future of 2 channel CD sound

Since everyone agrees Cds have limited sound quality, do you think
that there will be a new high definition 2 channel audio format? like a hdtv for 2 channels?

I know there is sacd and hd dvd, but people here don't seem so interested in it, or its priced too expensively.
I'm extremely happy with the capability of my Redbook setup for the most part. The problem as I see it is the old "garbage in = garbage out" adage. If the studios keep turning out a POOR product it won’t matter how resolved the output is.

I have remastered Redbook CD's that are nothing short of incredible and SACD's that I am less than impressed with. The more I read about what compression and the "Loudness War" the more I wonder if the whole industry isn’t going the other way. Please check out the "Turn Me Up" link at the bottom of the Agon home page for more info. Lots of good info out there but the bottom line seems to be that most of the recording engineers are being pushed into turning out product geared for iPods and low quality MP3 downloads. Make it louder and the kids will buy it. The cost is dynamics, range and in essence – fidelity. I have been looking for a book that rates the sonic quality of CD recordings; some kind of roadmap that will tell me if it’s going to have that “special sound” or if it’s going to be another waste of $16. So far – nothing. I think we are a dying breed …
The future of high resolution 2 channel sound, for most audiophiles, will come in the form of internet downloads to a music server. And perhaps via a memory stick device that you can transfer files to that server. BTW, people here are interested in the SACD format; it's the rest of society that isn't - that's why it is fading. That being said, long live a high resolution format that has been around for decades!
I doubt it. We had our chance with SACD and DVD-A and didn't have the numbers to (or just plain didn't) make those formats a success. Why would a manufacturer waste further time and money trying to mine a market already found to be unresponsive?
There may be a new high definition audio format on the horizon, but I doubt the software will be sold in stores. I see no future in a high definition silver disc, that already was tried and failed (commercially). A high definition music server, as Seasoned mentions, is a much higher probability, IMHO.

I've done every version of redbook
from 'regular old' to 'remastered' to 'remastered from original
source' to 'remastered from original source by Mobile Fidelity';
to XRCD, XRCD2, XRCD24, and K2, sometime remastered
from original source, sometimes not.
IMHO it's 99% about the care taken with the recording, mastering, etc,
not the format named on the jewel case.
I have 'regular old' CDs that rival the latest-greatest K2s,
and SACDs and DVD-As.

But of course we all have to decide for ourselves.

FWIW, another take on it all ...

If there is, it will be on a DVD so as to provide storage space for the extra data. Or it will come as an internet download as internet bandwidth increases.
I agree with Michaelct - the range of quality on redbook CD is so huge that, for me, it's 99% about the way the recording / mastering is done, and 1% about the format. I think that's one of many reasons why higher-rez formats never took hold.
Two channel will be around as cds and downloads. I agree with the opinions that the sound quality of cds is limited by knowledge of how to record, master and produce a quality cd and the willingness to take the trouble to do it. I think that the sound quality of cds will continue to improve for decades.

Cds are cheaper to produce than lps. Audiophile labels will licence master tapes and reissue cds if the major labels don't want to be bothered with it, just like lps.

I heard something on the news today about how revenues from downloads increased by $40 billion last year, but that was a drop in the bucket compared to reduced revenue from cd sales.
Two channel is here to stay, but I think CDs future is limited. Distributors will have to figure out a formula to make a go of it in the world of downloads for CDs to disappear.

I have to agree about recording and production values. Breaks my heart when a great performance is compromised by a lousy production job. Interesting that musicians who take such care in terms of their performance "allow" engineers and mastering process to mung up their work. John Meyer seems to be a smart and talented guy, but his recordings are some of the worst in terms of over saturation.
Agree with John that a high definition music server is on the horizon. However, I would suspect the recording and mastering process would still play a large part in the sound, and unless something changes, the variability will still be there - you will just hear it more clearly.
will be very interesting to see what happens in the
years ahead. i agree with others in that two channel
will be around long after all of us are.

FWIW, i did an extensive blind test with a Livingston Taylor
CD/DVDA -- "Ink". Not necessarily my preferred listening,
but very well mastered/cut, both, near as I can tell.
Was a total wash. The CD was 'equal to' the DVDA, 30
samplings later. The DVDA was fed from an Arcam 137,
the CD from a Mac Mini to Bel Canto DAC3 > M300s.

who knows? in any case, all this stuff is interesting.

( I'll still spend all my extra $ on speakers though. :-) )
The future of high end audio is on disk, not disc. Format wars are done as Bluray is the last physical media. Everything will be downloads or vinyl. Downloads are already available as 24 bit / 96 KHz files. More should follow.


I would say that there will not be one, at least not for now. The populus does not seem especially interested in better than CD sound. Add to that the fact that the music companies are going to try to hang DRM on any new format and I think new formats are not too likely. I stopped buying DVD-A's and non-hybrid SACD's because of the DRM. I am not going to spend a lot of money on something I can only listen to in my living room. Plus they weren't that much better. I remember the revolution CD's were over vinyl and cassettes, in many ways. It was obvious why they caught on. It is going to take lot to equal that.

With the progress in digital storage it is conceivable that very high def music may be so cheap to produce and store that the CD will just naturally die off as something that is hopelessly antiquated. But I just don't see the impetus driving this. Again, most people don't seem to care, and "most people" are the market.
I agree with Chris that BlueRay (BD) is likely to be the last physical media. However, now that the hi-def format war between HD-DVD and BlueRay is more or less sorted (BlueRay emerging victorious) there is a new development in the horizon.

The details are still sketchy, but it is the Profile 3.0 of BD which is supposed to be Audio only profile (If you need to learn more about differet BD Profles and their evolution please check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc#Player_profiles . And the best part is as of now there is no support for Java or Video and that means the Hardware players cicuitry will not be 'contaminated' by all these unnecessary additions.

Think of it as a plain two channel SACD with 10 times more capacity.

Once the profile is launched, I would assume music server manufacturers will provide software support for ripping the compatible BDs or for downloads.

I dont understand why hard drive recording (studio recording) is 24 bit+ but CD is only 16 bit?
if music will be via downloads, not discs does that mean musicians can sell direct to consumer, and big record labels won't need to exist?
charging consumers more and absorbing musicians' profits?
My take on CDs in general is they are dinosaurs. The music industry is looking for a way to control their product and they are losing. They are losing because they still offer CDs and our ability to move that data around. Our ability to manipulate it is their Achilles heal.

Cd's will not be sold in the future. Music, in CD redbook and higher, will only be available for download with heavy DRM attached. It will be offered for sale for one player/server per purchase. New music will suffer. The music industry will offer us crap mp3s for free or dirt cheap like the crack and marijuana dealers do in the playground to kids- to get them hooked.