HDCD - What is the industry doing? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Les Adams
08-16-2005, 03:45 PM
Having recently acquired an HDCD player, I am wondering if we are likely to see any development of the format within the music industry, or is it going to remain the domain of a few "Acoustic" artists and specialist labels?

I ask because it seems to have been around for a while now, but very few major labels or commercial artists CD's are HDCD encoded. I spent almost an hour in HMV looking at the back of CD covers to no avail. When I enquired about which discs are HDCD encoded, the assistants in HMV, Woolworth, Virgin and other high street stores looked at me with a blank expression as though I was asking for rocking horse droppings!

Looking at the lists of "specialist" dealers who market HDCD encoded discs, they are mostly by artists I have never heard of and who make music that I don't want to listen to! I bought one CD that a specialist retailer recommended and it was indeed a beautiful recording - of music that was as dull as dishwater! The joy of the audio experience is somewhat tainted by the blandness of the music IMHO!

There are a few exceptions of course and I now have Eric Clapton's "Reptile", Dire Straits and The Doors (remastered) all of which I am enjoying (somewhat), but there are only so many times you can listen to the same three discs and I would really like to hear some contempoary music and modern recordings rather than re-mastered oldies!

I am surprised because I understand Microsoft has something to do with this format and I would have expected a bit more public awareness.

Does anybody know if there are plans to develop it further or is this as good as it is going to get?

In the meantime, does anybody on here have any recommendations of "mainstream", modern albums that they know are HDCD encoded? My musical taste is broad, but it doesn't quite stretch to Country & Western sounding mid-Atlantic guitarists no matter how crisp the recording!

08-16-2005, 04:48 PM
I know this about HDCD

Is it makes all my old CD's I have sound better, and for that reason alone Ill still support it.
The Grateful Dead has some cool stuff with HDCD :cool:

Jim Clark
08-16-2005, 08:12 PM
Well, it depends how many pages you want to read on the subject. Here's a monster thread on Headfi.org- http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=67082&highlight=hdcd

A couple of things to mention. Not all HDCD are labeled as such. You might be surprised as you go through your collection that some may actually make the HDCD light turn on, or however your player recognizes such discs. I'm also not entirely sure how much better an HDCD is going to be vs. a standard CD. I recall reading here over the years that HDCD players will play HDCD encoded CDs louder vs a standard CD which may account for at least some of the differences you hear. In addition I seem to recall that many seemed to think that it was the additional mastering rather than the HDCD encoding that made the audible difference. I don't have too much experience with the format although I think my Oppo DVDP does handle HDCD but I've yet to play around with it.


Les Adams
08-17-2005, 02:38 AM
Hi Jim,

Thank you for that link, I will have a proper look at it later today.

I have already found an HDCD disc (The doors "L.A. Woman remastered") that wasn't labeled and that surprised me. After all, if they are using the technology why not say so?

I suppose it could be an omission by the artwork designer.

I don't believe the difference can be attributed purely to volume, although they are louder. I still have my old non HDCD player, an Arcam Delta 70.3 and I have played an HDCD disc on that to compare the two and the difference is too great for it just to be level or difference in quality between the two players. HDCD definitely adds something; there is a spaciousness and dynamics that are lost without the decoding.

In reply to twochannelsonly, certainly my Arcam does improve the sound of non-HDCD discs, but I think this is down to the quality of the DAC, rather than HDCD as that only kicks in when an encoded disc is played.

But again I come back to the question of why is there such a lack of awareness to the format in general? It seems like somebody's marketing and promotions department needs to step the game up a bit. I also appreciate that the majority of people do not have an HDCD player, but maybe more would if they knew about them in the first place!

08-17-2005, 04:45 AM
my HK receiver decodes the HDCD format, but i only have one CD that uses the tech. It's the Bee Gees 2 disc greatest hits collection. Disc 1 is awesome and makes a great party or boat CD, while the other makes a nice frisbee.
I agree the sound is superior, but i consider this a dead format....as i would rather purchase SACD or DVD-A discs instead. Heck, they may be dead soon enough.

08-17-2005, 05:52 AM
My assumption based on no information and a healthy dose of Microsoft dissapointment was that MS bought up HDCD to bury it. Or perhaps because it somehow fits into Media Player. Either way, when they bought it, I figured it was time to write the Obit. Do I sound like a bitter early adopter?

08-17-2005, 03:22 PM
Lateralus by Tool is an excellent HDCD encoded CD, if you're into that kind of music.

Les Adams
08-17-2005, 04:45 PM
Thank you for the suggestion David. I am afraid I do not know the artist so I have no idea if I would like it or not, but I will see if it is on Napster so I can hear it before I buy.

I am fast coming to the conclusion that HDCD is probably dead in the water, based party on what has been said on here and my observation about the lack of information and awareness surrounding it.

However, I am still happy that I have it for the few discs that are around and the Alpha 8SE sounds much better on conventional discs than my old player anyway, so I didn't waste my money!

08-17-2005, 04:47 PM
...i would rather purchase SACD or DVD-A discs instead. Heck, they may be dead soon enough.

Well I sure hope that Microsoft doesn't buy SACD from Sony either....

I was just going to ask if anyone has compared HDCD to a very good recording on RBCD (like a mappleshade recording, for example)?

True HK has supported the HDCD format for a while now, but another alternative is to add a DAC that has HDCD support. It sure would seem a better value than a new HDCD player at the Arcam price-point.

08-28-2005, 01:04 PM
is much larger than you would suspect. you would THINK it would be more prevalent in the hardware as prevalent it is in software. i just bought a madeline perroux cd that has hdcd. i have an eric sardinas cd with it and neil youngs mirror ball has it. MANY others in my collection do as well.

if sacd/dvda arent viable anymore then give us hdcd onr rbcd!!! how expensive can it be?