If you are interested in Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) and want to get some information about it, then this post from MiniTool is what you need. This post will tell you its history, technology as well as playback hardware.

As you know, there are different logic formats of CD, such as CD-ROM and CD-RW. And this post from MiniTool is mainly talking about the SACD (Super Audio CD). Now let’s get some information about SACD.

Overview of SACD


What is SACD? It is short for Super Audio Compact Disc, which is a read-only optical disc format for audio storage. The first appearance of SACD was in 1999. It was jointly developed by Sony and Philips Electronics and intended to be the successor to the compact disc (CD) format.

Compared with conventional CDs, the SACD format provides more audio channels (for example, surround sound), a higher bit rate, and longer playback time. SACD is designed to be played on SACD players, but hybrid SACD includes a Red Book CD Digital Audio (CDDA) layer that can be played on standard CD players.

Super Audio Compact Disc

Tip: You could suffer data loss if your SACD is damaged, so you can read this post – How to Repair Corrupted/Damaged CDs or DVDs to Recover Data to retrieve your data.


  • In 1999, the Super Audio CD format was launched.
  • In May 2002, Royal Philips and Crest Digital jointly developed and installed the first SACD hybrid disc production line in the United States, with an annual production capacity of 3 million discs. The growth of SACD did not reach the growth level of compact discs in the 1980s and was not accepted by the mainstream market
  • In March 2000, the SACD CD was first broadcasted on BBC Radio. The show was an interview between Eric Kingdon (Sony), Colin Mackenzie (Hi-Fi Corner), and Kit Frazer (BBC Scotland Radio). The disc played was Mariah Carey’s “Mariah”.
  • By 2007, SACD failed to have a significant impact on the market. Consumers were increasingly downloading low-resolution music files over the Internet instead of buying music in physical disc format. A small market for SACD still exists, serving the community of enthusiasts.


SACD is a disc with the same physical size as a standard compact disc. The density of the disc is the same as that of the DVD. There are three types of discs:

  • Hybrid: Hybrid SACD is encoded with a 4.7 GB SACD layer (also known as HD layer) and a CD (Red Book) audio layer readable by most conventional CD players.
  • Single-layer: A DVD-5 encoded with a 4.7 GB SACD layer.
  • Dual-layer: A DVD-9 encoded with two SACD layers, a total of 8.5 GB, and no CD layer. Dual-layer SACD can store almost twice as much data as single-layer SACD.

Single-layer and dual-layer SACDs are not compatible with conventional CD players, which are different from hybrid disks, so they cannot be played on them.

The uncompressed rate of stereo SACD recording is 5.6 Mbit/s, which is four times the stereo audio rate of the Red Book CD.

Playback Hardware

The Sony SCD-1 player was launched at the same time as the SACD format in 1999 at a price of about $ 5,000. It weighed over 26 kg (57 pounds) and played only two channels of SACD and Red Book CD. Electronic manufacturers, including Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, and Yamaha, provide or provided SACD players. Sony manufactured in-car SACD players.

SACD players are not allowed to provide output with unencrypted DSD streams.

The first two generations of Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console could read SACD discs. Starting from the third generation (launched in October 2007), SACD playback was deleted. However, all PlayStation 3 models will play DSD Disc formats. PlayStation 3 could use the 2.00 system software to convert multi-channel DSD to lossy 1.5 Mbit/s DTS for playback via S/PDIF. This feature was removed in subsequent versions.

Several brands have launched (mainly high-end) Blu-ray Discs and Ultra HD Blu-ray players that can play SACD discs.

By using an open-source plug-in extension called SACDDecoder for Windows version of free audio player fooba2000, you can unofficially play SACD disc images on your PC. The Mac OS X music software Audirvana also supports playing SACD disc images.

Bottom Line

After you have read this post, you should know SACD is the abbreviation of Super Audio Compact Disc. Besides, you can know SACD’s definition, history, technology as well as playback hardware.

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