I have nothing against digital audio reproduction in general, even MP3’s. I love that I can listen to music with headphones mounted inside my downhill mountain bike helmet, waterproof headphones surfing waves, and earbuds playing off an iPod shuffle road biking. Not to mention having a few thousand tracks in my vehicles, all of which have iPod integration installed. Try that with a turntable, eh?
When I gave up on sitting down and listening to music in the late 1980s since vinyl was gone and high definition digital hadn’t arrived on the scene yet, leaving only Redbook (44.1k/16bit) CDs, I figured I might as well make the best of the MP3 world and ripped all my CDs into iTunes and put the tracks anywhere and everywhere. and i still kept buying music. and still kept listening to and enjoying music, all the time, for what it was. and i only bought CDs cause i knew i might be able to sit down and listen to music again someday and i might as well have at least that level of quality, instead of the MP3 garbage for sale on iTunes.
it didn’t make sense until recently, with SACDs and vinyl (finally) making a comeback. it was a long wait (as Lynn said, nigh on 20 years), but i figured enough listeners who still cared would survive long enough that it it would come back sooner or later, which it is now. so now is a time of “best of both worlds” scenarios, exciting!
and yes… absolutely in regard the the HT improvements! Amazing. but even then i would venture to say that they were mostly just hype until Blu-ray came along and provided descent quality at the source.
i think you may be confusing SACDs with HT though. They are completely separate and SACDs have survived in spite of HT, which does sampling in an entirely different way. SACDs were a redesign, from the ground up as to how to make digital sound better. and a very successful one. They have survived in spite of the HT market, and most certainly not because of it (HT would love to see it disappear, it interferes with their marketing). The mass market of AVRs and other HT stuff don’t want SACD around, it is one more thing to have to support. That’s why the vast majority of Blu-Ray players don’t support it (Even Sony, who invented, often doesn’t support it on their blu-ray players). I pointed you in the direction of one of the very few that does, Oppo, and you pay a very high premium for what they do, your unit retails for $500 vs. $99 for a regular blu-ray player. And… the majority of SACD units are not HT players. They do audio only, period. Sometimes, no usually, only 2 ch audio at that.
The reason SACD and vinyl has survived is that it is truly better and enough people (barely enough) cared. The fact that it is making a (modest) comeback tells me that maybe some who didn’t care before are starting to. Maybe they have started listening to music again. That is what was lost all along, after all. Listening to music for music’s sake.