Considering the source as comparable--for example reissues--how do those of you with very good CD/SACD or Universal players compare the musical-sonic enjoyment of the two.
XRCDs are very pricey. Are they really that great when played on top flight players?
You are going to get a lot of opinions on this. To me, I don't find XRCD sound that great. But that is just me. The only way to know if you like them is to try a couple. eBay would be a great source to try them on a budget.
The K2HD discs are great, but very expensive. I am amazed by the ones I have. I have the first three ELPs. I can't compare them directly to SACD because I don't have the same titles but you don't get surround with them which may not matter to you.
SACD is almost always better[of course you have to play it on SACD players]

K2HD,HDCD,XRCD,XRCD2 are just marginally better than your normal CDs.In some instances you might need a stethoscope to hear the difference IMHO.

The price outside Japan is outragously marked up.Pick up some titles if you happen to pass through Japan{which is also a great source of SACD]
>>K2HD,HDCD,XRCD,XRCD2 are just marginally better than your normal CDs<<


If the system is highly resolving there is a considerable and sometimes overwhelming difference.

This opinion is based on over 2 dozen CD, SACD/CD players and transport/DACS I've heard here over the past 18 months.

I live near a JVC distributor and have access to many of the titles.
I have had mixed results with HDCD some great some bad.

The few JVC XRCD titles I have are all absolutely excellent.

I think it mostly has to do with the care taken in the mastering process.

Of course when JVC start with master tapes from Sheffield labs to begin with (as are several of my XRCD's) I guess that says it all.

Just a caveat, I don't have a lot of XRCD's so my experience is limited.
I agree with AFeil - it takes highly resolving system to fully appreciate what this format has to offer.
Pricey but IMO - worth it.
Audiofeil and Mrjstack,

1]My reference for digital software are SACDs.Are both of you saying that the XRCDs etcs are Better than SACDs{That would be a first to me]

2]I am comparing their performance {XRCDs vs CDs]in modernly recorded album{eg.Audiophile voices}.The digital front I am using lately is the dcs Puccini.Perhaps the Puccini is not good enough ,huh?

3]When you say the XRCDS are markedly better,what exactly do you mean?For me if you have to shut both eyes real tight,get many people to listen after many a/bs ,THAT is subtle.

Having travel to Japan regularly[My Wife is Japanese] though,I've accumulated quite a number of XRCDs and the likes,because of the title selections than their sonic worth.
Please note - IMO at the end of my post. YMMV.

XRCD is comparable with any CDP.
SACD is a dieing breed......only my opinion. If I want Hi-resolution format......there is always that old, beat up Lp that when setup correctly - will sound a lot better then most of what is out there today....and for silly 99c.
However, both XRCD and SACD are just the addition in my music library ......which I enjoy regardless of format.

Owning Puccini proves nothing......no need to flush your bling, bling to prove the point. Beinng unable to tell the difference....well , that is another story.

I am comparing their performance {XRCDs vs CD) in modernly recorded album{eg.Audiophile voices}.

That may explain it. I doubt they get anything but the master tapes. If the master tapes are of jazz or clasical and already of very high quality sonics then I expect XRCD will be limited in what enahncements they can do (better noise filters, better dithering etc).

On modern pop/rock music though, XRCD might be able to do something with studio masters - these are often compressed in the mastering process as issued by major labels.

Note that it can go both ways with remastering. I have TOTO Essentials remaster that is worse than the orginal. I have a Duran Duran Rio album that is way better than the crappy original CD release. I have an MSFL Tom Petty Full Moon Fever that sounds slightly smoother in the highs than the regular CD (but frankly I prefer the clean sound of the original to MSFL's doctored sound). I could go on and on and on.

Unfortunately what sounds better may be a matter of taste. At low levels, Toto Essentials CD sounds snappy and aggressive ...unfortunately this has been achieved by audio compression in the re-mastering and, as a result, there is a lot of added distortion that becomes more obvious as harshness at higher listening levels.

I would expect JVC would never squash music deliberately like the major labels do these days - therefore my guess is that the XRCD are either very nearly equivalent (on a good original master) or much better (on a poor original master). So perhaps you get a mixed bad - depending on your music tastes - a big improvement or a minor one...

For example, remember "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" debut album...wow was that ever a great sound (thank you Trevor Horn) and it sounded just great on the major label CD releases....no need to fix that one - I doubt JVC coudl do a lot better with that as starting material!
The three K2HD Discs I have sound much better than their CD counterparts but the HD discs are supposed to be better than regular XRCDs. I don't no if they would be better or worse than SACD.

1]The Question is whether SACDs Are better than Cds SONICALLY,not which format will survive.

2]You have accused me wrongly.I do not think Audiogon is the place to flash my bling,If I ever feel the need to.My point is if you get a respectable digital front ,and set it properly,you could get a lot from CDs.XRCDs and the like will NOT make a CONSONANCE CDP sound like a dcs.PERIOD.

3]I wish you would read my earlier response more carefully rather than being brash and rude.I NEVER said that CDs and XRCDs sound the same;I just say that the improvement is subtle.You have to "cocentrate" to hear the difference.Shardone has summerised them quite brilliantly.

With SACDs though the difference are audible from the word go,there is nothing subtle about it.

4]Like I said,I happen To have quite a bit of XRCDs in my collections and understand that being in America,the accesss to these are quite limited and would like to share my experience,nothing more and nothing less.That is what Audiogon is all about,right?

5]A lot of people nmake the mistakes of buyting expensive XRCDs hoping to make their systems sound better.I think it is the wrong approach.Start with a good source and everything that is fed to it will sound good.

>>Start with a good source and everything that is fed to it will sound good.<<

Disagree. You are quite mistaken in fact.

There is some real bad digital software on the market that will sound terrible on even the best systems.

Unfortunately I own a few of those discs.

Game of frisbee anyone?
Nothing personal - just tring to make a point.
"Respectable" source ??? - like what? ....and how many audiophiles' opinion is disregarded or pissed on based on their gear or limited budget....etc.....???

Now - going back on topic.
SACD in general do sound better then ordinary CD.....but it is not always the case. XRCDs - (from my poor experiance) sound excellent on 99% of my collection. Price of xrcd is in fact very high.....and I agree with your suggestion that, it is not the solution to compensate for locking cd source.

I mentioned LPs as the alternative to both CD & SACD formats.
If you concider the resolution, value, uncompressed reproduction and number of titles......LPs start to look more and more like the worty contender for the crown.

All formats have something to offer as well as shortcomings which we have to put up with. But at the end it all leads to the same old conclusion..........

I have yet to listen to any "real bad digital software" that I want to use them as frisbee[they woun't make good frisbee either,i would imagine:}Maybe you could tell us some of those real bad titles,and we all could listen in our respective systems?


"nothing personal-just trying to make a point"-Do you always have to be so rude to make your point?Come on ,be a real man and own up to your statement.
If you haven't heard "real bad digital software" I suspect you could downgrade most of your system components and be happy for far less than you've spent.

Afterall if you can't hear the difference, why spend the money?

Believe me, there's a lot of bad software on the market.
Yes,......I realize that.
love it or hate it.
Because I do not use the vaseline or sugar .....makes me a bad guy now?????
Being honest and frank isn't the crime.......is it???
If you like a sweat talk........I am not that guy.

Mrjstarck and Audiophile,

Obviously we different experience with regards to XRCD and SACD.Mine are pretty much like Shadone and sidssp"s experience.On the other hand,both of you seems to have the same experience.....Maybe I should ask my ENT surgeon to have a look into my ears ;}.

I think it is Ok to have different opinion.Emotions do run high,I look at it as passion,we are passionate about this hobby.My handshake to both of you?
From my one experience with XRCD, I did compare it to the same recording on Vinyl (Jazz at the Pawnshop)as well as regular CD, and there was quite a difference in all three formats.

The vinyl provided a nice neutrality although the separation was not as clear as either one of the CDs. FWIW, it was also a 30 year old record.

The XRCD was slightly more detailed than the regular CD with some more separation as well as just sounding quieter in the back.

Now with that being said, will i transfer anything available into all XRCDs? No. Did I buy Jazz at the Pawnshop on XRCD? Yes. But that's more so because I fell in love with the track there. On a side note, if you're even a *remote* jazz fan, this piece is really a must own. The recordings were done absolutely spectacularly and talk about being there? You hear the mumbling of people while they're walking around and it feels like you're sitting in the middle of the set itself.

On a side note.. Has anyone had any experiences burning copies of SACD/XRCDs? I've made a copy once of an HDCD and my CDP was able to detect it as such. I have a Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1 that is HDCD capable and the little green light went off. Any thoughts?
I have copied K2 HD discs and they sounded as good as the original but SACD can't be copied by any means I'm able to lay my hands on easily. The CD layer is easy.