Question about SACD.

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Kurz, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. Kurz

    Kurz Guest

    I was wondering if the redbook-cd part on an SACD comes from the same premaster as the SACD part.(apart from the fact that the end-format is different offcourse.)
    Reason I ask is because comparisons wouldn't be valid really if the one version is the original redbook master and the other a remastered version.
    I was thinking about this the day I read some rave reviews when SACD first came out.It popped up again in a recent discussion...

    I don't have an SACD player so I thought I could ask here.
    Have some of you looked into this?

    Thanks. :)
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I guess that would depend on the project itself. I have had a couple that I played that sounded like different masterings between the two and others sound the same. I would imagine that most are the same source as the SACD just down sampled, unless of coarse it's a surround sound SACD then it would be two different sources. Most of the SACD and DVD-A that i buy are surround sound. Most SACD players when the recognize SACD on the disc play that and not the redbook. I haven't figured out a way on my player to swap between the two without putting it in another player.
  3. Kurz

    Kurz Guest

    Thanks for the reply,Michael. :)

    I can understand that not being able to quickly switch between the two makes a real comparison quite difficult.

    If one where to physically resample both layers at 16bit 44.1k and put both of them in an editor...
    wouldn't it be quite easy to check
    whether both masters are substantially different or not?
    Just a thought.

  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    that would entirely depend on how you down converted. If you used the Weiss sample rate converter, I think that would be really close . anything below this would degrade the sound more and more. The best way would be to have the DSD stream and the redbook stream in the same system and compare it that way. The new Sadie system could do this I believe as well as the pyramix. It would be much more accurate comparison to convert the redbook into the format of DSD than the other way around.
  5. nOiz

    nOiz Guest

    I don't think Weiss can do DSD just yet. Anyway, I am getting excellent result doing PCM<-> DSD conversion with Prism Sound ADA-8. I am going to do more testig with the SRCDSD plug-in on Sadie. I am curious on how that would compare with the result I am getting from Prism.

    Simon Li
  6. Kurz

    Kurz Guest

    I think you are absolutely right.
    However,I didn't mean doing a conversion but physically recording the analog output for both layers as it would be presented to the listener.(equally calibrated offcourse.)
    Due to the physics of things the result is not going to be 100% identical but I think the differences would be futile compared to what you will get being presented with different mastering jobs.
    Also,the end-consumer/listener will be presented with the same kind of differences anyway.

    Am I missing something?

    Thanks. :)
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    You are right, Weiss doesn't do DSD, pyramix and sadie can convert it to a high res pcm and then you could run it through the weiss to bring it down to redbook. anyway it's mute because we agree that it wouldn't be a good comparison. If you were going to record the analog out, you would need a player that could read both layers so as to keep the same converters to compare. I don't know if any players can do this, I know mine can't or at least haven't figured out how. I have heard good things about the Prism, so you have the DSD card in yours? I've been thinking of moving into DSD but to tell you the truth, my clients just aren't interested. I've done a handfull of DVD-A 2 and 5.1 releases but mostly DVD-V releases. The problem i'm having with DSD is that the only way to process it is analog unless you convert it to pcm and then back again. But apparently there is a concern with UHF freq's doubling up doing multiple DSD conversions. i don't know what the ramafications of this are, we are bombarded with tons of hi freq waves with only brain cancer to show for it. maybe it has something to do with the converters on playback.
  8. nOiz

    nOiz Guest

    Michael, give yourself a try on the Prism when you have the chance. It's a nice sounding unit. I have both the PT and DSD cards and it suits my setup just perfect.
  9. Kurz

    Kurz Guest

    Hi Michael,
    I think there might be a slight misunderstanding.

    At this point,I have no interest in moving into DSD whatsoever.(Frankly,because I'm not convinced that there is anything wrong with PCM in the first place.)
    I think it's a good thing that the technology is around and being developed with all technologies it could at some point have a function (possibly even in an entirely different field) that is not evident right here,right now.

    The question I'm asking is related to the fact that some consumers are comparing hi-rez re-editions of an album with the redbook version.On that basis they conclude that hi-rez makes a HUGE difference,despite the fact that they are probably comparing two very different mastering jobs.
    I wanted to know if the same thing could be true for the two layers on an SACD.

    The "huge" improvements that the audio world,including a significant part of the pro audio world,is on about are not consistent with my own experiences with hi-rez audio.
    (As opposed to higher bitrates in a recording,mixing and mastering environment.)

    I can see the problem in not being able to take two versions off the same player.
    Would the differences caused by the DACs of two quality cd-player really make it impossible to distinguish two different mastering jobs if recorded equal?
    Surely one could be able to consider the impact of such "distortions" in relation to different human interpretations?

  10. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    In my experience in buying SACD since I don't master for SACD is that both layers are from the same mastering session, the redbook being down converted from the SACD mastering. With maybe some tweeks but generally a new mastering. I feel that anything remastered is going to sound significantly better than a release say 10 years ago just because of equipment improvements and engineering experience in the digital domain. So I'm not sure if what people are comparing are really related. That is unless you compare an SACD remastering that has a redbook layer from the same session. then you would be able to compare the 2 formats. 2 good players even though different would allow you to tell if it's the same mastering or different. Probably the most noticable being the noise floor. Older remasterings tended not to use noise reduction because it wasn't that good yet, but now most remasters have been run through some kind of noise reduction, most likely ceder. Again, on a consumer system say under a $1000, they are most likely hearing the effects of remastering rather than the improvement of the higher bit or sample rate. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell the difference between an MP3 and a DVD-A on my cheap consumer system in the lounge.
  11. According to Nika and George over at Musicplayer, the SACD "advantage" lies in its flaws.

    If you try to push an SACD master too hot, it's going to let you know right there in your studio - regardless of how much extra headroom your big-$$ converters have. PCM, OTOH, has a much higher tolerance for too-hot signals, and therefore is subject to the client demands for "LOUDER!" processing.

    Of course, my understanding of this issue isn't 100% complete - ask Nika sometime - he has a much clearer grasp of the situation.
  12. moles

    moles Active Member

    In doing some research for a paper (which was GOING to be based on newer hi-res audio systems such as SACD etc, but ended up being written about something entirely different) I came across quite a few anti-SACD sentiments.
    One of them was that the Redbook portion of an SACD was intentionally made to sound worse than the SACD portion, in order to sway consumers opinion in favor of the new format. Unfortunately I can't give any more info on the matter, but before trying to test both portions on one player, it would be interesting to hear the results comparing a redbook CD with the redbook portion of an SACD on the same CD player.

    I apologize if I am just spreading the usual goofy internet gossip........maybe SACD does sound better.

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