The audio CD is outdated! A lot of Hi-Fi enthusiasts where very disappointed when the audio CD arrived. There had been a hyped expectation that it would revolutionize the playback of high quality sound. Yes, it was convenient, but to anyone with a half decent turntable and Hi-Fi system it was a backward step in sound quality. It just didn't have the warmth or musicality of the Long Play (LP) vinyl record.
Sony, one of the developers of the CD technology listened to all the complaints about the poor sound and went back to the drawing board and developed the “Super Audio Compact Disk” (SA-CD). Yes, there is now a super audio compact disk. But you say, “I thought CDs where super audio?” Poor misinformed souls, you listened to all the sales hype!
CDs are a digitally recorded format. It takes a sample of the analog sound at 44,100 times a sec. This is then recorded onto the compact disk. When the audio CD is played back all these samples are put together to create the original sound. Like having a graph with dots on it representing all the sound samples. Then joining all the progressive sampled dots together with a pencil and saying that will be a pretty good approximation of the original sound wave.
Well SA-CD takes 2,822,400 samples per sec, so in theory it should more closely represent the original sound than that of the humble audio CD. (The old Long play vinyl record (LP) is strangely classed as outdated technology even though it has an infinite number of sound samples per second.)
Yes, SA-CD does improve the sound quality. It has extended frequency response to 50Khz (CD has 20Khz) and more dynamic headroom to 113db (CD is 100db). Also, ordinary CDs played back on a SA-CD player will generally sound better. There is still a strong debate amongst Hi-Fi enthusiast's, as to whether SA-CD is as good as the LP!
SA_CDs will play back on an ordinary CD player, but to get the best sound you will need to purchase a dedicated SA-CD player. SA-CD disks are also multi channel sound encoded, so you can playback the music performances in 5.1 surround sound, if you have a surround sound stereo equipment. Sony intends to incorporate an SA-CD player into the new Sony Play Station, to be released later this year.
Some local businesses can supply dedicated SA-CD players. (If you are going to purchase a SA-CD player, get on the Internet and read reviews before making a decision.)
You will find more info about the SA-CD at http://www.sa-cd.net plus personal reviews of the latest SA-CD releases,latest news, and places on the Internet to purchase the SA-CD disks.
(c) 2007 Peter Daley
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