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Thread: SACD Newbie

  1. #1

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    Default SACD Newbie

    As I mentioned over in the Vintage Speakers forum, I was looking for a midrange ($400-800) CD player, but after doing a bunch of reading here, at Audiogon, and AudioAsylum, it's apparent that there's a LOT of research I need to do before I drop a bunch of dough on a CD player, tube or otherwise... So I decided to pick up an inexpensive player to tide me over and ease me into the world of SACD (I've had a bunch of DVD-A discs for quite some time, but have never tried SACD).

    I had one of those 12%-off coupons for Best Buy this weekend, so after work today I stopped by and ordered a Sony SCD-CE595 (they were out of stock; I should have it Friday). Pricematched to Circuit City - 12% = $117. Hard to go wrong at that price. The reports here are quite glowing about the player.

    Interesting how some people report that SACDs are the same price as regular CDs in their area. Not in this town. Using Best Buy as a ruler, regular CDs are $12.99-15.99, DVD-A are $14.99-18.99, and SACD are $16.99-21.99. Not even close. :(

    Originally posted by therockman
    That said, the big scoop in SACD collecting are the very original Sony single layer SACD titles. These original Sony SACD releases are all very awesome sounding and they all represent the state-of-the-art in mastering techniques and high rez audio reproduction. Of course these original Sony titles are all most all stereo only and they are ALL SINGLE LAYER SACDs, they can not be played on a CD player. There are a couple of original Sony SACDs with a 5.1 mix, but that is not the selling point of these titles. The selling point of these titles is the fact that they are flat transfers from the original master tapes and represent the highest quality DSD music reproduction.

    There are over 100 of these old original Sony single layer SACDs and they are all so clean and beautieful sounding that you will play them over and over. These discs have been out of print since 2000, so they are all very collectable and they are becoming harder and harder to find and they are going up in price. My favorite of these Sony SACDs is THE BANGLES GREATEST HITS. You will never believe that recorded music could sound this good.

    Rocky Bennett
    Maybe I'm missing something, but it seemed that ALL of the SACDs at BB were of the single-layer variety. They almost all appeared to be of two series (pictured below). The top type looking "older" (cardboard sleeve) than the one below (plastic sleeve). Are either of these what you are referring to? I did notice that Toto IV was available in both types.



    I picked up the following to get me started:

    Pink Floyd - DSOTM
    Journey - Escape (cardboard sleeve, stereo)
    Journey - Arrival (cardboard sleeve, stereo)
    Journey - Greatest Hits (plastic sleeve, stereo)
    Dave Brubeck - Time Out (plastic sleeve, multichannel)
    Toto - IV (plastic sleeve, multichannel)
    Toto - Hydra (cardboard sleeve, stereo)
    Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell (plastic sleeve, multichannel)

    Is an extended burn-in recommended for the player before starting to critique?

  2. #2

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    I don't know how well a $117.00 SACD player is going sound, I suspect much like a $117.00 CD player, but welcome to the wonderful world of Super Audio anyway.

    Here's a few sites for SACD's,
    http://www.cduniverse.com/
    http://www.amusicdirect.com/
    http://www.redtrumpet.com/
    http://www.towerrecords.com/
    http://www.elusivedisc.com/
    http://gemm.com/
    http://store.acousticsounds.com/

    Sites for SACD info,
    http://www.highfidelityreview.com/index.asp
    http://www.highfidelityreview.com/index.asp

    Burn in time is always recommended.
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    Go to Circuit City's Hi-Rez site . I've gotten lots of SACDs at $13.99 here. For the Classical SACD go over to the Classical Music section. The naviagtion on the music site sucks, but the prices and FREE shipping (over $25) helps.

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    I have the Sony SCD-CE595 for 4 months and it has performed very well. This player sounds good right out of the box and I think you will appreciate and enjoy the sound quality of SACD on it.

    I don't know where you are located, but my local Best Buy has Universal Music SACDs at $14.99, the Sony SACDs at 17.99, with the Telarc SACDs at $16.99. There are not that many Sony SACDs left anymore and the rockman is right, once they're gone, they're gone. If you're into classical music, BMG's Living Presence SACDs are on sale at Tower Records for less than $9.00/SACD.

    Yes, the Sony SACDs with the cardboard slipcases are the older version. And, to me at least, are more collectible since the slipcases are unique to those titles only, whereas the plastic slipcases are interchangable with other Sony SACD titles. The Toto IV SACD with the cardboard slip case is stereo only, where the same title with the plastic slipcase is stereo/multi-channel. The rockman is also correct about the Bangles SACD, which has never been issued with a plastic slipcase.

    You should check sa-cd.net for other titles available on SACD. Best Buy, Circuit City, and Tower Records only carry a small portion of all titles available on the format. For example, Dave Brubeck's "Time Out" is available overseas as a multi-channel hybrid SACD (with a HDCD-encoded CD layer).
    Last edited by Danny Tse; 12-14-2004 at 02:57 AM.

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    Default Harbinger of things to come?

    Originally posted by tonyv1
    Go to Circuit City's Hi-Rez site . I've gotten lots of SACDs at $13.99 here. For the Classical SACD go over to the Classical Music section. The naviagtion on the music site sucks, but the prices and FREE shipping (over $25) helps.
    Most of the ones on the CC site that I wanted were on backorder. So after work today I stopped at the local CC to see what they might have on the shelf. After not finding a Hi-Rez section, I asked the salezoid about SACD and DVD-A. They no longer carry any; they eliminated the section last month.

    Stopped at Sam Goody. Almost as bad. 15-20 titles between SACD and DVD-A combined.

    In comparison, BB was a freakin' treasure trove.

    Looks like I'll be Ebaying for most of mine...

    Sheesh.

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    See this post on discount for Sony SACDs directly from Sony Music.

    The previous 15% discount from Sony allowed me to pick up almost 10 SACD at less than $12.00/each with free shipping.

    Also, if you're a member of BMG Music Service, they also have a limited number of SACD titles. Looks like they added 5 RCA Living Stereo SACD titles at about $9.00/each.

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    You da man!

    I just ordered the following:

    Boston - Boston
    Train - Drops Of Jupiter
    Aerosmith - Toys In The Attic
    Bangles - Greatest Hits
    Billy Joel - An Innocent Man
    Aerosmith - Just Push Play
    Billy Joel - 52nd Street
    Joe Satriani - Engines Of Creation
    Various - Ozzfest Live 2002
    Wynton Marsalis - Wynton Marsalis: The London Concert
    Eugene Ormandy - Orff: Carmina burana
    Train - My Private Nation
    Miles Davis - 'Round About Midnight
    Miles Davis - Sketches Of Spain
    Blue Oyster Cult - Agents Of Fortune

    After tax the net price ended up being $12.01 per.

    Thanks!!

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    We're just doing our part to stimulate the economy :D

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    I think the Hi-rez formats are excellent. Some great grabs on your selections. If you like Roger Waters check out the SACD--In this Flesh a two disc set.

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    You may want to check out the 25% off sale at Chesky Records....

    http://www.highfidelityreview.com/ne...umber=13938319

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    After a few days, I'm enjoying SACD. Pink Floyd's DSOTM is simply incredible.

    I'm having a problem with the 2-channel SACDs though (Journey - Arrival, Toto - Hydra). I get no LFE data going to my sub on those discs, but I do get LFE on the 5.1 multichannel SACDS.

    I get LFE playing redbook on the Njoe Tjoeb, but not with 2-channel SACD...

    Any ideas?

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    I hope I am explaining this correctly since I only have a 2 channel stereo setup for SACD.

    If you connect your SACD player to your receiver via the 5.1 analog inputs, then you will merely get 2 channel information with stereo recordings. The 5.1 analog inputs don't allow any adjustments because the signals going through them will need to be "digitalized" in order for X-over/DSP to be applied. The SACD signals from your SACD player will then have to go through an additional stage of analog >>> digital >>> analog conversion. Will the conversion be transparent enough? That depends on the processor and its implementation.

    You get LFE signals on multi-channel SACDs because they were mixed that way.

    Are you connecting your CD player to your receiver via a digital connection?
    Last edited by Danny Tse; 12-20-2004 at 01:21 AM.

  13. #13

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    My CD player is connected via the L/R analog connections, NOT digital connection.

    If I'm understanding you correctly, stereo SACDs are 2.0 not 2.1, so in theory they should act like redbook CDs. However, since the connection is 5.1, the receiver/crossover/whatever is expecting the .1 to containg the LFE, which in this case it does not, so rather then sending the bass "portion" of the 2.0 to the speakers/sub the way it does for redbook, it all just disappears?

    I've gotta be misunderstanding something here...

    Bottom line, how does one fix it? There has to be a way to listen to stereo SACDs with the bass intact (otherwise SACD is a major step back from redbook).

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    Stereo SACD and stereo redbook is 2.0, period.
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    Originally posted by polksda
    If I'm understanding you correctly, stereo SACDs are 2.0 not 2.1, so in theory they should act like redbook CDs. However, since the connection is 5.1, the receiver/crossover/whatever is expecting the .1 to containg the LFE, which in this case it does not, so rather then sending the bass "portion" of the 2.0 to the speakers/sub the way it does for redbook, it all just disappears?

    I've gotta be misunderstanding something here...
    If you reciever has different setup options for the different sources, adjust these for the SACD. For example, on mine I can set the speakers to small and X-over at 80Hz and when a 2.0 source is played, the .1 is made off of the X-over. You should look into this on your setup.
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    Just went through the manual, and Denon does not appear to have different speaker configurations for different inputs.

    The adjustments of speaker size, crossover frequency, and sub set to LFE vs. LFE+Main, all appear to have ZERO affect on the 5.1 inputs.

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    Originally posted by polksda
    Just went through the manual, and Denon does not appear to have different speaker configurations for different inputs.

    The adjustments of speaker size, crossover frequency, and sub set to LFE vs. LFE+Main, all appear to have ZERO affect on the 5.1 inputs.
    I'm not sure which Denon you have, but that's most likely correct...you typically can't do management on 5.1 inputs...

    The way around it...

    Right now you have 6 cables running from your source to the receiver (5.1). On the fron left and front right cables running from the source player, use a splitter to split those off to another set of inputs on the receiver (CD, Aux, whatever). When you want multi-channel music, set your receiver to the 5.1 inputs, when you want 2 ch playback, set your receiver to the other inputs you split off the cables to. You also may want to set you rreceiver to Direct mode on that source so it's not altering the sound...

    I know that's a janky way of hooking thigns up, but I did that with my old Pioneer player and it worked for me...
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    Thanks, I didn't even think of that. I normally use the "pure direct" mode when listening to music anyway, so that shouldn't be an issue. Now to find some decent-grade Y-cables/splitters... :)

    Update:

    One trip to the local Radio Shack later, everything is working hunky dory!

    Life is good! ;)
    Last edited by polksda; 12-20-2004 at 04:35 PM.

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    My bad. I hadn't bothered to read the CE595 manual all the way through. I had to change the 2-channel setting from its default of "direct" to "2Ch + SW". Now I've got bass out the ying-yang.

    One aspect of the player that is a bit confusing is when you can change certain settings and when you cannot. For example, with a 2-channel SACD in the player, the "LVL ADJ" option in the menu is never available. However, when I eject that disc and go to the menu, I can get that option to come up, BUT regardless of whether I have the 2-channel mode set to "direct" or "2Ch + SW", I am never permitted to adjust the subwoofer level. When I attempt to do so, I get "NOT IN USE". I can, however, adjust the subwoofer level in 5-channel, if I change the 5-channel mode from "direct" to "5 L + SW".

    Not intuitive at all (to me at least). The manual is of little use, simply stating "you may not be able to adjust levels depending on what play mode and speaker sizes have been chosen". It never bothers to explain when you can and when you cannot adjust levels, and if not, why not.

    Instead, I'm using the receiver setting to adjust subwoofer level; I just need to remember to check it before/after movies....

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    Originally posted by polksda


    Instead, I'm using the receiver setting to adjust subwoofer level; I just need to remember to check it before/after movies....
    I'm not sure which Denon you have...but if you're using the 5.1 inputs on your receiver, any adjustment you're making to the SW levels in the receiver should NOT be present when listening to anything throug the 5.1 inputs, becuase I don't believe any Denon receivers do bass management on the 5.1 inputs...I could be wrong though...
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