What will it take for SACD to win mass acceptance?

Stereophile's picture
Last week we asked about the relatively low-resolution MP3 format. Now let's get your opinion on ultra-hi-rez: the Super Audio CD.
What will it take for SACD to win mass acceptance?
Lower player prices
8% (25 votes)
More available titles
7% (21 votes)
A combination of lower player prices and greater software availability
50% (160 votes)
A massive PR campaign
2% (7 votes)
Celebrity endorsements
1% (3 votes)
Proselytizing by audiophiles
1% (2 votes)
Consumer boycott of lo-rez formats
1% (3 votes)
Here's my suggestion:
12% (37 votes)
Nothing will help. The masses don't care about audio quality.
13% (43 votes)
We already have hi-rez audio: the LP.
4% (14 votes)
Multichannel music
2% (6 votes)
Total votes: 321
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Comments
Washington Irving's picture

Lower prices for the player and the available software would help. It would also help if the player can play CD and whatever DVD formats appear in the next year. Proper mastering and mixing techniques for the new and reissued titles would help (Does anyone own any CDs mixed in the 80s?). The only problem is that once the customer is satisfied, what will they want to buy next?

Steve Woolsey's picture

I don't think the first step is to worry about the masses. Audiophiles must embrace and support it. After all, why not? It's great sound and it's here now. I have an SCD-777ES and I love it.

Ken Kirkpatrick's picture

I hope sacd makes it, but vinyl and open reel satisfies my needs for now.

Ted's picture

It'll take a $199 player and tons of software.

Mike Marcellas's picture

I think in a society where most consumers act no differently than cattle (literally—tell them they need something, and suddenly they forget the human race has lived for thousands of years without whatever newfangled gadget is being held within reach of their sweaty little palms' grasp), it would take basically three things: lower player prices, more software titles (prices must be near current CD levels), and a massive public promo, perhaps with celebrities to hammer the point home. I have already adopted due solely to the increased realism of the format's playback ability. I don't really care if it fails or succeeds on the mass consumer level, as I believe it is good enough that audiophile record labels will support it, as well as Sony.

Matt Partlow's picture

Universal players that will play every format the size of a CD.

Nick Fulford's picture

Sony would help their case significantly by allowing audiophiles to order the SCD-1 through their online shopping facility, and by introducing lots of well-mastered SACDs as soon as they can. The discs should likewise be available through their online shopping facility. Last, and perhaps most important, they need to "convince" the other record labels to release well-recorded and -mastered SACDs in quantity ASAP. They may even have to loss-leader the dual-surface discs for a time to buy the market.

Mktg.  Goo Roo's picture

The masses bought CD because it had a marked convenience and even non-audiophile-decernable sound quality improvement over analog audio cassettes. With no convenience or audio gain detected by the masses in SACD over CD, price (hardware & software) will be a major factor supplemented possibly by marketing gimmics like multi-channel.

Armond's picture

It's a combo of lower player prices and more software. Unfortunately,SACD has the aroma of Betamax: great product without broadbased industry support.

Dave's picture

Just have Everybody back on Vinyl.

Federico Cribiore's picture

If I could buy a 2nd generation player (i.e. one that took the first gen players and corrected some of the quirkiness)and know that Sony wasn't going to give up on the format (like an enginneer at Sony Mastering recently suggested to me) than I would have one already. It sounds SOOOOOO good.

Robert Holbrook's picture

Software prices at par with CDs. The masses care marginally about audio quality but are not willing to pay much for it. Even though the recording industry won't make money from this approach in the short term, it will sell more music longer-term, since listening is more enjoyable. But maybe the goal of the recording industry for SACD is not mass acceptance.

TSA's picture

A combination of lower player prices and greater software availability, and a small miracle. Namely that the general public actually begins to listen to what they buy, and no longer just buys the marketing hype.

William Olsen's picture

People need to experience the format to understand its advantages

Dan G.P.'s picture

Have heard SACD. This is what CD should have been. Unfortunately, this is a Sony format and it will probably go the way of Beta. If they are smart, license the rights to SACD cheap now, load the market with software and affordable players, and do a public-relations blitz campaign. Maybe then this excellent-sounding format will have a chance.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

Even cheap CD players sounds better than a boombox and a boommobile. Why should the masses pay more when they can satisfice? The only chance SACD has is if Sony can make it as cheap or cheaper than standard CD's. I don't see it happening.

Peter Randell's picture

With DVD-Audio recently stillborn, Sony could really take the advantage by bringing out a sub-$500 player and releasing a lot more SACD software. By the time the DVD-A companies sort out their stupid copy-protection mechanism, it may already be too late. I'm glad at least that Pioneer is still consumer-oriented; I guess my next player will be a Pioneer.

Johnny's picture

To get the masses to accept SACD or DVD-Audio Sony and the other manufactures have to convince the public that it is vastly better than CD not just marginally. They could look at how DVD was marketed. One problem I see is that how do you sell a product like SACD or DVD-Audio to a consumer who thinks that MP3 sounds as good as CDs?

Jose Garcia's picture

To be favored SACD should combine both , lower prices and more software.There are other aspects for sure. Promotion is a key factor.Once you made a promotional campaign and it is available to auditioning , people can see and hear the differences involved in the new medium vs normal cd play back. Maybe not many people do buy the machines but once they get the bug it is difficult to ignore the benefits. It is hard to immaging an universal machine capable of playing every format for less than a normal monthly paycheck at minimun salary ( we are talking about masses , working people with mortgage and child support here ).The audiophile community have no problem to recognize the benefits , again , but not many of them (we) have the $$$$ to pay the price .For now my cd's are increasing and my gear have several years to go .

Jean-Luc Olivier's picture

Forget about mass aceptance of SACD with just one major label supporting the format. I see SACD evolving as a super DVD-audio format supported by specialty audio labels and Sony. Universal players will save SACD in the short run. Remote chance of becoming THE audio format by being better than DVD at two channels playback, in case DVD screwed it up with surround sound.

Stephen W.  Sweigart's picture

Major Classical Labels must support it!

Vic Trola's picture

You gots to get the hardware costs down, down, down. AND gimme plenty of available titles at a very reasonable price. Thousands for a player and $30 a pop for hardware is just not gonna knock CDs off the porch. Until SACD is ready to run with the little dawgs, it can just stay under the house.

Charles Purvis Kelly, Jr.'s picture

Like I said before, I have SACD and I love the format. But like I said, until the prices of a SACD Player drops and more titles are available at more down to earth prices, I would just assume that I would purchase a very good CD Player and play the waiting game. So, in a nutshell then, five out of your eleven factors (and I mean the the "first five" now) will have to take place before I will finally splurge and get a SACD Player.

Harvey B.'s picture

MORE software at standard CD prices! IF a SACD is the same price of an LP, guess which one I'll buy? The prices of the players will come come down with each generation but with SACD's that are more than any other format...forget it. I'm NOT starting a new collection of an even more expensive format!

bcurrul@tqos.com's picture

I've heard about it, but still havn't heard or even seen a player???

Dave Eaton's picture

The only way it will happen is if most CDs are released as SACDs.

Woody Battle's picture

Two things have to happen: 1) The licencing of SACD must be cheap enough to allow every DVD-player manufacturer to offer SACD playback as a feature on their DVD players. 2) Music companies have to see SACD as a replacement for CDs, and offer more titles at the same price (or very little more) than they are currently getting for CDs. After all, the cost of actually making a DVD or SACD is not any more than the cost of making a CD. (If you don't believe me, just look at current DVD prices: many DVDs are sold for less than the average cost of a new CD.) The public is already being taken by the high cost of CDs. There is no reason a CD should cost more than $6. At $15-$19, CDs are already stretching the limits of what the average consumer is willing to pay. All new formats will fail to reach the mass-market audience unless they can meet or beat the prices CDs sell for today. This is easily doable, since all of the real cost is in royalties, marketing, and distribution.

Dave Millar in Calgary's picture

Maybe if I had the ears of a newborn would I hear the difference but I dought that I could hear any. I am shure there are people who truly believe they can hear the difference between interconnects as well. Is it worth the incredible amount of money spent, well I guess to each his own. I have found that audio has been and always will be a lot of smoke and mirrors. The music companies had to come up with another cash cow for the masses. Don't get me wrong, I love listening to a great stereo but I think there is a plateau to which the human ear can achieve and technology can surpass that on paper. I am sure this new format does exactly what it claims but I'm sure the average layman could not hear it.

Alvester Garnett's picture

It also needs to be upgradeable - Give me digital outs and I'm there!

Carlos Duque's picture

Mediocrity. The analog future is not what it use to be. The masses will embrace MP3.

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