Super Audio CD – worth it in 2018?

When I made my original video on surround sound music, there was one multichannel format I didn’t yet have to test: Super Audio CD. So I set out on a quest to buy in to the aging format in the year 2018 – which I found out is not unlike buying in to something like open reel tape at this point. There’s a lot to consider, it’s more expensive than I thought, and there’s a steeper learning curve than you might expect for something originally meant to have replaced the simple CD. Many of the issues I had tie directly in to why the format never took off – compatibility issues, draconian copy protection that actually interferes with playback, questionable sound quality benefits vs. other formats, and high costs. One clarification: the study I mention in the video that pitted “CD vs. SACD” was actually testing 16 bit/44.1khz music pumped through SACD and DVD playback. The detectability of the lower-resolution music stream was no better than chance. Another clarification! Your brain doesn’t really “piece the samples together” – as someone pointed out in my comments, that’s the job of the Digital to Analog Converter. I knew this – I was selling DACs for a living 25 years ago – but had a bit of a brain fart when writing the script (was stuck in “video mode” when looking for an analogy, apparently) and never caught it until it was pointed out to me. What your brain does is just decide whether the job the DAC did matches the original music (if you have a way to do so), or at least sounds good to you. Unfortunately YouTube doesn’t provide a way to annotate this in the video itself (you can’t use both cards and annotations in the same video, and annotations are deprecated anyway), so I’m stuck with my screwup now. By the way, I finally did get DSD over USB to work, but my receiver apparently only supports DSD in stereo, not multichannel. (That’s why it didn’t work for the video – I was trying to A/B the same multichannel recordings I had on SACD.) Of course even stereo DSD sounds great, but I can’t say I’d be able to pick it out from a well-mastered 44.1khz PCM file in an A/B test, any more than the pros could.

If you do still want to get into SACD after watching this video, I’d love if it you used my Ebay affiliate link: http://ebay.to/2FDF8Ze

Here’s the promised link to a video that explains the “Loudness War”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL13b…

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