Today I recieved, as part of my birthday present, a Compact Disc. Sony Classical Legacy SK 92727, "Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition" orchestrated by Ravel, performed by the New York Philharmonic Leonard Bernstein conducting, Masterworks Expanded Edition with "Night on Bald Mountain" orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakoff and Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome" to fill out the running time to 66 and 3/4 minutes. According to the documetation, this disc was produced from a new DSD master [apparently made from the original analog tapes] via the SBM process, and I must say it sounds beautiful. But one thing I can't understand about it: why does it exist at all? What I mean is this. As far as I am aware, a DSD master is what a Super Audio CD is made from. As I understand it, Sony posess the capability to manufacture a "SACD Hybrid", a dual-layer disc which behaves as a standard Red Book CD as far as a standard CD player is concerned, but also plays as an SACD in any machine which handles that format. I am not aware whether there is an SACD of this disc or not; if the latter, I cannot concieve why not [given that the DSD master is available]. I certainly cannot see the justification for a standalone Red Book CD release, particularly with a standalone SACD release lurking somewhere behind it. If a hybrid CD were released at the CD price point or slightly higher, the CD-buying public would buy it as a CD, and the audiophiles would buy it as an SACD. Admittedly, the manufacturing costs would be somewhat higher, but not too much, and duplication contributes almost nothing to the cost of an audio CD anyway. All the costs associated with having two press runs, two sets of packaging, two lots handled by the distributors, two audit trails, and all the rest would be eliminated, a substantial savings. Additionally there would be a marketing coup of immense proportions in the fact that sooner or later, the CD buyer would wake up in the morning and realise he had a whole shelf of SACDs! Quite an incentive to buy a compatible player; whereas most people are not going to buy one if they have nothing to play on it and until they have something to play them with won't buy the discs. Until someone demonstrates with figures that this is impossible, I have to wonder what the Sony executives are smoking.