SACD vs CD's

CD / SACD Discussion
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snarffydoggy
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SACD vs CD's

Post by snarffydoggy » Wed May 28, 2008 4:35 pm

Has anybody Listened to Sacd & Cd's of the same material and is there a marked difference between the two. I'm thinking of investing in a sacd player, but if there's not that much of a difference, I will wait until prices come down a bit more. Reccomondations on a SACD player in $500.00 and down would be appreciated.
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by TNRabbit » Wed May 28, 2008 5:18 pm

Oppo. Check the search for several threads on these players that come very highly recommended, and they are pretty darned cheap (around or under $200).

here ya go:

viewtopic.php?f=61&t=4777&hilit=oppo

viewtopic.php?f=37&t=4226&hilit=oppo




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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by F1nut » Wed May 28, 2008 6:14 pm

IMEO, you're better off finding a used Denon 2900 and adding an MF tube buffer, which you should be able to do for under $500.00 rather than getting the Oppo. The Denon/buffer combo smoked the Oppo/buffer combo. Another choice would be a used Sony SCD-555 ES five spinner. The SACD playback is not bad, but not reference. Then again, reference level is $5k and above, but I digress. However, the CD playback leaves a lot to be desired. Adding a tube buffer will help, getting the player modded will help a lot more. Both options for the Sony will run the price up over $500.00.

Now, to answer your original question. Yes, the difference is very noticeable, but don't expect the Holy Grail in the price range you're looking at.
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by treitz3 » Wed May 28, 2008 6:27 pm

To me, there is a night and day difference in SACD -vs- CD. Sometimes the difference can be as if you upgraded to a new rig. First off, the SACD format re-masters the recording from the original which in some instances can be good to great, yet others not so good. The good thing I am happy to report is that for the most part? It is good.

The differences that you will hear are stunning, to say the least on a well recorded and well mastered SACD. For me, one of the best......well, two of the best that I have run across so far is "Friday Night in San Francisco" by Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin and Paco DeLucia, the other one being "The World's Greatest Audiophile Recordings" [Chesky Records] featuring a number of artists. Among the differences are a higher resolution, higher fidelity and a sound that no Redbook CD that I have ever heard can reproduce. You have to hear it to know what I am talking about.

As for players? The Oppo is a great start to the SACD world in terms of bang to the buck. I currently have a Denon DVD-2910 which some folks love, but I would personally consider mediocre. Musical Fidelity is off the hook, but not what you would want to start out with for an introduction to the SACD format, unless you have a big budget. Hopefully others can suggest the Sony players that are highly regarded as well as the Marantz players that are so often brought up for quality SACD playback.

F1, spot on.
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by garcianc » Wed May 28, 2008 7:56 pm

treitz3 wrote:The Oppo is a great start to the SACD world in terms of bang to the buck. I currently have a Denon DVD-2910 which some folks love, but I would personally consider mediocre.
Watch out for that Denon. I had that exact model and one day, out of nowhere, it just shut down cold and wouldn't even power up about 1 week after the warranty ran out. I ended up with a $500 plastic brick. I ordered my Oppo 970HD that same night and never looked back.

As far as the difference? Well, as in everything, it depends. There are some crappy SACD recordings out there, but the format is capable of great sound.

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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by treitz3 » Wed May 28, 2008 8:25 pm

Funny you mention that. I have another one [same model #] that crapped the bed either on the showroom floor, or as soon as I got it home. I heard something that sounded like it was coming from a triac clicking constantly, it never worked from that point on.

Went and got another one of the same model that worked. Been working ever since. [-o<

BTW, retail was 890 and I got it on clearance for 2 bills.......things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm. :-# BUT, I must say also, if you check the archives of the forum, that I also had two other players bought at the same time that bit the funeral procession as well when hooked up to "crackbaby". ](*,)

There is a thread for reference of these very events somewhere archived on the forum. Where? I dunno. Too busy right now to look. #-o
In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.

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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by Dreamer » Wed May 28, 2008 10:14 pm

I think every one on this forum is going to know how I'll chime in on this one. But I'll stretch it out little, too keep it suspensefull for the newbies... ;)

the SACD format has HUGE posibilites for great sound, and when the recording is good, and your player is good, it can be musical magic. There really is no middle ground with SACD players. There are some really inexpensive models that do a pretty good job (Oppo), and then there are the "reference" models that are simply astounding, like the $5000+ Audio Aero. There are a LOT of SACD players out there in the $1000-$1500 range, but I have yet to hear one that offers a sound that is 5 times better than an Oppo (The Oppo can be had for under $200, hence the "5 times better" remark). The Denon and Marantz units are good--no doubt about it--they are built well, big, heavy, and they sound good. But are they 5 times better than an Oppo? Well, that depends on your ears and your wallet.

I have an Oppo DV-981HD. The one I have is more geared toward great video (it actually matches--and on some discs, beats!--my $1000 Sony BDP-S1 when it comes to 1080p upconversion for standard DVDs). For 2-channel audio, it's pretty damn good. For SACDs it pretty good too. Currently, I'm using it as a transport feeding the Benchmark DAC for audio, so it is only playing "red book" information (SACD digital info does not pass through coax or Toslink), and in that capacity it is VERY good. Now, granted, I'm running the signal through a $1000 DAC, but like I said, on it's own, the Oppo is pretty damn good. I'd hold my $1200 Oppo/Benchmark combo up against any other red book CD player in the sub-$1500 range. On it's own, the Oppo DV-981HD walks all over any DVD player out there under $1000, and even kicks a lot of the ultra-high-end upscaling players and BluRay players when it comes to playing standard DVDs. It's not as good as it's little brother, the DV-980H for audio playback, but it is still pretty darn good.

So if you want to keep it under $500, and your primary concern is music, get an Oppo DV-980H. It's a pretty amazing bargain, and a VERY versatile DVD/CD player. If you are willing to sacrifice a little in the sound department, but want an outstanding DVD player, get the DV-981HD.

I know F1Nut doesn't care for the Oppo players. I respect that. If I could afford it, I'd be using a Wadia 2000 Transport to feed my Benchmark for Redbook CDs, but I can't, so I'm happy with the Oppo. It does standard-def video better than my $1000 Sony BluRay unit, it does Red Book and SACD better than the Sony NS-3000ES player I have (MSRP $499), and as a transport to feed an external DAC, it's better than any transport I've heard driving the Benchmark under $1000. The Oppo is an all-around workhorse, and although it's not a "reference" player by any stretch of the imagination, it does a LOT of things, and does them all better than any other single player three times it's price...

Buy the Oppo, and put the extra $300 you save into buying music and movies. You'll be much happier for it, and you'll have a bigger library of recordings to enjoy.

After all, it's REALLY all about the MUSIC...

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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by maddmaxxx » Wed May 28, 2008 11:43 pm

-heard the marantz 8000...very nice unit [8 bills new]...perhaps a 'previously owned unit'

-did'nt hear tom's denon just his rega at cf'07

-and have heard the oppo now [both 80 and 81]...pretty darn good for cheap $$$ too[new]



-until sacd's become avail w/my fav bands i won't buy a big $$$ sacd'er

-tom i believe thats the only disc on sacd of eIther dimeola or mclauglin [have at least 20 ea of their solo/band albums]...return to forever and mahavishnu orchesta...i'll dupe a bunch for cf'08...hehe
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by treitz3 » Thu May 29, 2008 6:58 pm

/mx, I also have an SACD of Al Dimeola's "Flesh on Flesh". I don't know if there are any more out there. I just happened to have stumbled upon it while cruising the only shop in town that sells SACD's.
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by BillD » Thu May 29, 2008 8:06 pm

Amazon has Flesh on Flesh, Consequences of Chaos, Passion Grace & Fire, Elegant Gypsy (sold out) and of course Friday Night in San Francisco - all on SACD. Passion Grace & Fire is with the same crew as Friday Night (McLaughlin and de Luca).
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by garcianc » Thu May 29, 2008 8:31 pm

Dreamer wrote:So if you want to keep it under $500, and your primary concern is music, get an Oppo DV-980H. It's a pretty amazing bargain, and a VERY versatile DVD/CD player. If you are willing to sacrifice a little in the sound department, but want an outstanding DVD player, get the DV-981HD.
Well said, Richard. =D> Just a minor update, you can now get the DV-980H for $169!

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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by sixstringer99 » Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:59 pm

I have a question on the SACD version of the Friday Night in San Francisco SACD. It says that it is a Stereo SACD. Most of the SACD's that I have are in 5.1, so am I correct in assuming that the Friday Night SACD is just two channel?

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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by Reese » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:08 pm

sixstringer99 wrote:I have a question on the SACD version of the Friday Night in San Francisco SACD. It says that it is a Stereo SACD. Most of the SACD's that I have are in 5.1, so am I correct in assuming that the Friday Night SACD is just two channel?
I'm not sure about *that* SACD - but the ones I have on Channel Classics label of Paolo Giacometti playing Rossini piano music are called "hybrid pure Super Audio. They are CD/SACD -- they'll play two-channel stereo on CD players, and mutli-channel/surround on an SACD player (which I don't have).
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by BillD » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:18 pm

Some SACDs have all three, a Redbook layer, an SACD 5.1 layer and an SACD stereo layer. My Oppo let's me select how I render an SACD, but it will automatically do whatever is there. It only matters if there is a choice. Here is a link to a very simple explanation from a company I respect.
It should sound like it isn't there!
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Re: SACD vs CD's

Post by Dreamer » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:14 pm

I've only done a few comparisons between CD/SACD of the same material on players that can play both format. My benchmark recording for this is Diana Krall's "Girl in the Other Room", which I have on Red Book and SACD discs.

I've heard them both on the Oppo DV-981HD ($229), and on the opposite end of the price spectrum, the Audio Aero Prestige SACD/CD player ($13,990). In both players, the SACD is remarkably better. Granted in the Audio Aero, Red Book CDs sound better than SACD stereo from any other player on the market, and SACD sounds like nothing you've ever heard before from a digital front end. But even on the Oppo, the SACD has more air, more ambience, more tightly focused soundstage, better resolution, and more natural pace than RedBook CDs. The Diana Krall disc is recorded and engineered very well--it's RedBook presentation is excellent, and the SACD is in my opinion, a benchmark for digital playback...

So is it worth it, for the extra cost of the players, the extra cables, and the more expensive discs? Well, that depends on your rig. If you have a system that can resolve the increased resolution, detail and subtle sonic cues that SACD presents, and you don't mind paying $5-$10 more per disc for that quality, then sure, it is worth it.

But if you're on a budget, and you listen mostly to music from "non-audiophile" artists, then SACD may not be any big whoop...

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