HDCD ripping properly to 24bit FLAC

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by captainsolo, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. boiledbeans

    boiledbeans Forum Resident

    In addition to those lists of HDCDs, here's another list.
    List of HDCD-encoded Compact Discs - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase

    This list is more detailed. It shows which CDs have Peak Extend enabled and whether it's applied to all tracks.

    Also, in the Hydrogenaudio page is a link to Head-Fi with another list
    HDCD list
    Dino, nosliw and c-eling like this.
  2. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

  3. I didn't know about the list being compiled over at Hydrogenaudio. And ffmpeg being able to detect HDCD is also something that seems to be new.
  4. HDCD was and is a great idea because the Pacific Microsonics AD converter is a great sounding AD converter. That great sound of HDCD is all due to the great sound of the Pacific Microsonics AD converter. The special HDCD sound quality has little to nothing to do with the HDCD encoding and the peak extend or gain encoding/decoding. The special HDCD sound qualities is all due to the AD converter that was used for making HDCD discs. An HDCD disc that doesn't make use of extra features like peak extend or gain still sounds awesome and very identifiable by ear as having that HDCD sound quality. The magic is all in the PM AD converter being very good and sounding very special.
    PhilBiker, dmckean and nosliw like this.
  5. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    Windows only, it should be noted.
  6. testikoff

    testikoff Seasoned n00b

    Too bad you can't get Peak Extend on brutally limited RBCDs (and HDCD-encoded without PE option discs), though... ;)
  7. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    New Jersey, USA
    You can -- almost -- with a declipper:

    Silk: CuteStudio Ltd. SeeDeClip4: a DeClipping Multiuser Digital Music Server over HTML5.

    In fact, some of the audio processors radio stations are now using have a built-in declipper and dynamic range expander in order to try to undo the damage caused by modern CD mastering. (And ironically one of the common arguments in favor of the "loudness war" is that it'll make your music sound louder on the radio -- even though all of the radio industry experts emphatically say that such is not the case!)
  8. If ffmpeg is cross-platform. If ffmpeg is now able to decode HDCD then decoding should work on Linux and Mac and Windows.
  9. testikoff

    testikoff Seasoned n00b

    Nice try... :)
  10. captainsolo

    captainsolo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Murfreesboro, TN
    Thanks for all the assistance guys and for clearing up a lot of confusion I had.

    As for the title in question is shows up as hdcd and the decoded sounds identical to the regular 16/44 flac rip I had already made. In audacity he waveforms are identical with the same points of brickwalling. So the only difference is in volume levels.
    TWINE is kind of weird in that some tracks sound great, have healthy 8-11 dr ratings and no brickwalling and then you have others that are dr7 and filled with brickwalling. Soundtrack mastering has gone down the tubes save for specialty labels that have to charge a ton for their limited issues.

    Kind of odd that they would take the time to use hdcd equipment and not use it fully. I always knew there were a number of discs out there but will now have to try all the ones I have in my collection.
  11. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Just to show an example of how peak extend works with a Japanese pop song, which in this case is Akino with bless4's Genesis of Aquarion, the first opening theme song from the anime of the same name. This is taken directly from the Genesis of Aquarion Original Soundtrack 1 (VICL-61648).

    Below is with HDCD completely disabled, with foobar2000's Dynamic Range Meter showing a rather bad rating of DR5! Yikes! :shake:


    And below is with HDCD enabled, which the album uses Peak Extend through-out. foobar2000's Dynamic Range Meter shows the rating as DR11! Wow! :uhhuh:

    JediJoker, Dino, jfeldt and 4 others like this.
  12. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Northern VA, USA
    This. Some "Super Bitmapped" Sony CDs come up as HDCD I believe because of this. My copy of "Live in San Fransisco" by Al Di Meola John Mclaughlin & Paco De Lucia is like this. Lights up the HDCD light on my player but is not an HDCD. Sounds great anyway.

    Most likely the "tracks" that you think were HDCD encoded just used the PM hardware in the mastering process as Ham Sandwich posted.

    HDCD was a silly idea IMO. CD resolution is fine as it is if it's well mastered.
    c-eling likes this.
  13. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Pretty much why AF dropped it's use wasn't it Phil? Thought I read Steve commenting about at it at one point.
    Could of been cost related as well (licensing)
    PhilBiker likes this.
  14. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Excellent example!
    So why wouldn't they just use the bottom mastering in the first place? :winkgrin:
    nosliw and patient_ot like this.
  15. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    A visual for a non-peak extend HDCD disc-
    No HDCD
    HDCD +6 (Foobar)
    HDCD Without +6
  16. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    That recording looks like it was crucially limited to begin with, unless I am interpreting that graph incorrectly.
    BGLeduc likes this.
  17. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    It is Don, modern mastering at it's best :laugh: (2002)
    This release didn't have any blurb indicating it was HDCD encoded, so it may have been done with whatever converter they were using nonchalantly that had this ability.
    I have a few promo cd singles that don't have peak extend as well. With no indication they were done using it.
    I just tested my AF B52's-Cosmic Thing. Peaks and DR are identical between HDCD on and off.
    nosliw, stereoptic and patient_ot like this.
  18. None of the Audio Fidelity HDCD titles will have peak extend or gain. There is no need to decode them or play them on CD players that decode HDCD.

    HDCD CDs do have a certain style of sound that I hear. All HDCD titles get some of that sound. Some more than others. HDCD has a soundstage shape and style of imaging in the center that seems to be common across HDCD titles. The sides of the soundstage seem to not be as wide but it gains depth and cohesion in the center. The soundstage shape is kinda like squeezing a balloon on the sides a little bit. The width gets narrower, but the center gains depth. The center of the soundstage fills in for headphone listening and doesn't have the gap or hole in the center that can be more typical for headphone listening. Imaging in the center of the image also seems to focus towards the center a bit and also focus a little deeper (more depth). To me that combination helps the sound in the center to be a little more dense and have more body. That works great for a lot of recordings where the vocal is in the center. Gives the vocal more body and depth. But it's also something that I think also changes the tonality of what is in the center just a little bit. I'm sure that's something that mastering engineers take into account when mastering using the Pacific Microsonics.
    jfeldt, Dino, c-eling and 1 other person like this.
  19. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I know, right? :D

    From my understanding from Pacific Microsonics' marketing blurb, which of course is misleading and embellished at best, they state somewhere that HDCD's sounds best on a proper home stereo system with HDCD capability and still sound "good enough" on say a car stereo or a lesser stereo system without HDCD.
    c-eling likes this.
  20. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Wonder if they own Culture Factory... :laugh:
  21. Kiko1974

    Kiko1974 Forum Resident

    Do the Pacific Microsonics have a digital input to ONLY use HDCD encoding or the A/D converter cannot be bypassed? I'm asking these because of two albums I own that have 24 bit masters. One is the Soundtrack for Independence Day, which was tracked to analog and mixed down to 24 bit digital (and uses Peak Extension) and the other is the Star Wars Revenge Of The Sith soundtrack. If the Pacific Microsonics processor doesn't have a digital input for mastering digital recordings done with over 16 bits of resolution, then these recordings had to be mastered "the old way", that is playing the master (converting to analog) at its native 24 bit resolution and capture this analog signal with the A/D converter on the Pacific Microsonics processor, converting back to digital a recording which was digital already adding an always undesired cycle of digital-to-analog-to-digital again. I don't know if I've explained this clearly enough...
  22. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    .. was a creative stretching of any truth. 20 bit resolution especially is a big fat lie. Put some extra noise in the file in the last bit, that can selectively turn on a 6dB (1 bit) volume boost. At most, a 17 bit dynamic range (noise floor), if you ignore that the signal is being altered to encode data, causing a fraction of a bit of noise itself.
  23. Goodwin's High End has a page describing the Pacific Micrsonics along with links to the product brochure and operating manual. The Pacific Microsonics does have digital input. The manual explains how that digital input can be configured and what you can do when feeding the converter a digital signal.

    Goodwin's High End - Pacific Microsonics Model Two
  24. bubba-ho-tep

    bubba-ho-tep Forum Resident

    Wylie, TX, USA
    The HDCD DSP has stopped working properly on dBPoweramp on my computer. I've tried tried ripping known HDCD-encoded CDs to FLAC using the DSP and I still end up with 16-bit files that Foobar2000 still recognizes as HDCD.

    I've also tried using the dBPoweramp music converter with the same lack of results. It's always worked before now.

    I'm running the latest version on Windows 10.

    <edit> I just tried decoding to a 24-bit file using Foobar2000. Still didn't work. I wonder if's a compatibility issue with the latest version of Windows 10. That would be pretty irritating.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  25. bubba-ho-tep

    bubba-ho-tep Forum Resident

    Wylie, TX, USA
    More observations:

    HDCD decoding doesn't seem to be working on any of my software even though the encoding is recognized by the software. Any attempts to decode the HDCD result in exactly the same resolution (16/44.1) that still indicates HDCD encoding.

    Is it possible that the HDCD.exe codec is no longer compatible with the latest Windows 10 update?
    JediJoker likes this.

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