CD outputs and HDCD


Question(s): In a CD player, such as the NAD C542, with analog and digital outputs, which is preferrable? Also, with HDCD capability, does this function work with either analog or digital out?

My initial thought is that if the CD player is a very good one, the D/A internally (using the analog out) may provide better sound than using the digital out and letting the amp/receiver do the D/A. However, I'm not sure if the HDCD precludes using one output or the other.

you'll want to use the RCA analog preouts. To take advantage of the HDCD with digital; your receiver or processor would also need to be capable of decoding HDCD. I know of very few units that can.

The D/A in my NAD c541i sounds MUCH better than the D/A in my Denon reciever. I use the receiver's D/A for DVD use.

The HDCD encoding must be decoded by the DAC. As a result, the DAC section of your preamp/intergrated/receiver must be able to decode HDCD signals asent to it from the digital output of the cdp for you to hear the benefits of HDCD decoding. As for which is "better", just listen both ways and pick your preference. Some people don't really have a preference for HDCD over standard redbook (though I personally prefer it). I like upsampled redbook better than HDCD redbook.
Thanks for the replies. So, if I understand correctly, using a receiver or amp that does not have a HDCD decoder, to use HDCD you must use the analog outs of the CDP (which may sound better anyway based on the likely superior DAC in the CDP).

Also, I have read somwhere else before that the HDCD processing also improve the sound of non-HDCD discs. I'm not sure I understand why. If the HDCD recording and decoder are 20 (or more?) bits, how can the 20 bit HDCD decoder make a 16 bit disc sound better when the extra information is not there to process?

At the time that HDCD came out, the PM oversampling filter used for it was superior to the other filters on the market. That was in the past.
Even more, SimAudio removed HDCD circuitry from its Eclipse due to the fact that PM filter's dinamic range was just 6dB, and the one they were using for non-HDCD 8dB, which caused HDCD sounded worse.
6dB vs. 8dB dynamic range? Check your sources since either one would suck. One problem was the mandatory default lowering of the gain by 6dB for regular CDs. Many fixes were offered.
Couldn't find where did I read this. But if my memory doesn't lie me, the major reason of removal was the fact that PM filter offered inadequately narrow range comparing to the Burr-Brown's 24/96 one.
I sincerely doubt it but, if you can offer some documentation, I would like to see it. BTW, the BB 24/96 may be "capable" of a wider dynamic range but there are only the same number of bits from CD for all the DACs.
Frankly - I've been very impressed with the HDCD discs I've got ( decoded thru a EAD DSP-9000/III) . I do wonder how much of this is the HDCD encoding and how much is simply the fact that HDCD is generally only used by artists and/or producers/engineers who actually care about how the final product sounds - something that has always made more difference than what technical means are used for the improvement?
It is nice that I can effortlessly copy HDCD discs from a non-HDCD player to a non-HDCD recorder thru the digi outputs and retain the HDCD info.
Frankly - I still remain puzzled as to why HDCD never turned into a BIG THING?
I am on the same wavelength as audiopile. The few HDCDs I have sound great on my system botn on my HDCD and non-HDCD transports. It's too bad not all CDs are made with HDCD encoding. I guess the recording industry has no profit in it for switching to HDCD.