SACD versus external DAC???

admin_exported

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Hello everyone,

I have what I'm guessing is a pretty naive question, but I'd love to hear what you think nonetheless:

Is there a major difference between the sound quality delivered by an SACD player playing SACDs and the enhancement to CDs/digital files delivered by an external DAC?

Does the quality of the SACD player affect the quality of the output, or is that largely affected by the spec of the amp used?

Thanks in advance,

O
 

paradiziac

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Ogleforth said:
Is there a major difference between the sound quality delivered by an SACD player playing SACDs and the enhancement to CDs/digital files delivered by an external DAC?

Does the quality of the SACD player affect the quality of the output, or is that largely affected by the spec of the amp used?

1. Depends on the respective quality of the playback equipment, generally you get what you pay for

2. Absolutely, the amp needs the best possible signal to start with in order to produce a nice sound out of the speakers.
 

El Hefe

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Ogleforth,

You are not comparing apple to apple here. Playing an SACD disc against a CD on an external DAC would yield a different output as SACD is usually multichannel.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Not quite; there is usually a stereo layer in the disc which permits the comparison to be made.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Comparing the best possible purchase at a given price, i.e., a SACD player and external DAC, the latter will likely sound better.

Anyway, in my opinion they should be considered complementary rather than competitors as the offer of SACDs is very small.

SACDs sound better on mid and highs (more natural open sound), but the botton end of CDs are better. If you can afford, have a high quality SACD player to be used as SACD playback and transport and an high-end external DAC for CDs. On other hand, high end CD players/DACs sound better than mainstream SACD players.
 

6th.replicant

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Audio Maniac said:
... SACDs sound better on mid and highs (more natural open sound), but the botton end of CDs are better. If you can afford, have a high quality SACD player to be used as SACD playback and transport and an high-end external DAC for CDs. On other hand, high end CD players/DACs sound better than mainstream SACD players.

From a 2-channel perspective, agree "SACDs sound better on mid and highs (more natural open sound)" but beg to differ that "the botton end of CDs are better".

For example, IME the SACDs of Ziggy Stardust, DSOTM and A Love Supreme have significantly more low-end bass compared to CD (and vinyl) versions. Also have some Jordi Savill SACDs that deliver more low-end oomph.

However, when comparing vinyl, CD and SACD versions of Bryan Ferry's Boys and Girls, there is an illusion that the first two have more low-end. In reality, perhaps all three are very similar low-end but because of the SACD's improved mids and highs, consequently the low-end is less pronounced?

And IMHO, an SACD-compatable CDP complements a 24bit/96kHz-compatable DAC.

However, in order to match the SQ of a SACD-compatable CDP, such as Arcam's CD37, the budget required for a DAC + iTunes upgrade/alternative (eg, Amarra, Pure Music et al) + server needs to be lumpy. More lumpy than the cost of a CD37, I suspect.

YMMV :shifty:
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Audio Maniac said:
Comparing the best possible purchase at a given price, i.e., a SACD player and external DAC, the latter will likely sound better.

Anyway, in my opinion they should be considered complementary rather than competitors as the offer of SACDs is very small.

SACDs sound better on mid and highs (more natural open sound), but the botton end of CDs are better. If you can afford, have a high quality SACD player to be used as SACD playback and transport and an high-end external DAC for CDs. On other hand, high end CD players/DACs sound better than mainstream SACD players.

To you maybe :)

To others maybe not!
 
A

Anonymous

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Of course, yes, for my taste! :grin:

SteveR750 said:
Audio Maniac said:
Comparing the best possible purchase at a given price, i.e., a SACD player and external DAC, the latter will likely sound better.

Anyway, in my opinion they should be considered complementary rather than competitors as the offer of SACDs is very small.

SACDs sound better on mid and highs (more natural open sound), but the botton end of CDs are better. If you can afford, have a high quality SACD player to be used as SACD playback and transport and an high-end external DAC for CDs. On other hand, high end CD players/DACs sound better than mainstream SACD players.

To you maybe :)

To others maybe not!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Comparison between records may be misleading. Erick Clapton's Slowhand on SACD is horrible, worse than CD version. Audio performance also depends on the quality of records.

Anyway, if I alway had the possibility of choosing between CD and SACDs, I'd prefer the latter. Unfortunately, SACDs are getting rarer.

6th.replicant said:
Audio Maniac said:
... SACDs sound better on mid and highs (more natural open sound), but the botton end of CDs are better. If you can afford, have a high quality SACD player to be used as SACD playback and transport and an high-end external DAC for CDs. On other hand, high end CD players/DACs sound better than mainstream SACD players.

From a 2-channel perspective, agree "SACDs sound better on mid and highs (more natural open sound)" but beg to differ that "the botton end of CDs are better".

For example, IME the SACDs of Ziggy Stardust, DSOTM and A Love Supreme have significantly more low-end bass compared to CD (and vinyl) versions. Also have some Jordi Savill SACDs that deliver more low-end oomph.

However, when comparing vinyl, CD and SACD versions of Bryan Ferry's Boys and Girls, there is an illusion that the first two have more low-end. In reality, perhaps all three are very similar low-end but because of the SACD's improved mids and highs, consequently the low-end is less pronounced?

And IMHO, an SACD-compatable CDP complements a 24bit/96kHz-compatable DAC.

However, in order to match the SQ of a SACD-compatable CDP, such as Arcam's CD37, the budget required for a DAC + iTunes upgrade/alternative (eg, Amarra, Pure Music et al) + server needs to be lumpy. More lumpy than the cost of a CD37, I suspect.

YMMV :shifty:
 

manicm

Well-known member
the record spot said:
Not quite; there is usually a stereo layer in the disc which permits the comparison to be made.

I could be wrong, but if you connect a SACD player to an external stand-alone DAC (assuming there are such SACD players around), you would be bypassing the DSD layer and would thus get plain PCM from the CD layer. It would be self-defeating. If I'm correct the only such devices which can preserve the DSD layer are ones Linn's new DSM players - through HDMI, and obviously some high-end A/V receivers/amps.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yes, you are right!

The vast majority of external DACs don't convert DSD. If my memory is not failed there's a dCS' model which does it, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, when playing SACDs thru a SACD player plus external DAC, the files are converted to PCM.

manicm said:
the record spot said:
Not quite; there is usually a stereo layer in the disc which permits the comparison to be made.

I could be wrong, but if you connect a SACD player to an external stand-alone DAC (assuming there are such SACD players around), you would be bypassing the DSD layer and would thus get plain PCM from the CD layer. It would be self-defeating. If I'm correct the only such devices which can preserve the DSD layer are ones Linn's new DSM players - through HDMI, and obviously some high-end A/V receivers/amps.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
manicm said:
the record spot said:
Not quite; there is usually a stereo layer in the disc which permits the comparison to be made.

I could be wrong, but if you connect a SACD player to an external stand-alone DAC (assuming there are such SACD players around), you would be bypassing the DSD layer and would thus get plain PCM from the CD layer. It would be self-defeating. If I'm correct the only such devices which can preserve the DSD layer are ones Linn's new DSM players - through HDMI, and obviously some high-end A/V receivers/amps.

Yes, there aren't any standalone DACs on the market that handle SACD (or DVD-A for that matter). You need to either go via an AV receiver or via a dedicated two channel player like mine which handles SACD. My point was that you can enable a comparison to be made at the two channel level without going via multichannel; i.e. SACD isn't purely a multichannel format - in fact, it started out as two channel when Sony and Philips introduced it.

If you playback an SACD layer through an external DAC, you'll get silence unless you either i) switch to the analogue output, if you've a set of interconnects going directly to a two-channel amp in which case you'll hear the SACD output or ii) switch the player to output the CD layer only if you go through the DAC so you can hear the music, but not the SACD layer. If the DAC is smart enough to read the only layer on the disc that it can, then you're doing well. The Firestone Audio Spitfire II and the Onkyo don't output anything but that's perhaps not true of them all.

I use a set of interconnects directly to the RCA inputs on the Onkyo as well as a coax to utilise the Onkyo's DAC.
 

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