CD...then the SACD...all over again

Look, I'm one of the biggest defenders of SACD around. I own a lot of SACDs, I try to defend the format against attacks whenever possible, and I keep up to date on new high resolution releases.

But even I can hit a breaking point. I'm SO tired of buying a Patricia Barber CD...only to have the SACD come out 6 months later (roughly). Then I get the hi-res version. Then it happens again with her next release. And her next one.

Before you know it, I've spent 40 bucks to get her SACD ($25 for that disc, plus the $15 I laid down for the Redbook version).

In a perfect world, there would be one release: a Mobile Fidelity hybrid SACD. Barring that, AT LEAST the hi- and lo-res versions could come out simultaneously.

When they're starting to alienate even me, you *know* there's a serious problem!
Wow I wish I had your problem. Would you like to make a switch? Mine is an affair of the heart, so lets trade.
So, be patient and save the $15 - it's not like they're gonna stop pressing the CDs anytime soon...

Wow, are you a Patricia Barber fan or what! :-)
I share your sympathy and agree - I am in the same boat. I suppose it could be worse, however. We could be stuck with the choice of buying only the CD or low rez version. Consider us all lucky that MFSL exists in the first place. It is too bad that there is no "trade-in upgrade" policy at places like Music Direct...that would be less painful. My situation especially sucks because my Marantz 8260 will not read the MoFi's (It reads all other discs though.) Thank god for vinyl!
Yeah unfortunately, Rlwainwright is right (no pun intended) - even though it's hard to wait when a CD comes out, that seems to make the most sense.

It's the same thing with LPs. They release the CD, then 6 months later an audiophile label will press an LP of it.

I agree with your point though - if it's a hybrid why not just release the hybrid and that's it. I guess they're looking for the extra money.

The punishment seems to fit the crime. You listen to Pat Barber and are monetarily penalized. Where is the problem?
The real question is why does the CD cost $15, and the SACD $25.
I know, I know...I can just skip the CD altogether. Still, that doesn't seem like a "solution" in the true sense of the word. It's just going without for a while (a loooong while, if it's an artist you really like).

Viridian--it's not like we're talking about Diana Krall here (aka, Hell on Earth).
Eldartford, I've never gotten a satisfactory response to that question whenever I asked it. I assume it's that the producers feel that if you care enuf to by the SACD you're willing to pay the price. Not too much different when you think about it. Most highly promoted high end equipment is priced in a similar fashion. IMHO.
Viridian--it's not like we're talking about Diana Krall here (aka, Hell on Earth).
Most of the time I'd rather spend time listening to Diana Krall than Patricia; to each their own. Furthermore I find it interesting an attack on Diana when there is so many choices to bash out there. I guess it falls once again to each their own again
Brianmgrarcom, Viridian, and Thedautch. You present such an opportunity to be an equal opportunity asshole...IMHO, if your wanted to hear a REAL jazz singer, not some wanta be, you'd listen more to Shirly Horn. :-) :-) Oh crap, I forgot, she's probably not recorded in the SACD format. Sorry...........
Newbee...I intended to comment about both being overpriced, not the difference. I suppose that a Hybrid SACD, with two layers, is harder to make, and would logically cost a bit more. Manufacture of a CD costs, I've read, less than a buck, and most artists get less than that after "studio rental" and similar charges are deducted. If recording labels priced their product more reasonably they would not have to fight over people going to all the trouble to make copies. I have paid about $30 for some of my classical DVDA from Europe, and because of the low volume of such recordings that is probably OK. But I pity the poor guy who buys pop issues.
That kind of stuff (i.e., different relese times, cost differences) has lead me to abandon SACD. I have sold all my single layer SACD discs, my SACD player, and have never looked back.

SACD was great. It got me into jazz music. In the end, though, I found a good redbook version of most CD's were not that far behind the SACD version (and many were just as good).

And now that I have tranferred all my music to a computer based music server, I find my priorities changing dramatically.
Newbee: I *do* listen to Shirley Horn, actually. And many other very good (or great) jazz artists.

I just think that Diana Krall, with her Nixon-esque ham-handed piano playing and inability to interpret lyrics or read ANY insight into a song's meaning, is at the absolute bottom of the heap.
Brian, I think that you can only tell the difference between the jazz-lite female vocalists Krall, Barber, Cole, Monheit, et al on that cool DK Designs rig, not on the pedestrian stuff that the rest of us listen to.
Vinyl version, Nautilus vinyl version, MoFi vinyl version, MoFi cassette version, Direct to Disc vinyl version, 45 RPM Crystal Records vinyl version, Elcassette, DAT version, CD redbook version, Philips DCC version, MoFi remastered CD version, MoFi remastered CD Gold version, mini-disc, SACD, SACD hybrid, DAD, DVDA....#!*&^%#&*

And the beat goes on..........

I'm sorry to hear about your afair of the heart. I wouldn't make that trade. I'm at the tail end of dealing with that.

The only solution - Who said being an audiophile was money efficient. Be patience or pay more money. LOL
Why does an SACD cost more, Eldartford? Those jewel cases, of course. Aren't they a marvel? Gorgeous, jaw-dropping improvement over the standard cases, like comparing a diamond to a jade, really. OK, only joking...

We have a few SACD's, and I love the increased textural depth that I hear over redbook. Unfortunately, I don't think that the differences would appeal to the non-audiophile. The general public needs to be floored by a technology, or it won't lose sleep over that next must-have purchase. Just my 2 cents.
I get my SACDs at Fry's electronics. There are a few that are above $20, but most of the ones I get are $17, which is $1-2 above a redbook CD. I just bought a telarc for $17 yesterday.

Guys, I can feel your pain. Bear it with dignity and courage for your will need it. Your future pain will be far greater.

I went through this process with Laser Discs, cursed for ever be its name.

Now, unlike CD vs. SACD, the choice of LD vs. VHS tapes was much easier. LDs were dramatically better and just about all movie titles were available in this superior format. I bought most of the movies that I liked on LDs, many titles in duplicates and triplicates: the standard's CLV version, the special CAV version, the director's cut, not to mention the must-have Criterion Edition. Does that sales tactic sound familiar? And they weren't cheap like SACDs either, about $39 for the standard stuff, $79 for the special stuff, and $129 for the super-duper version. I ended up owning about 1,500 LDs that set me back between $50,000 to $80,000 total!

Then DVDs came out! They were clearly better than LDs in almost every respect! The values of the LDs plummeted. I managed to sell about 700 LDs at about $5-10 each before that fateful day but I am still stuck with eight boxes, about 800 LDs that are worth less than their shipping cost! Now that's pain.

I am older now, not necessarily wiser but definitely slower so I make fewer mistakes. I buy only a few SACDs, the ones that I really like and own only 50 to 75 of them total, if that many. I figure when “they” come out with something far better--and they will--I can toss these SACDs in the trash without too much regret.
The worse is yet to come.

I hear a lot of noise about the new HD DVD formats. Yes folks, formatS with an S. They are supposed to give better picture and sound than DVD and SACD. The two competing camps led by Sony and Toshiba respectively are racing to get their product to the market first. Does this sound familiar? How can they forget so soon that the only two previous successes, the CD and DVD, had no competing formats? And even that is not a guaranty of success--remember the Laser Discs? Now with two competing formats, we are doomed! (I still have a Betamax machine in my storage room. Perhaps I should send it to Sony as a reminder of past mistakes).

One thing is reasonably clear in this murky future. Regardless of which new HD DVD format wins, the regular DVD format may be doomed--I am seriously thinking about selling my DVD movies now before they become obsolete like my LD movies. And the future of the SACD and DVD-A formats is even dimmer still.

It makes you long for the old days when LPs actually increased in value with age.
No one has come up with an answer to my question yet: If everything is moving to embedded hard disks (ipod, etc) which will be downloaded from the internet, then why would blu-ray or any other "disc" format be the next big thing?

Robm321, You should ask Sony & Toshiba. They are the ones making the decision, not us. I would have brought CD out a couple years later when higher sampling rate was feasible. I also would never have brought out the Laser Disc. But of course, with hindsight...

My guess is that the embedded hard-disk format and the HD DVD format(s) will duke it out and I have no idea who is going to win. But many of us will lose.
I made my choice for the "forseeable future", and it is a hard disc based music server. I have not done anything rash yet, like sell all my CD's, but they are all in the attic now. I live interfacing with my music via iTunes......
Justin time,

My question was for discussion purposes. I have no desire to go through the hoops of contacting Sony to ask them about future formats. I was addressing the mentions of Blu-ray being the next big thing. I don't see any disk format being the next standard for music mp3 players are the most convenient for the general public.

I would assume that blu-ray will be for movies and everything else will be moving to hard drives like they are already.

Rob, I understand your point completely. I think you may not have read mine entirely right. While I think our discussion about the relative merits of different formats is interesting, my main point was and still is that it will have zero impact on what the companies in their infinite wisdom will bring out. Only they know the reason for their ultimate decision.

As to Blu-Ray, there's still great uncertainty as to which format, Sony's or Toshiba's, will be out first for HD DVD and whether both (like SACD & DVD-A) or only one (like VHS) will survive.

As to everything besides movies migrating to hard drives, I see less clearly than you do. While MP3 is extremely popular for portable music, the younger crowd, and perhaps the general public, most audiophiles seem to still much prefer the better sound of LP(!) and SACD.

I do not know what format for higher-quality sound will replace SACD and DVD-A, but I wouldn't bet that it will be hard-drive based. It could very well be HD DVD. It seems to me that reason and logic, at least as we see it, may have little to do with the companies' ultimate decision.
Justin time,

Well we agree then that most audiophiles enjoy LPs (it’s my favorite) and SACD (although I hear a lot of them afraid to make the plunge due to the obvious uncertainty – so maybe it should be LP and redbook).

We disagree about the future however. MP3s are not only big for portable music, but at home as well. Most people that I know (non-audiophile) have a huge amount of music on their computers and they burn them onto discs to bring in the car (some file share illegally, some pay $1 a song). What would compel these people to buy a blu-ray disc if and when it comes out for music? Remember quality is an issue only to us. They can pick the songs they want (so they wouldn’t have to buy disc with 15 songs for 2 songs that they like). And what would Sony’s or Philip’s motivation be to release something that only audiophiles seem to care about?

Oh, we also agree that logic and reason have nothing to do with their ultimate decisions which would render my argument above moot ;)

Hi -
Excuse the intrusion into this thread. I have, what many will think is, a dumb question. Oh well - what else is new. :-)

How does one move the music, which is accumulated on a hard drive, or mp3 player, to their audiophile rig? Do people have computer hard drives connected directly to their preamp? Or do they burn their stored music, to a "CD", then carry it to their "CD player"?

Just curious. Thanks

Some people use hard drives as the source. I'll let them comment on that. I was refering to the general public though if you were asking about my statement. Most of the people I know don't have seperate preamps.

Rob, how is your experience with MP3 sound on your home system? I have burned several CDs with songs downloaded from my iPod (and from my laptop) and played them on my home system. The sound was...very disappointing, even slightly inferior to CD sound.

I have no complaint about MP3 on my iPod or in the car but it show its limitations with the higher resolution of my home system. Have you heard of any plan for a higher quality format than MP3? As it stands, it reminds me of VHS tapes: convenient, cheap, hugely popular but not for serious viewing. The immediate popularity of DVDs shows that the public can and will appreciate higher quality format if convenience and price are not sacrificed.

I am all for a hard-drive based format--at least my hard drives won't be obsolete any time soon--but it must be better than MP3. Will there something like that out there soon?
Justin time,

I don't have an Ipod, and I don't use my hard drive in my hi fi system. I was talking about the target market "most of the population" for Sony, Phillips, etc. to make products that the market will demand, and that demand will be based on features and convenience (e.i. popularity of Ipod).

I dissagree with you about why DVD's eliminated VHS. DVD's are much more convenient (no rewinding), they have more features, they last longer, are smaller, more durable, etc. Beta max was better quality than VHS. but no one seemed to care.

As for me I like LPs, SACD and CD. I just see no reason why the mp3 format and whatever else betters that won't continue for the general public. Why would they need a newer type of CD?

Good debate by the way Justin time.

Not a debate, Rob. Just a friendly exchange of opinion.

I don't understand the rush to get HD DVD out either. Why do the Sony camp & the Toshiba camp both think that the public needs a higher resolution format?

And if the public does want highr resolution, why a new HD DVD disc rather than something to superseed MP3?

It will be interesting to see how all this will pan out.
Justin time,

You're right debate wasn't the right word.

I would assume for movies (especially with HDTV looming) HD DVD will fill the need for the higher resolution TV sets possibly - although, I don't think the average movie watcher cares much - it's usually the home theater buff.

I don't think the general public will demand higher resolution music unfortunately though. But there will always be quality stuff for audiophiles to listen to no matter what format is next. So, no worries anyway.

Oldpet: My source is an Apple G4 laptop. I use a USB cable to go out from the laptop and into a an Apogee Mini-DAC (which has a USB input). From the Apogee I go out (via XLR's) to XLR inputs of my integrated amp. There are many other ways to go from a hard drive based system into a preamp (some are even wireless). Check into the PC Audio forum on this site for many fine discussions about this topic.