HDCD CDs, do they play (correctly) on normal CD player? - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 06-12-2014, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Question HDCD CDs, do they play (correctly) on normal CD player?

OK, I first admit I'm not sure what the HDCD really is, and what is required to play it properly. I've read some of the white papers out there, hence my confusion.

I just noticed a CD was marked "HDCD" on it (Kenny Wayne Shepard-Live On). I remember playing it in the car's CD, and it sounding somewhat "bad". I just tried it in my Sony BDP-BX510 blu ray, and it seems to play fine.

However, before I load it into my Sony Jukebox (Sony CDP-CX400), I'm wondering if it will play properly.

So, what is an "HDCD" CD, and what equipment can play it properly? I've heard these HDCDs distort at the peaks in normal CD players........

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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post #2 of 20 Old 06-12-2014, 07:30 AM
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HDCD will play in any Redbook CD player.

HDCD was a way of "cheating" the 16 bit spec by adding a slight amount of noise and using dithering to increases the dynamic rage to around 120dB.

The added random noise may be audible but it will not harm or effect the playback system.

Last edited by William; 06-12-2014 at 07:34 AM.
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post #3 of 20 Old 06-12-2014, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by William View Post
HDCD will play in any Redbook CD player.

HDCD was a way of "cheating" the 16 bit spec by adding a slight amount of noise and using dithering to increases the dynamic rage to around 120dB.

The added random noise may be audible but it will not harm or effect the playback system.
Thanks for the reply and info. I've loaded into my CD player, and will give it a listen. I simply did not want to "assume" it was compatible.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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post #4 of 20 Old 06-12-2014, 08:55 AM
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My Marantz receiver displays a little red HDCD logo when I play a HDCD disc but only with a digital connection.
I'm sure it works but I would never know if the logo was not on.
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post #5 of 20 Old 06-12-2014, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
My Marantz receiver displays a little red HDCD logo when I play a HDCD disc but only with a digital connection.
I'm sure it works but I would never know if the logo was not on.
I was looking for some logo display on my Denon, but did not notice one. I am using a digital connection for the CD player.

I did sample the CD in the player, and it seems fine. I guess I'm wondering "what difference" I'm "supposed" to hear!

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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post #6 of 20 Old 06-12-2014, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post
I was looking for some logo display on my Denon, but did not notice one. I am using a digital connection for the CD player.

I did sample the CD in the player, and it seems fine. I guess I'm wondering "what difference" I'm "supposed" to hear!
If your cd player or receive does not have the hdcd logo beside the dolby or DTS or THX logo then it cannot do the HDCD processing. So it will play like a regular CD with a little bit of "Noise"
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post #7 of 20 Old 06-12-2014, 03:10 PM
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post #8 of 20 Old 06-13-2014, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
If your cd player or receive does not have the hdcd logo beside the dolby or DTS or THX logo then it cannot do the HDCD processing. So it will play like a regular CD with a little bit of "Noise"
I kind of remember this logo on some of the CD players I used to have in the collection. I checked, and none of my current equipment has the logo. Although, based upon the research I've read, my remaining equipment is all made after the marketing timeframe of HDCD.

In the end, I'm wondering if there is a real, or true, audio difference.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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post #9 of 20 Old 06-13-2014, 07:33 AM
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Like most things in audio the difference is on paper. REDBook CD's have a huge dynamic range and most CD use very little of that dynamic range in this age of louder is better.

I only CD I can think of that is a HDCD is my Independence Day Sound track. It sounds really good, one of my better CD's. If I was to rate all of my CD's it would be in my top 20 sound quality wise. A SACD is number one but after that it would be a mix of REDBook, DVD-audio and SACD's. Some of my SACD's would be very low on the list.
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post #10 of 20 Old 06-13-2014, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
Like most things in audio the difference is on paper. REDBook CD's have a huge dynamic range and most CD use very little of that dynamic range in this age of louder is better.

I only CD I can think of that is a HDCD is my Independence Day Sound track. It sounds really good, one of my better CD's. If I was to rate all of my CD's it would be in my top 20 sound quality wise. A SACD is number one but after that it would be a mix of REDBook, DVD-audio and SACD's. Some of my SACD's would be very low on the list.

Great post, I think more and more folks are starting to realize that the content, and how it's been recorded, mixed, and mastered, is the important part of the equation, the formats of supposedly higher quality than CDs, not so much. I tend to be a sucker for some of the higher rez formats strictly for their multi-channel presentation, which I'm quite fond of. But I'm under no illusion that those formats are inherently superior to the 44.1/16 CD specification.

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post #11 of 20 Old 06-14-2014, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
Like most things in audio the difference is on paper. REDBook CD's have a huge dynamic range and most CD use very little of that dynamic range in this age of louder is better.

I only CD I can think of that is a HDCD is my Independence Day Sound track. It sounds really good, one of my better CD's. If I was to rate all of my CD's it would be in my top 20 sound quality wise. A SACD is number one but after that it would be a mix of REDBook, DVD-audio and SACD's. Some of my SACD's would be very low on the list.
Nice summation! In a similar view, I have a DVD-Audio (Eagles-Hotel California) that I would rate number one. I can definitely hear the difference, even in a stereo mode.

As for the others, it's the famous quote, "it depends". I don't have any SACDs in my collection, but I do have the "remasters", and the "gold CDs", and I can't really tell any audio quality difference.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I bought all this "stuff" to enjoy it!
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post #12 of 20 Old 06-14-2014, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
Like most things in audio the difference is on paper. REDBook CD's have a huge dynamic range and most CD use very little of that dynamic range in this age of louder is better.

I only CD I can think of that is a HDCD is my Independence Day Sound track. It sounds really good, one of my better CD's. If I was to rate all of my CD's it would be in my top 20 sound quality wise. A SACD is number one but after that it would be a mix of REDBook, DVD-audio and SACD's. Some of my SACD's would be very low on the list.
Nice summation! In a similar view, I have a DVD-Audio (Eagles-Hotel California) that I would rate number one. I can definitely hear the difference, even in a stereo mode.

As for the others, it's the famous quote, "it depends". I don't have any SACDs in my collection, but I do have the "remasters", and the "gold CDs", and I can't really tell any audio quality difference.

Try the Blu-ray audio of Steven Wilson's "The Raven Who Refused To Sing", incredible surround mix, and recording sound quality. That would be my number one currently.


Jay

Heavily addicted SACDBA member, starting the twelve steps tomorrow!
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post #13 of 20 Old 06-14-2014, 07:45 PM
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[quote=Pet Motel;24963809]
Quote:
Originally Posted by bizwiz41 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklightning View Post
Like most things in audio the difference is on paper. REDBook CD's have a huge dynamic range and most CD use very little of that dynamic range in this age of louder is better.

I only CD I can think of that is a HDCD is my Independence Day Sound track. It sounds really good, one of my better CD's. If I was to rate all of my CD's it would be in my top 20 sound quality wise. A SACD is number one but after that it would be a mix of REDBook, DVD-audio and SACD's. Some of my SACD's would be very low on the list.
Nice summation! In a similar view, I have a DVD-Audio (Eagles-Hotel California) that I would rate number one. I can definitely hear the difference, even in a stereo mode.

As for the others, it's the famous quote, "it depends". I don't have any SACDs in my collection, but I do have the "remasters", and the "gold CDs", and I can't really tell any audio quality difference.

Try the Blu-ray audio of Steven Wilson's "The Raven Who Refused To Sing", incredible surround mix, and recording sound quality. That would be my number one currently.


I will second this an excellent recording.
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post #14 of 20 Old 03-30-2015, 03:25 PM
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I have a lot of great HDCDs including Tool - Lateralus Dire Straits and Al di Meola ( w Paco and McLaughlin)
Some like Meshugga Catch 33 show up HDCD on my Marantz but they may be false positives I heard, recorded by engineer using HDCD D/As because they're of higher quality, but no transient filters or something else relating to not being 20 bits perhaps, there was an article somewhere about this.

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post #15 of 20 Old 03-31-2015, 09:28 AM
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Basically, it doesn't really matter. Since red book CD has a low enough noise floor to be inaudible, lowering it any more is meaningless. You can play the HDCD on your CD player but it may have some audible noise which was added to "create" the HDCD format but not eliminated through the "HD" dithering process. But if you aren't going to use an HDCD player you may get better results from a red book CD version of the recording.

The inventors of the CD chose 16/44 because there is no audible benefit to going further. They knew what they were doing. The industry has foisted all kinds of other formats on the public but they accomplish nothing other than perhaps spending the time to do a better job of mastering the recordings for the "premium" formats.
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post #16 of 20 Old 03-31-2015, 02:49 PM
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what is a stereo SACD? Usually 96/24 such as blu rays? Im trying to learn all the technical aspects of audio engineering and speakers so I can see through marketing and BS and get down to scientific facts, but theres so little unbiased information out there. All I remember is the Nyquidst theorem (spelling?) states one thing being that the highest obtainable frequency is usually half of the sampling rate...which makes since since 44/2 - around 21 kHz...the usual highs a CD can output (and human can hear). But as far as the bits per cycle go, I don't know what more translate into listening wise.

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post #17 of 20 Old 03-31-2015, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HsuDreamTheater View Post
what is a stereo SACD? Usually 96/24 such as blu rays? Im trying to learn all the technical aspects of audio engineering and speakers so I can see through marketing and BS and get down to scientific facts, but theres so little unbiased information out there. All I remember is the Nyquidst theorem (spelling?) states one thing being that the highest obtainable frequency is usually half of the sampling rate...which makes since since 44/2 - around 21 kHz...the usual highs a CD can output (and human can hear). But as far as the bits per cycle go, I don't know what more translate into listening wise.
I'll answer assuming you know how PC works. DSD is different in that it samples at a much higher frequency (~2.82mHz), but instead of recording the sample as a value, eg a 16 bit number, it compares it to the previous sample and assigns a single bit describing whether the second sample is higher or lower in value than the first one and so on.

Wikipedia's tech explanation isn't too bad.

In my experience DSD/SACD is vastly overrated in terms of SQ, especially as so few were mastered well enough to make an audible difference. Good recording/mastering is far more important than the medium.
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post #18 of 20 Old 04-01-2015, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HsuDreamTheater View Post
what is a stereo SACD? Usually 96/24 such as blu rays? Im trying to learn all the technical aspects of audio engineering and speakers so I can see through marketing and BS and get down to scientific facts, but theres so little unbiased information out there. All I remember is the Nyquidst theorem (spelling?) states one thing being that the highest obtainable frequency is usually half of the sampling rate...which makes since since 44/2 - around 21 kHz...the usual highs a CD can output (and human can hear). But as far as the bits per cycle go, I don't know what more translate into listening wise.

They translate into a lower noise floor. It isn't meaningful, however, because 16 bits already provide an inaudible noise floor. You can't make things more inaudible.


The industry has plied us with all kinds of formats claiming superior sound but none of them provide superior sound. SACD and Blu Ray provide surround sound. It isn't superior sound, just more channels. Fine if you like your music that way. Some "high resolution" discs offer improved mastering of the recordings but that is an improvement in production, not reproduction.
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post #19 of 20 Old 04-01-2015, 11:44 AM
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Thanks for the reply FMW and A9X, seems like there really is a lot of audio foolery out there. I do enjoy listening to surround music on occasion instead of stereo when the mood catches me, but I a/b 'ed countless same album redbooks and SACDs (Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow for example) and could not in stereo, tell the difference. I was questioning if it was my listening skills or room treatment. If the industry feels pushed to master SACD or other hi res formats better, its sad they just cant put that effort forth for all the regular redbooks from the start.

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post #20 of 20 Old 04-01-2015, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by HsuDreamTheater View Post
Thanks for the reply FMW and A9X, seems like there really is a lot of audio foolery out there. I do enjoy listening to surround music on occasion instead of stereo when the mood catches me, but I a/b 'ed countless same album redbooks and SACDs (Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow for example) and could not in stereo, tell the difference. I was questioning if it was my listening skills or room treatment. If the industry feels pushed to master SACD or other hi res formats better, its sad they just cant put that effort forth for all the regular redbooks from the start.
As in any business it is about money. The more time engineers spend producing the product, the more the product costs.
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