SACD - Definition and Explanation

Official SACD Logo. Logo Photographed by Robert Silva

Definition: SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) is a high-resolution audio disc format developed by Sony and Philips (who also developed the CD). Based on Direct Stream Digital Recording (DSD), SACD provides for more accurate sound reproduction than the Pulse Code Modulation (PCM)

While the current CD format is tied to 44.1 kHz sampling rate, SACD samples at 2.8224 MHz. Also, with a storage capacity of 4.7 gigabytes per disk (as much as a DVD), SACD can accommodate separate stereo and six-channel mixes of 100 minutes each.

The SACD format also has the capability to display photo and text information, such as liner notes, but this feature is not incorporated into most discs.

CD players cannot play SACDS, but SACD players are backward compatible with conventional CDs, and some SACD disks are dual-layer discs with PCM content that can be played in standard CD players. In other words, the same disk can hold both a CD version and SACD version of recorded content. That means that you can invest in dual-format SACD's to play on your current CD player and then access the SACD content on the same disc later on an SACD-compatible player.

It must be noted that not all SACD discs have a standard CD layer - which means you have to check the disc label to see if a specific SACD disc can also play on a standard CD player.

In addition, there are some higher-end DVD and Blu-ray Disc players can also play SACDs.

SACD's can come in either 2-channel or multi-channel versions.

In cases with an SACD also has a CD version on the disc, the CD will always be 2-channels, but the SACD layer may be either a 2 or multi-channel version.

Also Known As: Super Audio CD, Super Audio Compact Disc, SA-CD

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