Will SACD/DVD-A ever gain wide mass appeal?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick Sun, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I'm beginning to think that neither SACD nor DVD-A will ever be more of a niche product for audiophiles.

    I think we have a general population where not only is CD good enough, but so are 128kbs MP3s, so the attractiveness of either SACD or DVD-A and the added complications of the format w/r/t hardware requirements can't but put off the casual music buyer, and daunt the hard core music enthusiasts.
     
  2. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    I think that you may be right Patrick.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Patrick, sadly, I am afraid you are correct. I do not see multi-channel music in any form taking over the CD as the ubiquitous music format. That's too many speakers for the average person to be bothered with from the standpoint of cost and/or space requirements in a living room. I know many people who will not entertain surround sound even for movies for these reasons. Furthermore, I agree that the CD is deemed perfectly suitable by the casual listener, as are MP3s and even the cassette.
    For the average listener, I do not feel that even a paradigm shift to affording digital output of these high-resolution formats will change the recorded music landscape. I know many people who use analog cables for CD players in basic stereo systems. So, a digital interface is not a must for the average listener, in my opinion. In that sense, one could argue that the average listener might consider adopting stereo DVD-Audio or stereo SACD, especially the latter since the user interface is identical to that of the CD.* However, these people are generally satisfied with CDs. So, I've come full circle in my argument. [​IMG]
    * I have not considered the ability to record the high-resolution formats in the digital domain since DVD-Audio and SACD recorders do not exist and since casual listeners I know do not even have CD burners.
     
  4. Don Wheeler

    Don Wheeler Extra

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    We will have to do our best to share the benefits of these formats I have both and hope they take off I also think there is a place for MP3 but not casettes.The extra speakers is hard I think most people are getting into home theater enough to have the needed speakers I will only have one system with a 5.1 setup

    When I got my first DVD player I had to get discs from out of state but it has done well and since then I have talked

    quite a few people into getting them and replacing old cd players with a DVD player.
     
  5. Chris-C

    Chris-C Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm with Don on this;

    I also have both formats,and enjoy them a large amount!

    I hope that as mainstream goes in for DVD (as they are)they will also break the two channel barrier,and after that there's no looking back.

    I see more and more regular joes making the move to Home Theater,and they're embracing Multichannel sound.

    Although budgets are tight many people see the savings in Multichannel,as opposed to taking the family to the movies (many bucks these days),and there are many economical 5.1 speaker packages available.

    If they make the conversion to 5.1 sound for movies (as I think they are),then the new DVD players already provide the processing for SACD and DVDA.

    The real problem as I see it is the cost of DVDA and SACD vs CD.

    I believe that the price needs to come down for mainstream to afford the software (remember Laserdisc prices).

    Although DVD movies are realtivly inexpensive,and rental's taking off-paying $20-$30 just for music (albeit HiRez)maybe the DEAL KILLER here.

    Regards

    CC

    Regards

    CC
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Don, I was not saying that the cassette will be a staple over the long haul, but I know a lot of people who still use them and are happy doing so. They have CDs too, but they do use their cassettes. I have a handful of cassettes and two decks for the sake of novelty. [​IMG]
     
  7. Don Wheeler

    Don Wheeler Extra

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    I know I still have my Nakamichi Cassete deck and piles of cassetes stashed away I would like to think with how cheap blank cds are and the ease of recording they would be the norm for everyone. I remember 15 years ago thinking I was getting a deal at 2 bucks a tape I have a CD recorder and also burn on my computer. I have always embraced most new formats except for DAT that was the only machine I never owned.[​IMG]
     
  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    When the major labels refuse to sell CD's, then the SACD has a chance. DVD-A can drift along under tow from the video format so it has a chance to be a minor thang. If Phillips and Sony want SACD to displace CD, I think they'll have to sell SACD's cheaper than CD's, fat chance eh?

    In the next few years we'll see how serious the labels are about eliminating formats without grusome copy-guards, like CD. I don't see how they can eliminate CD's, but they are salivating at the very thought of doing so, me thinks.
     
  9. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    While I'm an ardent supporter of SACD, I don't see it becoming anything more than a niche-market format. SACD will be for the audiophiles, DVD-A will be for the HT enthusiasts, and CD will be for the masses. I've had my SCD-1 for about a year and a half, and I only have a dozen SACDs. Needless to say, CD gets a lot more playtime than SACD.
     
  10. PaulKH

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    I'll be the optimist here.
    DVD-video was new a few years ago. People said it wouldn't fly because you couldn't record on them. Even putting aside DVD recorders, which are a miniscule part of the market due to cost, DVD PLAYERS now outsell VCRs. People first off prefer the video quality, but they really are buying surround setups in DROVES also. Whether it's Bose (barf), some other home theater in a box, or some killer setup, they're selling like hot cakes. Otherwise places like Best Buy and Circuit City wouldn't have rooms and rooms devoted to them.
    Now I had all but abandoned listening to CDs at home because I just didn't enjoy 2 channel music anymore except as background music or in my car, which at least has lots of speakers, even if it's only 2 channels of audio signal. But as my home theater has improved, and I began to get music DVD-videos (concerts, etc.) I came to LOVE surround music. And now I'm getting into DVD-Audios. They're kinda hard to find, but with cool niche sites like www.adagioplus.com the selection is improving. I wish I could play SACD as well, but I don't have a player for that, and I'm not about to buy one just to play them. BUT, if a DVD player comes out with GREAT video quality that does SACD and DVD-A, I may switch from my Toshiba 4700.
    So I think it's slow progress, and eventually we'll have a real digital connection standard instead of the absurd 6 analog connection setup, but I think surround music is here to stay. Sure there's people who are happy with cheesy low-res MP3's who will never get it, but DVD-VIDEO titles with DD and DTS have really made people aware that there's formats more engaging that just 2 channels. (Apologies in advance to stereo purists - but I prefer surround music.)
     
  11. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael said:

     
  12. Ron Alcasid

    Ron Alcasid Stunt Coordinator

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    At this point I think both formats are not likely to gain mass market acceptance. However, I think DVD-A has more of a chance than SACD because of the acceptance of DVD video. Sadly, I think SACD will go the way of Beta and Minidiscs. DVD-A is basically PCM and the professional equipment used to record and process PCM is plentiful. Professional DSD (SACD) equipment is scarce in comparison.
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ron, I might agree with you, but the user interface for DVD-Audio could be better. SACDs are as easy to play as CDs. Sony needs to make SACD playback standard in all of its DVD players, just as CD playback is, in order to attract the masses. Last I heard, Sony sold more DVD players than any consumer electronics manufacturer, so Sony has the potential to get SACD into a lot of peoples' homes. In this day and age, I don't think audio-only components like the 'CE775 or Sony's current strategy with DVD/SACD players is going to turn the masses on to SACD. Currently, Sony offers lower-cost non-SACD DVD players, and there are a lot of people who will not spend the extra money just to get SACD. Why spend $330 on the DVP-NC650V when $250 will get you the DVP-NC600B? What's more, if you walk into Best Buy, the 'NS500V and 'NC650V are buried in the back of the store in the "Multi-Channel Audio" section, not on display with the other DVD players. In my opinion, Sony needs to offer DVD/SACD players as the only option at the standard DVD player prices. It's early in the game as far as DVD/SACD players are concerned, so Sony could very well address this with the next generation of players. Sony is heading in the right direction with SACD in offering its SACD-compatible Dream Systems.
    Getting back to DVD-Audio, it is unfortunate that the user interface is not more straightforward. I can operate my Technics DVD-A10 without a TV when playing Warner DVD-Audio discs. However, not all DVD-Audio players are said to be as easy to operate in this way, and not all DVD-Audio discs are formatted to work without a TV. The point is that the way I operate my 'A10 without a TV is not explained in the owner's manual and, therefore, is not a feature that was factored into the design of the DVD-Audio format. By contrast, video content and the use of a TV has been pushed as an advantage of DVD-Audio. So, the workaround that I and others have found useful for operating a DVD-Audio player without a TV is bound to have limitations in utility.
    Both formats have their shortcomings when it comes to gaining wide market acceptance. Aside from the limited software and the fact that many stores still sell high-resolution software for more than CDs, DVD-Audio has a user interface issue, in my opinion, and SACD is still dominated by just one hardware manufacturer, Sony. If other manufacturers come on board with low-cost SACD players (or universal players), that will obviously help Sony's cause. I also hope to see Sony incorporate SACD playback into all of its forthcoming DVD players, as I said before. Finally, Sony would do itself a huge favor if it released SACD/CD hybrid discs.
    The problem with the user interface for DVD-Audio is not likely to be addressed, as doing so could very well amount to creating yet another format. So, I feel DVD-Audio could very well be fighting an uphill battle. In addition, the software catalog for DVD-Audio is severely lacking. So, I feel SACD has more going for it to become a widely accepted format. Note that my conclusion does not even consider sound quality. It is based strictly on user convenience and marketing.
    EDIT: One other thing I would like to add that I feel favors SACD is the fact that the SACD standard calls for all multi-channel discs to include discrete stereo tracks. DVD-Audio does not mandate that a stereo track be included. While home-theater enthusiasts enjoy multi-channel systems and could not see being without one, there are still a lot of people out there who will not entertain anything beyond a stereo system due to cost and/or space constraints. Warner is now incorporating stereo tracks into its DVD-Audilo releases, as are other labels, but Warner left out stereo tracks on some early releases. Quality titles such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer Brain Salad Surgery, a seminal rock classic, and Natalie Merchant Tigerlilly are examples. It does not seem as though Warner is going to go back and add stereo tracks to these discs, which is unfortunate, in my opinion. Also, Silverline Records' DVD-Audio titles have no stereo tracks. I feel the omission of stereo tracks could hurt DVD-Audio in the long run.
     
  14. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    El postino delivered my copy of Mike Oldfield's TUBULAR BELLS on multi-channel SACD yesterday, I'm listening to it presently BTW. This is what an SACD disc should be! It's a CD hybrid disc and has 3 tracks, thusly. I'm developing a peference for multi-channel discs because they're also stereo discs.
    In 1997 my ambition was to own 100 DVD's to justify the two players I had. I was not confident the format would last. I feel the same way about SACD but even more so. The next SACD that I just can't wait to get my grubby little hands on is King Crimson's IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING. John Kay, of Steppenwolf, once commented about their mellotron ladden sound, "...they sound like a bleeding orchestra...". Ouh! I can hardly wait to hear what SACD can do for it.
    So, I'm gonna get some SACD's while the getting is good. Does Sony Corporation have any feet left to shoot off? [​IMG]
     
  15. Darryl_B

    Darryl_B Stunt Coordinator

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  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rachael asked:
     
  17. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I do not have high hopes for either SACD or DVD-A to reach mass market appeal, either. The general public is not that interested in audio quality higher than the standard redbook CD -- if they were, MP3 would not be so popular. Many people listen to music on to go (in the car, with portable CD or MP3 players, etc.), and there is little to no benefit in a higher resolution format for this application.

    The members of this forum with systems capable of exploiting the SACD and DVD-A formats are in the minority. I don't think there are enough of us to drive the format beyond a niche market, unless the record labels or manufacturers can figure out a better way to market the formats.
     
  18. Marvin

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  19. Ron Alcasid

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    Just curious, how many "real" SACD titles are out there? Is there a way to tell how an album was produced? Early CDs were marked ADD, AAD, DDD, etc, does SACD have something similar? I wouldn't suprise me that most of titles available now are just converted from high quality analog and PCM masters.
     
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ron, I don't how many true DSD SACDs are out there, but it is true that the majority of SACDs have been produced from analog or PCM masters. DSD is obviously a newer recording technique, and as such, there are not nearly as many true DSD recordings. Some of the smaller labels are releasing CDs and SACDs that were originally done in DSD. Telarc is an example.

    An SACD need not be derived from a DSD master to sound better than a CD. SACDs still have more data than CDs, and I have found that SACDs from analog and PCM masters sound better than CDs.
     

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