Is back-compatibility with CD players important to you with any new high-resolution audio format?

Is back-compatibility with CD players important to you with any new high-resolution audio format?
Extremely important
53% (168 votes)
20% (63 votes)
Slightly important
7% (22 votes)
Not important at all
13% (42 votes)
Depends if it adds to price of discs
8% (24 votes)
Total votes: 319

Sony and Philips claim that a big advantage to SACD is that the high-resolution SACD discs can be back-compatible with regular CD players. DVD-Audio proponents say that DVD-Audio discs can be made back-compatible with CD players as well if consumers want it. Do you want it?

Martin Bruczkowski's picture

In 99% of cases back-compatibility adds cost and forces the designers to make all kinds of compromises.

Rajesh Madan's picture

Double inventories help no one. Besides the additional financial outlay, storage, tracking etc. would pose problems.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I will not purchase new equipment until it has been proven. The marketplace appears to be more flexible than when manufactures forced CD's only on the consumer. Today I spend more per month on LP's than CD's. Because the catalog is available and the quality is superior.

John Napier's picture

It would be more convenient to have one box that played CDs and DVDs instead of two. But I don't want it if it compromises DVD sound quality - in that case I'd rather put up with having two boxes..

Bharat frm Arlington, VA's picture

I've a ton of gold recording which I don't want to throw away or spend cash to buy them in a new format.

Scot Forier's picture

Backwards compatibility with the new high resolution audio formats really shouldn't be an issue. People who are going to buy the new machines, will want to play the new discs.

Nick Fulford's picture

Yes, without backward compatibility, the mainstream market will be more difficult to convince to buy the new technology. The majority of the market will not want to buy a new box, unless it can accommodate CD and DVD-Audio (and DVD-Video). Also, since market penetration by DVD-Video is accelerating rapidly, DVD-Audio needs to come out very soon, or DVD players without DVD-Audio support will only be purchased by the mainsteam as their DVD-Video units are upgraded/replaced. SACD will be a dead duck. People want a one box digital source for all formats, and hence DVD.

Stephen Curling's picture

most folks will go and buy the new piece of gear anyway to the play a new format so just use the older gear for older formats.

Woody Battle's picture

The important thing is being able to get a single player that excels at playing both regular CDs and the new high-resolution format(s). Being able to play the high-resolution discs on a normal CD player is not important.'s picture

Apple computer has finally gotten rid of the VERY outdated floppy drive. While, yes, this does put out a few people, it enables the computer company to finally step away from a major technological tether. CDs will prove the same thing. Unfortunately, we are years from seeing the CD give way to a better format. So, given the choice of watching a new format die because the CD won't give way, or gradually making the CD layer less and less useful, I would choose the latter.

Federico Cribiore's picture

Its important to me in that I know that initially not all of my disc players will be hi-res. As such, it would be nice to not have to make double purchases in order to, say, be able to play a disc both in the car and at home. However---if the difference in cost is over 50%, I would opt to buy two copies over having one that does both.

Anonymous's picture

It will be inportant in the near term, but over the long haul new players will need to be compatible with old format CDs

Stephen Terry's picture

I will not buy a new medium that would restrict where and on what machine I could play my music. Nothing would be worse than if my wife decided she wanted to hear the "new CD" in her car, only to find out that it would not play!

Eric G.'s picture

I've got over 500 CD's that I still want to play. If my current transport supplier (ML) won't offer a backward compatible upgrade, I will seek a company who will.

Rodney Gold's picture

It's pointless paying more for music on DVD for the back-compatibility. However, if the new format is the same price and is back-compatible , it will soar. More important for me is that new hardware will play exisiting media as well as or better than the top-of-the-line CDPs/transports. If those two scenarios exist , I won't hesitate to adopt early.

tony esporma's picture

As an audiophile, why would I care if any new high end digital system is compatible with that AWFUL sounding Philips Red Book? Heck, I figure that no audiophile will care to listen to CDs once High End Digital Audio (DVD/SACD) becomes available. So far as nonaudiophiles, who cares? they don't read Stereophile anyways.

Karl Uppiano's picture

I would like to be able to buy new-technology recordings that will work on my existing equipment, and that will work even better when I upgrade my equipment.

Todd A.  Lee's picture

Sure, I'll probably purchase new 5.1 mastered re-releases of older CD's, but I'm not going to pawn my CD player to get DVD-A. Remember the LP? Still around ain't it?

Steve Owens's picture

It would be nice but I never have gotten heavily into CDs. I have 10-15 LPs for every CD. If a "super-CD" format becomes established, I might just sell off all my CDs and my CD player.

MH's picture

I can start buying the software now, and upgrade hardware in my home, office and car as needed.

Terrence Broadnax's picture

I think it is a must if they want to sell discs.

Robin Banks's picture

If the proposed SACD and DVD-A discs are back-compatible, I will support the formats. I think the outstanding issue of this matter is price. Specifically, what will be the price of the new discs? I think that until the music industry can come up with a stable price standard, consumers will live with their "perfect sound forever" discs until things settle. Convince Joe Blow and Jane Doe that the new discs will sound better for "only $25" and they will laugh in your face! Money is the bottom line. And the music industry will not get my hard-earned money until they figure this out!

Tim Hart's picture

Its obvious that backwards compatability is important. Alot of folks have a substantial inventory of software that is not obselete yet, by any stretch of the imagination. And depending on the availability of DVD or SACD formatted music, it may not be practical to expect someone who wanted to upgrade to the new format and have to liquidate thier current high-end player to finance the new player, only to be able to purchase only a hand full or more of DVD titles, and them being only classical, for example. I personally would not make a move towards DVD or SACD until they play one or both hi-rez formats, and CD's, too. CD's will be around for quite awhile, and excluding backwards compatability would, I feel, be a marketing blunder.

Peter Randell's picture

It may be useful for my car CD player but of no concern to me otherwise.

M.D.  Chubb's picture

Back-compatability to me, and perhaps to any other musicphile with a large collection of "old format" software, is extremely importatnt. But in the marketplace, it may not be as important. Remember the DCC/MiniDisc fiasco? DCC was back-compatible with analog cassette, but wasn't attractive enough to the consumer. MiniDisc, a format unto itself, survived. (But maybe that's only because Sony had the resources to keep it on the market, successful or not.)

Michael Waldmann's picture

Just like some of my LPs didn't make it to CD, some of my CDs won't make it to DVD-A.

George B's picture

Would not consider it without backward compatability. Who wants another digital box?

Jack Lundrigan's picture

As my Meridian 508-24 CD player is less than 6 months old, and I have no interest in video, or DVD players, any new format needs to be back-compatible. I also wouldn't want a seperate player for new CDs and have an additional unit for my 8,000 existing CDS.

Val Willis's picture

I feel the whole debate over SACD and DVD-Audio is not sound quality, but which companies will receive the royalities. Either way, the consumer is the loser, because the discs will be expensive when they come out. I, for one, am planing on buying a better turntable. DVD should stay hooked up to a big-screen TV.

Larry J.'s picture

Here we go again!! From 78's to 45's to 33 1/3, Mono versus stereo versus quadraphonic (discrete, QS, SQ, RM blah, blah, blah). Then of course LP versus CD. No wonder some people think High End Audio is dying. All we need is a one AUDIO format of 24 bit 96 Mz software and the machines to play them. These machines must accommodate current CD software. Why should I have to junk the 200 Cd's I already own? The manufacturers are eventually going to lose the mid and low Fi crowds if they keep this acronym war going. They are potential high-enders.