Another sign SACD is dying

I went to Best Buy to purchase some SACDs and after searching for the special section containing sacds and xrcds without success, I asked the salesman where they were. He informed me that they were all removed since dual disc is now the rage. WOW!
sacd was doomed to fail as soon as they were first released,a non audiophile would never dream of paying xtra for a cd player that was capable of playing sacd's.

it wont be long before dual disc goes the way of the wind too,standard cd's are too far entrenched for any other format to gain a foothold.

im not suprised at all that best buy isnt stocking sacd's anymore,sooner or later all of these new formats will end up like the beta format was to vcr.

I bought about 30 LPs at the Best Buy here in Scottsdale, when they stopped stocking them. 99 cents each, sealed.
Thanks for the heads up, hopefully, they're just as foolish with the SACDs.
If lack of shelf space at Best Buy is the harbinger, this whole hobby is about to die out. Either that, or we need another harbinger.
I have my problems with the LP format, but one thing you can say for it is that it has staying power! When I put together my first "system" about 1953, the very first LP I got was the musical "Wonderful Town". Half a century and many system iterations later, I can still play that LP.
Two channel stereo is dead! I went to Best Buy and they did not have any high end gear. How long will it be before AudiogoN folds up and we don't have anywhere to write this stuff?!?

Best Buy is the lowest common denominator or electronics sales. They mean nothing to good musical reproduction, or good home theater for that matter. I stand by my statement that SACD will only succeed if audiophiles support it. If people who care about good sound stick with a garbage format like redbook, then we are doomed... No one will ever introduce a better format, why would they? We are shooting ourselves in the foot by rejecting hi-rez formats. Maybe we're shooting ourselves in the head!?!

Only companies as big as Sony and their ilk can design and produce a gamble like SACD or DVD-A. If we argue about their virtues and sit on the sideline, our options will never get better. Are you satisfied with your system to the point where it does not need to get better??? If not support better formats! Are SACD and DVD-A perfect? Not by a long shot, but they sure are better than the dismal failure of redbook CD!!!
They are called Hybrids and are stocked in the cd section.Besides if you are going to BBY for high end audio you are in the wrong store.
As far as I know Best Buy never stocked any high-end eqiopment. They are what they are, a mass merchandiser. The demand for high-end audio isn't worth the effort for them. Each square foot of retail space is required to produce a specific amount of revenue. If the merchandise doesn't produce, then it's gone. A very simple formula really that just doesn't allow for such things as LPs or SACDs. Obviously volume and/or profitabilty didn't conform to Best Buys parameters for these catagories.
Doesn't bother me because I've purchased almost everything audio related from little guys anyway. As far as music is concerned there are quite a number of excellent retailers on the net that carry the stuff we want. Why not support them instead of the mega buck mega retailers like Best Buy. They've got their consumer base and it's definitely not us (audiophiles). They're trying to everything to everybody but they're not for me.
I am amazed! The next thing you will tell us is that Best Buy does not sell tube equipment! Best Buy is to high fidelity what Eastside Mario's is to fine Italian food.
I gave SACD a try a few years ago and Best Buy was about the only store in my area (Knoxville, TN) that made any effort to stock the discs. The big music stores, chain and independent, acted as if they never heard of SACD. While I would almost rather take a beating as grace the doors of any Best Buy Store I agree with the original poster that this is not good news for fans of SACD.

I fear SACD has already become an 'audiophile' only format and the availability of future popular titles will be limited at best. Which is a shame because it is a superior format to redbook.
Pbb how could you say that about Mario's??? That's some of the best Italian food I've never had!!!
Nrchy this is an argument that has went on since SACD was comparitively new.
Myself and Rsbeck crossed swords many times on it but I do respect his stance on it even if I believe he's been wrong about some of his predictions sadly I'm going to repeat part of my argument again.

Some of us tried SACD at a certain level and bailed out for logical reasons-we were not people who wanted to be disappointed by it.
I think the people you should blame are those who didn't develop the format not us who tried it.

To add to the argument today Dylan released his two new remasters (Bob Dylan/The Times They Are A Changin')and neither were SACD hybrids.
His previous 15 album mega release of remasters saw them on SACD hybrid.
He and Sony have bailed out on the format this time around.
I may be wrong but I believe Dylan's 15 album SACD release was THE major remastering series done on SACD.
It didn't work but more crucially Sony didn't stick with it-about a year later they all came out on plain vanilla Redbook.

The format will survive as I always said as a niche Audiophile format-specialised releases and music that will "safely" appeal to audiophiles.

I'm sorry but I listen to music not formats and certainly not music picked by some numbskulls who think they know what I want remastered and on what format-you say Redbook is a dismal failure and here is me buying countless music on that format every month and I am deluded enough to think that some it even sounds great.

I guess I should have waited on the SACD releases rather than enjoying countless recordings this year.
This doesn't surprise me. Of my local social and professional circles (no audiophiles), I'm the only one that even knows what SACD is, much less DVD-A or the likes.
Ben Campbell I'm not going to argue with you, at least I don't think I'm going to argue...

Listening to music is the ultimate goal of all music lovers and audiophiles. We all want it to sound good, or if possible better. Lots of people have said that with SACD the margin of improvement is not great enough to justify the expenditure. My response is that redbook CD in 1985 was a poor format. It has been improved upon by nearly everyone who makes any gear at all. SACD was much better sounding than redbook. If people could improve redbook that much in the last twenty years, you know they can do the same with SACD. Many companies already have. Classe, Reimyo (sp), and Meitner have made some very good units. This technology, if not left for dead would trickle down where Joe Sixpack could afford it soon enough.

My Sony SCD 777es sounds very good in SACD, but it is nowhere near SOTA anymore. The state-of-the-art has left it behind. BUT it's all dollars and sense. If audiophiles won't spend their dollars, it doesn't make sense for Sony/Classe/Meitner to invest in much better sound and formats or playback units.

I have the Dylan set, nearly all of them, and there are none of them that suck. They might not be as good as the best recordings available, but I bought them to support better formats and because I'm a Dylan psycho! I love his stuff!

What will happen when some designer puts together something truly amazing (format wise) but they never build it because they don't think buyers will go for it based on the failure of SACD? What is Sony's motivation to develop better sounding musical formats? What we have today is not the pinnacle of what the human mind can conceive. I want something better, if that means following the red herring of SACD, I'm not sorry I spent the money...
"Only companies as big as Sony and their ilk can design and produce a gamble like SACD or DVD-A."

SACD was never meant to be a long term consumer product, they have not gambled anything as DSD technology will be used for its original purpose, archiving. This is very much like Beta versus VHS. Everyone thinks Sony took a beating but infact they preserved their margins by selling BETA products to the pro-side (TV Stations) for three decades with much less competition. Plus they stole BETA from Ampex so they didn't even have to do R&D. Sony is a four letter word for a reason, buy their formats at your own risk.

From the very first day I attended the East Coast Debut of Sony SACD I knew it was a stop gap till DVD could get itself High Resolution Audio DVD-A. It was was a way for Sony to make money on people. I have never seen an indication that SACD was here to stay except as a Consumer Product by overly optimistic small specialized producers of audiophile recordings. I think Sony may very well be shocked at how long DVD-A has dragged out this process and the ratification of a true HD Audio HDMI interface. HDMI now cannot pass 24/96 multi-channel

DVD-A is no gamble either, it is in committee, it takes a while to divide up the pie. Oh lets not forget the real obstacle to this progress. Copy protection.

PS: hope I'm not repeating what somebody already said.
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I don't disagree with your stance it's both reasonable and understandable.

The two major downpoints I see with SACD with regards how audio fans have reacted to the format are the following.

1.No major differences between SACD and Redbook performance on a lot of recordings.
2.Lack of titles.

The problem is probably not the format but how the early days of it were managed and planned.
As a result potential adopters have tried it and walked away.If it couldn't be sold to us then what chance the general public?

I'd love to hear the Meitner and/or own it-as I see it if you have the dual success of this unit you can't go wrong but with my budget at the time there was no comparable SACD/Redbook player I could audition or buy to compete with my Ayre CX-7.
As a result I went for the player which would give me most enjoyment on listening to music,SACD was/is too marginalised for me.

As for supporting the format,I still have a SACD player (Sony DVPS500)and still buy hybrids as they emerge but if SACD had delivered thaey would have been getting much more of my spending on music.
As it is can you really see it develop as Redbook has?
I can't.
I too adopted to sacd and as i thought i was getting the best sound possible out of the music i was listening to. That was until i stumbled across the Naim label. If you want to hear one of the best recordings out there pick up TRUE STEREO(Unprocessed Anolog Recordings. This sampler disc blows away every sacd i have including Patricia Barber's Companion and Modern Cool.

I also believe a reason for the lack of support for the sacd or even dvd-A is because of the blu-Ray. Once this comes out later this year or early next year, we should see a change in the recording industry.(probably start seeing a decline in redbook then too). This disc/format should be able to unite all formats into one.
Have any of you guys stopped throwing the mud around long enough to notice that AIX records is making a real effort to provide audiophile quality DVDAs. Sure, they have tracks playable on DVDV equipment as well, but all in all it is an endevour that we ought to support. Their choice of music is not always what I look for, but from the postings I read it ought to be popular.
To follow up Cinematic systems point-the DSD process was used recently by Brian Eno for his remastering series (12 albums so far) but are plain Redbook-as was the Miles Davis Jack Johnson box set.
Could someone explain why it costs so much more to produce a SACD than a Redbook CD? That has always been for me the killer. No one who is not an 'audiophile' is going to pay the difference to get an SACD when they don't have the listening skills or the playback equipment to make the expenditure worthwhile. As for SACD's for audiophiles - remasters of old classic performances dragged out again and again in every new format available. At the risk of sounding cynical, I've been underwhelmed.

What makes it even worse, I think Nrchy is right - 2 channel audio is dead. And, IMHO, for the average multi-channel HT/Music system set up in the average home listening room with a modest audio system the distinction between DVD-A, SACD, and Redbook will be lost.

My conclusion is to just buy the music you really want to hear and enjoy, in whatever format, while you can. I've seen very little going on in the recording industry which makes me optomistic, just a lot of noise. :-(
I was not going to respond because I didn't think there was anything else left to say, but after reading what has been posted lately I think there is more worthwhile discussion to be had...

Sinnermatic systems, Ampex sold out! It sucks but the good ol' US of A could have made a killing on video, but we sent all the money to Japan instead.

Sinner matic, Sony did not build SACD to use it for a little while and then to pull it. It may work very well to archive old tapes that are not holding up that well. Something needed to be done to preserve this music and Sony admitted that redbook is not the answer. The format is too flawed to archive old, great music. The format may have been developed to archive with, but I'm sure Sony hoped it would be a commercial success too. Redbook was forced upon an unsuspecting public, had Sony done the same with SACD who know what might have happened!?!

Ben, my experience is different than yours. I have not encountered a situation where the SACD did not better redbook. I have maybe 40 SACDs and this has not been an issue. I agree that there are not a lot of titles, but if people had bought the portion of what was available that they enjoyed, it would be good motivation to make more.

Eldartford, if you're not covered with it, then not enough mud has been flung! Who is flinging mud anyway? You should change your user name to: Ihateeverythingeveryoneelsesays.

Newbee most SACDs are the same or cheaper (in my little town) as their redbook counterparts. I don't think the issue is the cost of pressing (for lack of a better term) SACDs, but the fact that the gear for making redbook recordings is not the same as SACD. The additional gear costs money to the studio, and again along the chain. Prices for SACDs are not a deterent to buying the product, for me anyway.
"Sinner matic, Sony did not build SACD to use it for a little while and then to pull it."

Nrchy, when are you going to learn to think about what I write before you respond with glib comments? First of all archiving would not be done in the redbook format it would be done in the PCM 24/96 format, but DSD is more robust than PCM should there be slight deterioration to the masters. Thus it is a much better solution, Sony only owns a third of the worlds music, I think preservation of that investment is more important than launching a new incompatible High performance format. Sony is not that stupid.

Funny as SACD is dispearring you would argue with me about its longevity, especially when you see all the Sony artist are qued up on DVD-A. Which will transfer to bluray just fine. Bluray improves the video, the audio is still 24/96-192

The pro recording world is 24/96 or better right now and what is holding up the train is Copy Protection, whether its blu ray or DVD-A they are going nowhere until this issue is settled. The fact that the DSD datastream was incompatible with all the PCM recorders made the SACD copy proof for awhile.

Finally Compatibility, the format is incompatible with everything, so only a select group of people could be counted on to pursue this red herring.....audiophiles.

Sony thanks you for your support,

It's good to hear a positive perspective.

I think the people that are posting that stereo is dead are reading to many home theater magazines. Stereo has been dead for over 10 years. You need to seperate audiophiles from the typical consumer. They don't sell records at record stores anymore. Yet new titles and remastered titles are still coming out. New TTs are selling and advances are being made for audiophiles only. Most people don't even realize they make records anymore.

If you are asking some 16 year old part time commissioned worker about the future of high end audio, then you are barking up the wrong tree.

I never thought SACD would be the be all end all formats, but for the time being, you can get players that play SACD and do a heck of a great job on Redbook too.

I still enjoy LPs the best and I like Redbook. SACD is a step above redbook on pure digital recordings (beware of some SACD titles that don't sound any better than redbook).

Let's save the doom and gloom cries for a REAL indicator that the SACD format is going to die.

It's an interesting post mortum.

My take is that we've all had 20 years to optimize our Redbook hardware and get it sounding pretty good. Then along comes SACD with the promise of better sound quality, so we go out and plop down $1000 on a new SACD player and expect it to compete with our $5000 Redbook rigs (substitute whatever numbers are appropriate).

For those of us with multi-format players, I can't imagine anyone not liking SACD better than CD on the same player.

In most cases we've either expected too much from the format or we haven't given it a fair chance.
With redbook I think the main issue is that recording/mixing/mastering techniques produce very inconsistant results. In this digital age, if one recording can sound excellent then it ought to be the 'rule' and not the exception. Listen to Patricia Barber - Modern Cool as an example of good redbook quality. If it was the norm for other CD's to playback with the same level of performance, I don't think there'd be a need for a 'higher-res' format.

The mistake seems to be that the industry has not addressed the root cause of the problem. If you put crap on a CD your system will playback crap. Likewise with SACD or any other format. It all starts in the studio, or wherever the artists are.
>>2 channel audio is dead<<

Uh oh. Best Buy strikes again.
For a dead format I continue to see more and more SACD Hybrid releases every day. It will however continue to be limited to the smaller labels producing high quality releases of specialized musical venues.
Cinner I thought about what you said which was why I responded with a glib comment.

I'm not sure our difference in regard to this matter is as great as in other matters. I am simply saying that Sony must have believed that SACD as a consumer format had a fighting chance. I agree that Sony was looking for the best possible means of archiving their vast library of music. But if it were you, wouldn't you also hope that the incompatable format would be a commercial success.

There continue to be new SACDs available for the music lover. I bought several of the new Living Stereo releases a few weeks ago. Tschaikowski's 6th Symphony, Sherazade, and a Gershwin release all sounded very good. At the $12 price point, they were well worth the cost.

Post mortum eh? If it's dead (I will concede life support) that's just because people who claim to be music lovers let a better sounding format die.

Where is the controversy?
Rooze you miss the main point,the vast vast majority of music (guessing 99%)is not available on SACD therefore it doesn't matter what happens in the studio.
Also a fair bit of SACD releases as you rightly point out were met with perhaps unreasonable expectation (and by that I mainly mean remasters)which is just the way of the world-super duper new format did not equal super duper differences for a lot of us.

To take a modern recording that is usually rated by audio fans-Sea Change by Beck how much better is that on SACD?
I'm serious I don't know but having a few weeks ago heard snippets of the Keane album on my neighbours new Linn Unidisk-I wasn't greatly impressed .

When music historians look back at the history of music how many releases are actually going to be artists found on specialised audiophile labels?
Certainly very little new music.
Something that befuddles me is that I have read various comments from people pertaining to the limited superiority if any of SACD over redbook. Now the irony is that some of these comments are made by people who are cryogenically treating (read tweak) their wall outlets trying to squeeze every bit of performance from their system that they can. Yet they will denounce a format that offers some improvement and in some instances vast improvement in the very sound quality that they are trying to improve. I don't get it!
Hi Ben,
I didn't really miss the point, it's been made already, and I agree with it, so didn't feel the need to restate it.
In some ways it's like the chicken and the egg scenario. I actually waited over 3 yrs before finally buying a Universal player, since there wasn't enough music around on the new formats (DVD-A included) to really interest me. It was only when PF's DSOTM came out that I decided to take the plunge. I bought a $1200 player and my intention was to wait and see how the software progressed, and if more titles that interest me became available, I would have taken the plunge and invested in a better player.
Now that scenario must have been predicted by Sony - people reluctant to spend serious money on hardware until sufficient software becomes available.....but the software didn't really materialize, so how could the hardware get a foothold?
It's a shame, but there you have it. I bought a $1200 player and I've bought some discs, so I gave it a try. But would I spend the extra cash on a player that does full justice to the potential of the medium, given the software issues?...nope.
I'm surprised the issue of multi-channel hasn't been discussed more in this thread. Don't some people believe that SACD was always intended as a MC format to compete with DVD? That's been an argument I've seen raised elsewhere....I'm not sure of the facts but it seems plausible to some.

I think the strangest thing in this debate that most of us are actually not that far apart on the fundamental issues.

My belief is that those who have gotten most out of SACD are those who've been lucky enough to have serious money to spend on a player/DAC (not exclusively of course).

Then I see a split between audio fans who are more focused on the quality of recordings/specialist labels(SACD) and those who are more interested in hearing a wide range of music(nearly always plain old vanilla CD).

By and large I only see these two "groups" continuing to be passionate about the format.
I'm only guessing here but I would bet that over 70% who have tried SACD and even DVDA have bailed out for various reasons or have players(universal/DVDA/SACD) as back up and lie pretty much unused.
Is this a crazy guess?

What I don't see is the supporters of SACD making as big an argument as much as they used to that the format will thrive and replace Redbook.
Am I wrong?
Ozz, Where can I but the True Stereo CD you memtion in your post? Hush
I think the strangest thing in this debate that most of us are actually not that far apart on the fundamental issues.

My belief is that those who have gotten most out of SACD are those who've been lucky enough to have serious money to spend on a player/DAC (not exclusively of course).

Then I see a split between audio fans who are more focused on the quality of recordings/specialist labels(SACD) and those who are more interested in hearing a wide range of music(nearly always plain old vanilla CD).

By and large I only see these two "groups" continuing to be passionate about the format.
I'm only guessing here but I would bet that over 70% who have tried SACD and even DVDA have bailed out for various reasons or have players(universal/DVDA/SACD) as back up and lie pretty much unused.
Is this a crazy guess?

What I don't see is the supporters of SACD making as big an argument as much as they used to that the format will thrive and replace Redbook.
Am I wrong?

No, I do not believe you are wrong. SACD will not replace redbook only enhance it or if you wish work in concert with it. Such is the case for the Hybrid discs; seems like synergies to me. And the way SACD should have been marketed all along (IMO).

I bought the Living stereo sacd (Rimski Karsakov) and I really was flabbergasted with the quality of trasfer. Later I stumbled upon an article giving comparison of the sacd with the living stereo LP and the reviewer could not make up his mind which was better the LP or SACD. This review was on TNT website.

If the SACD is that good why is it dying, how come more and more titles are being released and expensive SACD players are being introduced by famous companies. On the other hand one could buy hybrid ones on Amazon for less than ten bucks!

Come on guys, give SACD a break it deserves, don't kill it. Some of your fellow audiophiles are really enjoying it!
Well, if whether Blu-ray or whatever the next thing is comes out, it will take another 2-3 years to start getting software for it. So, if you are waiting then you'll be waiting for a long time.

SACD isn't going to die in the near future. But you don't need it to enjoy the music - redbook sounds great to me. SACD sounds better on certain recordings. What is probably going to happen is most Audiophile companies will start making Universal players and stop making CD only player. It seems to already be happening.

Anyone else think a one-box PC or Mac based hard drive music server coupled with a redbook CD player would be a no-brainer for Microsoft or Apple? Something akin to the combo Tivo/DVD players or VHS/DVD players, only for audio...


I too have purchased a couple of the living stereo SACD's and was astounded by how good they sound. I bought them from tower records for around 8-10 bucks apiece with free shipping. And just as others have said SACD (hybrids) are not going away anytime soon. I too am finding more and more new releases everyday. And more manufacturers are making universal players. So I would say rest easy and enjoy the music.

It really isn't fair to compare the 3-channel SACD with the LP mixed down, from the 3-channel masters, to 2-channel.

Thanks, I will :)


I wish I had the LP to compare to but found out a friend has it, one of these days we plan to get together and listen to both. As for my setup, it is only two channel so I guess a comparision would be justified since both would be heard inb plain stereo.
Well SACD is an improvement over redbook, and gets much closer to vinyl, but vinyl is clearly the best of the 3 no matter how you look at it.

But it would be nice to eventually get a format that was almost the same strictly for convenience (i.e. the way digital cameras are getting very close to 35mm film).

"06-23-05: Eldartford wrote: It really isn't fair to compare the 3-channel SACD with the LP mixed down,from the 3-channel masters, to 2-channel."

What's not fair? Any version/remastering of the same source can be reasonably compared with any other. The issue is whether you draw responsible conclusions.

I agree with Nrchy--Support SACD please! If you are an audiophile and truly care about good sound--you need to buy SACD. There is more dynamic range and far more resolution on high frequencies. Don't let this wonderful format die.
Rfj5106-I've bought approx 70 or 80 CD's this year.
One of them was on SACD-Bill Laswell.

It's not easy to support that's the problem.
You're right Ben. If there were more music I wanted on SACD I would buy it, as I think, would you. This isn't as simple as I would wish. There are many factors involved, and we don't have any control over most of them anymore. Maybe if we had...
It does seem to be a format that caters to the classical and Jazz listener of which I am. So I have no problem finding music (SACD's) that I like.

On 'Hardball' last night Chris interviewed a representative of the Christian music industry who claimed that the genre accounted for 6% of total music sales. Which he stated was greater than the total for classical and jazz sales combined. I don't know if these figures are accurate but they seem believeable. Hopefully the audiophile market can keep SACD going but it seems like an uphill battle. At least a decent percentage of rock/popular new titles are also being released on vinyl.
I also dabble in Jazz and classical-my two most recent were Pat Methney and Keith Jarret's new ones.
Classical is the same,the most recent things I've bought Satie on EMI and also some Choral Renaissance music were both only Redbook.

I admit the majority of my purchases are not the type of way SACD has went although about 30-40% of my purchases are reissues.
I wish SACD would have made a bigger splash. I think a series of factors have limited SACD's chance of success. Two hi-rez formats in the market, the rise of MP3/iPod and finally, new music for the most part sucks (IMO)! The record companies have been wailing for some time that music sales (read CD sales) are down.

There are a couple of things that may either breath new life into SACD or kill it. One is that there is a new CEO for the company who is looking to "kill" unprofitable areas of the business. This may doom SACD.

On the other hand, the new Sony PS-3 has SACD capabilities (and Blu-ray). Perhaps video games may have SACD sound? Maybe kids will say "wow! that sounds good." which may expose SACD to a new demographic of consumer - and one that tends buy a lot of music too! ????

Obviously I'm speculating but it is clear the format is at a crossroads.

where is the best online site for scad selection,went to the sound shop and asked if they had a hybrid section,he did not know what I was talking about,any suggestions would be greatly appreaciated,thanks