How does an SACD player select between the Stereo SACD format and Multichannel?

Until I received a classical SACD that sounded terrible in SACD mode but gorgeous in redbook mode, I had assumed that 2 channel DSD was automatically selected by the machine depending on whether the player was 2 or multi-channel. On this SACD this does not appear to be the case. Can anyone enlighten me? I’m wondering if my lack of enthusiasm for SACD versus redbook is due to the fact I’ve been listening to multichannel on a stereo system. If this is the case - how do you select two channel DSD?

Depending on the player. Older Sony players have a button the remote. The Blu-ray based video SACD players like oppo have it on the setup menu.

I’ve owned 5 SACD players over the years, and except for the very first one, the default layer was decided by the user and selected during the initial setup process.

Oppo 205, 105 can be set to automatically play sacd or cd.

Hope that helps…

Best wishes

I have a Luxman D10X which “does not support multichannel areas”. Yet I found an SACD that appears to be playing the Multichannel area with a consequent loss of sound definition - no stereo separation - little bass and no soundstage. The CD layer of this disc is awesome - the SACD layer unlistenable.

Does the disc say anything about the DSD layer being only multichannel? That’s the only way for there to be a problem like you describe, at least as far as I could see. If your machine is 2-channel only, then there’s no setup decision to be made, other than to pick between DSD and Redbook on insertion.

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You have my curiosity piqued now. What disc is it?

I sent a message to the company last night and am waiting for their response. Since there is a possibility that the SACD I have is defective, I’d like to make sure I’m not unjustly casting aspersions on what is a beautiful red book CD but unplayable SACD before I understand from them how they view the situation.
I only have about 30 SACDs from a variety of labels - Abkco, Bis, Blue Coast, Island, Vertigo, 2L, LSO Live, Octave, Dutton - and this is the only one that does not deliver stereo in DSD and that may only be one track. The SACD has rave reviews across the board so I’m very puzzled.
BTW - I have the same issues with the disc on my Marantz SA-14S1 as on the Luxman.
Best regards

Wilson’s Ravel Orchestral Works on Chandos - no stereo DSD on the SACD and a snare drum that moves back and forth over the soundstage - less noticeable in the redbook layer. Chandos never responded to my concern as to the disc being faulty.

Can’t say I’ve heard that one. Is it #CHSA 5280, with Bolero?

Yes- here is my Amazon review.
This Chandos SACD recording of Ravel’s Orchestral Works was purchased based on almost universally enthusiastic reviews in the music media and the claim, albeit controversial, of the inclusion of ‘premier recordings’ of Ma Mere L’Oye and the Boléro. It is a disappointment.
Technically, on two SACD players, a Luxman D10X and a Marantz SA 14S1, only the multidisc DSD layer was accessible. As a result, on a 2-channel stereo setup, the performance was sonically ‘thin’ with a markedly attenuated soundstage that rendered much of the instrumentation as background - similar to the inaudible dialog on a 5:1 DVD being played in stereo mode. As an example, the snare drum(s) that is so prominent in any performance of the Boléro, is inaudible until 3:22 on the SACD. There are also some peculiarities in the DSD recording that are discussed further below. Accessing the CD Redbook layer is night and day as compared to the SACD layer. The soundstage is wider and more authoritative, the bass and strings more pronounced, and the performance more in line with what would be anticipated in a 2021 recording. Nonetheless, the actual performance is bland, lacking energy and enthusiasm as compared to Solti and the Chicago Symphony’s Decca red book performance (1976) which is musically superior.
Having listened to the multichannel DSD layer of the Boléro several times in anticipation of the revelation of what the ‘Premier Recordings’ entailed, I was struck by the shifting location of the snare drum(s) which abruptly changed channels in much the same way as early recordings of steam locomotives on Decca Phase 4. The snare drum, as noted, appears at 3:44 in the left channel and abruptly moves to the right channel at 5:44. At 6:24 it moves back to the left channel and at 7:11 remerges in the right channel with no image or echo in the left channel. At 7:56 it then moves to the left with no image on the right. moving back to the right at 8:44 and to the left at 9:31. At 10:14 it again moves to the right moving back to the left at 11:00. At 11:46 it moves back to the right with greater emphasis (the possible addition of the second snare drum at Figure 16 that was noted by another Amazon reviewer as “hardly noticeable unless specifically listening for it”?). At 12:39, the snare drum is present in both the left and right channels. This wandering snare drum effect, is no doubt the result of the mixing and mastering of the DSD files rather than an exceptionally fleet footed snare drummer. While less pronounced, the wandering snare drum is also audible on the CD layer and contrasts with any and all performances of the Bolero that I’ve heard over the past 60 years where the location of the snare drums(s) is fixed.
I contacted the record label, Chandos 2 weeks ago to ask whether I had a defective disc or whether this particular SACD only contained the multichannel DSD, this being in contrast to all my other SACDs that contain both the multichannel and stereo DSDs mixes. I’ve heard nothing from them so returned the disc for a refund.

WIth the PST you have to go into the menu and select the option for the PST to play the SACD layer, otherwise, it will default to the Redbook layer. Once set, it look for the SACD layer first before playing the Redbook layer.

Once you set it up correctly, when you insert your SACD you should see that it has defaulted to the SACD layer. It will say SACD on the screen when it is reading it correctly.

I’m listening to the 96k Qobuz stream, and I agree with your assessment of the performance, and about the snare on Bolero. In my listening, it seemed to stay solidly left, just inboard of the left speaker, until about 8:30 when went to the right, then left again, then right, alternating through the rest of the piece. These changes occur at the same point in the repetition of the theme, which makes me wonder if it was scored for two drums, one on each side of the stage, and they alternate. I’ve seen it performed live, but I don’t recall the percussion setup.

Otherwise, the recording seems fine, maybe better than average, though not one I’d be likely to buy. I understand the 96k stream from Qobuz isn’t the same data as a DSD disc, but it’s also not the redbook data, either.

It might be worth listening for the snare in other performances, but for me to do it, I’d have to wait awhile. I can hear the Bolero only just so often. :wink:

EDIT: Wikipedia says it’s scored for two snares: Boléro - Wikipedia

I have a denon and as others have said… in the setup you can select the default as red book / dsd stereo/ or dsd multi. I’m sure if you don’t have the manual it may be somewhere online. Did you ever say what model you have?

The Bolero is scored for two snare drums with my live experiences being that they have have a fixed relationship to one another. I’ve never head them alternate but that would explain the audio experience on this recording. All the CD and DG DSD versions I have have the snares emanating from a fixed point. Perhaps others could comment?
Still perplexed by the missing Stereo DSD mix. Perhaps the Qobuz is the missing Stereo DSD mix?
Appreciate your input!

Appreciate the input. My Luxman D10x SACD player will only play stereo DSD and does not provide any means to select between 5:1 multichannel and stereo. This issue is with the SACD.