HDCD playback

Will HDCDs play on standard players, or do the players have to be compatible - like SACD/SACD players?

If they do play on standard equipment, where/what is a good source for purchasing HDCD's? I know Microsoft bought the technology and that there may be licensing issues.
HDCD encoded disc play just fine on a standard CD player.

Do a google search on HDCD and you'll find plenty of sources like CDUNIVERSE and more. You can also go to Amazon.com, go to the music tab and search on HDCD. It will list all of their available titles.


HDCD's are compatible with any standard CD player. Of course you won't get the advantages of the HDCD encoding without the HDCD decoder. HDCD discs can be found intermixed with standard CD's. Of course the Reference Recordings web site has a nice selection of HDCDs available.
Therefore in order to appreciate the advantages of HDCD encoding one does need a compatible player. Do these players that incorporate HDCD decoders necessarily list this feature? In other words, if my player doesn't list HDCD as a feature, it is likely that it won't decode HDCD encoded disks??
Most players that decode HDCD have an HDCD logo on the faceplate and will have a light that indicates the HDCD decoding process. There have been reports of the HDCD light behaving strangely. Some discs may have some tracks endcoded with HDCD and other tracks without HDCD encoding. Some discs may contain HDCD encoding but fail to label them as such.
Yep, what Unsound said......

The players will typically have an HDCD logo on the faceplate.

BTW, the oft-mentioned Oppo universal players all have HDCD decoders in addition to playing DVD, CD, DVD-A and SACD. A well modified Oppo makes a great all purpose machine.


My last reciever had an HDCD decoder on board and would work with any CD player. I now use the Oppo 980 for the few that I have.
The problem with HDCD compatible CDP or DAC's is that the Pacific Microsonics approved chips suck sonically with two exceptions:
1. Mark Levinson who because of the above-mentioned lousy performance, managed to get PM to allow/license them to design and manufacture their own chips which of course can only be used in Levinson products.
2. The other option for great HDCD sound is/are Wadia DAC's and CDP's. Because Wadia uses patented software (a computer) for decoding, their systems don't employ chips and so don't filter out the HDCD data. And due to their decoding algorhythm, upsampling, and wide bandwidth decoding, the result is that the additional (HDCD) information is treated as part of the data stream with spectacular results! You will not see an HDCD indicator light on the Wadia display but that won't affect the great sound :-)

This is the best (i.e. most complete and up-to-date) HDCD website (click on the English version flag if you get the Swedish page ;-) Registration is free: http://www.hifimusic.se/hdcd/index.php?p=home

And don't forget our own born-again Reference Recordings www.referencerecordings.com run by Doc Johnson, HDCD's co-inventor.