SACD hybrids bad policy from Sony/Columbia?

Just read today that the whole collection of Bob Dylan remasters that were done last year on SACD hybrid are due to be released on CD soon at a much lower price.

To me this defeat the Trojan Horse policy of sneeking SACD's into households where there is no SACD player and maybe encouraging a SACD player purchase at a later date based on the knowledge that the buyer already has SACD's in his collection.

Furthermore when future SACD hybrids come on sale perhaps buyers may now hang off to see if what happened with the Dylan releases is repeated.
Indeed those who wanted the set and are a few short and have no SACD player will be able to but 3 CD remasters for the price of 2 Hybrids.

In terms of marketing SACD I think this a major mistake.
They probably didn't get the response in terms of sales that they were looking for and are now looking to recoupe their investment in remixing these discs. Rather than try to release older recordings that some folks already have duplicates of, why not just start releasing ALL of their new discs in hybrid form? That would make more sense. That way, they could gradually phase out redbook releases all-together. The people buying newer discs wouldn't have to worry about having to replace what they purchase from this point on as it would already be SACD compatible. Sean
I'm not sure about the sales, Dylan has a hardcore following (I bought the lot upfront)and I think the sales from what I can gather are good probably better than expected-more than the Stones?

I would expect so-I would argue the Dylan remasters are probably the single most succesful back catalogue release.

With this in mind, the Stones are massive live which is where they make their cash today- I think it doesn't look good for this approach.

To take your other point which is a massive one to me with regards SACD-if that had happened I would be sitting with a very expensive SACD player.
Go DVD-Audio!
DVD-a trolling, I thought they had all given up now.

SACD out sold DVD-a 100:1 last year, just give up already!(according to a recent survey from the Washington Post)
Tireguy- That was only because of software availablity. I've yet to hear someone actually say SACD sounds better cause it just ain't true. As DVD-A catches up with discs, SACD may be the odd-man out. We're already hearing about two-sided discs with movies on one side, possibly soundtracks on the other. If the DVD-A camp had pulled their collective heads out at the beginning, SACD and BETA would be talked about together.
I've heard DVDa many times and it does not approach the level SACD(DVDa always sounds dark and veiled to me). I'd be willing to bet if you heard Emm labs gear with SACD you would be singing a different tune. However this is not the time or place for this debate- which we all know is never ending. The last statement I will make on this subject here is that I own more SACD's then DVDa titles that are in available. The lines have been drawn long ago and clearly we are on the opposite side- we're all entitled to our opinions, enjoy what ever format floats your boat! :^)
Yeah, and if you heard DVD-A on Meridian........ Most formats will sound spectacular on $10,000 equipment. I believe that realistic comparisons are made at more affordable levels. But like you said, as long it's enjoyable.
I am more upset, when a CD is released, I buy it, and month later it is release on SACD.
Dr. Diamond -- same here.
I would rather have ONE format ( either SACD or DVD-A ) and have all of the recordings fully optimized for that format than to have two different formats with neither of them working nearly as well as they could or offering the recordings that i and others want to purchase. Personally, i would think that DVD-A would have a better shot at something like this due to the average citizen thinking of DVD as being both "newer" and "higher tech" than CD's. Even just going to a fully optimized standard of 24/96 KHZ in the recording / mixing / mastering process would be a big step forward. Sean
While High Rez Marketing certainly leaves alot to be desired, I would not read too much into it. Had the situation been reversed , and they released The Redbooks First, and we had to wait 8 months for The SACD versions, we would be bitching we are second class citizens having to wait for "our" format of choice. SACDS will be around for a long while for us to enjoy. But your correct , as if it were not for the internet, trying to find a local shop in your neighborhood , with an up to date catalog os SACD releases , would be next to impossible for Mass Market America
Dr. Diamond/Rsbeck: Yes. I looked at a "Recording of the Month"s descriptive notes to see if it was available on SACD.
Only CD was mentioned.
A month or two later the it's available on SACD.
The magazine in question let this reader DOWN!
The average citizen who might think DVD-A is the way to go because it has that new-fangled DVD right in the title so it must be high tech as all get out,
is probably not the target customer or early adopter of high rez digital music
playback. The early adopters are buying up SACD's. And, I can understand to
a degree how *some* people can't find SACD titles to interest them, I've already bought over 100 of them. By reading the reviews on WWW.SACDINFO.COM, I have been able to buy with some helpful info at my disposal and I've been really happy about all of my purchases. For my taste, there are a lot of great SACD's for sale right now. I'm not waiting for
any war to settle. I'm voting with my pocketbook. For SACD.
Between Dweller, Diamond and I, you have empirical evidence that a segment of the music buying population is not wary of SACD's, we're wary of buying redbook CD's that will be obsolete the moment the SACD version is released.
I see Rsbeck you've taken my post as a dig at SACD - it wasn't,I simply don't understand Sony's policy other than greed and giving floating voters the chance to avoid buying SACD.

There is no doubt those with good SACD replay are more than happy,no make that delighted with the format.
I'd love to hear Tireguys new player because clearly it's world class in CD replay but also gives the bonus of "going to another level" with SACD.

However you have contradicted yourself over these SACD debates-you were a big fan of this Trojan Horse policy and this is clearly a spanner in the works.
Also you've stated in the past some of The Stones hybrids sound better on the CD layer so that hardly makes the CD obsolete.

We look at things differently for sure but I realise how happy you are with what you experience listening to SACD; my worry is that SACD will not survive outwith the niche Audiophile market and the signs are is that it is simply not entering into the mainstream nor probably ever will.

If the likes of the Emms Lab technology could filter down to a more affordable level and ALL music was released as SACD then we'd surely all win as lovers of music-as it is it might never happen if Sony are pulling these kind of stunts.
I don't believe for a minute there is not some brilliant music you would love to hear on SACD and can't.
The way things are going you might never hear them on SACD.
We talk a lot about the relative sonic qualities of SACD and DVD-A. My take on this is that either one can deliver good recording and mastering techniques, and neither can redeem inept work.

However, in addition to sonic quality, one should consider the development potential of the protocol, and here DVD-A excels. For example, DVD can be 196KHz stereo, or 96 KHz multichannel. European producers are releasing multichannel programs with different channel utilization and loudspeaker positioning (2+2+2 instead of 5.1). I think I heard of discs that allowed the user to select a "listener perspective" (back row, front row, onstage) via selection of mixdown coefficients on the disk. The limited video is really nice, for program notes (that are usually printed in a tiny unreadable font) and selection of cuts.

On the other hand I think that Sony has really tied the hands of users of their SACD protocol.

I always thought that audiophiles were chronic tweekers. DVD-A is made for tweeking, SACD is not.
Mr. Campbell, perhaps you should write this down so you don't misquote me every time this debate pops up. I wrote that on *ONE* of my SACD's, The Rolling Stones' Let it Bleed, I prefer the MIXES on some of the CD tracks, but the SACD layer has better SONICS. So, even on THAT hybrid, the superiority of the SACD FORMAT is demonstrated. So, now I have over 100 SACD's and
on ONE of them, I prefer the MIX on a few of the CD tracks. Further, I do appreciate the trojan horse strategy. These hybrid SACD releases have been successful. ANYTHING that puts MORE SACD's in the marketplace so I can get my hot little hands on them. As to me taking your comments as a dig at SACD -- LOL. Bad guess. Try to stay on topic this time.
Does anyone know the relative cost of manufacturing hybrid disks vs. redbook-only disks? That seems to only possible factor in this decsion, which I agree with Ben is mighty odd and quite disappointing.
Rsbeck ok,chill sir.

I'll take your word for the different mix on the layer,I haven't heard a different mix on any layer of the twenty or so SACD hybrids I own but I could be wrong and I see no point in digging out the disc to get caught in a petty debate.

I take your point on SACD superiority over the 100 discs.

I think I started this thread and it wasn't me who strayed off topic,most of the responses do that but I've long given up on the defensive stances of those who see no flaws in how SACD is developing so I hardly expect them to deal with my main point.
Well, they have to do something and hybrid "trojans" might help the numbers. As much as SACD (or DVD-A) shine when critical listening is involved, the real critical part is market share & profit. Walk into a Tower Rcds or whatever, check out the # of CDs displayed vs SACD/DVD-A, and no matter how much any of us appreciate MC audio - if they ain't movin' the numbers then sumpthin's gotta give. With overall RIAA sales tanking (due more to content offering & quality than copying, in my $.02) you'd think that anything that boosts actual sales would be good. That's probably what leads them to think that hybrids are good, 'cause who copies SACDs? Bottom line is that pure SACDs are a tiny tiny part of the overall CD sales, so anything that makes them more likely to sell will be used.
I don't see what Sony/Columbia is attempting to do by releasing a new batch of redbook CD (only) Dylan? Hybrids are a great idea. Even if you only want redbook CD it still gives you the option later to go to SACD if you choose. I don't see the downside to buying hybrids even for those not interested in SACD (unless you buy the theory that multi-layer discs have, or will have unforseen problems), since you get two or even three formats for the price of one?

As far as pricing, it goes up or down, "whenever", no matter what format is being sold. The only way to avoid getting bit by price fluctuation is to wait until the disc you want falls to the price you want to pay. It's kind of like trying to decide at what price to buy a stock.

I have been buying mostly hybrids lately, and refraining from buying redbook CD (only) from artists who I believe will soon have hybrids out. In many cases the CD layer on a hybrid is better sonically than anything by the same artist on redbook CD (only). The real loser format to me is the SACD (only) discs.

In the final analysis, all the different formats or possible future formats are leaving a lot people on the sidelines until the dust settles, if it ever does.
The reason you don't see a hybrid SACD section at Tower Records is because they keep the hybrid SACD's mixed in with regular CD's and advertize them as "remastered CD's." That way -- the great unwashed buy them as remastered CD's while subsidizing the SACD industry, making them available to those of us who are interested in them. Further, many companies, like Concord, a jazz label, are experiencing a complete rebirth because of SACD. I buy most of my SACD's through a web-site that specializes in audiophile
recordings -- I'm going to bet SACD is driving a lot of sales for them. I don't see any decrease in SACD releases -- I see an increase. I also see an increase
in titles that interest me and I'm having no problem acquiring a large collection of well engineered SACD's. Shopping for car stereos, I see that car stereos are starting to incorporate SACD players -- clearly -- the format is driving profits for somebody -- the Dylan and Stones releases were touted as successes so I'm going to guess we'll see more companies capitalizing on their catalogue similarly -- I don't see SACD going away anytime soon. It looks to me like I'm going to have the opportunity to build a huge collection
of SACD's to play in my SACD player promising millions of hours of sonic heaven. To those who don't want to partake for whatever reason -- to each his own.

Love your comments.
We are on the same page except that since most of my purchases are "classical" music, there are not nearly enough new stuff out there. If you haven't heard the new Mahler series, now in the middle of the recording cycle, you are missing some of the most fantastic sound, and music.

The main point of this thread has been missed as the usual SACD debates are wheeled out.

People who have bought the Dylan Hybrids and paid £13 here in the UK are now going to get the opportunuity to buy the same discs for £8.

Let's say another major artist releases a whole bunch of Hybrids at £13-isn't there a now suspicious bunch of potential buyers who think mmmmm a few months from now the same discs are going to £8.

The whole point I was trying to make is that policy is probably already being abandoned,the whole beauty of hybrids was that potentially in the future non-SACD owners might consider a machine because they had SACD's in their collection.
I would suspect feedback to Sony/Columbia is that the price of the hybrids has held sales back and they are more interested in sales now than pushing this format.

This policy is damaging to the pro-SACD group but they seem unwilling to admit this policy damages the format and may indeed indicate a change in overall policy.

I'll make a prediction since we seem to be moving in this direction,SACD's sales will level out soon,stay stable maybe even healthy and will not increase at all from then and in all probability start to decline.

Then it will be down to the individual labels as to whether they keep it as a niche Audiophile format which they probably will at their high cost.
It won't grow though imho and the vast majority of the best of recorded music in history will never see SACD release.
>>This policy is damaging to the pro-SACD<<

Mmm hmmm....and then what? The sky will fall? Forcasts are just opinions.
They are worth the ether upon which they are written. Sounds like a whole lot of conjecture to me. If W, X, and Y happen, then it MIGHT MAYBE POSSIBLY
cause C and that MIGHT POSSIBLY MAYBE....

In the meantime, more and more SACD's are being released, SACD has entered the mobile audio market, more and more universal and SACD
players are entering the market and my collectiom continues to grow,
and the number of hours spent in front of my SACD player grows and
grows and grows....

Richard --

I am collecting the Mahler series by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. I have the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th.
They are a prized part of my collection. Is that the Mahler series to which
you are referring? Any other classical SACD's you can recommend would
be appreciated. I've been focused mostly on Jazz, but I would like to
build my classical library as well. I have the Bach Golberg Variations
performed by Murray Pehria, which is also wonderful, and a few others.

Rsbeck writes:
SACD has entered the mobile audio market
I missed that. Do you have a reference?

Ben is correct, many of you are missing the point. Rsbeck, your response was bizarre.
Those who want sacd won't care about cheaper cd. Those who don't care about sacd will be happy the re-issues are cheaper. However, I don't understand why a person would buy the redbook cd if they had the choice between that and a hybrid cd? You get 2-3 layers for the price of one. It gives you the option of changing your mind at a later date if sacd interests you.

It is rotten of the record company to sell a recording much cheaper than they just had previously, however it's not hybrid. Do we know if it's as good, soundwise?

All cd's, hybrid or otherwise, are too expensive. It limits the amount I buy, and I believe most other people too. When the companies play games with prices/formats whatever, it just proves the negatives that most consumers have for the recording business.
The point is that we don't know WHY Dylan remasters are being released in CD, so to forcast DAMAGE to SACD, you first have to GUESS at the INTENTION behind the release, then you have to add CONJECTURE -- after you've added conjecture to guesswork, you use that as the basis for PREDICTING that if your guesswork and conjecture are correct, then it MIGHT damage SACD.

Metralla -- I read about Mobile Audio SACD players in some of the coverage from the recent CES and then my local car stereo guy also told me that SACD
players for the car are in the pipeline.
The other point is that while SACD naysayers keep predicting the sky will fall, more and more SACD and Universal players are entering the market, more and more SACD's are being released, etc. Now, instead of CONJECTURING,
GUESSING, and attempting to PROGNOSTICATE, *I* am sharing *MY* experience, which is the guideline here at Audiogon. So, *my* experience as a SACD enthusiast is that this alleged decision to re-release the Dylan remasters in a CD-only version is not affecting me and I don't expect it to
affect me. So, complaining that I am "missing the point" about the harm that
is being done to SACD when no harm is perceived, no harm has been
reported, etc --- only forcasted based on some guesswork and conjecture seems a little misguided, IMO.

But -- hey -- that's just me.
The other point that was missed is that three posters said that, rather than
a CD release damaging SACD, we are hesitant to buy CD's because we'd rather wait for the SACD. So, some *might* hesitate to buy a hybrid, waiting instead for a cheaper CD-only remaster, but that's assuming this will be a trend and it assumes that Sony will stop issuing the hybrid version first, which are huge assumptions, seeing as how Sony is behind SACD. Finally, how many people are hesitating to buy CD's because they are waiting for an SACD version? How many people will actually hold off from buying hybrids because they'd rather wait on the off-chance that a cheaper CD-only version will be released later? Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I think it is a lot of idle speculation. I *know* what I am doing. I am buying up SACD's. In the last few months a lot of music that interests me has appeared on SACD and it is extremely well engineered. My collection is 100+ and growing. As I've written, I am voting with my pocketbook for High Rez. I will not let the "sky is falling" anti-SACD crowd dissuade me. I think the concern over a possible sell-through CD-only version is much ado about nothing.
Rsbeck I think in your last post you've argued your point well.

I know you think I take every opportunity to kick SACD-I don't and I truly hope to be able to return to it one day (in earnest)when it is a level that suits me.

This post was expressed out of actual surprise at this news.

There is much to be decided and we take different views on predicting what will happen with SACD.
Time will tell.
I think we both approach music in different ways.
However I am glad your SACD playback brings you much joy.

As for the sky falling I don't know about that but here in Glasgow at the moment it is absolutely pissing down.