Hopefully those record companies are listening.
Why the Stones? Why not some music that could benefit from the better sound quality of SACD? Obviously, the record companies are trying for something with immediate sales potential. I think that most people interested in the Stones would have their stuff on LP or CD or both. Very strange move since you can get Beatles on CD at discount prices up here in Montreal, but ABKCO, in all their wisdom, apparently insist on retail price maintenance so the price of a CD of early Stones stuff is around $31.99 a piece. If you add our sales taxes, that's another 15%. The only good thing is that ABKCO may have finally realised that more volume could be had by lowering the price. What it all means here in Canada is anyone's guess. I know that, since my LPs were so old side B played on Side A, earlier this year I ordered "England's Newest Hit Makers", "Out of our Heads", "Rolling Stones Now!" and "December's Children" on CD from Amazon. It was cheaper than buying locally. Now low priced SACDs. What will they think of next? I bought a Sony SCD XP-670 for $200.00 CDN (a model not available in the US, it seems). I have all of two SACDs at present and with the prices anywhere from $38.99 to $45.99 for a single disc up here (+tax) , I doubt I will be the one whose purchases will save this new format. I see that most recordings available are of old chestnuts (Bruno Walter's "Pastorale", Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, etc.), all stuff I have on LP and on CD. No compelling reason to repurchase everything on SACD. The fact that the multi-channel thing is seen as some kind of adjunct to 5.1 HT is not the best guarantee that audiophiles will buy into the format and run out to buy it. The vast majority of users would not know what to do with any added resolution and general improvement of sound quality, since it is wasted on portable players and boom boxes anyway. The only hope, HT system owners wanting high quality audio. Too bad, because despite disparaging remarks from diehard stereo only proponents, multi-channel, for ambiance at least, is a distinct advantage over stereo. I used the JVC XP-A 1010 processor for over a decade and mc adds tremendously to the listening experience. Ambiance synthesis is not a perfect solution, but at least it is user adjustable so that the listener is not at the mercy of a fanciful recording engineer. SACD may very well falter.
I am on the cusp of buying a new CDP. The Stones and the groups that will follow them to SACD are an incentive to get an SACD player... Ya' know, SACD would be great if there were just more of them, and more players. And that is why I am still on the fence. As tempting as the SCD777ES is, I would prefer something else for redbook than Sony or Phillips, so maybe I will wait for a pioneering company to provide me with less of a compromise. I would think SACD would be profitable for smaller companies now that an inexpensive kit is out, but who am I to know about that.
The Rolling Stones hybrid SACD/CD releases at the end of August are The older ABKCO label material, but they got Bob Ludwig to do final mastering (same guy who did great job on Virgin label Stones remasters in mid 90s)The big news is the price........$13.99........thats right, same cost as regular CD! Check Amazon pre-order for prices, other sites may be even lower.
Look in new Stereophile on page 123, Mike Fremer was very impressed with his sample hybrid disc of Rolling Stones,
used while reviewing Accuphase DP85 SACD player.
I don't count myself as a RS fan, but I originally bought 3 remasters. While playing Begger's Banquet in my car (CD layer), I could tell that these were special. I stopped at another store and bought a 4th remaster that day even before I listened to the SACD layer.
I now have 5 discs and plan to buy 4-5 more. They aren't perfect, but they are such an improvement over the previous releases. I've been listening to Stones for two weeks now--in my SACD based HT system, my car, and on my computer.
These discs clearly demonstrate that the CD layer on a SACD disc is superior to a normal CD.
I've purchased a number of the new Stones hybrid /SACD/CD remasters. I have an SACD player on the way, but am listening to them right now on a decent, but not particularly high end, Redbook CD setup (Teac VRDS 20, Monarchy 33 DAC/preamp).
Evenings and weekends, I work as a translator from home, and I usually have music playing. Sometimes I consciously listen to the music, but it doesn't interrupt the flow of work.
Yesterday, listening to the remastered Let It Bleed, and tonight, listening to the remastered Beggars Banquet, I was literally dancing in my seat. The regular CD layer is superb. Everything is both more detailed and warmer, if that's possible. Incredible dynamics. I couldn't stop listening to it. Forgot about my work for more than half an hour.
There is really gold in those old master tapes and it seems to me that DSD got the silver, the gold and the diamonds from the mine!
Can't wait to hear it on the SACD player!
And I'm definitely ordering more of my favorite Stones albums. And I'll be looking out in general for hybrid SACD/CD discs. That's the only way for SACD to really expand.
And Towers is selling the Stones remasters for $15.00 each.
Happy listening all!