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Why SACDs?
sammydee
post Sep 13 2007, 15:35
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Hi guys

Something that's been bothering me for a while... Please somebody correct me immediately if I am wrong on this but I'm pretty sure the general consensus on this board is that nobody (or very close to nobody) can tell the difference between a properly encoded 320kbps mp3 and the original cd, right?

So the difference between a normal cd and a "high quality" SACD is likely to be even more difficult to distinguish, likely going completely beyond any human's ability to tell the difference.

So what the hell is the point of SACDs!?

Please somebody explain this to me.

Sam
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abasher
post Sep 13 2007, 15:45
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The higher sampling rate and bit-depth makes it harder to create masters that clip on the medium (that the music industry so loves to do). The masters are also generally better than CD masters. Also multi-channel is a compelling argument.
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SebastianG
post Sep 13 2007, 16:05
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QUOTE (sammydee @ Sep 13 2007, 16:35) *
So what the hell is the point of SACDs!?

If you can make some people believe that SACDs are worth purchasing you can possibly make more bucks by releasing music on SACDs as well. That's the main idea. wink.gif

I'm not denying that "high-res" formats may also benefit customers, too (multi channel audio, the warm fuzzy feeling you get if you believe you can "hear the details beyond 20 kHz" rolleyes.gif etc)

QUOTE (abasher @ Sep 13 2007, 16:45) *
The higher sampling rate and bit-depth makes it harder to create masters that clip on the medium (...)

...and by bit-depth you probably mean signal-to-noise ratio in the audible band. These terms are not always interchangable. In this case they aren't since SACDs store 1-bit-signals.

Cheers!
SG
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Bourne
post Sep 13 2007, 16:07
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for the mastering technique and for multi-channel is worthwhile...
but I don't think SACD will ever catch...
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krabapple
post Sep 13 2007, 16:27
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QUOTE (sammydee @ Sep 13 2007, 10:35) *
Hi guys

Something that's been bothering me for a while... Please somebody correct me immediately if I am wrong on this but I'm pretty sure the general consensus on this board is that nobody (or very close to nobody) can tell the difference between a properly encoded 320kbps mp3 and the original cd, right?

So the difference between a normal cd and a "high quality" SACD is likely to be even more difficult to distinguish, likely going completely beyond any human's ability to tell the difference.

So what the hell is the point of SACDs!?

Please somebody explain this to me.

Sam



DSD was originally envisioned and developed as a high-quality archiving format for record companies, one that could be easily converted to consumer format -- e.g. Redbook PCM. Then somewhere along the line it was decided that it should be given its own consumer delivery medium -- the Super Audio CD -- even though this requires a new player. Some speculate that this had to do with expiration of CD patents, but I don't know about that.

What's always been interesting to me is that no actual scientifically-designed tests were ever published at the time to demonstrate the supposed 'obvious' audible superiority of DSD in the first place. The only evidence ever published for that came later, with some dubious papers from Japan (and even there, the effect wasn't really 'obvious' statistically). The audible difference finding was not replicable by another Japanese group, and a recent report of a long-term SACD vs CD listening test also failed to find significant difference

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....mp;#entry515556

There are good arguments to make for having archive formats be 'hi rez', but there's no intrinsic reason for the existence of SACDs. Their value , IMO lay in fostering 'audiophile' remastering, and in providing multichannel output.

This post has been edited by krabapple: Sep 13 2007, 16:29
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Borbus
post Sep 13 2007, 16:38
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CD Audio is a poor format anyway, but most people probably won't realise this.

For me, the main attraction of SACD and DVD-A is multichannel audio. Also DVD-A uses a proper file system and error correction so it's much easier to rip DVD-As. SACDs are proprietary so they don't interest me one bit.
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ImAlive
post Sep 13 2007, 17:18
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QUOTE (sammydee @ Sep 13 2007, 16:35) *
So what the hell is the point of SACDs!?

Having a closed system with built-in copy protection to taunt honest customers.
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krabapple
post Sep 13 2007, 17:21
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QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 11:38) *
CD Audio is a poor format anyway, but most people probably won't realise this.



I guess I'm one of them. Care to explain?
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pdq
post Sep 13 2007, 17:22
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QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 11:38) *
CD Audio is a poor format anyway, but most people probably won't realise this.

Based on what?
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greynol
post Sep 13 2007, 17:24
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QUOTE (Bourne @ Sep 13 2007, 08:07) *
for the mastering technique and for multi-channel is worthwhile...
What "mastering technique" are you talking about, the one where the CD layer is intentionally mastered to sound poorer than the SACD layer?

QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 08:38) *
CD Audio is a poor format anyway, but most people probably won't realise this.

For me, the main attraction of SACD and DVD-A is multichannel audio. Also DVD-A uses a proper file system and error correction so it's much easier to rip DVD-As. SACDs are proprietary so they don't interest me one bit.
Hindsight is always 20-20. Let's send you back in a time machine so you can tell Sony and Philips what a huge mistake they made.


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Triza
post Sep 13 2007, 18:09
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What bothers me that you have not found the search button. This subject has been discussed to death on this forum.

Triza

QUOTE (sammydee @ Sep 13 2007, 06:35) *
Hi guys

Something that's been bothering me for a while... Please somebody correct me immediately if I am wrong on this but I'm pretty sure the general consensus on this board is that nobody (or very close to nobody) can tell the difference between a properly encoded 320kbps mp3 and the original cd, right?

So the difference between a normal cd and a "high quality" SACD is likely to be even more difficult to distinguish, likely going completely beyond any human's ability to tell the difference.

So what the hell is the point of SACDs!?

Please somebody explain this to me.

Sam


This post has been edited by Triza: Sep 13 2007, 18:10
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Bourne
post Sep 13 2007, 18:39
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QUOTE
What "mastering technique" are you talking about, the one where the CD layer is intentionally mastered to sound poorer than the SACD layer?


No, there are very well mastered CD's out there - we don't need SACD's over these ones. I mean, the ones intentionally pushed to the full digital scale in CD, they could not do the same technique with SACD.
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greynol
post Sep 13 2007, 18:54
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QUOTE (Bourne @ Sep 13 2007, 10:39) *
they could not do the same technique with SACD

Why is that?

EDIT #1:
QUOTE (Bourne @ Sep 13 2007, 08:07) *
for the mastering technique and for multi-channel is worthwhile...
You gave me the impression that some special technique could be employed for SACD but could not for CDDA.

One might argue that the ability to add heavy compression to CDDA is a good thing (at least it allows for greater possibilities). wink.gif

EDIT #2: (Wrong quote used for EDIT #1)

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 14 2007, 07:11


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krabapple
post Sep 13 2007, 19:47
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QUOTE (greynol @ Sep 13 2007, 13:54) *
QUOTE (Bourne @ Sep 13 2007, 10:39) *
they could not do the same technique with SACD

Why is that?


details about the Scarlet Book-mandated differences in DSD vs CD mastering, in this DSD ADC user manual (see p 10 and onwards for example):


http://www.grimmaudio.com/Manual%20AD1.pdf

elsewhere I see :
http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/t.mpl?f=hirez&m=237418

QUOTE
0dBfs = -6dB 'SACD' or another way; The nominal maximum level for an SACD is 6dB below PCM's absolute maximum of 0dBfs.

The maximum legal limit of an SACD's amplitude is +3.1 dB SACD or -2.9dBfs PCM. The mentioned 'Scarlet Book' also sets limits for ultra-sonic noise and DC offset.

What I actually said is that I hear problems with pushing levels up to the +3.1 maximum level and prefer to keep my maximum to 0dB SACD, with occasional peaks going up to about +1.5 dB SACD.

Really fast transients (essentially inaudible) are not really the problem; it's when the peak duration is around 200 samples or longer that it starts to become noticeable.

There is nothing gentle or soft about signals that exceed the +3.1 level; it's illegal because it is gross over-modulation of a system that behaves best with 50% modulation (-6dB), but will tolerate 76% modulation (-3.1dB) - just don't spend any 'musically significant time' at that latter level...


This post has been edited by krabapple: Sep 13 2007, 19:55
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Borbus
post Sep 13 2007, 20:13
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Sep 13 2007, 10:21) *
QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 11:38) *

CD Audio is a poor format anyway, but most people probably won't realise this.



I guess I'm one of them. Care to explain?

Unreliable extraction for a start. It is completely acceptable in the specification for there to be loss when extracting CD Audio. It has a silly, low and fixed sample rate (44.1kHz). No reference average sound pressure level set in the spec (which allowed the loudness war).

Yes, some of this is hindsight but Dolby got a lot of this right when developing AC3 at around the same time.
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greynol
post Sep 13 2007, 20:36
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QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 12:13) *
Yes, some of this is hindsight but Dolby got a lot of this right when developing AC3 at around the same time.

Apples and oranges on so many levels.

I didn't see AC3 delivered on a 12cm disc when it came out; not to mention that there's about a 10-year difference between the release of the two formats.

@krabapple: thanks for the info. smile.gif

This post has been edited by greynol: Sep 13 2007, 20:55


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Light-Fire
post Sep 14 2007, 05:19
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QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 10:38) *
CD Audio is a poor format anyway, but most people probably won't realise this...


How can they realise this??!!

QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 10:38) *
...For me, the main attraction of SACD and DVD-A is multichannel audio. Also DVD-A uses a proper file system and error correction so it's much easier to rip DVD-As. SACDs are proprietary so they don't interest me one bit.


Have you ripped DVD-A?!
Perhaps you ripped the DVD-V audio also present in the DVD-A disc instead.
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skamp
post Sep 14 2007, 08:46
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QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 13 2007, 17:38) *
For me, the main attraction of SACD and DVD-A is multichannel audio. Also DVD-A uses a proper file system and error correction so it's much easier to rip DVD-As. SACDs are proprietary so they don't interest me one bit.

DVD-Audio discs are much more of a PITA to rip because of DRM. And, uh, all those medias are proprietary. CD-DA, DVD-A, SACD, all of them.


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Borbus
post Sep 14 2007, 11:51
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DVD-A can be completely reliably and easily extracted from the disc. It might need to be decrypted if it's a commercial disc but I don't just worry about ripping commercial discs.

Proprietary was the wrong word but you know what I mean. You will only ever be able to buy an SACD player, not a general purpose SACD drive.

People can realise that CD is a poor format when they try to extract audio from a disc with a normal ripper, like iTunes or something. No errors, iTunes thinks it went fine, but it could be riddled with clicks, pops and other errors. Could you imagine copying your backed up files from a data CD and having data loss but absolutely no warning of it?

This is why a lot of people use EAC, because it attempts to compensate for the shortcomings of CD audio by using several techniques.
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2Bdecided
post Sep 14 2007, 12:23
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Oh come on borbus. CD was designed for playing on technology that was around at the end of the 1970s.

The reason there are "issues" with copying it bit-perfectly at high speed (though AcurateRip suggests it's easy to do on most drives with burst copy these days) is because it wasn't designed for this purpose.

It's like saying that books are poor because they don't always OCR correctly!


As for the original topic, please click on the "FAQ" link at the top right of the page and find the appropriate threads. There are several.

Cheers,
David.

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skamp
post Sep 14 2007, 12:35
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QUOTE (Borbus @ Sep 14 2007, 12:51) *
DVD-A can be completely reliably and easily extracted from the disc. It might need to be decrypted if it's a commercial disc but I don't just worry about ripping commercial discs.

First, if you don't rip commercial discs, I don't know what you rip. If you're talking only about the intrinsic qualities of the medium, you might as well go for DVD-ROM with simple files on them.
Second, how do you easily extract and decode MLP content without paying a couple thousand dollars or pirating software? Even with pirated software I don't know of an easy solution. Are you sure you're not talking about DVD-Video with musical content? Even if you are, that medium isn't perfect either. Chapter timings are often imprecise, especially with titles that have several audio tracks that are slightly different in duration. And by the way, extracting content from DVD-based mediums is illegal in many countries.


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dmckean
post Sep 14 2007, 12:58
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 14 2007, 04:23) *
Oh come on borbus. CD was designed for playing on technology that was around at the end of the 1970s.

The reason there are "issues" with copying it bit-perfectly at high speed (though AcurateRip suggests it's easy to do on most drives with burst copy these days) is because it wasn't designed for this purpose.

It's like saying that books are poor because they don't always OCR correctly!


As for the original topic, please click on the "FAQ" link at the top right of the page and find the appropriate threads. There are several.

Cheers,
David.


I think the point still stands that it'd be nice to have a new format with a real file system where we could simple copy music files from a folder instead of a complicated ripping procedure. This will never happen because the record industry is hell bent on DRM.
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2Bdecided
post Sep 14 2007, 13:50
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QUOTE (dmckean @ Sep 14 2007, 12:58) *
I think the point still stands that it'd be nice to have a new format with a real file system where we could simple copy music files from a folder instead of a complicated ripping procedure. This will never happen because the record industry is hell bent on DRM.
We have lossless downloads from some companies, and DRM-free mp3s from others. If it's CSS-free (or you don't care about hacking) then DVD-V is a pretty easy way of sharing and storing Linear PCM audio data, just not at 44.1kHz.

If DVD-A had become the de facto audio standard, I guess MLP wouldn't be as out of reach as it is now, just like the more complex MPEG-2 video compression is easily within reach because it had to be.

If something like DVB-CPCM became widely supported, then it wouldn't matter if the content had DRM or not - you could still use it in all your devices, back it up, take it to the beach etc - just not share it on the net (easily).

But, so far, the market place isn't very interested in these things, so we have what we have!

Cheers,
David.
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greynol
post Sep 14 2007, 19:25
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 14 2007, 04:23) *
Oh come on borbus. CD was designed for playing on technology that was around at the end of the 1970s.
Historical facts seem to be lost on him. wink.gif


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Mercurio
post Sep 14 2007, 19:50
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QUOTE
CD Audio is a poor format anyway, but most people probably won't realise this.


Yup, it is old, made to be plaied without much pain.

But today we don't need to dispute about physical medium anymore: wav and mp3 (on a data CD/DVD/HD/flash) are the way to go tongue.gif. Who needs SACD or DVD-A?
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