Inexpensive SACD Player with DSD on optical or coax - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 11-13-2012, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for an inexpensive SACD player that can output DSD out the optical or coax digital output so I can allow my HK 3490 to do D/A conversion. I have heard that many Sony BD players can read SACD, but may not have the best sound quality out of optical/coax Rather they have best output from HDMI which I cant to with my receiver.
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post #2 of 32 Old 11-13-2012, 08:40 AM
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Sony does not allow DSD on S/PDIF outputs because they have no copy protection. Only down-sampled PCM is permitted, and some players don't even do that. You'll need to use devices with an HDMI/HDCP connection. Sorry.

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post #3 of 32 Old 11-13-2012, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess then I need to look for one that has a 24bit/192khz D/A converter in it. That sucks cause those can be very expensive.
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post #4 of 32 Old 11-13-2012, 01:13 PM
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You want the Pioneer DV610AV-S

SACD compatible
192 kHz/24-bit DAC
Stereo and 5.1 channel RCA analog pre-outs

Also, it has HDMI, optical and coax digital out, and it's a region-free DVD player.

The 610AV-S is the silver, 610AV-K is black, but otherwise they're identical. For whatever reason, the silver one is significantly cheaper on Amazon.

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post #5 of 32 Old 11-13-2012, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you JD, are there any more suggestions or is this the only option for what I'm looking for?
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post #6 of 32 Old 11-14-2012, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Tweaked05 View Post

Thank you JD, are there any more suggestions or is this the only option for what I'm looking for?

I'd say the Pioneer is your best new player for your needs until you get into the $400 range. It's also worth looking at used Oppo and Yamaha universal players (and maybe Denon too, but reviews are more mixed), but even those get expensive in a hurry.

On the cheap end, most Sony blu ray players will play SACD (but not DVD-A) since SACD is their technology, but I don't know whether the entry level models have a DAC that's able to output hi-res audio from the analog RCA jacks. Entry level Sonys also tend not to have good front panel navigation, which is a pain if you're using it on an audio-only system and don't feel like hunting for the remote just to change tracks. The Pioneer 610 has front panel navigation buttons for CD functions plus a D-pad, and can play DVD-A as well.

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post #7 of 32 Old 11-14-2012, 09:11 AM
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A little farther down in this forum. A whole bunch of options.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1155206/dsd-over-hdmi-players
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post #8 of 32 Old 11-15-2012, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by glangford View Post

A little farther down in this forum. A whole bunch of options.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1155206/dsd-over-hdmi-players
The OP's receiver doesn't have HDMI.

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post #9 of 32 Old 11-16-2012, 05:46 AM
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You can't get what you want cheap. The only option to get high resolution stereo through spdif is to buy one of Oppo players and then digital output interface for it (which requires you to have some skills to install it). But total cost will be in range $800-1000.

You always can go a cheaper way with downloading ripped SACD image found on one of torrent sites (if you own a disk it can be excusable), convert it to FLAC using Foobar2000 and then play in your favorite digital media player.

Last option is to get old Sony PS3 and start ripping SACD to FLAC yourself (this is safer from legal standpoint, the option above).
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post #10 of 32 Old 11-16-2012, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I found a used Denon DVD-1930ci that I'm going to buy. It has a good DAC in it, so I'll just use the analog outs. Also, I have an original PS3 that I gave to my dad. I'm thinking about trading him for the slim I have now.
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post #11 of 32 Old 11-23-2012, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I got my SACD player. How would most of you describe the difference over standard CD? I listened to Norah Jones: Come Away With Me and any differences I heard were subtle at best. I am using the L+R outputs on the player for an analog connection to my HK 3490 and the front display shows SACD so I'm pretty sure I'm getting all there is to offer from this. Any advise please?
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post #12 of 32 Old 11-26-2012, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweaked05 View Post

Ok, I got my SACD player. How would most of you describe the difference over standard CD? I listened to Norah Jones: Come Away With Me and any differences I heard were subtle at best. I am using the L+R outputs on the player for an analog connection to my HK 3490 and the front display shows SACD so I'm pretty sure I'm getting all there is to offer from this. Any advise please?

I won't get into the SACD vs. CD debate, but you could not have picked a worse title for your comparison.

http://www.stereophile.com/thefifthelement/1104fifth

I can't seem to find it, but I recall that the waveforms that were also published in Stereophile showed that the 2CH SACD layer was taken from the PCM master.

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post #13 of 32 Old 12-13-2012, 07:37 PM
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I agree with BGL - need to be mindful of the quality of the mastering. SACD cannot bring out better quality than provided by the recording / mastering.

Here are some suggestions for SACD where I enjoy the quality offered in the SACD layer. This is based on a few favorites of mine from my collection.

#1 = Al Di Meola: Flesh on Flesh (This is my demo / audition disk when shopping for speakers / equipment. It is an unusual SACD in my view as I generally prefer stereo tracks, but the multi-channel track of this recording actually adds musicality rather than gimmickery over the excellent 2-channel track)

Others I like as SACD (some, but not all, I've compared to their CD layer):
* Al Di Meola, John McClaughlin, Paco DeLucia: Friday Night in San Francisco (hard to find, not in print)
* Sting: Brand New Day
* Yo Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott: Paris La Belle Epoque (Faure, Franck, Massenet, Saint-Saens)
* English Chamber Orchestra, Johannes Somary, conductor: JS Bach The Brandenburg Concertos
* Sa Chen, piano; Orquestra Gulbenkian, Lawrence Foster, conductor: GRieg Pieano Concerto in A minor, op 16 / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no.2 in C minor, op 18 (the Rachmaninov particularly emotive and powerful in piano interpretation, in addition to being a fine SACD audio-wise)

I have found several online resources for searching availability of SACD titles and reviews. Try SA-CD.net as a starting point - has recording / mastering format for many titles, and some user reviews.
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post #14 of 32 Old 12-14-2012, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweaked05 View Post

Ok, I got my SACD player. How would most of you describe the difference over standard CD? I listened to Norah Jones: Come Away With Me and any differences I heard were subtle at best. I am using the L+R outputs on the player for an analog connection to my HK 3490 and the front display shows SACD so I'm pretty sure I'm getting all there is to offer from this. Any advise please?

unless the mix is different, no "difference"...

i'm a relatively avid sacd buyer... mix and/or mch is really the only "difference" vs. redbook...

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post #15 of 32 Old 12-16-2012, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

unless the mix is different, no "difference"...
i'm a relatively avid sacd buyer... mix and/or mch is really the only "difference" vs. redbook...

Wow, something must be wrong with your setup. The difference between a competent redbook versus SACD are night and day. Redbook being night, SACD being day.

Try a few of the titles I listed above. If you hear no improvement over redbook, something's wrong.

I have never been satisfied with redbook, even before SACD or DVD-A were invented. Redbook does not sound natural, it is harsh and artificial in reproducing accoustic instruments. Over the years, the technology improved but until high resolution audio became available, nothing sounded as natural (albeit with other problems, like surface friction noise & pops), as vinyl LPs and only live sounded live.

Only when I first heard SACD's DSD did I find that a digital format sounded analog. One of my first SACDs was the accoustic guitars of Al Di Meola, John McClaughlin, Paco DeLucia on their "Friday Night in San Francisco" SACD. It sounded like the guitars were being played in my room. Not just the notes that redbook captures, but the sound of the fingers on the string, the soundstage fidelity, the overtones and voice of the wood of the guitar, all that go into the value of using a quality musical instrument. It was a revelation - finally, there was a digital reproduction of an accoustic performance that sounded indistinguishable to me from hearing the music live, in person, close up.

If better-mastered SACDs don't do that for you, try changing something in your system, because you are missing out. Even old re-releases sound improved, up to the limit of the quality of surviving original masters. A worthwhile set in this vein are the recent re-releases of the early Doobie Brothers albums. I also like the DSD version of the re-released ELP Brain Salad Surgery, and countless classical music titles. While the re-release don't reach the level of the two Al Di Meola SACDs I listed above, or other DSD-recorded more recent releases, the DSD re-releases are audible improvements over the redbook.

It was only since the high-resolution formats became available, including DSD, that I have considered any digital format preferrable over vinyl. Not only do well-done SACDs sound analog, they lack the annoyances of wear-and-tear that vinyl is plagued by.

My equipment is modest but here is what works to bring out "the difference" for me:

SACD player: Oppo BDP 95, using the analog outs for stereo SACD tracks or DSD-over-HDMI for multi-channel. (This replaced the excellent Sony SCD-555ES using 5.1 analog-outs - used heavily until the Sony's 5-disk tray mechanism died)
Receiver: Yamaha RX-A3000
SpeakerLab 3 fronts, Polk Audio rears
(for Vinyl: Pro-Ject turntable w/Blue Point cartridge)

My rear speakers could benefit from an upgrade, but even with this modest system, the "difference" improving over redbook sound is not subtle. I hope you can find a way to hear the detail and analog quality of the high-resolution formats including DSD, for if you love music then this raises the satisfaction of listening to a new level that redbook has never reached.
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post #16 of 32 Old 12-17-2012, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess Sayin View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

unless the mix is different, no "difference"...
i'm a relatively avid sacd buyer... mix and/or mch is really the only "difference" vs. redbook...

Wow, something must be wrong with your setup. The difference between a competent redbook versus SACD are night and day. Redbook being night, SACD being day.

I find it interesting given that you claim to have thoroughly studied that JAES paper that concluded:

"We have analyzed all of the test data by type of music
and specific program; type of high-resolution technology;
age of recording; and listener age, gender, experience, and
hearing bandwidth. None of these variables have shown
any correlation with the results, or any difference between
the answers and coin-flip results.

Why do you think that your apparently casual listening evaluations which included many uncontrolled variables and these carefully-done DBTs that focused on just sample rate and dynamic range obtained different results? Do you think that with adequate experimental rigor, you might obtain the same general results?


Did you read the last few paragraphs of the linked paper that explained your observations but ascribed them other things?
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post #17 of 32 Old 12-17-2012, 08:55 AM
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Sometimes the people doing the audio mixing seem to do a more careful job when they know the audio is destined for a high-definition format. Also, the mixing hardware used for the earliest CDs was not as good as modern equipment. Both effects can produces audibly different results.

Too many supposed "high definition" audio tracks have been measured to be simply re-sampled "standard resolution" audio tracks, and thus actually sound no different.

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post #18 of 32 Old 12-17-2012, 09:22 AM
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Sometimes the people doing the audio mixing seem to do a more careful job when they know the audio is destined for a high-definition format.

I'll debate that. Very few recordings are specifically produced for a given format. It is true that some producers are a lot more SQ-oriented than others but among mainstream recordings people use whatever they find in the quality level studios they do business with. First-tier studios are pretty competitive with each other. Very little ever gets remixed once the recording enters the marketplace.

Mastering is different very different from mixing. Re-mastering seems almost to be done at the drop of a hat. It takes very few resources in comparison.
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Also, the mixing hardware used for the earliest CDs was not as good as modern equipment. Both effects can produces audibly different results.

It depends. The big rise in consciousness and performance of analog mixers went through a big transition during the 70s and early 80s. A really good analog mixer from the 80s such as a Neve might still be used today without apology. I think I know of some real world examples of that. What changed is that the quality of low end mixers went though a big transition during the late 80s and 90s and of course digtial mixers have come on strong since the middle 2000s.
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Too many supposed "high definition" audio tracks have been measured to be simply re-sampled "standard resolution" audio tracks, and thus actually sound no different.

Absolutely. Some say about 50%.

I can hear a producer saying "The public is never going to know because they can't hear the difference...". ;-)
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post #19 of 32 Old 12-17-2012, 09:55 AM
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Too many supposed "high definition" audio tracks have been measured to be simply re-sampled "standard resolution" audio tracks, and thus actually sound no different.

And some of those, as it turned out, re-sampled "standard resolution" mixes released in the SACD format garnered praise from the SACD buying community in the past. Before it became known which titles were mere upsample jobs. Which only further helps to reinforce the contention that the SACD improvements over redbook is often only true in the minds of the listener, when all else is equal.

Again, this is not to say there aren't great sounding SACDs. Of course there are, and there are many. But the only way to verify that this very fine quality is unique to the SACD format is to provide the same exact mastering/mix to the redbook (typically NOT the case found with SACD/CD hybrid discs) and then compare the two level-matched and unknown to the listener (blind) as to which is which. When that is done, the evidence is sorely lacking that the SACD format itself provides anything of real audible value. Even when taking into account people with the best hearing and played on the best of audio systems.

If anyone has more than anecdotal evidence to counter this, I'd be happy to read about it and reconsider my current opinion.

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post #20 of 32 Old 12-18-2012, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

Too many supposed "high definition" audio tracks have been measured to be simply re-sampled "standard resolution" audio tracks, and thus actually sound no different.

And some of those, as it turned out, re-sampled "standard resolution" mixes released in the SACD format garnered praise from the SACD buying community in the past. Before it became known which titles were mere upsample jobs. Which only further helps to reinforce the contention that the SACD improvements over redbook is often only true in the minds of the listener, when all else is equal.

Again, this is not to say there aren't great sounding SACDs. Of course there are, and there are many.

At this point we are very sure that these great-sounding releases were obtained the old-fashioned way: Great performances in great rooms recorded by great engineers and mastered by great engineers. The role of the new so-called high resolution format was to provide the promise of a commercial return on remastering. Unfortunately that promise did not pan out well commercially, and many of the record company executives had their then-current careers umm, affected.
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But the only way to verify that this very fine quality is unique to the SACD format is to provide the same exact mastering/mix to the redbook (typically NOT the case found with SACD/CD hybrid discs) and then compare the two level-matched and unknown to the listener (blind) as to which is which.

That is just about mission impossible. The good news is that we can use these recordings, at least the ones with credible provenance, to test hypothesis about the effects of just the format.

The scheme to test the effects of lesser formats such as red book CD is actually pretty simple to execute. You simply find a unity gain, non-inverting high quality ADC/DAC pair that runs at 16/44. These are pretty common in the world of professional recording tools. I have one that was sold by M-Audio under the name "Flying Cow". Many others exist, few with much better performance but many with more auspicious names.

You then have a switch that either routes the audio from your so-called high resolution source through either the 16/44 ADC/DAC pair or a short straight piece of wire. Your listeners should be allowed to compare as many candidate recordings as possible using the best possible associated audio gear. The listeners themselves should be if possible true believers or at least open-minded about the potential sound quality advantages of the new format.

There are other variations on this methodology that don't require any hardware at all.

For the past 12 or so years since recordings with 24/96 or better pedigrees have been readily available many people have executed many permutations on this experiment. The overall results are consisstent.

(1) The first shock for high resolution advocates is that interposing a 16/44 step into a totally high resolution audio chain has effects that are at best very subtle, even in sighted listening.
(2) Once the evaluation is level matched, time synched and double blind, it turns out that any vestigial perceptions of different let alone improved sound quality disappear.

There are sufficient technical and perceptual explanations for this.
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When that is done, the evidence is sorely lacking that the SACD format itself provides anything of real audible value.

As I have pointed out in a recent post the very idea that bitstreaming has some sort of inherent sonic advantage over PCM has no scientific justification, and never did. It was anticipated all along that realizing common production tools such as equalizers and dynamic range enhancers in the bitstreamed domain was probably going to be difficult or impossible. I don't think that it was anticipated that the very basic operation of clean data conversion from analog to bitstream would have inherent difficulties. About a decade after the introduction of DSD the dust has settled and we know this all is true and is likely to remain true indefinitely due to the lack of any significant audible advantage. The millions of dollars were spent and it was mostly good money after bad. Sony now struggles as a commercial enterprise and SACD is just one of many questionable decisions behind that potential catastrophe.
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Even when taking into account people with the best hearing and played on the best of audio systems.

It is almost like there is such a thing as a threshold of hearing and Fletcher and Munson were right back in the early 1930s! ;-)
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If anyone has more than anecdotal evidence to counter this, I'd be happy to read about it and reconsider my current opinion.

I'm not sure that many people who support DACD and DVD-A even know that there is a difference between science and anecdote. If they do, then it must all be about denial.
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post #21 of 32 Old 12-18-2012, 05:56 AM
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@jess...

no, i can guarantee you that nothing is wrong with my system... rolleyes.gif

possibly i do not have a healthy enough imagination...

fwiw, you would get far "better" sound if you hooked up the oppo to the avr using hdmi and took advantage of the dsp in the avr...

< waits patiently for the next response, which will be along the lines of "oh, but the dacs..." >

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post #22 of 32 Old 12-19-2012, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

@jess...
no, i can guarantee you that nothing is wrong with my system... rolleyes.gif
possibly i do not have a healthy enough imagination...
fwiw, you would get far "better" sound if you hooked up the oppo to the avr using hdmi and took advantage of the dsp in the avr...
< waits patiently for the next response, which will be along the lines of "oh, but the dacs..." >
I apologize for suggesting anything wrong with your system. It was just a poor choice of words to express my surprise, as the music I collect and enjoy was something I would hope others could discover and enjoy too. So the real point was to list some excellent SACD releases to try, and hope the original poster wondering about his system could enjoy it to.

Of course, there are many who do hear differently. Or more plainly, everyone hears differently. Not everyone approaches music the same way so I meant no offense if you do not particularly care for or hear music the way I hear it. I prefer to avoid dsp effects and use pure direct with hi-res formats.

I've noticed there seem to be some who troll here at avsforum from time to time with a hobby of dissing the art others enjoy, claiming science on their side (without real openness to considering and exploring hypotheses with the curiosity of actual scientists). I'm not interested in that, or in getting into arguments about the subjective enjoyment of music - or of the dacs. Sorry if I gave that impression. I was intending only offering up some ideas of what to me are nicely mastered music on SACD performed with artistry and skill by the musicians. YMMV.
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post #23 of 32 Old 12-19-2012, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess Sayin View Post

Of course, there are many who do hear differently. Or more plainly, everyone hears differently. Not everyone approaches music the same way so I meant no offense if you do not particularly care for or hear music the way I hear it. I prefer to avoid dsp effects and use pure direct with hi-res formats.
I've noticed there seem to be some who troll here at avsforum from time to time with a hobby of dissing the art others enjoy, claiming science on their side (without real openness to considering and exploring hypotheses with the curiosity of actual scientists). I'm not interested in that, or in getting into arguments about the subjective enjoyment of music - or of the dacs. ..

"real openness" would be more forthcoming if someone such as yourself would ever present something more persuasive than your own anecdotal uncontrolled observations that these differences are obvious. Sincere as I'm confident your shared observations have been, they don't form a basis from which to build a case. There are many seemingly "obvious" truths in this world which turn out to be false when curious scientists have turned their intentions to the exploration of those assertions of obvious truth.

Other hypotheses have been considered with respect to this subject, many times. But it all seems to circle back to the imperfect perceptive aural mechanism of the human animal as the likely source of commonly heard differences. At least as far as any available evidence goes. Also putting aside the aspect of mix/mastering differences, which I think we all can agree have nothing do to with the inherent quality of formats but which can confuse the issue further.

As far as "dissing the art others enjoy" or "arguments about the subjective enjoyment of music", not sure what you mean there. Nobody criticizes the music other choose to enjoy, at least not in the context of "low res" vs "high res" sources. Unless by "art" you mean the hobbyist aspects of enjoyment; the discussing, auditioning and buying of stereo equipment, etc., for its own sake. Then yes, some dissing goes on there.

Mourning the disappearing usage of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #24 of 32 Old 12-19-2012, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jess Sayin View Post


Of course, there are many who do hear differently. Or more plainly, everyone hears differently. Not everyone approaches music the same way so I meant no offense if you do not particularly care for or hear music the way I hear it. I prefer to avoid dsp effects and use pure direct with hi-res formats.

The statement that "...there are many who do hear differently..." should not be taken as a blanket statement.

While you may hear a genre of music or a certain song differently than I in the sense that you enjoy it more or less than I do, all of our ears have basic built-in limitations that are very similar, particularly if we only consider people with undamaged hearing.

Many kinds of noise and distortion are audible to many when at higher levels but are not heard by any living human if reduced to lower levels.

DSP effects are in the first category - things that some people like and other people don't but that in general anybody with undamaged hearing can possibly hear the difference they make.

Features like "Pure Direct" and "hi rez fomats" are often in the second category - things that may physically be present but that are so small that they are not actually heard or hearable by anybody.
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post #25 of 32 Old 12-21-2012, 06:35 AM
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CruelIntentions - I am sorry, I was not referring to you when mentioning "trolling." I hope you did not take offense.

Arnyk - you really don't know who you are trolling after. Jess Sayin is not my real name.

It was amusing at first but its getting a bit foolish and old by now. Shall we move on to new things? smile.gif Thanks.
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post #26 of 32 Old 12-21-2012, 08:19 AM
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Arnyk - you really don't know who you are trolling after. Jess Sayin is not my real name.

First you make a false claim about who you are, and then you seem to want to belittle people for taking it at face value. I have no dog in that fight so take yours and off with ya!

BTW "Jeff" bragging about misleading people may not be such a good idea. People may wonder whatever false things you are asserting.

Arnold Krueger is my real name but you don't seem to have done even the 10 seconds of homework it would take for you to know who I am.

No, I'm not an undergraduate student. Are you?

http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/



The guy on the left is John Atkinson and the guy on the right is me. ;-)
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post #27 of 32 Old 01-19-2013, 09:06 AM
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I'm also looking for an inexpensive SACD player. So let get back to the original question. Anyone have experience with the OPPO DV-890H for SACD listening? How does it compare to the Denon 2900?

Wishing I could post in the Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+)

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post #28 of 32 Old 01-19-2013, 12:22 PM
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Anyone have experience with the OPPO DV-890H for SACD listening?

If you're referring to the 980H it's an excellent player.

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post #29 of 32 Old 01-19-2013, 03:38 PM
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Thanks, my typing gets dyslexic at times.

Wishing I could post in the Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+)

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post #30 of 32 Old 01-20-2013, 04:40 AM
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I guess then I need to look for one that has a 24bit/192khz D/A converter in it. That sucks cause those can be very expensive.

I'd worry about that if I knew it necessarily made an audible difference. It doesn't.
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