SACD and multi-channel questions

9397SVTs

9397SVTs

Audioholic
To get the most or any benefit of SACD, are the speakers the limiting factor? Are high quality/expensive speakers a necessity?

For multi-channel SACD's, won't the AVR alter the sound via its' processing? Can this be by-passed?

For 2 channel stereo, I have the following:

B&W CM10 S2 speakers
SVS SB4000 subs (2)
Marantz SA8005 CD player
Parasound 2100 pre-amp
Parasound 5250 v2 amp

My AVR is a Marantz SR7011.

Is my equipment sufficient to produce SACD benefits or would I be wasting my time?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
To get the most or any benefit of SACD, are the speakers the limiting factor? Are high quality/expensive speakers a necessity?

For multi-channel SACD's, won't the AVR alter the sound via its' processing? Can this be by-passed?

For 2 channel stereo, I have the following:

B&W CM10 S2 speakers
SVS SB4000 subs (2)
Marantz SA8005 CD player
Parasound 2100 pre-amp
Parasound 5250 v2 amp

My AVR is a Marantz SR7011.

Is my equipment sufficient to produce SACD benefits or would I be wasting my time?
Given what you have listed, I would say the speakers are the limiting factor for sure. I am sure a lot of audiohpiles will say the surround speakers need to be as good as the LCR but in my experience that is not the case except as an ideal scenario.

The surround speakers are more for ambiance, but it could true that some recordings may have contents that may demand surround speakers to be of the same quality/capability as the main. So if you want to get 100% of the potentially benefits of multi-channel SACD then you would need all the speakers to be of the same quality/capability. Again, that's the best scenario only, for those who can say money/space no object.

If you don't want the AVR to process the signal, you can select direct/pure direct mode and let the SA8005 does it for you. Or if you have a Marantz AVR, or a Denon flagship/or older AVR, then you can use the multi-channel analog inputs. Many would prefer that, but to me, such approach is so outdated by technological advance.
 
9397SVTs

9397SVTs

Audioholic
If my speakers are less than ideal, what speakers should I consider?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
If my speakers are less than ideal, what speakers should I consider?
My "ideal scenario" remark was not about your speakers. It is about your question of "are the speakers the limiting factor", and since you seem to be talking about multi-channel SACD so I assume you were referring to whether the surround speakers would be the limitation, if they are not the same as the front left, right and center speakers. So now it looks like I misunderstood your question. Are you only asking if the main left/right speakers are the limiting factor for SACD?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Everyone has a different perspective.

My POV: I don't see any "benefits" from SACD, DVDA, DTS CD over regular CDs. I used to own a lot of SACD, DVDA, DTS CD. I sold them all.

The salient thing isn't the disc or audio format, it's the original recording/source. That's my POV anyway.
 
9397SVTs

9397SVTs

Audioholic
Sorry for the confusion.

Is my current equipment sufficient for 2 channel SACD?

For 5.1 SACD, you answered the question by mentioning the direct/pure direct mode.

My 5.2 consists of:

B&W 705 S2
B&W HTM71 S2
B&W 707 S2
SVS SB4000 (Parasound 2100 pass through)
 
afterlife2

afterlife2

Audioholic Spartan
What SACD player are you using? Edit Marantz SA8005. Those BW speakers should be fine with 5.2 SACD.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I don't see that your player can do much but offer a downmix to two ch analog from a multich SACD. All your avr can do is upmix it with a sound mode into multich, but that's not the same thing. You need a different player for multich SACD.....many Sony bluray players offer such via hdmi which your avr can handle.

ps As to ability of your gear generally to take advantage of 2ch SACD, I don't see any problems. SACD isn't all that special aside from the multich part IMO.
 
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2

2channel lover

Audioholic Field Marshall
To get the most or any benefit of SACD, are the speakers the limiting factor? Are high quality/expensive speakers a necessity?

For multi-channel SACD's, won't the AVR alter the sound via its' processing? Can this be by-passed?

For 2 channel stereo, I have the following:

B&W CM10 S2 speakers
SVS SB4000 subs (2)
Marantz SA8005 CD player
Parasound 2100 pre-amp
Parasound 5250 v2 amp

My AVR is a Marantz SR7011.

Is my equipment sufficient to produce SACD benefits or would I be wasting my time?
Short answer...multi-ch SACD discs are where the true wow factor is on most recordings. Your equipment is fine.


Processing...for multi-ch discs...I'm playing back via a Oppo 205...and it's connected to the prepro, 3 different ways...HDMI (blu-ray on prepro) analog multi-ch (assignable media player on prepro), 2 ch (CD on prepro)....in all of these cases...the 205 is handling the processing...the prepro is passing it thru to the amp.

System thoughts...you have an excellent base.

From one B&W owner (I have a pair 804M that have been in service for a long time) to another...B&W makes nice speakers, but when judged for transparency...they are going to be warm compared to a speaker that is transparent....intently warm. In some cases, lovingly warm, but warm nonetheless. Branding is extremely strong, creating thriving resell market.

When you are ready to hear the music like the sound engineers intended for it to sound and not colorized...realize the B&Ws are the weak link.
 
afterlife2

afterlife2

Audioholic Spartan
I would suggest a used Oppo player for 5.1 Sacd/DVD-a from eBay. They run from $120 and up. I got lucky and scored one for about $70 shipped from a seller in England. No remote, but my universal remote works perfect. I need to hook mine up soon. I used to own this player and it’s fantastic. No Blu-ray. DVD, Sacd, dvd-a playback and no remote: https://www.ebay.com/itm/254613634699
Or
Oppo Blu-ray player. At this price it will go fast!
 
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2

2channel lover

Audioholic Field Marshall
I don't see that your player can do much but offer a downmix to two ch analog from a multich SACD. All your avr can do is upmix it with a sound mode into multich, but that's not the same thing. You need a different player for multich SACD.....many Sony bluray players offer such via hdmi which your avr can handle.

ps As to ability of your gear generally to take advantage of 2ch SACD, I don't see any problems. SACD isn't all that special aside from the multich part IMO.
Thinking out loud more than anything...but I'm wondering if he could process a streamed multi-ch signal via USB.

I have some multi-ch sacd discs that I've ripped to my laptop and I playback via the laptop and they will playback in multi-channel if I have media player selected on the prepro...but the player does have a multi-ch dac....I'm not seeing that on his SA8005.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Thinking out loud more than anything...but I'm wondering if he could process a streamed multi-ch signal via USB.

I have some multi-ch sacd discs that I've ripped to my laptop and I playback via the laptop and they will playback in multi-channel if I have media player selected on the prepro...but the player does have a multi-ch dac....I'm not seeing that on his SA8005.
It's a 2ch player....but does have the ability apparently to downmix the multich sacd for two channel analog output, which is a bit strange to me as a feature.

How did you rip multich sacd?
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
Most SACDs are hybrid discs containing a second 2 channel stereo layer which can be played on any CD or DVD player. The very few single layer SACD discs that I know of, and which necessitated an SACD player, were produced by SONY many years ago.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I am not sure what you are asking.

Your player will only output 2 channel analog and not multichannel.

To get multichannel from that player, then you need a pre/pro or a receiver with a DSD decoder. A lot do not have that.

You do not have to use auto Eq programs you can turn them off.

As far as quality, you will not hear a difference between CD and SACD on 2 channel. The dynamic range of SACD is greater and there is the odd disc where this counts and the CD is more dramatic as a result.

For most multichannel SACDs the surrounds are only reproducing ambiance. However there are some that have antiphonal music.

The next issue, is that some SACDS need the rear backs and not the surrounds to play. For instance Pentatone have released many of the old quadraphonic recordings on SACD. This requires the right and left fronts and the rear backs to operate. Also many European SACDs need the front three and rear backs.

If you think SACD is a mess, you would not be wrong. That is why it is pretty much a dead format. Audio only BD has never really caught on, but it should. BPO discs are produced in this format. That is more flexible, as the mix engineer can decide what to put on any given channel.

So I have an SACD player connected via multichannel analog outs so the rear backs play and not the surrounds. I have a Sony BD player that plays SACDs also that is connected via HDMI, and uses the pre/pro's DSD decoder. In that case you get front three and surrounds always.

It is all an interesting exercise, especially if, like I do, I have a lot of legacy equipment. Is it really useful and practical no. SACD was basically misbegotten from that start. It all started as a sop to audiophools who were too stupid to understand PCM. No one masters, or even records in DSD any more. It is a huge pain to work with. So for sometime, it has all been PCM and conversion to DSD right at the end at mastering.

It has been a pity it ever saw the light of day, as it basically has set back multichannel audio, and probably permanently. As far as I'm concerned DSD (SACD) has been one of the audiophools most egregious sins.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic
SACD was not a hit. Thankfully, Dolby Atmos Music is here to save the day.;) Or, do you not want to hear Ozzy Osbourne's voice coming down from the rafters like a vampire bat?
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic Field Marshall
It's a 2ch player....but does have the ability apparently to downmix the multich sacd for two channel analog output, which is a bit strange to me as a feature.

How did you rip multich sacd?
Gotcha,

Rip...JRiver v23.
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic Field Marshall
I am not sure what you are asking.

Your player will only output 2 channel analog and not multichannel.

To get multichannel from that player, then you need a pre/pro or a receiver with a DSD decoder. A lot do not have that.

You do not have to use auto Eq programs you can turn them off.

As far as quality, you will not hear a difference between CD and SACD on 2 channel. The dynamic range of SACD is greater and there is the odd disc where this counts and the CD is more dramatic as a result.

For most multichannel SACDs the surrounds are only reproducing ambiance. However there are some that have antiphonal music.

The next issue, is that some SACDS need the rear backs and not the surrounds to play. For instance Pentatone have released many of the old quadraphonic recordings on SACD. This requires the right and left fronts and the rear backs to operate. Also many European SACDs need the front three and rear backs.

If you think SACD is a mess, you would not be wrong. That is why it is pretty much a dead format. Audio only BD has never really caught on, but it should. BPO discs are produced in this format. That is more flexible, as the mix engineer can decide what to put on any given channel.

So I have an SACD player connected via multichannel analog outs so the rear backs play and not the surrounds. I have a Sony BD player that plays SACDs also that is connected via HDMI, and uses the pre/pro's DSD decoder. In that case you get front three and surrounds always.

It is all an interesting exercise, especially if, like I do, I have a lot of legacy equipment. Is it really useful and practical no. SACD was basically misbegotten from that start. It all started as a sop to audiophools who were too stupid to understand PCM. No one masters, or even records in DSD any more. It is a huge pain to work with. So for sometime, it has all been PCM and conversion to DSD right at the end at mastering.

It has been a pity it ever saw the light of day, as it basically has set back multichannel audio, and probably permanently. As far as I'm concerned DSD (SACD) has been one of the audiophools most egregious sins.
Lots of good stuff here per norm, but your most egregious sin I disagree with.

SACD is a source...whether it's a lot better, slightly better or not any better than a redbook CD...it's still a source ...one of the most important components in audio playback along with the room and the speakers.

There are bigger sins imo...ultra expensive power cords and cabling come to mind.
 
9397SVTs

9397SVTs

Audioholic
I don't see that your player can do much but offer a downmix to two ch analog from a multich SACD. All your avr can do is upmix it with a sound mode into multich, but that's not the same thing. You need a different player for multich SACD.....many Sony bluray players offer such via hdmi which your avr can handle.

ps As to ability of your gear generally to take advantage of 2ch SACD, I don't see any problems. SACD isn't all that special aside from the multich part IMO.
Unfortunately for me, I procrastinated in getting an Oppo 205 a couple of years ago.

I have been searching and have found articles about 3 Sony players, but they're older models.

Sony does list SACD for current models, but does not mention multi-channel capability.

Do you know which models support multi-channel?
 
9397SVTs

9397SVTs

Audioholic
Short answer...multi-ch SACD discs are where the true wow factor is on most recordings. Your equipment is fine.


Processing...for multi-ch discs...I'm playing back via a Oppo 205...and it's connected to the prepro, 3 different ways...HDMI (blu-ray on prepro) analog multi-ch (assignable media player on prepro), 2 ch (CD on prepro)....in all of these cases...the 205 is handling the processing...the prepro is passing it thru to the amp.

System thoughts...you have an excellent base.

From one B&W owner (I have a pair 804M that have been in service for a long time) to another...B&W makes nice speakers, but when judged for transparency...they are going to be warm compared to a speaker that is transparent....intently warm. In some cases, lovingly warm, but warm nonetheless. Branding is extremely strong, creating thriving resell market.

When you are ready to hear the music like the sound engineers intended for it to sound and not colorized...realize the B&Ws are the weak link.
I really like the sound. I don't have a lot of experience with speakers, but did compre the B&W's to a few others.

I have heard speakers at high end stores that are definitely out of my price range, ie: $30k-$60k.(27yrs ago) They were absolutely amazing.

What would be a better/more transparent option in the $10k-$15k range?
 

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