What will it take for SACD to win mass acceptance?

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

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.

Mike Molinaro's picture

All of the above! Each choice has validity. The price must be reasonable, there needs to be an adequate selection of titles, and it needs to be marketed wisely. Not having heard the format yet, I hesitate to comment further. Until I do hear it and am able to make a judgment, I'll stick to my LPs.

Teresa Goodwin's picture

SACD does not have to win mass acceptance because of the dual layering. The costs of discs, once the refurbishing is paid for, will be only about 50% more than regular discs, which cost 50 cents to manufacture. Telarc says it will drop the price of their SACDs to $19.98 in one year, and most regular CDs are priced between $15.99 and $18.99. I predict that within two years, dual-layer SACDs and regular CDs will be the same price. Budget, $4.99-$7.99; midprice, $9.99-$13.99; regular, $16.99-$21.99; and audiophile, $24.99-$34.99. So you see, it is not necessary for the masses to embrace it. In a few years it will be as common as "dual-layer Hi-Fi Stereo" video cassettes are now!

deletraz@bluewin.ch's picture

The Hi-rez digital will undoubtedly change the face of audio world. And multi-channels will certainly be the issue. But the drawbacks are high: You will need, everywhere you'll be, a 5.1 - or more - reproducing system. It wont be ever as cheap as 2 channels, and the 2 channels mixed down taken from the 5.1 tracks is by far not guaranteed about the sound quality. By the way, I'm not at all reluctant to new technology. I'm rather on the technical side, you know. It's sure that SACD will bring the 2 channels pinnacle for the future, especially for easy-to-use and solid state software support. I'm maybe some of a nostalgic guy, but just think about that : Any analog machine, whatever an analog tape machine or turn table, both 30 years old, you can extract most of the LP (near FIFTY years old) or master tape, i.e. analog, resolution. Try this with an only ten year old CD player - if it still works properly - and you will immediately see what I mean. So I think that 2 channels will still survive - and certainly even dominate - some decades before 5.1, 7.1 or even 9.1 will be the standard. And I repeat at least for the 10th time in these columns that 2 channels are enough. The day you will get some special "inside the orchestra" tickets, then you will maybe need more than stereo... Herv

Stephen Curling's picture

consumers in general don't have $500+ for any kind of player, maybe for 1/2 an entire system but not a stand alone piece. lower prices will be the largest factor.

Nuno Calado's picture

It's a hopeless battle but still you should try SACD at the same price as CD and full compatibility with CD players: nothing else will do.

John Hsu's picture

Provide DIGITAL OUT through either AES/EBU, I2S, FireWire, or even S/PDIF, and do it FAST!!!! The next-generation DSP-driven digital devices are SCREAMING for SACD digital source code. If Sony provides it through an open, widely available common platform, the format should spread like wildfire among the audiophile hardware makers, and result in better availability, lower prices, and mass acceptance.

Nick King's picture

A digital out—so we can use our Purcell upsamplers!!

Dr.  C's picture

If I could choose two of these options I would also select the "We already have hi-rez audio: the LP". Even with my relatively modest high end system, which includes a Rega Planar 3/Exact analog front end and a Rega Planet digital frontend, both of which are relative comparable, I find myself listening to more analog than digital. Having said that however, I am not one of the analog snobs who believes that it is the end all in audio reproduction. The CD media itself has improved significantly in its 15-20 year existence and from your own reviews, SACD is much better. Given time, I have no doubt that the digital technologies will improve to the point of equaling or even surpassing the audio reproducing capabilities of the LP format. With respect to SACD in particular, however, that means nothing unless: 1. There are a wide range of titles to play, and 2. I can afford both the media and the players on my meager mathematics professor's salary. As a side note to all of this, I am amused to no end when my students find out that I still listen to and invest in that antiquated analog technology, arguing that the digital format is very high resolution, at which point I have to give them a small lecture on the geometry of analog wave forms and that, at least in theory, analog is INFINITE resolution, which is about as hi-rez as you can get (limited of course by the resolution at the molecular level of the media).

Adam L.'s picture

it's all about advertising.

David S.  Dodd, ddodd@aug.com's picture

I still want the top of the line Sony device for myself (sigh!), but... for real lasting success and a trickle-down to the mass market, sub - $1000 players are needed as well as competitively priced, abundant, software. (See how DVD video has fared despite the number of VCR's there are.... even Columbia house is in the process of switching their laserdisc customers to DVD). Wake up Sony.... take advantage of the DVD hiatus and get in there ASAP! (P.S. Come on you guys... stop devoting time and space to MP3 issues... what kind of audiophile topic is that for goodness sake... save it for PC world, or whatever!!)

Rikard's picture

Just copy the story of the CD. Cheap players combined with lotsa cheapo CD's. Along with sum neato marketing, the world is theirs.

Chris S.'s picture

The only way I will fork over some hard-earned money on SACD is if they give us a digital audiostream to play with. At these prices, they need to stop worrying about copyright infringement from the consumer. The pirates will make excellent copies anyway.

Robin Banks's picture

SACD player prices that start at $3500 dollars and end up in outer space will not get the masses to buy into SACD. First, the industry has to find a way to educate the masses, then find ways to lower prices dramatically on both the software and the hardware. If SACD products are marketed to a position where the choice between buying a regular CD and buying a higher quality, yet similar priced SACD product are relatively equal, then sales for SACD products should take off. Until then, consumers will have to deal with what we already have or buying into the inferior DVD Audio products.

Louis's picture

$25 SACDs just won't sell enough to make it work on a grand scale. Think how many more CDs would sell now if prices were $10. Cut profit margins, boost sales.

Adrian Lebena's picture

Even though I voted for lower prices and more software availability the truth of the matter is that most people (99% of the population or more) could care less of audio quality. However if you give them better sounding equipment at around the same price whether it comes from DVD Audio or Super Audio CD they would embrace it. Furthermore I would tend to think that if these manufacturers want to survive and prosper they would also need to make there system compatible with the major formats (DVD Audio, DVD, CD, SACD)

Vergagni Ernesto's picture

I wish great fortune for SACD.

R.Poirier's picture

Why do quality audio products have to cost so much? Maybe if the prices were reasonable more people would buy them. Whats the difference if they sell 5 at $8000 or 40 at $1000? They still make their money and above all,they get more exposure to the consumer.

Anonymous's picture

See: Quadraphonic, Minidisc, Betamax, et.al., ad infinitum. Get a new Benz Ruby instead! Sony sucks.

David Miller's picture

Sony introduces the Betamax of the new millennium. It hasn't got a prayer.

Curt Simon's picture

Umm, low availability and high prices?

STEPHEN S.'s picture


Graham Pound's picture

We already have DVD, which matches SACD, so there is no point in another format. Most people will end up with a universal player that plays all discs, so that is where the market is going to go. Only nutcase audiophiles are going to support it, so I say boycott it and let the manufacturers know that we won't buy into their monopolies and only want a single new format that does it all. DVD does it all—audio, video, and data, combinations thereof, and it'll record and re-record too. Sony/Philips: You got in there first with CD, but you're not going to win with SACD! It's redundant, as it offers little or nothing over the existing DVD format. Do everyone a HUGE favor and join DVD. That's what the public wants and needs. As for its hi-rez capabilities? Most people won't give a fig, but you could give it to them anyway on DVD-Audio and no one's lost out.

Michael Birmingham's picture

I always enjoy new formats because of my electronics background. However, I lack the income required to buy a new technology as soon as it comes out. Also, I would like to see more titles.

the old fart's picture

We need a univercal player at resonable prices.

Howard Lum's picture

The SACD function should be integrated in a player that can handle DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, and CD playback. Not too many people will buy a SACD-only player because of too many competing formats and steep pricing of SACD players. I heard SACD a few times and it does sound smooth with dynamics. However, selling a $2,000 SACD-only player to the masses will be difficult, no matter how many SACD you have available.

John Crossett's picture

Personally, as a saleman in a Vermont audio store (part-time), I haven't heard any complaints about the CD format from anyone except audiophiles. (Up here, John Q. Public outnumbers audiophiles about 1000 to 1.) If the general public doesn't hear CD's problems and is happy with it, it's going to be nigh on impossible to get ANY new format accepted. Maybe a HUGE advertising campaign, along with very low prices for both the hardware and software, along with a phase-out of CD (much like they did with the LP), would do it. But I doubt it. Not that I care. Long Live the LP!!!

Daisuke Koya's picture

SACD is great. Best of analog and digital!

Jim Sanders's picture

1) Back-compatability with conventional CDs. 2) Relatively low player prices (similar in range to DVD players). 3) Compatibility with DVD players (don't know if this is commercially possible yet). 4) Re. titles, approach it as DVD has: Start with a batch of classic, best-selling albums, along with new releases of new albums, and gradually increase the software supply. 4) Use a PR campaign designed to sway the masses—audiophiles don't need much convincing. 5) Multichannel music should be limited to recordings where multichannel is deemed necessary by the musicians and recording engineers only.

Michael Crespo's picture

I don't think it will fly. Most people just don't care about sound that much, or at least they don't think they do.

TDK's picture

Lower software prices. End of story.