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  1. #1
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    Where's your two cents? SACD or DVD-Audio?

    I personally think there's a big difference between the two formats and despite the high cost, I'm going with DVD-audio on this one. But just out of curiousity, what do you all think? Can you hear the difference? Is it worth it for you? Or do you say "screw the future, I'm sticking with my CD/LP/...8-track ?

  2. #2
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    According to, if I'm interpreting/recalling his remarks correctly, NAbstentia, some DVD-A's sound better than SACD's and vice versa, he has I think equpment to play both formats.

    My personal experience on DVD-A's (my DVD player plays this format and I'm not going to spend more money on an SACD unit at present) has been one mainly of dissapointment. My first DVD-A I bought, mainly because it was recommended on this board was Yes's "Fragile".I like Yes but not enough to buy any of their albums other than Best of collection's. Anyway, I bought "Fragile" & it was incredible to me, like 4th of July, fireworks! One reason why it was so good was that the band personally remixed it for DVD-A sound from their master tapes. As a result, I then went out on a splurge and bought about 10 more DVD-A albums, The Who's Tommy, The Searchers (60's English group of Needles & Pins fame) Greatest Hits, 1812 Overture & a bunch of others. The result was total dismay and dissapointment and reselling them all on Ebay at a slight loss . For the most part, the albums didn't really sound like they were remixed for 5.1 sound, but rather reprocessed, like record companies use to do in the 60's to mono recorded albums being transformed to stereo albums. The Who did remix "Tommy" but I wasn't impressed, it was no 4th of July fireworks. Most of the really mediocore recordings were done by an English company called Silverlight (I think). It wasn't that the sound was so bad but that it wasn't so wonderful either. Interestingly, a couple of people on this board said they buy DVD-A/SACD discs for older recordings and listen to them in a 2 speaker mode and they sound better than the original CD.

    I definately recommend, you read reviews or listen to your friends DVD-A's/SACD before you just buy them, just based on the fact that you like the artist or the orignal album.



    Quote Originally Posted by Aric M L
    I personally think there's a big difference between the two formats and despite the high cost, I'm going with DVD-audio on this one. But just out of curiousity, what do you all think? Can you hear the difference? Is it worth it for you? Or do you say "screw the future, I'm sticking with my CD/LP/...8-track ?

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I like multi-channel audio, but Hershon, in response to your gripe about the poor multi-channel mixings, I think the hi-rez 2 channel tracks are the real feature here. Very noticeable improvements in my opinion.

    As for a winner, I think both can exist, the costs of production are actually quite low for both as they just expand on existing production facilities. There's no reason to have an all-or-none format war. Let labels decide which one they want and let's get more titles available.

    These are very much in their infancy still...give it another 3 or 4 years before deciding. CD's took about 14 years to become the primary format...players for both of these have only recently become affordable.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular jeskibuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aric M L
    I personally think there's a big difference between the two formats and despite the high cost, I'm going with DVD-audio on this one.
    I think you're mistaken. I will wager any difference you may hear will be from the recording/mixing and not from the characteristics of the format itself, as I believe your conception to be. I have capability to play both formats and have excellent sounding discs in SACD and DVD-A, but also lackluster discs in both. I listen almost exclusively to the multi-channel formats. I have a few stereo-only (in SACD) and avoid buying those, even returning some bought online (Circuit City) when I found they weren't multi-channel. My SACDs probably get more play time, mainly because I play them in a carousel and that makes them more convenient. Also, are you saying that DVD-As cost more than SACDs? I found one of the best places to get both is CircuitCity.com. They have a decent selection with many at $13.99 with free shipping on orders over $25.

    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    I definately recommend, you read reviews or listen to your friends DVD-A's/SACD before you just buy them, just based on the fact that you like the artist or the orignal album.
    That's good advice. If you take a chance, you can always resell them. I actually made about a $10 profit on a Carole King Tapestry SACD. I was sent the stereo version but wanted the multi-channel version. I sold it on eBay for $25 in less than a day. I checked prior sales to determine pricing, found an auction where the exact same thing sold for $29, sent an e-mail to the runner-up bidder in that auction and he used Buy-It-Now within hours of me listing the item. When I finally got the multi-channel version of Tapestry, I discovered it really wasn't worth all the effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    Most of the really mediocore recordings were done by an English company called Silverlight (I think). It wasn't that the sound was so bad but that it wasn't so wonderful either.
    "Silverline" is the brand name you're referring to. Yes, they are one of the more prolific labels. I have one disc and I agree: it's neither bad nor good. Actually, it's not really a DVD-A although the labelling makes it look like it's one. It has a Dolby Digital track and a DTS track. Still, even if it was a true DVD-A, I doubt that it would sound much better. The key is in the care taken in the mixing, in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    Interestingly, a couple of people on this board said they buy DVD-A/SACD discs for older recordings and listen to them in a 2 speaker mode and they sound better than the original CD.
    I have yet to compare a few 2-channel SACDs I own to the CD versions. My Rolling Stones/Hot Rocks SACDs don't sound much better than my CD versions, but there could be a difference detected should I A/B them. Not enough of a difference IMO to justify the purchase (although it was only about $18 for the 2-disc SACD).

    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    I bought "Fragile" & it was incredible to me, like 4th of July, fireworks!
    I also have that DVD-A and like it. I took a chance and bought "Magnification". I took that back to Borders because it was defective. I ordered it again on CircuitCity.com and that one also skips on both the multi-channel and stereo tracks. I will take it back on Tuesday when I plan to purchase "The Incredibles" DVD. I like the music, but am frustrated by quality problems, especially from a company like Rhino who has such a good reputation for fine recordings.

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I think both can exist, the costs of production are actually quite low for both as they just expand on existing production facilities. There's no reason to have an all-or-none format war.
    I would hardly call this a "format war". I don't see much of an effort to promote either format. There is no advertising. There is little to no availability of product on store shelves. How can you have a war when no one brings their armament to the confrontation? Circuit City doesn't even have a section dedicated to hi-res formats anymore, at least the ones I've visited. Search the shelves and you'll find a disc mixed in with the regular CDs on occasion. If DVD-As and SACDs die, it won't be because people weren't willing to embrace the formats. It's because the choices in available product are just too limited. There may be several hundred titles available in DVD-A, but if you have typical discriminatory tastes, you're only going to be interested in a small percentage of those...and that amounts to just a handful! If you're interested in buying just that handful, good luck in finding them!

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    These are very much in their infancy still...give it another 3 or 4 years before deciding. CD's took about 14 years to become the primary format
    But CDs (in my opinion) offered a quantum leap ahead of vinyl in convenience and sound quality. The same for DVD compared to VHS. DVDs really took off when the rental market started to embrace the format. I bought my first player in 1997 and remember many trips to the local video stores, hoping for more availability for DVDs. Now it's harder to find VHS. When's the last time you went into a regular music store (Tower,Borders,BB,Circuit City) and saw vinyl on the shelves?

    I think DVD-A has a clear advantage over SACD just because of the presence of DTS or DD tracks on most of the discs. Someone can purchase the discs and enjoy the surround formats using their regular DVD Video player (and how many people don't have one of those nowadays? If and when they finally upgrade to a DVD-A player, they can enjoy the discs even more.

    SACD hybrid discs just give you 2 options: the regular stereo CD track or the SACD track which requires a dedicated player. There's little to be gained from buying a disc without an SACD player. But SACD has much more title availability, and in this wussy "format war", that's enough to give DVD-A a Purple Owie.
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  5. #5
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Its a crap shoot to buy anything if you cant listen to it first,DVD-A,SACD or cd's. With multi-channel alot depewnds on who mixed it. I would say you'll have alot better chance getting new stuff that will be better then an older music being mixed. Here's how i decided. Wanted a multi-disc,universal player{not 400 but 5 or 6} . Very few,like 3 or 4 out there. Got the Yamaha C750,nice but a cd got stuck so i had to take it back,still had to dats left for a return so i did because a few things bothered me and i could always buy it again. I had so few to choose from i had to decide on one format so i would have a few more to look at. Both sounded the same,not in any test other then the most important one,sitting in my chair. Decided on SACD because i can get hybrids and play them in my car and there just isnt any interesting video on the DVD-A discs. Not, imo the DTS music disc's sound just as good then multi-channel disc. I know,they shouldnt but they are dam good. All this being said,hard to beat the C750 for $299 if you can get past the things that bothered me,no disc skip when the tray is out to load disc's and player defaults to PLII or whatever it is everytime the cd changes.
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  6. #6
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    I think the one fatal flaw you can make when it comes to these two formats is choosing one over the other. I love my Yes & R.E.M. DVD-A's and I would be cutting myself off from those if I chose only to support SACD. But on the other hand I love my Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, Alison Krauss, Elton John, and Pink Floyd SACD's so the same applies there. There's just simply no reason to support either/or.

    I also seem to be gravitating to the high-rez 2 channel mix on SACD's which I just seem to simply enjoy listening to more than the 5.1 mixes, probably because most of the 5.1 is 'false' and not meant to be like that in the first place. Also probably because I'm getting alot of stuff from the 70's (Clapton, Elton John) now and the 2 channel is just the way it's supposed to be. Also you know what to expect with the hi-rez 2 channel..you know it's going to basically be something that sounds better than vinyl (and TONS better than CD) without the clicks and pops and hassle. You never know what you're going to get with the 5.1 mix. Case in point, Porcupine Tree's In Abenstia. Great CD, one of my favorites of all time. Couldn't wait for the DVD-A. Finally got it, only to hear some crappy sterile sounding 5.1 mix that buried most of the instruments and stripped all the soul (get it?) from the music. Now it just sits on the shelf while I play my CD.

    I pity the poor fool who chooses not to support SACD, as he will never experience Dark Side of The Moon in high-res 5.1 surround

  7. #7
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    I have two cents in my pocket to donate to this issue because I really love these two audio formats. At one time, they were at war, when hardware manufacturers clearly chose sides, but now, with universal players arriving at all price points, they've become part of the terrain together, as remote and uninhabited as it is. Anyway, both of them have poorly recorded titles, and not all players can handle the recordings in general with the same finesse. To be simple about it (as the man said, after a point, isn't talking about music a little like dancing about architecture?), I too tend toward the multichannel mixes because they tend to be more spectacular and exploit the medium to its fullest. On SACD, two obvious stellar, rock ones for me are Dark Side of the Moon and Avalon (which I would think would sell anyone, even with modest equipment, on high-resolution audio), but I also can appreciate, for example, the Manze Mozart Night Music, which uses surround in an entirely different manner, and many of the classic Mercury Living Presence titles, which utilize only the front three channels in deference to the producers' original intent. Those of you who reached your teens in the 1960s, as I did, might have a fondness for some of the British Invasion music. I highly recommend the Steve Hoffman stereo mixes of some of this music--for example, the Zombies--which truly do them justice.

    Ed

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