SACD 2 channel vs Hybrid SACD

It appears that there are many original SACD players that will not decode the more recent Hybrid SACDs. It seems that almost if not all of the newest titles over the past 6 months are being offered only in hybrid SACD format. Is there any advantage to keeping a player that will only decode 2 channel SACD, that is, will these hybrid SACDs still sound better than Redbook CDs even though they are not being utilized to their full potential? Any knowledge of any outboard Hybrid SACD processors available?
I don't know where you get your information, but I don't think you have it right. My Sony 777ES, a first generation player, plays the SACD layer of every SACD disk I've fed it, hybrid or not, multi-channel or not, and I've been collecting all of the new classical releases. Your terminology is confusing, too--hybrid generally refers to a dual layer disc, with a CD layer to play on ordinary CD players, and an SACD layer for playing only on SACD players; this has been a big advantage for SACD over DVD-A to this point, that you can buy an SACD and still play the CD layer on your redbook CD player or in your car's CD player. If you're referring to multichannel vs. 2-channel, there is still a two-channel mix on all the SACDs. But in my experience, the older machine does fine at reading all discs, hybrid or single-layer.
Two channel sacd players play all sacd's in two channel...Multichannel sacd players will play multichannel or two channel. All sacd's have two channel mix. You are a little confused it would seem. Hope this helps.

Hybrid means just what Rprince explained: i.e. the disc can be played on a regular redbook CD player, or any SACD player, two channel or multichannel. My beef is that now the damn record companies will ONLY release SACD's that can be mastered from multichannel originals. (70's Quad and newer DSD masters.) This means that the treasure trove of great performances that were recorded in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's will never be released in SACD, and will become ever more difficult to obtain even in CD. This is not progress, it is greed!!!
Irishdog, I could be mistaken but...I thought that multi-channel SACD was only going to be derived from multi-channel sources and 2 channel from 2 channel sources. i.e. not creating multi-channel from 2 channel sources. But I digress, I cant remember where I read this.
Irishdog, that's a good point (although you can have most recordings from the 80's, I am quite certain that early 16 bit pcm digital will not sound any better on SACD); I too am not pleased at what appears to be a complete shift to multichannel, as a lot of fine Telarc DSD recordings which were only recorded in two channel (the Shaw/ASO Dvorak Stabat Mater, the Spano/ASO Sheherazade, the McDuffie/SCO Mendelsohnn/Bruch violin concerti, to name a few) will likely never be released in the SACD format. I recognize that the "hook" to get people to buy SACDs may have to be its multi-channel capabilities; perhaps if that does establish the medium, then the record companies will raid their vaults. I will note, though, that the new upcoming Mercury reissues will mine some great recordings, even though there's only the third/center channel in the multi-channel mix, so maybe there's some hope.
You guys need to try a little harder to stay up on your sacd release info...if anything their is to much old stuff being released, it's hurting the format IMHO.

Dave: I'd disagree as to classical releases, there's a decent number of new recordings far outnumbering the older ones that Sony first released when they got the format started, and we old guys like some of the reissues (though there could be better ones chosen). That said, I think you definitely have a point on rock and pop, one of the problems with the format's ability to attract a large following and possibly, though I hope not, its ultimate downfall (?).
Mr.Distortion, you misuderstood what I wrote. My point was that record companies are, at present, only releasing SACD's derived from multichannel SOURCES. This rules out excellent two-channel masters (especially classical and jazz) which would greatly benefit from the high-resolution formats. Rprince, you are right, Telarc WAS planning to continue to release the excellent Soundstream masters. I was told this almost two years ago by a Telarc exec. However, they changed their mind, and now will only release recordings derived from multichannel masters. (Thank God these are pure DSD, not the 24/48 crap many of the others are using including Deutsche Grammophone, and even Chandos.) If indeed there is a new Mercury series of SACD's coming, that would indeed be very good news!
Irishdog: Here's the press release on the Mercs:

iClassics_Steve (572 posts) 08-19-03, 01:26 PM (EST)
"Mercury Living Presence Announcement"

The Decca Music Group, which owns the celebrated Mercury Living Presence classical catalogue, is pleased to announce the launch of Mercury Living Presence recordings on the new audiophile format, Super Audio CD. Mercury Living Presence continues to enjoy a special reputation as one of the most enterprising and prestigious labels in the history of classical recording, with many of its classic 60s and 70s recordings never leaving the catalogue.

The first releases are slated to be released late fall/winter 2003, and will include such notable recordings as Antal Dorati’s complete Firebird ballet, Rachmaninov’s 2nd and 3rd piano concertos with Byron Janis, the complete Bach solo cello suites from Janos Starker, Respighi’s popular Ancient Airs & Dances with the Philharmonia Hungarica and a disc of Suppé overtures from Paul Paray and the Detroit Symphony.

The Decca Music Group is also delighted to announce the full support for these new SACD releases from the legendary founder and producer of Mercury Living Presence, Wilma Cozart Fine. The discs will feature new DSD (Direct Stream Digital) analogue-to-digital transfers from the original analogue master tapes. Most excitingly, these new SACD discs will also include a 3-channel transfer of the original 3-track recordings, as well as a new DSD stereo mix. This will be the first opportunity for Mercury Living Presence enthusiasts to hear their favourite recordings in the original 3-track format.

All Mercury Living Presence SACD issues will be ‘hybrid’ discs – that is, the discs will incorporate the CD recording along with the new SACD mixes, making the discs fully compatible with all existing CD players.

Future releases of Mercury Living Presence SACDs are expected to include the famous 1812 Overture recording from the Minneapolis Symphony and Dorati, American repertoire from Frederick Fennell, and such celebrated one-offs as the Balalaika program from the Osipov Russian Folk Orchestra.

The distinctive logo and livery of Mercury Living Presence will be retained for these releases.

I'm curious how they will sound, as many of the Mercs are a little hot in the highs, but if they're anything near as well done as the Classic vinyl reissues (or for that matter the CDs from the series) they should be terrific. And if you have multi-channel capabilities, the three channel mix might be very interesting!
Yep, I understand Rcprince. Lots to worry about with this new format. I guess I might not be so worried if Sony wasn't leading the way. They know how to make products but their marketing is a little out there sometimes.

Rprince: Great!! I am salivating over the opportunity to sample some of these great Mercury Living Presence releases. I was lucky to have listened to several of the original master tapes (3 channel) with Frederick Fennell back in 1960. This was one of the unforgetable audio experiences of my life, and I can hardly wait to relive these musical memories! Thanks so much for bringing me such exciting news!!
Irishdog: The first four are due out November 11--see the following link:

Listening to the master tapes with Frederick Fennell?? You're even older than I!! That must have been an experience, all right--were you a student at Rochester at the time?
Rprince: No, I was not at Eastman at the time, although I have known a number of musicians/teachers who were. I was teaching English at Penn Manor High School in Millersville, Pa., and was helping out with that year's district band festival. I got the job (What a job!!!) of being Fennell's host for the weekend. He mentioned that the had the masters of two forthcoming releases ("Diverse Winds", and "West Point") with him, and was looking for a place where he could review them and grant approval for pressing and release. I happened to know a recording engineer in Lancaster who had all the good stuff (Ampex 300, Goodmans corner horns, Scott monoblocks etc.). We listened with Dr. Fennell, and I was blown away by the sound! From that day on, I KNEW what was meant by "just like master tape"!
I'm confused!!! So what's new?!

I have an Arcam cdp that plays both redbook and HDCDs. Does anyone issue HDCDs anymore? Anyway, when I play a HDCD, a red light comes on.

I've picked up a couple of SACD titles (Dylan reissues) and they sound great on the Arcam. Here's the strange thing (to me, anyway):

When I play a Dylan SACD sampler (the one that comes with the "Masked and Anonymous" soundtrack), the red light on the Arcam comes on. When I play one of the reissued Dylan titles, the red light does not come on.

So, is my Arcam playing the CD layer or the SACD layer? If it's playing the CD layer, why does it sound so much better than the original redbook disc? I presume the CD layer itself has also been remastered... yes?

If it's the SACD layer, what is the difference between SACD and HDCD?
You are playing the remastered redbook.

Your Arcam cannot read the SACD layer of the discs you mention, but they are hybrid discs, with a CD layer as well as an SACD layer--you're hearing the CD layer. I think the big difference between the old and new redbook discs is that the new Dylan discs were remastered much better than before. I didn't know that the Dylan CD layer was HDCD encoded, but there are apparently a number of such discs that are HDCD but not labeled as such, so maybe this was one of them. HDCD is still alive (Reference Recordings is its biggest proponent, but other labels use it too), just hadn't heard of Sony using it till now!
Chris all the CD layers on the Dylan reissues are remastered.
Strange quirk with the Arcam/HDCD I would guess there is something on the sampler disc which causes the HDCD chip to think it is a HDCD-I doubt very much it is indeed a HDCD disc as well as a SACD.
For what it's worth like the Stones reissues I don't think the SACD layer on the Dylan discs sound that different from the CD layer-I haven't listened to them all in detail but I stand by my previous impression on hybrid discs that they are pretty much self-defeating because of this.
Thanks Rcprince and Ben! That clears things up greatly!