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Steve, what are your thoughts on HDCD? (Asked in reference to upcoming gold CDs.)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by KeithH, Nov 4, 2004.

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  1. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now Thread Starter

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    A lot has been made about Audio Fidelity releasing gold CDs after releasing a number of stellar SACDs. I can understand this point of view in terms of the relative fidelity of the two formats.

    Steve, what is your opinion of HDCD? Do you feel that HDCD could squeeze a bit more life out of the gold CDs in order to shorten the gap between these discs and SACDs (when, of course, played on HDCD-capable equipment)? If so, is HDCD a possibility for these gold-CD mastering projects?

    I ask this with the greatest sincerity, so I apologize in advance if this question in any way offends you and your approach to mastering. (I put in this disclaimer because I don't know a priori if you view HDCD as unnecesary processing.)

    Thanks in advance.


    P.S. I suppose this thread really belongs in the hardware section. Sorry if I messed up. :o
     
  2. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now Thread Starter

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    Martin, thanks. I missed that in the Audio Fidelity thread.

    For those wondering what Martin is talking about, here is a comment from Steve on HDCD from that thread:


    Steve, could you elaborate on the above comment? What is about HDCD that you don't like? Just curious.
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Most of you (not all) are unable to do this test:

    Record an analog master tape to digital, both with and without HDCD encoding.

    Play back all three in sync. The straight digital signal sounds more like the true analog master than the HDCD version.

    What else is there to say?
     
  5. b&w

    b&w Forum Resident

    Steve,

    Is that play back with HDCD decoding also? Thanks so much..
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Well, yes, that's what I meant.

    This is just my opinion. If you love it, that's ok..
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now Thread Starter

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    I can't do the test, but I greatly appreciate it, Steve. Thanks!

    An unfortunate thing about HDCD is that there is no way to defeat it with compatible gear. So, you can't compare 16/44.1 and HDCD (20/44.1?).
     
  8. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Forum Resident

    Location:
    SLC, UT
    This is what I don't like about it. I don't have any HDCDs that I think sound crappy, but I would like to be able to turn off the decoding to see if I could hear a difference.

    One crappy (IMO) disc I have heard is the remastered Shout at the Devil but I doubt that has anything to do with HDCD. More likely it's other aspects of the mastering.
     
  9. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

    Reference Recordings HDCD Sampler Volume 2, RR-905CD, contains 6 comparison tracks on it. These are pairs, the first two pairs being an analog tape to either HDCD or Redbook digital via a Sony 1630. The last pair is a direct digital recording on either HDCD or another digital system (Sony/KOJ 701ES digital master). I have no HDCD decoding capabilities, nor was I savy enough to pick up the differences between tracks without the decoding. However, if you're interested, it's out there.
     
  10. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    What I do know first hand is that so many modern country CDs are mastered in HDCD and that I don't have a compatible player although at my local pawn shops, I see a 5 disc Apex DVD changer that has HDCD decoding capabilities all the time and they don't sell.
     
  11. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Location:
    Toronto
    I think that's because of the "Apex" name brand, Brad.

    A lot of them don't seem to be dependable players from what I've heard.
     
  12. BIG ED

    BIG ED Forum Resident

    I've always loved the HDCD digital filter, from Pacific Microsoft (sic).
    Too the best of my knowledge, it's not brickwalled at 22.05.
    And can give HDCD players an added sense of openness & air, with 16/44.1 & 24/48.
     
  13. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    Here's a recent thread about Apex , IIRC the consensus was pretty favorable (considering the price)
     
  14. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff

    I'll take Steve's straight forward approach to mastering with no "gadgets" in the signal path, thank you. We all claim to want to be "closer" to the original master tape. Well, Steve ensures that we are...

    Bob :)
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now Thread Starter

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    This is why I put the disclaimer in my initial post. I was wondering if Steve might view HDCD as unnecessary processing.
     
  16. TMan

    TMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Forgive my ignorance, but I've always wondered what HDCD is? What does it entail, exactly?
     
  17. Jason Brown

    Jason Brown Forum Resident

    Location:
    SLC, UT
    It's essentially supposed to be a 20-bit disc, rather than the standard 16.
     
  18. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Location:
    US
    :thumbsup:

    My worry is that HDCD degrades the sound except for the few who own HDCD-capable players. I'd rather have my disc sound good no matter where I play it. :agree:
     
  19. TMan

    TMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Thanks. If this is the case, how would this degrade the sound, or add processing (for players that can play it)? For players without the capability, how do they play HDCD discs? Can a standard player play 20 bit discs, or is there a dual layer?
     
  20. lv70smusic

    lv70smusic Senior Member

    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I may be wrong, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I am, but my understanding is that an HDCD encoded disc played back without HDCD decoding actually has fewer than 16 bits resolution as the "least significant bit" is used to carry the HDCD encoding. In a non-HDCD player, therefore, you have 15 bits of signal and 1 bit of noise. Why degrade the signal for the majority of players while (theoretically) improving it for a relatively small number of players?

     
  21. cvila

    cvila Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    It seems to me that the HDCD "signature sound" is completely different from the Steve Hoffman "signature sound". I don't think that I would ever confuse the two.
     
  22. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now Thread Starter

    Location:
    Beaver Stadium
    I always thought that HDCD discs play at standard 16/44.1 on non-HDCD players. Wouldn't they have to? You would have to have a 16-bit wordlength. I've never heard of HDCD discs giving you 15 bits of information and 1 bit of noise on non-HDCD players. Is this true?
     
  23. PMC7027

    PMC7027 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Go to www.hdcd.com to get all the details about HDCD.

    HDCD does use the LSB for information used by the decoder. On "regular" CDs the LSB usually contains dither, so the HDCD folks don't feel that their process compromises the sound when an HDCD disc is played on a "regular" player.

    I'll leave the remainder of the technical details to the web site and other available technical documents.

    I wonder how many people here on the Forum are going to stop buying any HDCD encoded discs, or get rid of their HDCD capable players because "Steve doesn't love it."
     
  24. PMC7027

    PMC7027 Forum Hall Of Fame


    Are you kidding? What is the signature sound of HDCD?
     
  25. reb

    reb Money Beats Soul

    Location:
    Long Island
    Loss of transparecy, air , soundstage, naturalness and a bloated bass IMO.
    Played back on HDCD or non HDCD machines, I hear the same basic results.

    YMMV.
     
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