How to Convert a SACD to MP3

Written by dan stone
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How to Convert a SACD to MP3
CD-Audio and MP3s are not designed to handle the high-fidelity sound quality of SACD. (cd on cd image by Stephen Kirkby from Fotolia.com)

You can convert SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) to MP3, but the sound quality will be no better than converting CD audio to MP3. The majority of SACD discs are "hybrid discs," meaning that they have a second disc layer that has the same audio content as the SACD in CD-audio form. You can rip nonhybrid SACDs, recording the audio from the player. SACD has significantly higher audio fidelity (sound quality) than regular CD-Audio, and MP3 has lower fidelity than CD audio. Additionally, MP3 technology only supports two channels of audio whereas SACD supports 5.1 channel audio.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • CD-ROM drive
  • SA-CD-compatible amplifier (optional)
  • Male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable (optional)
  • Male-to-female RCA-to-3.5mm converter (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Insert the hybrid SACD in to the computer's disc drive.

  2. 2

    Open iTunes, Windows Media Player (WMP) or another MP3-ripping program.

  3. 3

    Click the "rip" button in WMP or the "import" button in iTunes.

  1. 1

    Connect the 3.5mm output on the back of the SACD compatible amplifier to the computer's line-in jack. The line-in jack is usually light blue. Make sure the amplifier is set to output audio through the 3.5mm jack.

    Alternative: Connect the RCA-to-3.5mm converter to the SACD player and 3.5mm cable if the SACD player supports RCA output.

  2. 2

    Insert the SACD in to the SACD player and press play. Configure the output of the SACD player to two channels if it is supported.

  3. 3

    Configure the computer's recording volume to make sure the recording volume is correct. In Windows 7, go to the Start Menu and click on "Control Panel." Select "Hardware and Sound" and click on the speaker icon or the "Sound" text. Select the recording tab, highlight the "Line In" option and select "Configure." Follow the on-screen instructions.

  4. 4

    Open and configure the Audacity program for two-channel recording. Go to "Edit," "Preferences," and then the "Audio I/O" tab. Set the channels to the "2 (Stereo)" option.

  5. 5

    Restart the track you want to record on the SACD player and press pause. Press the record button on the Audacity program. Press the "stop" button on Audacity when the track is complete. In Audacity, go to "File," "Export as MP3," and save the MP3 file to the computer.

Tips and warnings

  • SACDs will not produce any better-sounding MP3s; if you can use a regular CD instead, do so.
  • SACDs may not work in a DVD drive. Use a CD-ROM drive in this case.
  • You may need an additional converter to change the amplifier's output to 3.5mm. Often you will need an RCA-to-3.5mm adaptor. RCA audio uses the larger red and white jacks.
  • You can use the microphone jack instead of the line-in jack if the computer only has a microphone jack.

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