Why won't Bluray players play SACD?

david011777 -- Thu, 06/19/2008 - 10:33

I've been trying to justify purchasing a Bluray player - ideally, I'd like a 'universal' player which would also recognize SACD but these don't exist (except for certain versions of Sony's PS3, whose fan is too noisy for audiophiles). This is incredibly frustrating...SACD has struggled over the years but continues to persist and has even gained a bit of momentum recently - I fear that excluding this format recognition on new Bluray players will threaten extinction for SACD.

My question - why aren't any of the Bluray manufacturers making players that recognize SACD? "SACD is dead" doesn't cut it, since all universal DVD players still recognize it...and it's hard to believe that manufacturers just don't want to pay royalty fees to Sony - since Sony Blurays don't even recognize SACD discs. Any technical insight...and is there any hope of this changing?? I've read on some forums that Denon Bluray v.2 will recognize it, but I haven't read a word of this on their website.


Steven Stone -- Thu, 06/19/2008 - 12:06

As you have discovered, current generation Blu-Ray players don't support SACD. Perhaps in the future there may be one that does, but don't hold your breath.

For a mid-fi manufacturer SACD is too small a market to bother with. Sorry, but those are the facts...

Some high-end maker may eventually introduce a true universal palyer, but I don't expect it to be cheap. It may require multiple bays and trays to do the job completely.

For the present the most cost-effective solution for a consumer is to buy a universal player that supports CD/DVD/SACD/DVD-A and a separate Blu-ray machine (which at this point might also play games - i.e. a PS-3.)

I have two Sony S-300's (one for each system) and frankly if I had to do it again I would have gotten one S-300 and one PS-3. Both S-300's sit on top of Toshiba HD-20 DVD-HD machines (at least they were really cheap.)

20-20 hindsight...


Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Wade (not verified) -- Thu, 08/13/2009 - 18:21

 Do the  Oppo BDP-83 not support SADC, as well as a host of other formats?

Peck (not verified) -- Tue, 03/16/2010 - 08:43

Yes, the Oppo BDP-83 does play almost all discs except DVD-HD. SACD is supported.

DHMCCOY@GMAIL.COM -- Thu, 10/01/2009 - 20:38


tomn (not verified) -- Sat, 12/19/2009 - 11:19

Related to this, is there a way to hook up multiple 7.1 inputs to my amp which only has 1 set, so that I can switch between blue ray and SACD players. I have two machines but it doesn't do me any good because when I hit the 7.1 surround button on my amp, I can only get sound from the blue ray machine attached to those inputs. Any ideas?

BowersBum -- Sat, 12/19/2009 - 14:18

I purchased this Philips switch for exactly this purpose: www.p4c.philips.com/files/s/sws2325w_27/sws2325w_27_pss_aen.pdf
About $30 at Amazon and K-Mart or $19 at Keenzo. Although it is sold as a video switch, it works perfectly to switch 5.1 inputs - all you need since SACD is 5.1. Use the L & R audio for the front channels and composite video input of the switch for the center channel. Use the component inputs for the other channels. Just connect surround back's from the Blu-ray directly to the receiver input, bypassing the switch. It is a straight switch without any other components inside - I took it apart to verify. Sounds perfect.
I believe there is an infra-red controlled model as well which would allow switching the inputs from a universal remote.

Robert Harley -- Thu, 06/19/2008 - 15:30

It is indeed unfortunate that Sony, the force behind Blu-ray Disc (BD), has chosen to abandon SACD and not include SACD playback in their Blu-ray players.

Other manufacturers of BD players see SACD as too small a market to worry about.

As Steven Stone suggests, the only solution appears to be buying multiple players: a universal machine for all disc formats except BD, and a BD machine. That's what I'm doing.

Anonymous43221 (not verified) -- Fri, 03/19/2010 - 15:39

Sony has added SACD tot their new blu-ray players: bdp-s370/470/570. Although multichannel only over HDMI.

sheepherder -- Fri, 06/20/2008 - 07:00

Mr Harley,

Which Blu Ray player are you considering?

Shenandoah Valley, VA

discman -- Fri, 06/20/2008 - 09:31

This probably doesn't solve the problem to your satisfaction, but the PS3 supports SACD and Blu-Ray and can easily be placed in a cabinet.

Anonymous1234567 (not verified) -- Mon, 01/11/2010 - 22:13

not anymore. they have dropped it from the slim.

Robert Harley -- Fri, 06/20/2008 - 20:56

I'm waiting for the forthcoming Sony BDP-S350 ($400) or S550 ($500), the next generation of machines with BD Live and DTS-HD Master Audio support. The S350 is scheduled to ship in about a month, and the S550 will ship in the Fall.

Wolfgang -- Sat, 06/21/2008 - 02:12

Like others, I was hoping the next generation Blu-Ray players would support SACD. I tried a PS3 and the fan noise was too much of a distraction.

I get the mid-fi argument, but do you think Sony will abandon SACD altogether within the next year?


Steven Stone -- Sat, 06/21/2008 - 09:29

When Sony shut down their SACD mastering software initiative they threw in the towel. Without a way to master multi-tracked recordings in DSD format (without converting to PCM) the format was a dead commercially.

In comparison LPs are a larger and more vibrant market, that despite the periodic "The LP is NOT Dead" articles in mainstream publications, is primarily an antiquarian medium.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Edward Mouton (not verified) -- Thu, 05/28/2009 - 14:25

 Obviously you've sold out to the redbook CD and its digitized noise that passes for music lately. SACDs did manage to approach what could be considered high fidelity, but the market did not keep the players interested enough to go on. Nothing antiquated about the pure analog (BTW: so is a sound wave) music from well-cared for LPs that are available and are steadily regaining market share. Admittedly there are a lot of over-priced and ludicrous offerings out there offered by some turntable & cartridge manufacturers. A very good (if not great) platter & stylus can easily be had in the $1000-$1500 range nowadays, Spectacular & wondrous will never be words that will describe a CD, and that is just what one can achieve by sticking with the tried & true medium that is vinyl. 

A Scientist (not verified) -- Wed, 09/30/2009 - 02:47

Just stumbled upon this drivel and feel forced to respond.
Sir, your post demonstrates two things.
1) A complete lack of understanding of how digital technology actually works.
2) A preference for the particular distortions produced by vinyl. This latter attribute is not uncommon.  Vinyl enthusiasts as a rule seem not to understand that certain distortions can sound "nice" and confuse "nice" with "accurate".  The fact is that a regular (it does not have to be particularly special) CD objectively produces far higher fidelity output than ANY turntable.  That you prefer the distorted sound of the the turntable does not mean it is in any way technically superior.  Incidentally, neither does it invalidate your preference.  That you prefer vinyl is fine.  But trying to justify that preference by implying it is technically superior is wrong.

Robert Harley -- Sat, 06/21/2008 - 19:49

When the Blu-ray spec was announced with no provision for DSD (only PCM audio), the writing was on the wall. Sony has moved on from SACD and is focussed on Blu-ray.

Chris Martens -- Wed, 08/06/2008 - 10:22

To be realistic, though, I never really expected Blu-ray would include provisions for incorporating DSD/SACD, since the latter was--from day one--a music-only format, not a movie format.

I perceive that Blu-ray has much more natural, albeit indirect, ties to the world of DVD-Audio, since Meridian Lossless Packing (the keystone technology behind DVD-Audio) lives on as a core technology embedded within Dolby TrueHD. So, Blu-ray holds obvious potential for better-than-CD-quality sound--just not superior sound as achieved via DSD.

I'm not sure I buy the idea that SACD is "dead," though I agree that it will probably never make it as a mainstream format. I find it encouraging that the SACD format continues to be supported in numerous universal players, and has also been embraced by a fair number of audiophile labels known for their dedication, tenacity and commitment to sound quality.

My thought: Audiophile labels and the music lovers who support them have a knack for prevailing against all odds. Here's hoping that SACD does, too.

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

Robert Harley -- Wed, 08/06/2008 - 11:47

There are more than 5300 SACD titles available, and more being released every day. Although SACD will never gain a significant market share of the total packaged-media music market, it will enjoy a long and robust life as an audiophile format.

I just bought the Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player, and don't mind having separate players for SACD and Blu-ray.

I've had the BDP-S350 less than 24 hours, but my initial impression is that its much better ergonomically than the BDP-S2000ES. The new player is much faster to load and respond to commands.

Peter (not verified) -- Sun, 05/03/2009 - 12:58

That brand spanking new Sony Internationally available sacd player is not available in Canada. Kal from In-the-round said cd-sacd difference vanished. Could it be the filtering system? Many say the s-500 sound similar to the s-2000es both blue ray both red book and burned cd but not sacd. So I ask you, does the bdp-350 or 550 soundwise compare to the s2000es? How-so? On an aside-I cant afford multi-channel. It needs a more complicated to build  playback room (at least $100,000.00). Then multiply all the cabling, speakers, amplifiers, etc., multi-channel requires. Add the numbers:  Only rabid multi-millionaire audiophiles can afford multi-channel. Think I'm kidding? Take a decent monoblock like a Bryston 7b or 28. Multiply by six. Take a decent innterconnect Minimum ten dollars a foot times likely 200 feet. Take a decent  single ended or balanced connector like a WBT, times how many? The point is two channel is great because after 40 years I am just starting to get it right and I can afford it AND my wife.

Mon1018 -- Mon, 08/11/2008 - 07:20

I tend to agree with you.
I got the information.
Thanks for sharing. :D :)

Robert Bird (not verified) -- Mon, 05/25/2009 - 22:21

 the OPPO BDP-83 looks an entry into the SACD/BlueRay market - not cheap though at $500-600

cmalak -- Tue, 05/26/2009 - 11:18

I just received the Oppo BDP-83 Bluray universal player and it is a truly universal player in that it virtually plays every disc format available today (CD, SACD, DVD-A, DVD-V, as well as BluRay). I am very encouraged by its audio playback as it gives my ARC CD7 a run for its money even in CD playback, although it's not nearly as liquid or analog-like as the CD7. SACD takes it up a notch. I do not have any DVD-A discs so I can't comment on its capabilities there. Video playback is phenomenal. For $499, this seems like a true bargain. Steven posted his initial thoughts on the BDP-83 in his blog in the attached link:
Looking forward to Steve and/or Chris' more complete impressions on the Oppo BDP-83 which I believe are coming soon based on the commentary in Steve's blog.

cmalak -- Tue, 05/26/2009 - 11:22

Here is an initial review from EnjoytheMusic.com on the Oppo BDP-83 as well. Forgot to post it in my reply above:

yt1981 (not verified) -- Thu, 08/13/2009 - 04:04

Marantz, Denon, Cambridge Audio, Lexicon universal players do SA-CD.

Chris Martens -- Thu, 08/13/2009 - 15:02

 As many of you already know, at least three current Blu-ray players do support SACD. These are:
1) Sony PS3 (realistically, not a great SACD player)
2) Oppo BDP-83 (a very good SACD player--see my review which is accessible from the home page of this site)
3) Denon DVD-A1UDCI (a great player, but also very expensive)
Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

Chris Heinonen (not verified) -- Fri, 08/14/2009 - 14:37

However, the PS3 has not supported SACD playback for a couple hardware revisions now, so if someone were looking to buy a new player, they should not consider the PS3 at this point if SACD playback matters.

Chris Martens -- Wed, 09/30/2009 - 09:50

 At CEDIA 2009, three different manufacturers announced they would soon be releasing combination Blu-ray/universal players that can handle Blu-ray, DVD-Video/Audio, CD, and SACD and, in some cases, HDCD material.  The three manufacturers are, in alphabetical order: Cambridge Audio, Lexicon, and Theta Digital.
Best, Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

ender21 -- Wed, 09/30/2009 - 10:23

It's being suggested that the Theta Digital offering is just a rebadged Oppo BDP83.

Chris Martens -- Wed, 09/30/2009 - 11:15

At CEDIA 2009, Theta representatives told me openly and on the record that their player is based on core technologies from Oppo, but that the Oppo and Theta players are by no means identical. Among other things, Theta has added an incredibly beefy power supply of its own design, though I don't have details on any other changes that may also have been incorporated.
Best, Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

ender21 -- Wed, 09/30/2009 - 15:27

Indeed.  I could never imagine that they'd actually be bolt-for-bolt identical, but it's a little difficult for me to imagine that whatever Theta Digital could have added would amount to a ~$2499 price increase over the core technologies which were already in place for them.

mecolwell -- Thu, 10/01/2009 - 08:24

"Audiophile Jewelry!!"


BowersBum -- Mon, 10/05/2009 - 08:44

SACD and Blu-ray are more examples of the cruel jokes continually played by Sony marketing on consumers. 
Once again Sony marketing is responsible for delays of entertainment media sales and the wrong format being selected!  First, VHS (though it wasn’t their format, they just screwed up the marketing of their better Beta), then SACD over the technically much better and cheaper DVD-Audio, just about killing multi-channel music in the process.  Now a-work-in-progress, Blu-Ray, over the cheaper-to-produce HD-DVD.    And payola.  Grr!  Payola refers to Sony paying off the HD-DVD-aligned studios to end their agreements with Toshiba.
And now that they have conned us into buying SACD, they have essentially dropped it.  Even Sony's own players don't support it anymore - with the exception of perhaps their most cynical joke yet - the SCD XA9000ES.  $3,000 for a player to play an unsupported format.  Anybody dumb enough to buy that deserves what they can't get.
I doubt all the money Sony spent fighting the BluRay war will ever be recouped.  As soon as HD is downloadable, Blu-ray will go the way of SACD.  Robert Harley says they are now focussed on Blu-ray, but history has shown Sony rapidly loses focus. 

mecolwell -- Tue, 10/06/2009 - 08:06

Blu-ray is a great format, and presents us with the best images and sound currently available.
However, I agree about Sony abandoning it's own SACD format (????). Whattsup with that?
We could have high-res audio only on the BD platform, but so far, no one seems to be embracing that.
Downloading does not interest me, and will it support HD audio, or special features?
Most likely not. I'm not into all the live interactive stuff, but like the special features.
Yes, $3000 is silly, as the Oppo, at $500 is as good as that, most likely the best player out there, and it supports all formats, including SACD.
When we have downloading as the only way to get HD, I'll quit watching movies at home.


BowersBum -- Sat, 10/31/2009 - 09:42



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Good as the Oppo is, it doesn't support full speaker time alignment for SACD, only in pairs.  That's OK if your loudspeaker layout is completely L/R symmetrical about the listening position, but mine isn't and most people's aren't, although that may not be the case for committed audiophiles - (you know - the ones that have been institutionally committed) - and many readers of this column.  In order to get full time alignment and other important DSP functions for SACD in the past, you had to buy, guess what - an expensive Sony ES series or other high end player.  Unlike with DVD-Audio the basic architecture of SACD makes these and other important DSP functions too costly to implement and most (all?) manufacturers just left them out, except on boutique models. Not to mention no way to include video.  A sure recipe for format failure.
I do have several commercial audio-only Blu-ray discs on the 2L and Surround Records labels and they sound great, but it seems pretty apparent that Sony is not promoting music-only BD.  All of them except one are on phase-change media (burned rather than stamped) and several BD players I have tried them on will not play them reliably, or even at all. Sony probably is not making BD duplication available at reasonable cost to the record labels.  The 2L product, which is stamped and plays without issues, is a premium product priced at double that of BD video, and packaged only with a 2nd disc for the video. And all of them are of classical music: I don't know of a single pop release, which one would certainly expect by now if there were any real interest by Sony for MC music in the future.
I don't have any interest in downloading Blu-ray or other hi-rez material at this point yet either.  But you can bet that will change as soon as it is available and I have FiOS or other fast Internet service comparable to that in most of the rest of the world. And I won't be the only one, not by a long shot.

JD (not verified) -- Thu, 12/03/2009 - 17:11

Has anyone heard the Denon DVD A1-UDCi Blu-ray universal player (full 32 bit architecture) through its apparently excellent 2ch analogue outs. Besides cost ($4,500) and the fact that its only been out a yr or so, I'm perplexed its not part of the thread discussion. Conservative (or at least it used to be) hi-fi news UK /Oct gave it an SQ (Sound Quality) of 89%. Seemingly its excellent on SADC. Love to hear your comments. 

Jet Buckle (not verified) -- Wed, 01/13/2010 - 16:23

If any one is still tracking this thread, there is light at the end of the tunnel!!
Sony are to release several "universal" players over the coming months...more can be found here....
good luck to all!

Uncle Goat (not verified) -- Thu, 03/04/2010 - 20:33

 The January 2010 issue of GRAMOPHONE has a brief review of the DENON DBP-4010UD, a Blu-Ray/SACD player that also supports DVD-Audio, CD, plus AVCHD from DVDs and DivX, JPEG, MP3,WMA, AAC, and WAV files from DVDs or SD/SDHC [there is a front panel slot]. At less than half the price of the DENON DVD-A1UD, it may be the best bet out there, but still expensive. In my opinion, true high fidelity audio-only will never go away. Although live rock performances on video, and opera on video, are obvious home theater delights, listening to good music, whether Pink Floyd and Dark Side of the Moon [on SACD] or the Beethoven Nine with Vanska/Minnesota or Haitink/London Symphony, are not only fine, but preferable without visual detractions. SACD should not die. Major music labels have been taken over by bottom-line penny-pinching corporations, but the smaller labels like Telarc and BIS have become major players because of their dedication to being the best they can be. Their SACD offerings continue with every release date. Just remember that true high-fidelity was not brought to us by the old RCA or Columbia Records, but by small companies who wanted to deliver the best, like Fisher and the British Decca. Ever was it so, and ever will be. Support SACD by buying every disk that looks like it might be good, not just the ones you know.

sjackson -- Thu, 03/20/2014 - 23:06

Is there any Bluray specs upgrade? Its been a long time for the last one.http://www.shoppingformen.com.au/product-category/mens-colognes-and-aftershave/

Jon2020 -- Sat, 04/05/2014 - 10:38


Sony has answered our prayers.

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