Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD player Sam Tellig July 2003
As mentioned, Mikey reviewed the Tri-Vista SACD player in May. I have only a few comments of my own:
First and most important, I don't think that the Tri-Vista SACD CD player sacrifices "Red Book" CD performance in order to bring you SACD playback. That's not surprising, since the Tri-Vista processes CD and SACD with entirely different digital signal paths. At the moment, I play standard CDs 99% of the time, because I have little worthwhile SACD software. The Tri-Vista SACD is a superb CD player that also happens to play SACDs. In stereo, anyway. (I'll leave surround sound to Kal Rubinson.)
Second, the Tri-Vista's CD performance strikes me as being quite different from that of its predecessor, the Nu-Vista 3D CD player, whose avowed purpose was to make CDs sound almost as good as SACDs. That it did, in my opinion—as did the Tri-Vista SACD player. Yet the players struck me as very different. And yes, I had both on hand for close comparisons.
The Nu-Vista 3D struck me as romantic. It had a way of making digital sound almost analog, possibly trading away a little resolution in the process. (I can't say for sure.) The Tri-Vista SACD player, on the other hand, struck me as more detailed, more informative, less romantic (or warm, if you will), but a touch smoother and sweeter in the midrange and treble, as well as tighter in the bass. Each player was convincing in its own way. Neither was fatiguing.
The comparison may be academic, because the NuVista 3D is no longer available, and soon the limited-edition Tri-Vista SACD player won't be, either. But you might be able to pick up a used one. And, when it was available new, it retailed for $2000 less than the Tri-Vista SACD. No one who bought one should regret the purchase; and, given the scant availability of SACD software, I see little need to upgrade to the Tri-Vista for the pleasure of playing a handful of SACDs—Favorite Chinese Instrumentals, anyone?
But if you're starting out now, and are willing and able to pay big bucks, you might want to have SACD capability. However, you'll be making a commitment to stick with stereo—for now. A multichannel version of the Tri-Vista SACD is planned.
I'll take the two-channel version, thank you.—Sam Tellig