SACD discs are mostly classical and jazz but there's still many older rock discs available. I think your best bet is to get a universal player that will play everything including DVDA and maybe Bluray and you'll have all formats covered for a while.
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IMO Sony ONLY introduced SACD to stall DVD-A because they had Bluray in the works, and did not want the HD-DVD camp to have the DVD-A support..
Once Sony totally killed any hope for DVD-A, Sony basically abandoned SACD. This is my impression. Sony made players for awhile, but the Sony music never did really get behind SACD. IF Sony had really wanted to make SACD important, they would have made ALL releases on the Sony label in the dual format.
Now, the main supporters of SACD are small independent labels of classical and Jazz, which do not get carried in major mass market stores like Best Buy.
My personal assumption, is Sony may possibly go for Blu Ray music, If they thought it would be a winner. I think they will NOT do it because of hi rez downloads being more likely to take off. And becase Blu Ray has not dominated the market as DVD did when it came out. Plenty of folks (including myself) are just not impressed enough to go Blu Ray over DVD.
If you are primarily a classical and jazz listener there is plenty of music out there on SACD as well as new releases coming out. IMO I would not consider a player without SACD capability. But I listening primarily to classical and jazz so I have no problem finding music to purchase. And as Elizabeth points out it appears that only the small / medium size labels are supporting it.
Sony plans to start selling their new SCD-XE800 SACD player on August 21 for $430. Now that you have that information, go out and buy the Oppo BDP-83 SE and cover all your bases. Disclosure: I have a BDP-83 SE and I had the first entry level Sony SACD player which went 86 just months out of warranty. I still have the complimentary Rolling Stones SACD that they included with their first SACD players (to bad I could care less about the Stones). I've had only good experiences with Oppo and their customer service is excellent. Sony customer service? Expletives come to mind.
I personally dislike a lot of things Sony has done of late and believe their products to be lacking in quality. But I think Elizabeth's comments are totally wrong about Sony's intentions for SACD. I believe Sony thought SACD was the superior format. I think if the public had supported high resolution audio and there had not been a format war, Sony and Philips(don't forget them) would have been more inclined to release more on SACD. Keep in mind there were only a few factories capable of mastering SACD discs and they were running at full capacity and Sony was very stingy with their licensing. Sony has not abandoned SACD entirely as they are still making players. But I would like to see Sony build a true universal player that plays DVDA in addition to everything else but it's not likely to happen.
SACD is not very popular for many reasons. It was very expensive at the beginning, could not be copied to provide backup and could not be used with computer server system. Sometimes I think that all schemes (SACD, DVD-A, HDCD) were only for copy protection where they loose a lot of money. It is very difficult to compete with established standard (redbook CD) while a lot of people switched to servers. I would not buy SACD for that reason alone.
some cd hardware is prefereable to sacd hardware. that is, some cds may sound better on some dac/xport combinations than some sacd discs played on some sacd players. one needs to find a high quality sacd player to appreciate the advantages of an sacd disc. i suspect there are some older sony players or modified sacd players which bring out the best in sacd.
Thank you all for your replies. On Elizabeths's comment: I do not believe any company would invest millions of dollars designing, implementing, marketing and distributing a product just to destroy a competitor's product. It just doesn't make good business sense. This is especially true for Sony, which was struggling financially when they introduced SACD in the market.
I sincerely hope that studios do put out BlueRay music discs. With a storage capacity like that...and the potential to have a very high sampling rate, we can all rejoice. We'll see. Somehow I kind of doubt it because I think we would have seen it by now. But a boy can dream...
Other than classical and jazz releases, there are actually new SACDs being released off of new masters right now (e.g., Steely Dan - Aha, Dire Straits - self titled, etc.) but not in the US and they are limited releases (read, very expensive).
There are also a bunch of SACDs still available through amazon and others. Check out sa-cd.net.
"Are SACD discs still being made?"
yep, you can look @
I received my first four SHM-SACDs yesterday (Aja, Velvet Underground, Stones (ABKCO 2002 master) and Police (A&M 2003 master)).
I popped in Aja and have been listening to it all morning. It sounds fantastic - open, clear and liquid.
With regard to the last two SHM-SACDs, I only picked them up (they are basically reissues) because I only recently began to get into SACD after I purchased my XDS1, but from all accounts the reissues are slightly better due to the single layer SHM process but are limited by the reuse of the older masters so there is probably not much point in double dipping if you already have them.
In any case, Velvet Underground is next...
It seems to me that there are more SACDs coming out every day. Besides the sites listed above, Music Direct and Elusive Disc have plenty of them. I recently bought about 35 RCA Living Stereo Classical SACDs for about $6 a piece from Barnes & Noble online. Buy two and get one free sale. Unfortunately many of the cases were cracked.
1. I've heard a few SACD's whose quality floored me. They sounded so natural that I thought a $200 stereo playing this disk might best a $30,000 stereo playing Redbook.
2. Alas most SACD's seem to me to be a modest improvement over their cd counterpart. I SUSPECT this is because SACD recordings are not being made in DSD which is (probably) what you need to do to get the best out of SACD. Certainly the reissues I've tried did not seem to wring the best out of SACD
3. Bluray discs support a sound format with movies that I personally find pretty amazing. I have never tried it on my high end audio system, just on my (very decent) home theatre, but I find that when you play a bluray disc that uses the new bluray audio format on a system that can play it back, it has a startling level of realism. The improvement is comparable to the difference between an HD picture and an old standard TV picture. I used to suggest that people not bother with bluray unless their screen size was 42" or higher. Now a ask - how good is your HT sound system. SO, there is a possibility that this format will come to be seen over time as the superior audio format as regards physical media, particularly as bluray will be default on virtually all new DVD players soon.
4. Is it possible to rip an SACD to iTunes? To any PC or Mac player? I think the answer is - only if it is hybrid and your drive can access the cd layer - in which case of course you may as well just be "ripping" the cd itself.
5. Hi Rez digital downloads are the most likely future, but this is still future.
Bottom line: no simple answers, IMHO.
Opinion: If there are great SACD's right now that you would enjoy, personally I say go for it!
Art - Are you talking about the lossless audio that now comes on most of the new blu-ray movies? As far as I know, it's essentially the same as redbook as compared to the audio having some level of compression on standard DVDs. I would agree that it does sound great, but I think the distraction of the video really helps out.