I know what it stands for, but out of about 1000 cds I can't see it mentioned. Are they mainly remastered cds, or is that too simplistic?
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Not really sure what you are asking. Do you mean beyond the Wikipedia definition "Super Audio CD (SACD) is a high-resolution, read-only optical audio disc format developed by Sony and Philips Electronics"?
My understanding is that they are taken from (remasters of?) either the original studio masters (analogue masters for older recordings, high resolution digital for more moder recordings), so they shouldn't just be remastered CDs. Because the format wasn't a huge hit, not many albums got a SACD release, so relatively, there aren't that many out there. That said, there are thousands of SACD albums; mainly classical.
Many of the high resolution downloads available are just FLACs of the data from SACD and DVD-A releases.
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SACD as format of music on optical disks indeed never significantly picked up, however for me it quality is much higher than that of CDs and even hi-res PCM. While SACD is not that popular, its digital format (DSD) grows rather fast. In fact many records are first being mastered as DSD and then converted to CD quality. Several companies have now started offering DSDs as hi-res downloads, like http://bluecoastrecords.com/. Foorbar and J River MC are now enabled to play these files either natively or thru conversion to PCM. Many currently produced DACs can play these files natively, so the market is slowly, but growing.
By the way, http://sa-cd.net/ references about 8500 SACDs issued, which is rather impressive. Yes, most of them are classic, jazz, and some pop titles, so the ones that really deserve to be played back in high quality.
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Can't recall if you listen to 'classical' music, but if so, labels like LSO Live release a lot of stuff on SACD. Channel Classics and Pentatone are two other labels that spring to mind who do likewise.
These are all new, high quality recordings, so I see it as a bit like a Hi-Res download on a disc. I only hear the CD layer on my hifi, but when my old CDP goes West, I may get something like an Oppo 105 where I'd get the lot.
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No, I don't listen to much classical and it's mostly on vinyl.
I've seen so many SACD threads over the years on here but wondered if I had any? can't see anything mentioned on the lables.
You will need a SACD to play them or a blu-ray dvd player. When I looked into SACDs there was not much available, very expensive so did not bother. As others have said far more available as downloads, even itunes are releashing some high quality downloads. Not all sacds are better than the normal cds. For similar quality you can look at HDtracks which are specially remastered albums, not huge choice, which are about $18 for download.
It is a DSD disc. The bad news is that it's encrypted and won't stream to a DSD-enabled DAC except through HDMI with HDCP. So you need a self-contained player.
The good news is that they do sound lovely. DSD is a 1 bit format - basically each bit of the stream either says up or down, and like that it traces an analogue waveform at a very high resolution. .
They often remaster CDs before releasing a SACD/DSD/HD version. Often most of the improvement we are hearing is in the remaster, not the format. You need a pretty damned good system end-to-end to hear the difference between the CD and SACD track on the same disc (they almost all are compatible with a Redbook CD player). But I am pretty sure, on the limited number of SACDs that I own (about 10) that the DSD track sounds a little less 'digital' - I want to say 'warmer' but that word already means something else with speakers and amps. It's just slightly more organic. Maybe.
It's diminishing returns at this level, for sure.
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You've answered my question. Thanks.
Not meaning to be pedantic, but you can *play* them on a CD player, but you do need a SACD player to hear the SACD layer at the higher potential quality.
I'm not sure you would have bought one accidentally without knowing. They've never been commonplace and when they were on shelves they cost a premium like high-def downloads and blu-rays. Sure as night follows day someone's now going to come along and say "well I bought XXX and only two years later did I notice it said SACD on the back", but generally speaking, you're not going to have bought one by accident, so it's not surprising that none of your 1,000 CDs are SACDs.
Oh and yes, most if not all SACDs will have been remastered. You would gain nothing by converting the 16/44 PCM file to DSD and putting it on the CD.
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To elaborate further, most contain both a CD layer and SACD layer, with the CD layer being playable on a regular CDP. There are some which only have SACD layer, rendering the discs completely unplayable on a regular CDP. Although I had some HDCDs in my collection which I had purchased unwittingly (like SACDs these have a CD layer that can be played on regular CDPs), I never had any SACDs until I sought them out specifically.
As with all these things, there is (was) also a format war, with DVD-Audio also being available and in direct competition..........and as usual, the decoding needed for these 2 options is different.
Where you have competing formats, one usually wins out, and that was SACD. My DV79 plays DVD-A (but not SACD), but unfortunately I don't have any.
Personally, I would like to see some sort of "Blu-Ray-Audio" disc; but how popular it would be amongst the MP3 generation - I don't know.
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But that's the thing, audiophiles who are willing to spend will now go the streaming route - I know that's my medium to long term goal as well - so new disc formats will be shunned by stalwarts and teenagers alike. No doubt, Blu-ray audio will sound stunning. Ever notice that for some of us whose equipment for music is not quite there yet, still marvel at movie playback? I know I have, and can imagine my awe at music only discs. But I'm getting fat and lazy and don't want to change discs anymore for music.
As an aside, it seems my predictions are coming true - Sony have apparently stated that the PS4 will play 4K movies through 100GB odd downloads!! I've also read nothing about native 4K disc releases.
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I agree, though I have loved multi-channel audio when I've heard it - so it would be great if more was readily available, by whatever means.
When i upgraded to the Arcam CD37 it came with SACD which was my first player with this capability. I was pleased to realise that i did have a selection of SACDs from Depeche Mode and Genesis (just by chance really that the version i bought of both catalogues were SACD - worth a bit now too in the Depeche Mode cases). Since then i have added a fair number of others including one or two each from Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Bryan Ferry, Marvin Gaye, Billy Joel, Police, Simple Minds. There are some good albums out there.
Two things i like :
yes i can hear a difference in most cases and i like to know if have a great version.
text comes up for the album and tracks which is nothing really significant but i do like this fact
Whilst i dont feel SACD is essential, neither do i think HD Res is essential it is certainly nice to have a high quality version of your favourite album and often the packaging is good too. I am old school and like to have the packaging. I do dabble in streaming as well but it still leaves me feeling a little short changed i.e £20 or more for an HD res album and its just a file - compare that to Wish You Were Here SACD package and its no contest in terms of ownership enjoyment.
I agree, while I'd like to wirelessly choose my music, I'd still like to occassionally dust off the album art.
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