I read this somewhere a couple of years ago, now I forgot where. According to that report, SACD was
declared a bust by the owners of 5" disc manufacturing facilities, and only Sony makes them anymore.
That production is restricted to one Sony plant in Japan. Sony Music Japan continues to produce some
new reissue SACD's, and from what I can tell, Japan is just about the only market where there is
still some mainstream excitement about SACDs. In the US and Europe, SACD is a tiny niche market
mainly inhabited by audiophiles.
I agree with David that, in the cases where a hybrid disc has both the SACD and CD layers made from
the same source (ie the CD layer is down-converted from the SACD master), the SACD layer sounds
superior. However, high-resolution downloads are able to provide the same superior sound quality and
are portable, multi-platform convenient and user-down-convertable for lower-resolution uses such as
iPod portability. Sony and Philips crippled the SACD format by locking it down so users are stuck
using it only on proprietary equipment, with no ability to rip the high-resolution audio to portable
or networked formats. That is the future. Shiny discs played in proprietary machines is the past.
Regarding vinyl, well-made records played on excellent systems can sound fantastic. There will
always be some background noise, but it's not annoying if the music is compelling. I recently heard
a system (granted, it cost more than my house and cars combined) where the vinyl played so quietly
that underlying tape hiss from the cutting master was much louder than any mechanical background
noise. So the mechanical noise floor was far below the source noise floor. I've stated before here
and elsewhere that the whole "90dB dynamic range" claim about CDs is silly, and "120dB dynamic
range" claim of hi-rez formats is just as silly. No listening environment aside from an isolation
room nested on springs in the middle of nowhere has 120dB dynamic range, and no person wants to
listen to content where he can hear 120dB of difference because the +120dB will be deafening. People
still love (and buy) plenty of "golden age" recordings with 40-50dB of dynamic range. Most of the
pop, jazz and rock music we love has 12dB or much less dynamic range.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "DAVID BURNHAM" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2014 1:01 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 30,759,242 + Long Playing Records Pressed Worldwide in 2013
>I have never heard LPs compared favourably to SACDs. The two main virtues of the SACD - extended
>frequency response and excellent low level resolution were also available on LPs. Of course the
>noise level and dynamic range of either CDs or SACDs are measurably far superior to any LP but a
>well engineered high quality LP in good condition played on superior equipment will not present
>dynamic range limitations or noise levels which are objectionable and normal listening levels. I
>confess that I was always smugly proclaiming that the CD was superior to vinyl until I heard my
>first SACD, (a 1954 recording of the Boston Symphony performing Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony), and I
>realized that I had had my head in the sand all those years. Hybrid SACDs should have saved the
>medium from the almost demise that they have suffered, (some European and British companies are
>still producing them), but one problem that I have heard articulated many times is that
> SACDs have absolutely nothing to offer over regular CDs, but this is from people who are not aware
> that a Hybrid SACD only presents CD quality if you're not playing it on an SACD player. These
> people are playing them on a regular CD player and expecting to hear the SACD quality.
> On Friday, February 7, 2014 11:55:45 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi John:
>>SACD has been un-embraced by most youngsters and many audiophiles. I think it's already an
>>antiquated format. Hi-rez audio can be had from downloads, offering many more playback options
>>format-conversion, portability, etc). The last bastion of some of the SACD diehards seems to be
>>phoney "debate" over whether DSD or high-rez PCM sounds "better." As much as I like some of my
>>surround-sound SACDs, I am in a tiny minority so small that, nowadays (after the major companies
>>dipped toes and found almost no buyers), it doesn't even justify a niche market by any but a very
>>few companies who mostly peddle inferior music products. The very few mainstream-release surround
>>products that have appeared in recent years have been lossy-encoded Dolby AC3 DVD productions
>>(example - The Beatles "Love", example - Rhino's very few Quad reissues). Apparently, there are a
>>few audio-centric products showing up on BluRay, another format I predict is doomed to fast
>>obscurity in the age of streaming, networked video.
>>-- Tom Fine
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
>>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>Sent: Friday, February 07, 2014 11:16 AM
>>Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 30,759,242 + Long Playing Records Pressed Worldwide in 2013
>>> Good comments. But it's funny. Just yesterday I was listening to a superb
>>> SACD on my relatively new Oppo BDP-105 SACD player (which has been
>>> described by a very knowledgeable source as the best CD player ever made,
>>> when it was new), and thinking to myself "There is no vinyl record ever
>>> made that could touch this."
>>> Best, John
>>> On Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 9:57 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>> Disclosure: I supplied Mike Fremer my list of vinyl pressing plants, which
>>>> included a couple he didn't have. I agree with his analysis, completely. I
>>>> don't think Soundscan captures what Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct sell.
>>>> It may capture Amazon's vinyl sales. I'm also not sure Soundscan captures
>>>> sales in those hearty few independent record stores out there. Based on
>>>> what I know about vinyl sales of Mercury Living Presence products, the vast
>>>> majority are sold in the US, Japan and Germany, with a few sales in the UK.
>>>> I don't assume this is the case for all titles because musical tastes vary
>>>> by country. But I think it's safe to say that the majority of newly-pressed
>>>> vinyl records are sold in those three markets.
>>>> I especially agree with Mike's analysis about Crosley record-wreckers.
>>>> These things aren't as lethal to a record as an old Garrard changer, but
>>>> they aren't good for $30-60 platters. Also, I think all vinyl pressing
>>>> plants should include an insert inside the record sleeves about proper care
>>>> and cleaning. These are not commodity products like 1960s mainstream $3-5
>>>> records. These are investments, you could say they are art for the masses
>>>> because of the artifact/ritual aspects combined with music enjoyment and
>>>> listening. There should be some kind of alliance in the record-pressing
>>>> business that comes up with working for such an insert and makes it
>>>> standard. To be fair to the big record companies of yore, inner sleeves for
>>>> years carried advice about proper handling, cleaning and advice to always
>>>> use clean, sharp needles.
>>>> I don't know this for a fact, but if you were to somehow amalgamate hi-rez
>>>> downloads to make it apples-to-apples against full-album LP records, I
>>>> think LPs are outselling hi-rez downloads at the current time. I do think
>>>> it's a safe bet that they are outselling SACD/DVD-A products.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Roger Kulp" <
>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Friday, February 07, 2014 9:14 AM
>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] 30,759,242 + Long Playing Records Pressed Worldwide in