Bill Gates bought it. He will kill it. It's sad as I agree that it is a better method than standard redbook.
20 responses Add your response
While Bill Gates is no audiophile he's also no fool. If it competed with a Microsoft product I could see doing a deal to kill it but I don't see any reason to kill it. I'm wondering if he bought it as part of his plan to take over the living room the way he took over the office. Maybe this will be a future component of media player to enable better fidelity. Who knows maybe old bill will wind up doing audiophiles a favor as a side effect to dominating the entire world....
HDCD was (is) just an improvement of standard Redbook CDs, and they play in regular CD players, but the player does need HDCD decoding circuitry to take advantage of it. It's not a competitor of either SACD or DVD-Audio.
If Bill Gates bought the HDCD technology, he must have some use for it. At the time it was developed by Pacific Microsonics, HDCD was an advanced dithering process that made redbook CDs sound better-- but perhaps it has other applications as well?. Cheers. Craig
The 96/24 and 192/24 DACs in the CD and DVD players coming out now are rendering HDCD irrelevant. They make fidelity accessible without needing a "decoding" chip.
I've heard HDCD discs (I have several) played on a 192/24 player that I brought home for evaluation, and they sounded better than they did on my player that had the HDCD decoding chip. I sold the HDCD player.
HDCD was also being used as a marketing tool by some music companies that, unfortunately, issued badly-recorded music. HDCD cannot help a recording that was engineered by morons.
Yes still crazy bout HDCD after all these years! Not going to dump on SACD either (too much), yet I find myself selling of 60% of the sacd titles I've purchased. Sold off my SCD-1, using my first sony SCD-333ES for sacd now. Yet still have an ol'e Denon DVD-5000 in my stable that I'm very fond of for HDCD decoding, along w/ a Toshiba SD-9200 in another system. Sacd has somewhat bored me, some recently released Hong Kong BMG SACD RCA Living Stereo releases are the best I have heard to date. Aren't we hitting the 4-5 year mark on this software format? So I'll still be quite happy w/ my HDCD's & JVC XRCD's if SACD should one day follow the path of DVD-(wHAT? wHO? )Audio. Enough time & monies spent on SACD, saving my cents waiting for the new Crystal chip to hit the market for "True" 24/192 upsampling.
If your into Classical? Pick up Lara St.John's 2 cd's on the "Well Tempered" Label. Gypsy, & Bach Works for Violin, both 24bit HDCD (Pre-Mr. Micro/Soft GATES) Compare them to any Violin soloist SACD recording on the market, & you too will still be excited about HDCD.
So far I have not found a redbook/SACD player the used the Pacific Microsonics Chip, therefore not supporting HDCD, I am thinking that the manufactures have written off any chance of new releases with HDCD. So the HDCD will die and the excisting titles will eventually be unplayable as the new generation of CD/SACD players emerge. A terrible shame, because I too have some favorite discs in HDCD.
Interesting thoughts all accross the board. Right now I am comparing playback between my Classe DAC1 and MSB Platinum Plus DAC. I been comparing HDCD discs on both DACs. Some sound better playing back through the HDCD Classe. Patricia Barbers Cafe Blue in HDCD sounds far superior to standard playback through the MSB (with the upsampling on) . Holly Coles Helplessly Romantic is another example. Most of the "unmarked" discs that trigger the HDCD decoder sound better with the MSB as do regular "Redbook". I am concluding that discs that are done correctly with HDCD, sound best that way.
Interesting thought that the upsampler makes HDCD irrelevant. I have a Cary 303-200 with 96/24 upsampling and HDCD. You can compare the upsampling to the use of HDCD, but not to use of neither, by switching on the upsampling while playing the CD. The differences between the upsampling and HDCD are very very small to my ears. When I was testing out CD players I thought that the Jolida was much better with HDCD, other redbook disks sounded very bad on the Jolida as compared to a rega player (for example) but the HDCD discs sounded much better on the Jolida. So, perhaps you are right that it helps with lower end CD players w/o upsampling.
The problem with HDCD is that Pacific Microsonics chip limits the dinamic range to 6 dB, which is already not good for today.
Interesting... RR Reveries HDCD, being played on non-HDCD player sounds with lower level then on HDCD player, so I have to push the volume significantly. I haven't noticed such a difference on regular CD, they sound the same level on both players...
"In September 2000, Microsoft Corporation acquired PMI. Microsoft continues to incorporate PMI's pioneering technology into offerings for the PC. This technology brings to Microsoft unique strengths in digital audio signal processing that are increasingly important as digital media becomes a primary source of entertainment."
So they bought it not for any competitive reasons, but to integrate intellectual property from this organization into Windows Media Player. Or perhaps they perceived it would lend WMP some legitimacy?
Has anyone tried an HDCD in Windows Media Player 9 to see if it decodes it? (out of curiousity?)