Thread: How did you become seduced

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Post by sacd_fan_2007 April 24, 2009 (11 of 21)
I was introduced to SACD by accident. One of my classical cd's happened to be a hybrid SACD, and that was in the back of my mind when shopping for a DVD player. The local electronics superstore had a clearance price on a Yamaha DVD player that decoded SACD, so I went with that unit. To my surprise, the SACD layer played back without the harshness of cd, and I could hear the notes clearly at low playback volume. Since that discovery, I've attempted to get all hybrid SACD's unless the music is only available on cd or download.

Post by dschawv April 25, 2009 (12 of 21)
I bought a couple of the Living Stereo Re-issues because I really enjoyed the original issues.
At the time, January 2005, I didn't have a SACD player. Finally, we bought a Sony player. The Chicago recordings, esp. Concerto for Orchestra and Strauss, were amazing on a good system.
I truly fell in love with the idea of SACD when I picked up Chailly's Mahler 3. The last 7 minutes of the finale are incredible.
Since then, Spring of 05, I have bought over 100 SACD's, mostly hybrids, and still believe in the format.
Depeche Mode's Violator in SACD is awesome as well as Pink Floyd's DSoTM.

Post by stuka May 12, 2009 (13 of 21)
Naxos The Creation did it for both me and my wife.

And to think we got it to satisfy our curiosity as to what SACD was.

Post by hanser May 13, 2009 (14 of 21)
Multichannel for me. I had started to build a stereo system since 1988 and had augmented it for MC with a Yamaha DSP Decoder in 1994, in addition to a LD player for Opera and movies. I tried to enjoy classical CDs via Dolby surround or DSP programs, but was disappointed and went back to listening in stereo. Then I discovered DTS Laserdiscs and DTS CDs. I bought a DTS decoder in 1998 and started collecting DTS CDs: Finally a good MC music source. To this day I enjoy some of those recordings like the "Planets" from Telarc oder the Muti "Aida" from EMI.I also bought some Denon Music DVDs (5.1. Dolby Digital), but did not like them so much.
Then DTS CDs stopped being released and the new kids on the block were announced, DVD Audio and SACD. In 2002 I bought an universal player. I would have bought an SACD player, but one of my favorite labels, Tacet, released exclusively on DVD Audio, so I had to have that, too. My first SACD was Telarcs Sibelius/Tubin sinfonies (Järvi), and I knew that I had finally found the holy grail in music reproduction.

Post by oktave June 8, 2009 (15 of 21)
Well... To me it was what I had been unable to explain in technical terms ever since my first CD. As much as I had been overwhelmed with the dynamics of CD's when they first came out, it was far from musical to me. For years I was trying to explain how "mild passages in recordings only sounded further away but should instead sound milder PERIOD" all the while it had something to do with quantization errors or RBCD's. My best example was "Sting - Be Still My Beating Heart? " which comes in by fade-in. If you were listening to it with the volume high from the beginning, you could actually hear the few bits required to render the initial fade-in with digital noise (dithered/filtered quantization errors) killing the effect. Also, any recording of the Ravel Bolero sounded like you were moving towards the orchestra the whole time instead of living the natural crescendo of this magnificient piece while sitting directly in front of it. The only way I could live the real emotion provided by volume change from an orchestra was to be in front of one.

Then came SACD. I could not believe my ears. This first recording I had bought from Steven Hough - Rachmaninov Piano Concertos just made me cry, for real. All the emotion, all the intended silences, all the blasts of the orchestra, were there to tickle me from the inside, playing with my ears like I had never heard anything from my sound setup. This urged me to change a few components in my system since I KNEW there was more to it than my (not so bad but could have been better) system was able to give me.

Whenever I want to explain the sensation to someone else, it becomes a metaphoric battle to which technical terms tend to close the description. This is because a digital medium is trying to replicate the analog domain. My best example to describe the DYNAMICS is to represent the size of the dynamics (and most importantly, INCREMENTS of it) of the RBCD whithin that of the SACD. SO much more definition in dynamic representation is possible with the SACD that even the slightest little subtlety will be translated almost perfectly, even at the quietest of volume on the original recording. Instead of sounding "far away", the listener is brought INSIDE the music living the real expression of instruments played at lower levels.

Then there is the "General volume" problem caused by the RBCD. When mastered, the CD's need to meet a certain "volume level" so they don't sound "lower" than others to keep the listener's attention. Also, when mastered too low, all the 16 bits available to reproduce dynamics are not used completely, therefore creating that "further away" effect mentioned above. So they "normalize" everything at the cost of "limiting or compressing or clipping" the top dynamics of louder pieces because the digital domain won't allow anything abote it's dynamic range. So we are hearing compromised dynamics all the way.

With SACD's, I could hear level of volumes totally different from previously "memory locked" music, as if someone had pulled the roof over my head (for higher dynamics) and pulled the floor under my feet (for lower dynamics). Metaphors again, but no other words could describe it. It was not louder, it was just more clear at going at louder parts, with a clear edge in peak areas. It was, however, a lot different in softer areas, as if focus had been adjusted. As if a film had been removed from my previous experiences of the same music.

All of this with a Denon 1930ci... Probably the least expensive of analog disctrete-outputs capable SACD players...

So I upgraded... Now words won't do it anymore... Just sheer emotion. I just wish life was longer now...

That's what seduced me.

Post by Goodwood June 8, 2009 (16 of 21)
Quite simple. The specification said it all.

Post by Fitzcaraldo215 June 8, 2009 (17 of 21)
Seduced is not the word. Stunned is more like it. Though primarily a music listener, I decided finally to go hi def TV and to build a Mch sound system for it merged with my excellent stereo. I fully expected my music listening to continue as it had in stereo with RBCD and vinyl as sources. In addition to my upscale CD player, I had a cheap Oppo universal player for DVD's that also could play SACD's. So, I was curious to try some Mch SACD's, which I went out and bought for the first time. The first one I played was the live recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra doing the Mahler Symphony #6. I had been in the audience when it was recorded.

I had heard SACD before in stereo. It was good, but I was not bowled over. This was my first experience with hi rez Mch music. Within 30 seconds my life and my whole perspective on sound systems changed forever. Holy Toledo! This was so much more like the sound of a live performance than anything I had ever heard in 50 years as an audiophile. I mean, it's not close. I seldom listen to stereo anymore. And, my listening enjoyment in my home for the last year-and-a-half has been beyond anything I ever dreamed possible.

Post by dobyblue June 9, 2009 (18 of 21)
Although my primary interest was multi-channel, the first SACD I heard was "Us" by Peter Gabriel. I was brought to tears by how incredible and VISCERAL the music sounded; I have been in love with SACD ever since.

Post by jakeroux June 9, 2009 (19 of 21)
Fitzcaraldo215 said:

In addition to my upscale CD player, I had a cheap Oppo universal player for DVD's that also could play SACD's.

I'm sure this is fodder for a differnt thread, but just have to ask since the Oppo was my first SACD player and continues to be my only SACD player - have you since upgraded? If so to what, and with what comparative results, assuming the rest of your components remained the same?

Post by Fitzcaraldo215 June 9, 2009 (20 of 21)
jakeroux said:

I'm sure this is fodder for a differnt thread, but just have to ask since the Oppo was my first SACD player and continues to be my only SACD player - have you since upgraded? If so to what, and with what comparative results, assuming the rest of your components remained the same?

Yes, I just upgraded from a 980 to a BDP-83. Both are used via HDMI. The BDP-83 is considerably more transparent sounding for SACD. There are still some slight glitches with it. There is an occasional, intermittent slight popping noise only with SACD. Oppo is aware of it and it will be fixed in a future firmware release by their excellent tech support team. I still prefer listening to it rather than the 980, which has served me well for over a year.

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