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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
More than a year ago I replaced the cartridge in my turntable and, primarily out of of laziness but also due to the fact that I was listening to CDs most of the time, I never bothered to "tune in" or properly calibrate my turntable/cartridge set.


Over the weekend I finally decided to attempt to properly set up the cartridge/turntable. I adjusted the phone preamp settings, tracking force, VTA. When I was done, I played some on my old LPs.


WAOOO!! It is amazing how nice these old LPs can sound. In fact, I have several albums in both LP and CD formats (from the 80's) and in all comparisons the LPs sounded more natural, more real. (My teenage daughter, who should have better hearing than I do, told me that the LPs sounded as if the musicians "were in the room" while the CDs sounded as if they were "recorded").


I know that CD sound has gotten better since the 80's (perhaps better recording techniques, etc.). Yet, I cannot think of new CDs that can give me the feeling of "being there". I presume that because of the limitations of the CD format is why there are new formats out there (SACD and DVD-A). I wonder how they sound as compared to LPs.
 

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I can only agree. Being an avid Kraftwerk fan, I'm still amazed to hear how much better the old vinyls from the 70s are compared to brand new "remastered" CDs. Case in point: have a listen to a mint copy of Trans Europa Express on vinyl and compare that to any CD release! Major difference in quality here...


To me, many albums just sound "right" on vinyl. Perhaps not better than the equivalent CD, but "right". Prime examples of this are most old albums with Tangerine Dream. I can't listen to them on CD, it's just too sterile! Tangerine Dream so needs a tube amp and a good vinyl player :) (Try "Poland" for starters!!)


I can't vote for SACD/DVD-A, and no matter how good they possibly are, they're dead anyway. There's simply no software for it, and there won't be in the coming ten years either.. Sad really.


Cheers,

Peo
 

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Most people who have good turntables prefer vinyl to CD, but you are right that CD has come a long way. I can't listen to most CDs mastered and printed before about 1990. They are just awful. A lot of the remasters just a little less awful.


I would strongly disagree that SACD/DVD-A are "dead". Why? Watermarking and copy protection if not for their sonic attributes. There are now over 1000 titles available on SACD alone, and this number seems to grow by the day.


On the other hand, there is an incremental improvment in sound between SACD and CD if you look strictly a two channel. A lot depends on the master. The new recordings which are DSD masters are absolutely stunning- as good as well-printed vinyl without a lot of the drawbacks. Some of the older recordings which have analog masters also sound excellent. Many recordings from the early 80s to the late 90s (or beyond) were recorded with PCM masters, some at higher resolution than others, and I can't really tell any dramatic improvment with SACD vs. a well-recorded CD on these titles.


When you consider multichannel SACD/DVD-a an entirely new dimension is introduced. It's painfully hard to set a room up well for two channel and multichannel and many of the multichannel recordings are butchered and make it sound like the guitars are behind you and vocals in the center and the overall layout makes little sense. However- when done correctly I really like multichannel. The Telarc 1812 SACD multichannel and Mahler Symphony 6 are both GREAT in multichannel.


Also the new SACD players from Philips and Sony are the best "bang for you buck" I think I've ever seen in audio. Outstanding quality at an outstanding price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bill,


Do you have a model number for those Sony and Phillips players that you refer to? Or a price range?


Also, since I do not have a preamp that can accept a multichannel (analog) signal, is SACD worth it just for two channel listening alone?


Thanks!
 

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The reason I claim SACD/DVD-A are dead is that in my world there's simply no room for yet another format. Or two. I already have hundreds of records that aren't even available on CD, and why should they be available on SACD or DVD-A? They won't, most likely. Though this is a minor point.


The bigger point being that all software currently available and in the pipeline for these formats are either audiophile show-off discs that nobody really listens to, and a few big name artists. I'm not excited yet. Look at CD, it took over 10 years before it even started to become interesting on the software side.. It'll take much more time for any new format since there is no obvious point in moving to a new format. Sure, it sounds much better than CD, but to most people a standard CD is "perfect sound". When CD arrived, there was so much more to it than just the sound quality - no matter what you think of CD it's by far the most convenient of all currently available formats! The only chance I see for either format to succeed is if all big labels stop producing CD-only discs right now, and churn out hybrids until CD is dead. That just might work. It would also help if manufacturers stopped making standard CD-players. I doubt any of those will happen very soon.


As for multichannel, yeah, that's an added bonus in some shops. Personally I dislike multichannel in any form so it doesn't matter much to me. It just doesn't appeal to me. Music in surround sounds all wrong in my ears. I want a real soundstage! Although I do agree it's great for movies :)
 

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Peo, Also being a Tangerine Dream fan I'd agree with you except for albums like PHAEDRA that were recorded so low the vinyl noise floor was almost the same as the signal level. For those albums the CD is a vast improvement.
 

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Nicoff-


I have a Philips SACD 1000 and it is excellent in it's stock form for both Redbook and SACDs. Sure- It won't compete with Wadia, but hey, it's better then the very good Meridian 506.20 it replaced.


Philips replaced the SACD 1000 with the 963 SA. Much better for video (includes the DCDi deinterlacing chip). Output stage in the audio section is not as nice as the SACD 1000 but it is getting great reviews and I don't think it can be beat for $400. It also is one of the first SACD players with bass management.


I expect as the 963 gets more popular you will see multiple modification packages to replace the output stage if you need higher fidelity.


I don't know too much about the Sony units except that they are universally well thought of. Depending on your price range, the XA777ES is better than the 555 which is better than the 333, but the 333 is still pretty good.
 
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