Being an analog guy I have but a small collection of CDs and only a handfull are HDCD encoded. All of them sound terrible on my non HDCD player with thick lower midranges, smeared, closed-in textures and a general lack of cohesiveness. For reference my player is the original Rega Planet and the HDCDs are as follows: Olu Dara, In This World, Steve Earle, El Corazon, Garcia and Grisman, Shady Grove, Neil Young, Silver and Gold. Any opininons?
I have a fare amount of HDCDs in my collection. I've tried them both ways and in my opinion they generally sound better through an HDCD decoder. I have however heard of a few dacs that do the job as good if not better without the HDCD decoding feature. I personally think you'd be happier if you could in fact decode the HDCD format, but with a small collection it may not be worth the investment.
Glen, no doubt they would sound better on a HDCD player but I like the Planet for the balance of my discs. Sugarbie, I use several pairs of interconnects, switching them out, Kimber KC-1, Alpha Core Micro Purl, and Audioquest Quartz. The KC-1 sounds the best with the above discs as it is leanest and most focused.
Can't really be the system as all other discs sound fine. Perhaps, as posited above, it is the particular HDCDs. If anyone has specific experience with the ones listed it would be interesting. I wouldn't change the system though. Do the math, 3500 LPs and 60 CDs of which exactly four are HDCDs. I'm not exactly committed to the medium.
Sounds like it is the cables to me. I had similar results with Kimber and Audioquest when I demo's them a while back. Try a pair of Nordost Blue Heaven (used around $100 to $125). Or borrow some if you can. If out of your budget, then the Nordost Solar Wind.
I don't have an HDCD player. I have the Steve Earle, El Corazon, Garcia and Grisman, Shady Grove, Neil Young, Silver and Gold and they all sound much better than the average red book CD, though no better than the better red book CD's.
I used to have and HDCD capapable player but replaced it with one without the chip. I would agree, generally with ncarv's statement above. Most of the HDCD's that I have I would describe as being fairly well recorded. That being said, I could not discern any real negative difference going from the HDCD player to the non HDCD player that I currently use. There was perhaps a bit more "spatial information" or "air" on the HDCD player, but it was a tough call to make, certainly not an "in your face" audible difference. So my answer would be that HDCD discs should not sound worse on an HDCD machine.
Hmm... I've got a Planet and that Shady Grove CD. It's always seemed to sound great. However my copy doesn't say HDCD on it. Is there a HDCD and a non HDCD version? If so it would make for a on interesting comparison.
I'm also disappointed in HDCD playback on my system...doesn't sound as good as most redbooks and certainly not as good as the better redbooks...I have Theta DaViD II, CasaNova (doesn't have HDCD decoding chip) and Dreadnaught, Aerial 10T, SW12, Coincident cables
HDCD is supposed to have a lower noise floor - that is what I was told. So HDCD encoding give a lower noise floor. I'm thinking they should sound better on all machines since generally they are better quality recordings to begin with.
HDCD v. 'normal' CD - there is no case! Normal CD without HDCD filter reads only 8 bit information chunk. CD player with HDCD filter reads all 11 bits giving better sound quality. Thats all. If somebody hears something special on HDCD if it listens on normal CD player it means only, that it is 'normal' sound of this CD. It can't be more sharp or whatever performance because of HDCD coding.
Otherwords, HDCD contains both information: standard CD for standard CD players and extended HDCD what is visible only if CD player has HDCD filter. Please, no ignorance!