Trouble with 20-bit HDCD


I purchased a CD that turned out, on delivery, to be a 20-bit HDCD published in 2002 (although the disk itself brand new). The music on it is very rarely recorded (Girolamo Kapsberger’s “Jesuit Opera”) and only available in this format.
My Project transport (Box RS) doesn’t recognize the disk, however. I presume that there is no solution to this problem (apart from buying a different transport) but I’m still interested in what kind of compatibility issue may cause the problem.

Thank you,


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That is very odd an HDCD disc should play fine on any CD transport. If you don't have HDCD decoding in your DAC you won't get the full benefit of HDCD but the disc should still play.
Did you know that Kaspberger’s first name is really Johannes ?  He was a German working in Italy (his patrons referred to him as In Tesoro de Tedesco) and probably Italianicized his name at one point.
  Regarding the HDCD issue, I have several HDCDs ofthat era that have played on several CD and SACD players.  Have you tried it on another player?
No compatibility issues.
For convenience, I have ripped all my CD's and then wrote some scripts to scan for HDCD and decode them. Now all my HDCD's are stored as 24 bit FLAC.

I imagine there is some conversion tool out there for whatever PC / OS X you are using as well.

I would see if the disc will play on the computer. If so rip a new copy.Or it may be the disc you have was ripped and your player will not play ripped discs?

Thank you all for the help.

- eventually, the only thing I could do was copying, bit-by-bit the CD into my digital library on an SSD, so at least I can now listen to the music, without compression and through a DAC;

- the problem was not the DAC - the signal never quite made it that far, since the transport itself didn't recognize that it was fed a CD;

- other players: my 10-dollar CD-radio in the bathroom played the disk without a problem. Perhaps I should give up on all the fancy stuff and just go back to the boombox of my greener days;

Kapsberger: yes, and thank you. I also have a number of recordings with his music but, being a lutenist, I mostly focused on his plucking and not his operas.

The disk must have a menu that specific CD player cannot read. Some types of opening lines are deliberately left off some Cd players/transports for 'political' reasons. Anti copying stance of makers.. etc. Though most disc reading machines will read anything you throw at them with the CD size pits. So I would chalk it up to technology. Glad you got it to work.
There is a version available on Amazon Prime music from a Dorian release.Pretty stuff.
It’s the disc not your player. For instance, I have innumerable Grateful Dead discs and their entire catalogue including their live releases are HDCD. My player as most are not able to translate the HDCD encoding, means zilch. Nor does the bit rate of the disc mastering. But I have some Dual Discs that don’t want to be read on the CD side. No rhyme or reason. As some else mentioned, it’s those pesky pits and all it takes is a few. One disc big deal. Don’t sweat it!
My experience with remastered 20 bit, they are cheap recordings catering to those that think 20 bit is better. I prefer original recordings and I research for the original. I’ve bought MFSL that I thought were poorly done, then again I’ve have several that were done correctly. It all depends on the original, you can remaster anything to conform to your gear that sounds like shit on a better system.
I, on the other hand, own a pile of 'remastered 20 bit' Jazz titles they do sound better than the average early CD issue of the originally 1950's 1960's music.
Technology can clean up the original, yes. Clean up being key words. Make it better? I don’t think so. Editing an original that was recorded with tape? C’mon now. That reminds me of the kids swearing their mp3's are the
erik_squires! You said earlier:

For convenience, I have ripped all my CD’s and then wrote some scripts to scan for HDCD and decode them. Now all my HDCD’s are stored as 24 bit FLAC.

I would absolutely love to hear more in-depth detail about this process. In particular, how are you decoding the HDCD material into a higher bit depth? Is this done in software?!? or are you feeding a DAC a 16-bit HDCD stream, it’s decoding it to an analog out, and then you’re feeding that into a 24-bit ADC back into your computer?

I have many losslessly encoded digital files from HDCD encoded CDs and would love to convert them as you have.
Perhaps you already have the Paul O’Dette Kapsberger disc.  If not, highly recommended!
Some HDCD sound fine on regular players, some don't. Like anything, the devil is in the details.

@erik_squires - Did you actually DECODE the HDCD or just take the 16 bits to 24?

Interesting article on HDCD and Pacific Microsonics
Did you actually DECODE the HDCD or just take the 16 bits to 24?

I wrote a Perl script to scan all my FLAC files for evidence of HDCD encoding, and those that appeared to be encoded I decoded using open source tools. All this was on a Linux/Ubuntu box. I believe I used ffmpeg to actually locate and convert.

It is important to note that due to the widespread use of the Pacific Microsonics ADC, and the engineers not caring about settings, a lot of CD’s may be digitally watermarked as HDCD, without any of the HDCD features, such as 20 bit dynamic range expansion, being used.

@engineears - If you operate in the Windows world, the DBpoweramp ripping software has an option that allows HDCD discs to be ripped at 24 bits.  It's been a while but, if I remember, it's a plugin that has to be added or activated.  Dick