In my experience HDCD buys little or no improvement, particularly in view of the newer high res formats. However, I thought that the 2910 had other new features which you might want.
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I bought my Lindemann to play sacds, but most enjoyed the HDCD reproduction. I look forward to my Exemplar/Denon 3910 and its ability to play HDCDs. I find HDCDs a very great improvement over cds. I expect it will often rival XRCD24s and both to be superior to many sacds and certainly better than nearly all dvdas. I know nothing about the Denon 2910, but the 3910 is clearly superior to the 2900.
I wouldn't put HDCD very high on the list of priorities when selecting a player. I have a Cary 306/200 and it's nice to have but (a) there are so few HDCD titles out there, (b) XRCD sounds as good or better to my ears and (c) good upsampling sounds as good or better to my ears. There are probably more SACD titles than HDCD title already as well.
Papertrail, you may be right. These numbers that imply nothing drive me crazy. What does the 2910 retail for?
Pobm321, I recently saw the figures for the number of HDCDs and sacds. There are many more HDCDs, like five times as many. I do think, as I said, that XRCD24s, not XRCDs or XRCD2s, are superior to HDCDs but there are many outstanding performances on HDCD like Joni Mitchell latest two.
HDCD comprises about 8 different parameters, with some/all used [or not] by the mastering labs of the world. And encoding is not always denoted on the jewel case, as mainiac states. Yes, it does make an audibly superior presentation but I wouldn't go out of my way solely for that feature. There's a lot more to satifying playback than a chip and software. But there's no denying Professor Johnson's aural acumen. The Denons sure look the business. Good luck.
As I understand it, HDCD is a VERY clever way to provide a few additional bits of information from a 16 bit media. If we only had 16 bit media HDCD would be a winner. However, the world has moved on to 24 bit media, and that changes the picture.
Some say that the 24 bit DVDA is not audibly superior to 16 bit CDs, so there should be no surprise that HDCD does not sound dramatically better. I have at least one regular CD which has the same reissued music as is on a HDCD. Frankly, the regular CD is better, probably because of the way it was mastered. The only CDs that light up the HDCD indicator of my equipment are ones that are so labeled on the case.
The really good HDCDs in my collection outperform straight redbook in dynamics,extension,more 3 dimensional reach out and touch images.
I have found over 50 encoded discs so far using this list from HDCD.com
which lists via title and catalog/ID numbers,over 5000 titles out there have recieved the treatment.The now Microsoft owned and revamped site has loads of info and lists all the mastering studios which offer or produce HDCD capable CDs.
HDCD is incorporated into Wind/Media player version 9 to help data reduced streaming.
3 new releases November,maybe HDCD is set for a second act.
Before hearing how well it expanded beyond redbooks ability
I would have said don't make it the sole factor in a new machine.BTW the chinese are releasing titles now and have many CDPs with HDCD processing.