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New 40GB PlayStation3 still SACD-compatible?

 
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The Seventh Taylor



Joined: 17 Aug 2007
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:49 am    Post subject: New 40GB PlayStation3 still SACD-compatible? Reply with quote

So Sony has announced a long-rumoured 399 PS3 unit yesterday. They have left out 2 of the 4 USB ports and the multi memory card reader. Surprisingly, they've also discarded PS2-compatibility. I don't understand this because they already managed to switch from hardware-based PS2 emulation to software emulation.

The big question however is: does it still play SACD? The press releases neither mentions its exclusion nor its inclusion.

http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/071006e.html
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PS3SACD
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Joined: 17 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We haven't got an official confirmation yet but this image on SCEE's press site seems to confirm our fears.



Of course, Sony needs to evaluate every option to get the cost down and clearly SACD is not essential to the gaming function.

It's remarkable also that they would first drop SACD in Europe rather than in North America, where the format caught on much less. We have to worry though that this step will be taken in every territory and that, in order to keep industrial diversity low, the 'high end' version that includes SACD will be phased out worldwide.

If so, that slashes hopes of achieving an installed base of 100 million SACD players by the end of the decade, and thereby the hope of establishing a healthy market for SACD music publisher to cater to. The fact that none of the brand's new BD players announced this season supports the format is another worrying sign.

Let's see how this develops. At least everyone who's got an SACD-compatible PS3 unit can hang on to it and enjoy it ever after.
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PS3SACD
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still no official confirmation from Sony (it's a holiday in Japan today: Health & Sports day) but Impress Watch AV did publish a special feature and concluded the same like we did: The SACD logo is gone, which can only mean the feature is gone.

It's a sad day for SACD.
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PS3SACD
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More coverage: The Japanese 40GB models (two -- black and white), also without SACD.

http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/av/docs/20071009/sce1.htm (in Japanese)

A source we spoke to in Japan suggested Sony will continue to sell the well-featured model in addition to the dressed-down model.
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D-Mode 5.1



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now this may be an evil thought, but what if the fact that Sony's removed PS2 software emulation from the new PS3 units is only a trick to quickly sell all the older units that are PS2-compatible, and once those stocks are cleared they add PS2 SW emulation back through a firmware upgrade, as a service to customers?
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Broadwing



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course, my question is... Why did they remove SACD from the 40GB model? Really, the feature has no added cost to them, since it's really a software function. I can think of two plausible reasons:

- Feature differentiation. I don't know about this one, it doesn't seem to me like someone would pick the 80 over the 40 because it plays SACD.

- Hardware changes. Although there's really no reason the 40GB cannot play SACD over HDMI, perhaps Sony wanted to have a cheaper DAC and analog section, such that the analog outputs would no longer do the SACD output justice. The stereo out uses high-rate PCM, correct? If they snuck a stereo DSD DAC into it as well, this scenario is more likely.
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culabula



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately we are, as ever wondering why Sony ever do the things they do: they had a way of putting SA-CD players in millions of homes and in one fell swoop they undo all of that.

I got a rake of older SA-CDs out this morning and played many of them for the first time in the PS3 and was struck by just how brilliant they sound. And I'm left shaking my head in disbelief at Sony's latest blunder......
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The Seventh Taylor



Joined: 17 Aug 2007
Posts: 401

PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Broadwing wrote:
Of course, my question is... Why did they remove SACD from the 40GB model? Really, the feature has no added cost to them, since it's really a software function.
...
perhaps Sony wanted to have a cheaper DAC and analog section, such that the analog outputs would no longer do the SACD output justice. The stereo out uses high-rate PCM, correct? If they snuck a stereo DSD DAC into it as well, this scenario is more likely.


Perhaps the original PS3s have DSD DACs and the 40GB model uses cheaper PCM DACs but I doubt that. I think they've been using PCM all along, which would explain why they've been doing DSD-to-PCM conversion all along.

I don't think it's zero cost feature, though. In a DVD player, the cost is typically in two things: in the 'back end' where the DVD decoder chip needs to support DSD decoding (plus a DSD DAC) and in the 'front end' i.e. the optical drive, where you need special circuitry to handle SACD's special copy protection measures.
By doing the DSD processing in software Sony saved the back end cost but there must still have been the front end components.

Obviously, they don't consider SACD a functional that's essential to the game console, unlike Blu-ray Disc, because PS3 games are published on BD-ROM discs.
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Broadwing



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Seventh Taylor wrote:

Perhaps the original PS3s have DSD DACs and the 40GB model uses cheaper PCM DACs but I doubt that. I think they've been using PCM all along, which would explain why they've been doing DSD-to-PCM conversion all along.

I don't think it's zero cost feature, though. In a DVD player, the cost is typically in two things: in the 'back end' where the DVD decoder chip needs to support DSD decoding (plus a DSD DAC) and in the 'front end' i.e. the optical drive, where you need special circuitry to handle SACD's special copy protection measures.
By doing the DSD processing in software Sony saved the back end cost but there must still have been the front end components.

Obviously, they don't consider SACD a functional that's essential to the game console, unlike Blu-ray Disc, because PS3 games are published on BD-ROM discs.


I'd be willing to bet the analog stereo DAC set has been PCM all along, it's just if it's 'good enough', is my thinking.

The idea that the disc transport is different is interesting, though a little 'scarier', IMO. The cost of adding PSP decoding to the transport has to be tiny - it in itself is really a software function in the transport, in the error correction decoder, from what I've read. Though if they wanted to cheapen up the transport, I would've removed everything but the blu-ray laser and mechanism. The 40 doesn't have PS2 compatibility already, you can download PS1 games... And everyone has a standard DVD player. Wonder if this is a new standard, this transport.
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Broadwing



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

culabula wrote:
Unfortunately we are, as ever wondering why Sony ever do the things they do: they had a way of putting SA-CD players in millions of homes and in one fell swoop they undo all of that.

I got a rake of older SA-CDs out this morning and played many of them for the first time in the PS3 and was struck by just how brilliant they sound. And I'm left shaking my head in disbelief at Sony's latest blunder......


Absolutely! Right now I'm finishing up my first listen of Blood on the Tracks on the PS3, the disc that got me into SA-CD to begin with, on my old Pioneer multi-standard player. I used to hear some problems in the audio on this disc, but now it's crystal clear.

It's almost redundant to say that Sony's strategy is baffling at best. Their new line of SA-CD car audio gear, at the same time as pressing capacity is disappearing in the US, for example.
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culabula



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out "The Freewheelin'"....on SA-CD and the PS3 it's quite superb.
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Broadwing



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip, and you're right - massive Dylan nut here, I've the SACD box set.
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culabula



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then you probably don't need me to tell you but quickly hie thee to thy copy of Blonde and Blonde and play Memphis Blues Again from Disc 1 and then Absolutely Sweet Marie from Disc 2. Sheer aural bliss.

Incidentally, less well known is that the original stereo SA-CD single layer of Blonde on Blonde is well worth tracking down on eBay. Excellent sound and mix!
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D-Mode 5.1



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

D-Mode 5.1 wrote:
Now this may be an evil thought, but what if the fact that Sony's removed PS2 software emulation from the new PS3 units is only a trick to quickly sell all the older units that are PS2-compatible, and once those stocks are cleared they add PS2 SW emulation back through a firmware upgrade, as a service to customers?


Here's another evil thought:

If SACD playback is purely software-based in PS3, they could add that back later as well.

One can only hope...
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Broadwing



Joined: 12 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

culabula wrote:
Then you probably don't need me to tell you but quickly hie thee to thy copy of Blonde and Blonde and play Memphis Blues Again from Disc 1 and then Absolutely Sweet Marie from Disc 2. Sheer aural bliss.

Incidentally, less well known is that the original stereo SA-CD single layer of Blonde on Blonde is well worth tracking down on eBay. Excellent sound and mix!


Yes, and yes! Great discs (almost) all. I'm finding them better with the PS3 than with my old player, really...

And I didn't know there was another edition of that. It would be interesting to have, for sure.
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