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Old 08-07-2020, 01:58 AM
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Default DVD-A vs SACD vs HDCD vs CD

I hope that I'm on the correct board.

I just read a wiki article about DVD-Audio. I was trying to figure out if all DVD-A recordings offer 5.1 encoding, so that's my first question for the music board. Does DVD-A normally include 5.1?

Although the wiki article was a bit unclear about DVD-A and 5.1, it did contain some text that really caught my eye. In short, it stated that, according to "researchers," there was no discernible difference between DVD-A and SACD and, furthermore, that there's no discernible difference between the SACD and the CD audio formats!

You see, we purchased our first SACD-capable player about 18 months ago, the Sony X800M2. I subsequently discovered that we would need a DAC to use the X800M2 with our Mac MX130 Control Center. Well, we don't presently own a DAC, but we have been adding some SACD titles to our collection in hopes of someday enjoying them.

So...any thoughts on the DVD-A, SACD, HDCD and/or CD formats and, most importantly, how they compare to one another would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, we do own an HDCD capable player -- and I certainly hear a difference between those discs and the normal CD discs in our collection.

Thank you very much for your time...
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:42 AM
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Bill - If you can hear a difference between HDCD and regular redbook CD, you most certainly should hear a difference in SACD. I've never really understood the folks who say there is no difference between redbook and SACD. It's incredibly obvious to me and always has been. Now of course there are situations where the mastering of a standard CD is SO good that it may outweigh a poorly done SACD, but that would be the exception IMO. Discs like JVC XRCDs and Japanese mastered SHM CDs can get right there with SACDs.

I've had some experience with DVD-A on my former Ayre C5 xeMP disc player.....I thought the DVD-A discs sounded amazing but never directly compared them to the equivalent SACD...I don't think I ever had a copy of an album on both formats. If you're a classical and jazz lover, SACD is still a fantastic format.

- Buck
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70sMac View Post
I hope that I'm on the correct board.

I just read a wiki article about DVD-Audio. I was trying to figure out if all DVD-A recordings offer 5.1 encoding, so that's my first question for the music board. Does DVD-A normally include 5.1?
Normally, yes, but I have seen exceptions.

Quote:
Although the wiki article was a bit unclear about DVD-A and 5.1, it did contain some text that really caught my eye. In short, it stated that, according to "researchers," there was no discernible difference between DVD-A and SACD and, furthermore, that there's no discernible difference between the SACD and the CD audio formats!
It depends on who does the tests and how they do them. However, it does not matter. (see below)

Quote:
So...any thoughts on the DVD-A, SACD, HDCD and/or CD formats and, most importantly, how they compare to one another would be greatly appreciated.
It doesn't matter because you rarely ever get a choice between formats when you decide to buy a recording for the music and/or the performance. If those aren't important, who cares how good the format is?!?

Bottom line. Get a setup that plays everything and move on.
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Old 08-07-2020, 02:34 PM
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Wink Ramble On

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy3107 View Post
Bill - If you can hear a difference between HDCD and regular redbook CD, you most certainly should hear a difference in SACD. I've never really understood the folks who say there is no difference between redbook and SACD. It's incredibly obvious to me and always has been. Now of course there are situations where the mastering of a standard CD is SO good that it may outweigh a poorly done SACD, but that would be the exception IMO. Discs like JVC XRCDs and Japanese mastered SHM CDs can get right there with SACDs.

I've had some experience with DVD-A on my former Ayre C5 xeMP disc player.....I thought the DVD-A discs sounded amazing but never directly compared them to the equivalent SACD...I don't think I ever had a copy of an album on both formats. If you're a classical and jazz lover, SACD is still a fantastic format.

- Buck
Buck..... As a native deep southerner, it's great to read something from a Dawg fan.

Your obvious experience with the different physical audio formats is most informative. Although there are clear exceptions to every rule, I'm not a huge classical fan. I do love Miles and jazz fusion, however, so your thoughts on how those genres were/are recorded are particularly interesting. There's one Patrick O'Hearn album we have in our collection -- which I believe is a regular CD -- that sounds pretty sweet out of our B&W N802 + N805 speaker (front/rear) setup. As the signature suggests, those speakers are being fed by our Mac MX130/MC300/MAC4200 amp combination, but, nevertheless, I like reading about other brands, as well. I love our old Mac stuff, but I'm not blind to other great brand names...point here being that I appreciate your words about the Ayre C5 xeMP.

Thinking about it more, your words about regular CDs that sound pretty good is bringing certain experiences back to me now. I was once in an audio room, back in the 80s, in which they were playing Supertramp's 'Brother Where You Bound' album. It was also a regular CD -- and it sounded fantastic! In the end, the only true comparison would be to listen to the same material recorded in two or more formats...hmmm...

We also have just about everything that Jean-Luc Ponty has ever recorded in our collection. Although we own quite a few CDs, of all kinds, I do believe that all of his stuff is on regular CDs...and to say that it sounds great is a clear understatement...but now I'm rambling.

Here's a question for you that clearly dates me: What do you mean, exactly, by "redbook"? Given the context, I would guess that its a rating that places one regular CD over another, but I'd appreciate some words on this. Is there actually a way to determine if a given CD is a Redbook CD?

Looking forward to your response
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Last edited by 70sMac; 08-07-2020 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:02 PM
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Bill, here is the explanation of Red Book.
All regular CDs are Red Book.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compac..._Digital_Audio
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:03 PM
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Arrow The bottom line

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
Normally, yes, but I have seen exceptions.
....If those aren't important, who cares how good the format is?!?

Bottom line. Get a setup that plays everything and move on.
Hello again, Kal. I started this thread because of the research I wrote about in the original post.

As I mentioned, we've now invested our hard-earned in SACDs, but have never actually heard them properly "decoded." We also have some DVD-As that are eagerly awaiting the new Oppo 203 I wrote about, in the other thread you visited, so that will be a new experience, as well.

There a definitely choices when it comes to audio formats. We have a CD with Miles Davis' 'In A Silent Way" on it. It's one of my all time favorites, but I'm naturally (which I think is the right word here) interested in how it would sound as an SACD. The same thing with the King Crimson (KC) in our collection. Those guys had their stuff recorded on regular CDs, HDCD and DVD-A. They may even have KC SACDs out there...but the point is that I'm crazy about some of this music, so getting a "better" sound is pretty compelling.

So the bottom line, for me, is becoming better-informed and applying that knowledge to how we spend our [limited] dollars on our entertainment. As ever, thanks for the post.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bart View Post
Bill, here is the explanation of Red Book.
All regular CDs are Red Book.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compac..._Digital_Audio
Thanks for the link, Bart. I don't know if I would've found it via the word "redbook," so thanks for clarifying that it falls into the regular CD format category.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70sMac View Post
There a definitely choices when it comes to audio formats. We have a CD with Miles Davis' 'In A Silent Way" on it. It's one of my all time favorites, but I'm naturally (which I think is the right word here) interested in how it would sound as an SACD. The same thing with the King Crimson (KC) in our collection. Those guys had their stuff recorded on regular CDs, HDCD and DVD-A. They may even have KC SACDs out there...but the point is that I'm crazy about some of this music, so getting a "better" sound is pretty compelling.
Here's the rub. Each of the different format reissues come, almost always, with remastering and that will likely have a greater impact on the sound than the format. So, if you are seeking the best (if there is a best) version, you have to read reviews and/or try them all.
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Old 08-07-2020, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post
Here's the rub. Each of the different format reissues come, almost always, with remastering and that will likely have a greater impact on the sound than the format. So, if you are seeking the best (if there is a best) version, you have to read reviews and/or try them all.

It's also my experience that the remastering quality is the most important factor, not the format.
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Old 08-07-2020, 06:00 PM
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+1 most important factor
Quote:
Originally Posted by bart View Post
It's also my experience that the remastering quality is the most important factor, not the format.
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