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#357935 - 11/02/11 05:53 PM HDCD vs CD
Nick B Offline
aficionado

Registered: 08/05/06
Posts: 504
I came across an album that is on HDCD and CD (and vinyl). (1) Is HDCD that much better than CD? I'd also like to put the album on my iPod in an Apple Lossless codec. (2) Will I run into any problems there? The CD is about $10 and the HDCD is about $30. It would be nice every now and then to listen to it in higher quality (with my home theater equipment), if there is that much of a difference. It is too bad that the hybrid SACD has gone OOP. Some yokels on the Amazon Marketplace think that it is a collectors item and want $258 for it used. I wouldn't pay that kind of money for even my top-three-stranded-on-a desert-island albums.

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#357944 - 11/02/11 07:31 PM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: Nick B]
casey01 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/03/08
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Nick B
I came across an album that is on HDCD and CD (and vinyl). (1) Is HDCD that much better than CD? I'd also like to put the album on my iPod in an Apple Lossless codec. (2) Will I run into any problems there? The CD is about $10 and the HDCD is about $30. It would be nice every now and then to listen to it in higher quality (with my home theater equipment), if there is that much of a difference. It is too bad that the hybrid SACD has gone OOP. Some yokels on the Amazon Marketplace think that it is a collectors item and want $258 for it used. I wouldn't pay that kind of money for even my top-three-stranded-on-a desert-island albums.


I have a few CDs that are HDCD and the technical concept behind them seems to be that the master recording is done at an expanded frequency range so compared to the average CD the most noticeable difference is they tend to play significantly louder. With the limitations of 16 bit technology, whether they are audibly any better than a normal CD is somewhat debatable especially with that difference in volume AND the varying quality of all recordings done in the studio anyway. I can't, though, ever recall paying a premium for them and in your example three times as much? Forget it.

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#357948 - 11/02/11 07:48 PM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: Nick B]
Jc Online   content

aficionado

Registered: 06/27/06
Posts: 528
Loc: Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
Hi Nick B,
I own a few CDs which are HDCD "encoded". To play them back you need a player which is capable to handle HDCD. The difference is subtile. I think that the skill, knowledge of the recording engineer and the care he took for the recording session are much more important. Many HDCD CDs were from Reference Recording and the engineer was Prof Johnson; they are great recordings. I also own one of Madeleine Peyroux - Dreamland which is spectacular and was awarded a Record to Die For by a Stereophile reviewer.
The best recordings which I have auditioned so far are from AIX Recordings Blu-ray in 7.1 Dolby TrueHD "stage" mix or their Audio DVD in 5.1 MLP. 2L Recordings from Norway also offers exceptional recodings (Blu-ray and SACD in multi-channels) where as AIX REcording you are with the musicians.
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#357980 - 11/03/11 11:53 AM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: Jc]
casey01 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/03/08
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Jc
Hi Nick B,
I own a few CDs which are HDCD "encoded". To play them back you need a player which is capable to handle HDCD. The difference is subtile. I think that the skill, knowledge of the recording engineer and the care he took for the recording session are much more important. Many HDCD CDs were from Reference Recording and the engineer was Prof Johnson; they are great recordings. I also own one of Madeleine Peyroux - Dreamland which is spectacular and was awarded a Record to Die For by a Stereophile reviewer.
The best recordings which I have auditioned so far are from AIX Recordings Blu-ray in 7.1 Dolby TrueHD "stage" mix or their Audio DVD in 5.1 MLP. 2L Recordings from Norway also offers exceptional recodings (Blu-ray and SACD in multi-channels) where as AIX REcording you are with the musicians.



JC:

There were also a number, although not many, mainstream recordings done using the HDCD process. Back a few years ago my wife bought a "Bee-Gees" CD that was HDCD encoded and that is where I noticed the difference in the volume level.

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#358039 - 11/04/11 08:13 AM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: casey01]
alan Offline

connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3266
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
Hi,

I'd agree with everything JC noted about HDCD, and only add one thing. If memory serves, HDCD is essentially a dynamic-range expansion system, adding as much as 12 dB to the dynamic potential of a recording. In tests I did years ago, you could detect the difference (barely). The HDCD decoding was licensed out to some manufacturers but I don't think it was all that successful, mainly because the difference between an HDCD recording and non-HDCD playback was so difficult to hear. Frankly, the conventional CD format is able to encompass the entire dynamics of any orchestral/musical performance so I didn't really see the point of HDCD.

As JC pointed out, Keith Johnson is an excellent recording engineer and I've used several of his recordings as definitive test discs for listening tests, HDCD or not.

Alan
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Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)

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#358111 - 11/05/11 10:48 PM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: alan]
ChrisF Offline
regular

Registered: 03/21/10
Posts: 6
Loc: Nepean, Ontario
Alan, the value of HDCD is that in enables putting compressed and less compressed versions on one disc, but I would agree that with the dynamic range of CDs, what is the point. My take away is that if you use ReplayGain, you may as well use the HDCD version and make use of the headroom.

Chris

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#358119 - 11/06/11 12:07 AM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: ChrisF]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13576
Loc: Iowa
Oh great, another headroom discussion.
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#358144 - 11/06/11 11:19 AM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: ChrisF]
alan Offline

connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3266
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
Hi ChrisF,

Some might have misunderstood my comment on HDCD. I didn't mean that it's a dynamic-range expansion system for ANY recording. The recording must be HDCD-encoded during recording/mastering and played back via HDCD-enabled player in order to realize the theoretical enhancement of dynamics.

In the days of analogue tape and vinyl, in addition to Dolby SR, there were various compression/expansion systems, sometimes called "companders", to get peaks way above the noise floor and reduce the limitations that analog tape and vinyl impose on playback dynamics and noise floors. I still have an old dbx decoder box that could only be used for dbx-encoded vinyl LPs. When everything was set up right, those were amazing, with inaudible surface noise/tape hiss, and dynamics that approached CDs. The system failed because of the incompatibility of dbx LPs for playback without having to purchase the accessory decoder box.

By the way, Chris, what's "Replay Gain"?

Regards,
Alan
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)

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#358149 - 11/06/11 12:18 PM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: alan]
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7463
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
Ha ha, "compander" sounds like a word someone says when they are trying to appear smart.
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#358150 - 11/06/11 12:49 PM Re: HDCD vs CD [Re: St_PatGuy]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11677
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Or it's the commander of all pandas.

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