SACD - what't the story?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Bill Robertson, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Bill Robertson

    Bill Robertson Stunt Coordinator

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    Can anyone out there tell me what the state of play regarding SACD is? I purchased my first surround dvd set up two years ago and made sure that I got a SACD capable deck so I could enjoy hi-res audio. I slowly acquired a decent selection of titles - DSOTM, The Downward Spiral, Bob Dylan and Stones stuff, The Who, Sam Cooke, The Police, Aerosmith, Ryan Adams etc etc I even discovered a previously untapped liking for Elton John through buying all of his 70s stuff (fantastic stuff!)

    I wouldn't class myself as an early adopter of new tech stuff, and at the time it seemed like SACD was doing ok - lots of stores were really pushing it and the titles were pretty reasonably priced so I took the bait[​IMG]

    Now there hardly seems to be any new titles out there. Most new reasonably priced decks seem to not feature SACD capability - even the Sony and Philips ones. Are they still going to manufacture players for the ordinary person or will they be restricted to high end audiphile systems which cost a fortune in future?
     
  2. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I think the answer is simple. Sony lost a fortune on SACD and has basically abandoned it. There are still an abundance of inexpensive SACD players, the Oppo DV970HD being one that is getting the most press. I am using an inexpensive Samsung DVD-HD950 which was to be replaced by the DVD-HD1080 although I can't find any further information on it. Expensive labels like Telarc and Chesky still release SACD as do some foreign labels.

    Chris
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    SACD, for the most part, has been abandoned by the major labels. In rare instances, there is a surprise here and there. There still seems to be a steady release of largely classical and some jazz stuff. Here is one list of multi-channel stuff 'scheduled' to be released soon:

    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homep...a/msacdpln.htm
     
  4. Bill Robertson

    Bill Robertson Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the answer to my query. I am off course more than a little biased[​IMG] but it seems to me that if Sony had stuck with SACD, especially hybrid titles then it might have taken off - hell, if they talked me into parting with cash for a player then surely Joe Schmo was just getting ready to invest. Its a real shame that all that time, money and effort has basically been written off as the titles I do have are fantastic I never miss the opportunity to pop a SACD disc in the player when we have friends around to show off the discs. Sadly, the stuff I found on the link posted above didn't really float my boat taste-wise.[​IMG]

    I'm glad to hear that there are still a few players on the market. I'm not looking to upgrade for a while unless my current Philips deck goes on the fritz. Most of my discs are hybrid so I guess at least I can still play them on standard equipment but it looks like a fairly limited choice of replacement just so I can enjoy those surround layers!

    Like I say, damn shame - having got to know SACD "normal" redbook cd just doesn't sound the same!

    Definitely keeping away from HD-DVD/Blu-ray until the dust has long settled thanks to this experience[​IMG]
     
  5. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    About 2 weeks ago, US Sony released a new single-inventory classical SACD by 14 year old composer Jay Greenberg. In October, US Sony will released a new soundtrack SACD by Danny Elfman.

    In Japan, Japan Sony's music site just listed 10 new SACD titles yet to be released. Japan Sony's latest SACD was released on August 23rd....Keiko Lee - Live at "Basie" with Hank Jones. Sony also just announced a new audio-only SACD/CD player to be released in November 2006, the XA1200ES....

    [​IMG]

    Price? About US$800.00. I am hoping it will be released in the US.

    Don't forget the upcoming release of the PlayStation 3, which is SACD-capable. And Chesky Records will go single-inventory hybrid SACD all the way in 2007.

    BTW, based on my tabulations from sa-cd.net's numbers, the number of SACD titles added each month in 2006 average about 61 titles, which is down from the monthly average of 67 titles for 2005. SACD has just crossed over the 4,000th title mark at sa-cd.net and based on this year's monthly average, it's likely SACD will achieve 4,250 (or more) titles by year's end.
     
  6. Bill Robertson

    Bill Robertson Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the tip Danny. Hope a few of those make their way to the UK as well
     
  7. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    I think the new ES-series will be replacing the QS-series, so it's more than possible this new player will be available in the UK.
     
  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    The science of SACD's decline is easily, empirically proved using simple subtraction. Subtract the Cee from SACD and the quotient is SAD.

    SACD - C = SAD
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I'd really like to see the XA1200ES make it to the US too. Thanks for the heads up on that one Danny.
     
  10. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    How many of those 4,000 titles are out-of-print? They still have Ellington's "Blues in Orbit" listed that has been out-of-print for years (like perhaps 6?) They links they have are to vendors that sell about 3,600 SACD titles. I'd bet that some of the vendors are selling what is left of discontinued inventory too. So the numbers are a bit misleading. Don't get me wrong, I love SACD but it flopped (you pick the reasons or point the blame) as a mainstream format and for the most part there are classical and jazz releases by non-major labels at this point.
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Have ya heard about infanticide? IMO, it's more like it was strangled because it's "mother" (or should mama be hyphenated with 'F' you know what ?) couldn't get what it wanted out of the format. Ya have to be given a chance to fail.
     
  12. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Rachael, I'd concur[​IMG]

    I don't know if this is true or not but Panasonic's site in France shows its new Blu-Ray player as playing DVD-As (not SACDs!):

    http://www.panasonic.fr/servlet/PB/m..._l3/index.html

    Crutchfield's US site does not show that capability for the same player (at least for the US model). Wouldn't that be a kicker though if Sony's new video format takes off and starts supporting DVD-A!
     
  13. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Blu-ray software support for DVD-A (ain't gonna happen) and a Blu-ray *player* that supports DVD-A are two completely different animals. But IMO it doesn't really matter. D-V-D-A is just as d-e-a-d as S-A-C-D. [​IMG]
     
  14. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    True - but like SACD it sometimes will shock you when a title comes out of a major label. The Doors box set is due out on separate CDs and DVD-As on Nov. 21. I'd like to be shocked a bit more by both formats. There are certainly artists in the vault of Sony or Warner that could be worth it to them financially for a hi-rez version. It's just that it's a tiny flea to major labels that tends to get ignored vs. other projects.
     
  15. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Phil, I think all SACD titles are only pressed once. With the exception of different pressings from different countries (for example, different pressings of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue"), I really think there isn't a continuous production of these SACD titles. Once the targeted production has been reached, that's it.

    One more thing you should be aware of is that sa-cd.net only links vendors that it's affiliated to. If another vendor has a title, but sa-cd.net is not affiliated to that particular vendor, then you will not get a link to that title on sa-cd.net. This is one reason why Asian SACDs, aside from Japanese titles, aren't added to sa-cd.net since September 2005 even though the region is quite active with SACD activity.

    Also, just because sa-cd.net has links to a vendor for a particular title doesn't mean it's available. For example, Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Couldn't Stand The Weather" is not available from any of sa-cd.net linked vendors, it's readily available at HMV Japan for a pretty good price.

    In terms of SACD titles being added each month to sa-cd.net, the average was 67 for 2005. For 2006, the average currently stands at 61.
     
  16. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Danny, thanks for the clarification. I still think they should list what is out-of-print. MoFi does it on their website. If you go to retailers and put in out-of-print CDs they either don't show up at all or indicated they are not available. It's nice to have a website listing media, but of ltd. value when hundreds of them are not available. Are they still going to have "Blues in Orbit" listed a few yrs. from now? By then it may be close to ten yrs. out-of-print.
     
  17. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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  18. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    That explains some of it, but even though SACDs double the cost of manuf., the manuf. is not a horribly high expense. When I was with an online co. before retiring about 5 yrs. back, we used to buy CDs to send to people to try to increase membership subscription. The cost of the CDs to buy (not even manuf. cost) was something in the neighborhood of under 30 cents (perhaps as low as 22). So even at an add'l 30 cents, for something that typically lists for a buck or two more (as Telarc and Universal and other cos. used to do with their CDs vs. SACDs - the SACD was typcially a buck more at Best Buy) it is not a big deal.

    Now, I've read the actual engineering/authoring production costs of producing an SACD might be $25-30k more per title than a CD and perhaps that's what he really meant. So it becomes a matter of economics and demand and what it will take to get back an extra $25k.

    The other problem is multiple royalties demanded by the Harry Fox agency on behalf of artists. Audio Fidelity used to make SACDs and now just CDs. They used to have a forum and that is one of the reasons the owner cited getting out of the SACD business.

    That being said, there are certainly artists that could make hi-rez profitable. Warner is doing the Doors on DVD-A coming out in Nov. The Beatles certainly would sell. There are others as well. It boils down to it being too small a part of the business of major labels to care about vs. other problems they have. That's why for the most part, we see audiophile labels releasing stuff. Classical is big on SACD as the number of copies that even a regular CD sells in order to be considered successful is much smaller than it is for pop/rock music.
     
  19. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    One of my favorite Sack-Dees, the Utah Symphony/Abravanel collection of shorter works by Vaughan Williams, only lasted a short while in release from Vanguard Classics. It doesn't help to have recommended discs for newcomers if all you own is now out of print.

    Edit: it appears that Vanguard re-released the VW Sack-Dee in 2004.

    That is disappointing about a Sony Blu-Ray player not generally doing Sack-Dee as well. What do these guys think: that I'm supposed to have a rack full of drives to play all of these different media? [​IMG]
     
  20. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    I believe Vanguard actually went out of business (death of owner) and someone may have bought it. Not sure. Actually, from what I read the Sony PS3 will support both Blu-Ray and SACD (but not the stand along Sony Blu-Ray player). I concur, that having a rack full of drives is not something that most desire. The shortage of software and what is no longer pressed on SACD doesn't help the call for investing in new hardware.

    I used to hold off buying CDs, waiting for the SACD (or DVD-A). I got fed up last fall and sold my Modwright XA-777ES and my Sony TA-P9000ES I used to switch between multi-channel SACD and DVD-A sources. I brought my DAC (Micromega DuoPro) back from my seldom used basement system along with the purchase of a new Marantz DV9600. I use the Marantz for DVD-V, DVD-A and SACD and as a transport for CDs. On most things, I prefer the stereo mix anyway. So what did I get out of the deal - CD about equal but perhaps a bit different and probably a hair more to my taste. A bit better DVD-A quality and a little less SACD quality and a bit more DVD-V quality. More important, over $1k in excess cash to actually buy software that is really available.
     

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