It is important to remember in all the debates about SACD/DVD-A that in reality we are talking about nothing more than an input/storage/delivery medium. BOTH are excellent formats, but in the end, they are again, just different ways to store bits which represent music data.

Either format can have in theory as many channels as wished, and PCM can have any sampling frequency or bit depth desired. Neither format is limited in any way just by the format itself.

The consumer (and professional for that matter) field is rife with specsmanship, with a healthy dose of BS thrown in. The only way to really judge how accurate SACD or DVD-A is to the original master tape (or to the live microphone feed from the musicians) is to actually listen to that master tape and compare it in real time to the SACD or DVD-A. There can be speculation to the ends of the earth about which sounds better, or what processing may or may not have been done, but in the end, you have to listen to the original source to get to the truth. Of course consumers don't have access to the original masters, so the opinions fly.

SACD is a derivative of Delta Modulation, which is a technically sweet way of encoding data. It is simple and inexpensive to implement in a consumer player, and this no doubt is a good reason Sony is backing it in the first place. PCM is a bit more complex. It costs relatively more money to implement well, which is a reason that it isn't implemented so well in a good number of players.

A good recording is a good recording regardless of whether it's SACD or DVD-A, or CD for that matter. A bad recording stinks just as badly regardless of format.

This all reminds me of a saying in the photography field: Question: "What's the best camera in the world?"
Answer: "The one you happen to have with you when that once-in-a-lifetime shot comes around"

Just humble thoughts from someone who works with this stuff daily

[This message has been edited by soundhound (edited December 14, 2002).]