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Thread: SACD Exclusively?

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    Senior Member Kontrapunctus's Avatar
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    Default SACD Exclusively?

    Is anyone here an exclusively SACD listener? I pretty much am--it has to be either rare repertoire or an mind-blowing performance to get me to buy RBCD anymore! In fact, I try to buy only multi-channel SACD. The downside to such a focus is that I sometimes think that the level of performance is not as high on the small, independent labels as on some of the major labels or classics from the past. For instance, I just bought Pletnev's Tchaikovsky 4th on Pentatone. It's an adequate performance, but it pales in comparison to the white hot intensity of Mravisnky's old set on DGG. Sonically, it's in another league, of course! I have about 3,500 RBCDs that cover most of my listening tastes, so I now mainly replace old favorites in better sound. Occasionally I'm pleased to discover some unusual repertoire, such as Vermuelen's Cello Sonatas, which happens to couple great sound and performances! (I realize this thread covers at least two separate issues, so feel free to respond to whichever one you please!)

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    I don't bother with SACD at all. I'm simply not interested in high quality audio, because MP3 suits my hearing fine at home, in a car, on a train, or walking, and if I want better, I go to a concert. :/ You've already pointed out the downsides, and, seeing as I much prefer musicality to sound, and therefore would opt of Mravinsky over something 'adequate', whether or not something is SACD doesn't cross my mind.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Cool them that has...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrapunctus View Post
    (I realize this thread covers at least two separate issues, so feel free to respond to whichever one you please!)
    IMO The only distinction between redbook CD and SACD for listeners with 'average' hearing and 'average' sound reproducing equipment is the multi-channel factor.

    It's an equipment thing.

    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Junior Member petrarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    IMO The only distinction between redbook CD and SACD for listeners with 'average' hearing and 'average' sound reproducing equipment is the multi-channel factor.

    It's an equipment thing.
    Plus high-end players can make a CD virtually indistinguishable from SACD.

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    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    I'm more interested in the performance than the sound quality. So if there's a performance I like more than others and it's not in SACD then I won't bother with lesser performances in SACD, and if it's in SACD then fine. Besides, I don't have an SACD player/fancy equipment for it.

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    I'm a big fan of SACD and find the sonic difference to be quite tangible and worthwhile, apart from the multichannel (which is in itself a big bonus when done well). I have an adequate middle of the road system.. better than what the "average" person will have these days, but by no means in the audiophile zone yet.. (hopefully to change some day).

    I don't think its possible yet to be exclusively SACD.. but I've certainly shifted my purchasing strongly in favour of SACDs over regular red book the last few years (probably 90% of purchases). I won't acquire run of the mill performances of standard repertoire in SACD just for the sake of its being SACD, but if presented with two options of roughly equal merit where one is super audio and the oher is not, the super wins.

    Its hard to give up the wealth of nearly a century's worth of great recordings - I'd hope we'll see more remasterings pop up over time. I love the Living Stereo set RCA has been doing, and Pentatone's reissues of the old Quad recordings (the sound on that 70s Tosca is spectacular), and its good to see DG releasing at least a bit of their back catalogue in the format. Wish they would do more.. and wish we would see more from the Decca and EMI catalogues.

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    Before SACD got sidetracked, attempting to enhance/advance 1970's short-lived Quadraphonic effect while capitalizing on DVD demand, it was intended to be developed for 2-CH audiophiles. Too bad, so sad, that greed got in the way again.

    As some already knew from the '70's, multichannelling is tricky, both in technical and marketing terms. Alas, those who fail to learn from mistakes are condemned to repeat them.

    Re rehashed releases, SACD done right involves new technology, not the the old. The latter is a rip-off that does not serve the industry well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaneyes View Post
    Before SACD got sidetracked, attempting to enhance/advance 1970's short-lived Quadraphonic effect while capitalizing on DVD demand, it was intended to be developed for 2-CH audiophiles. Too bad, so sad, that greed got in the way again.

    As some already knew from the '70's, multichannelling is tricky, both in technical and marketing terms. Alas, those who fail to learn from mistakes are condemned to repeat them.

    Re rehashed releases, SACD done right involves new technology, not the the old. The latter is a rip-off that does not serve the industry well.
    I can't say that I agree with this assessment.. while there are some pretty lackluster multichannel releases out there, there are many more which offer a real enhancement to the listening experience.

    While I do agree that new recordings making full use of the technology can obviously go further, it has been a treat to get some old gems redone in a way that standard red book cd could not make possible. Old high quality analogue sources transferred to DSD have produced some pretty stunning results.

    Whether stereo or multichannel the format only makes sense in audiophile terms as with inadequate equipment one won't be getting any of the sonic benefits.. listening through a pre packaged home theatre system from a big box store is almost pointless.. sad but true that that your average electronics shop doesn't really carry anything even remotely high end any more..

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    Thank you for responding. You seem to be qualifying rather than outrightly disagreeing with my assessment...and also in some regard, preaching to the choir. But that's okay, a discussion must begin somewhere.

    Re old recordings, I can only assume (since you didn't specify with regard to classical music) that you're speaking of things like the "SACD" Mercury and RCA Living Stereo released c2004/5. These were well-documented online, and anyone can still read those opinions at sa-cd.net, Audiophile Audition, and other sites.

    As a sidenote, some seem to be at odds with what DSD can and cannot do. Here's a refresher...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_...SD_Disc_Format

    I think it's safe to say that general opinion for the aforementioned reissues was positive for the varying improved sound. That said, two points were consistently made. One, any chance for improved sound was based on initiial engineering. Two (logically following 'One'), it was wished that more than three tracks were possible.

    It's my view, as you should have guessed from my initial post, that back to the future was not the way to go with this new technology. Yet marketers saw a way to profit on people's nostalgia. Better than nothing for some SACD devotees, even at initial full-price for Mercury and mid-price for RCA LS. As we all should know now, subsequent pricing for these reached budget proportions. $10 in my neighborhood, before they were eventually gassed.

    As with any entertainment, no one should begrudge another for whatever enjoyment they glean from a product, and I don't. I just think a dose of reality with the enjoyment can't be bad. The reality in this case is that a lot of mistakes were made, from conception to marketing.

    Although chances are infinitely better on paper, there is no guarantee that even new technology is going to produce a high quality SACD item, because of the variables and humans involved. As I said, it can be tricky. I've always wished that SACD had stuck with what it was initially intended for--enhanced 2-CH. Of course many multi-channel devotees are content with noise coming out of more than two speakers. The more the merrier, huh?
    Last edited by Vaneyes; May-02-2011 at 01:32.

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