Like almost everyone's, I suspect, a large chunk of my music collection is on CD. Six months ago I needed a new CD player, and after some careful auditioning, I bought the Marantz SA11S1. It does a terrific job with Redbook CD's and it also provided me entry into the SACD environment - the format, which according to some, would probably make me give up my lifelong devotion to analog sources.
An open mind and a fair amount of curiosity led to the obvious - buying a bunch of SACD's and lots of listening hoping for that best music reproduction yet to come down the pike. As with every other format, I found I had good, better, and best recordings, and, in terms of many of the dimensions we use to measure sonics, I found SACD sound overall pretty darned good. For some reason, though, when I compare best to best, vinyl versus SACD, I'm convinced that vinyl is, by a lot, doing a better job of producing a stable precise three dimensional sound stage in my system. Why should that be? Does anyone else find that true?
The analog side of my system is a modest one consisting of a Music Hall MMF-7 turntable, Shure V15VxMR cartridge, Project speed control, Musical Fidelity XLPSv3 phono pre with outboard power supply and Kimber Silver Streak interconnects. The SACD player, after several swaps of interconnects, gets to my MF integrated amp through Kimber Heroes - the interconnects I believe do the best job with it in terms of tonality. From that point, obviously, everything in the system is the same for both - power conditioning, amp, cables, speakers, room. I've even swapped inputs to the amp with no change in the effect.
Why do I and others (without coaching, I might add) hear superior imaging from the analog side? God knows it can't be the interconnects - wires don't make a difference, right? It certainly can't be something inherent in slicing up sound and putting it back together again can it? After all, the slices are real small.
I'm not an engineer, so I'm reduced to blaming the recording processes and/or the recording engineers. I should add that some of the SACD's I find fault with in this regard are strictly stereo, so engineering for multi-channel output isn't the culprit at least in those cases.
Anyone with better technical credentials than mine got an idea?