Ultimate HQCD (UHQCD) - new CD format, King Crimson on UHQCD and more

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by toilet_doctor, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    What is UHQCD?
    For six years after the birth of HQCD, we continued to make trial-and-error efforts to reproduce audio at even higher quality. We researched new materials and investigated ways to reproduce audio with the highest possible fidelity. After a variety of experiments, we decided on a completely new approach to the task - radically changing the CD manufacturing process itself.

    We exhaustively questioned the conventional wisdom about CD manufacturing, which had remained largely unchanged across the world for over 30 years. Through this effort, which might seem ill-advised, we arrived at the ultimate in quality - a level of quality that is certainly impossible to achieve with existing CD discs.

    Features of UHQCD
    Discs conform to the CD specification and are playable on existing Audio CD players.
    Newly developed disc manufacturing process masks the sound quality.
    Offers easy enjoyment of high-quality audio at a quality that is very close to that of Crystal Disc.

    Conventional high-quality Audio CDs (HQCD)
    We developed our conventional high-quality Audio CD discs through an effort to improve audio quality by simply upgrading the materials used in ordinary CD discs to higher quality materials. For example, for the substrate we used a high-transparency and high-fluidity polycarbonate (a type of plastic) of the type used for LCD panels, while for the reflective layer, we replaced low-cost, common aluminum with a unique and expensive alloy of high-reflectivity.

    These improvements made it possible for mass-produced CD discs to reproduce audio with greater precision. In fact, HQCD discs were used to release a wide range of classical and jazz music titles. The approach of upgrading raw materials is limited, however. To achieve further improvements in audio reproduction, we had to totally rethink the disc manufacturing process itself.

    Differences in manufacturing methods
    Conventional Audio CDs are produced using the technique of injection molding to form "pits" of data on polycarbonate material. Metal plate on which "pits" representing audio source data are formed is used as a die. This is called the "stamper." Polycarbonate is melted at high temperature and poured into the die to duplicate the pit patterns on the stamper.

    This method is efficient because it enables high-speed production, but it does not enable totally accurate or complete duplication of the pits on the stamper. As a melted plastic, polycarbonate is inevitably viscous, so it cannot penetrate completely into every land and groove of the tiny pits of the stamper. We tried to reproduce finely detailed patterns using the high-quality polycarbonate used in LCD panels, but complete replication proved to be difficult.

    In the new method we developed, however, we used photopolymer instead of polycarbonate to replicate the pits of the stamper. In their normal state, photopolymers are liquids, but one of their characteristic properties is that they harden when exposed to light of certain wavelengths. Talking advantage of this property, we managed to achieve perfect replication of very finely detailed pits. Photopolymers in the liquid state are able to penetrate into the tiniest corners of pits on the stamper so that the pattern of the pits is reproduced to an extremely high level of accuracy. Like this, we successfully replicated and reproduced audio at a level that is impossible to achieve using conventional CD production technology.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Although this CD manufacturing method is inherently less amenable to mass production than conventional method of CD production, after as great deal of time we managed to develop a way to mass-produce CDs with the new method. We hope you enjoy these totally "reborn" CDs.

    There was a plenty of Japanese only titles from the beginning, but recently Int'nal titles start to show up (price is about $22 for single disc and about $32 for double one like King Crimson Live):


    Japan UHQCD (Current Releases):

    Oct. 12, 2016
    King Crimson Beat 40th Anniversary Ed. (2 Mini LP DVD-A + UHQCD, Victor)
    King Crimson Three Of A Perfect Pair 40th Anniversary Ed.(2 Mini LP DVD-A + UHQCD)

    July 20, 2016
    (Mini LP UHQCD, Pony Canyon)
    Kitaro OASIS
    Kitaro Ki
    Kitaro Silk Road
    Kitaro Silk Road II
    Kitaro Tonko
    (Tunhuang or Silk Road III)

    Jun.22, 2016
    Rodney Whitaker Hidden Kingdom (4988044024694)
    Rodney Whitaker Children of the Light (1996 4988044024678)

    May 25, 2016
    King Crimson Live In Toronto Nov. 20, 2015 (Min LP 2UHQCD 4582213 917116)

    Fab. 03, 2016
    The Winery Dogs Hot Streak (2UHQCD +DVD) - Cancelled

    Dec. 23, 2015
    Paul Gilbert I Can Destroy (UHQCD+DVD, WOWOW 45822213914881, JVC 45822213914567)

    Nov. 18, 2015
    Carol Welsman Alone Together
    Carol Welsman Memories of You - Sings Benny Goodman


    Nov. 18, 2015
    Sam 'The Man' Taylor (Platinum Best series 2CD)


    Limited Numbered Edition series
    (1000 copies)

    Superior Crystal Sound HK UHQCD Limited Numbered Edition series
    (Fors Master Sound, Made in Japan, 1000 copies, )

    Universal

    May. 27, 2016
    Vivaldi The Four Seasons Felix Ayo(028948243587)
    Hi-Fi A La Espanola & Popovers: Frederic Fannell/Eastman-Rochester Pops (028948243563)

    Apr. 29, 2016
    Beethoven Symphonie No.9: Hebert von Karajan/Berlin Philharmoniker (02894824360)

    Mar. 16, 2016
    Anne-Sophie Mutter w/ W.Ph.O. James Levin Carmen-Fantasie (DDD; Detsche Gramaphone 1993 Printed in HK 0028948243624) [K2HD No Credits 2014 Printed in HK 0028948086276] {SACD 5.1 No Credits 1993/2005 Made in EU 028947757214}

    Sony

    July 29, 2016
    Vladimir Horowitz Last Recording (20-bit Master; 88985338124)
    Leopold Stokowski Rhapsodies (88985323920)
    Miles Davis Kind of Blue (889853318025)

    Mar. 16, 2016
    Harry Belafonte At Carnegie Hall (Digital Master Dick Baxter RCA, NY 1989 887654167521)
    Eric Friedman Showpieces (Fors Master Sound Digital Master Dick Baxter RCA, NY 1989 887654167521)

    [K2HD No credits Oct. 19 2015 Made in Jpn 888751578623] {XRCD2 20-bit 2004 BMG Classical RCA Red Seal Made in Jpn 828766297126} {24K Gold CD BMG 1998 Made in USA }

    Other labels:

    Rock-in Music LTD, HK

    June 2016
    Ultimate Reference: Ultimate Reference 2 (Extended HD2 Mastering No Bar-code)
    Ultimate Reference: Audiophile Classic (V.A. 4893524950229)
    Susan Wong Best Selection 16 (2011 No Bar-code)
    Gounod Faust Ballet Music/Bizet Carmen Suite (Audiophile Classic No Bar-code)

    nanoMusic (nMusic)/ Fung Hang Records, HK

    June 2016
    Jacintha Best of (licensed Groove Note 483850603967)
    Sain Mic (V.A. 483850603868)

    Independent Release:

    AudioNautes Recordings 'Direct from Original Master Tape' Numbered Limited series (1000 copies)

    May, 2016
    La Spagna: Gregorio Paniaqua (AudoNautes Recording Italy 1980, This Ed.Copyright Fabio Camorani 2016 063494946334)
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
    PhantomStranger likes this.
  2. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    This thread dedicated to new CD format UHQCD.
    We will discuss everything about UHQ and of course new releases, starting with King Crimson:

    King Crimson on UHQCD


    Oct. 12, 2016
    King Crimson Beat 40th Anniversary Ed. (2 Mini LP DVD-A + UHQCD, Victor)
    King Crimson Three Of A Perfect Pair 40th Anniversary Ed.(2 Mini LP DVD-A + UHQCD)

    May 25, 2016
    King Crimson Live In Toronto Nov. 20, 2015 (Min LP 2UHQCD 4582213 917116)
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  3. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    King Crimson Live in Toronto Nov. 20, 2015 Mini LP 2 UHQCD vs. Regular 2CD version.

    WOWOW! -- Japanese label, released KC Live album in UHQCD format.



    From the beginning I listened UHQ full version. Musically, it is 5-star performance with a lot of energy and inspiration. First of all, this 7-piece band with Robert Fripp, Tony Levin on bass, Mel Collins on saxophone and flute, and vocalist and guitarist Jakko Jakszyk gives you an idea what to expect. On a top of this, they have not one, but three drummers - and that makes a big difference.

    Old songs sound familiar, but different from the previous versions with new arrangements and extended instrumental passages, adding more twists and turns.
    Vocal was surprisingly penetrating. I like Greg Lake vocal and always thought - nobody can replace him, but Jakko was very good in his own way. His vocal settled higher level for the rest of the band. Reinforced by triple drumming, they delivered their best, showing the audience what Crimson still can do. The impression was: each song was polished to perfection. If you like it raw and rough, look somewhere else.

    And the sound quality was at the same level of performance. I liked it a lot, but I could not say, without comparison, whether new format affects sound quality. Speaking ahead, it does.

    If you will check how HK UHQCD Limited Numbered Edition series was named, you can see: 'Superior Crystal Sound'. I cannot describe it better than that. It was way "Superior", and it was "Crystal [clear] Sound" - that's only I can say.

    Bass and Dynamics:
    I have bass oriented system and I can say:
    Tony Levin's bass guitar and kicking drums from three sets produced tremendous bass.
    Track #7 'Hell Hounds...' is a less than 4 minutes triple drum solo track divided into 5 short parts.
    I'm always very cautious with drum solo tracks - in most cases they're overdone. Not here: everything was done so tastefully, so masterfully good and in a right measure. Channels separation and mix was stunning. Regular CD showed speedy clean bass and low mid, but UHQ was even better - clearer.
    Dynamics was equally excellent in both versions. I cranked the volume on this track to 65dB - no distortion (I was afraid to go higher).
    Right after triple drum solo track instrumental Track #8 'The CostruKtion of Light' started with bass guitar and intense solo guitar interplay with heavy drumming and flute, and (later) sax. It was a killer bass there. My first thought was - it is the best dynamically recorded track - so clear it was sound, when I went up to 65dB. It was solid joy to listen to. Track has an excellent stereo mix, I'd say "triple drumming" mix with a bit of delay - you can hear the first speaker while standing at the another one, but being in the middle, you are getting into the liquid smooth surround sound that is putting you in a front seat.
    Regular disc sounded on the level with my best Reference and Demo discs. While UHQ was on the level of my reference SACDs with better separation and especially clarity.

    Trebles: UHQ clarity of the trebles over the regular disc was obvious. However, UHQ is not a "silver bullet". In some places, where I caught a tiny bit of brightness in vocal, UHQ didn't fix it.

    Separation and Soundstage:
    The improvement in this field was an exemplary in the Track #4 'VROOM'. It's an instrumental track with a big variety of the instruments and sound, which jumps from heavy to gentle back and forth.
    This composition started with heavy guitar and tenor sax in its lowest register. Then was sharp change to gentle solo guitar plus flute and quiet bass guitar joined in and sudden jump to heavy sound again. The airiness of the sound and separation between the instruments, I was looking for, were there.
    So was such a thing in the Track #5 'Radical Action'. It's a heavy sounding track, but thanks to great separation, it did not sound as messy noise, rather easy on ear sound with a flute on a top.
    Track #6 'Meltdown' started right on, without any break with striking clarity of vocal, fast and undistorted kicking drums in the middle and clean solo sax in the end. Did I mention deeper soundstage?
    All these three tracks were enjoyable experience with superior sound quality over the regular CD. They passed so quickly that I started them over again with a great pleasure.

    Disc 2: Again, whatever track I tried UHQ disc sound substantially better in terms of Transparency of the sound first of all, then Separation and Soundstage presentation.
    Entire Live album was on a heavy side. But it was not irritating noisy heaviness, it was accessible and enjoyable heaviness due to amazing transparency of the sound - very rare thing.

    Speaking of Platinum CDs, I would pay a lot for Platinum version of this Live album to compare it with non-Pt UHQCD...
    Just recently, when I compared Pt HQCD King Crimson In the Court of... to non-Pt HQCD version, result was very similar with this one: obvious improvement in the Transparency, Separation and Soundstage. How big this improvement was? I said: 15-20%. The same I can say about UHQCD vs. Reg. CD.

    I am sure will be more releases and more opportunity to compare and come to better conclusion. For the same reason I also will try to do more comparisons in the different systems.

    I am very happy with sound quality of UHQCD and looking forward to upgrade to it more of my favorites, as I believe it will spread wider and for the cheaper price (currently $20-23) than Platinum discs.

    I have no clue, whether will Universal come up with Ultimate SHM (USHM) or they will use Ultimate HQ material, as they do now, but...
    I predict: UHQCDs will replace HQ/SHM CD releases in the Japanese market in next 5 years.

    I'm sure that Robert will reissue DVD-A + UHQCD version of Crimson entire catalog.
    [When I wrote this, there was no announcement of two new 40th Ann. albums in UHQCD format yet]. Now I can see: the price of two new 40th Ann. albums (DVD-A + UHQCD) is the same as for the rest of 40th Ann. (DVD-A + HQCD) releases. It gives me hope that switching to UHQCD will go smoothly.

    I also wish that someday Platinum UHQCD would become a reality.

    I like this triple-drummer incarnation of the band. It is something... Special.
    I like this new 2UHQCD Live album a lot and sound quality of it helps me to get into the King Crimson music deeper.
    In one word: WOWOW!
    I want to thank everyone who was involved in this new release... Those who dare to push an industry forward.

    System used:
    Player: Cary Audio 360 Pro SACD
    Power amp: InnerSound/Coda Technologies KiloWatt Monoblocks
    Preamp: InnerSound/Coda Technologies
    Speakers: B&W Nautilus 802
    Interconnects: Acoustic Zen Absolute Silver
    Speaker Cables: Acoustic Zen Absolute Silver Shotgun
     
  4. SimplyOrange

    SimplyOrange Forum Resident

    UHQCD? But, they're just pits that essentially act as 1's and 0's, right? There's also error correction in the disk itself. And there's accurate ripping programs that compare the disk to a database of other disks. CD-R's can be burned with exact duplication. How could any of that possibly fail? Why is there a need for these?
     
  5. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    P.S.
    Since Robert Fripp requested: no cell phones, no cameras, no recordings, I couldn't find any good samples on youtube. The only video I could find - a triple-drummer rehearsal.

    "King Crimson's three drummers: Pat Mastelotto, Bill Rieflin & Gavin Harrison, take a solo during rehearsals for the US tour at Elstree studios, 2014"


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Guys, this one comes Highly Recommended for all Rock music lovers.
     
  6. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    40th Anniversary Edition (2 Mini LP DVD-A + UHQCD) by Victor, Japan

    Oct. 12, 2016
    King Crimson Beat
    King Crimson Three Of A Perfect Pair


    Beat and Three Of A Perfect Pair 40th Anniversary Edition [Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP)] [DVD Audio+UHQCD]

    "Fortieth anniversary edition of "Beat" and "Three Of A Perfect Pair" release from King Crimson includes two cardboard sleeves. Each cover faithfully replicates the Japanese first pressing edition (Polydor Records edition) with its obi & the UK original Polydor/EG edition with the 25BV obi, which was made in Toshiba EMI era (subject to change). [Contents] Features DVD Audio. Features UHQCD format with K2HD mastering (compatible with standard CD players) and mixed in 2016 by Robert Fripp & Steven Wilson, using the original multi-track master tapes. Features new stereo mix and 5.1 surround mix, which are appeared to the public for the first time. *UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality CD) is an upgraded version of HQCD, a high fidelity CD format developed by Memory-Tech."

    Translation:
    "Beat 40th Anniversary Edition [DVD Audio + UHQCD] / King Crimson
    First appearance, Robert Fripp & Steven Wilson 2016 stereo, popular item! 11th edition & first visit to Japan at the time of the first 12 series released simultaneously! 1981 King Crimson legend to deliver a surround mix in twin paper jacket package played as a new song to the "Neil and Jack and Me", '80s Crimson 2nd album, including "satori-in Tangier." Beatnik masterpiece of writer Jack Kerouac to represent the (Beat Generation), "On the Road" in Insupai been "Neil and Jack and Me" popular works exactly words popping ride to beat, led by. 2016 mix production is Robert Fripp himself and Steven Wilson is in charge of from the original multi-track master tape. New stereo mix, the first appearance sound source to both the 5.1 surround mix. The breakdown of the 40 anniversary of the series familiar disk 2 sheets set specification, CD part adopts UHQCD format from this time. The growth of the sound pressure and treble surpassing K2HD HQCD format that has been adopted in the last of the series released title may be matched with the fine sound in tight Crimson '80s, import board the same title and is different in dimension ultimate CD we promise the experience! jacket 1 2 sheets of paper jacket that reproduces the Polydor first jacket and belt at the time of the Japanese original release. Scheduled jacket 2 plus a 25BV planning zone of Toshiba EMI era in the UK original Polydor / EG board of jacket."

    "Three Of A Perfect Pair to 40 Anniversary Edition [DVD Audio + UHQCD] / King Crimson
    First appearance, 1983, Robert Fripp & Steven Wilson 2016 stereo, as a popular item! 11th edition and the final work of the first 12 series released at the same time! '80s Crimson to deliver surround mix in twin paper jacket package It was released 10th studio album. Unique work in which the music of funk nuances of the base work of Tony Levin that make full use of the '80s manner funk beats and Chapman stick feel more alert, avant-garde music, which was to expand the improvisation part is live. Sale, such as at the time big topic was the "Larks 'Tongues in Aspic" series order of the third installment, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part III" music based on the included! Original concept is different in subtle and original, new discoveries of 2016 mix unique but expectations can likely one! 2016 mix production is Robert Fripp himself and Steven Wilson is in charge of from the original multi-track master tape. New stereo mix, the first appearance sound source to both the 5.1 surround mix. The breakdown of the 40 anniversary of the series familiar disk 2 sheets set specification, CD part adopts UHQCD format from this time. The growth of the sound pressure and treble surpassing K2HD HQCD format that has been adopted in the last of the series released title may be matched with the fine sound in tight Crimson '80s, import board the same title and is different in dimension ultimate CD we promise the experience! jacket 1 2 sheets of paper jacket that reproduces the Polydor first jacket and belt at the time of the Japanese original release. Scheduled jacket 2 plus a 25BV planning zone of Toshiba EMI era in the UK original Polydor / EG board of jacket.”
     
    Hymie the Robot and jfeldt like this.
  7. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Buy two and we'll throw a bottle of snake oil.
    Buy three today and we'll throw in the whole snake.
     
  8. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Before to say something, I compared UHQ to non-UHQ CD for hours.
    What about you?
     
    Shvartze Shabbos and scobb like this.
  9. Dr. Mudd

    Dr. Mudd Forum Resident

    Some of you will buy these.
     
  10. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I am not staffed or equipped in a manner that enables double blind testing. Enjoy your 0s and 1s enclosed in the finest wrappings the ear can behold. I expect only a fool could fail to hear them.
     
    Use_Your_Koala likes this.
  11. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Well, if you want to spend more for identical masters, go for it.

    (Any theoretical advantage is of course eliminated if you rip the cheaper version and listen via your favourite DAC)
     
  12. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    When I compared Pt to non-Pt disc, there also were snake oil comments like this one.
    But the other people started to report the same result: the smoother surface of reflective coating makes CDs sound better.
    It's a fact against any theory.
     
  13. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Do you own a DAC or just a CD player?
     
  14. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That's why I don't rip them. I enjoy them, as they are.

    Why people buy SACD with the same mastering? Are they also wasting their money?
    The same thing here. UHQCD came max close to SACD (stay tuned for my next test).
     
    Shvartze Shabbos likes this.
  15. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    I'm sorry but what specific fact/facts are you referring to and could you provide a referenced source beyond the manufacturer or marketer?
     
    bleachershane and toilet_doctor like this.
  16. AlanDistro

    AlanDistro Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sandy, OR
    Happy they're inventing CDs that will rip accurately more often towards the outer edges. Sometimes my drive has problems when they pack the CD right to the 80 minute mark. As for these sounding "better", well, anyone with half a brain knows how silly that is (given it's not a new improved remastering). Digital is digital is digital.
     
    rxcory, Paul P. and Dr. Mudd like this.
  17. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Just the player, but it's a good one, worth its price tag of $8,000.
    If I will buy DAC someday, it's going to be MQA able one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  18. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    There is a logically tenable argument that the extra resolution of SACD makes a difference. But I don't think it is often the same mastering on SACD. Personally I almost only will go for SACD if there is a 5.1 mastering or if it is a dual disc priced close to what a standard cd is priced.
     
    quicksrt likes this.
  19. Gaslight

    Gaslight Cave dwelller

    Location:
    Northeast USA
    SACD? DSD and not PCM, with different sampling rates. And 5.1 support also differs from redbook CD's. Mastering aside, the formats aren't the same so it's not apples and oranges here.

    If UHQCD is redbook, then we're only talking about the disc manufacturing being different.
     
    rxcory and Say It Right like this.
  20. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk Believe In Music

    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Your last sentence is the exact point.
     
    rxcory, basie-fan and toilet_doctor like this.
  21. qwerty

    qwerty Forum Resident

    I'm all for new technology improving audio quality - especially if I don't have to pay extra money for it (which I doubt for UHQCDs). I'm also a little confused by a couple of things mentioned in the "Features":

    • "Newly developed disc manufacturing process masks the sound quality." - I always thought that masking the sound quality makes it sound worse, not better.
    • "Offers easy enjoyment of high-quality audio at a quality that is very close to that of Crystal Disc." - What is Crystal Disk? I've never heard of it before.
     
    bleachershane and Tuco like this.
  22. I'd be open to trying this format out if I saw any favorite albums released on it. The current line-up doesn't really do it for me.
     
    samurai and toilet_doctor like this.
  23. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I have been digging the KC in Toronto CD since I got it a couple weeks ago though. Nice write up of the music.

    I am confused as to your saying you were afraid to play it above 65 dB though. Isn't that close to the volume of conversation? Certainly not loud for rock music. Does your dB figure indicate average SPL in your listening room, peak SPL there, or something else?
     
    toilet_doctor likes this.
  24. toilet_doctor

    toilet_doctor Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You R freeman to go for SACD with the same mastering or not. But SACD layer sounds better vs. RB CD layer of the Hybrid disc.
    Pt and UHQ have just a different CD materials and different technology to build them.
    But these materials allow red book CD to sound very close to Hi-Res format in terms of Transparency and Separation between the instruments. In the Airiness of the sound they are on the same level. But SACD sound is more fuller than Pt. I cannot say this about UHQ yet - I'll do more tests.
    Unfortunately, all I said about Pt fair only in Hi-End system. In a reg. system Pt and non-Pt discs sound the same.
    As for UHQCD, I have to do blind test and I need my friend to stop by (he leaves far away from me). I will post the result too.
     
  25. Endymion

    Endymion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    It's unbelievable that there are people falling for crap like this.
     

Share This Page