How to play SACD

The SA-CD, known as SACD, is an optical disc the size of an audio CD whose storage capacity is equivalent to that of a video DVD. Unlike audio CD which stores music in the PCM format, SACD adopts DSD format.

SACD is particularly recognized in the audiophile world for its audio quality. A stereo stream in DSD format has excellent technical characteristics: frequency response up to 50 kHz and signal-to-noise ratio exceeding 120 dB.

The different types of SACD discs

There are three types of SA-CD discs.

The CD / SA-CD hybrid disc adopts two data layers. One in the PCM format, readable by a standard CD player, the other in DSD format, requiring an SACD player to be read,

The high-density single-layer SA-CD disc, which can contain a 2, 3, 4, 5 or even 5.1 channel DSD audio track, and can only be played in an SACD player,

Finally, the rather rare double-layer SA-CD disc, which can store long works in stereo or on several channels thanks to its two layers allowing high-density recording.

SACD compatible players

Reading SA-CD discs requires a specific drive. It can be a CD player or a Blu-ray player equipped with a laser capable of reading audio data burned on SA-CD discs. To get the most out of listening to such media, you need to choose your player responsibly, and audiophile equipment at Theguruchoice reviews can help.

SACD Blue-ray playersSACD compatible Blue-ray players

Either you use the optional optical output of the player, in which case the latter converts the DSD to PCM before routing it to an amplifier or an audio DAC via an optical cable. The SA-CD compatible Blu-ray players have the advantage of being versatile and being able to swallow almost any type of disc available on the market.

SACD CD playersSACD compatible CD players

These are generally mid-range and top-of-the-range models, offered by big names in hi-fi such as Pioneer, Magnat, Yamaha, Marantz or Denon. In addition to a disc drive mechanics particularly optimized to reduce read errors, these CD/SA-CD hybrid turntables generally have an oversized power supply with very low noise, extremely efficient converters, and particularly musical analog output stages.