Is it worth buying an SACD player?

Kippyy

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2011
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San Ramon, CA
I primarily listen to local files on hard drives via computer audio. For the most part, I love the convenience and access to hi-res downloads.
But, some component of the chain (MacMini, Roon, Linn Klimax) has gone awry often enough that it's been great to have a transport to play discs as a "Plan B". I own 40 SACD's, 1 Blu-Ray and 1 DVD-audio disc, which comprise some of my all time favorite albums. My rate of purchasing new SACD's is miniscule.

My present 10 year old Ayre universal disc player is out for repair for the 2nd time in the past year, and I suspect maybe on its last legs.
I also have height space constraints for gear in the cabinet in my living room.

I'm considering purchasing the acclaimed MSB Select DAC via USB, and maybe the Taiko server. These would not only be significant financial investments, but would reduce the space and $ available for a disc player.

My options are:
1-Invest 15-40K in a top notch SACD player along with the new DAC. Is this overkill with only 40 SACD's or a prudent Plan B?
I'd also then need a separate unit for video discs as there are very few universal disc players.

2-Rip the SACD's to digital files, rely on computer audio and buy a cheap Sony universal disc player as a video disc player and backup if computer audio fails

Thanks for your counsel and experiences!
Barry
 

adrianywu

Active Member
Nov 15, 2021
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I would suggest option #2. However, buy a second hand Oppo player. It has decent 4K video performance, plays SACDs with competence, and you can use it to rip SACDs.
 

chuck

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Dec 20, 2011
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San Diego
I suggest Option 1.

I have owned the $40K Playback Designs MPT8/MPD8 -- SACD transport and DAC, for three years. I used to own the Ayre C5xe MP Twenty -- the PD is IMO much better. I liked the sound of the PD DAC better than the MSB -- I suggest listening to both yourself, if possible. I play rips and stream Qobuz but neither can match the SACDs on a great transport/DAC, like the PD. I still buy SACDs.

I got a cheap Sony 4K Blu Ray player for video.
 

Kippyy

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2011
58
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393
San Ramon, CA
I now see that both Playback Designs and Esoteric appear to make combination DAC's/SACD players. Perhaps this is the best solution?
 

dan31

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Jul 22, 2010
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How much do you like/love your disc collection? If it’s enough buy a disc player. If not, buy the better dac and a reasonable disc player like the Denon anniversary cd/sacd player.
Disc players fail and need new transports.
That said I’m using a 17 year old Ayre C5xe mp. I have a back up transport.
 

chuck

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2011
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San Diego
I now see that both Playback Designs and Esoteric appear to make combination DAC's/SACD players. Perhaps this is the best solution?
It looks like PD is practically your neighbor, in Alamo, CA. I had an Esoteric K01, it was very good but I traded it in on the PD. As far as reliability, I leave the PD on 24/7, no problems in three years.
 

Gregm

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Mar 14, 2019
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France
With all due respect, option 2 is the no-brainer: you have 40 SACDs, your purchasing rate of the physical medium is minimal & you can purchase all that content on-line for download anyway.
It makes more sense, therefore, to optimise your digital front-end. IMO of course!
 
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jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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I definitely would stop by an dCS dealer and check out their offerings in your price range. I do love my physical media playback the best, both CD and SACD. However, if only ~40 discs, I'd rebuy/rip them and max out on your DAC etc. I've found it better to buy a great DAC/Clock etc and just use a NAS drive with Roon or dCS Mosaic as the interface. A dCS Rossini dac + clock + NAS drive may blow your mind.

Good luck !
 

chuck

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2011
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San Diego
I've always been mystified by the "how many do you have" qualification, like you have to have a certain number of discs to have a great transport. I remember shopping for a turntable and the sales man asked me how many records I had, I told him about 100 and he started showing me low priced units. I walked out. If I had only 1 SACD, say the MTT/SFS Beethoven 9th, and I wanted to hear it at its glorious best, I would buy the PD and did. How many discs is totally irrelevant. Do you want to hear your favorite music at its best is the only question.
 
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Audire

VIP/Donor
Jan 19, 2019
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For me personally it is. After weeks of being lost, FedEx finally found mine. EMM Labs regained possession of my TX2 earlier this week and overnighted it to my dealer. My dealer received it this morning. He opened it up and checked it out. If all goes as planned it will be installed tomorrow.

I enjoy owning media. Qobuz of late has been deleting a lot of my favorite albums from their servers. But I have what is important on CD, SACD, and Vinyl.

No Streaming company is making a profit at present. So prices will be going up. And who will finally be running the Streaming Monopoly in the future? Once that’s established the prices will go even higher and if they don’t like your artist, or the artist doesn’t like them, then no streaming that artist‘s music.

I enjoy owning my own media.
 
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rando

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Sep 22, 2019
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40 can easily turn into 400 in this hobby. Besides, you didn't mention how many CD you have. :)

Oppo that limits audio and video while allowing you to rip ISO? Just to fulfill that missing quotient on rainy days or in case of peril. There certainly are a lot of dead or dying vintage options with no evergreen survivor.

Hate to even mention the WBF darling brand has a transport on the horizon.
 
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