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How To Determine if SACD is 5.1 Surround Before Purchase?

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quadex

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Hi folks- apologies in advance for a typical newbie question that I'm sure has been discussed before, but I am about to purchase a number of SACDs, but only if they are at least in 5.1 surround (of course). As I understand it, not all SACDs are in 5.1 or greater. Also, I believe even if the SACD is described as "Hybrid" that this still does not automatically yield a 5.1 mix. Forums recommend Import CDs as a great source of SACDs at reasonable prices, but even their listings are usually vague as to the item having 5.1 surround or not. I even emailed them this question, and they said they would have to check with someone in their warehouse for an answer!!?? This is not giving me a great deal of confidence as I move forward to build a collection. Please enlighten me :) It would be a great disappointment to shell out the $$ and not get surround sound. Thanks very much.
 

sjcorne

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The vast majority of SACDs out there are not multichannel, unfortunately. My advice would be to pay attention to which label issued the disc (for instance, Mobile Fidelity only does stereo or mono) and check the poll index here for the title in question. Dutton-Vocalion is the only label that releases MC-SACDs on a fairly regular basis nowadays.
 

4-earredwonder

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Hi folks- apologies in advance for a typical newbie question that I'm sure has been discussed before, but I am about to purchase a number of SACDs, but only if they are at least in 5.1 surround (of course). As I understand it, not all SACDs are in 5.1 or greater. Also, I believe even if the SACD is described as "Hybrid" that this still does not automatically yield a 5.1 mix. Forums recommend Import CDs as a great source of SACDs at reasonable prices, but even their listings are usually vague as to the item having 5.1 surround or not. I even emailed them this question, and they said they would have to check with someone in their warehouse for an answer!!?? This is not giving me a great deal of confidence as I move forward to build a collection. Please enlighten me :) It would be a great disappointment to shell out the $$ and not get surround sound. Thanks very much.
Quadex, your BEST source for ALL things SACD/BD~A etc. is HRAudio.net. By utilizing their search engine, type in your request and you will be informed whether it's stereo or surround. And all hybrid means: it has a CD layer which you can play on any CD player or car system so equipped.

 

4-earredwonder

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The vast majority of SACDs out there are not multichannel, unfortunately. My advice would be to pay attention to which label issued the disc (for instance, Mobile Fidelity only does stereo or mono) and check the poll index here for the title in question. Dutton-Vocalion is the only label that releases MC-SACDs on a fairly regular basis nowadays.
NOT TRUE. There are WELL over 10,000 multichannel Classical SACDs. But since you never listen to classical......guess it's a moot point!
 

sjcorne

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NOT TRUE. There are WELL over 10,000 multichannel Classical SACDs. But since you never listen to classical......guess it's a moot point!
A fair point - but in the case of pop/rock/jazz, I'm sure you'd agree with me. I'll listen to classical so long as it's mixed in an engaging way, as is the case with the CBS '70s quad recordings of Bartok's Concerto For Orchestra and Holst's The Planets.
 

4-earredwonder

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A fair point - but in the case of pop/rock/jazz, I'm sure you'd agree with me. I'll listen to classical so long as it's mixed in an engaging way, as is the case with the CBS '70s quad recordings of Bartok's Concerto For Orchestra and Holst's The Planets.
I am NOT going to infringe on anyone's musical tastes but IMO, some of the most magnificent music in recorded history remains classical and just about all the thousands of Classical mch SACDs I do have in terms of Sound Quality are uncompressed and will tax even the best of audiophile sound systems.

And yes, Jonathan, my main regret is that to this day the majority of classical labels refuse to discretely utilize the rear channels. And I DID voice my opinion over at the old SACD.net with the CEOs of BIS and CHANNEL who were frequent posters over there to NO avail! Their BAD!
 

Audiowannabee

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Hi folks- apologies in advance for a typical newbie question that I'm sure has been discussed before, but I am about to purchase a number of SACDs, but only if they are at least in 5.1 surround (of course). As I understand it, not all SACDs are in 5.1 or greater. Also, I believe even if the SACD is described as "Hybrid" that this still does not automatically yield a 5.1 mix. Forums recommend Import CDs as a great source of SACDs at reasonable prices, but even their listings are usually vague as to the item having 5.1 surround or not. I even emailed them this question, and they said they would have to check with someone in their warehouse for an answer!!?? This is not giving me a great deal of confidence as I move forward to build a collection. Please enlighten me :) It would be a great disappointment to shell out the $$ and not get surround sound. Thanks very much.

U have to be very diligent about researching the disc before purchasing n always inspect when u get it BEFORE opening...n yes mistakes will sometimes be made
 

4-earredwonder

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U have to be very diligent about researching the disc before purchasing n always inspect when u get it BEFORE opening...n yes mistakes will sometimes be made
And when ordering from Amazon, even HRAudio.net's links are sometimes CDs only so in the order section I'd email the seller and ensure it's an SACD, as advertised, or else cancel. Doesn't always work as some third party sellers have multiple locations and cannot give you a 'straight' answer but at least it's some insurance it's what YOU ordered!
 

Titch

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NOT TRUE. There are WELL over 10,000 multichannel Classical SACDs. But since you never listen to classical......guess it's a moot point!
Now, now - I have about 20 classical multichannel SACDs and the majority of them do not have discreet multichannel channels - mostly "reverb" and "ambience". While this certainly gives space to the recording, and can simulate the feel of sitting in the Wiener Philharmoniker, it is very different to most of the contemporary rock multichannel mixes. You don't suddenly get a horn parping out of one of the rear speakers, like Pink Floyd! The most recent classical multichannel SACD I purchased was Gilbert Kaplan's Mahler No. 2. Nary a whisper out of the rears, but a decent soundstage. However, there are some notable exceptions: E Power Biggs legendary quadrophonic recording of Bachs Toccatas and Fugues, using four organs played simultaneously, is about the most thunderous multichannel recording I've ever heard. Stuff falls off my shelves when I play that one, cranked up to 11. Yo Yo Ma Plays Morricone sounds appropriately like a film soundtrack, with sweeping orchestral arrangements from the rears.

I started to purchase multichannel SACDs in earnest three years ago. It is a very expensive hobby, as most of the multichannel SACDs came and went out of print twenty years ago. However, I don't think I've ever enjoyed music as much as I do now. There are some sensational multichannel discs in print: Miles Davis Bitches Brew from Sony Japan. Santana is out from Sony Japan in a couple of weeks. Good luck!
 

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Myro

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Hi folks- apologies in advance for a typical newbie question that I'm sure has been discussed before, but I am about to purchase a number of SACDs, but only if they are at least in 5.1 surround (of course). As I understand it, not all SACDs are in 5.1 or greater. Also, I believe even if the SACD is described as "Hybrid" that this still does not automatically yield a 5.1 mix. Forums recommend Import CDs as a great source of SACDs at reasonable prices, but even their listings are usually vague as to the item having 5.1 surround or not. I even emailed them this question, and they said they would have to check with someone in their warehouse for an answer!!?? This is not giving me a great deal of confidence as I move forward to build a collection. Please enlighten me :) It would be a great disappointment to shell out the $$ and not get surround sound. Thanks very much.
You’ll also find that some titles are released in multiple SACD formats with some being strictly stereo and the same title being available in stereo and 5.1 combo. That can make it confusing. With the exception of Amazon You can usually spot if it’s Stereo only or Stereo and 5.1. If it doesn’t state 5.1 or multi channel, then assume it is not. Yes, it can get pricey finding out of print 5.1 SACD releases. Some of the best values lately In surround have been the Doobies and Chicago Quadio sets (in Blu Ray) and of course Dutton Vocalion who offers incredible value in SACDs and often includes 2 releases on one disc. There are still decent prices on many of The Doors multi channel SACDs released by Analogue Sounds and sold at Acoustic Sounds.
 

marpow

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Ralphie said it and I am gonna say it.
Your best source for SACD is HRAudio.net, period.
Welcome to the club quadex, I sympathize with you as I had the same issue when I started in 2014. I remember purchasing my first SACD player with the idea of listening to surround and my first SACD was a stereo, I didn't know. I thought my player didn't work and then I noticed the SACD said stereo. My favorite surround discs are SACD and DVD-A, but SACD for stereo/mono is also good.
SHM SACD's single layer, need SACD player, all come from Japan and I really like them also.
 

ted_b

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I need to step in here and defend multichannel ambient recordings.

There are typically two kinds of multichannel presentations:
a) adventure mixes, which use existing multitrack sources and place the listener within the recording, with discrete sounds coming from every channel (and low frequencies from the .1 lfe channel). These are (typically) not classical, but some (like Tacet) indeed are. I LOVE adventure mixes, especially if done well, which usually means no ping-pong effects.
b) ambient mixes, which usually start as recordings that used a microphone tree to capture not only the sound of the performers, but also the reflections and air involved in the venue. These are primarily classical, but not always. The rear channels ARE discrete, just usually reproducing the reflections and sound captured by the rear microphones in the tree. BTW, these are not "reverb"!! if your system is up to it (well calibrated and using nearly identically timbre-matched speakers) the result can be breathtaking in its "close your eyes and you are sitting in the concert hall".

So to lump discrete ambient recordings with, say, reverb'd POS is terribly disingenuous IMO. My $02

And yes, to get back on point, HRAudio.net is a great place to start, but recheck with another source before buying (measure twice, cut once).
 

Marplot

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If you can get the barcode I have also had great luck searching for it on discogs and seeing if it is stereo or mch. Of course I only have 4 SACD so far so have struggled with this question also.
Right now the Elton John Elton John, Tumbleweed and Madman multi ch SACD are readily available and cheap at ImportCDs .. you want them if you like him at all.
Marillion FEAR mch SACD is easy to find on Amazon
 

Titch

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I need to step in here and defend multichannel ambient recordings.

There are typically two kinds of multichannel presentations:
a) adventure mixes, which use existing multitrack sources and place the listener within the recording, with discrete sounds coming from every channel (and low frequencies from the .1 lfe channel). These are (typically) not classical, but some (like Tacet) indeed are. I LOVE adventure mixes, especially if done well, which usually means no ping-pong effects.
b) ambient mixes, which usually start as recordings that used a microphone tree to capture not only the sound of the performers, but also the reflections and air involved in the venue. These are primarily classical, but not always. The rear channels ARE discrete, just usually reproducing the reflections and sound captured by the rear microphones in the tree. BTW, these are not "reverb"!! if your system is up to it (well calibrated and using nearly identically timbre-matched speakers) the result can be breathtaking in its "close your eyes and you are sitting in the concert hall".

So to lump discrete ambient recordings with, say, reverb'd POS is terribly disingenuous IMO. My $02

And yes, to get back on point, HRAudio.net is a great place to start, but recheck with another source before buying (measure twice, cut once).
I like your defence. However, I really struggle to hear anything at all different in, say the SACD of Carlos Kleiber's Beethoven 5 & 7, which is a "surround" SACD, versus the blu ray audio, which is only stereo. I have identical, timbre-matched speakers, calibrated with Audyssey. I mean, the listening experience is wonderful with both, but I really couldn't say whether the SACD provided more "concert-hall ambience". Maybe it's my tinnitus that's the culprit?
 

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Kal Rubinson

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I like your defence. However, I really struggle to hear anything at all different in, say the SACD of Carlos Kleiber's Beethoven 5 & 7, which is a "surround" SACD, versus the blu ray audio, which is only stereo. I have identical, timbre-matched speakers, calibrated with Audyssey. I mean, the listening experience is wonderful with both, but I really couldn't say whether the SACD provided more "concert-hall ambience". Maybe it's my tinnitus that's the culprit?
Perhaps it is not your system but your expectations. I don't find this Kleiber 5.0 to be a particularly striking presentation of the ambience since the surround channels are about 10dB down from the front three but the difference from the stereo is significant but not quite substantial. Definitely preferable to me but if not to you, OK.
 

J. PUPSTER

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Hi folks- apologies in advance for a typical newbie question that I'm sure has been discussed before, but I am about to purchase a number of SACDs, but only if they are at least in 5.1 surround (of course). As I understand it, not all SACDs are in 5.1 or greater. Also, I believe even if the SACD is described as "Hybrid" that this still does not automatically yield a 5.1 mix. Forums recommend Import CDs as a great source of SACDs at reasonable prices, but even their listings are usually vague as to the item having 5.1 surround or not. I even emailed them this question, and they said they would have to check with someone in their warehouse for an answer!!?? This is not giving me a great deal of confidence as I move forward to build a collection. Please enlighten me :) It would be a great disappointment to shell out the $$ and not get surround sound. Thanks very much.
Don’t limit your choices for 5.1; there’s plenty of great SACDs out there 2.0, 4.0, 5.0 & even 3.0. I’ve listened to some stereo titles that I could swear there’s certain elements coming from the sides or center and out into the room, the projection and imaging are so good. If you have full range speakers that shouldn’t be an issue. Between Discogs, sa-cd.net, HRAudio.net and our own Surround Polls, you should be able to figure out 99+%
And you can always ask here, folks love to chime in about this kind of stuff.
 
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Audiowannabee

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Don’t limit your choices for 5.1; there’s plenty of great SACDs out there 2.0, 4.0, 5.0 & even 3.0. I’ve listened to some stereo titles that I could swear there’s certain elements coming from the sides or center and out into the room, the projection and imaging are so good. If you have full range speakers that shouldn’t be an issue. Between Discogs, sacd.net, HRAudio.net and our own Surround Polls, you should be able to figure out 99+%
And you can always ask here, folks love to chime in about this kind of stuff.

Yep imho the Quad 4.0 are great
 

J. PUPSTER

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Yes. I prefer all the n.0 releases since I prefer to do the bass management on my own, if necessary.
This reminds me of that great post I like to refer to on the AVS forum by Bob Pariseau, for setting up your player for SACDs and Subs etc.; a must read for everyone IMO, I know I even need a refresher right now!

 
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