I first heard Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" on
the way to the mall about 10 years ago, riding
shotgun in my friend's 1973 Buick Riviera. I was in
college, and though the old cassette, with its
wobbly pitch and rubbed-out highs, sounded
terrible, Dylan's songs stuck in my mind. Soon
after that fateful trip I bought the CD, but my
favorite version of Dylan's recording turned out to
be the original gatefold album with its two vinyl
LPs, the red-and-white labels promising
"360-degree sound." My favorite, that is, until this
week, when I heard the new "Blonde on Blonde"
Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) played on
Sony's latest SACD player, the SCD-777ES.
So what's a SACD anyway?
When Philips and Sony introduced the CD in
1982, the new digital disk was marketed as
offering "perfect sound forever." CDs got rid of
pops and skips, eliminated the need for fussy
tonearms and fragile styluses, and were
supposedly indestructible. For a discerning and
obstinate minority, however, the cold, brittle sound
of CDs never equaled the sonic realism of analog
LPs, and the faithful few hung on to their record