Sony already giving up on SACD as a CD replacement....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Justin Lane, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    As big of a fan of SACD as I am, this news coming from Boris Loehe, Managing Director Sony Music Domestic (in Germany), and Willy Ehmann, Managing Director Sony Music international is a bit disheartening.

    I found this link here and translated the link using Babel Fish Translation.

    The important section is as follows (though a bit broken):

     
  2. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    Are you sure that's translated correctly?

    Seth
     
  3. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    My German's a little rusty, but I read over more of the article, and they primarily seemed to be focused on questions about the current CD vs downloaded MP3 problems in the music industry and Sony's position in supporting different types of music and their business in Europe. The question about SACD was answered by saying it will primarily be a niche market for the forseeable future. That's not a surprise to me at all. The benefits of SACD are lost on most consumers who don't listen to music on high-quality speakers. I didn't get the impression that they were saying SACD will lose out to DVD-Audio. They avoided the question. I think what they were saying in their response was that most people in Europe will soon be listening to music at home on DVD players that also play CDs--nothing more than that.
     
  4. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Sony originally envisioned SACD as an archival technology and niche audiophile market, not as a mainstream technology and much less an all-out replacement of the CD. While I'm certain that Sony executives are pining away for just that, their business model doesn't require mainstream penetration (much less universal acceptance) to thrive. FWIW, I like having a "vinyl-like niche" in the digital realm, and not at all convinced that mainstreaming is the bed of roses you presume it to be. Right now, the SACD producers have to appeal to us, rather than the home-theater-in-a-box crowd.

    A little while back, I transcribed the following from a Stereophile-GTHT article entitled "Digital Audio: The Next Generation: DVD-Audio and SACD Explained" by Michael Fremer (Issue #61, January 2003). It details the history/intent of the format (archival, niche audiophile):

     
  5. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Nice points Rich, this new article essentially echoes what was mentinoned in Stereophile. I think many times audiophiles and people on message boards lose focus of what a small minority they make up. Just think about the small size of the HTF (one of the largest HT related sites on the net) then think of the even smaller size of the participants on this music forum. It is more important to focus on the music that is coming our way in either Hi-res format instead focusing on format wars or which format has mainstream acceptance. It is pointless when Sony themselves have acknowledged that SACD is not the format of the future for the masses.

    J
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I certainly agree that the "format war" is way too overblown, but there's another very important point and we'd be remiss not to acknowledge it.

    It seems that, unlike SACD, DVD-A is banking on being the medium of choice for the mainstream market. In that same article, Fremer notes with regard to DVD-A:
     
  7. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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  8. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Justin,

    First, I think someone's German is a bit off.

    Second, this totally contradicts recent statements about "Super Audio tipping into mainstream use" by David Kawakami who likely outranks this guy.

    If someone on the Super Audio project said it, then it would be one thing, but a random official from the German office of a large global company, and even that in poor translation is not very convincing.
     
  9. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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  10. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Hee, hee. Somehow, I don't think the Stones would be put out on SACD if Sony didn't want it to become a mainstream technology. (But OK, they *are* hybrids.)

    But a better example, thread over in the "players" section, I *really* don't think Sony would do a 400 disc, MP3 capable, DVD/SACD player if they didn't want SACD to become mainstream.

    If Sony *didn't* want it to become mainstream, I'd expect more dedicated CD/SACD, single disc, ES players that go for $1000 or more for the "niche" audience supposedly they are targetting...

    Just my opinion though. [​IMG]
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I think you're missing the point, Kevin. Of course, Sony wants SACD to go mainstream, better even to completely replace the CD format. That's the great big gooey pie-in-the-sky.

    But the business model they launched the format on didn't anticipate nor require mainstream penetration to succeed.
     
  12. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I've never felt like SACD would be a commercial success. Sure, it's a success in my system and my ears. Since I decided I really liked the format, which was soon after I got a 9000ES, I decided to aqquire enough discs to justify a player. 150 was my target # of titles. I'm there. I felt the same way about LD's in the late 80's and early 90's. I wish SACD would replace CD but.....
     
  13. Michael St. Clair

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    Why would anybody want a high-res format to become a 'CD replacement'? If everybody has an SACD player in their car and boombox, next thing you know they'll start squashing the dynamics on most of the discs.
     
  14. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    That is undoubtedly a great fear of mine, Michael, particularly after hearing the vastly different receptions that the CD and SACD of The Who's "My Generation" received (have not personally heard either). It's hardly settled, but some have suggested the possibility that the CD was monkeyed with for the radio rubes.

    I keep bringing up Mike Knapp's admonition to us many years back regarding the mainstreaming of DVD: "be careful what you wish for!" Indeed, we've lately seen a sad bumper crop of titles pandering to this crowd. I was also reminded of this when I was participating in a thread about the AC/DC remasters over at DVD Talk. I passed along the info I'd gathered here and at the Steve Hoffman forums concerning the massive compression and maximization used on those discs, only to receive this response:
     
  15. Michael St. Clair

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  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  17. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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  18. Mark All

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  19. Brian-W

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  20. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I am a fairly avid music listener, but far from an audiophile. I guess I'm a "regular person", buying maybe 10 CDs a year, if that.

    I have never even seen SACD or DVD-A in the stores. Maybe it's there, but then I'd really have to look for it. I bet that not even 1% of CD buyers have a clue about where to find SACD/DVD-A, if they even know what the formats are.

    So why would it come as a surprise that some executives aren't interested in spending money and resources on a product that hardly anyone seems to have any interest in?

    /Mike
     

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