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OK, I'll bite. What is XRCD or XACD? Thanks to this forum, I learned about HDCD and am now buying $20 discs from Taiwan on e-bay. Did I really need these?? Please don't tell me there is another format that I'm going to end up paying big $$$ for...
 

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I don't think HDCD will ever become mainstream. And XRCD even fewer people have heard of. If you're going to be spending $20 on discs, it's time to invest in a universal SACD/DVD-A player.
 

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XRCD requires no special equipment to realize its benefits. It is simply a process applied during mastering I believe. A good portion of it is probably marketing more than technology, but then again, I do not own any XRCD's.


-Tony
 

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XRCD's are generally the best sound CD's you can buy. Telarc and Chesky are also up there. THe XRCD's cost much more because of the painstaking process they go through to maintain quality and because the work is done in Japan.


I've compared a few SACD's and DVD-A's to the XRCD's and on excellent equipment the are not quite as good. On mediocre Universal players the Hi Res products sound much better. This is because most CD playback on these Universals is generally, well, mediocre.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by robertawillisjr
This is because most CD playback on these Universals is generally, well, mediocre.
This last statement of yours concerns me. Which universal players, or do you consider a price point, do I need to go up to before I get excellent CD playback in addition to everything else?

Quote:
I don't think HDCD will ever become mainstream. And XRCD even fewer people have heard of. If you're going to be spending $20 on discs, it's time to invest in a universal SACD/DVD-A player.



1000000 percent agreed!


These XRCD's have to be the biggest rip off yet. What kind of BS marketing scam is this? Honestly. Don't give me the line about how much sound processing, engineering, magic, whatever you want to call it, goes into these? This is an atrocious ripoff in every sense possible.


Yeah, I'm looking at that site right now. That Arthur Fiedler march disc is $30, for example. Give me a break. :rolleyes:



I can see paying $15-$20 max for a true high rez disc and feel a little better about it, considering what it is and what goes into it and what it does, but anything below that, well, again, I think CD's are all woefully overpriced.




I think you all might find this interesting.


WalMart is challenging the RIAA because it wants to sell CD's at no more than $10 a pop. Certainly this price is more reasonable and a lot closer to what they should cost anyways.


I'm no fan of WalMart and some of their business practices and employee treatment, but I find that I have to be on their side for this one.

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/sto...s-player=false


I'll highlight the nexus of the article right here for everyone to ponder:

Quote:
This breakdown of the cost of a typical major-label release by the independent market-research firm Almighty Institute of Music Retail shows where the money goes for a new album with a list price of $15.99.


$0.17 Musicians' unions

$0.80 Packaging/manufacturing

$0.82 Publishing royalties

$0.80 Retail profit

$0.90 Distribution

$1.60 Artists' royalties

$1.70 Label profit

$2.40 Marketing/promotion

$2.91 Label overhead

$3.89 Retail overhead



Here's a second set of figures that I found as well, so see which set makes more sense to you. Some of you work in this industry, maybe you can clear it up for me.

Quote:


$0.17 Musicians' unions

$--- Packaging/manufacturing

$0.82 Publishing royalties

$--- Retail profit

$0.75 Online distributor profit

$--- Distribution

$1.60 Artists' royalties

$1.70 Label profit

$2.40 Marketing/promotion

$2.91 Label overhead

$--- Retail overhead

$1.00 Online distributor overhead


$11.35 Total



I have my doubts about this second set myself. The person who gave these to me claims to work in the music industry, but I have no way of verifying that enough to my own satisfaction. Certainly that would make him more "sympathetic".


Who knows? Maybe I'll learn something new today. ;)


Bottom line: CD's are a rip off, imho. These XRCD's are beyond laughable in terms of being a rip off. Unbelievable!




Here's a few realistic examples and stats to consider, to show you how out of wack this all is:


We'll start with breaking down the averages, value per dollar, across three popular forms of entertainment.



CD @ $12 for 30 minutes of content = .40 per minute

DVD @ $20 for 120 minutes of content = .17 per minute

Videogame @ $40 for 600 minutes of content = .06 per minute.




Pretty obscene isn't it? It doesn't even begin to make sense. But I'll throw you down some more specific examples just to drive the point home.



Pink Floyd- The Wall (DVD) $31.98

Pink Floyd- The Wall (CD) $34.98



The Matrix Reloaded (DVD) = $16.37

The Matrix Reloaded (Soundtrack CD) = $16.99


Donnie Darko (DVD) = $11.24

Donnie Darko (Soundtrack CD) = $13.49


Grease (DVD) = $12.29

Grease (Soundtrack CD) = $12.99


The Last of the Mohicans (DVD) = $16.38

The Last of the Mohicans (Soundtrack) = $16.99


I tried as best I could, using Amazon and other well priced vendors, for a lot of these prices to make them as cheap and generous as I possibly could. It still comes out looking ludicrious as hell.



It gets even more ludicrous when you start talking about film scores/soundtracks on CD.


Re-use fees if scored in the United States, etc. etc. makes film scores forever a very nonprofitable venture. Unfortuneately, the consumer really feels the pain.



The Terminator Special Edition DVD - $10

The Terminator complete sound track - $35


Robocop TRILOGY - $35

Robocop sound track cd - $23.99


The Exorcist TVYNS DVD - $12.99

The Exorist sound track cd - NON-EXISTANT because no one would buy it for the $21.99 it would end up costing


Conan: The Complete Quest - $15

Conan the Barbarian sound track cd - $17.99


Predator Region 1 special edition - $20

Predator official sound track CD- Limited Edition pressing that'll run you around $20 if you can still get it at Varese Sarabande. I believe it's OOP already. There's a few left overseas but this is disappearing like the dinosaur. You'll be at the mercy of the gouge job on Ebay if you want to get this, otherwise, beg Varese Sarabande

to press some more copies.


All of these examples are from popular, even currently profitable franchises and don't get a good release. That alone should speak to how much sound track enthusiasts like myself get shafted every two seconds.


Anways, hope I brought some new life to this thread! :D
 

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"These XRCD's have to be the biggest rip off yet. What kind of BS marketing scam is this? Honestly. Don't give me the line about how much sound processing, engineering, magic, whatever you want to call it, goes into these? This is an atrocious ripoff in every sense possible. "


Again, it is better to speak from experience, don't you think? The XRCDs that I have sound much better than the other CDs of the same albums. For example, the import XRCD of Brothers in Arms simply sounds much better than the standard CD. The only way you can tell is by listening, and those who listen seem all to agree.
 

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A friend gave me an XRCD a couple years ago saying he didn't care for the music. I listened for a few minutes and gave it back, it was just a typical sounding CD to me -- optimally designed for engendering listening fatigue. I'm inclined to agree with the scam crowd. (Sorry, I don't remember the title.)
 

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Thanks for confirming my instincts and judgements on the information already available, Trevor.


With one exception, everyone in this thread seems to be painting a rather unmistakeable picture of this scene.


It's just like I don't need to skydive out of an airplane without a parachute to figure out it's not a great idea. I don't need to waste $30 a pop on a non-high rez disc to figure this out. It's foolish to suggest otherwise just so I have the "right" to speak on it. That's not how the real world functions and I'll reject that model every time.


Here's a few easy formulas to reallysend the point home:

Formula 1:


XRCD sounds as good if not better than the best of redbook CDs (which are already overpriced but that's besides the point) + Doesn't sound as good as high rez discs = Twice the cost of regular CD's and many high rez discs/more expensive than most or all high rez discs.



Sorry, that doesn't work for me. Doesn't make sense. Good luck counterarguing that.


"It sounds great" is no argument whatsoever. It doesn't mean anything whatsoever. Besides, not one person in this thread ever suggested otherwise. We're all quite sure it sounds really good.


I don't care how good it sounds, it's irrelevant to the topic and subject at hand unless it sounds AS good if not better than high rez. That's the criteria it has to meet to remotely justify those costs. I know that's not going to happen.


It's just using your head. Common sense, thinking through the available information.


I'll make it even more ridiculously simple. Throw out redbook CD's completely from consideration. Here's what you're still left with this:

Formula 2:


XRCD's don't sound as good as high rez discs but cost as much if not more than high rez discs.




The one underlying truth from both these formulas is that you end up with a heirarchy that looks like this, in terms of sound quality and prices (I'll use average prices)

1.) SACD/DVD-A (best) $20-ish.


If you go to www.acousticsounds.com right now, click the SACD label, just look at the prices alone on the first page. $16.99's and $11.98's all over the place! For SACD! Now, here's rocket science for you! I can buy TWO of those SACD's right now or I can buy an XRCD! What are YOU going to do? Firsthand experience? This is child's play, c'mon! :p


But I'm trying to be generous and give a deliberately high average. I don't want to blow this thing out of the park too much! ;)

XRCD (better) $30 ish, give or take? My eyes blurred after a while trying to find something cheaper than $30. Maybe there's a stray $25 in the mix here and there. Hell, I'll give to 'em, why not? Let's say, for laughs, you can get an XRCD as cheap as $20. Just for the hell of it, why not? :D

CD (good) $15 on average, give or take. You know the deal here and you can see my post before this one for breakdowns.


That's it right there. Case closed. What more needs to be said, really, past that? Do I have to really blow at least $30 and have this "firsthand experience" to figure this out? I don't think so! I'll take two SACD's please!


Quote:
Originally posted by nicholtl
I don't think HDCD will ever become mainstream. And XRCD even fewer people have heard of. If you're going to be spending $20 on discs, it's time to invest in a universal SACD/DVD-A player.
This gem deserves an encore appearance for the win.


At least HDCD is simply part of a normal CD's a person buys.


Doesn't cost anything extra -(well...maybe it does if you look at my figures in the earlier post. Hidden fee of an extra buck or two for HDCD coding? Who knows? ;)) -and it's a nice bonus to have and use if you've got it. Certainly makes worlds' more sense to me.


This XRCD thing, though, is bunk. I think it is a scam for sure now that I took the time to post some hard figures. The numbers don't lie. And a basic knowledge of sound and what goes into making a CD is all I really need to know about this to figure it out.


It's as much bunk as demanding that someone have firsthand experience before they're allowed to venture a thought or opinion or idea in any discussion is bunk. I think I've proven that. Again.


It's laughable when you take into account that there are cheap universal players like the Pioneer 578 and 563 out there, this is such a no-brainer that I feel truly sorry for anyone that can't figure this out without "firsthand experience."


So we can combine all this with the numbers, stats, figures, and sources that I cited in my last post, and I think we have ourselves a rather solid open and shut case. I think it's been blown to hell and back myself.


No firsthand experience needed or necessary. Just use common sense and a little brain power. ;)
 

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I will say one thing in favor of redbook CD (which until l ran into this one example, I had pretty much given up on), the recording/mastering engineer/s at Mapleshade seems to know how to get sound out of CD that is phenomenal (at least for CD). A friend, mostly out of curiosity, purchased several CD's recorded and produced by them, and played one at his place while I was there. I wasn't entirely pleased with the material, but the sonic quality caught me by surprise. He lent me a couple discs and when I played one at home with equipment I was well calibrated to, it qualified as a revelation.


Mapleshade is doing something very right and it's too bad the other 99.9999% of the industry clearly doesn't have a clue. Still, it demonstrates that it is possible.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by TrevorS
I will say one thing in favor of redbook CD (which until l ran into this one example, I had pretty much given up on), the recording/mastering engineer/s at Mapleshade seems to know how to get sound out of CD that is phenomenal (at least for CD). A friend, mostly out of curiosity, purchased several CD's recorded and produced by them, and played one at his place while I was there. I wasn't entirely pleased with the material, but the sonic quality caught me by surprise. He lent me a couple discs and when I played one at home with equipment I was well calibrated to, it qualified as a revelation.


Mapleshade is doing something very right and it's too bad the other 99.9999% of the industry clearly doesn't have a clue. Still, it demonstrates that it is possible.
Definitely. It can't be emphasized enough how important awesome sound engineering is and the methods used to make a quality CD from beginning to end. A masterpiece concert or recording can be destroyed easily on its way to the CD when shoddy craftsmanship is at hand.


I've always believed that the full potential for CD has been rarely utilized. I'll have to try a Mapleshade recording sometime, you've tantalized me.


Bet you or your friend didn't pay $30 a pop for those CDs... ;)


Edit:
http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/index.php


No, obviously a LOT less than $30! :D
 

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Yes, their CD prices are very reasonable. It seems the owner of Mapleshade goes off on talent scouting trips and comes back with recordings of artists that are largely unknown. Nonetheless, the talent is real and the material can be very enjoyable. The CD's are clearly produced with both loving care and considerable insight. Superb engineering.
 

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CD = 16 bit, 44.1 kHz

XRCD = 16 bit, 44.1 kHz


Ain't no magic about it. Good mastering is good mastering whether it's Mobile Fidelity, DCC, those Sony gold discs, XRCD, or Warner Bros, Atlantic, etc.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Kevin C Brown
CD = 16 bit, 44.1 kHz

XRCD = 16 bit, 44.1 kHz


Ain't no magic about it. Good mastering is good mastering whether it's Mobile Fidelity, DCC, those Sony gold discs, XRCD, or Warner Bros, Atlantic, etc.
Did you have to have firsthand experience and place down $30 first on an XRCD before you could figure this out? :p
 

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Just remembered that those "Sony gold discs" are called MasterSound. I have a copy of Wish You Were Here in that format. Still 16/44.1, but sounds pretty darn good! :)
 

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Some of the higher quality CDs such as Mobile Fidelity, XRCD, etc. just take extra care in mastering and burning the CDs to get better quality sound. This usually includes remastering from old tapes, and printing to higher quality media. higher quality media means better information transfer, fewer dropouts etc.--many minor defects are played by your CD player but can result in decreased sound quality.


If you have a high quality stereo, you can hear the difference between some of these high quality discs and their generic equivalents--but not all of them are better.
 

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Quote:
CD = 16 bit, 44.1 kHz

XRCD = 16 bit, 44.1 kHz
Just because you have 16 bits doesn't mean that all 16 bits are being used. Some of the early CD's were using 8, 10 or 12 bits. Also many mass market CD's are over compressed.
 

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That is where the mastering comes in.
 
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