Sonopress Boosts SACD Capacity With New Pressing Line

Sonopress has announced that the second Hybrid SACD production line at its plant in Gьtersloh, Germany is now on line and producing Hybrid SACD discs. Readers of High Fidelity Review will remember our story in July (see link below) that discussed the plans that Sonopress had to expand the Hybrid SACD pressing capacity of their plant.

To recap, the plant had been pressing 6,000 Hybrid SACDs per day prior to this summer. In June, the existing production line was converted to a new, more efficient process that doubled its capacity to 12,000 Hybrid SACDs per day.

A second SACD production line using the new pressing process was then installed with the goal of it being live in September.

Together the two SACD production lines were scheduled to turn out almost 25,000 Hybrid SACDs per day. This is significant since Sonopress has been the primary pressing plant for Hybrid SACDs for some time.

Hybrid and Single Layer SACD Discs
Hybrid SACD discs have proven popular with most record labels issuing SACD discs since they offer both a CD compatible Stereo CD layer as well as a layer with a Stereo SACD track and an optional Multichannel SACD track as well.

The other type of SACD disc, Single Layer SACD discs, are playable only on SACD equipment. Their use has primarily been limited to Sony Music and Red Rose Music in the US market.

Increased Hybrid SACD Announcement and Release Activity
With today’s announcement from Sonopress, the ability to produce Hybrid SACD discs has been significantly increased at the Gьtersloh plant. This is welcome news to both record labels releasing SACD discs and audiophiles. Both groups have been patiently awaiting the availability of a number of upcoming SACDs that are now in line for their turn on the Sonopress Hybrid SACD production lines.

Not surprisingly, there has been a significant increase in the announcement of new Hybrid SACD titles slated for release in October and November in just the last few weeks. I’m told that the increased capacity now available through Sonopress is a key reason for this increased SACD announcement and release activity.

Fine Tuning the Process
Now that both production lines are operational, the Sonopress SACD team is working to fine tune the process so that the production target of approximately 25,000 Hybrid SACDs per day is met. When I asked how that part of the operation is going, Hermann Heemeyer, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Sonopress Europe told me: «Interest in pressing Hybrid SACDs at the Sonopress Gьtersloh plant is great. Although the production process is quite sensitive and technically very complicated we are already close to achieving our announced production capacity which should be reached very soon.»