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Thread: Has anyone here heard SACD?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    There aren't really a lot of CD players to choose from any more. You might want to consider a blu-ray player. There are some Sony models that are swiss army knives and play any format you would ever want. The only drawback is that some formats, like blu-ray audio require a tv screen to navigate menus, but if your stereo is connected to your TV you already can do that. If you put a CD in a blu-ray player, it plays the same as in a CD player right away with no menu navigation, so if all you play are CDs it's no different. The advantage to a blu-ray player is that they are likely cheaper, sound just as good and are more future proofed as far as formats go than CD players.

    <...SNIP...>
    @bigshot - Ha, as a matter of fact, I've been looking at some of these blu-ray players as a "backup" CD/SACD player, especially some of the ones on sale. Crutchfield has several available at sale prices or units with "price lowered" (LG, Sony, etc.).

    I've never owned a blu-ray player and I just don't have a "feel" for how they work. As mentioned in this thread, some are "slow" and some experience freezes, etc. Also, HDMI is something I know nothing about, and I have never owned an AVR. Just...2-channel music via CD and streaming Qobuz.

    I probably might buy one of these blu-ray players, just to get some experience. I think most of them have a toslink or optical out port, which my preamp will accept. Thanks!
    Last edited by Forsooth; Jun-03-2019 at 13:42.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    Classical music is currently available in many consumer deliverable formats, including Blu-ray (multi-channel and stereo tracks), Pure Audio Blu-ray (multi-channel and stereo), Ultra HD Blu-ray (multi-channel and stereo), SACD (multi-channel and stereo), hi-res DSD download (multi-channel and stereo), and 24bit/96kHz and 24bit/192kHz PCM download, plus various streaming options, and … the 30+ year-old Redbook CD.

    In light of this range of formats that are relevant to classical music, I think that any classical music lover who needs to buy a disc player would be foolish to buy a player that plays only CDs, unless you’re planning to spend $10 for a used unit at a thrift store.

    <...SNIP...>

    OTOH, if you want to use a hi-fi amp that has analog stereo line-level RCA inputs, and you don’t need a subwoofer crossover and associated line-level connection, there are currently a few universal players that offer stereo analog line-level outputs. For example: Sony ES UBP-X1000ES (apparently Sony is coming out with the newer UBP-X1100ES), and Pioneer Elite UDP-LX500. (I have no experience with these units.)

    If you need multichannel, with analog audio outputs, the Oppo UDP-205 is IME an excellent universal player, but the Oppo UDP-205 is no longer manufactured, and used units are commanding a premium price.

    P.S. Regarding whether or not hi-res recordings sound better, I suggest that you form your own opinion after listening to modern hi-res recordings via a high-quality hi-fi system, vs. “letting someone else tell you what to hear and think”. FWIW, I think that multichannel hi-res/hi-def audio/video classical recordings played via a state-of-the-art universal player, and vintage tube amps, and large high-end Klipsch speakers are the “cat’s pajamas” for classical music.
    Thanks for your response, which has a lot of good information. In full disclosure, I got rid of my TV about 12 years ago, so I know next to nothing about playing blu-ray discs. My desktop (Win10) accepts the DVD format, but I only have two "Rex the Runt" DVDs. I don't have a cell phone and I don't stream anything other than Qobuz. No social media accounts.

    My audio consists of an older CD player (minimal quality I want to replace), an SS preamp, an SS amp, two speakers, and two sealed subwoofers. The Qobuz stream gets to the audio unit via a 3.5 mm cable, so no dedicated streaming device.

    I think @bigshot was just offering good technical knowledge at my request. I didn't get the sense that anyone was telling me what would I "should" do. I think for now I'll stick with the simple 2-channel format, and augment as time goes on. Incidently, my speakers are Klipsch Fortes from my original purchase in the mid-1980s, perfect shape, and, yep, they sound great.
    Last edited by Forsooth; Jun-03-2019 at 13:40.

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    Quote Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
    I'm just going to wait until they come out with SSACD (super super audio CDs). Crank the bit rate to 11, and capture frequencies only measurable by the most advanced scientific equipment. Then I'll finally be able to enjoy my favorite music!
    Ahhh, ha ha ha! And they say sarcasm doesn't transmit well over the internet!
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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    The first thing you need to do is get a clean source of power, at the correct voltage. No??
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forsooth View Post
    @bigshot - Ha, as a matter of fact, I've been looking at some of these blu-ray players as a "backup" CD/SACD player, especially some of the ones on sale. Crutchfield has several available at sale prices or units with "price lowered" (LG, Sony, etc.).

    I've never owned a blu-ray player and I just don't have a "feel" for how they work. As mentioned in this thread, some are "slow" and some experience freezes, etc. Also, HDMI is something I know nothing about, and I have never owned an AVR. Just...2-channel music via CD and streaming Qobuz.

    I probably might buy one of these blu-ray players, just to get some experience. I think most of them have a toslink or optical out port, which my preamp will accept. Thanks!
    I suggest that you do some research about possible limitations of using TOSLINK or coax from a Blu-ray player to your amp. I'm not a technical expert, but based on what I've read there might be limitations in what formats your amp will support (depending on its age), and there might be limitations in what the player will output. For example, I use Oppo UDP-205, which is a modern universal player, and following is an excerpt from the user manual:

    Due to bandwidth limitations, high resolution audio formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. A reduced resolution version of the same audio track will be output instead. To listen to high resolution audio formats in their best quality, please use the HDMI connection if you have a receiver that handles HDMI audio (see page 12) or use the multi-channel analog outputs if you do not (see page 15).

    Due to copyright restrictions, SACD audio cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. To listen to SACDs, please use the HDMI or analog audio connections.

    Due to copyright restrictions and bandwidth limitations, full resolution audio from DVD-Audio discs cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. To listen to DVDAudio in full resolution, please use the HDMI or analog audio connections.

    You might download the user manual of any unit you're considering purchasing and see if it sheds any light on this issue, or ask a question of the manufacturer, or perhaps Crutchfield might be able to answer questions about any limitations.

    If you want the best audio quality, and the flexibility to play the widest range of discs, you might be better off getting a universal player that has analog RCA audio connections, so that the player's internal DACs are employed.

    Please keep us posted - and good luck.

    P.S. On some players you can set a software parameter to cause the unit to play the CD layer of a hybrid SACD vs. the SACD layer, in which case you could probably get sound to come through the coax or TOSLINK interface. But you probably won't be able to play the SACD layer through the coax or TOSLINK interface. (Most, but not all, SACDs are hybrid, containing both a CD and SACD layer.)
    Last edited by RobertKC; Jun-03-2019 at 15:46.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forsooth View Post
    I've never owned a blu-ray player and I just don't have a "feel" for how they work.
    For playing CDs, they are exactly like a CD player. When they freeze, it's usually from jumping formats with high data rates. They don't generally lock up on CDs.

    You can always run the CD layer of an SACD through optical if you need to. And blu-ray audio almost always includes lower data rate versions that could be passed through optical. It's not the nice fat numbers audiophiles like, but for classical music it's doubtful that it would sound any different.
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-03-2019 at 16:46.
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    Forsooth: I have no affiliation with this seller, but I suggest that you take a look at eBay item 312383606733, a factory refurbished Sony UBP-X1000ES (which has the built-in DAC and provides analog RCA audio connections) for $280 including shipping (USA). I have no experience with this unit, but it has received great reviews on a hi-fi forum. FWIW, if I needed a universal player with stereo analog audio output (not multi-channel) via RCA connections, and no subwoofer connection, and $280 fit my budget, "I'd be on this like a duck on a June bug". (The seller accepts returns, so it appears the risk is small.)
    Last edited by RobertKC; Jun-03-2019 at 17:32.

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  11. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    I suggest that you do some research about possible limitations of using TOSLINK or coax from a Blu-ray player to your amp. I'm not a technical expert, but based on what I've read there might be limitations in what formats your amp will support (depending on its age), and there might be limitations in what the player will output. For example, I use Oppo UDP-205, which is a modern universal player, and following is an excerpt from the user manual:

    <...SNIP...>

    Please keep us posted - and good luck.

    <...SNIP...>
    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    For playing CDs, they are exactly like a CD player. When they freeze, it's usually from jumping formats with high data rates. They don't generally lock up on CDs.

    You can always run the CD layer of an SACD through optical if you need to. And blu-ray audio almost always includes lower data rate versions that could be passed through optical. It's not the nice fat numbers audiophiles like, but for classical music it's doubtful that it would sound any different.
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKC View Post
    Forsooth: I have no affiliation with this seller, but I suggest that you take a look at eBay item 312383606733, a factory refurbished Sony UBP-X1000ES (which has the built-in DAC and provides analog RCA audio connections) for $280 including shipping (USA).

    <...SNIP...>
    @RobertKC and @bigshot, your messages contained a lot of information that I had not thought about. For example, the player may "play SACD," but only read the CD layer. Even if the player reads the SACD layer and outputs the data through HDMI only, well, my preamp doesn't have an HDMI port, so... Things like that.

    I looked at the UBP-X1000ES on Ebay, and thought, OK, I'll take a chance, hook it up and see what happens. But first I went on YT and searched for vids of people using this unit. Several came up, and I watched a couple. I was stunned!!

    First of all, you don't open the box, plug it in and go. You have to download software updates, etc., etc. Secondly, you cannot do this using the player and an internet connection. You must also have a screen, a tv of some type. Well, I don't have one. I only have the desktop monitor. And then, thirdly, the setup menu is like a labyrinth, with all kinds of obscure and abstract choices that must be made by the user, none of which I know anything about.

    So, as you can see, the blu-ray players are not for me. I'm really appreciative that this was brought to my attention, as I thought these things were "plug and play." I'm sticking with the simple, lovable CD player who, like me, doesn't want (can't handle) the extra fuss and drama.

    Anyway, guys, thanks again -- I learned a lot more than anticipated when I asked my original "simple" little question.
    Last edited by Forsooth; Jun-04-2019 at 02:22.

  12. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forsooth View Post
    @RobertKC and @bigshot, your messages contained a lot of information that I had not thought about. For example, the player may "play SACD," but only read the CD layer. Even if the player reads the SACD layer and outputs the data through HDMI only, well, my preamp doesn't have an HDMI port, so... Things like that.

    I looked at the UBP-X1000ES on Ebay, and thought, OK, I'll take a chance, hook it up and see what happens. But first I went on YT and searched for vids of people using this unit. Several came up, and I watched a couple. I was stunned!!

    First of all, you don't open the box, plug it in and go. You have to download software updates, etc., etc. Secondly, you cannot do this using the player and an internet connection. You must also have a screen, a tv of some type. Well, I don't have one. I only have the desktop monitor. And then, thirdly, the setup menu is like a labyrinth, with all kinds of obscure and abstract choices that must be made by the user, none of which I know anything about.

    So, as you can see, the blu-ray players are not for me. I'm really appreciative that this was brought to my attention, as I thought these things were "plug and play." I'm sticking with the simple, lovable CD player who, like me, doesn't want (can't handle) the extra fuss and drama.

    Anyway, guys, thanks again -- I learned a lot more than anticipated when I asked my original "simple" little question.
    Forsooth,

    I’m not trying to talk you into anything (OK, maybe I am …), but I’ll offer two observations:

    1. I suggest that you download the User Manual for the Sony ES UBP-X1000ES, and read the step-by-step installation instructions. Only you can decide if you’re comfortable with following these instructions. Just because someone on youtube showed off by navigating every menu branch doesn’t mean that’s necessary to install the product. If I owned the Sony ES UBP-X1000ES I would be glad to share my experience. There are at least 2 forums that I can think of where people who own this product would help if you got stuck. (I’m willing to read the manual and try to help you.) FWIW, I helped my 75 year-old neighbor purchase and install a modern Ultra HD Blu-ray player and AVR, and after a brief period of getting used to it, they’re happy.

    2. If your computer monitor has an HDMI input, you should be able to connect it to a Blu-ray player, in addition to your computer. Or, if your computer has a second VGA input, you might be able to use a VGA to HDMI adapter cable. (I have no personal experience with these arrangements, but a google search indicates that these are possibilities.) If connecting your existing monitor to a Blu-ray player isn't practicable, HDTVs are pretty inexpensive these days.


    Yes, installing a CD player would be simpler, but you’d miss out on watching ballet, opera, and orchestral concerts, as discussed here: Blu-ray Videos of Classical Concerts

    The video – and the audio – on a modern Blu-ray concert recording is stunning. Have you ever watched Khatia Buniatishvili play piano? Or watched Anna Netrebko or Elīna Garanča sing? Or, whatever floats your boat. And, you could decide for yourself if “hi-res” such as 24bit/192kHz and SACD is worthwhile.

    Good luck on whatever you decide. Just know that there are people on discussion forums who will try to help you get a new system up and running.
    Last edited by RobertKC; Jun-04-2019 at 12:49.

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  14. #55
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    Just about every player outputs through HDMI now. If you can't do that, you don't have a lot of choice. You might want to consider upgrading to an inexpensive AV receiver too. Players and receivers have a lot more useful features than they used to. The other option is to just buy a used player with analog outputs at eBay to tide you over until you're ready to buy a new amp.

    And RobertKC is correct that there's a whole lot of wonderful blu-ray videos of classical, opera and ballet. I don't generally buy opera on CD any more. There are too many great video operas to choose from.
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-04-2019 at 17:15.
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