Super Audio Shocker: Universal goes hybrid!?!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lee Scoggins, May 26, 2002.

  1. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Friends,
    Exciting breaking news here[​IMG]: There is a confirmed by several sources story (datelined for tomorrow, reported by Peter van Willenswaard) on Stereophile's website that Universal is going to cease production of regular CDs and start producing hybrid discs for all NEW titles.
    See www.stereophile.com/shownews.cgi?1353
    This is definitely great news for those of us who love the format.
    It is speculated that the strong copy protection of SACD played a role here. (sort of a mixed bag for sure on this specific issue)
    This has got to mean that...
    (1) Universal is going to focus on catalog titles more for SACD, and
    (2) another blow has been dealt to DVD Audio
    (3) prices will drop with more capacity and Sony plant additions ('bout time!)
    What are your thoughts?
    Administrator: Can I edit the title to "shocker"?
     
  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Well it looks like a solid story based on my readings so far on the chat sites (I know dubious at best most places) but Stereophile has the lead in on the website still saying unconfirmed. The story itself speaks to several confirmations, however.

    So I guess we should be a bit cautious here in things don't pan out.

    I'm clearly excited about this news as you can guess. This would be a huge step forward for the format. Universal is a huge label and a collection of many quality boutiques.

    Thanks for your interest...
     
  3. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I hope it's true! I'll be really, totally disappointed if they don't make hybrid discs. Best wishes!
     
  4. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Rachael,
    I'm glad part of the SACD crew is still up. [​IMG] My wife is screaming for me to come to bed.
    There is also a bit of discussion at Audio Asylum, but we know how that software is!
    This is really great news and clearly hits your "hybrid issue" button.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Rob Roth

    Rob Roth Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting and very hopeful. Lee, since you are in the industry perhaps you can provide some insight. I was wondering how the economics of SACD production work out. Obviously CD production is now hugely commodified, with a direct production cost of $.60/recorded cd. What are the numbers for SACD? Is the cost of a SACD pressing plant all greenfield (new construction) or can a CD line be refitted?
    I know DSD mastering gear can be pricey, but I thought Sony was subsidizing that.

    All this goes to the ? of when the majors might move in a big way. On the one hand they may have some big investments to make, but on the other hand they have copy protection and the chance to reinvigorate sales.
     
  6. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    For what it's worth, Lee, I formed the exact same opinion as a music lover, not working in the business. Some of it is so absurd that anybody who cares a little about what they're listening to can see some of what's wrong.

    Frankly, I hope CD sales do go down, forcing a change of direction in the business.

    NP: Bill Bruford's Earthworks, CD
     
  8. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    Wow, this is the coolest news I've heard in a while. I thought it was interesting that the Stereophile article said
     
  9. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Given Stereophile's recent track record on news -- and a very serious factual errors on some items posted here with respect to Meridian and SACD players, as well as supposed missed appearances by Bob Stuart, one has to wonder if this is accurate or wishful thinking.

    Frankly anyone considering Stereophile as an accurate source of news is mistaken.

    Given the huge disclaimer
     
  10. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  11. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee,
    I'm sorry, I don't buy this argument here:
     
  12. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  14. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee,
    To answer your question: my source on Stereophiles shoddy reporting is what I would consider to be authoritative. It came from within Meridian. Whether you consider my source at Meridian authoritative or not is your business.
    Folks from Meridian read the original thread with your passing along the Stereophile misinformation, but chose not to participate. The companies unhappiness exists for several reasons.
    1) The information is wrong. There, I said it. Flat out, wrong. No SACD plans, no missed appointments by Bob at the AES in Munich.
    2) This could very easily impact Meridians sales negatively --- as people hold off on purchasing an 800/861 combo while waiting for SACD capability which is not forthcoming.
    3) Since the information was not properly verified, it should never have been published.
    I hope that answers the "what is my source" question.
    Will you be posting about Stereophiles retraction and or apology if/when it appears in print?
    So, let's talk about security, shall we?
    You said:
     
  15. EricK

    EricK Second Unit

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    Maybe Sony should reconsider the "SACD" brand....SUPER AUDIO DVD [​IMG]
    "SADVD" [​IMG]
    Seriously...anyone think if it was called SADVD...it would generate more interest...??
    Eric.
     
  16. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  17. Rob Roth

    Rob Roth Stunt Coordinator

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    And many of us consider you, John, an informed individual with many valuable contributions to this and other forums. Still, I wonder about your comments that; "The average consumer is satisfied with MP3, its differentiation that is needed. If you think average consumers give a damn about a "better CD", you're misguided. Quality of playback isn't even on the radar screen for average consumers" I disagree; the rapid success of CD- although predicated on largely false claims of superiority over vinyl- is some indication that the average consumer can be persuaded to adopt new formats. Arguably, the case for switching to SACD is even easier: similar format, demonstrable audio superiority on the same material, low switching costs as player prices decrease.

    Farther along you argue; "Sony/Philips aimed to produce a "better CD" while the tidal wave of DVD adoption rolls on. CD to the average consumer is dead, long live DVD." Taking this comment in conjunction with the other, you seem to be arguing that there is no special attachment to CD, but the migration from CD will most likely be downward toward inferior formats. As SACD player prices go ever lower- and approach the prices of MP3 players- why doesn't SACD have the opportunity to become ubiquitous in car players and portables as well as in audiophile grade separates?

    Lastly, I disagree that Sony effectively twiddled their thumbs by only introducing 2ch SACD. At the same time they were making a concerted effort to line up recording and mastering professionals behind the format.

    All angst aside I am quite happy to have access to improved formats- as well as upsampling gear to improve the sound of my legacy collection of CDs. This may not be the best of all worlds, but it is not without some small consolations.

    BTW, what have you heard about the new B&K line?
     
  18. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    While I do agree with Lee that MP3 isn't a sign that people want inferior quality (It has always been about portability. Being able to download a song in a meaningful time is a progress, as far as I'm concerned) I agree with John that people aren't looking for a higher quality CD. I think most people are satisfied with the quality of CD, as poor as some of the mixes out there are. They need a reason more tangible that "better quality", since most people wouldn't be able to tell. With CD, that was duribility and being able to track to different songs.

    That's where multichannel music comes in. There's one side that says that it is a gimmick, and another that says that it is the best thing since stereo. Whatever you might think of it, it is the big reason to convince people to move to another format, because it is something that people can obviously notice.

    Personally, I think Sony has been missing the boat bigtime on this. If they wanted to push the format, they should be putting out hybred SACDs out in numbers, just to get it in the hands of people. Instead, it is relagated to the back of Best Buys everywhere. Also, people aren't buying as many Audio-only players anymore. I bet a lot of people with a surround setup use their DVD players for music.

    Meanwhile, more and more DVD players are now capable of playing DVD-A, which are getting in the hands of more and more users. DVD-A (At least in Best Buy) is in the DVD section, readily visible to those who have DVD players. Right now, it looks like DVD-A is positioned far better of the two. Course, that doesn't mean much, since both are still a niche product, but at least DVD-A seems to be trying.

    Actually, what will probably be a big push for a new format is the music industry's desire for more "protection" of its product. Course, that will fly with the consumer like a lead balloon by itself. They need a reason to convince the customer. That's where multichannel comes in.

    Course, the music industry doesn't want to give the customer what they most want right now: portability.

    Jason
     
  19. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Lee,
    Let's talk about these, one at a time:
     
  20. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Rob,

    I'll answer your easiest question first:
     

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