Leading Hardware Manufacturers, Music Labels Show Growing Support For Super Audio CD Format

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CES -2002 – Key representatives of leading consumer electronics manufacturers—including Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Philips, Pioneer, Sharp, Sony and Yamaha—gathered in support of the Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) format during a press event hosted today at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show.

The event also included an update from the Universal Music Group (UMG), revealing for the first time some of the SACD titles being prepared for release this spring.
Sony Music Entertainment, which already has produced more than 150 SACD titles, also announced its latest SACD distribution programs and in-store promotional strategies. In addition, leading music retailer Tower Records reaffirmed its commitment to the format by announcing the creation of a dedicated SACD demonstration room at their new, state-of the-art Sherman Oaks, Calif. store.

Expanding Hardware Support

“The SACD format is clearly gaining acceptance throughout the consumer electronics industry,” said Shizuo Takashino, president of Sony Corporation’s Broadband Solutions Network Company. “Sony is extremely pleased that the format is attracting significant support, not only from the consumer electronics companies, but from the professional recording community as well.”

In addition to products from format co-developers Sony and Philips, prototype multichannel SACD players were shown from Onkyo and Yamaha. These products will complement existing hardware models available from such manufacturers as Marantz, Pioneer and Sharp as well as high-end components from such companies as Accuphase, Classé, dCS, Lindemann, Linn and Luxman.

“Pioneer has been pleased with the market’s response to our initial SACD model, which was the industry’s first universal player,” stated Matt Dever, vice president of product planning for Pioneer Electronics (USA). “We believe that multichannel SACD will provide an opportunity to expand the market for high-resolution audio.”

Many professional companies, such as dCS, EMM Labs, Genex, Sadie, Merging Technologies, Mytek Digital and Tascam are also in the process of introducing production tools that utilize SACD’s revolutionary Direct Stream Digital (DSD) 1-bit encoding technology. This results in music reproduction that is remarkably faithful to the original source material.

Software Support Growing

Senior Vice President of Royal Philips Electronics Guy Demuynck noted that the establishment of the Sonopress replication facility in Gütersloh, Germany was one of the key factors in the development of the format. He stated that this facility, which provides hybrid SACD replication, has increased manufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for SACD hybrid discs.

“SACD is being warmly embraced by the music industry due to its outstanding sound quality and superior content protection,” said Demuynck. “Philips is confident that software will continue to rapidly develop in 2002 and beyond.”

According to Larry Kenswil, president of UMG eLabs: “With its many benefits for consumers and recording artists, Super Audio CD has the potential to become a standard in the industry. UMG believes that our initial SACD titles available this spring will help drive the growth of this high-quality, secure music format.”

About 600 SACD titles are currently available worldwide. These span all music genres and are offered from such major labels as EMI, Sony Music and Virgin Records. SACD titles are also available from nearly two dozen independent labels, including AudioQuest, Chesky, Delos, DMP, FIM, Rounder, Telarc, Vanguard and Water Lily Acoustics.

Strong Retail Support

Sony Music Distribution Chairman Danny Yarbrough also announced a new demonstration and display program that highlights the SACD multichannel experience.

“Sony Music has been a strong supporter of SACD from the beginning,” said Yarbrough. “Our new kiosk has already has been placed in more than 1,000 locations nationwide by such retailers as Best Buy, Circuit City, Tower Records and Tweeter.

Yarbrough added that Sony Music Distribution has launched an aggressive radio and print advertising campaign that will help introduce consumers to the broad range of SACD titles in the market.

According to Russ Soloman, founder and chairman of Sacramento, Calif.-based Tower Records: “Simply put, SACD is all about recapturing the passion and excitement inherent in music. Once most people come into our stores and hear it, they say it’s like listening to their favorite albums for the first time again. We’ve even created a special listening room for this experience in our new Sherman Oaks store.”

The SACD Pavilion is located at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Booth #N114) and features the latest hardware and software from a variety of companies. The showcase area is adjacent to a dedicated listening room where visitors can experience the latest multichannel SACD recordings.

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