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New high resolution SACD releases, players and technology.

RE: Is SACD superior to vinyl?

I am an old timer, too, about your age. My turntable and thousands of LPs have been gathering dust for years, even going well back into the CD era. I find that the closest approach by far to the the sound of a live classical concert comes from hi Rez multichannel, including SACD. It is not close, in my view.

I recently heard a $150K turntable set up carefully by its designer at a reviewer's (not MF) home with esoteric arm, cartridge and system including a pair of Radialstrahlers. Cherry picked LP's were played, including some Golden Age RCA's, Deccas, EMI's, etc.

Another friend was there. Like me he has moved to hi Rez Mch with DSP EQ years ago. He owns a nice VPI TNT turntable setup, but he has ripped most of his vinyl collection to hard drive in hi Rez. He says he cannot hear the difference vs. the LP. But, as to the demo that day and compared to the stuff we listen to on Mch SACD and Blu-ray at home, we had the same view: "is that all ya got, sonically?". (Your very apt phrase, Robert Lang.) We heard nothing sonically that would remotely justify the $300k or more that system cost, at least in terms of recapturing the sound of live. We are both aware of many Mch systems that routinely deliver far, far better and truer sound than that at a fraction of the cost from a $500 Oppo player via HDMI. We are both long term, high end audiophile geezers who go to a whole lot of live concerts.

To each his own, of course. Certainly there are countless musically priceless performances on LP that are not available any other way that can be musically very enjoyable. But, the notion that they sound more true to live performance is a total myth, as far as we are concerned. We have both had enough experience with vinyl in numerous systems over many years to know what it can or cannot do. And, we are not alone in this assessment among a wider circle of friends.

Yes, meaningless phrases like "musicality", "more colorful" are often applied to vinyl. Our collective definitions of what they mean vary all over the place. Some think MP3 players are musically satisfying, after all. Some confuse more colored with more colorful. Some people just like all the added 2nd order harmonic distortion of vinyl. It adds artificial warmth, after all, which I now hear quite loudly and clearly for what it is - a coloration and a distortion, euphoric though it may be to some.

It is fine for people to like vinyl or even to prefer it. We each get to make our own choices in life. Liking is one thing, but to claim it is truer to live sound is just false in my experience. Those claims usually come from people without much live concert experience or without experience with properly done hi Rez digital setups, especially in Mch, especially also without DSP room EQ.

Mag tape was mentioned here. Been there, done that, too. It may beat vinyl in some ways, but it sure does not beat hi Rez Mch. Its dynamic range is still lacking. The hiss is always there, accompanied by issues like print through. And, reproducing tape is costly and always causes some degradation. You are not likely to get very close to the master.

The myths live on. But, for me it is game over. YMMV.





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