SACD Vs conventional CDs

Is there a noticable difference between SACD/hybridCd and conventional Cds in sound quality?

It really depends on the recording and mastering, some of the recent recordings on cd take some beating. On the other hand a SACD/ high res album on the right equipment can be much better………it’s a-bit hit and miss, and SACD can be a lot more expensive?



Hi, @Gazza 's post is spot on, I have several sacd’s (mostly hybrid) and have yet to be disapointed with a purchase. As always, the price can be prohibitive now on earlier releases, but if you see a bargain, or are thinking of a specific album, go for it :+1:

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There is a famous or infamous study by Meyer and Moran in 2007 which used extensive double blind tests to see if people could tell the difference between the cd and SACD layers in hybrid recordings. Overall more people got it wrong than right! Older men did sightly better and women did more badly than average. Meyer and Moran felt that with hybrid SACD/cd recordings producers made greater efforts with the overall quality of recording which was more important than the medium itself. SACD has a lower sound floor which might be noticeable at high volumes.
This study is still causing acrimony and many hifi journalists say they could have told the difference if they had been included in the study!
M&M said they used high quality equipment which again some people doubt. It is worth reading the study to get the full background.


You can rip SACD’s but I’ve been informed it’s a bit of a faf using some relevant software.

i frequently rip SACD to DSD files, then copy them to my Naim Core, its pretty easy with SACD_extract software and a Sony Blu-ray player loaded with a boot hack.

You do need to find a Sony payer of a particular generation for it to work, new models dont. Some of the early Oppo players can also be made to work i believe, although my Oppo 203 could not.

On my Core library though I do have to maintain DSD versions and CD versions of the albums as i have a couple of old UnitQute 2’s that don’t take DSD files whereas the main system NAC 272 does.

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Sony originally developed and tested DSD at much higher frequencies. These were then radically reduced for SACD and above around 10kHz SACD is actually worse than RedBook.

Another problem is the large amounts of ultrasonic noise generated, and if I remember it correctly it actually gets worse if there is no/smaller HF-signal levels in the material. The HF-noise may even heat up the tweeter voice-coils.

The effect is that the SACD always sound brighter/more detailed compared to the CD. I have also some recollection on at least the earliest Hybrid-SACD/CD mastering that derived the CD-bits from the SACD.

Note that the above is what I remember from the discussions at the time and was not undisputed. It is a bit like reminding the vinyl-buffs of the PCM-delay lines for audio Neumann introduced in their vinyl-mastering stations in the 70’s :slight_smile: BTW, that also introduced HF-aliasing noise on the LP:s.


I have quite a few albums on SACD and in 99% of cases the SACD (or SAC D layer if it’s a hybrid disc) sounds better.

SACD has a beefiness and sometimes an “analogue quality” that for me makes it my favourite digital format, beating both CD and hi-res PCM.


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