They are actually two differnt things. HDCD is just another technology mofifying the CD format that generates much revenue for the lables ability to re sell their catalog --yet again.
The future possibilty of attaining realistic sonic excellence lies within the SACD and DVD-A technology. Of course the development of them is held up again by disputes over copy protection issues.
Until that hump is cleared and they get on with it, all we can do is realize that the studio mixing and mic-ing of the sets that produce the mucic are usually in your face terrible. They know better, and can do way better. And have. That is how we can know. They just do not care. And they have those $100k to half million dollar mixing consoles to justify the investment of so make use of them. Good or bad.
Those things take a room just to put them in. Dials, levers
and who knows what electronics that are not visible, are all over the place. Did you ever wonder if the music the artists are making can survive that extensive and elaborate process?
Wonder no more. Just listen to almost any CD. It does not. But the lables and produces make popular sounds out of the artists work that they can sell to that huge audience with sub standard equipment.
What I am saying is, its not so much the technology but the production, engineering, and over mixing that keeps us from being able to reproduce music in our systems with any proximity to what the artists are making live.
So the audiophile industy, and magazine reviewer as it's priesthood become conisures of coloration in their attempt to make a bad recording sound good --and of course of sell never ending variations of gear, cables, and tweaks in the futile attempt. 'You cannot get there from here', is what they would tell us if they had our interests at heart. I think they know.
I suggest we all wake up, remember the best we can what real live instruments sound like, then listen to our recording on our colored and distored systems and be honest about what we are actually hearing.
Only then judge a component or the source material you play on it.
Like an accurate system will reveal how terrible the recording is, so a terrible recording will keep you from hearing the inaccuracy of your system and its individual components.
So, rather then play the psycho-acoustic self-delusion and very expensive audiophile game, let's get a sonically superior CD and face how gullible we are when we make our audio purchases by facing what we hear, and how well it stacks up to our best memory of what an individual instrument sounds like live.
There is a plan that will get you where you think you want to go. Otherwise, sorry, you cannot get there from here.
Email me I will point you to a list of a handful of availavble sonically excellent CD's in a variety of types of music. Then find a store that has one, buy it, and see if you do not agree that there are some in existance, just very few, and you have to know what they are if you are ever going to find one. Unless you are just really lucky, which I never was in the hundreds of CD's I have purchased then gotten rid of as my system improved because the more I could hear the more intolerable they became.
Remember, its about the music, right ---and should be about hearing it. The way it is made. Not remade by the star making machinery.