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Audio Fidelity and HDCD

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by PeaceableKingdom, Feb 24, 2009.

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  1. PeaceableKingdom

    PeaceableKingdom Member Thread Starter

    Can someone enlighten me on what I'm missing when I'm listening to the new Cars and Alice Cooper Audio Fidelity cd's without HDCD capability?

    If I go out and purchase a new HDCD capable CD Player am I going to notice a huge improvement over the non-HDCD performance of my current CD Player?

    I've considered purchasing an HDCD player in the past but never pulled the trigger on the purchase because I just didn't have enough HDCD discs to justify the expense. But, now that Audio Fidelity is going to be producing a lot more HDCD discs, I'm beginning to rethink the purchase of a new HDCD player.

  2. Mike in OR

    Mike in OR Through Middle-earth...onto Heart of The Sunrise

    Portland, Oregon
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    What are you using currently? Just because a player does HDCD doesn't make it better than what you have now or doesn't make it the best player for the money. As always, compare the options as best you can.
  4. fathom

    fathom Forum Resident

    You can always use a software HDCD decoder and save the resulting WAV files.
  5. Shakey

    Shakey New Member

    Chicago, Illinois
    Some time ago our host, Mr. Hoffman, stated that there is no penalty when playing his discs that were produced as HDCDs. I may be wrong but I think I am not. I seem to remember it being said that there are many options the authoring engineer can choose from and that SH did them in such a way that there isn't any audible difference.

    Along with that I think it's hard to determine if there really is any advantage to HDCD or it is almost impossible to tell when one considers either a machine is HDCD compatible or not, and can not turn it on and off to listen to the "difference".

    If you like your player now, I'd say don't worry about it.
  6. labjr

    labjr Forum Resident

    Interesting reading. A phrase which stuck out. one was

    " limitations both in the area of amplitude resolution and effective frequency response."

    Frequency response was questioned by many but I'd never heard of amplitude resolution as a problem with CD.

    Keith Johnson pinpointed the very problems with redbook CD and came up with a brilliant solution. Keith Johnson is like Bob Stuart. Maybe smarter.
  7. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Boston MA
    Good Advice!
  8. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Sunshine State
    Using Windows Media Player and the "WAV Output Plug In" from chronotron does exactly that.


    I haven't tried the new Audio Fidelity cds yet but they already sound great.
  9. Barnabas Collins

    Barnabas Collins Senior Member

    I've never been able to tell the difference with HDCD equipment. I know that some swear they can hear a difference though. Do any players allow you to disable the HDCD decoding on the fly? It'd be more useful if you could toggle back and forth with the HDCD on and off for a direct comparison.
  10. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

  11. JohnG

    JohnG PROG Nation!

    My Denon player does HDCD, so I'll check out how HDCD sounds on these discs.
  12. labjr

    labjr Forum Resident


    The HDCD encoding is supposed to greatly improve the sound even if your CD player doesn't have HDCD decoding. You would have to compare it to the unencoded source. So it's hard to do a comparison with all else being equal but the HCDC encoding because they would have used different converters or other equipment in the chain.
  13. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

    I thought the new ADC was not HDCD. No?
  14. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

    Is that referring to the fact that red book digital has less resolution as the signal gets quieter in level? I think it's a fairly common complaint. I think Steve and Kevin would do ADC shootouts to see which one reproduced the reverb tails of percussive sounds best. That's low level info, and some converters did it better than others.
  15. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    None that I know of.

    All I remember is that HDCD discs played in a non HDCD player sounded really bright. I guess that could be an "improvement" on some systems.
  16. OldCoder

    OldCoder Well-Known Member

    St. Paul, MN, USA
    I use the HDCD decoing within dbPoweramp, and I find that the ripped HDCD files sound better than the disc does in my non-HDCD Arcam cd player.

    Regular redbook cds I find just the opposite, the Arcam can better my squeezebox & DAC combo.

    It's a sizeable improvement for me.
  17. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Sunshine State
    If I remember correctly, that was something that was mentioned on the discussion about the Van Halen remasters. Most members founded them very bright while those who had HDCD players could tolerate them or they sounded fine or something like that.

    Yet the Audio Fidelity cds are HDCDs and they don't sound bright in my system that has no HDCD capability.

    So maybe all is in the mastering?

    Anyway, I burned a CD-r of School's Out as decoded by WMP. I am going to listen to it later and try to see if I can hear any differences.
  18. CraigVC

    CraigVC Senior Member

    Portland, OR
    I recall something to the effect that Steve figured out a way to use HDCD without it sounding bad if HDCD is not present on the disc player, and started using that technique with the Audio Fidelity gold CDs.

    Perhaps a search of the forums would reveal a link to that quote; at the moment I just have time to post my recollection, though. Hope someone else can track down the quote.

  19. erniebert

    erniebert Shoe-string audiophile

    Toronto area
    Software HDCD decoder, eh? Hmm..

    This sounds interesting.. Googling..

    Here's one:


    .. and from http://www.alekz.net/archives/186, how to use it:

    Does it have to be a 24-bit output file?
  20. Good point, always wanted to do the A/B test but you can't. What I can say so is that the majority of HDCDs I do play on my 555 sound amazing.
  21. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    I remember that, too. It might have been the special converter itself.

    I certainly have no complaints about his AF work!!! :D
  22. LaserKen

    LaserKen Forum Resident

    Avon, Indiana
  23. Dansk

    Dansk Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    I can't for the life of me figure out how to use that program. Is it command line based? If so, the commands given don't seem to do anything for me. Any help? :shake:
  24. Dansk

    Dansk Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    Never mind, got it! :)
  25. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Sunshine State
    Can you give us some more details?

    The method that I used is to play the AF School's Out cd with WMP and directly record the sound on the hard disc through the WAV output plugin.

    When I played the disc I did not notice any major differences, maybe the bass was a little more pronounced, but that's about it.

    I am asking because I wonder if there is a better more accurate method.
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