Latest SACD News - Very Interesting.

Rumor is one of the main record companies had decided to stop CD production and switch to SACD/CD hybrids for all new titles. As Sony cannot as yet produce hybrids, it is assumed that the label in question has to be Universal (Philips).

The news, announced at a Sony-Philips press conference, was that one million consumer SACD players have been sold so far. The prognosis for SACD is total worldwide sales of 6 million players (in whatever form) in 2003 and 13 million in 2004.

Sounds like great news, but there are still no SACD titles I want to buy; and I refuse to pay more for a hybrid CD I can't use.

More information is at:

Thinking more about it; I did not even get a CD player until the summer of 1990; or 6+ years after CD's came out. I still use that old player in my work office (Rotel RCD-855). It still sounds great, and more analog than many new CD players.

So I guess I still have many years until the later part of this decade to decide whether it is worth it to get a SACD player. I still play a little vinyl regularly.

The last desperate try to revitalize an almost dead new format. Only interesting for NEW recordings instead of old which have just been transferred. And that will take a decade to go.In the meantime: long live vinyl and/or the best of CDs!

Especially in that I've been thinking about the same eventuality. I remember what happened to LPs when CDs came out: shops found they could put much more inventory in less space, so gradually---and suddenly, in some cases---there were no more LPs. I imagine the record companies see the hybrids as a big cash cow to be slaughtered. Hybrids probably cost the same to make, but retail prices go up by 50-100%. Everyone makes out like a bandit, with the notable exception of the consumer, of course.

For this very reason, I've been considering the purchase of
one of the two Sony players (SCD-CE775 or SCD-DVP-500V) reviewed, favorably, in the current TAS. I say "favorably"
with reservations, since I get the feeling TAS is going the way of Stereophile: liking everything they review; or, perhaps, not reviewing anything they don't like (?), to the extent that the reader comes away from their reviews not really knowing what to think. At any rate, I've been wondering how SACDs played on either of these inexpensive players stack up against the CD layer played on my current combo of CEC TL-1X/Chord DAC-64. If I thought there would be some favorable comparison, I'd feel better about shelling out the additional price for hybrids.

It's hard for me to imagine that either of these players
in SACD mode can match my present CD playback, however,
even in view of that puzzling recent thread on the Forum about the SCD-DVP-500V being better than the SCD-1.

My present problem is the fact that, as stated by many people on the Forum, there's not much of interest to me on SACD, hybrid or otherwise. I enjoy almost exclusively classical, and even within classical, my tastes have narrowed to string quartets, piano trios, piano quartets, piano quintets, small chamber orchestras, etc., so I have difficulty finding new material available even on standard CDs, not to mention the very limited selection on SACD. I presently own three hybrids, and only one of those has any interest to me. The highly-touted Water Lily "Nature's Realm", with which R.E. Greene is so proud to have been involved, sounds like a mono recording to me, unless the speakers are repositioned in the weird configuration required by the Blunheim technique. Even then the sound is nothing to write home about, IMHO. The other one not worth hearing is the Vanguard "Plow That Broke the Plains"---a remastered Stokowski recording from ancient stereo history. The one that I do enjoy is on Hyperion---piano trios of Ravel/Debussy/Faure. Admittedly, I have only heard these in CD mode, but seriously doubt that the SACD layer would correct the deficiencies to which I object, namely the unorthodox mike technique of the Water Lily, and the tubby, laborious, stale sound of the Vanguard (I suppose I'm simply not a fan of anything remastered!).

The other alternative to buying a hybrid player now is to simply wait. Wait until there's more software available, and until player prices bottom out. Problem with this is that, if history repeats itself, prices for truly high end SACD players will start rising again, just as happened with CD players: who would ever have imagined that there would be CD players selling in five figures? Those $200 Yamahas
were supposed to be "as good as it gets", right? Perfect sound forever, for next to nothing. Then came upsampling, oversampling, jitter filtering, on and on.

I would be interested in reading of any other comparisons between high end CD players and these two inexpensive Sony SACD players.

Correction: I realized as soon as I posted the previous message that I should have said "Blumlein", not "Blunheim", in reference to the mike technique. Please excuse. (I suppose this was a symptom of my absolute lack of interest in, even my disdain for, this method of recording!)

The rotel 855 is very easy to listen to. I owned one and a later model that Bruce Armstrong[peak audio] did mods on. Then he tore the analogue section out of a Kenwood[handfuls of cheap parts, and completely rebuilt itthe way he thought it would sound most analogue. He actually did a lot of listening to changes he made [he sold 4 of them and built one for himself....they are all still working fine and are making good music to this day..the new gear is better but I'm waiting to see where all this lands. My nephew is still using my rotel 855 and he was surprised when his new panasonic dvd did not sound nearly as good on cds....maybe Bruce will mod a sacd player for me someday when I feel safe with their reliabilty.
Let me get this straight. Universal/Sony is going to produce all SACD's with only on pressing plant. Doesn't sound like they have the capacity to produce very many disc. And, in the mean time they are going to screw all those consumers with standard cd/dvd players. Sounds like suicide to me.

So, how many cd (dvd/cd) players have consumers purchased since cd became available? A hell of a lot more than 1 million units. Personally, I own 7 cd,dvd players (2 person household, including cdrom and car unit). So, universal is going to forget about all those hundreds of millions of cd players to concentrate on 1 million sacd players. Again, the numbers don't add up.

Universal is hoping to charge about $23 per disc. Key word is hoping. A bet anybody that those disc hit the shelves for $30-$40. So , let me get this straight; I go out and buy a $300 sacd/dvd/cd player and have to pay $30-$40 to buy one disc. In my professional opinion (27 years in the audio industry) a customer that comes in and buys a bargain cd/sacd player is not looking to spend even $23 on a cd. The only customers who buy bargain cd/dvd players fall into the "I don't care how it sounds-I just don't want to see it and make it easy to use crowd" commonly refered to as custom installation.

Finally, Sony says that they are committed to high quality audio. In the last 6 months I have purchased 4 cd's distributed by Sony that had nothing but MP3's on them. When I called to bitch at Sony they told me this is a way for them to control illegal copying. So, you put the CD label on a disc (which means that it has to conform to red book cd audio) and fill it with MP3's and pass it off as a real CD. Looks to me that Sony is really interested in quality audio. BTW Sony did replace them with real CD's.
Phillips has said they would no longer let anyone use that "CD" label on non-redbook CDs. There are some already out there has Prpixel notes.

I agree that 1 million is not a lot of SACD players (even 13 million). Since we all have different taste, no SACD is going platinum on billboard anytime soon. I count Ten CD players we own when you add in boomboxes, walkmans, and the cars; not even counting the computer's CD (2 more, plus work). And there are 290 million people in the USA alone. The number of CD/DVD players must be in the multiple billions worldwide.

The point everyone seems to be missing is that Universal has denied that they are switching over to hybrids. That could be smoke, but if it were they could have done a much better job of fudging. Apparently, they told Stereophile that it just wasn't true. And Stereophile ran with the story anyway.
Stereophile seems to have fanned a few industry rumours into a small flame.
Why would a major record company move to hi rez primarily to get around the copy protection problems in cd? Apart from the fact that anything can be copied in analog via an a/d and posted to the internet as a pcm digital copy, there is the question of challenging the hacker world to defeat SACD and DVD-A copy protection. At the moment SACD and DVD-A are obscure audiophile formats and probably not worthy of serious hacking, but if they become the industry's answer to avoiding copying, I'd expect an all-out assault on their protection schemes.
For me a new format is inevitable. I fought like hell to stop cassette and CD, but you know what, the big companies will do what they want and the consumer be damned. They can ignore the consumer because the average consumer is a melon head--completely, and easily persuaded by the media and Best Buy/Circuit City mentality. If you build it they will buy it.

I want SACD to win the format war even though I don't own a player. The reason? Two channel survival. If DVD-A wins out, you and every audiophile can forget about two channel. I can't afford 5.1 now or in the future. My listening room can't even fit small wall mounted speakers much less subwoofers or decent rear channel speakers. If my greatest desire was a front channel speaker I couldn't do a damn thing about it--no room.

DVD-A is totally motivated by gimmicky and non-musical values. DVD-A is a threat to everyone who loves music. Not only that, SACD pounds the crap outta DVD-A. I have 2000 redbook CDs but I wanna die having purchased at least 20,000 titles--ain't gonna happen with evil DVD-A. I want to get off the hardware carousel and start buying music again. It's music I love--not amps and line conditioners.

99% of people who own DVDs wouldn't know a quality recording if it bit them in the ass--and if we do nothing as an audiophile community, then these DVD owners, the lowest common demoninators, are gonna dictate the future of our music. It scares the hell outta me. In about six months I'm gonna buy me a new Sony 777 (been saving for three years now) because it still supports two channel and sounds great, it beats the Mark Levinson redbook player I auditioned--so analogue like. How analogue like is DVD-A? I've only heard the Toshiba and I wasn't impressed.
Good points all. I believe that SACD is a path to keep performances digitally locked up without copy codes/protection. If no chip set and no player can copy the disk digitally, or output the bit stream (other than big $$$ players like Accuphase or through heavy license fees), then the media companies can skirt the freedom of copy issues in court. Eventually CD players and music CDs will be phased out - there will no longer be CDs except for data copy and legacy. The big media companies are attempting to put the genie back in the bottle. I guess I will have to dust off my Nak 700II for car-tunes!
I started another thread on the subject on 5/27, take a look on the points that have been made them to complement the ones here that are also very interesting.
Back in 1953 when I bought my first "HI FI" someone gave me my first LP record to play on it: the broadway show "Wonderful Town". I still have that record, and my up to date equipment can still play it.

Will any tape or digital media match that longevity?
Eldartford-well you'd be beeter aking your kids than most folks here-most of us will be lucky to get another 50 years!