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Oh, the frustration of trying to find SACDs and DVD-Audio discs in stores.


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#1 of 58 KeithH

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Posted August 22 2002 - 11:23 AM

This thread will amount to a rant. For me, shopping for SACDs and DVD-Audio discs in brick-and-mortar stores is continually met with nothing but frustration. I live in Delaware, and the stores I frequent to buy music are Best Buy, Circuit City, Borders, and Barnes and Noble. If I am willing to drive 45 minutes into New Jersey, I can shop at Tower Records or Compact Disc World. I also have Tower Records about an hour away in the Philly area. However, most of my shopping is done in Delaware. Besides the fact that I live in the Diamond State, I don't pay sales tax here. Here are my peeves about shopping for SACDs and DVD-Audio discs at local stores:

1) Finding new SACDs is near impossible. Borders and Barnes and Noble have no SACDs. Period. Best Buy has a smattering of Sony titles and a handful of Telarc discs. Circuit City has a smattering of Sony titles. The Best Buy and Circuit City stores in my area rarely get in new Sony SACDs. One Best Buy store had a copy of the Janis Joplin Cheap Thrills SACD for $19.99 and two copies of the Bruce Springsteen Live in New York SACD for $29.99 last week. Sure the discs were there, but I would like to see lower prices. $19.99 is just too high for a single disc in my opinion. Also, neither Best Buy nor Circuit City stores in my locale got the Miles Davis In A Silent Way or Aerosmith Oh Yeah! SACDs this week. Posted Image

The vast majority of SACDs at Best Buy and Circuit City are the older stereo titles in cardboard sleeves. I was encouraged by Best Buy stores in my area getting in the new Joplin and Springsteen SACDs last week, but that was an aberration, and as I said, the prices are still on the high side. Circuit City stores near me got new Sony titles last winter and spring, but that has stopped. It's really sad. Posted Image

2) Finding non-Sony SACDs, which are hybrids, is practically impossible. Now, before anyone plants the flag for the forthcoming Stones discs that will supposedly be available everywhere, let's be honest. The Stones discs will be an abberation (my new favorite word). Outside of the four or five Telarc hybrid discs at Best Buy stores, there are no hybrids to be found anywhere. I am still stupid enough to look in the Alison Krauss section at local stores in the hopes that a hybrid disc version of New Favorite will have slipped through the cracks. Of course that doesn't happen. All I see are the CDs. The same goes for Philip Bailey Soul on Jazz. Just CDs. Furthermore, I have hoped that the MFSL Patricia Barber SACDs would make their way to stores in my area just as MFSL gold CDs used to, but that hasn't happened. Posted Image

3) Buying DVD-Audio discs at local stores is completely impossible or impractical. Borders has a handful of titles, and prices are high. Barnes and Noble has none. Circuit City has Warner discs for $13.99 on its web site, but has no discs in the stores. Best Buy stores have Warner discs for $22.99. Gee whiz, Warner only dropped the retail price 4-6 weeks ago. Circuit City now has the Panasonic DVD-CP72S DVD-Audio changer for $250, but has no DVD-Audio discs to go with it. Posted Image

Yes, I know I can order discs online anytime I want. However, I like the ability to walk into a store on a whim and walk out with new music that I can enjoy at home that day. I just can't do that in my area with SACD and DVD-Audio. As I said, I can venture to Tower Records or Compact Disc World stores that are out of state, but not far away. Tower Records probably does the best job of stocking SACDs and DVD-Audio discs in my area, but their prices are not favorable. The nearest Compact Disc World stores to me in New Jersey have been doing a horrendous job of stocking SACDs over the past six months. I have bought a number of Sony titles that they have never restocked. It's pathetic.

Well, I guess that's enough venting for now. Posted Image
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#2 of 58 Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 22 2002 - 11:42 AM

Quote:
Finding new SACDs is near impossible. Borders and Barnes and Noble have no SACDs.


Agreed. The solution?

Purchasing on the web! I have been buying from Acoustic Sounds and I am very happy with the service. I have been very pleased with my last 12 purchases.

The problem with bricks and mortar is the lack of inventory. You drive, waste valuable time, and some high schooler has often not ordered the latest releases even though its Tuesday. Posted Image

But I run into this with CDs as well. My tastes are varied and I am always amazed at the increasingly small selection of redbook CDs. The best selection is Tower here in Atlanta and the classical and jazz section is a big embarassment.

This is likely a sympton of poor industry economics and the unwilling nature of retailers like Best Buy to carry any inventory. A great business strategy, but only to a point you don't upset your customer.

Finding rap music? no problem.
Finding Arturo Delmoni? big problem.

This (and books) is where online makes a bunch of sense.

I also recommend Amazon and Music Direct highly.

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#3 of 58 Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 22 2002 - 11:49 AM

Quote:
I am still stupid enough to look in the Alison Krauss section at local stores in the hopes that a hybrid disc version of New Favorite will have slipped through the cracks. Of course that doesn't happen.


Keith,

This actually happens at the Tower Atlanta all the time. In fact, I check the regular bins because there are more SACDs there than in the "High End Audio" section.

I am not as worried as you because I think audiophiles are used to searching out specialized retail operations like Acoustic Sounds.
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#4 of 58 Jerry Hostler

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Posted August 22 2002 - 03:25 PM

Well Keith, I totally agree with you, and there is nothing wrong with letting off a little steam about this situation.

It is the same here in the Sacramento area. I asked a couple of times in the local Best Buy if they stocked SACD's and they gave me that "huh" look. It wasn't until a couple months ago that I happened to be waaaaay in the back of the store, behind a couple aisles that were selling, I don't know, some weird electronic gizmo, and low and behold, there were the SACD's! All Sony. Well, all 15-20 of them. Not attractive pricing either.

Our local Circuit City has one of those Sony Dream system HTIB type things with about 20 SACD's next to it. All Sony. A salesperson saw me looking through the small selection and asked "Do you know what those are? Do you own an SACD player". He was surprised when I said, yeah, for a couple years now.

Tower Records nearby has a pretty decent selection of both SACD and DVD-A, but like you say, the prices are high and STILL do not reflect the Warner price drop.

This feels the same to me as when DVD came out and I was the only one in 3 counties to have one. I bought hundreds of DVD's via mail and that's how I'm now getting my high rez music. Unfortuanately, I doubt high rez music will take off like DVD did. Looks like this is the way it will be for the forseeable future.

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#5 of 58 John Kotches

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Posted August 22 2002 - 03:27 PM

Lee,

Keith's point is simple, and one I believe you have overlooked.

Music is typically bought as an "impulse purchase" / "immediate gratification" type item. Mail ordering does not satisfy this type of purchasing habit.

Until the titles of SACD and DVD-A are readily available at the mass merchants, they will remain niche formats, since the overwhelming majority of sales are at retail locations.

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#6 of 58 Matt Butler

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Posted August 22 2002 - 06:50 PM

I am a manager in a Sam Goody in the Citrus Heights/ Sacramento area. I was talking with a Warner/WEA rep a while ago asking about the stauts of DVD-A and why they dont release more titles and he feels like the "suits" dont care about it and it is a niche market. Sad isnt it? Posted Image

Im trying to get my store to carry it. Another SG store in the area carries DVD-A and i'd like to sell it as well.

BTW can someone tell me what a hybrid SACD is?
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#7 of 58 KeithH

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Posted August 22 2002 - 11:25 PM

Matthew,

A hybrid SACD is one that has both CD and SACD layers on it. Thus, a hybrid disc can be played in practically any CD player (some old models might struggle with them). SACD players allow you to choose playback of the SACD or CD layer on hybrid discs. Note that Sony is producing only single-layer SACDs at this point (no CD layer). All other record labels are producing hybrid discs.


Lee said:

Quote:
I am not as worried as you because I think audiophiles are used to searching out specialized retail operations like Acoustic Sounds.


This is exactly what irks me. I love music, but I don't consider myself an audiophile, believe it or not. Furthermore, I don't want to have to accept the audiophile mentality that my music is obscure and I must buy it online to own it. The whole source of my frustration is that I see little to no progress being made by the backers of SACD and DVD-Audio to get high-resolution music to the masses. Best Buy and Circuit City stores in my area are not restocking SACDs, and Borders and Barnes and Noble don't sell them at all. It just plain sucks. Posted Image
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#8 of 58 anthony_b

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Posted August 22 2002 - 11:47 PM

Keith. I couldn't agree more. How can they invest so much money in making players and promotion without much software ?...It just doesn't add up !!!...
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#9 of 58 Julian Reville

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Posted August 23 2002 - 01:59 AM

Agree with this thread completely; a few weeks ago I wasted a couple of hours trying to find ANYTHING new on SACD or DVD-A at my only choices here: BB & CC. I vowed "Never again!" and went home and had an enjoyable time surfing the net for titles, while drinking a cold brew. Posted Image

#10 of 58 Mike Broadman

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Posted August 23 2002 - 02:34 AM

My experiences mirror Keith's.

Also, I really hate ordering on-line. For one thing, I did have one security problem with cduniverse.com a couple of years ago, where an ATM swallowed up my card because of them. It took me two days to track the problem to cd-freakin'-universe-dot-freakin'-com! That aside, I don't like paying for shipping, and I hate the wait. There were instances where I literally waited months for an on-line shipment.

My on-line ordering in the past year or so has been relegated to www.disciplineglobalmobile.com for all of my obscure Crimson-related needs, the only way to get some of that stuff and a little from elusive disc, from whom I plan on getting Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Collossus and John Coltrane's Standards on SACD next week.

I like walking into an actual store, thumbing through the titles, finding stuff, and taking it home with me. That is called shopping.

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#11 of 58 Phil A

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Posted August 23 2002 - 03:39 AM

What I find frustrating, even from the online sites, is that I might wait until there are several discs I want in SACD and perhaps one or two in DVD-A and when I go to a site, they have everything except for one disc. I then go to another site and I can't get everything I want there. I got fed-up one day and just went to the local Tower and was able to get everything. However, the last time this happened, the local Tower did not have what I wanted. I think that more general acceptance of such formats needs to involve the mass market stores carrying more software. I look foward to the prospect of actually seeing the Stones stuff in person at such stores and hope that this is the beginning of a trend.

#12 of 58 Rachael B

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Posted August 23 2002 - 06:22 AM

I wish SACD's were more generally available locally. I wouln't buy many but I wish they were there. Since Tennessee raised it's sales tax so very high, I'm looking to order out for everything anyway. Shipping is nearly always cheaper than the tax here. Next tuesday I'm gonna drop by the local B & M's and see if the Stones are for sale. Last year I told myself I wanted to get 75 to 100 SACD's to justify having a player. I'm in that range now and I'm thinkng if the Stones releases can't push SACD along some, nothing ever will, proably.

P.S.- Mike, the Sonny Rollins SACD is muy excellente. The more I hear Max Roach drum, the more I believe he the best jazz drummer ever.
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#13 of 58 Justin Lane

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Posted August 23 2002 - 07:28 AM

I feel for you Keith, as we both shop in the same stores (Concord BB,CC, Borders and Kirkwood BB). It is sad seeing the same releases week after week in both the DVD-A and SACD sections. We really need a new wave of marketing to get going for both formats. Sony could start by announcing some new SACD only players, so people actually have something to listen to SACD on. The Stones CDs won't hurt, but from all accounts it looks like the SACD capabilities are not being pushed.

J

#14 of 58 Rich Malloy

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Posted August 23 2002 - 08:14 AM

Sonny Rollins SACD??? Damn, I gotta upgrade...
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#15 of 58 Lee Scoggins

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Posted August 23 2002 - 08:18 AM

Quote:
P.S.- Mike, the Sonny Rollins SACD is muy excellente. The more I hear Max Roach drum, the more I believe he the best jazz drummer ever.


Rachael,

Agreed. On both Saxophone Colossus and Way Out West, the sonics and performance are amazing.

My favorite is Colossus since I like the performance more.

My hats off to Acoustic Sounds for this amazing mastering job and the great engineering work (for Fantasy titles) of Roy DuNann when he recorded it.
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#16 of 58 stephen_z

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Posted August 23 2002 - 03:20 PM

Keith,
We feel your pain. Unfortunately, BB probably has some of the best prices for SACD, but a lousy selection. Tower Records in CA has a broader selection but outrageous prices (Spyro Gyra "In Modern Times" 19.99 vs BB @$15.99)and when you ask anyone from CC, BB, they can barely tell you where the SACD's are. At this point, it's pick and choose and hopefully you get a decent deal somewhere. Online may be the only near term solution if you can volume buy to make the shipping cost worthwhile.

#17 of 58 KeithH

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Posted August 23 2002 - 03:29 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. As frustrated as I have been, I did find the new Aerosmith O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits SACD tonight at a Best Buy in New Jersey. It was $29.99. It was the only copy they had, so I timed it right. Every so often, I catch a break. Posted Image Of course, the two Compact Disc World stores in New Jersey that I went to before Best Buy had no SACDs of interest. Both stores had the Janis Joplin Cheap Thrills SACD, but it was $21.99.

By the way, it will be at least a few days before I will be able to post a proper review of the Aerosmith SACD set.
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#18 of 58 anthony_b

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Posted August 24 2002 - 12:33 AM

Keith, you paid $29.99 !!! Whas it a box set ?
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#19 of 58 Justin Lane

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Posted August 24 2002 - 02:02 AM

Quote:
Keith, you paid $29.99 !!! Whas it a box set ?


Anthony, it is actually a 2 disc set, so I guess 29.99 is not too bad.

J

#20 of 58 KeithH

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Posted August 24 2002 - 02:41 AM

Anthony, Justin is correct. O, Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits is a two-disc set. $29.99 is not a bad price for a two-disc SACD title. As I said, this is Best Buy's price. By contrast, the two-disc CD set is $19.99. It would be nice if the SACDs were cheaper, but I can deal with $29.99 for two discs.
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