Updated: March 26, 2013

SACD Music Releases

High Definition Audio for Music Listening

The SACD logoMany think that Super Audio CD Music releases are a dying medium, yet we continue to see major artists jumping onto the Super Audio CD bandwagon, and though the majority of Super Audio CD releases are Classic music, yet this high definition audio format stretches over all music genres.


SACD music releases - available from amazon

SACD Music Releases
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SACD Music Releases

Surely, no other audio compact disc can deliver the warmth, richness, and subtlety in a recorded piece of music than the Super Audio CD.

Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma declared, 'It feels more alive, more present, more translucent... closer to reality'. Film composer and conductor Jerry Goldsmith said, 'When the orchestra came into the booth and listened to the playback, they were completely blown away'.

The reality is that when you experience the quality and immersive nature of multi-channel Super Audio CD music, you will never want to go back.

Background History

As indicated earlier on in this guide to SACD, the SACD format was first developed by Sony and Philips in 1999. Yet, despite its superior sound quality, the SACD - like its DVD-Audio counterpart, initially had a long way to go to acquire a significant level of consumer acceptance. In addition, it was not just a matter that at that time, customers needed a new player to enjoy SACD music content. Nor it was the fear of another possible 'Betamax ghost' in the music industry. Rather the biggest hurdle was that three of the big five major music record companies - BMG, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Warner Music Group - backed the rival format, DVD-Audio, while EMI was still undecided. This meant that Sony Music was SACD music content only major supporter.

However, things started to change - slowly but steadily. By 2002, there were over 650 SACD music titles - mostly multichannel single layer Super Audio CDs, as more music companies jumped over the SACD bandwagon, including, EMI, Virgin, UMG and Zomba, as well as other smaller audiophile labels such as Telarc, DMP, and Chesky.

Super Audio CD Music Content Today

It is estimated that at present there are well over 6,000 music title on SACD, slightly more than half are classical music. Popular music is among the least represented in the Super Audio CD music scene - mainly through remastered previously released albums. In fact, many renowned artists have re-issued some or all of their previous releases on SACD; these include Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Elton John, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music and Pink Floyd.

Pink Flyod - Dark Side of the Moon - 30th Aniv. EditionAmong the most renowned albums ever released on Super Audio CD discs, there is Pink Floyd's 1973 best know work - Dark Side of the Moon (30th Anniversary Edition).

This was released in 2003 as a Hybrid SACD to take advantage of this new high definition audio format.

Sermon On Exposition Blvd - SACD/DVD PackInteresting also is the present trend for artists to release Hybrid SACDs/DVD packages; a case in point is the SACD music release by Rickie Lee Jones - The Sermon On Exposition Blvd. [Deluxe Limited Edition]. This SACD/DVD pack includes a 5.1 multi-channel SACD version and a 40 minute DVD of making the record.

Beethoven's Symphonies 1-9While the Super Audio CD continues to attract a few major artists, yet the main interest continues to be classical. In this respect, probably Beethoven's Symphonies are among the most recorded and played classical pieces.

A brilliant example in the SACD music scene is the Hybrid SACD release of Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 [Special Edition] by Bernard Haitink and the London Symphony Orchestra.

It is a case where the exceptional sound quality of the SACD format has managed to bring out the most demanding of audio performances associated with this type of classical music.

However, as already pointed out earlier on, it is not just classical music that is benefiting from this high resolution audio format. And while it is true that most SACD music titles - especially in the non-classical arena, are not normally new releases, the Super Audio CD music catalog today includes numerous remastered albums by major artists stretching over all music genres - targeting mainly the not-so-young but more quality conscious music listener.

And what about the Hybrid SACD?

Probably, the Hybrid SACD is the only format that will survive as against single layer and dual layer SACDs — after all, it is the only format that offers backward compatibility with the hundreds of millions of CD drives in use today.

It is also already a fact that most SACD music today is now being released as Hybrid SACD only.

This is somewhat similar to the DualDisc situation with the DVD-Audio disc. These hybrid discs are in effect enabling music lovers to start building their high resolution audio collection - irrespective of whether they already have a compatible audio playback setup to enjoy the very best that these high definition audio discs can ever deliver.

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Home Theater Sound Section Index

Articles covered under this section:

Surround Sound Formats

Dolby Sound Formats

Covering also:
 - Dolby Pro Logic systems,
 - HD Audio and
 - Dolby Virtual Surround

DTS Sound formats
Including DTS HD Audio

High Definition Audio formats covering DVD-Audio and SACD - incl. DualDisc and Hybrid-SACD

Additional Articles

Tips for Better Sound

Dolby vs. DTS: Which is better?

THX Home Cinema Guide

SACD Music

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