XRCD is not a format. It's a mastering process, or at least the brand name of a mastering process. HDCD is kind of a hybrid, but it does require a decoding chip to gain its full benefits. And its claims to technical superiority (as opposed to just good mastering) are open to challenge.
As "formats," neither will sound better than the other. If there are recordings available in both forms (I don't know of any, but there might be), either might sound better. I'd put my own money on XRCD, however, because JVC does really good mastering.
XRCDs are by far better, especially if your player does not do HDCD.
As far as the sound quality goes I whole heartedly think the JVC XRCDs sound better. I don't know of any recordings that are covered by both. With or without the HDCD decoder, HDCDjust doesn't sound as good to me. Most likely it is the mastering by JVC. All of the XRCD artisit are from the JVC library which does limit the artists that are available from them. I do like that I hear a remarkably good sound from XRCD without a special decoder chip.
Actually, I plan to buy an album "Jazz at the pawnshop", and this album has HDCD, and XRCD. The XRCD is more expensive, and my CD player can play HDCD. This confuses me because I don't know which one should I buy. I wish I can buy both for the comparing, but I can not due to the "Jazz at the pawnshop" is quite of expensive.
Well do you have an HDCD decoder chip on your player?
If not, then forget about getting the HDCD version...
XRCD is about the same as the SACD's out there and they sound awesome! XRCD's showed me how much the recording quality matters in the system... I used to think the cd player was the most important, now I think it's the recording. XRCD is the best out there right now, but you'll pay the premium for it! Enjoy
JVC has another CD encoding process called K2 20 Bit Super Coding that is also excellent. The new remasters of all the Creedence Clearwater Revival CDs used this process and they sound much better than the originals-- and notably, the K2 CDs are not any more expensive than regular ol' CDs. I don't know how the K2 process compares to XRCDs though.
My DAC decodes HDCD but I have no way of comparing it to a regular CD. Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels on a Grave Road" is HDCD encoded, but the CD is not marked as such-- this is an excellent sounding CD, at least through my DAC. Cheers. Craig
For the record: K2 Super Coding is what is used on XRCDs. It is not a separate process. For details, check out www.xrcd.com.
Buy the XRCD version of Jazz at the Pawnshop. This is one of the best sounding CDs I have ever heard and it is very close to the lp version. It has an astounding sense of immediacy, even though it may be a tad bass shy. And while I have never heard the HDCD version I cannot imagine that it can get much closer to the lp.
Also, the XRCD version has more flexibility as it will play on any cd player. Think about the future when you upgrade, your new cdp may not have the HDCD decoding chip in it.
Bomarc; Thanks for the info. that the JVC K2 20 Bit Super Coding and XRCD are the same thing-- that's good to know. The new CCR CDs are all marked as using the K2 process, but say nothing about XRCD. Cheers. Craig.
World if you have HDCD capabiliy then I'd get their 20 bit version.
Regarding statements that "neither will sound better than the other" & "HDCD claims of technical superiority are open to question"...
*unqualified statements* such as those are indeed open to question.
Sorry but apparently no one responding has actually heard these two within a viable side-by-side comparison. Even in a showdown, results could vary widely depending upon the playback equipmnent in use.
Ultrakaz-HDCD encoded discs work on normal CD players-end of story.
I have recently changed to a HDCD dac,I already had about 2 dozen HDCD discs in my collection,they do sound better using the HDCD chip-a more 3d soundstage to be concise about it.
Craig CWOAGR does have a large HDCD logo on my booklet of that album but no mention on the case.
A reasonable amount of remastered and normal releases are released as HDCD discs but as they play on normal CD players it tends not to be overpromoted on the packaging-amongst those are Roxy Music, Van Halen,The Doors,Beck's last two albums,Mellencamp's new one,Natalie Merchant's last three,some Beach Boys and the complete Yes catalogue in Japan.
There is a healthy amount out there and they are very cheap here in the UK in a lot of cases,the Yes imports are expensive but that is unusual,with most other audiophile CD releases they tend to be more expensive than normal CD's
I can't compare HDCD to the other discs but it is a cost-effective way of getting very good sound reproduction with regards to both equipment and software.
Garfish: I can't absolutely guarantee that an XRCD and a non-XRCD that says "K2" on it are the same thing. But I'd be really surprised if JVC goes to the trouble of doing two separate high-res masterings of any recording, given the low volumes they must sell of these things. And I can vouch for the sound quality of the Fantasy jazz recordings, which sell for a whole lot less than the XRCD versions and can often be found in retail outlets.