Multichannel SACD - best practice?

Ok, so I’ve downloaded Roon 1.3 and getting on with it really well (thanks team).

Now that Roon can handle multichannel files, I’ve taken the opportunity to think about importing my 100 or so SACDs that I haven’t ripped yet. I’m using Roon server on a Mac Mini with a Meridian endpoint into a Meridian surround controller.

My approach is this: does it sound sensible?

Rip all SACDs multichannel and import them into Roon as DSD files

Use Roon to convert to PCM, downsample, remix to 2.0 and output to the Meridian endpoint which is 2 channel only

Roon reports that the signal path is only High Quality, but it sounds pretty good. In the future I would look to getting the sound into the controller via a Roon bridge so I would benefit from the multichannel rips, albeit converted to PCM by Roon.

I just let Roon do the downsampling and it sounds good to me.

If you are limited to playing 2.0, why are you bothering to rip/save/play multichannel so that Roon has to remix on the fly? You are better off with 2.0 DSFs.

If you are asking me, the albums in question were only multi-channel blu-rays. No 2.0 layer to rip.

I’m only limited to playing 2.0 at the moment. In the future, I will change my roon endpoint to be multichannel capable. My system setup is 5.0.

I suppose the real question I was asking was whether I should continue ripping and storing as DSFs and using Roon to convert on the fly when playing into my system. This is what I’m doing and it’s working well. Or should I attempt to convert them to something like multichannel FLACs so no conversion is taking place in Roon?

Whatever works but I prefer to avoid on-the-fly and undefined down-mixing from multichannel to stereo because one cannot know or control the balances. Using the 2.0 tracks, if you possibly can, means that the mastering engineer optimized the balances (or used an original 2.0 feed). It also eliminates another on-the-fly processing step.

I run DSD stereo/multichannel files without issues on my PC server (with Roon) and play them as DSD or, if I choose, as PCM. I run DSD files on my macMini server (but not with Roon) in stereo and/or multichannel and play them as PCM without issue. In both cases, I see no reason to convert the files, themselves, to FLAC or other PCM files. Perhaps, someday, you will have a DSD capable DAC.

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I don’t disagree. But if all you have are 5.1 tracks you don’t have that option. And from my tests, for me, having Roon do the down mix has better results than the previous down mix I’d manually created using JRiver.

And I’m not seeing down mixing as being CPU intensive. For me, down mixing is operating at 256x, which means ~.03 percent of 1 cpu core. Its far more taxing for me to do extra up sampling after the down mix.

OK, Daniel, but I was responding to the OP and not to you.

I have a bunch of multichannel SACD’s, I just ordered a miniDSP U-DAC8, I will be connecting 4 active speakers to the U-DAC8.

It occurs to me that SACDs are not just 5.1, will my setup be able to handle it?

You should be OK. SACDs can be anything from mono to 6.0 but it makes no difference to the DAC which simply outputs was ROON sends it. In your case, you will have to configure and confirm that ROON knows that you have no center or sub. .

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I realize this is an old thread (and possibly a dumb question), but how do you rip a SACD? I assume we’re talking about the DSD layer and not the CD layer of a hybrid…


They can be ripped using an old PS3 (old, clunky, hard to find), an Oppo 103 or 105, a few Pioneers and a few Sonys. The mother lode for this info is on although there are similar but less comprehensive threads on other forums including here: SACD ripping with Oppo or Pioneer

In addition, my MITR column in the September Stereophile has an overview.

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Miguel: I used a service here in Denver that charges $5 for 2.0, $7.50 for 2.0 and 5.1, delivered back to you as DSD. For another $1, he will convert to FLAC (or your choice). My experience with this guy was wonderful. If you are interested, the website is

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If he is reliable, it is a reasonable price. I would not do it for such a price but, also, I would pay those prices considering how many I needed ripped. DIY.

That’s a lot of money for pressing a button and waiting.

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Great experience with a Sony BDP S490 (bought on ebay for less than 80 €)
Up to now i’ve ripped at least 50 sacd.
Easy, fast, no problem …

Exactly! Bought mine for $40,- Ripping is a piece of cake.

Really? How about I offer you $0.50 for each multichannel rip? (We are just haggling over the price.)

I have multiple setups to rip SACDs and I can do it with little effort. However, the owner would have to ship me his disc, I would have to unpack it, insert it, rip it, send him the files (by Internet, email or on a USB stick) and, probably, pack and return his disc. I wouldn’t do all that for $5 and certainly not dozens or hundreds; that’s a business for somebody else.

I have done it many times for friends at no charge but only for a disc or two. If you have a large collection to rip, bit the bullet and pay what is asked or get a suitable player and DIY!

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I find it a true bargain.

First, I don’t have the hardware or software to do the job. And my time is valuable to me.

For $7.50, I get two hi-res files, stereo and multichannel. Virtually every SACD/DVD-A I have paid to be ripped is unavailable from any commercial source as computer files. They are my discs, and the service is legal. For 2.0 only, the cost is $5.

If you can do it yourself, good for you! If not, at least know that a reputable vendor is available to do the work correctly at a reasonable price. Ari, who owns this service, has ripped more than 200 discs for me. I live in a Denver suburb, so I simply drop off a spindle of discs with a portable hard drive. In a matter of days, I pick them up, sorted and ripped.

I contract out plumbing and electrical services, too.

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Thank you so much MITR for your information. I happen to be the lucky owner of an Oppo 103 and this weekend I was able to rip my first 2 SACDs, one stereo and one multichannel. Exciting! Interestingly, I noticed that when playing the tracks, both JRiver and Roon send the bitstream to the receiver with a much higher sampling rate than the Oppo itself does when playing the disc. It’s very interesting to click on the signal path icon that Roon makes available and see what’s truly going on.

The only unsuccessful experiment was to play the multichannel files through Roon. JRiver does it fine, however Roon fails - when I click to play the album, it just skips through all the tracks in rapid succession without playing anything. No error messages, either. I realize that this is an issue for the support forum and I’ll probably start a thread there, but I thought I’d mention it here first to see if anyone can offer up any suggestions.

Thanks a bunch again. I’m really excited to be able to rip my SACD collection, integrate those albums to my digital library and put those discs away, too.