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Sony pulling the plug on SACD?

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#1 of 70 JeremySt



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Posted January 09 2004 - 07:00 AM

These could be a total false alarm, but Ive heard rumors coming from the Consumer Electronics Show that due to poor sales or a soon to be seen better format, Sony is going to quit making SACDs. Rumor is that Sony intends to make an announcement soon that they will let the format "fade away". Im not tring to be chicken little or anything, just thought I would share what ive heard. Im not sure if I believe it, yet.

#2 of 70 Craig S

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Posted January 09 2004 - 08:05 AM

I thought SACD-2 was coming soon. Maybe that's what this is about?

Doesn't really make any sense though. Hardware support for SACD is increasing (see Toshiba's new combo players announced at CES).

Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:


* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.

* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.

* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.

#3 of 70 Jonathan Dagmar

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Posted January 09 2004 - 08:28 AM

SACD-2? Sheesh, do we really need that?

#4 of 70 RobertR


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Posted January 09 2004 - 08:54 AM

And the winner is....


#5 of 70 David_Rivshin


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Posted January 09 2004 - 09:02 AM

Sony isn't exactly a company known for giving up in format wars... Heck, they're still pushing MiniDisc, and I even thought I recently saw a player using some new higher capacity MiniDisc. Sony dropping SACD completely would almost be akin to the GWBush deciding Marx had it right all along... Not impossible, but I don't personally consider it very likely Posted Image

As far as SACD-2... never heard anything about that before, but wouldn't it be great to put a DSD stream onto a blue-ray capacity disc? Of course you could do the same thing with MLP on an AOD type disc, and be right back into the middle of a format war Posted Image

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#6 of 70 StephenB



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Posted January 09 2004 - 09:29 AM

I'd be very surprised if Sony bailed on SACD. Here's part of a story that ran in the Financial Times this week. (sorry, can't post links)

Bob Dylan's cufflink clunks against his guitar strings as he strums along to "Shelter From The Storm". As "Tangled Up In Blue" gets under way, the listener is suddenly aware of acoustic guitars they had never heard before.

What is remarkable is that these sonic revelations have not come about on the latest leg of Dylan's Never-Ending Tour, but on a reissue of Blood On The Tracks, an album nearly 30 years old. This classic paean to a disintegrating relationship is one of 15 Dylan albums to be given the super-audio CD (SACD) treatment, and the results are little short of breathtaking.

Familiar tracks, such as "Visions of Johanna" from his masterwork Blonde On Blonde, suddenly yield new aural wonders, while the drums in "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" lollop along more joyously than ever. The bass is wonderfully rich and the cymbals fizz like cymbals ought to. At times, it feels like you are listening to a new version.

And in many ways you are because SACD represents the music industry's latest gamble to stem plunging sales. An entirely new format designed to be played in special players, SACD's main initial calling card is its backwards compatibility with normal CDs.

Most SACD releases, including the Dylan ones, are printed on two separate layers - one plays in normal CD players, and the other plays only in SACD players, which are often linked to surround-sound systems.

The result may be the first audio format since vinyl to satisfy consumers, audiophiles and music executives alike. For consumers, the sound quality on the normal CD layer is better than on any previous releases, giving them the impetus to repurchase whole swathes of artists' back catalogues.


#7 of 70 StephenB



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Posted January 09 2004 - 09:30 AM

Audiophiles point to SACD's technical capability. They have long moaned that normal CDs only recognise frequencies up to 20hz, the limit of human hearing. But they say that higher sounds contribute to the ambience of the music. SACDs have a frequency response of up to 100hz, making the sound quality closer to vinyl for enthusiasts.

"Audiophiles are the hardest group of people to please," says Chad Kassem, owner of Acoustic Sounds, a Kansas-based company which is one of the largest sellers of SACDs in the US. "People who bought vinyl and hate CDs are just getting into SACD because it's much more of a warmer, smoother sound that's easier on the ear."

For the music industry, a lot more than fantastic sounding music is at stake. Album sales fell 11 per cent in the first half of 2003, after an 8 per cent drop the year before, according to the industry body, the IFPI.

David Walstra, SACD project director at Sony Europe, says: "SACD is a way of trying to counteract the drying up of revenue for labels. The situation for record companies is very serious. The CD needs to be beefed up."

SACD has two big advantages for the industry as a whole, as well as an extra one for Sony and Philips, the inventors of the original CD. SACD was created by the latter two companies because their patents on the CD were about to expire.

SACD represents their attempt to garner fresh royalties and licensing from another generation of shoppers. They have given rival music companies what one executive describes as "a significant slab of cash" to encourage them to release albums on the new format.


#8 of 70 StephenB



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Posted January 09 2004 - 09:31 AM

The approach seems to be working. There are about 1,600 SACD releases, including the complete Decca catalogue of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon (which sounds utterly fabulous in surround sound), all the Police albums, as well as issues from artists as diverse as Roxy Music and soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone.

It's not just rock and pop music that is getting the special treatment. Deutsche Grammophon's release of Mahler's Third Symphony with Pierre Boulez is beautifully fulsome, with virtually each instrument of the orchestra able to be isolated. Repertoires such as soul singer Sam Cooke's, which had been poorly transferred to CD, regain all their warmth as their bottom end is given some oomph.

The major advantage SACD offers the industry is its secure format. "Piracy is the industry's biggest challenge," says Walstra. "SACD is the only audio format that hasn't been hacked. It is pirate-proof."

Adam Liversage at Universal Music International, the world's biggest label, agrees saying there are no blank discs that have been created to copy SACDs. "It is not something which will probably interest consumers, but from an industry point of view it is key," he says. Piracy has become the scourge of the industry. IFPI data estimates that as many as one in three CDs sold last year was pirated.

The other main advantage is that in the industry's battle against the MP3 digital format, popularised by portable players such as Apple's iPod, SACDs are linked to the most successful new audiovisual product of the last 20 years: DVD. The full SACD mix can be achieved with certain DVD surround sound systems and normal DVD players will play a stereo mix.


#9 of 70 StephenB



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Posted January 09 2004 - 09:32 AM

Senior industry figures, including Walstra and Liversage, envisage SACD as the audio counterpart to the DVD video format. Both will be played on the same system through surround sound (achieved by having five speakers strategically placed in the room, so the sound envelopes the listener).

All this depends on the consumer. Sales of SACDs have been healthy, with Sting's latest album selling 650,000 copies and the Rolling Stones' reissues well over a million. But confusion remains in some countries, particularly the US, with the release of the rival DVD-audio format (see sidebar).

The broader question is whether consumers are ready to move on from the CD. The backwards compatibility of SACD is a help, but to appreciate fully the new format you need an SACD player. Prices are tumbling with players retailing for under £300. Liversage compares the situation to where DVD was about three years ago when players suddenly became available at prices attractive to the public.

But the industry remains largely mistrusted by a public angry at expensive CD prices and the assault on free internet downloading. Nobody is really sure what impact MP3 players will have on the market, although independent research has suggested that 75-80 per cent of music will still be bought in packaged media in 2007.

For an industry battered by heavy losses and having to rationalise through mergers to stay in existence, SACD is one of the key elements to its future health.

I hope I don't get in trouble for parsing that story and posting it like that.

#10 of 70 John Garcia

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Posted January 09 2004 - 11:06 AM

Well, I've also heard the same thing about DVD-A. One of it's largest supporters, Warner, is not seeing the sales they would like with DVD-A, and with a recent merger, who knows if this format's future could be in jeopardy as well.

I'm very happy with SACD, and will stick with it for now. I only have DVD-A because there are certain titles/artists that I want.

I hope I don't get in trouble for parsing that story and posting it like that.

Post a link instead or in addition to it so the source has full credit.
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#11 of 70 Jason_A


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Posted January 09 2004 - 11:16 AM

Album sales fell 11 per cent in the first half of 2003, after an 8 per cent drop the year before, according to the industry body, the IFPI

Maybe cause Albums the last 5 years suck that could account for that. And also that people are interested in other things than music these days.


Posted Image

#12 of 70 Danny Tse

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Posted January 09 2004 - 11:57 AM

Yes, Sony just introduced Hi-MD....pushing MD capacity to 1GB per disc. Here're what some of the most feverish users of portable devices have to say about this new development. And it's getting a much bigger buzz than the iPod Mini.

As for SACD, I seriously doubt Sony is even remotely considering pulling the plug. With the Toshiba announcement of its uni players and increased production/releases of hybrid SACDs, I am thinking SACD is actually moving in the forward direction.
SACD not listed at sa-cd.net (updated 8/26/2009)

#13 of 70 Chu Gai

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Posted January 09 2004 - 02:54 PM

Well if they did, I'd imagine whatever came afterwards would be backwards compatible.

As far as the statement...
"Audiophiles are the hardest group of people to please," says Chad Kassem, owner of Acoustic Sounds, a Kansas-based company which is one of the largest sellers of SACDs in the US. "People who bought vinyl and hate CDs are just getting into SACD because it's much more of a warmer, smoother sound that's easier on the ear."
all I have to say is the material is hopefully being mixed better to take advantage of the medium and just maybe the recording engineers are starting to figure out you can't take vinyl approaches to CD. Nothing like covering the asses of the recording studios and milking that cow.

#14 of 70 Grant B

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Posted January 10 2004 - 08:44 AM

I talked to a sony rep at the SF AV show and his statement was this. Sony is pushing SACD because they are co-owners of the SACD format.....hence 50% of the $$$$ (or yen).
DVDA- they are in a pack of 15 or so.
50% or ~8%?
Don't take a genuis to figure that one out
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#15 of 70 Rachael B

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Posted January 10 2004 - 03:42 PM

Yeah, they quiting SACD in favour of SA-CD!Posted Image
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#16 of 70 ThomasEdison



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Posted October 23 2004 - 11:32 AM

At Best Buy today I noticed that all of the DVD-A/SACD players they have are on clearance. I also haven't seen any new releases to either format.

I have bought a couple of DVD-A releases to try them out on my 'regular' DVD player and I have enjoyed listening to them in Dolby Digital 5.1 but I know they will sound better on a 'DVD-Audio' Player.

I guess my question is "Is it over"? Should I invest my money on one of these players. I have searched the internet for future SACD/DVD-A release dates and all I have found are a few classical releases but nothing I am interested in.

If anyone has any information on the future of these formats I would love to know. I can get a really great deal on a combo SACD/DVD-A player but I don't want to buy something that's already 'dead'. Thanks.

#17 of 70 Danny Tse

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Posted October 23 2004 - 12:47 PM

On November 2nd alone, Universal Music is issuing 5 classic Elton John, 2 classic Eric Clapton, and a Derek & The Dominos titles on SACD. On November 9th, there're another 23 titles, including The Carpenters, being released. You can see the details in the below link....


Sony has released 4 SACD in the last couple of months. The BMG/RCA Living Stereo and Mercury Living Presence titles are being released on SACD as well. Telarc just announced it will release some of its classic titles on SACD, including its original Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Rumor has it that Sony will release Aerosmith's "Rocks" by the end of the year. Early next year, we may see 7 classic Moody Blues albums on SACD, along with some classic Genesis (Peter Gabriel is having issues with the new multi-channel mix). Not to mention the persistant rumors of more Pink Floyd SACDs.

And that's just for the US.

On a worldwide basis, more than 60 titles have been released on SACD thus far during October, including Mark Knopfler's latest studio album. This past month, September, SACD saw its busiest month in terms of releases worldwide, with 102 releases worldwide....

SACD not listed at sa-cd.net (updated 8/26/2009)

#18 of 70 Kevin C Brown

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Posted October 23 2004 - 07:27 PM

I just don't know about SACD's future:

o SACD used to be prominantly displayed on Sony Electronic's home page. Now you have to dig a little to find any mention of it.

o Where is the $1000 ES SACD/CD single disc player that I want to buy? They have a real lack of variety for hardware right now.

o Sony Music is supporting DualDisc. The only good thing is that instead of CD and DVD-A like most releases, Sony's will be CD and DVD-V.

o Stupid marketing mistakes like releasing the Allman Bros Band Live at Fillmore East on SACD without all the extra tracks now available on *two* different versions of remastered CDs.

o Most SACDs are mastered in PCM and then converted to DSD. Yeah, OK, so where's the advantage again?

o If you go to the end of this article where it says "What is the Correct Way for SACD Playback?" it says that the best way to play back a SACD is to convert the DSD stream to PCM first. Gets rid of all the high freq quantization "noise". A lot of people who are smarter than you and me say that this is a real problem with the sound quality of SACD.


o Why is it that players like the Denon 3910 and 5900 have to convert to PCM to effectively do bass management and time alignment? Because it is almost impossible to do that in a true native 1-bit DSD stream.

I really do want SACD to succeed because I don't want to have to turn on my TV every time I "listen" to a DVD-A (or now, DualDisc). But I just don't know...
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#19 of 70 EricRWem



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Posted October 24 2004 - 02:06 AM

http://www.avsforum.....ight=SACD dead

This thread might interest you all. I'm not quite as ready to ring my wrists on high rez audio. In fact, I take great pains to spread the gospel of high rez audio to everyone I know.

What's pathetic is, we're half way through the first decade of the 21st century, and we're still sitting on very overpriced CD's (these have been around forever now, by electronics' standards) and we're actually taking sideways and backwards steps with MP3's and WMA.


Kevin will remember this thread. If you scroll down a tad on the first page, there's a big post I did under the Q alias there that really broke down the costs associated with regular CD production. I had come into the thread with news about WalMart fighting the RIAA to sell CD's for $10, which is a lot closer to what they really should cost, imho.

Both threads highly recommended for your reading pleasure. Posted Image

Let me give you the information here that I posted there to set up the rest of my comments.

This breakdown of the cost of a typical major-label release by the independent market-research firm Almighty Institute of Music Retail shows where the money goes for a new album with a list price of $15.99.

$0.17 Musicians' unions
$0.80 Packaging/manufacturing
$0.82 Publishing royalties
$0.80 Retail profit
$0.90 Distribution
$1.60 Artists' royalties
$1.70 Label profit
$2.40 Marketing/promotion
$2.91 Label overhead
$3.89 Retail overhead

Here's a second set of figures that I found as well, so see which set makes more sense to you. Some of you work in this industry, maybe you can clear it up for me.


$0.17 Musicians' unions
$--- Packaging/manufacturing
$0.82 Publishing royalties
$--- Retail profit
$0.75 Online distributor profit
$--- Distribution
$1.60 Artists' royalties
$1.70 Label profit
$2.40 Marketing/promotion
$2.91 Label overhead
$--- Retail overhead
$1.00 Online distributor overhead

$11.35 Total

I have my doubts about this second set myself. The person who gave these to me claims to work in the music industry, but I have no way of verifying that enough to my own satisfaction. Certainly that would make him more "sympathetic". Most places I've read up on this match the first set of stats by far.

The links and sources for this information are right there in the AVS thread.

You'll notice the second thread is about JVC's XRCD's which I denounced as a rip-off and a scam outright and I think backed that thesis up quite well, regardless of what one pissy forumer there thought. Kevin and several others blew it out of the park. XRCD isn't even for consideration, imho. $30 on average for a non high rez disc is utterly ludicrous and insane.

The truth of this whole mattter is: It's a chicken and egg argument.

SACD and DVD-A's biggest enemy is wretched marketing (i.e. virtually none) and lack of exposure. Combine with that with misconceptions and misinformation about costs and ease of use and you can see why things are the way they are today. Pitiful!

By all rights, we're at a point where at least one, if not both of these format should be the "main thing" we all use now instead of CD's and WMA's and MP3's. I hear Acura is starting to put DVD-A in some of its newer cars as a perk option. This is a good move, since a lot of people have to spend a lot of time in their cars. Posted Image Posted Image We need to see more of these kinds of moves happening!

Here's some good websites for you to show you what the high rez audio scene looks like:

www.highfidelityreview.com (This is where you should always go first before making a purchase. However, this is FAR from comprehensively covering every release. Just keep that in mind.)

www.acousticsounds.com The best place I know of to buy SACD's and DVD-A's. Amazon's selection is pitiful. Best Buy, Circuit City, B&N, Borders, all these places have so-so selections.

www.dvdempire.com has an ok DVD-A selection. A search engine of your choice will yield other places that you'll obviously have to check out before you do business with them. But it's out there, folks, and it's a better landscape than you would think.

Now, what really makes this all ridiculous is, if you click on acoustics and just casually browse the front page, what's the first thing you will see? You will see prices that, for the most part, are the same, or even less, than a lot of regular CD's. Hello?!?! Does that make sense to anyone here? Especially in lieu of the data I just posted here for you? Makes me pretty mad, really.

Combine that with the fact that inexpensive universal high rez players like the Pioneer 578 are floating out there under $!50, and it's just really no excuse for high rez not be a lot more common and flourishing than it is. Sony pretty much has SACD ability read to go in most of their DVD and CD Players these days and inputs ready on even their cheapest home theater in boxes.

Point is: High rez is available, nice selection, can be done without breaking the bank easily.

I think SACD and DVD-A's present status is an excellent foreshadowing of how Blue Ray and HD-DVD's first few years are going to be like in the marketplace.

#20 of 70 Max F

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Posted October 24 2004 - 03:04 AM

Noobs perspective:

I'm trying to get into hi-res - its just not very easy at all. I just now got everything set up for home theater (DD 5.1). This is much more than the average person. None of my friends have a decent home theater set up.

So now i've got to find me a new DVD player so i can play either DVD-A or SACD, but i'm not going to pay over $200. Luckilly, there are a couple of choices available now. Ok, now i've got to replace my crummy surround sound speakers cause they are not up to snuff for music. That's not cheap. Oh wait, i have to make sure my receiver has all the analog inputs for each speaker and sub - that's confusing. Fortunately, it does. Wait, will i have bass management? Who knows - that'll suck if i don't.

Once i get all of this done, now what do i buy and what format - the selection isn't that great to begin with. I'm sure I'll enjoy this when its all together, but it's kindof a painintheass.

Meanwhile, i think my 2-channel sounds pretty sweet...it's going to be hard to beat.

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