SACD Dreams Destroyed (Or How I Should Have Done More Research)

SACD LogoSorry to have another post about consumer electronics but besides the occasional task at work and the playing of video games (should I pay $4.99 to play Qbert in 720p?) much of my life is spent abusing the collection of power and time-sucking gadgets I now possess.

As I mentioned earlier, one of these is the newly acquired PS3. While I’m pretty happy with the purchase (although I wish my Amazon.com gift certificates would come so I could order an extra controller and Resistance: Fall of Man), one thing I thought I’d be able to take advantage of was the sweet SACD capability of the PS3.

So this weekend, I was at Best Buy and was looking for a cheap Blu-ray movie I could buy (I didn’t find one–although I will probably just buy Casino Royale when it comes out in 2 weeks) I decided to browse the CD’s.

I’ve been trying to catch up on older CD’s and movies that I haven’t seen or heard so when I noticed as I was browsing that there were a number of Kinks CD’s that were remastered in SACD/CD hybrid format I decided I’d pick one up to try out the SACD capability of the PS3 and hopefully continue my education on some of the musical acts that have helped define current rock (Fall Out Boy had to come from somewhere, right?).

Anyway, so I get home and put it in the machine and as usually happens I see a CD listed under the music menu on the Cross Media Bar (XMB). This time however, there’s also one labeled as a Super Audio CD. I pick that one (which is inexplicably 20+ seconds longer than the regular CD tracks) and click play. It then proceeds to tell me that SACD’s can’t be output via the optical out cable that I’m currently getting sound on the PS3 from.

Apparently SACD’s are all encrypted and since optical audio is unencrypted, they don’t want people just ripping the bitstreams. So, the only option that is presented is to output the audio via the analog red/white stereo plugs or via the HDMI port. Since I don’t have a tuner that accepts HDMI, I can’t really listen to this. I guess I should have really looked into the whole SACD thing a little bit more before I dropped $12 on a disc.

I did try to hook it up via the analog out on my PS3 but my cheap PC surround system I have is not of high enough quality that playing the SACD via analog sounds any better than the regular CD via optical.

Eventually though (perhaps when one is actually released), an HDMI 1.3 enabled tuner will go on the list of things that I need to buy when all that cash from the WRN IPO starts rolling in (although it’s really more likely that we’d just get acquired by someone looking to bolster their nerd-related offerings).

7 thoughts on “SACD Dreams Destroyed (Or How I Should Have Done More Research)”

  1. You can’t stop the content!

    Unless, you can, in that case, you know, you kinda could stop the content. This would result in a total stoppage of content.

  2. “…via the analog red/white stereo plugs…”

    thats just straight-out blasphemy.

    SACD is to music what Virtual Boy was to video games.

  3. Well, actually, analog (and maybe firewire?) has been the only way to get SACD audio out of SACD players for a while.

    Plus, if there’s one thing that audiophiles know it’s near lossless analog output. I don’t have the kind of setup that could actually benefit from the non-PCM derived audio out.

    If I did have one though, an analog connection would be sufficient to hear an improvement in clarity between the traditional CD and the SACD.

    Since this SACD is still encoded in stereo (it’s not 5.1 like some are) there is no demuxing going on to create the 2 channel sound.

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