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Top 10: SACDs you can afford to buy

10 SACDs You Can Afford

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 SACD

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!


Pink Floyd / The Dark Side Of The Moon 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).


Sting / Sacred Love 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.


Norah Jones / Come Away With Me 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.


Elton John / Honky Chateau 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.


Depeche Mode / Playing The Angel 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).


The Police / Outlandos d'Amour

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.


Genesis / Invisible Touch SACD+DVD

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).


Nick Drake / A Treasury SACD

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?!


Steely Dan / Gaucho 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.

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30 responses to Top 10: SACDs you can afford to buy

  1. rocknrolldoggy says:

    The Who’s Tommy Deluxe Edition is a superb 5.1 mix

  2. Paul Dean says:

    I Have 8 –Rolling Stones SACD and a Sony sacd Player there Superb !

    • Mark says:

      Yes – the newer stereo releases must be great. But if only Mick and Keith would turn us on to their trove engineered as 5.1 mixes!!!! WOE!
      I just can’t get that excited over the 2.0 media. The vinyl can scratch the same itch.
      But MAN, if they go 5.1 SACD or DVD-A…….what a priceless treasure!

      • Mark Joy says:

        I agree 100%. The stones have a trove of music deserving of a 5.1 – mix – and time is fleeting. Live? – they really sucked ( except “Get Your Ya Yas Out” – which was superb) but oh man, what a deep well to draw from if you could order up some 6 ch remasters, done right!

      • Kev says:

        Try the Blu-Ray Audio version of the Grrr.. compilation. OK its on 2ch stereo but if you set your speakers up properly and sit in the respective correct position in relation to the speakers then the stereo audio aural image will fill the room.
        Try sitting at ear height to your loudspeakers tweeters, around 10 ft away from the speaker cabinets at the sharp end of a imaginary triangle with the speaker cabinets toed into the listening position.

  3. Jeffc says:

    And yet classical labels are still putting them out and they’re no more expensive than CDs. Happy the man who’s having a late ‘thing’ for (medieval and renaissance) classical music.

  4. Nice post and a good list of some quality titles. If you have a spare £20, Play.com are selling Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds SACD for just £19.22. And if you search long enough, you can occasionally find the excellent super deluxe version with all the extras too.

    I wish someone would drop the price of the Genesis box sets though. I have “Genesis” on SACD/DVD but would love to have the complete collection without having to sell a kidney!

    It’s such a shame that SACD died a death. When Sony released the PS3 with SACD compatibility I thought its time had come, but they dropped it with the second iteration and that was the final nail in the coffin. I’m lucky enough to have the entire Depeche Mode re-releases in SACD and they sound exquisite. Was gutted when the dropped the format for Sounds of the Universe, and as yet, I’ve seen nothing to say if Delta Machine will even have a 5.1 mix. It’ll be a shame if it isn’t.

    Oh, and if you really want to hear Dark Side of the Moon in all its multi-channel glory, do a search for the unofficial DVD-A version that uses Alan Parsons quadraphonic master as its source. In my opinion, it’s the definitive multi-channel version :-)

  5. Galley says:

    Sony added SACD playback to their Blu-Ray Disc players a few years ago. You can get a nice BD/DVD/SACD player for as little as $100.00.

    • Alain Deflandre says:

      Yes indeed. I own the SONY BDP 770 and throughout the reviews I HAVE NOT HEARD A PEEP about SACD PLAYER as part of this DVD PLAYER. My god what the hell was the Industry doing? No wonder the HIGH price at the time with complaints. The Music industry should have pounced on the INDUSTRY of DVD and MEDIA BLINDNESS. SACD are what the Quadraphonic was trying to establish a WONDERFUL SOUND ENHANCEMENT that was shot down by IGNORANCE and lake of BRAINS PERIOD or ears that hear sound in dimensions that really BLOW THE MIND!!! HOW SAD what the market did to this in the MUSIC INDUSTRY !!!
      All I can say is that the SACD and QUAD days are NOT LOST and will come back with a VENGENCE. F the CRITICS and REVIEWERS of shame. They no not about SOUND !!!!! By a SACD player for the HOME THEATER SYSTEM and you will not be disappointed. Your EARS will wake up to what is a great technology !!!!

  6. Bert says:

    Also very affordable and worthwhile is Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral”: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Downward-Spiral-Deluxe-Edition-HYBRID/dp/B00066N8JS/

  7. John Able says:

    I have a fair few SACD’s’ having bought them when sensibly priced. Most of the Moody Blues back catalogue is available on SACD at very good prices.
    Being a child of the Seventies, I would love SACD formats from ELO, Alan Parsons Project and Supertramp.

  8. Justin says:

    Some of these listed releases are brilliant, own most of them. As some above, I would also list “War of the worlds”, “Tommy” and “The downward spiral” amongst the highlights of rock/pop on SACD.
    Can I also add Goldfrapp “Supernature”, Billy Joel “The stranger” and the entire Moody Blues classic first 7. Shame that “Long distance voyager” didn’t get a 5.1 SACD release at all…that’s the one I was really waiting for.
    As for the Genesis boxes, they get better as they go, as far as releases go. The Gabriel years box 70-75 is the best sounding and most improved of the lot. Shame about “Duke”, I can’t listen to it in its remastered form at all.

    Theres a few players out there from Pioneer etc. that are still SACD 5.1 with HDMI output. Converted on the spot with those with a spare HDMI outlet. Can’t go past the Oppo players

    More pop/rock please record companies, and less niche snobby crap. If you hadve done a decent job with it, maybe the format would be thriving instead of dying. As the superb Depeche issues illustrate, some pop fans do love optimum audio in 5.1. when its presented with care.

  9. Tim Harrison says:

    Nick Drake is in 5.1 and sounds superb

  10. Peter Chrisp says:

    I must admit i know very little about the sacd format up until now, from what i understand it’s mostly in 5.1. In comparison to Floyd’s recent Immersions box sets, it has been suggested it sounds better!!! Not sure if i want to buy DSOTM and WYWH, after having vinyl, normal cd the above
    box sets once again!!! Could you imagine some of my favourite bands such as The Doors, Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Yes, Black Sabbath, you get the picture all on sacd, or normal 5.1?
    Just bought 2 “Rush” cd/dvd/bluray combos in 5.1, Moving Pictures and 2112 they sound amazing.

  11. William says:

    The SACD 5.1 wish list we need….add your favourites

    Kraftwerk
    Can
    Sting (all of them)
    Pink Floyd (all of them)
    Porcupine tree (remaining albums please)
    Peter Gabriel (all 5.1 please)
    Radiohead

  12. Stephen K. says:

    I own 7 of these. Despite being focused mainly on Indie and 80’s, I think the best sounding of these might be the Norah Jones (the original SACD pressing) disc.

    Strangely, despite widespread complaints of Depeche Mode’s Songs of Faith and Devotion as having a terrible surround mix, it is much harder to find that title than some of the others. A Broken Frame seems to come up often and reasonably cheap.

    I had two upscale SACD players that both died. I am happy to have bought a Sony Blu-Ray player, as most of them have SACD playability (I saw a newer low-end model which didn’t say it had it).

    • Mark says:

      I have an older Sony Bdp-380 that plays SACD beautifully as well as an older OPPO. The new sony BDP-5100 is SACD capable and can be had for around $120 CAD

  13. baward says:

    Those looking to buy Depeche Mode surround re-releases beware, EMI quietly dropped the SACD 5.1 version of their releases, and current albums are ‘only’ DVD Video quality 5.1, on which the audio is compressed (and therefore compromised in comparison to SACD.) Actual SACDs have that logo on the back and on the disc itself – and are more desirable and hence more costly.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Another way to tell the difference is that the SACDs (which where Europe only in the first place) have the ‘dotted’ outer transparent slipcase. The cheaper CD/DVD combos that superseded them don’t have this.

  14. Matilde Blumenberg says:

    Surround sound is a technique for enriching the sound reproduction quality of an audio source with additional audio channels from speakers that surround the listener (surround channels), providing sound from a 360° radius in the horizontal plane (2D) as opposed to “screen channels” (centre, [front] left, and [front] right) originating only from the listener’s forward arc…

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  15. Marko says:

    I m trying to find Kraftwerk Minimum Maximum Sacd…The price on Ebay is from 600 € up to 1200€!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-(

  16. Pingback:Dire Straits / Brothers In Arms Mobile Fidelity hybrid SACD | superdeluxeedition

  17. seth says:

    It is hard to believe that hybrid sacds failed. I hope they continue to put them out as it will be a steady money stream for them. I was lucky to have some sacds fall into my lap thru the years then figured it out and started buying a number of them after they mostly stopped making them. I was lucky enough to buy a sony blu ray that supported sacd. My picks are as follows:
    1. Captain Fantastic, Elton John
    2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
    3. Derek and the Dominos, Layla
    4. Allman Bros. Live at the Fillmore East
    5. Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd.
    6. Dylan, Blonde on Blonde

    They were all $15 or less for 5.1 mixes. I hope they continue to reissue new 5.1 mixes/hybrids.

  18. Eric Galchutt says:

    No DEVO like there first two Albums ? What about Zappa or UFO ?

  19. Justin a jones says:

    Yes I agree. Waters just released “amused to death” in5.1 and DVD blue ray. Audio only I am a self proclaimed audio file and drummer and ATD with Jeff Beck by the way is in my top 10 of engineering genius. Zappa “you am what you is”.

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