Surround Sound - SACD

Does anyone know of a new vehicle surround sound system that is SACD (Super Audio CD) compatible? Virtually all classical music in surround sound is in the SACD format and yet I can’t seem to find any new car that will take SACDs. I am in the market for a new car and would like to be able to listen to my SACDs in full surround sound, not just the stereo CD layer.

You are at a distinct disadvantage on this front since SACD has sort of a cult following. It was never well received by the mainstream, so it sort of floundered for a while and largely died. New car makers cannot justify the additional expense of making such an option, so you won’t find a factory CD player that will play SACD. You do have a couple options, though.

Sony is the only company that has ever made SACD players for cars. I don’t know if they have a new one, but with a little research, you could probably find out. Your only other option will be sort of a pain in the butt, but it will work. If you can get an older (first or second generation) PlayStation 3 and hook it up in your car, you can play your SACD’s on there. The third generation PS3 (and anything newer, if applicable) will not play SACD, so don’t bother with those.

I’ve never heard of SACDs before, but you might try looking at cars equipped with the Bose audio system

I don’t know what kind of car you have, but since the frequency distribution and surround sound capability is so dependent upon the environment and not just the speakers; if it’s not a prevalent technology, it’s not worth the $$$ or the effort for many car makers. Auto interiors are pretty restrictive to be good sound enhancers, unlike your home. If you found one, you’d be disappointed. Case in point; try to get a kettle drum to sound realistic in a car. The wave length is extremely difficult to produce accurately in the confines of a car. That’s why low life mp3 formats quality wise is popular. The car is so acoustically contaminated, it doesn’t much matter.
I’d suggest you look for one to demo in a car before you invest one penny in it for your car. If you can hear much difference, you’ll have to way it with the cost.

It was never received well by mainstream…but it’s in very high regard by audiophiles.

I own one…My blue-ray player can play the format. And I own a few of the SACD’s discs…The sound quality is outstanding.

SACD has two advantages over CD’s. First the discs can be recorded in the 5:1 format for surround sound. Second…Even if just 2 channels are used…there’s much greater dynamic range and frequency response up to 100khz. I have two recordings of the same CD…one in CD and the other in SACD. The SACD is only a 2 channel…You can definitely hear the difference in the SACD disc…

SACD is really only used for Classical or Jazz. Kind of a waste for most popular music…especially Rap. Very limited recordings. That’s one reason why you won’t find SACD readers in auto’s.

The other reason is the rear speakers will have to have the same sound quality of the front speakers…Most don’t. They have sound back there…but usually not of the same quality as the front…especially when you get into separates. Plus I’ve always said that even the best car audio can’t come close to the sound quality of a decent home system…so it’s really a waste.

My father is a self-professed audiophile and thinks somewhat highly of SACD, but is still a die-hard LP and reel-to-reel fan. He is also a fan of cassettes, particularly the ‘metal’ ones. He is also an avid fan of tube electronics. He is probably the only reason I have heard of SACD or know anything about what it is. The reason I say he thinks somewhat highly of SACD is because he believes that no form of digital audio or media will ever come close to the sound quality of record albums, and no transistorized electronics will ever be able to match the sound quality of a vacuum tube amplifier. He does like the increased frequency dynamics of the SACD format, but still believes that the audio quality of CD’s and any other form of compressed digital media (MP3 and WMA, for example) is pure garbage. I personally like the idea that I can fit a couple thousand songs into a device that is smaller than a book of matches and take it with me on the road. Sounds good enough for me.

I think the THX systems in new Lincolns can handle it. EDIT - it says it handles DVD-audio, but SACD isn’t listed.
Have you checked out, or called them?

SACD or DVD-A is a waste in a car. Road noise, sub-optimal speaker placement and the small space in a vehicle make it more trouble than it’s worth. SACD, DVD-A and FLAC recordings sound pretty good on my Infinty IRS home system. I have no desire to try and get my BMW’s audio system to sound anywhere close to the same. You know you’re an audio junkie when your home audio system costs several times more than your car.

I understand the old view relative to the digital format. It’s still based upon the false premis that analog sound is continuous. It isn’t any more than digital. The truth be known, human hearing is discrete as is analog and the digital sampling rates go well beyond that of lp’s, tapes of any kind and that of 99.9 percent of human population. Sorry,digital,even in it’s basic form when the cd was first conceived is far superior.
The older we are, the better iT was, not.

SACD is because he believes that no form of digital audio or media will ever come close to the sound quality of record albums

He’s right and wrong…I’ve been an audiophile for over 30 years…So I know where he’s coming from. I’ve also been a software engineer for over 30 years and I know about the technology and how it works. Early CD’s were not as good as LP’s. But there have been MAJOR advancements in CD’s…and now SACD’s…CD’s and SACD’s have a couple major advantage over LP’s…One is dynamic range. The other is extended frequency response…especially in the low end. Best LP can only produce down to about 40db’s…anything lower and it’s muffled.

The other problem with LP’s is they aren’t making as many of them anymore. There has been a resurgence in past 10 years, but no where near what they were in the 70’s. Many people love their classical LP’s because they have a recording of the Boston Pops or the Philadelphia Orchestra from the 70’s under a certain conductor that is considered the best of it’s kind…There were never CD’s made for those albums, so they are considered the best.

As for tube…I’ll agree with your dad…My main system is a Tube (WE 330b)system putting out a whopping 12 watts/channel. With very high-efficient speakers (which I built 10 years ago)…the sound is awesome.

You know you’re an audio junkie when your home audio system costs several times more than your car.

If you paid for the very highest price of everything…a good system will cost more then people’s houses…

WAMM (Wilson Audio Magnificent Modulators) speakers - $150,000.

Boulder Amps - last I knew…$50,000

High End Blue-Ray - $1000

Conrad Johnson pre-amp - $6000

And there is no way I’d EVER buy any of that…not unless I won powerball or megabucks.

You can get GOOD quality sound for a LOT less…just have to know what you’re looking for.

I believe that digital was always superior because the sampling rates were so much higher than that of a needle in a groove yielding better fr and dynamic range.
Tubes v transistors ? After the source, speakers and environment, they have the least affect on sound quality other than lowering the cost of clean watts.

It’s either that last .1% that these pretend audiophiles think they are achieving or a statement of “I’ve finally arrived and I want to show it off.” Nothing wrong with that but it is what it is. Seldom do I hear these people talk about room designs to accommodate the very specific environment in music choice. The only exception was the story I read about a gentleman who loved organ music so much, he has his study if you will designed like a cathedral. That’s a true audiophile. Listening environment and sound source is everything, equipment is secondary. And, the WF (wife factor) has a word or two to say about that. :=)


To actually answer your question, the Acura TL’s stereo will play SACD’s in 5.1

You may have to get the technology package in order to get this capability - not sure it’s available on the base model (easy to tell the difference - if it has a GPS built in, it’s the tech package).

“Conrad Johnson pre-amp - $6000”

Last year I restored a vintage C.J. preamp for a friend of a co-worker and shared the experience on

As expected, the subsequent discussion took an ugly turn.

“As expected, the subsequent discussion took an ugly turn.”

Hell hath no fury as that of a disgruntled audio freak…

After the source, speakers and environment, they have the least affect on sound quality other than lowering the cost of clean watts.

Listen to a quality Single-ended Triode amp sometime and you’ll HEAR a huge difference…even when compared to a high quality amp (McIntosh, Krell, Classe’)…Take your pick. And with kits that are available…it can be much cheaper. The problem is you have to have high efficient speakers (95db or greater).

I agree…many audiophiles think that if you spend a lot of money it MUST be good.

Thank you everyone for your replies. I don’t know why auto manufacturers install surround sound in their vehicles and don’t make them SACD compatible. It can’t possibly cost much. Archiv Music, the largest classical music dealer on line, lists over 3,000 SACD titles currently available and one 130 DVD-Audio discs.

I’ll look at the Acura.

And that’s why. 3000 SACD titles out of the gazillion albums out there, and SACD is on a CD, which thanks to digital music is a medium that’s going the way of the cassette tape. Very few people care about getting sound quality any better than a decently-encoded MP3, and since the market for that is limited, but the market for crap like color-changing foot lighting is huge, car makers are going to put their development/manufacturing money into that rather than SACD capability.