Whats HDCD all about?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Timh, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. Timh

    Timh
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2000
    Messages:
    5,179
    Products Owned:
    3
    Products Wanted:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Altair-4
    Ratings:
    +289
    I have just purchased a Toshiba SD-510 dvd player which has the HDCD logo on the front, whats this all about, I guess its better quality sounding compact discs, but where can you get them from? and are they any good.

    Cheers
     
  2. common

    common
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2001
    Messages:
    1,397
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Oxford UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    http://www.vivante.co.uk/Site/HDCD.html

    This link tells you about HDCD and gives you a list of CD's to buy.

    Not much mainstream stuff but I have the Oceans 11 OST which is in HDCD and it sounds great.
     
  3. Electric Mayhem

    Electric Mayhem
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2001
    Messages:
    10,465
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +1,941
    Or try

    www.hdcd.com for a list of places to buy, titles, hardware etc

    cheers
     
  4. Timh

    Timh
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2000
    Messages:
    5,179
    Products Owned:
    3
    Products Wanted:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Altair-4
    Ratings:
    +289
    Thanks, I will take a look at both sites.
     
  5. Nike

    Nike
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    bournemouth, UK.
    Ratings:
    +20
    My (now ancient, I guess) Tosh 3109 has HDCD decoding - I thought it would be interesting to try as I have noticed the logo on a few CDs I own.

    Unfortunately, as the Tosh is not a particularly good CD player, they all sounded better on my (non HDCD) dedicated CD player.
    (MF X-ray)

    Incidentally, this feature can only be accessed if you are running from the stereo analogue outputs into an amp. It is bypassed completely, if like most people seem to, you are running a digital bitstream into a decoder/av amp.
     
  6. buns

    buns
    Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2001
    Messages:
    6,100
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Belfast
    Ratings:
    +1
    HDCD is very under rated i think......i have a couple of example, i cant think what they are, but certainly i think that HDCD sounds quite alot better than regular CD......On a good system it really is quite noticeable if you can find something you actually like!

    ad
     
  7. PaulBoy

    PaulBoy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,735
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Ratings:
    +87
    The only HDCD discs (that I know of) which I own are Mark Knopflers last 2 solo albums & whilst I would expect them to sound good (as he is an experienced producer & a very good one IMO) they do sound extremely good & are the type of CD I reach for to demo equipment etc
    Paul ;)
     
  8. General Skanky

    General Skanky
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2000
    Messages:
    4,251
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Colchester
    Ratings:
    +43
    Blimey, this is really hifi.
    Common, I thought apart form Nic say, that I was the only one here (being more of an AV site) that even knew Vivante exsisted!

    As for HDCD, I never really paid it too much attention. I too have a Marantz KI and am happy with its playback. But in the back of my mind is a quote from a customer I saw a few years ago who'd bought an Arcam amp and Arcam HDCD capable cd player who said quite bluntly in an Essex accent,.......'It's bloody wonderful mate. Best sound I've heard to date from cd. These Arcams are the dogs ********'.......:D .

    That's enough of a recommendation for me to take it seriously. But for me that's a trip to my hifi dealer who will sell me the Densen cd player at about £1000.:eek: :eek: How do I get that one past the wife when I've only just convinced here that we 'need' another sub.:D
     
  9. common

    common
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2001
    Messages:
    1,397
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Oxford UK
    Ratings:
    +8
    in the voice of Homer Simpson "Densen CD player mmmmmmmm"
     
  10. HeadBanger

    HeadBanger
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2000
    Messages:
    2,120
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Ashingdon
    Ratings:
    +410
    Agree that HDCD is very underated. I wish the maufacturers would encode more CD's with the HDCD process as it results in a notceably higher resolution than normal CD's. It can't cost anymore surely? The cynical me thinks that they probably don't want CD's to sound any better hoping we'll buy a further copy on SACD or DVD-A at a later date....

    I haven't got many but one that does spring to mind is Beck's Mutations. This sounds great - check it out.
     
  11. Squirrel God

    Squirrel God
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    From that link:
    Have I understood this right? HDCDs will play on any CD player (even those that aren't HDCD-enabled)?

    I emailed Sony to ask them if HDCD would play on my Sony mini hi-fi and they told me that, since Sony UK were never involved in developing HDCD they have not designed any of their products to support the format. They therefore could not guarantee that HDCDs would or would not play in their machines since they have not been tested or designed in this way. Helpful eh? :rolleyes:

    Anyway, if HDCDs do play on a regular CD player, is there really much noticeable difference from a regular CD on a non-HDCD player or is the above quote just marketing bull****?
     
  12. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    “Have I understood this right? HDCDs will play on any CD player (even those that aren't HDCD-enabled)?”

    You have got it in one dude !!

    Here is some blurb about the technology dude :

    “High Definition Compatible Digital® (HDCD®) is a patented encode/decode process for delivering the full richness and detail of the original microphone feed on Compact Discs and DVD-Audio. HDCD has been used in the recording of more than 5,000 CD titles, which include more than 250 Billboard Top 200 recordings and more than 175 GRAMMY® nominations, and account for more than 300 million CDs sold.

    HDCD-encoded CDs sound better because they are encoded with 20 bits of real musical information, as compared with 16 bits for all other CDs. HDCD overcomes the limitation of the 16-bit CD format by using a sophisticated system to encode the additional 4 bits onto the CD while remaining completely compatible with the existing CD format. HDCD provides more dynamic range, a more focused 3-D soundstage, and extremely natural vocal and musical timbre. With HDCD, you get the body, depth, and emotion of the original performance not a flat, digital imitation. Tell me more.”

    First off your little Mini system will play the HDCD CDs you insert but you will not hear the full range of the recording due to the fact that your mini systems DACs do not offer a HDCD filter, Sony were basically saying that because they have never supported HDCD that their DACs do not offer HDCD decoding. But they should still have told you that HDCDs are playable on your Mini but you will only get 16 bit resolution not 20 bit like HDCD equipped DACs.

    HDCD encoding pops in the funniest of places for example you can have a disc like Eric Claptons – Chronicles and the first song only is encoded in HDCD only. The rest of the album is a normal CD 16/44.1 recording.

    FWIW there loads of HDCDs in circulation :

    http://www.hdcd.com/music_catalog/music.asp?action=AtoZ&alph=A&submit=1

    I think that one thing you are guaranteed with a HDCD encoded disc is a top quality recording, I cant praise the format highly enough. Here are some releases that are HDCD which are excellent recrodings IMO :

    Jeff Golub : Do it again, Eric Clapton – Reptile, Natalie Merchant : Ophelia, Bryan Ferry : The Ballads.

    And yes they do sound absolutely fantastic, much better than ordinary CD so it is not hype IMO. Altough what benefit people without HDCD encoding hear is debatable - they will IMO hear a good recording at the miniumum.

    HDCD is owned by Microsoft so say what you like about Gates these hi-res discs aint going anywhere soon, so well worth investing IMO. Buying a DVD-V player with HDCD DACs is a good start to see what you think of the format. As I said earlier a sure fire guarantee of a good recording - just by the fact they have went to the trouble of encoding them with HDCD IMO.

    If you are interested in HDCD discs I would suggest looking at the HDCD webiste then tracking down the relevant disc on Amazon rather than give Viavnte £17 (+£1 PP) I mean £18 for the pleasure of owning one of these discs is a joke, they really need to get their pricing policy sorted out IMHO.
     
  13. Squirrel God

    Squirrel God
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks CJROSS - everything I needed to know in a single post! :)
     
  14. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,152
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,276
    reference recording to a lovely disc that Peter Tysons lend me a while back. It has identical pieces of music on it with and without HDCD encoding. Really interesting experiment with my Tag / Audio Synthesis.

    General S, been a Vivante regular for years! By the way, THANKS for all the goodies a while back, they have proved most useful, never got around to say thanks so apologies for that.:blush:
     
  15. dts_boy

    dts_boy
    Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Messages:
    2,615
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Manchester suburbs...
    Ratings:
    +178
    to us lamens (not lemons!), can we compare hdcd to superbit dvds in the dvd world - a type of recording that gets the max from an ordinary cd disc? sorry if this is just a noddy post, i am about to choose between an arcam dv27 (which has hdcd) and a primare v25 (which hasn't). music playback is of great importance so would greatly appreciate any input!
     
  16. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,152
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,276
    Arcam. It is a lovely player. The early Primare were no great shakes, not sure about the latest. The ARCAM is proven high quality kit and has produced perhaps the best pictures I have seen to date (PS).
     
  17. theworldsmalles

    theworldsmalles
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Messages:
    24
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Ratings:
    +1
  18. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
  19. Arfa

    Arfa
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,077
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +71
    Also, if you have a PC you can get HDCD playback when using Windows Media Player. A little HDCD icon appears bottom left, just above the play/stop buttons. Sometimes though it doesn't appear on first play, you have to stop the disc, then start it off again and it magically appears. No idea why.

    Tool - Lateralus is in HDCD. However when comparing Windows Media player and Audigy 4 soundcard with my Rega Apollo (which doesn't do HDCD), have to say there's wasn't a lot in it. Except it was far more hassle rebooting out of Linux, than it was just dropping the disc in the Apollo. :)

    Does the extra HDCD info have to read specially by the transport, or could an external DAC with HDCD support decode it from the SPDIF output of any old CD player, playing a HDCD disc?

    Just checking out that Swedish site, looks like I own more HDCD than I first though, got some BT, Sigur Ros, Pearl Jam, Hendrix and Doors on HDCD. Interesting.
     
  20. per-Sony-fied

    per-Sony-fied
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +100
    :oops: I wonder if you regret saying that? It's now a dead/defunct concept.
    I don't think there are even any players produced that handle HDCD now.

    However on the plus side CD technology has advanced with 24bit players & some 24bit encoded CD's which rather makes the HDCD technology old hat.
     
  21. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Gates tis a swine !!! Yes in hindsight it can show how a few years and a monumental lack of support can derail a perfectly viable high resolution audiophile format that is playable on all CD players !!!, you will note though PSF that I never championed SACD or DVD-A (as good as they can sound), as they have went exactly the same way, nor will I ever push Bluray or HD-DVD as high resolution music formats. FWIW most DVD players these days feature a HDCD filter – even if it does not advertise the fact, part of the licensing situation for manufacturers, is that a maker will simply add all the decoders & filters in to make it’s DVD player as highly specced as possible.

    Hmmmmmmmmm. Not sure your correct there PSF on the technology front regarding redbook CD and “24 Bit recordings on 24 Bit CD players”. Quite simply the highest “bit rate” any CD player can manage above 16 Bit is HDCD at 20 Bit AFAIK, the extra 4 bits of data are stored on a HDCD disc, and when a HDCD decoder detects it, it processes the 20 bit data via its filter. So in effect you have 20 bits of resolution on a HDCD disc but with the same sample freq as normal CD @ 44.1 (20 bit 44.1khz). A redbook CD is only 16 bits @ 44.1 Khz, even one recorded or mastered @ 24 bits, when the data is recorded down to 16/44.1, the extra resolution is effectivly lost (it can never be retrieved), it cant be gained simply because your CD player is also 24 Bit. So HDCD may be old hat, but those extra 4 bits essentially IMHO make it guaranteed to be as good as a CD can get, away in advance of many 24 Bit mastered CDs (still 16/44.1) I own (I own a few remastered Verve – Ella/Luois CDs).

    A few CD manufacturers like to push 24 Bit CD players, but in effect your always coming from 16 bit data, no matter how they “upsample, oversample” etc to gain those “extra” 8 bits of data, the original resolution is 16 bit. FWIW I am convinced hearing many HDCDs, DVD-Vs & DVD-As that the extra bit data ie going to 20 or 24 Bit is a great leap in digital sound quality to my ears – ie more important than the sample frequency. Have heard 24 Bit 48khz PCM stereo from DVD-V that is stunning (Dave Gilmours – Meltdown) or 24 Bit 48 Khz 5.1 from DVD-A – Porcupine Tree – In Absentia. Ie very close to 44.1 CD sample frequency, but crucially 8 bits extra, real increased data resolution and not CD upsampled/oversampled. That to me is where increased SQ lies with digital.

    Regards
     
  22. CJROSS

    CJROSS
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2000
    Messages:
    5,102
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +343
    Does not matter what transport read HDCD data, when the data stream is sent to a HDCD able DAC it decodes the data, ie it is flagged and the extra circuitry/filter is activated into working on the extra 4 bits of info encoded in the data stream.

    Ie a non HDCD CDP/DVD transport to a HDCD able DAC, means you hear HDCD.

    Had exactly this scenario for a few years with a Pio 717 (non HDCD) into a TAG DAC 20 (HDCD).

    Sold that DAC for the Toshiba SD-9500 another stunning decoder of HDCD discs.
     
  23. devilyfish

    devilyfish
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    79
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +9
    The HDCD high defintion compact disc licence is owned by M$ and therefor it is why its visible on Windows Media Player. HDCD is better than standard CD as its 20Bits of data instead of the standard 16bits. The data was written into the area of the disc that you would normally put CD Text and information like that. It's definately worthwhile purchasing a player capable of decoding it.
     
  24. trailer

    trailer
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,880
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +231
    The Pacific Microsonics decoder chip is widely regarded as one of the best available even for decoding non HDCD material. Naim, amongst others, use it in their CD players.
     
  25. Arfa

    Arfa
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,077
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +71
    Related to this, whilst googling around I found an interesting tool to decode the HDCD encoded data in software, taking input from a wav file ripped from a HDCD disc, it decodes the extra bits and writes out a 24bit wav. Yes HDCD is only 20 bits, the tools just upscales a bit too, as 24 bit is more widely supported on computers.

    Grab the tool from here.
    Some discussion on its use here. Over on the Slimdevices forum, mostly natter about scripting the tool to process a drive full of flac files. It seems encoding to flac, being lossless preserves the HDCD info.

    So as well as transport not really mattering, ripping and encoding to a lossless format also preserves the HDCD info.

    Also I think I never noticed much difference previously because WMP was only showing the HDCD logo in white. I hadn't enabled 24 bit playback, after doing that the logo turned green and a mouse hover popped up a bubble saying HDCD decoding was enabled. When white the bubble is white, it just says HDCD is detected.
     
  26. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,459
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    Ratings:
    +248
    Is there any hard scientific evidence that HDCD provides any audible benefit over standard 16 bit CD in a real-life listening situation?



    Alan
     
  27. trailer

    trailer
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,880
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +231
    Well, mathematically I would say that 20 bits of data will always give a better a resolution to 16.
     
  28. Alan Mac

    Alan Mac
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,459
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Highlands of Scotland
    Ratings:
    +248
    Yes, but has a 20 bit HDCD been scientifically demonstrated to be audibly distinguishable (by human listeners) from a 16 bit CD version of the same master recording? Using real loudspeakers in a real listening room and using established scientific procedures to avoid errors.


    Alan
     
  29. per-Sony-fied

    per-Sony-fied
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +100
    That's a long Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............. :)

    Not being totally knowledgeable in this area I did some research & asked some manufacturers about thier 24bit dac players & I concede from the few responses I got that they are purely 24bit dac's but processing 16bit data. This is a bit (pun :oops:) of a blow as I was thinking of upgrading my SACD & CD (HDCD capable) player into one. Maybe I won't get the improved results I was expecting..... That said I've heard some great 24bit (dac) players.

    Chord electronics seem to be the only (from information gathered) company whom claim superior bit rate from thier 64bit dac. Chopping the 16bit data into several chunks & then feeding it into the dac. While I could not entirely understand the methodology (sit me down for a few hrs please :D) I was assured after saying it's surely just 16bit data tho' that it was 64bit!?

    Finally DCS have a great dac (also used in thier integrated players) that converts the PWM of CD to DSD & processes that data at 24bit equal to SACD (they play SACD too). While yes it's still from a 16bit source the DSD conversion seems to work wonders.
     
  30. karkus30

    karkus30
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2002
    Messages:
    13,997
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,236

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice