JVC XRCD CDs, are they worth the extra cash?

I am considering purchasing some, do they really sound better than the standards? How about the "gold" and the like?
Yes. Even compared to the limited edition gold RCA Living Stereo CDs, the JVCs are warmer, richer, and closer to the originals. In fact, their tonal balance is usually closer to the originals than were the Classic Records LP reissues. (Sometimes that's good, sometimes not.)
I have a wonderful Bill Evans XRCD (Portrait in Jazz), and sound is really more lifelike all the way around...on good gear, it's about as close to "being there" as I've heard out of redbook CDs.
XRCD's are great. They just blow away normal cd's.
I've always been skeptical of those "gold" CDs. There's no magic technology out there that makes CDs sound worlds better. The real difference is in remastering, and JVC seems to do it better than anybody else. I'll echo the Bill Evans plug, but don't miss the live albums (Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard).

Also, JVC licenses its jazz (some of it, at least) from Fantasy (www.fantasyjazz.com, I think), which sells the same remasterings for a lot less than the high-end catalogs charge for XRCDs. You can even find them in record stores. Just make sure that a JVC engineer (and the K2 process) are mentioned on the back of the CD.
I love most of them as well. I also like the Analogue Productions Gold CD's.
Can the normal CD players play the XRCD disks? How do the XRCD disks compare to HDCD disks? My CD player can play HDCD but not sure on XRCD.
Worldcup: XRCDs are not encoded, so they play in any CD player, just like a normal CD (only better!)
You know what would be great?? An XRCD encoded in HDCD... That would be neat
As noted by Bomarc above, the JVC 20 bit K2 Super Coding process is excellent too. Recently all eight of the original Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) CDs were re-mastered using the JVC K2 process. I have the eight original CDs, the two gold Chronicle CDs, and also all eight of the recent JVC K2 CDS. The JVC K2 CDs are easily the best of the bunch, and are clearly better than the gold ones.

The K2s sound more natural with excellent vocal and instrumental timbre and much less electronic edge or "glare"-- hate to say it, but they sound more analog like! The gold CDs may be a bit smoother than the originals, but in a blind test, I doubt I could tell which was which. Cheers. Craig
I own 10 XRCD's or XRCD2's. I have not heard another hybrid cd format (that can play on a regular cd player) that compares with the quality of the XRCD sound. I recently got Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms. It's a major improvement over the original.
I only have a couple of XRCD's. The biggest difference to me is that they seem to have greater dynamic range. This might be percieved due to a "blacker background" or a lower noise floor. The quiet passages are VERY quiet and the louder ones are at full intensity from my experience. As such, you can get in "trouble" if you up the volume for discs that start out quietly and build up in momentum.

I also have two ( slightly obvious ) questions for Craig:

1) Do you like CCR ? : )

2) Will we be seeing an advertisement for your "extra" CCR discs on Agon ? Or are you of the "too much is not enough" persuasion ? : ) Sean
Sean; Yep, big CCR fan here, and besides those mentioned, I have several other CCR compilations. At some point I may trade in the original set-- but hey, they could be collectible some day, so no rush-- and they are paid for. Now that I have a good CD recorder, anything is possible with all these CCR CDs;>)

It seems I never did answer the thread question though. I only have a couple XRCDs, and not of my favorite music, but the recordings are excellent. Cheers. Craig
Craig, your last comment brings up an EXCELLENT source for another thread. Gotta start typing now : ) Sean
Forgive my stupidity, but where can I find a complete list of XRCD's? I tried JVC's site, no luck. Thanks, Jeff

Don't you use Google?
Yes, I have Google. xrcd.com does not have Dire Straits or CCR xrcd's listed, yet it seems they are available since some of my fellow 'Goners own copies. The xrcd.com list does not have any rock music at all; but if you're looking for jazz, blues, and classical you're all set ($30 a copy). The list looks a lot like the SACD titles available. I'm very curious what the XRCD rock releases sound like, if anyone knows where I can find a complete list I'd like to browse through the selection and buy a few. Thanks, Jeff
XRCD.COM is owned by JVC and, if it's not on there, it doesn't exist.
As to cost, you can often find xrcd's at cheapcds.com, tower.com for somewhat of a discount.
Jeff; The newly re-mastered CCR CDs are not XRCDs. They have been recorded using what JVC calls "K2 20 bit Super Coding". I don't know how this technically differs from XRCD, but the CCR recordings using it are much better than the originals. Cheers. Craig
Hi Jeff,

Your best bet would be eBay for Dire Straits XRCDs. AFAIK, that particular XRCD is readily available in Asia, but not here in North America. XRCD version of several other artists, such as Baby Face, Aaron Neville, and Brandy, are also available as Hong Kong imports only. Again, that's just my experience, so YMMV. Just go to eBay and search for "XRCD"; there are usually some good deals to be had!

Hope this helps; please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions, and happy listening!

George, aka mgs
I wouldn't stake my record collection on this, but I believe that XRCD is a brand name, and that XRCDs use the K2 20 bit Super Coding process. So they are functionally equivalent. If someone has information to the contrary, please share it.
I started buying xrcd's about a year ago and wondered the same thing. I called JVC America and talked to a high level techie who knew a lot about the process, but didn't know anything about other labels using the 20bit k2 process. I did my own research and this is what I discovered: the core of the xrcd process is the 20 (or now, 24 bit) encoding process, but that is only part of it. JVC brags that they use the best of technology at every stage of the process, from analog master to burning the end product. Probably most important, in addition to the K2 process itself, is the zillion dollar Sony equipment they use for the conversion from 20 to 16 bits which keeps jitter to a minimum. Although other labels use k2 (such as prestige), only XRCD claims to pay such close attention to all phases of the production.

I also did have the opportunity to a/b 2 or 3 titles (on my Linn Ikemi)which were available on both XRCD and Prestige's K2 process and I admit I couldn't hear much of a difference - both sounded great. But if I had to choose between XRCD and other K2 process without the opportunity to compare, I would choose XRCD simply because I have about 12 XRCD titles and not one of them is less than fabulous.

My favs: Bill Evans - Sunday at the Village Vanguard and John Coltrane - Black Pearl

Enjoy the music!
Dire Straits XRCDs as well as others can be found on the Canadian distributor http://www.a4audio.com/home.asp

Prices seem reasonable, I just ordered a slew of them.

The FIM label (licensed by JVC) has the XRCD2 format.

Mzn50, I also bought an XRCD2 Sampler disc from http://www.a4audio.com/home.asp. The prices are half decent and I like that they are in Canada so I don't have to pay huge at the border. Although they do cost way more that other cd's.. Thanks for the tip. Have you found any other Canadian online retailers that sell XRCD2's?
Please let me know

Most XRCDs are better than the "standards" and some are not better, but merely just as good. Although, I have yet to hear a standard sound better than a XRCD. Examples: Jazz at the Pawnshop is the best I've heard. Mancini's Charade and Breakfast at Tiffanys are excellent.

At the CES I asked the JVC XRCD reps why the pop recordings were not in their catalog. The reps replied that "those" cds are not officially licensed for sale in the US and may actually be bogus. Of these "unofficial" recordings; Nat King Coles Love Songs is really smooth but lacks dynamics and transparency. The Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" is thin and digital sounding (the reissue cd is just as good, the lp is the best, however, the recording may just be thin and digital sounding). Ditto for the Eagles "Hell Freezes Over." Also, there are some Chinese XRCDs of Chinese singers like Faye Wong and Teresa Teng, that may be of interest to those who have diverse musical interests.
Gboren: I suspect that JVC wouldn't want to tell you that their disks are available on other labels for less than $20. I have a few of the Fantasy Jazz K2 releases, and they clearly state that they were mastered by someone at JVC. Rest assured, JVC did not bother to do 2 separate remasterings, so it's a fair bet that the XRCD and Fantasy releases are identical.
I'd rather own the XRCDs than the many SACD disc i have heard. Now if they would add a few more discs to their collection. I will buy all that is of interest to me.
I agree that there may be no difference between XRCD and K2, but I specifically recall comparing the notes on 2 versions of Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Colossus. The XRCD one, which I am holding as I type, says:

XRCD mastering - Alan Yoshida under supervision of Akira Taguchi (A&M Mastering Studios, Hollywood).

Although I no longer own it, I am certain I compared this to the notes on the Prestige 20bit K2 version and it was digitally mastered by someone else. Does anyone out there have the Prestige 20bitK2 version? If so, can you confirm this?

Having said that, I, like you, have yet to be convinced that there is a real difference.
Ultrakaz, I have to disagree on the XRCD of Dire Straits Brothers In Arms. I have the original cd, the reissue and now the XRCD. The XRCD far surpassed the others in quality, dynamics, and quieter background.
Hey Buck, yes Justice audio In Toronto.. They were at CES when i went in January, they told me the name of the online company.. I just can't remember.. I will have to look..let ya know.. I think he said May or may audio or something
Ultrakaz, I love my new XRCD of Dire Straits Brothers In Arms, its excellent, some tracks seem to be slightly cut off at the end..but all in all the sound on my system is excellent