Not much difference between SACD and CD Sound Quality?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by laynecobain, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. laynecobain

    laynecobain Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe / Reno
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I find that SACD offers more detail and a deeper, wider soundstage and better instrument timbre over CD.
     
  3. appledan

    appledan Resident Rockist

    Location:
    Ohio
  4. lv70smusic

    lv70smusic Senior Member

    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Do you hear a difference on your system? If so, then you're not wasting your money.

    I have what I would consider a modest system and I can hear the difference between the cd layer and SACD layer of the same disc. (I know that both layer's aren't necessarily mastered with the same care, but even on discs Steve has worked on I can hear the differences between cd and SACD, and I doubt he's deliberately making the cd layer sound worse than it has to.)

    I can imagine that on a budget system, the difference might not be audible at all since the differences I hear are significant but, in reality, subtle enough that a lot of people probably wouldn't notice unless you pointed them out: better imaging/soundstage and more lifelike.

     
  5. Eman

    Eman New Member

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Technically they should sound the same though they migt differ in their performance on paper (for example people cant usually hear above 20 or even 18 KHz) . In practice it seems that the CD layer is often more compressed and or diff EQ applied making a comparison impossible. Some believe at least in the early days of high rez it was because the technology did not exist for SACD to be compromized by excevide brickwalling etc. Who knows? Its a hobby and life is short just buy what floats your boat.

    There has been ABX test done in a controlled fashion between CD, DVD-A and SACD and no one was able to tell the difference. Even light compression in MP3 files is often difficult to detect at a sufficiently high bit rate.
     
    Anonamemouse likes this.
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Blue Note Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Bottom line:

    If you don't think hirez improves sound quality, then you don't have enough experience.
     
  7. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    May your audio listening expand and education continue.

    PS If you cite tests as facts, please provide references. Even just today, I heard a podcast from John Atkinson where he describes an audio event where exactly the opposite was shown with an audience, i.e. the audience heard the differences between various qualities of digital music. See my other thread today..
     
  8. dingus

    dingus New Member

    Location:
    silly, location
    to my ears SACD has a lower noise floor and sounds much smoother than cd, so much so that i find it odd that anyone could mistake the two.
     
    jammincrowe likes this.
  9. laynecobain

    laynecobain Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe / Reno
    Experience in what? Do you need to take do like an Outlier program to properly listen to music?

    I'm 42 and I know I've listened to music of some kind every waking hour.

    I find some SACD's do sound better. My SHM SACD of Aja is a great example.

    I'm just not sure if it's the format or the quality control? I have some pretty SACD's--Alice In Chains "Greatest Hits". But grunge and sonic quality seem like an oxymoron.
     
  10. laynecobain

    laynecobain Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe / Reno

    What's noise floor? In layman terms mean?
     
  11. laynecobain

    laynecobain Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe / Reno
    If you click the link I have in the OP you'll see there's a test reference in the story. And most couldn't tell the difference even when switched mid-song.

    Now I believe someone like Hoffman can tell, it's his job. But 98% of people can't. I can only tell when doing an A/B test--and there are only a couple that actually sound better--to MY ears. I find a well made vinyl sounds the best.

    That article references how SACD sounds more analogues (sp?)
     
    Anonamemouse likes this.
  12. Misery_loves..

    Misery_loves.. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago 'burbs
    That article provided a nice, reasonably short synopsis of the issues, pro & con. And you're correct, this subject has been argued countless times so I doubt you'll be reading a definitive argument to compel you completely in either direction here.

    To address your second question: There are some instances, maybe many, where the SACD version will offer the best mix or mastering treatment. As such, it could be worth it to have an SACD player for such titles. Also, if you have a surround system, it could still be worth it for those titles which have a well-done surround mix. For many, that's more than enough reason to have a high resolution audio player. Beyond that, I see very little value to the format or hi-res in general.

    I've read just about all of the pro/con analysis over the years - I think the better arguments and evidence is on the side of the con, i.e., all things being equal, while technically inferior, CD is equally transparent to high-res to the human ear. Even for those with perfect hearing, playing on the very best equipment and having the most listening experience.

    Taking the example of Beck's Sea Change. It's on the short-list of all-time favorite high-res titles in the audiophile community. Yet, even on this forum, going by the dedicated thread here, at least half of those who have heard both now think that the newer MFSL redbook CD version released in 2009/10 is at least as good as the very highly regarded SACD or DVD-A versions.

    Obviously, some or many in this hobby vehemently disagree with those who share my view. That's fine. Their money and their right to weight the arguments and evidence and their personal experiences as they see fit, of course. :wave:
     
  13. laynecobain

    laynecobain Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Lake Tahoe / Reno
    Misery--

    I just got Kiss Destroyer SHM SACD. Sounds great, nothing to compare to. But I doubt it's an ideal title to waste that kind of money on for one disc.
     
  14. Misery_loves..

    Misery_loves.. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago 'burbs
    Speaking of "rock" titles, there's also the camp which states that most rock music lacks the kind of dynamics to justify high resolution treatment in the first place, that only classical and jazz music warrants such treatment.

    Bottom line for me is I wish that the studios would just simply utilize all of the available potential of the "lowly" 16/44.1 CD/digital format in the first place. They all too seldom do so now. :rolleyes:
     
    Anonamemouse likes this.
  15. reapers

    reapers Forum Resident

    Similar to what I notice. Most noticeable is a good front-to-back soundstage and to a lesser extent better timbre. Even on masterings I'm not all that happy with, the deep soundstage is there. This is based on experience with 3 CD players and 2 SACD players in my system over the past few years.
     
  16. street legal

    street legal Forum Resident

    Location:
    west milford, nj
    If comparing different masterings, which will be the case the vast majority of the time, there's just really no telling, is there? For example, very, very few hybrid SACD's use the same mastering on both layers. Steve's Analogue Productions Creedence Clearwater Revival hybrid SACD's are one of the very few examples where both layers DO use the same mastering that I can think of.
     
  17. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    I think you are overlooking what I think may be the biggest difference between CD and Hi-Res. It's the 24 bit depth. CD's just don't have the lower level detail that Hi-Res formats do, and the difference, once you learn to spot it, is not minor. The 24 bit discs, and downloads, just have a much more stable, detailed, three dimensional soundstage. If you learn to listen for the fullness and long decays of the reverbs, you should notice the difference immediately.

    People listen to different things when listening to recordings. Some listen to melodies, some lyrics, some sounds of instruments, some three dimensionality, some sound of reverbs, some dynamics and impact, some the sound of the electronics in the recording chain, and so on.

    As we get more listening experience, we start to notice different facets of recordings we've known and loved for years. Sometimes that is due to our listening skills, sometimes it's because we have better gear, better system setup, or better sounding recordings.

    The point is, this hobby can take you as far as you want to go. There really is no end to this search for the holy grail, but make no doubt that the differences between CD's and Hi-Res formats are very real and significant. If you can't hear the difference, it's either your listening skills and experiences, your system, or your sources that are holding you back.

    This is not such a bad thing. It will save you a lot of money. If you are satisfied with the sounds you are hearing when you play your system then all is right with the world.
     
    Matt I and George P like this.
  18. Adam9

    Adam9 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    There's information in this thread about this: http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=170124&highlight=creedence+fortunate

    I couldn't find the original thread, although I remember it.
     
  19. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Location:
    Fonthill, Ontario
    It's all about potential. I'm not surprised that a sacd would sound better than a cd on an entry level universal player, but that certainly isn't getting the max out of either.:cheers:
     
  20. HiFi Guy 008

    HiFi Guy 008 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut
    It's definitely smoother and more detailed to my ears on my NAD, but why does redbook have so much more bass? Debating on whether to start a new thread on this.
     
  21. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    It doesn't. Perhaps you are comparing different masterings. I notice the bass is much faster and tighter on hi-res and seems to go lower and have better definition. I know it doesn't seem to make sense, but it's pretty universal here.
     
  22. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    Only a few of my SACD's are truly better than there red book counter parts .
     
    Anonamemouse likes this.
  23. HiFi Guy 008

    HiFi Guy 008 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Then it's got to be my player. The difference is not subtle.
     
  24. Misery_loves..

    Misery_loves.. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago 'burbs
    I understand all the points you've well-summarized here (edited your quoted post down for brevity sake), heard or read them all many times before, but for a myriad of reasons, I don't find them particularly compelling. And that's speaking as someone who has heard or thought I've heard differences at times. I've just come to view the collective arguments and existing body of evidence (albeit, not complete enough) which would discount those experiences to be more persuasive to me. *shrugs*
     
  25. Misery_loves..

    Misery_loves.. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago 'burbs
    I don't understand why you conclude that "it's got to be" the player. Seems far more likely that what Doug just suggested is true: the masterings are different, which is often the case with hybrid SACDs. Even more so when comparing a separate redbook cd version to an sacd or dvd-a of the same title.
     

Share This Page