Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Audiophilia: Depeche Mode on SACD... in the UK only

see: Depeche Mode Remasters

Depeche Mode's landmark "Violator" album has been remastered and re-released as a special Hybrid SACD + DVD package in the UK. Note that the above link lists the US release date for April 25th... but without the hybrid SACD. The US release will be a standard CD and not a hybrid SACD.

You can order the UK release from various stores in the US as an import, but it costs about $30.

Out of curiosity I cruised over to and found the SACD+DVD set to be shockingly cheap at £7.99.

see: Violator [CD + DVD] [SACD] [Original recording remastered]

Using a British pounds to US dollar converter that comes out to only $14. But that price includes UK VAT (their sales tax) which does not apply to sales outside of the UK. The final tally is actually just £6.80, or $12. Shipping Air Mail to the US adds another $5 for a grand total of $17 delivered.

So am I missing something here or are people just fools for ordering imports through US distributors? And it was all very easy. already has my Amazon USA user information and accepts Visa.

Not only is this obviously cheaper than $30 imports, the UK £7.99 price is a huge bargain, especially considering that the label is also releasing a (presumably cheaper) hybrid SACD without the DVD. The other two remastered releases that launched with Violator are more expensive at £10.99 ($19, but a little cheaper in the US without the included VAT).

I suppose must be cutting prices on the big new Violator release to drum up sales (a "loss-leader" item). Either that or it's a mistake in their catalog listing. Actually there is a mistake - they list the catalog number as "CDXSTUMM64" which is the number for the SACD-only release, not the SACD+DVD package.

Anyway, we'll see what arrives in 10-12 days. Even if it's just the SACD, I'll be happy since the DVD is Region 0 encoded for Europe and is in their PAL format anyway. I'm pretty sure I don't have a DVD player that can deal with Region 0 PAL discs. If I really want the DVD, I can always buy the US CD+DVD release on April 25th and give the CD away to someone.

Update: The DVD is PAL but is supposedly region encoded for ALL regions. That opens up more possibilities for the DVD to be playable in the US; some North American DVD players do support PAL discs.

see: Depeche Mode - Violator

Update 2: Ah, I learn more every day. Region 0 discs are "region free". Europe is Region 2. And my Bravo D1 DVD player is apparently very good at dealing with PAL content.


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