The Super Audio CD

 

We only record Hybrid Stereo/Multichannel

All our releases are compatible with normal cd players!
Click here to see a list of all our SACD releases.
Channel Classics has been exclusively recording in DSD - SACD stereo/multichannel format for nine years with a release of more than 150 SACD cd’s. Especially in 5 channels, the sound and performance are so enhanced that there is no way back to a normal stereo recording.

Why was SACD invented?

What are the three types of the SACD Disc?

With the conventional PCM format as used in CD, music signals are sampled with a frequency of 44.1 kHz and quantized with 16-bit resolution. While improvements in quality can be gained from both increasing the sampling frequency and increasing the number of bits used to represent each signal sample, the well-known problems associated with decimation and interpolation filters needed for PCM recording and playback still remain. These ultimately limit the quality that can be achieved and so a technique was sought that would completely eliminate them.
 
The SACD standard, published by Philips and Sony in March 1999, defines three possible disc types. The first two types are discs containing only DSD data; the single layer disc can contain 4.7 GB of data, while the dual layer disc contains slightly less than 9 GB.
 
The third version - the SACD Hybrid - cleverly combines a single 4.7 GB layer with a conventional CD that can be played back on over 700 million cd player world wide. This concept is the essential link between the new SACD format and the well-established CD.
 
From the outside, the SACD Hybrid Disc looks like any other 12 cm diameter and 1.2 mm thick optical disc. A closer look reveals that the disc is a bonded combination of two 0.6 mm data carriers: one containing the SACD data, the other the CD data. The reflective coating on the SACD carrier has the optical characteristic to be reflective for the light used in the SACD pick-up (650 nm), but to be transparent for the light used in a CD pick-up (780 nm). To a CD pick-up, the SACD layer is virtually invisible, as a result, the CD layer contained within the SACD Hybrid Disc is fully compatible.

What is SACD / DSD (Direct Stream Digital)?

What is multichannel?

The solution came in the form of the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) signal processing technique. Originally developed for the digital archiving of priceless analogue masters tapes, DSD is a revolutionary process based on 1-bit sigma-delta modulation, and operates with a sampling frequency of 2.8224 MHz (i.e., 64 times the 44.1 kHz used in CD). By adopting DSD as the basis for SACD, Philips and Sony are now able to offer audio of unparalleled quality to consumers. Mulitchannel SACD players gives you the choice to enjoy digital multichannel audio at its very best. SACD multichannel digital technology 'translates' the music into accurate and focused voice localization. It places you at the heart of a three-dimensional sound stage, as if you were in the audience. We use 5 different channels: Left, right, center, surround right and surround left.

Are SACD's Backwards Compatible?

What happened to the 6th channel?

SACD discs can hold more than six times the amount of information than the traditional discs. This provides space for full-quantity 2-channel stereo as well as for full-quality multi-channel recording. SACD hybrid discs are also available.(Channel Classics only produced the hybrid discs.) YES: An extra layer on these discs allows them to be played on conventional CD players (in CD quality) for instance on the one in your car. The hybrid SACD is thus fully backward compatible with existing CD and DVD players. We do not utilize the 6th channel which is generally used for the subwoofer (ultra low frequencies). This is a superficially produced channel used for DVD films and does not fit into our philosophy of naturally produced sound.
 

What do reviewers have to say about your SACD recordings?

(…) Is like a breath of fresh air in every respect. This is one of the most immediately inviting multi-channel recordings I’ve heard, full of effortlessly crafted, tonally grateful detail and conveying a fine sense of an aptly scaled acoustic. Gramophone

(…) Boasting vividly truthful sound and admirable balance (audiophile’s sound make a beeline to the SACD equivalent), this classy Channel Classics release has already afforded me heaps of stimulation and pleasure. Gramophone

(…) you won’t be disappointed by the excellent sound, which gives vivid life to the theorbo selections and perfectly balances voice and instrument in an intimate acoustic setting.
Classics Today

(…) listen to the SACD version, which has a more detailed and finely of the wonderful playing to be found on the standard cd release. Classic FM

(…) Channel Classics’ sound on this Hybrid Super Audio CD is truly super, its full-featured dynamic range and clarity lending impressive realism to an unusual and well -produced program that easily stands out among the dozens of new Christmas recordings. Classics Today.com (…)Masterful choir singing absolutely captivated and surrounded me in a multichannel wonder. Audiophile Audition

(…) This superb recital, aided by a crystal-clear SACD recorded sound (even on a conventional cd player), is the perfect place to make its acquaintance. (…) terrific performances in matching surround sound. (…) International Record Review

(...) 'This imaginative, intriguing program is supported not only by superb performances
but also by spectacular recorded sound typical of Dutch labels. It's hard to imagine anything lovelier than this CD - This is, until one hears the SACD layer, on which the strings glide even more smoothly and pounce with even fiercer determination. The surround-sound listener is floated right into the ensemble. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! James H. North' (Fanfare)

(...)just in terms of its audio quality, this double SACD is a collector's dream, with nearly ideal timbres and splendid resonance in 5.0 surroundsound and DSD recording; so if you are looking for a "Resurrection" that sounds like the end of the world, this package may fill the bill. (mahler 2) All music

(...)As seems to be par for the course, no one makes better sounding SACD productions than Channel Classics. The sound is breathtakingly realistic in all formats, with perfect balances and a clarity to the treble and presence in the bass that has to be heard to be believed. (Classicstoday) Bohemian album

(...) the sound - as one expects with Channel Classics' state of the art-super-audio recordings - aspired to a direct emotional energy, most effectively realised here in Zomer's warmly controlled middle register, (Gramophone)

(...)The sound quality on this release is up to the usual Channel Classics standard; that is to say, it is exemplary! Recorded in the comfortable acoustics of the Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, the sound, especially in multichannel mode, is wonderfully natural in well-focused ambiance, De Waal perfectly distanced from the microphones. This is surely another triumph for Jared Sacks and his team, and a contender for one of my discs of the year. (Audiofile Audition)

(...)What Channel Classics SACD version adds is a new bloom and sense of openness that are really quite gratifyingly startling. This is simply an outstandingly good disc on a technical level in both versions. Happily, the quality of the music and the music - making is also exceptionally high.
International Record Review

(...)The playing and singing on this SACD are as good as any that I have ever heard. I have never heard a bad recording from Channel Classic. Producer and engineer C. Jared Sacks seems to have ears every bit as those of the fine musicians he records. www.soundstage.com

(...)As usual, Channel's master engineer C. Jared Sacks captures the essence of each space he's working in.
Andrew Quint' The absolute sound

Channel’s surround sound is simply brilliant, and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by this recording. 
Steven Ritter  Audiophile Audition( The Peace of Utrecht CCS 29810)

AS one expects from this label, the superb sound engineering and the artistic integrity of the project are second to none.
David Vickers  Gramophone Magazine  2010  Peace of Utrecht / Netherlands Bach Society

(...)an extraordinary performance, and the engineering is as natural and life-like, in stereo or SACD multi-channel formats, as the music-making itself. Fischer continues to sustain his reputation as one of the finest conductors around in any repertoire.Beethoven Symphony no. 4,6 [12/1/2010]David Hurwitz ClassicsToday

But that Channel Classics sound may be precisely why you need this disc – this very well might be the best sounding disc of Beethoven Symphonies I own.I give this disc five stars – it hits on all cylinders, and the performances are every bit the equal of the superb sound – it’s definitely on my ten best of 2010 list. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more emotionally involving, yet technically perfect performance. Very highly recommended! Audiophile Audition Beethoven symphonies 4,6

...What Channel Classics SACD version adds is a new bloom and sense of openness that are really quite gratifyingly startling. This is simply an outstandingly good disc on a technical level in both versions. Happily, the quality of the music and the music - making is also exceptionally high. International Record Review

The Future

Though there is a long road ahead before this format becomes standard, (if ever) there is such an improvement that the commitment to continue with SACD is definite. Channel had been working closely with Philips since it’s inception in helping to develop the software needed for the editing a producing of the cd’s. Unfortunately Philips and Sony discontinued their support for this format in 2005 so it is up to the smaller independent labels to continue with this medium.  The good news is that there is world wide support with over 6000 releases to date. Especially in 5 channels, the sound and performance are so enhanced that there is no way back to a normal stereo recording.

Making an SACD with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer