Why is there no portable SACD player?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark All, Mar 13, 2003.

  1. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    I mostly listen to SACD in two-channel mode, prefering two-channel for music and multi-channel for movies. Does anyone know if there's a technical reason that two-channel SACD playback can't be put into a portable player that can be used with a good pair of headphones? Power supply, size of components, vibration concerns? Is the two-channel circuitry that different from CD that it can't be done?
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mark, I don't know if there are any technical issues holding back portable SACD players. I imagine it could be done. Perhaps the cost of implementation is the hold-up right now. Portable DVD-Audio players are still costly (i.e., around $600-700).
     
  3. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,

    Yes, but with that DVD-Audio player you are also getting a portable DVD-Video player, so there's substantial added value to the package [​IMG]

    Regards,
     
  4. RobBenton

    RobBenton Stunt Coordinator

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    Also a big thing is that a pair of headphones severly limits your sound quality so that you would be much less likely to notice any difference from CD to DVD-A or SACD.
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    John,

    True, true. [​IMG]


    Rob,

    I suppose it depends on which headphones you use. What if you used Grado RS-1s? I'm thinking of those $650 headphones (or whatever they cost) with real mahogany around the earpieces. [​IMG]


    All,

    Perhaps another reason that there are no portable SACD players is because Sony has a habit of not giving consumers what they want when it comes to new formats. Remember, it's not about us. [​IMG]
     
  6. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Keith,

    I agree on the selection of headphones. I'm still kicking myself over passing up some Stax earspeakers a few years back at a bargain price.

    Oh well [​IMG]

    Regards,
     
  7. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    Would you use such expensive headphones when flying or jogging or whenever else you'd use a portable player? I don't think there's much of a market for hi-res on the move.
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Craig,

    I was being a bit sarcastic. If I were out jogging or biking, I certainly would not take a portable SACD player or expensive headphones with me. However, if I were traveling on business, I could see taking better gear for use on the plane or in the hotel room. Perhaps not $650 headphones, but better-than-average stuff.


    John,

    I don't have any headphones right now, but I figure when I do buy a pair, I want to be my last pair (at least for a long time). The Sennheiser HD600 and some of the better Grados would be high on my list. That said, some of the inexpensive Grados get high marks. I would be smart to try the cheaper Grados and see if I like them.
     
  9. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    But would you take headphones that would differentiate much (if at all) between CD and SACD?
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Craig, well, that remains to be seen. The truth is, I have not auditioned headphones yet. I don't know how good is good with today's headphones. Furthermore, I don't know how much one has to spend to get a pair of headphones that would readily bring out the differences between CD and SACD, assuming such headphones are available. My point is that for business travel, I could see buying a better-than-average pair of headphones (e.g., $350 Senneheiser HD600 or something similar rather than a $50 pair) for sheet listening enjoyment, and I would certainly be intrigued by a portable SACD player. Without having the gear in hand, though, I can't say what would be required to differentiate CD from SACD. When I get around to auditioning headphones for home use, I will certainly compare CD and SACD. Hopefully I could find a pair that would make the difference obvious without breaking the bank.
     
  11. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    I really was asking the question because of an interest in taking SACDs on extended business travel or being able to buy an SACD on the road and listen to it right away. What I use now is a Walkman type CD player (rarely) or a laptop, which I use with a pair of Sony MDR-V700DJ headphones. The headphones aren't exactly neutral, but they are high sensitivity and I was amazed at the sound level output from them even when driven only by a couple of AA batteries. I don't have a pair of Grado or Sennheiser headphones, but would look at those two brands if portable SACD were an option. The selection would require careful thought though, because I wouldn't want to have to take a separate headphone amp with me. Depending on how a manufacturer would implement a portable SACD device, I think the sound through quality headphones would be quite noticeable.
     
  12. DarrenH

    DarrenH Agent

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    A portable SACD player would be cool, but where I see an excellent market for SACD is in cars. The stage is pretty much set already with almost all cars having at least 4 speakers (hell, many newer cars have more than 4, my car is a 1998 and it has 10 speakers). Some cars have better acoustics than some rooms in houses. Add this to the wouldn't it be nice list for all of us audio junkies...

    DarrenH
     
  13. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  14. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Aaron,

    SACD optics aren't "very similar" to DVD-Video, they are identical. The data storage format for SACD is DVD-ROM.

    Everything else rides on top of the DVD-ROM and UDF file systems.

    Darren,

    DVD-Audio is already available for in car use. It has been for about a year. Lexus is offering this as an option on at least on eof their vehicles as well.

    Regards,




    Regards,
     
  15. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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  16. DarrenH

    DarrenH Agent

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    Hey Aaron,

    Thanks for the info about DVD-A in cars. Wonder how long it will be before someone puts SACD into cars. Gotta love these format wars!
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Craig, well, headphones are not at the top of my list right now. If and when I do go shopping, I plan on posting my results. I would like at some point to audition some Grado and Sennheiser headphones.

    Regarding portable SACD players, I could see Sony designing a top-notch unit that would be geared toward the audiophiles. While I'm sure it would not match a top-flight home player, it could be designed to be better than your standard portable component. If Sony developed a $500 USD portable SACD player (even with the ES badge), it obviously wouldn't attract the masses, but it would attract some buyers. I'd be intrigued.
     
  18. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    I just would have thought someone would have made a high end portable CD player already if that was the case, Keith - unless they do exist (I don't know of any).
     
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Craig, no portable SACD players exist, and there could be any number of reasons why this is so. One reason could simply be an issue of the numbers simply don't work right now. In other words, due to the limited market penetration of the SACD format, a first portable SACD player would likely be quite expensive, while the demand would likely be quite low. Of course, one could make the circular argument that market penetration could increase with the offering of portable SACD players. The same argument could certainly be made with respect to in-dash SACD players in the car.

    I also don't know anything regarding the technical feasibility of introducing a portable SACD player. It certainly seems like a portable SACD player should be readily produced, but I don't know the ins and outs of such implementation.
     
  20. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    But surely the market for a high end, portable CD player would be vastly greater than that of any portable SACD player at the moment?
     

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