The Super Audio CD (SACD) format offers audio in higher resolution than on the standard CD (sometimes referred to as ‘red book’) and in many cases provides the opportunity to hear an album in multi-channel (5.1) surround sound.
Although SACDs are still being produced in limited quantities for a niche rock/pop market, the glory days of the format (approximately the years 2000 – 2005) are gone. Virtually all the discs released by record labels around that time are now out of print, and often these releases were unique, in that it was the only time a certain album was available in high-resolution on a physical format. This makes those discs rather desirable, even more so if there was a surround sound ‘layer’ available on the disc as well as the stereo hi-res.
These hard-to-find discs command very high prices. Most of Peter Gabriel‘s albums on SACD will set you back at least £80, as will Frankie Goes To Hollywood‘s Rage Hard compilation. Mike Oldfield‘s seminal Tubular Bells SACD (2001) easily commands over £60 on the used market (the 2009 ‘Ultimate Edition’ didn’t contain hi-res surround sound) and you will be looking at remortgaging your house to pick-up either The Cardigans’ Long Gone Before Daylight or Depeche Mode‘s Black Celebration.
Despite the prohibitively high cost of these discs on the used market, if you were hoping to start an SACD collection, all is not lost. There are still some that have, for whatever reason, remained in print and can be picked up remarkably cheaply. We are not talking about bargain bucket dross either – many classic albums are available, from some very established artists.
So, for your convenience, we present our top ten list of affordable SACDs. All the items below are all around £16 or less and can be bought direct from Amazon.co.uk (expect slight pricing/availability variations in other geographical territories).
TEN AFFORDABLE SACDs
Dire Straits / Brothers In Arms (Hybrid)
Back in the days when we’d regularly see Mark Knopfler play the geetar on the MTV, this SACD of the enormously successful Brothers In Arms album, plays in both stereo and surround sound. The crescendo at the beginning of Money For Nothing has to be heard full blast on a 5.1 set-up!
- • UK Order: Brothers In Arms (SACD)
- • USA Order: Brothers in Arms (SACD)
- • CANADA Order: Brothers In Arms (SACD)
- • GERMANY Order: Brothers in Arms (SACD)
Pink Floyd / The Dark Side Of The Moon (Hybrid)
This 2003 SACD arguably sounds better than anything within the much pricer Dark Side Of The Moon Immersion box set. A sublime record just got even better in surround sound with the lights turned down low (The Wizard Of Oz muted on the TV is optional).
- • UK Order: The Dark Side of the Moon (SACD)
- • USA Order: The Dark Side of the Moon (SACD)
- • CANADA Order: The Dark Side of the Moon (SACD)
- • GERMANY Order: The Dark Side Of The Moon (SACD)
Sting / Sacred Love (Hybrid)
Sacred Love, Sting‘s last rock/pop studio album, was released almost ten years ago and was widely available as this dig-pack SACD. Plays in both stereo and surround sound with a few bonus tracks at the end.
- • UK Order: Sacred Love [SACD]
- • USA Order: Sacred Love (SACD)
- • CANADA Order: Sacred Love (SACD)
- • Germany Order: Sacred Love (SACD)
Norah Jones / Come Away With Me (Hybrid)
This is the original Blue Note SACD release, rather than the Analogue Productions reissue from last year. A hybrid disc which contains both stereo and multi-channel versions of the massive selling debut album.
- • UK Order: Come Away With Me (SACD)
- • USA Order: Come Away With Me (SACD)
- • CANADA Order: Come Away With Me (SACD)
- • GERMANY Order: Come Away With Me (SACD)
Elton John / Honky Chateau (Hybrid)
Elton’s fifth studio album features a superb surround mix on this hybrid SACD. Honky Chateau contains the hits Rocket Man and Honky Cat.
- • UK Order: Honky Chateau (SACD)
- • USA Order: Honky Chateau (SACD)
- • CANADA Order: Honky Chateau (SACD)
- • GERMANY Order: Honky Château (SACD)
Depeche Mode / Playing The Angel (Hybrid)
The last album Depeche Mode released in the SACD format, this Playing The Angel special edition is actually an SACD+DVD combo, similar to the initial print run of the European reissues of their back catalogue, but packaged differently (super jewel case).
- • UK Order: Playing the Angel [SACD+DVD]
- • USA Order: Playing the Angel (SACD+DVD)
- • CANADA Order: Playing the Angel (SACD+DVD)
- • GERMANY Order: Playing the Angel Limited (SACD+DVD)
The Police / Outlandos d’Amour
No surround sound in this stereo-only hybrid SACD. If you want your Police in 5.1 , you need to seek out the SACD Every Breath You Take hits compilation.
- • UK Order: Outlandos D’amour (SACD)
- • USA Order: Outlandos D’amour (SACD)
- • GERMANY Order: Outlandos D’amour (SACD)
Genesis / Invisible Touch
Although not considered an audiophile mastering (rather ‘bright’ and compressed) this Hybrid SACD+DVD combo is superb value at this price, including as it does a surround sound mix in hi-res on the SACD, and Dolby and DTS on the DVD (which also contains promo videos and interviews).
- • UK Order: Invisible Touch: (SACD+DVD)
- • USA Order: Invisible Touch (SACD+DVD)
- • CANADA Order: Invisible Touch (SACD+DVD)
- • GERMANY Order: Invisible Touch (SACD+DVD)
Nick Drake / A Treasury
This ‘best of’ compilation was for a long time probably the cheapest SACD available at around £6. It seems to have gone up in price a little, but still remains good value even if it is just a stereo-only disc. But then, do you really want to listen to Nick Drake in 5.1?!
- • UK Order: Nick Drake: A Treasury (SACD)
- • USA Order: A Treasury (SACD)
- • CANADA Order: A Treasury (SACD)
- • GERMANY Order: A Treasury (SACD)
Steely Dan / Gaucho
Although by no means the best album Steely Dan ever put out, this remains the only one available in multi-channel, on this highly rated hybrid SACD. Features Babylon Sisters and Hey Nineteen.