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iTunes to SACD by way of CD
April 9, 2005 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Are CDs and SACDs physically the same - just with different audio encoding?

If I buy NIN's The Downward Spiral Deluxe Edition which is mixed in SACD on iTunes, then burn it to a CD and play it in my DVD player (+ 5.1 channel audio system) will it retain the 5.1 information? Will moving from AAC format to an audio CD strip the encoding for some stupid DRM reason?
posted by ao4047 to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
 
This document outlines the differences between CDs and SACDs.

In answering your second question, in a word, no, not with iTunes. It will not import tracks directly into 5.1 AAC files, only mono or stereo.

Assuming you can get access to the source data on the SACD file, which you might not be able to do given the lack of SACD software decoders, you would need to create a multichannel AAC file with a different application, such as BeSweet. You might be lucky and the CD data are 5.1 surround, which you will be able to access via software.

If you needed the SACD data, you would need a hardware player with a digital output, fed into a 5.1-capable audio adapter. You would dub the input and export to an 5.1 AAC file.

You should be able to play 5.1 AAC files imported into iTunes, given support for this format in QuickTime 6.4 and on.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:59 PM on April 9, 2005


Alex's answer seems correct, but it's a bit confusingly worded.

- CDs and SACDs are physically different
- Your computer cannot burn a SACD
- Burning a normal audio CD will produce stereo audio only (Unless it uses a Pro Logic encoding scheme. But SACDs don't.)

Also, I looked up "The Downward Spiral" on iTMS and it seems to be in plain old stereo anyway.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:13 PM on April 9, 2005


Thanks for your help! I'll just buy it at the music store or online.
posted by ao4047 at 4:33 PM on April 9, 2005


In my experience, if you have the SACD image (ISO) of the album, you could burn it to a CDR to generate a SACD.
posted by riffola at 6:19 AM on April 10, 2005


Read the link AlexReynolds posted. SACDs have two layers. One sterio CD layer that will play in regular CD players, and one DVD layer which uses a totaly diffrent encoding.

In my experience, if you have the SACD image (ISO) of the album, you could burn it to a CDR to generate a SACD.

You'll only get the 'normal' audio if you do that, not the high-quality stuff.
posted by delmoi at 9:08 AM on April 10, 2005


SACDs have two layers. One sterio[sic] CD layer that will play in regular CD players, and one DVD layer which uses a totaly diffrent encoding.
So-called 'hybrid' SACDs do. Normal SACDs, however, have no CD layer.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:43 PM on April 10, 2005


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