SACD laser failures, seem common what is the reason's?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by TimB, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. TimB

    TimB Pop, Rock and Blues for me! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Colorado
    So far I have had one failure on Sony SACD player, and I seem to read about a lot of them relative to cd player's. Is there a reason for this? I was wondering if it may be some thing to do with the modulation reading part of SACD anti copy mechanism or something else. I have not read much about DVD or Blue Ray laser failures.
     
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    My understanding is that an SACD actually uses similar technology as a DVD disc, so it would be played back using the same type of drive as a CD/DVD-ROM drive. Only the software and file format are different.

    SACD is a disc of identical physical dimensions as a standard compact disc; the areal density of the disc is the same as a DVD. There are three types of disc:[17]


    • Hybrid: Hybrid SACDs are made with a 4.7 GB SACD layer (also known as the HD layer), as well as a CD (Red Book) audio layer readable by most conventional Compact Disc players.[18]
    • Single-layer: A DVD-5 made with one 4.7 GB SACD layer.
    • Dual-layer: A DVD-9 made with two SACD layers, totaling 8.5 GB, and no CD layer. Dual-layer SACDs can store nearly twice as much data as a single-layer SACD.[c]
    Super Audio CD - Wikipedia

    Most optical drives will fail eventually and the number of companies manufacturing those drives has dwindled in recent years. Plenty of DVD, CD, and BR players fail all the time, you just don't read it here as often because this is an audio board, and people are more likely to be angry and complain about an expensive SACD player failing vs. a cheaper DVD/BR player.
     
    Matt Richardson and bruce2 like this.
  3. TimB

    TimB Pop, Rock and Blues for me! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Colorado
    Not quite! SACD have a modulation mechanism that is not on Blue Ray or DVD. I am guessing that this modulation anti-copy system is what is prone to failure. I know on mine, it could still play cd’s just could not read SACD layers. I am wondering if universal players stop reading SACD layers but still play dvd or blue Ray.
     
  4. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Is that hardware or software based?

    The encryption is b.s. and a big reason for the failure of the format IMHO, and why I never got into it in any serious way.
     
  5. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I think it's the laser diode. DVD and SACD run at 650nm and CD's run at 780nm. Blu-ray is yet another laser diode at something like 405nm. So they each have their own laser diode and it would surprise me to see a player still be able to play DVDs perfectly fine but not be able to play SACDs at all (esp single layer SACDs) since they share the same 650nm laser diode. Some of the Sony players do start to fail to play the SACD layer of a hybrid SACD but can still play single layer SACDs, and I'm speculating, but that may have something to do with maybe a laser diode getting weaker and an adjustment/calibration being required in response to that.

    On the old Sony DVP-S9000ES DVD/SACD player, a common failure mode was not being able to read hybrid SACDs (the SACD layer) but still being able to read a single layer. There's an internal service menu that would allow you to recalibrate that worked for some people but didn't work for me. It also had an hours counter where you should see how many hours were used for DVD vs CD playback. I bought mine used and saw that a ton of hours were logged for DVD (probably playing movies) and relatively fewer for CD.

    My thought would be that if you had a combo DVD/SACD and CD player and never used it for movies/DVD and only used it for SACD that you'd probably get quite a few years out of that way. That's not to say other things never go wrong besides the laser diode, but I think that's the cause for a lot of failures. That's why they sell replacement optical pick up heads to replace ones that failed - only problem there is a lot of them are cheap aftermarket ones from China, so who knows how reliable they are or how long they last, as well as the fact that they can be tricky to replace and have everything still work afterwards.
     
    scobb, Sterling1 and patient_ot like this.
  6. Espen R

    Espen R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    I had much problems with lasers on my Sony SACD player.
    I have no problems with my laser on my Yamaha SACD player, and it plays all SACDs. Also some discs that my Sony did not like.
    Had the player for 10 years.

    The difference between my Sony and Yamaha player is that Yamaha spend $5 more on the laser and disc tray.
    Simple as that.
     
    NorthNY Mark and patient_ot like this.
  7. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    SACD is a a DVD disk by physical structure. The difference is a logical one. DVD drive can read SACD disk with exception of key block. That block is not reachable if drive firmware is not designed for that, since it is outside of normal disk track area. That is why special SACD drive is different - it runs firmware which can read that key block. Keys are needed to decode regular track structure after reading.

    There were hardware players (older Oppo for instance) which were capable to play SACD image recorded on DVD-R media. They simply ignored key block if it was not present. Of cause image has to be unencrypted.

    Existing methods of image extraction from SACD media using modified Sony PS or DVD player use decryption logic in hardware and output unencrypted ISO image. That image can be burned on DVD-R and played on hardware player, like I mentioned above. Or image can be parsed and individual tracks extracted as separate files to be played by software players.

    As to original question - SACD player failure can be mostly attributed to poor quality of drive mechanism or laser pickup head. Many cheap DVD players also have a lifespan of 2-3 years. SACD players are no different, when they use same cheap parts.
     
  8. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    AH HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You nailed it!!! Anti copy modulation scheme conspiracy!!!!!!!
    :yikes:
    Beave
     
  9. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    This is a secondary mechanism designed to prevent licensed player from playing unlicensed disk. If you burn ISO image of SACD disk on DVD-R, you cannot create special physical signature which only can be added on factory pressed disks. Player checks its presence and refuses to play disk if it is not found, even if tracks are decoded successfully (or unencrypted).
     
  10. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    This is true when your player respects this restriction, as the vast majority of players do. But a handful of players don't, and will in fact play SACD ISOs which are written to DVD-R media.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  11. My old SCD1 with failed laser assembly is probably sitting somewhere laughing it’s shiny disc puck off at me.....SONY...:realmad:
     
  12. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    This is all true. The intent of ripping SACDs was to make backups as storage space in the '00s was rather expensive compared to optical media. I bought a universal player that just ignored the watermarking. Many players did. Even many Sony players did. This was because you couldn't buy an SACD player that could output to digital. So a lot of people didn't include the DRM because, it wasn't possible to make a copy. Even the Sony PS3 couldn't do it. But the PS3 is a basically just a big Unix box, so you didn't have to output anything, just create an image of the disk with program. Once the image was created, you could burn it on a computer to DVD-R. An SACD is just a DVD, so a DVD transport is all you need to read the data. But you still need a DSD decoder to play the Disk. The Watermarking is part of the decoding. If the watermark isn't there, the chip shouldn't decode the disk. Foobar2000 figure out how to play ISO images, so burning to optical disk became obsolete.
     
  13. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    yep I've had cd, DVD, blu ray and SACD lasers all crap out on me over the years.
    there's nothing uniquely failure prone about SACD lasers.
     
  14. Certainly is about some of the people that make them.
     
  15. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Mine had its spindle bearing fail, but the laser was still just fine. Unfortunately it has been impossible to source these since about 2008.
     
  16. Tell me about it. I unfortunately gave my machine away last year just before everyone was looking for replacement pucks. Seeing what the state of the SACD players are now I should have kept it and had it modded and upgraded if possible as it really was a dynamite unit. It doesn’t pay me to buy a really good player at this stage.
     
    TarnishedEars likes this.
  17. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Undoubtedly lasers do go bad but so do other things, I can't help wondering, how do you know?
    Is it because you've sent the unit for repair? Anybody obtained the service manual and checked the appropriate test points with an oscilloscope to check the signal? How do you know the laser is faulty?
     
  18. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    That's why I purchased my Direct Stream DAC. Its design was originally inspired by the superb sounding true DSD DACs which were inside of those first gen Sonys SACD players. But unlike my old SCD-1, its laser will never wear out. Plus it actually sounds better too.
     
    Khorn likes this.
  19. The SCD1 was a great machine and I would hate to think what a new one would cost to produce today but that’s in the past. I’ve switched to streaming now and I’m actually very happy with it.
     
  20. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    in some cases from sending in for repair.
    in others from the failure behavior + error codes (i.e. dvds play but cds do not, error code from cd is listed by manufacturer as laser failure)
    once from adjusting variable resistors to change the voltage going to the laser
     
    Uglyversal likes this.
  21. Lasting Spaces

    Lasting Spaces Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I have been in SACDs from their start and have never had a laser failure
     
    Lownote30 likes this.
  22. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Both of my players that experienced SACD/DVD laser failures were used (and one was confirmed to have a ton of DVD hours), so I can definitely see that if you bought an SACD player and only used it for SACDs that it could last a long time since it's not like there's a ton of SACD titles in the first place. I have a big CD collection, but maybe 5% are SACDs.

    I just got another used SACD player, so we'll see how long this one lasts. No idea how many hours are on it, but at least it's not a DVD player, so presumably whatever hours are on it are from CD or SACD only.
     
  23. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    That's because you are running an Oppo. Oppos are renowned for having exceptionally long laser lifespans.
     
    tomd likes this.
  24. Lownote30

    Lownote30 Bass Clef Addict

    Location:
    Nashville, TN, USA
    Same here. I have a Sony DVD player that does SACD, and it's pretty ancient. I found it in the basement of a music publishing company collecting dust. They had replaced it with a blu-ray and didn't want it. Definitely a win for me.
     
  25. DPAM

    DPAM Forum Resident

    I just picked up an old Parasound 'New Classic' D 200 CD/SACD Player. The seller said it played SACDs fine but it does not for me. It plays CDs beautifully (had an issue there at first, now resolved), and I love the look/feel of it. I just talked to Parasound Support - the guy never even heard of the model but looked it up - but it's beyond their support window. Then I called on of their authorized service centers here in NYC, who wants 160 to look at it, which would apply to any fix. Given the alternatives, I am keen to fix it if it's reasonable.

    My question, does professional authorized service center laser replace tend to work on these things? Am I crazy to spend a few hundred to get this great thing working again? Don't want to try if this is doomed... Thanks.
     

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