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Pioneer: It’s 100% SACD

Unlike the $5,999-suggested DV-AX10 DVD-Audio/SACD player, Pioneer’s new Elite series 47A doesn’t downconvert SACD to PCM before converting the signal to analog.

The $1,200-suggested 47A avoids the conversion process altogether to deliver the best possible SACD sound, said DVD marketing manager Gary Bauhard.

“At the time, there was no single chipset allowing for the separate processing of both signals,” said Bauhard of the AX-10. “The DAC handled only PCM,” the coding technology on which DVD-Audio is based. “The SACD was quite good, but the AX-10’s strength was DVD-Audio.”

The new model incorporates a Cirrus Logic DAC/decoding chipset that processes both types of signals independently in the digital domain, Baugard said. “[SACD’s] Direct Stream Digital [signal] is sent through the DAC without modification.”

In theory, he noted, Pioneer could have incorporated two separate chipsets in the AX-10, but that would have required two separate sets of six-channel RCA outputs.

Apex offers a combination model at an everyday $299. Apex said it doesn’t downconvert to PCM, either.