They price at what the market will bear. The premium price supports a high end aura for XRCDs. If it costs more, it must be worth more. I mean guys that pay $10,000 for some old tube circuit oughta be able to handle 25 bucks for a CD, right?
OK, you can argue that XRCDs cost more to make. Their literature describes the upgraded engineering process that's employed, and we can appreciate the different packaging they use, with the cardboard holders and paper sleeves. But this can't be that much more -- not by $5 per disc, can it? I haven't ever seen the numbers, but I doubt it.
So I'm with you. We should all hope for a price cut. I'm even going to hold my breath until I turn blue.
One likely culprit is volume. Since the audiophile disc market is so small, JVC has to spread its fixed costs, like remastering, over many fewer units. But I wouldn't discount the idea that pricing it higher makes it seem better. (But an audiophile would *never* fall for that, right?)
And many of the JVC remasterings are available on other labels for something closer to mass-market list prices. This is a classic market segmentation move. You charge a high price for those folks who buy their CDs from, say, the Music Direct catalog, and a lower price for people browsing the bins at Tower Records.
Part of the reason is meticulous care taken at every step of the process, including replacing anything that can improve things when it is discovered. I understand some people think the price is too high. The sound sure is considerably better than conventional CDs, however. Whether it's worth it or not is obviously an individual decision.
New technology always has a price. I remember paying $15.00 for "Discovered Again" by Dave Grusin on Sheffield, new in 1978. Direct-to-disk records were very high priced compared to regular LPs at the time. Quality recordings are worth every penney.
I have read more than once that it cost only $1.00 to make a CD. So much of the cost probably goes into wages, promotions, middle man, etc. etc. etc.
The best CD I have ever heard is the FIM XRCD2 by Jacintha "Autumn Leaves"-- the songs of Johnny Mercer. $30. from Music Direct. Is it worth it? Well, this one is but only because BOTH recording AND MUSIC are excellent. I don't have a standard CD of this disc too compare to either. Cheers. Craig
Then again, JVC has a certain reject ratio, based on error rate of CD's produced. They reject those that don't meet their standards. Sounds logical for a company catering towards audiophiles, doesn't it? They also use a higher grade blank than most out there. (So, if they reject a large quantity during production, it would be obvious that production costs may increase, as a result). Do you see BMG or Columbia rejecting ANYTHING due to error rate? NO!
Other audiophile companies have high quality standards/reject ratios. If you feel that the price is too high, fine. Don't buy them, that is your choice. Your audio buddies that do know, or have the hearing/system to know the quality difference will pay the difference. (Many do.)
The major record companies use CD blanks that cost 25 cents or less each, WITHOUT error rate rejection. The final cost of JVC XRCD's has nothing to do with those that spend $10K or more for amplifiers. It has to do with sound quality. Improved sound quality benefits us all, regardless of system expense.
It's all a matter of dollars and sense ...
Get the XRCD Blues CD Mighty Sam McClain "Give it up to love" . If you don't think this disk sounds great , Give it up!
is XRCD as good as SACD? if it was wounldn't the whole SACD debate be finished?
Tuna: You're comparing apples and oranges. XRCD is a mastering process. SACD is a medium. An SACD can sound great or lousy, depending on how it's mastered. I predict that someday JVC will come out with XRSACDs, which will sound demonstrably better than run-of-the-mill SACDs. And cost more.
not my comparison Bomarc it was Loayuap original comments that sparked the question. I know the difference between the two but it is still releveant to make comparrsions assuming equal equipment is used in the comparrsion.
World class SACD verves world class redbook playing XRCD. Loayuap was making a comparrison for which I have an opinion but I was wondering about others so Loayuap could set this issue aside.
Should Loayuap pursue XRCD or should he/she buy and SACD player and spend less on his software purchases? I think this was part of the original question.
Sorry, cd, if I put more into your brief post than was there. I'd expect that a well-mastered low-resolution disc will always be better than a not-so-well-mastered high-resolution disc. I'd also expect that two identically mastered discs, one CD and one SACD, would sound remarkably similar.
The trouble with comparisons to date is that there's no way to know whether you're really comparing identical masterings. It takes very little tweaking to make two otherwise identical recordings sound quite different. Even when you've got a double-layered disc with DSD and Redbook versions, you can't be sure that somebody didn't nudge something somewhere. Some people have even suggested that record companies may intentionally tweak the sound of SACDs to make them sound dramatically different. I'm not so conspiratorial. All you need is one engineer to say, "Hey, this sounds good, let's try it."
I started this question because I really want to buy most of the classical XRCD by JVC but just found I will be spending too much on all the music I already owned (by other artists). I guess JVC is really tageting their products to the Audiophile only (like the current high priced LP). I still think JVC can do much better sales by lowering the price like Telarc did on SACD. Here is my points:
1. In classical XRCD (sorry I don't know too much about other genre), most of the released disc have less than 40 minutes of total time. One disc even has less than 30 min.
I don't think there is any technical difficulty to add more tracks on these discs unless JVC wants to let consumer has the impression of "LP".
2. At least in classical dics, all are re-issued which means JVC does not have to pay premium to some current super stars. Though I don't know how much JVC has to pay for the copyright.
3. Why DVD is so popular just in a year or two? Because it's under $20 per disc. Why laserdics has never succeeded in mainsteam? Because it maintained at least $30 per dics. Both mediums are superior than VHS tape but now everybody buy DVD.
Of course, if the artist is the most important factor of your decision, no argument. Buy it, XRCD or SACD, or even redbook CD. After all, there is noly one FRITZ REINER and only one JASCHA HEIFETZ.
In this fast changing Hi-Fi world, one product can be superior than other but may disappear in a year or two.
Laoyuap: I don't know why Telarc lowered its prices on SACDs. Maybe they think the extra volume of sales will more than make up for the unit loss, or maybe they're just trying to move back inventory. I tend to assume that when a company like JVC prices a product, it knows what it's doing. Doesn't mean they're always right, but it is their business.
To your other points, the 40-minute CD is not unique to JVC. A lot of jazz and pop CDs have added bonus tracks or alternate takes, but many others haven't. Obviously, such additions would be less appealing to the classical market. And they would increase the licensing fees JVC would have to pay.
There are a lot of things on the market that cost more and aren't really any better. XRCDs, as a general rule, are better. Whether they're worth it to you is a personal judgment. I'd certainly recommend that you try out the XRCD version of a few old favorites, just to see.
XRCD is definately aimed at the high-end community and they have been out for years now and the marketeers probably don't see the reason for lowering the price. The XRCD following seems to continue to grow so why change if you own that market? If they lowered the price the mainstream probably isn't going to suddenly start buying them in place of their old CDs so they have to weigh if lowering the price would increase the volume with philes enough to justify the reduction in margin...probably not.
No problem, thanks...I wasn't very specific was I? :)
Personally I think the XRCD are consistantly the best (or equal to the best) of the standard CD market we have to choose from. I have found some other recordings that are excellant, like Goove Note's, but XRCD is very consistant and they can transform older stuff. There are a number of things I would like them to do but alas we are at their mercey. Now a rep I know who peddles XRCD thinks he has heard some HDCD that is just as good or better but I haven't run into that yet. But he also thinks SACD is no good and that he HDCD give it a run for its money!?
I hate paying the extra for my favorite cuts but I guess you get what you pay for...plus I love the packaging (although I would forgo the package for cheaper discs).
Good listening to all,
I at least had buy one to try out. Stopped by Music Direct and picked up the Dire Staits xrcd. Will give listen this weekend. 4 yr old permitting.
Craig, I love that Jacintha XRCD2 too. "Here's to Ben" is also very good. Both are worth every penny of that premium price to me. My first experience with JVC or other XRCDs was Chet Atkins' "In Hollywood". Another beautifully performed and mastered recording.
Reviving an old thread here. The original batch of XRCD (s) were pressed in a very limited run. Limited runs tend to sell out quickly, especially, in Japan. These are worth every penny.
The subsequent XRCD2 and other, more mass produced discs, are still good-just not quite as valuable. Happy Listening!