HDCD a flash in the pan already??

I started looking for a new CD Player a while back but put the search on the backburner for a bit(needed a new sub & picked up a Onix Rocket UFW-10)so now it's back to CD Player hunting and it seems to me there are less HDCD players coming out then when I orginally researched. For example the new Music Player 25.2 isn't HDCD ready where the CD-25 was nor is Onix's best CD Player CD-2(their lower one xcd-99 is). Even though they're out of my price range players newly released players like the Rega Apollo,Cambridge Azur 640 or Naim CD5i do not appear to be HDCD. Is this another format that isn't going to make it or just a option on lower end players. I was recently at a couple local CD stores (Borders, Fye and Barnes and Noble) and there were at the most 3 HDCD Cds there none of which I would be interested in.. Starting to seem like HDCD shouldn't even be an option to look for in my CD Player search.. Any comments?
No. It already was a flash in the pan. Came and went.

Anyone know how HDCD works?
IMHO, having HDCD is worth considering. I'm guessing there are about 8000 HDCD's available. I doubt SACD and DVD Audio combined come anywhere near the number of HDCD's available.
I'm keeping my eyes open for an upgrade from my NAD C-541i player. HDCD is one of the more important options the new player must have. Many cds out there, with no HDCD marking, light up the HDCD indicator. Search the archives here for lists of HDCDs and you'll see what I mean.
BTW the NAD is a very nice sounding player for the money.
FYI - http://www.hitbutiken.com/hdcd/?p=home&lang=en
Fat, I have no idea how HDCD works, but you'll find a thread somewhere on here that explains it well, and even suggests it is inferior to a well-recorded standard redbook CD.

Kal, nice to see you posting.
The main reason I suspect that HDCD is no longer incorporated in most player and DACs is because Microsoft bought it and raised the rights considerably. At least it's the reason Krell no longer uses it.
I didn't realize there were that many HDCD CDs out there, even CDs I looked at such as Claptons Chronicles was HDCD but wasn't marked HDCD. Leave it to Microsoft to put a damper on it by jacking up the price for the rights to manufacturers of Players, like Bill Gates needs more money.. Still not sure now if it's worth looking for HDCD in a new CD Player..
I was hoping someone might post that the newer DATs were so good that everything played through them sounded as good or better then HDCD quality :)
I own a dozen or so HDCDs, and they sound extremely good. I believe Joni Mitchell's entire catalog has been re-mastered and released on HDCD.
My HDCD discs are incredibly detailed and spacious. The cost of incorporating the technology was prohibitive for some record companies and artists. My Classe player is great and even greater with HDCD, but I suspect few will incorporate it in the future. Too bad...
Fatparrot, complete information on HDCD can be found by doing a patent search. Keith O. Johnson and Michael W. "Flash" Pflaumer were the principals who developed it at Pacific Microsonics. Microsoft bought the rights to HDCD some years ago but didn't seem to do anything with it.
Tvad, at least we can agree on this. Since my Lindemann some time ago, I have sought players that decode HDCD. Now that Winston Maw of FIM is issuing mainly in HDCD, I have been buying many.

By the way, the RealityCheck improves HDCD and copies do play as HDCD.
02-14-06: Tbg
Tvad, at least we can agree on this. Since my Lindemann some time ago, I have sought players that decode HDCD. Now that Winston Maw of FIM is issuing mainly in HDCD, I have been buying many.

By the way, the RealityCheck improves HDCD and copies do play as HDCD.
Tbg (Threads | Answers)
Just can't post any agreement with me without tossing in the RealityCheck issue, can you? I see you took your ball and went home on that thread.

Let it go, Tbg. We're both like pitbulls with bones.

Let's enjoy the few things on which we can agree, and leave the rest behind. Palaver and all.
If anyone likes The Grateful Dead they still issue live recordings from The Dick's Picks series and other live stuff on HDCD. It sounds really good. Their studio box set remasters on Rhino also are on HDCD.
Tvad, I was not trying to provoke you. I had just tried a copy of an HDCD. This thread had provoked me to try it. I was not moving the war here. Sorry!

Tgrisham, Denon seems to have some committment to HDCD. Since I thought that only the Pacific Microsonics chip could really decode HDCD and I know Denon does not use it, I do not know how they decode HDCD. The light for HDCD does come on however.
Tvad, your APL Denon does not decode HDCD, does it?
02-15-06: Drubin
Tvad, your APL Denon does not decode HDCD, does it?
Drubin (Threads | Answers)
Yes, it does...along with DVD-A and SACD. The full monty!
Flash in the pan 10 years ago... Not something I would completly concern myself with for sure.
[johnnycarsonvoice] I did NOT know that [/johnnycarsonvoice]

I wrote one of the dealers who does a lot of the modifying on Music Hall and Onix CD Player and asked him why the newest players are not coming out with HDCD and he said and I quote:
"HDCD is no longer supported by Microsoft, who bought Pacific Microsonics, its inventor."
I can't see MicroRipOff selling they're rights to HDCD so this could be the beginning of the demise of HDCD as we know it.. Well this really su@%$!! Why can't Bill just stick with killing us in the computer world..
HDCD like dolby and THX are just licensing(use of logo/commitment to standards) deals. most new standards redbook stuff is certainly on a par with HDCD. like THX, its just not important anymore.
Why does MS list the many HDCDs on it webpage?
Where at Tbg? Every search I do sends me to
Pmt1209, all about HDCD seems to have been taken down. It is too bad.
Tbg, why do you think that is? I couldn't find anything on their site about it, you would think since they own it they would want to promote it..
Supposedly HDCD processing is a clever way to get resolution equivalent to 20 bits (instead of 16). Can't hurt, but why bother when straightforward 24/96 is available?

I have heard that the basic HDCD technology is applicable to video, and that is Microsoft's real interest.
Pmtl, they do mention that you can get HDCDs off their music page. I think they are so concerned about Apple Itoons and the Ipod and the new Intel chipped Macs that their investment in HDCDs is trivial.
Tbg, never thought about that.. iPods and iTunes really caught them off guard.. I have three teenagers myself and that was number one on all three's xmas list.. of course they got them... damn for what I paid for those three iPods I could have bought a really REALLY nice used CD Player here :), hmm maybe I deserve to splurge a bit more in my CDP search LOL..
You don't really need HDCD for playback....16 bits is enough for a good mastering studio to play with and give you a good CD (96 db dynamic range).

A recording studio professional may benefit from the flexibility of extra bits and greater dynamic range to avoid clipping big signals or poorly quantizing small signals.

At home, even very high end home speakers are unlikely to put out very much more than 60 db dynamic range above their noise floor.

So if the recording and mastering studio have done their job well .....16 bits is enough on your source material. Although technology has changed, the engineering constraints that led to the choice of specifications for a the orginal CD format remain largely valid, even today. HDCD, SACD etc. improvements are diminishing returns at best...
I wouldn't base a purchasing decision on it, but it's a nice bonus. My Cary 308T has it and it makes a difference. And as someone mentioned above, CDs that have no HDCD marking on them (stuff I've had without realising it), turn out to be HDCD decoded and sound great.
You guys aren't making my decision any easier lol, your saying it's not important but it's "great".. Now I'm really on the fence, plus got a line on a Music Hall CD-25.2 for under 4 delivered and not sure which way to go..obviously he 25.2 is not a HDCD where the CD-25 was and my search started thinking all newer, better CD Players would be HDCD.. hmm...
HDCD discs still sound better even when played in a regular player. I have quite a few but no special player.
I have a Cary 303/300 and a modded Music Hall CD-25, both with HDCD. Even though HDCD was not a factor for me originally in purchasing a player, it became one. I was surprised at the number of disks that are out there and I believe that it does make a difference. Even if no new disks are added to HDCD catalog, there's enough music already out in the format to still make it a consideration. YMMV of course.
Advent11, "I believe that it does make a difference"
I was afraid someone was going to say the lol.. Which makes me really wonder why the newer/better CD Players (like the ones I listed earlier in the thread such as the Music Hall CD-25.2) are NOT putting HDCD in their new CD Players? Really got me in a quandary here.. It's like I'm better off buying the older discontinued models rather then what should be they're newest more advanced players,, I hate to pass up this deal on a practically new Music Hall CD-25.2 but if the older ones will sound better with HDCDs I might not have a choice, I don't want to buy it and then wish I waited for one with HDCD.
Is HDCD Technology Dead?
Just found this intersting article, also has a site with a listing of available HDCDs, there's more out there then I thought and by the looks of it more coming out daily..


There is a difference to HDCD in bits/dynamic range. The difference is beyond what is practically necessary in terms of dynamic range for home playback. If you exceed the dynamics that your system/room design can deliver/handle accurately then you may actuallly lose audibility of some of the lower level sounds on an HDCD compared to a more balanced sounding CD, even if the CD has a more "compressed" sound.

FM Rock radio stations know this all to well....they modfiy and compress audio for best experience in the noisy car environment..they know that greater dynamic range would mean that lows would be annoyingly inaudible compared to background noise and that if the volume is set high enough to hear these lows then the speakers will distort when a loud passage comes or, alternatively, the passenger will find the loud passage uncomfortably loud.

More dynamic range is not always desirable in a recording...there are limits to what is practical/comfortable for playback.
"your saying it's not important but it's "great".. "
- pmt1209

It improves the sound on all players. HDCD decoding players make it sound better, but it is nowhere near SACD, DVD-A, or even XRCD as far as improvement goes.

Robm, I think it depends on which XRCD you are talking about. XRCD24 is very good, but not XRCD or XRCD2. I have not really sought to compare HDCD with these straight-forwardly, but I really like XRCD24s.
I own a Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 MKII tube HDCD dac (these can be found for between 500-700$). This baby sings, especially with hdcd disks. The Doors and Roxy Music catalogues have been re-released in HDCD and they sound great. Yes, I do wish there were more HDCD disks, but the 25 or so that I own sound so good, I won't be getting rid of my dac anytime soon.
This may be a tough question or a non-applicable one but here it goes:
Would a player with HDCD playing a HDCD cd sound better, the same or worse then a "newly released" CD Player using the newer Burr-Brown Dac such as what's in the Music Hall CD-25.2 (Burr-Brown PCM 1738 24 bit/192k DAC) or players using Wolfson WM8740 DAC, 24/192 DAC such as the Arcam Diva C-73, Rega Apollo(which is getting some great reviews, off the point but had to mention it) and the Cambridge Audio 640Cv2 which actually is using 2 Wolfson WM8740 DACs(one for each channel)??
It would be interesting if someone has tried setting up a say a Music Hall CD-25 and a Music Hall CD25.2 both with the same HDCD cd in and toggled back and forth to see the difference.. Or in this whole analogy am I comparing apples to oranges?
A while back I went the player with DAC route and had this experience: I had three DACs, an Adcom GDA-700 with HDCD, a PS Audio (forgot model #) with HDCD and a Bitstream (forget model #) without HDCD. The Bitstream DAC was head and shoulders above the other two DACs when decoding standard cds. But when a cd encoded with HDCD was played the Adcom won hands down. On well recorded cds the difference wasn't subtle. I used several different cd players as transports, one of which decoded HDCD and as a stand alone player it bested the Bitstream when an HDCD disk was the subject of comparison. I feel there really is a difference, spatial clues are more evident, smoother quality to music without any loss of detail or resolution.
Of course technology will advance and new developments will make HDCD obsolete as well as cd at some point. Until then I'll make sure I have some means to decode HDCDs.
Well now all I have to say on this thread I started is "I HOPE NOT!!" LOL.. I decided on and bought a Music Hall CD-25 w/mods.. I figured it's a great player for the money(which was a consideration unfortunately) with or without the HDCD capability but having HDCD is just a nice bonus.. a win win situation I think..
PMT1209, I agree with your selection. The Musical Hall cd-25 is a great buy at the price point you could afford. I owned one in the past and was very happy with it. I hope you enjoy your new cd player.

Congrats Pmt209! - sounds like a win win to me too.