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SACD

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T

the record spot

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crumpet said:
Oh yes - one more thing. It is also quite plausible that some people are sensitive to these things and others are not. Some people like (or even prefer the sound of MP3s), or can't tell the difference between them and CDs. Some people can.

Some people can tell the difference between Canadian and American accents, and others can't. Some people pay lots of money for French wines ... to other people it is just plonk. Such is life.
And of course, it's significantly easier to identify the latter paragraph's examples than a 320kbps rip against a WAV file. Been there, done that. Welcome to the forum by the way crumpet.
 

cse

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Mar 3, 2008
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crumpet said:
I have a Marantz 8003 which is similar to your Pearl Lite (aka SA 8004) ... yours is the newer model and likely the better

Make sure the box says what the recording resolution is (or check the label's web site). If they don't state the recording resolution, just buy something else.
I am only talking about proper classical hybrid modern sacd recordings. For example, Haintink's set of Beethoven symphonies from the Barbican or the Tokyo Quartet of Beethoven's late string quartets. I listen to both layers, simitaneously, and then can't really hear any difference. Perhaps, if pushed, i find the Cd layer actually has a bit more more body and weight and the sacd layer sounds a little quieter and brighter! By the way, i do have an ear for sound and don't own any compressed recordings.

So it seems from what people are saynig, that in the case of the Marantz Pearl Lite, CD and SACD playback of a hybrid SACD in a modern state of the art recording, doesn't actually sound much different, apart from at very low and high frequencies. Only when you come to a universal player that naturally has SACD' do Cd's sound inferior. If this is the case, i see little point in the SACD facility on good quality Cd players. Regarding the software, if you want a particular classical recording, like the Haitink above, for example, you don't actually have a choice, as it only comes in hybrid SACD format. However, this is not at a premium price and is only circa £20 for a 5-disc box set.
 

Tim2010

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Did you click the "Source Direct"-button on your Pearl Lite Amp to get native DSD-playback from your sacd's. If not, most players downconvert DSD automatically to PCM.

Even for "ordinary" cd playback I prefer the Source Direct mode.

Classical cd's have in general good and dynamic sound. Like someone said, it's all about the mastering.

Many early pop & rock sacd's have horrible mastering. Some were just upconverted 16bit/44.1kHz to 24bit/88.2kHz and are in fact "fake sacd's". Loads of pop & rock titles by Sony, Universal, ZTT,... Especially non-audiophile mainstream pop & rock.

PS: many players can't decode dsd (the sacd-format) and convert it to PCM. You Marantz KI Pearl Lite does it pretty well (have one too).
 

manicm

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Craig M, yes mastering is important, but to say the format doesn't matter is just plain wrong - sorry mate but you're thumbsucking.

If recording straight to DSD, or straight to higher-resolution then it WILL sound better than plain vanilla 16/44. So it's a combination of mastering AND format.

Also, I doubt even expensive universal players like the CA 751BD do SACD justice, because their built-in DSD decoders are not up to snuff no matter what their online blurb says.

To get the best of SACD you need, yes, a good recording as well as a good player/receiver which has a good DSD decoder.
 

Tim2010

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Hello Again,

I just noticed now that you have a Roksan / Marantz combination.

Roksan had never sacd-ambitions (I think), and I think the amp can't decode "DSD", so it converts the DSD-files to PCM.

That IMO is the reason why you can't hear hardly any difference.

SACD should sound better in case of identical/superior mastering. You should hear at least some more depth in the music. A badly re-mastered sacd can off course sound worser than the original cd.

It's really childish that a bunch of non-believers always have to threadcrap on high-resolution audio.

When you ask what kind of system they have, it ain't dsd-compatible or they haven't changed the settings from pcm to direct stream digital (for Universal Disc Players like Oppo). So they can't hear (hardly) any difference ...

Myself, I'm having both the KI Pearl Amp + SACD/DAC and most of the time the sacd beats the cd-version. In case you want to compare cd/Sacd, don't try this with releases from major labels, but use recordings from audiophile labels like Analogue Productions who mostly use the same master for both redbook- and sacd-layer.

The Roksan-amp should be slightly better than the KI Pearl Lite amp (if you don't care about the dsd decoding). But how is the combination of both?

Marantz has a warm, smooth, analog sound. While the Roksan players in general are more "analytical players". Aren't they opposites? Off course, opposites attract from time to time.

It's on you to decide what your needs are. If you wanna go the sacd-route, you'll need an amp that decodes dsd (like the KI Pearl Lite amp).
 

Overdose

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If you read the OP, it would seem that SACD and CD were specifically switched to differentiate between the sources.

A SACD player decodes the DSD and converts this to an analogue signal for the amp, the amp has absolutely nothing to do with the DSD signal.
 

Craig M.

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Overdose said:
If you read the OP, it would seem that SACD and CD were specifically switched to differentiate between the sources.

A SACD player decodes the DSD and converts this to an analogue signal for the amp, the amp has absolutely nothing to do with the DSD signal.
this had me puzzled!
 

Craig M.

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Tim2010 said:
It's really childish that a bunch of non-believers always have to threadcrap on high-resolution audio.
it's not childish to question stuff rather than just believe whatever you are told. i've downsampled so called high res files from hdtracks and found it sounded exactly the same - i've also yet to find any proper abx tests where anybody else could differentiate a downsampled file (ie. 24/96 > 16/44.1). and what does belief have to do with it? we're not talking about religion.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
manicm said:
When I said amp, I meant an AV amp - your high-end Sonys had DSD decoders.
Onkyo midrange AV receivers (such as the TX-SR607 a couple of years back) could decode the native DSD stream, so one didn't need to cough up for a top of the line receiver. Noel Keywood did some tests for a HiFi World review at the time and demonstrated this.
 

Overdose

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manicm said:
Just to clarify - lower end SACD players like most universal players convert to PCM - a good SACD player will not do this.
I see. So, by this rational, only high end SACD players exhibit the noticeable improvement over CD?

If this were true, the format was doomed from the off.
 

manicm

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Craig M. said:
Tim2010 said:
It's really childish that a bunch of non-believers always have to threadcrap on high-resolution audio.
it's not childish to question stuff rather than just believe whatever you are told. i've downsampled so called high res files from hdtracks and found it sounded exactly the same - i've also yet to find any proper abx tests where anybody else could differentiate a downsampled file (ie. 24/96 > 16/44.1). and what does belief have to do with it? we're not talking about religion.
Craig M, you consistently miss the point; it's not the shortcoming of the format if vendors like HDTracks and/or poor engineers suck and deceive the public. A better example is Linn whose new releases are directly mastered to physical DSD (read SACD) or to 192/24 PCM downloads and their results are plain and clear to hear.

What HDTracks are doing is akin to producing a facsimile of a Ferrari car - don't blame Ferrari if the results are sub-standard!

It is also why Neil Young was irate when he discovered his Harvest Moon album was mastered to vanilla 16/44 - so if HDTracks or anybody were to sell 'hi-res' versions of this album re-mastered to higher bitrates and frequencies they'd be lying. Albums like Harvest Moon were recorded digitally. A similar process to analogue recordings where the original tapes are available would be more credible.
 

Craig M.

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manicm said:
Craig M, you consistently miss the point; it's not the shortcoming of the format if vendors like HDTracks and/or poor engineers suck and deceive the public. A better example is Linn whose new releases are directly mastered to physical DSD (read SACD) or to 192/24 PCM downloads and their results are plain and clear to hear.

What HDTracks are doing is akin to producing a facsimile of a Ferrari car - don't blame Ferrari if the results are sub-standard!

It is also why Neil Young was irate when he discovered his Harvest Moon album was mastered to vanilla 16/44 - so if HDTracks or anybody were to sell 'hi-res' versions of this album re-mastered to higher bitrates and frequencies they'd be lying. Albums like Harvest Moon were recorded digitally. A similar process to analogue recordings where the original tapes are available would be more credible.
you mean there are published results from an independent abx that show linns... do you know what?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaiSHcHM0PA
 
T

the record spot

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Unfortunately, about a year back, HD Tracks was busted when some of its offerings were found not to be quite as HD as it suggested. They reviewed their source and processes thereafter, but simply shows you have to be careful with some of this.
 

manicm

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Craig M, firstly all I said was that the quality of recordings are guaranteed from reputable companies like Linn - theirs are genuine hi-res.

Secondly, I could also be flippant and say maybe in the 70s you did ABX testing to convince yourself that FM was indeed better than AM. Go ahead, knock yourself out.

BTW Linn in their demos play their own MP3s, CDs and hi-res formats of their same recordings to compare.
 

Craig M.

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tbh, linn could get hula girls to massage my neck while i'm listening to their hi-res versions, it still isn't music i want to listen to.

yes, i suppose i was being a bit flippant, but as i said earlier, i don't really care. i'm just practising for when the pointlessly arguing society make the_Lhc their leader and he no longer has time for us.
 

manicm

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I don't much care for Linn's catalog too, but I was illustrating a technical point, and as you pointed out, that ironically Linn are wrong - the large corporates don't care about audio quality. BTW where does lhc figure in all of this?

It's not only the labels' fault - your record shops and chains also lack vision. In the absence of high-speed broadband in many countries, and if record chains are to survive at all they should force the labels to develop and allow in-store downloads. I should be able to take my harddrive and purchase downloads in-store. In other words there should be digital vending machines.
 

Overdose

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manicm said:
A better example is Linn whose new releases are directly mastered to physical DSD (read SACD) or to 192/24 PCM downloads and their results are plain and clear to hear.
Not to me it isn't. I downloaded a high res track (Man In The Long Black Coat by Barb Jungr) specifically to test against a 16bit equivalent and could detect no obvious difference that I'd be able to identify 'blind'.
 

Tim2010

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The Lana Del Rey is horribly mastered but I can tell you the difference between the cd and high res. file. It really sounds a little different but not in the details, it's overall. Though the mastering is exactly the same.

Is it worth the extra money? You have to decide. But I'm sure I even could tell you the difference blind folded.

Same for the Beatles 24bit. But you have to listen to the whole record, not just comparing for 10 seconds.

For Lana it's more the background sound overall, while the Beatles is more about the details (especially drums).

My mom was a fan of the Bangles, when we bought our first cd player back in the days. We bought the Greatest Hits cd.

I found a cheap copy of the same album when I just got my sacd-player in SACD-format. It sounds worser than the original cd. It has an unnatural, metallic sound ... Same for the Aerosmith Greatest Hits albums. So, I think the quality depends.

Many early HDTracks (lately it's better) came from upconverted brickwalled remastered cd's! (the ones the major labels used for their sacd's and dvd-a's). Many of those "HD Versions" sound worser than the original un-remastered standard cd!

Some are good, others not. Everyone has to decide for himself how to spend his money. I'm not a "naive audiophile" who believes in some of that "audio voodoo". I always decide for myself what I like best. No matter what price, format,...
 

Overdose

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Tim2010 said:
The Lana Del Rey is horribly mastered but I can tell you the difference between the cd and high res. file. It really sounds a little different but not in the details, it's overall. Though the mastering is exactly the same.
How do you know this? Your post seems full of conjecture and heresay.

Either SACD is better than CD, or it is no different. If differences exist to the detriment of SACD, then the format is flawed or the mastering is at fault, either way, for a 'superior' format SACD seems to fall down rather a lot.

The idea of high resolution formats, is to provide a sound quality that surpasses redbook CD at all times, if there is any question at all regarding the success of the formats in doing this, then they fail as a quality product.

In essence, why pay more for no guarantee of better quality or consistency?
 
T

the record spot

Guest
I've mentioned a few times in recent years that the Genesis Box set for 1976-1982 was an SACD release, but crippled by a truly awful mastering in stereo. Likewise CD stereo. The multichannel SACD was apparently alright, but the rest? Dire. By far the better masterings were either the Barry Diament versions he did for Atco in the US or the original CDs.

The format is neither here nor there if the underlying mastering tanks to the point it becomes an irrelevance.
 

cse

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Mar 3, 2008
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Tim2010 said:
Did you click the "Source Direct"-button on your Pearl Lite Amp to get native DSD-playback from your sacd's. If not, most players downconvert DSD automatically to PCM.

Even for "ordinary" cd playback I prefer the Source Direct mode.

I don't have a Pearl Lite amp, I have a Pearl LIte SACD player!

You all seem to be straying from the point. I am only using Hybrid DSD SACD's of classical music made recently. When I switch between the layers, I can't detect any noticable difference. I am usin a good quality stereo Marantz Peal Lite SACD player, with a Roksan amp and Neat Petit speakers. The Hybrid SACD's that I buy do not cost any more than standard CD's and the recording itself is only available in this physical format. Your mention of Linn is interesting, as I have a few of their Hybrid SACD recordings. For example, Handels Messiah, by the Dunedion Consort. When I switch between the layers, trying to listen critically, I hear no difference.
 

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