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Thread: SACD Players

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    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    SACD Players

    I've been toying with the idea of getting an SACD player. What should I be looking for?

    I went into Best Buy last night and the only SACD player that they had was a Sony DVD player that was SACD compatible. Is this generally how SACD players are sold...doubling as DVD players? Or can I buy a separate SACD component? I don't want to replace our existing DVD player as it doubles as my CD player and is a 5-disk carousel...unless I can get a comparable machine (i.e. 5-disk) that is also SACD. Cost will also be a huge deciding factor here. The Sony DVD player was $200. That's about my limit. If I have to spend more than that, I'm not buying it right now.

    What do I need to know as I contemplate this purchase?

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    I've been toying with the idea of getting an SACD player. What should I be looking for?

    I went into Best Buy last night and the only SACD player that they had was a Sony DVD player that was SACD compatible. Is this generally how SACD players are sold...doubling as DVD players? Or can I buy a separate SACD component? I don't want to replace our existing DVD player as it doubles as my CD player and is a 5-disk carousel...unless I can get a comparable machine (i.e. 5-disk) that is also SACD. Cost will also be a huge deciding factor here. The Sony DVD player was $200. That's about my limit. If I have to spend more than that, I'm not buying it right now.

    What do I need to know as I contemplate this purchase?
    Hi FA -
    A few months back I ordered an inexpensive DVD-Audio/SACD combo unit...Toshiba 4960. I think it sold for $150 here in Canada at the time...It plays both of these new audio formats.
    You can spend a lot more money and buy a dedicated SACD only player. The sound quality will be incrementally better, but if you're audio system isn't incredibly advanced, I don't think there's much value in it...the cheap SACD players will still sound much, much better than normal CD and give you multi-channel audio.

    I like the Toshiba - my first one did fry on me, but I called them, and they sent a courrier on their dime to pick it up, and replaced it within 5 days....NB to Toronto...that's fast!!!
    You will need 5.1 analog RCA type stereo cables if you want to do the multi-channel audio thing. You can get those cheap at Radio Sha--...err...The Source.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular BinFrog's Avatar
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    My first SACD player was a $225 Sony player, and then I upgraded to a middle of the line Onkyo universal player which I love. It plays everything. Eh, hence 'universal'. The Sony player was great for an entry level SACD/DVD player, but I wanted something nicer that would also play DVD-A as well. I think if you just want a basic SACD player for now, the Sony will be fine for your needs.

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    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Yes, that is how they're usually sold, but you don't have to use the DVD portion. There should be a current model that is CD and SACD only, though -- Sony is fighting DVD-A...

    You're right, though, that you should get one that is audio only, as, especially at the entry level, DVD is more of a detriment to the audio portion, although barely so.

    The Philips player that is out of print is supposed to be a good one. I'm also quite happy with my Sony SCD-CE775, which is also out of print (superceded by a newer model, presumably).

    If I had it to do all over again, I'd just get a universal player and be done with it. Something like the Pioneer 47Ai or whatever its nomenclature is...

    But then again, I kind of do have it to do all over again, as, although I have several DVD players, I don't have a HT system...in which case, I'd probably get either one of those all-in-one systems (again, universal) or one of those two-unit sets, like the corresponding rcvr that goes with the aforementioned 47Ai.
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    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    I've been toying with the idea of getting an SACD player. What should I be looking for?

    I went into Best Buy last night and the only SACD player that they had was a Sony DVD player that was SACD compatible. Is this generally how SACD players are sold...doubling as DVD players? Or can I buy a separate SACD component? I don't want to replace our existing DVD player as it doubles as my CD player and is a 5-disk carousel...unless I can get a comparable machine (i.e. 5-disk) that is also SACD. Cost will also be a huge deciding factor here. The Sony DVD player was $200. That's about my limit. If I have to spend more than that, I'm not buying it right now.

    What do I need to know as I contemplate this purchase?
    Get a player that plays everything,they are fine. Something like the Yamaha C750 plays every disc there is and is a 5disc and under or at 300 bucks. Its gotten nice reviews.
    Look & Listen

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    This one

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...%20CD%20Player

    Well maybe not but don't buy mass market Best Buy crap. Get a high quality player with good components and electronics.

  7. #7
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...%20CD%20Player

    Well maybe not but don't buy mass market Best Buy crap. Get a high quality player with good components and electronics.

    The Force would certainly be with me.

  8. #8
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Didn't Best Buy start selling Denon?
    Eschew fascism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
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    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

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    I have heard/read that DVD audio offers far better sound performance than SACD. I will go out on a limb and predict that DVD A wins and SACD becomes like the Beta with the notable exception that unlike the Beta, SACD is not the technically better format. The bottom line from my understanding is that all of the extra room on DVD disks allows for all of the sound information that current CD formats, including SACD can't fit. DVD audio doesn't need all of the mumbo jumbo associated with SACD and thus the sound information can be provided without all the technical veiling. Less is more they say. Just some thoughts.


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    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    I cant tell any difference between DVD-A and SACD,none.
    Look & Listen

  11. #11
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Everything I've heard/read is the exact opposite. SACD seems to be the better format because DSD is clearly the way to go. Telarc seems to agree as well. But from my experience the problem is not 'which one is better' but 'which one has the better mix'.

    I have probably an equal number of both SACD and DVD-A discs (around 20 each) and SACD by far has the better music. Too many DVD-A's are simply too gimmicky and sound like they were mixed by a machine. But off the top of my head I can't think of a bad SACD that I have. But the best DVD-A's I have (Yes-Fragile and Porcupine Tree-Deadwing) are on par with SACD's, I just enjoy SACD more.




    Quote Originally Posted by The Grudge
    I have heard/read that DVD audio offers far better sound performance than SACD. I will go out on a limb and predict that DVD A wins and SACD becomes like the Beta with the notable exception that unlike the Beta, SACD is not the technically better format. The bottom line from my understanding is that all of the extra room on DVD disks allows for all of the sound information that current CD formats, including SACD can't fit. DVD audio doesn't need all of the mumbo jumbo associated with SACD and thus the sound information can be provided without all the technical veiling. Less is more they say. Just some thoughts.


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    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    I've heard that they're both good. When one gets to the point of these high-res formats, it gets to the point of trade-offs. For example, there was an article in one of the British magazines that looked at the phase correctness, and, other than analog, it beat all of the PCM formats. Unfortunately, as a nature of the design, there's also a lot of high-frequency "hash" generated. So in that respect, DVD-A is better (no high-frequency hash).

    Either way, they're both better than redbook.

    Also, I will get up on my podium about this to the bitter end -- IT IS NOT A FORMAT WAR!!! There is no reason -- OTHER THAN POLITICAL -- for a player to be able to play all formats. Unlike the VHS/Beta wars, where -- although it was possible for one player to play the others format -- it was inherently one or th'other.
    Eschew fascism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    Also, I will get up on my podium about this to the bitter end -- IT IS NOT A FORMAT WAR!!! There is no reason -- OTHER THAN POLITICAL -- for a player to be able to play all formats.
    I'm sorry but what about convenience.

    How long has SACD/DVDA been up and running now? outside of audio circles nobody has even heard of it, it seems to me it would make a bigger impact if players could play all formats. It gives the impression of a format war and that's exactly why even those in the know stay away.

    Cheers
    Mike

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    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    I've heard that they're both good. When one gets to the point of these high-res formats, it gets to the point of trade-offs. For example, there was an article in one of the British magazines that looked at the phase correctness, and, other than analog, it beat all of the PCM formats. Unfortunately, as a nature of the design, there's also a lot of high-frequency "hash" generated. So in that respect, DVD-A is better (no high-frequency hash).
    Keep in mind, the hash is so high up in frequency it is not audible with regular program material. Where DVD-A has a problem is that you cannot fully get rid of the "digital glaze" that affects the sound of most PCM based sources. This problem doesn't effect DSD streams.

    Either way, they're both better than redbook.
    Man, did you say a mouth full.
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    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your responses. But now you've opened up a big can of worms...SACD or DVD-A???? SACD disks can also be played on regular CD players, can DVD-A disks? So much technology to try to figure out, and I'm not very technologically inclined. My speakers are good but far from an audiophile system, so I'm not likely to pick up on subtle differences.

    My husband works for JVC and when I asked him whether JVC had anything that played SACDs, the response was a big resounding NO! Apparently, SACD is proprietary Sony technology and the other companies who have subscribed to offer this technology pay a big royalty to Sony. For now, JVC has chosen not to pay royalties to support one of their biggest competitors. So...this begs the question, is SACD a temporary fad that will phase itself out like Beta or DAT did? Or, will it grow until the holdouts are forced to give in or lose too much business like IBM when they ditched OS2 and eventually had to buy in to Microsoft's Windows?

    For now, I've decided to hold off on this purchase. I checked my receiver (which is pretty old) and I don't have room for another component. My budget is not enough to purchase a SACD player and a new receiver. Nor can I afford to replace my current DVD 5-disk carousel with an SACD compatible 5-disk carousel right now. Maybe there will be some good sales after Christmas!

    I will, however, keep all of your good suggestions in mind as I'm sure that I will be revisiting this purchase next year sometime. I will likely look for a good universal component that will play everything.

  16. #16
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    SACD disks can also be played on regular CD players, can DVD-A disks?
    Big resounding no. They might, but then they would be DualDiscs, which have their own compatibility problems. So if they can, stay away.

    Your best bet would be to record the stereo analog outs to CD-R.
    So much technology to try to figure out, and I'm not very technologically inclined. My speakers are good but far from an audiophile system, so I'm not likely to pick up on subtle differences.
    You'd be surprised. For example, the first time I heard high bitrate PCM (DVD), it wasn't on an audiophile system, and I could hear a significant reduction in the "digititis" to which Sir Terr refers. And he's right, you really don't hear it in SACD/DSD. Although, depending on your system, that high-frequency hash could have other deleterious effects (the amp still tries and amplifies it, for example).

    Also, sometimes the mastering is different.
    So...this begs the question, is SACD a temporary fad that will phase itself out like Beta or DAT did?
    That is, indeed, the question, and, as you pointed out, it is up to Sony. As long as they try to milk it as a proprietary format, I suspect it is doomed, which is too bad, because alternatives are always good.
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    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike
    I'm sorry but what about convenience.

    How long has SACD/DVDA been up and running now? outside of audio circles nobody has even heard of it, it seems to me it would make a bigger impact if players could play all formats. It gives the impression of a format war and that's exactly why even those in the know stay away.
    I'm sorry, I meant, there's no reason for a player not to be able to play all formats. What I meant was, all players should be able to play all formats, then it wouldn't be a problem. The only reason they can't is political -- I.E. that Sony is trying to push their format.
    Eschew fascism.
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    Just a thought

    I wouldn't concern myself too much with all the different formats until I had maxed out my standard CD playback system. I am not saying there is not a noticeable difference with other formats. I was highly impressed by some HDCD disks played through a fairly revealing setup at a friends house. Also, Mobile Fiedlity and the other Audiophile CD disks are worth a listen first.

    Wait until you have a large enough room for acoutics and some higher end components. You would be surprised by the fun it is to hear your whole collection all over again with each new piece you add.

    The other thing to think about is that a well recorded cd will sound good on just about any system, while a badly recorded/produced cd will sound like crap on just about any system. Trouble with all this is that the more hi-res and revealing your system becomes, some of the disks you loved on your old system won't get much play time because of the sound quality.

    Don't get too wrapped up in the sound.

    Enjoy the music!!


    I just discovered MOE-No Doy....what a kickass cd!!

    Hyfi

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    Read this article and think on things before you decide SACD is the better format. This and other articles I have read kept me from running out to purchase a SACD player. I think I will wait until DVD-A gets some momentum going in the recordings released. Very good interview.

    http://sound.westhost.com/cd-sacd-dvda.htm

    Some excerts from the interview linked above:

    IÖ: Several documents show this is the case. Sony/ Philips has even officially recommended using PCM when editing the recorded material. I think it is a wise recommendation, because every manoeuvre in the PCM-domain is straightforward, easy to make and will not degrade the quality if performed with high enough resolution. Only the DSD-problems remain!

    Therefore DVD-A is a purer and more straightforward system. No conversion between different formats and 144dB resolution at all frequencies up to 100kHz. Could it be better? Well of course it can, it can always be better, but DVD-A is good enough. DVD-A is what the CD-system should have been from the beginning!

    IÖ: The number of the bits is much more important. Actually the DSD-system is theoretically less dense in information than the CD-system. Even when the data is packed (as it is on an SACD) it is still not much better.

    When Sony declares that DSD-format can store 4 times the data, they probably mean that there is 4 times the space on the SACD-disc compared to CDs. But since the DSD-coding is so ineffective, the real information is considerable lower.

    The resolution/ information doubles when you double the sampling frequency (it is possible to be more specific, but for this example it is enough). But to double the resolution using PCM, you only have to add one more bit. If you go from 1 to 16 bits (adding 15 bits which use approximately 15 times more storage space), the resolution increases 65,536 times (from one step to 65,536 steps).

    There is also another essential difference; the increase in resolution you achieve from raising the sampling frequency will be frequency dependant. A one-bit system will therefore have high resolution at low frequencies (where the information theoretically is low) and have low resolution at high frequencies (where the information theoretically is high).

    By the use of noise shaping of high order, it is possible to increase the resolution at "quite high frequencies" at the expense of resolution at very high frequencies, but only for static, non transient signals. Transient signals will have poor resolution in a one-bit system. If the signal does not endure for a long enough time, the error will not be minimised by the noise shaper of the one bit system.

    I think it is a little embarrassing that no good DVD-A recordings have been released so far. They have all been of inferior quality. This has of course not made it easier for ordinary people to make a relevant opinion about the differences in the systems. The SACD recordings from Jan-Erik Persson at Opus3 are far superior everything released from DVD-A.

    Now, when looking at "recordings in holistic view", the debate of the storing media/system is much less important than the skills of the recording engineer – a good recording stored on compact cassette is far superior to a bad recording stored on DVD-A. But every debate has its time and place. It is not relevant to point out more important issues when we are about to choose a new storage media.

    This time the storage media (SACD versus DVD-A) is the question, and it can very easily be distorted by comparing the systems on different recordings. The better recording will always win.

    The music is even more important of course, than the recording, but it is entirely subjective – not much to debate about. As an example; my taste in music is disputably deplorable. At least according to some people!
    Last edited by The Grudge; 10-10-2005 at 06:50 PM.

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    Forum Regular BinFrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Grudge
    Read this article and think on things before you decide SACD is the better format. This and other articles I have read kept me from running out to purchase a SACD player. I think I will wait until DVD-A gets some momentum going in the recordings released. Very good interview.

    Some excerts from the interview linked above:

    Yeah, and I can find another 100 articles claiming how superior SACD is. I am a fan of both and think they both have their merits. SACD seems to me to be a little warmer and enveloping, while DVD-A is a little crisper. I have maybe 80 titles in both formats, and if done right they are both astounding.

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    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    BinFrog, what are some of the DVD-A's you find that are done right? I'm tired of 'hit and miss' DVD-A's. My first one was Fragile by Yes and it's perfect. However my next 4 or 5 totally stank up the joint. Then I got a couple of REM discs that were nice..then some crappy ones...then Deadwing by Porcupine Tree which might be the best one yet..then some more junk...which ones do you like?

    I actually started a website where I was reviewing DVD/SACD's...I might expand on that. It's at http://www.chuckamuck.com/music but I only had a few discs the last time I updated it.

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    go universal

    is the only way for me i own the pionner elite 47xI, no problems after two years of ownership unfortunetly you wil have to upgrade your receiver also ( one to support the six discrete analog inputs) or with an I-link ( better path you don;t have to mess with six cables).

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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    BinFrog, what are some of the DVD-A's you find that are done right? I'm tired of 'hit and miss' DVD-A's. My first one was Fragile by Yes and it's perfect. However my next 4 or 5 totally stank up the joint. Then I got a couple of REM discs that were nice..then some crappy ones...then Deadwing by Porcupine Tree which might be the best one yet..then some more junk...which ones do you like?

    I actually started a website where I was reviewing DVD/SACD's...I might expand on that. It's at http://www.chuckamuck.com/music but I only had a few discs the last time I updated it.
    Chicago II i find it excellent.

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    BinFrog, did you read the interview? I think you should if you didn't. The point was clearily made that you can't go by what recordings are out there as the few DVD-A recordings compared to the SACD recordings are not up to the same standards of quality. The interview discusses which storage format will provide a better audio experience and the technical arguments supporting DVD-A are significant.

    The interview did not focus on which existing recordings sound better and thus indicate which format is better, that is far to subjective an approach. If the technical differences are as extreme and significant as stated, then it stands to reason there may be serious merit for considering DVD-A as the format of choice. I will not pretend to be technically competent enough to make any such conclusion. That said I have found enough information out there that strikes me as reliable, both from people I know and information I have read, that leads me to believe that just dismissing DVD-A outright in favour of SACD may be a poor decision.

    I am sure there are many fantastic SACD recordings, I just do not want to assume that SACD is the best we can get realistically when it is apparent we have more options open to evaluate.


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    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Yeah, but that's just facts dude. Did you listen to both formats? They're both quite good, and I don't think either one deserves to be dismissed. A universal player would solve that problem (of not wanting to dismiss either format).
    Eschew fascism.
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