Is support for HDCD dying out? (OPPO no longer supporting)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Zafu, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Zafu

    Zafu Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yesterday, OPPO unveiled info on the new 205 model, release pending. While SACD and many formats are supported, it was upsetting to discover they have no intention of supporting the decoding of HDCD.

    While I understand some aren't fans of this process, I must own hundreds of HDCD CD's and worried about the future, in upgrading to hardware that doesn't support it.

    When I asked OPPO why, a random FB person responded with a quote from another forum, where OPPO said the encoder manufacturer would not be continuing to support it.

    Any here have insight on any of this?

    Thanks. -Zafu
  2. matthew2600

    matthew2600 Forum Resident

    Lawrence KS
    On behalf of the Laserdisc community, stop worrying about the future.
  3. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    No idea. A lot of players aren't supporting it anymore. I was looking through my collection the other day and realized I have less HDCDs than I thought. Maybe around 20-25? Dunno.

    I'm not too worried about it so long is there is a way to decode HDCD via a computer and ripping software. I'd be more worried about whether Windows will stop providing the HDCD.exe program than whether hardware manufacturers are going to continue to support it.
  4. tlake6659

    tlake6659 Forum Resident

    No HDCD decoding is a reason why I still haven't bought a 205.
  5. JackDVD78

    JackDVD78 Well-Known Member

    Interesting news about HDCD OPPO support. I was surprised that I have a few HDCDs that were never listed as such on the packaging. Including several Madonna CD maxi singles from I believe the late 90's into early 2000 time frame. I may be off a few years but I put in one recently and it showed the logo on my OPPO BDP-103

    I do plan on getting the new upgraded player that is coming soon even though I don't own a 4K tv and still love my flagship last Panasonic Plasma model made TV. I just hate that I spent money to upgrade to ATMOS audio then all the sudden the ATMOS gets only put on many 4K UHD discs but Blu-Ray got left out. So I won't get boosted picture quality but I will be able to hear certain ATMOS tracks.

    still glad they are supporting SACD though. I also have a region free 103 and will keep that player obviously but when and if it dies will be the end of me hearing any HDCDs.
  6. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    Never shoulda rolled out in the first place.
    2trackmind likes this.
  7. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    All my Rhino Grateful Dead albums have it, so it's kind of important to me that the players decode it. Even my tube CD player does HDCD.
  8. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    I'm not a Dead collector, but if I was I might be more concerned about the hardware. Looks like tons of the archive/live releases are HDCD also, which is kind of surprising as HDCD is pretty much dead nowadays.
    seed_drill likes this.
  9. bruce2

    bruce2 Forum Resident

    Connecticut, USA
    You are not a fan of HDCD?
  10. wwright

    wwright Forum Resident

    San Francisco, CA.
    The Spectral SDR-4000SL CD player does HDCD.

    One of these one box wonders will beat an entire dCS stack in sound quality. And they are sticking with the format.

    WELCOME to Spectral Audio'sHome Page
    marcel and jmsquires like this.
  11. Thievius

    Thievius Blue Öyster Cultist

    I wonder if its a case where Oppo doesn't want to pay Microsoft the royalties to include the tech. Why that would be the case now, I have no idea.
  12. Zafu

    Zafu Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I just phoned OPPO, after receiving an email from them today about being able to pre-order the 205. They told me the chip ESS manufacturer was the company that decided not to include the HDCD decoding. Of course, OPPO could of selected another chip manufacturer, but assume they love their stuff and have a relationship.

    Yes, the Grateful Dead in-particular encode just about all of their stuff with HDCD and they have a ton of stuff, since they keep releasing their shows. This sucks, but wondering how much it really matters, If this DAC is superior to the one in my OPPO 95, I suppose it's possible that the HDCD cd's will sound just as good even without the decoding. Not sure.... ??

    Below is the chip in the OPPO 205.

    OPPO UDP-205 is equipped with two ESS Technology ES9038PRO DACs for both stereo and 7.1 channel analog audio. The ES9038PRO is the flagship of the ESS PRO series. It sets a new benchmark for audio excellence with its best-in-class 140 dB of dynamic range in a 32-bit, 8-channel DAC. The ES9038PRO SABRE DAC features ESS’ patented 32-bit HyperStreamDAC technology, which is responsible for the outstanding clarity and sound stage.
    patient_ot likes this.
  13. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Golden Gate
    SQ improvements are somewhere between microscopic and non-extstent. (Based on my few dozen titles and mid-fi gear.)

    It's very difficult to determine whether any given HDCD employs peak extension (I don't have, or want, Windows). I don't want to spend time making that determination in the first place.

    In its heyday, a number of CDs were released in HDCD only, forcing me into a pricy DAC (not that it wasn't good). There was always the expressed threat that you were getting a compromised signal if you played a PE HDCD without a decoding DAC. And as always, difficult to determine.

    Archiving these discs to the server was arduous.

    So it's always been expense and effort with no discernible gain. Glad it's dead.

    Any wonder I give MQA the stink-eye?
  14. Larry Geller

    Larry Geller Surround sound lunatic

    Bayside, NY
    It's why I bought a 203, but still kept my 83. Still think the decoding SHB in the receiver, not the player.
    Zafu likes this.
  15. Crispy Rob

    Crispy Rob Cat Juggler

    Oakland, CA
    It seems to be a prevalent trend, and for those of us with a lot of Grateful Dead discs and maybe a lot of Neil Young in the collection, it's a bummer. I wound up buying an Oppo a few months ago primarily because they still supported HDCD and DVD-A (I have a fair amount of King Crimson, who seem to favor that format), whereas Arcam no longer did. I liked the sound a bit better in my Arcam overall, but since I mainly use the CD player (as opposed to computer rips) for HDCDs, SACDs, and DVD-A, it was important to me to have something that decodes HDCD. I do think HDCD sounds better when I've a/b compared against non-HDCD rips of the same discs.
    vegafleet likes this.
  16. Michael P

    Michael P Forum Resident

    Parma, Ohio
    So the 203 does not support HDCP either? I was considering getting a 203. I thought OPPO's main claim to fame was that it played every disc format imaginable.
  17. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    I have a few HDCDs but no player that decodes them. I would love to hear my HDCD of Tonto's Expanding Head Band - Tonto Rides Again.
  18. Threshold

    Threshold Well-Known Member

    Manchester NH
    To be honest I never heard any real sonic improvement w/HDCD. One thing that surprised me some CD's had HDCD coding but it was never printed on the cover or CD.
  19. shaboo

    shaboo Forum Resident

    Bonn, Germany
    Many discs have the HDCD flag set without actually using any of the HDCD features.
  20. Dieu

    Dieu Forum Resident

    I just bought a Yamaha BDA1060 and it seem to recognize HDCD.

    I connected my system analog AND HDMI. As with SACD, will the analog stereo CD mode mute the full range of HDCD (like ordinary CD player)? Do I have to use HDMI absolutly for HDCD?

  21. HanowarHAIL

    HanowarHAIL Forum Resident

    I have 19 HDCDs: I think 3 have the transient filter on a few tracks and one has peak extension on most of the album. The tech seems completely useless to me unless you are listening to extremely dynamic classic or jazz anyway.
  22. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Will avoid MQA for the same reasons.
    TarnishedEars and sunspot42 like this.
  23. HDCD is awesome because the Pacific Microsonics AD converter is an awesome sounding AD converter. The sound of HDCD is in the Pacific Microsonics converter and not in the special bit twiddling encoding and decoding that HDCD does. If Pacific Microsonics implemented HDCD using an AD converter that didn't sound so good then there would have been no real sonic benefit to HDCD. Which is the reason that DCC and some Audio Fidelity used the Pacific Microsonics AD converter even though DCC and Audio Fidelity did not make use of the peak extend feature of HDCD. It's a very good sounding AD converter. The Grateful Dead are using HDCD and the Pacific Microsonics converter for the same reason. It sounds good. Unfortunately The Grateful Dead use peak extend on the live archive recordings. Bummer. I wish they didn't. Because the use of peak extend means the HDCD needs to be decoded to get back the original intended dynamics.

    To me the Pacific Microsonics has similar sound as what I hear with the Schiit multibits and other similar sounding DACs. Soundstage and imaging with wonderful depth and a wonder center focus with no hole or gap in the center of imaging or soundstage. Microdetails and microdynamics are there in the imaging. Dynamics and transients and timing sound natural (PRaT). The dynamics and transients don't sound artificiality hyped like what can happen if gear overshoots transients. It all just sounds very good and relaxed as good sound should be.

    I wish more releases would continue to use the Pacific Microsonics converter and HDCD. My only additional wish is that they refrain from using the peak extend or gain features of HDCD. If a HDCD title doesn't make use of Peak Extend or Gain then there is no benefit or need in decoding the HDCD and any good CD player or DAC can play it as it was intended.

    Despite my love of the HDCD sound I do not own any disc player or DAC that can decode HDCD. I use software decoding instead and use computer as source playback rather than spinning HDCD discs. However, I'd be happy to have a Berkeley Audio Design DAC that decodes HDCD. Unfortunately the Berkeley DACs are out of my budget.
    martinb4, Rolltide, vegafleet and 7 others like this.
  24. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    Hmmmm. Will be hanging onto my BDP-95 for awhile then. I have a massive official Grateful Dead HDCD collection. My current Man Cave CDP is the Line Magnetic-LM 215CD. HDCD encoded or not, it's sublime with any/all/redbook or no.

    I'll admit to being at least 5 years behind the tech curve.
  25. norliss

    norliss Forum Resident

    Cardiff, Wales
    In all honesty, HDCD was always such a niche thing with so few titles, oftentimes completely unpublicised: I have a couple of Beck albums that are HDCD but it says nothing on the disc or box! SA-CD/DVD Audio were practically mainstream by comparison.

    I think there's very little compelling CE manufacturers to keep supporting it, really.

Share This Page