How to Rip an SACD

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How to Rip an SACD
You cannot always rip Super Audio CDs in the same way as regular CDs. (cd on cd image by Stephen Kirkby from

After its introduction in 1999, the Super Audio CD (SACD) was designed to offer a much higher quality of sound than a regular CD. Using a higher bit rate to transfer the music to the disc than normal CDs, it requires a larger disc. SACDs are actually a form of DVD and therefore have a much larger capacity than regular CDs. The high-quality audio layer of the SACD is heavily encrypted and cannot be ripped, but most SACDs also contain a regular CD layer that can be ripped, so it is possible to transfer the music that you bought to other media, such as MP3 players.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Super Audio CD
  • Computer with DVD-ROM drive
  • Media playback software

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  1. 1

    Put the SACD into your computer's DVD-ROM drive. One of three things will happen, depending on the type of SACD you have. If you have an SACD with a CD layer, it will appear in your media player as a regular CD. If your SACD does not have a CD layer, either it will appear on your computer as a DVD, but cannot be read by any software, or it will not be recognised as a disc at all. Unfortunately, if you encounter either of the latter two options, you will not be able to rip your SACD.

  2. 2

    If your SACD contains a CD layer, then you can rip it to your computer. If you are using iTunes, find the CD under "Devices" in the left-hand navigation menu. Select it and click "Import." Click "Import Settings" to change the audio format and quality. In Windows Media Player, select the "Rip" tab from the menu bar at the top of the player. From here, you can select which format and bit rate to use. The higher the bit rate you use, the closer the quality will be to your SACD, although it cannot be as high as the SACD itself.

  3. 3

    Once it has finished copying to your computer, the tracks from the SACD are stored in your music library. You can then transfer the tracks to your MP3 player, or burn them to a blank CD and play them in a standard CD player. Although the sound quality will not be as high as the Super Audio layer of the disc, you still have the benefit of listening to the music you paid for on other devices.

Tips and warnings

  • Check if an SACD you are considering buying has CD layer that you can copy before you buy it. The website (see Resources) contains a database of all SACD releases, and if the SACD you want does contain a CD layer, it will say "Hybrid" in the Media field of the description.

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