

    That would be great as I listen to Classical as well.
    I have 4 Classical SACD from the Sony/BMG "Living Stereo which I like but I suppose are considered budget SACD's.
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  20. #20
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    whereas the living stereo discs are affordably priced, i wouldnt consider them 'budget' due to their exemplary sound and the performances offered. just consider them a bargain and grab them when you find selections that you like.
    ...regards...tr

  21. #21
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifitommy View Post
    whereas the living stereo discs are affordably priced, i wouldnt consider them 'budget' due to their exemplary sound and the performances offered. just consider them a bargain and grab them when you find selections that you like.
    That is good to know.
    While I like their sound, I have a limited basis for comparison.
    I think I paid less than $5 a each for them so I just assumed they were considered a budget brand.
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  22. #22
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifitommy View Post
    whereas the living stereo discs are affordably priced, i wouldnt consider them 'budget' due to their exemplary sound and the performances offered. just consider them a bargain and grab them when you find selections that you like.
    The Living Stereo SACD offerings are great value. But note that many (or most) are 3 channel, not really surround.

    Maybe it's just me, but I think the Living Stereos recordings, like Mercury Living Presence, are just a tad overrated, both for sound and performance. Their reputation was founded back when LP was relatively new; by modern standards they are good, but not remarkably so.

    For excellent, modern M/C SACD, from my smallish selection, I'd recommend.

    = Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 ~ Michael Tilson Thomas + San Francisco Symphony ...



    = Joseph Haydn: The Seasons ~ Rene Jacobs, et al. ...


  23. #23
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    multi channel has little interest for me. i do have enough amp channels and speakers plus a pre pro but stereo will do just fine. i surround myself with dynaquad but the stupid human tricks some play with mc mixes is just a distraction from the music for some of us. its not often done well.
    ...regards...tr

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    I find it interesting that my new $1000 dedicated Marantz SA6004 SACD player has two channel analog outputs while my 7 year old $150 dedicated Sony SACD player has 5.1 analog outputs. Neither plays DVD's. I wonder what marketing conclusions could be drawn from this?

  25. #25
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    the multi-channel features are NOT the only reason to be in this market. its the recording quality provided by the sheer number of samples per second. one ting missing in redbook CDs is the relaxed/satisfied feeling you get while listening to them, much like what you might experience from listening to vinyl.
    This is a very true statement! all you have to do is go to some of the other forums and talk to those who have some of the new Marantz players like the new Limited SA-15S2B and the SA-11S2. They rave about the SACD and the relaxed vinyl feel from them. I really dont get that from my SACD player which really is a universal player. But I have not purchased a SACD, nor hooked it up in a while. I think I should...One day I would love to get a hold of one of those reference players.
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