Windows Media and HDCD

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  • 06-11-2004, 04:21 PM
    Slosh
    Windows Media and HDCD
    I know Microsoft acquired HDCD from Pacific Microsonics but does Windows Media Player decode HDCD or merely recognize it? If it decodes then why doesn't it recognize HDCD-sourced .wav files as such?

    I never went out and got any special kind of soundcard. I'm just using the integrated chip built into my motherboard (A-Bit) but when my cheapie computer speakers died and I hooked up the computer's analog out to an integrated amp I have in the same room I was more than a little surprised that it sounds pretty good (better than I expected, anyway). Another pleasant surprise came about when I added a DVD burner; it also decodes Dolby Digital (albeit, in stereo only), although not DTS. The only problem I have is when I'm multi-tasking sometimes I hear noise from the hard drive. Maybe a soundcard with an S/PDIF out would eliminated that (I have a Sony EP9ES digital pre/pro stored in my attic that would be nice to put back to some use)?

    Also, does someone know of a plug-in or whatever to get Windows Media Player to recognize CD-Text?

    NP: Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire - The Swimming Hour (yes, it's HDCD :) )
  • 06-11-2004, 09:21 PM
    -Jar-
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slosh
    I know Microsoft acquired HDCD from Pacific Microsonics but does Windows Media Player decode HDCD or merely recognize it? If it decodes then why doesn't it recognize HDCD-sourced .wav files as such?

    I never went out and got any special kind of soundcard. I'm just using the integrated chip built into my motherboard (A-Bit) but when my cheapie computer speakers died and I hooked up the computer's analog out to an integrated amp I have in the same room I was more than a little surprised that it sounds pretty good (better than I expected, anyway). Another pleasant surprise came about when I added a DVD burner; it also decodes Dolby Digital (albeit, in stereo only), although not DTS. The only problem I have is when I'm multi-tasking sometimes I hear noise from the hard drive. Maybe a soundcard with an S/PDIF out would eliminated that (I have a Sony EP9ES digital pre/pro stored in my attic that would be nice to put back to some use)?


    When I'm listening to comps on my computer, sometimes all of a sudden the little HDCD indicator goes on in the lower corner of the window. But then it stays on for the rest of the disc.. I have no idea if it's decoding or not. I haven't noticed if it recognizes .wav files or not. I'll have to check that out. I listen on crappy speakers so.. doesn't matter much now. Even back when I ran the output into my amp, I still thought the signal was a little noisy as compared to my cdplayer.. probably due to the cheap 1/8" jack in the back. I guess if I had a digital receiver it could take a digital out of the computer? Anyone ever done that? I haven't played around that much to know if it would work or not.

    -jar
    (was listening AGAIN to "The Tain" in the car on the way to the store and back..)
  • 06-11-2004, 09:30 PM
    Dusty Chalk
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slosh
    I know Microsoft acquired HDCD from Pacific Microsonics but does Windows Media Player decode HDCD or merely recognize it?

    It decodes it. Your card needs to be compatible, though (20-bit or better).
    Quote:

    If it decodes then why doesn't it recognize HDCD-sourced .wav files as such?
    Don't know -- should. Probably because a programmer put the "if HDCD" statement inside the "if CD" statement.
    Quote:

    Another pleasant surprise came about when I added a DVD burner; it also decodes Dolby Digital (albeit, in stereo only), although not DTS.
    That's the software, not the DVD burner.
    Quote:

    The only problem I have is when I'm multi-tasking sometimes I hear noise from the hard drive. Maybe a soundcard with an S/PDIF out would eliminated that (I have a Sony EP9ES digital pre/pro stored in my attic that would be nice to put back to some use)?
    No, you're probably just taxing the maximum abilities of your computer -- stop doing other things.
  • 06-11-2004, 09:32 PM
    Dusty Chalk
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by -Jar-
    I guess if I had a digital receiver it could take a digital out of the computer? Anyone ever done that?

    Not successfully -- the digital stream needs to be bit-perfect, and that's not always possible. Requires special drivers.
  • 06-11-2004, 09:48 PM
    Davey
    They say that the HDCD code is in WMP but it's kind of hard to tell how well it works. Depends on what kind of soundcard you have and how well it's configured to take advantage of the possible extra resolution after decoding. Nothing new really, it's all software whether the code is in a chip or loaded in RAM. But .wav files are a different format than the data on the disc so I don't think it's setup to recognize the code within a .wav file. I know people have been asking that same question for a couple years.....

    I generally stay away from that bloated WMP and use a cool little piece of freeware called hacp available at http://www.xs4all.nl/~hneel/software.htm. It does CD-TEXT and freedb and works very nice. Looks like this when playing my Marley comp.....:)

    http://members.mailaka.net/davey/hacp.gif
  • 06-12-2004, 07:24 AM
    Slosh
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Davey
    They say that the HDCD code is in WMP but it's kind of hard to tell how well it works. Depends on what kind of soundcard you have and how well it's configured to take advantage of the possible extra resolution after decoding. Nothing new really, it's all software whether the code is in a chip or loaded in RAM. But .wav files are a different format than the data on the disc so I don't think it's setup to recognize the code within a .wav file. I know people have been asking that same question for a couple years.....

    I generally stay away from that bloated WMP and use a cool little piece of freeware called hacp available at http://www.xs4all.nl/~hneel/software.htm. It does CD-TEXT and freedb and works very nice. Looks like this when playing my Marley comp.....:)

    http://members.mailaka.net/davey/hacp.gif

    Thanks. I'll look into that. The one thing I do like about WMP9 is it allows you to put the playback controls in the bottom toolbar when you're doing other tasks. I don't like that there are almost always noise bursts at the start and end of .wavs that I know aren't actually part of the .wav itself because I don't hear that when played back with my CD burning software (or when they're burned to CD-R).

    I don't often use my computer to play CDs anyway. Why would I when I have a component CD player right in the same room? I was just wondering about HDCD.

    Oh, and Dusty, I meant to imply that I was surprised that my soundcard decodes Dolby Digital but for all I know it could be the software. In the end it doesn't really matter. I'm not going to be watching DVDs on the computer.