x

CD-ROM Drives That are SACD Compatible

by Dan StoneUpdated September 22, 2017

CD-ROM drives are not compatible with the Super Audio CD (SA-CD) format. However, CD-ROM drives can play the CD Audio layer on what's called a Hybrid SA-CD. The sound quality from the CD Audio layer on a Hybrid SA-CD is identical to that of a regular CD. SA-CDs contain several times as much data as regular CDs and use a technology that is similar to DVD-ROM to store data.

Standard SA-CDs

The SA-CD format is intended to provide higher-fidelity audio in more channels than those available on regular CDs, according to SA-CD.net. While CD Audio is played at 44.1 kilohertz in two channels of sound, SA-CD audio is played at 2.8 megahertz and supports 5.1 channel audio.SA-CD audio is too big to fit on a regular CD so it uses a different data format to hold the data. Consequently, a regular CD-ROM Drive can't read the data on a SA-CD disc. Additionally, computer DVD-ROM and Blu-ray disc drives are not built to read the SA-CD format, according to SA-CD.net.

Hybrid SA-CDs

...

While a CD-ROM drive can't play the higher-definition audio on a SA-CD, most SA-CD discs feature a second layer that any CD-ROM drive can read. The second layer is identical to what you would find on a regular CD copy of the recording, which makes the discs backwards compatible with existing drives. The majority of SA-CDs are hybrid versions so even if you buy a SA-CD but don't have a SA-CD player you still can play the disc on a regular CD player. A Hybrid SA-CD that's played on a CD-ROM drive will not sound any better or worse than a regular CD. However, some DVD-ROM drives and DVD players have difficulties reading the regular CD Audio on a SA-CD because they mistake the SA-CD layer for DVD-ROM data because the two formats are similar in size, according to SA-CD.net. SA-CD and DVD use different data formats.

Compatible Blu-ray and DVD Players

Unlike CD-ROM drives, some Blu-ray players and DVD players are also able to play the SA-CD format. Compatible players should have the SA-CD logo, which looks like the letters SA and CD are respectively forming a circle and has the words "Super Audio CD" written across the bottom. Several Blu-ray players can read SA-CDs, including the first two generations of the PlayStation 3 video game console. Additionally, several hybrid SA-CD players are designed also to play DVDs. Players designed primarily as DVD players will most likely not be able to play the higher-fidelity audio on the SA-CD.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by Techwalla
Brought to you by Techwalla

About the Author

Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.

More Articles

Photo Credits