Why HDCD did not become a dominant format?

I've been listening to Reference Recordings 30th Anniversary Sampler while evaluating a Sony NS 9100ES and it was so obvious the HDCD decoding through my modest older Toshiba SD 9200 was "vastly" superior to the new Sony playback. I just don't understand why HDCD did not become the new standard as the musical quality is much enhanced. What happened?
One reason was Bill Gates bought the company that developed the chip and it then became more prohibitive for companies to include it in their playback machines.(for whatever reasons)
The major players could not agree on this format. DVD-A and SACD formats were under development. Pacific Mircosonics was a tech company, not a marketing company. The majors development of the high end audio formats was interupted by Apple's introduction of the Ipod, downloading of music, and a generation that values convenience over the quality of the sound. Hopefully, technology will catch up and give us both convenience and sound quality...until then...I will remain committed to spinning vinyl. By the way, have you ever listened to JVCs XRCDs? Vastly superior to standard CDs...nearly equal to the new formats in quality...and gone from the U.S. market due to high costs and flagging sales.
Joman that's interesting as Billy G. certainly could have handled the 'marketing' of HDCD. I wonder what he's done with it? I hope Keith Johnson was well paid for it; he has certainly contributed much to my listening enjoyment via cassettes, Spectral and HDCD and Reference Recordings(maybe even Avalon Acoustics?(anyone know). Maybe it from that some of that income Keith decided to continue Reference recordings and bought it back??
Mcpody I understand the majors couldn't agree; I just don't understand why, given the marked superiority of HDCD? Sure DVD-As and SACDs were on the way-but neither was as easily backwards compatible. In fact,it seems virtually all manufacturers could have made money selling new machines had they fully adopted HDCD.
Given the amount of compression applied to most recorded music by the studio mastering engineers - I am not sure HDCD was necessary even if it was better on paper...
There are more HDCD recordings available than SACD and DVD-A combined. It was widely used, but lost momentum when Pacific Micro was bought by Microsoft. Many, if not most, HDCD encoded recordings are not even marked as such.
In a word, proprietary. The recording studios had to lease or buy the encoder from Pacific Microsonics. Even worse, the builders of playback equipment had to use a Pacific Microsonics oversampling filter chip (PMD-100 later replaced by the PMD-200). This was not compatible with the design strategies of companies like Wadia, Theta, Krell, and others that specialized in custom digital filters implemented on DSP chips.

PM once talked of licensing the algorithms, but to my knowledge this didn't happen. Part of the argument against licensing was that the decoding processing involved a reconstruction filter that was a perfect conjugate to the filter used in the encoder. By implementing the process in a chip PM had complete control of the decoding implementation.

The purchase of PM by Microsoft just made things worse.

I read once that Wadia had a protoype digital processor designed to sit between the transport and DAC. It would decode HDCD and output 20 bit 44.1 khz PCM (this is what the PMD filer chips do) to the DAC. They couldn't market it or build it into a DAC due to licensing issues.
What is the answer to 99 questions out of 100? Money. From the movie "Vanilla Sky".
I kind of looked into HDCD early on, but every review I read of it said it sounded worse than standard CD. Kind of put me off.
Are XRCD's Still produced, manufactured?
Mrpresident, that's a big blanket.
Undertow, XRCD's are certainly still available new, the problem is that they include a lot of Japanese artists you have never heard of. I buy my odd XRCD purchases from a guy in Honk kong I believe, who sells on E bay as internationalrecords. Trouble is the prices are very good in £'s, not so good in $'s.
I have to say, I have always enjoyed the sound quality of the HDCD's I have and Reference Recordings have always been the label I have soought out.
I am sure it has been set out as a thread in the music section, but I would be interested in what are your favourite labels for CD's. I think mine would be Reference Recordings, Fone, Stockfisch and Sheffield labs.
Mcpody,yes I too enjoy the JVC XRCD and 'very' much appreciate their quality. JVC seems to have absolutely minimized distortion and that certainly allows for a much more musical presentation. In fact I think that's another recording system that CD could have evolved to, to the benefit of all. No new system. No new machines. Just better sound. The expense involved could not have been that great; probably insignificant in the grand scheme, just as HDCD would have been an insignificant expense on the recording side. I think you're right about it allowing for recordings virtually equal to the new formats in the way they reproduce music, especially over less than 'state of the art' playback systems. Which brings me back to my search for a newer "used" CD player that will provide closer to the XRCD or HDCD experience with my 'normal' classical recordings- i.e. elimination of the distortion and lack of detail/nuance, particularly in the strings, flute and bass sections. While I'm at it the Sony NS 9100ES I've been trying out sounds very nice; however when playing a Reference Recordings "HDCD" the sound is nowhere near as detailed, dynamic or lifelike as when played through my 'modest' older Toshiba SD9200 which decodes the HDCD. I'm sure Sony could do better Redbook CD if they wanted. Shame on their insatiable greed and dominant attitude. Just a little cooperation could have given us such a significant improvement on the CD.
Thanks David, You're right about the XRCDs. They're available-but very pricey, more than even the priciest SACDs. That's what keeps my purchases of them resticted. If they were only $5.00 more than a regular CD they'd be a favorite for me; but they are often close to triple the cost and I don't have an unlimited CD budget and there are so many recordings I'd like to buy. As far as labels I also find Harmonia Mundi consistently above average, as well as good old Philips,Deutsche Grammophon,Verve and yes, even Sony has provided some great classical recordings to my ears, especially solo instruments.
XRCD, Yeah I wanted to order a couple but at over 30 bucks shipped normally, and that seems a bit of a risk considering not that much essential music (for me anyway) is produced on them.. Oh well maybe one day I will give them a shot, but there is only like one title I saw that really interested me, I am mostly a rock listener.
You want a great player which is HDCD capable and supported by a superior aftermarket tech service? Find yourself an EAD 2000. It is built like a tank, musical as all get out, and can be had for around $800 on Audiogon. I own the EAD 2000 as well as the Naim CDX...while the Naim may be a bit more resolving, the EAD is the player that I listen to day in and day out, and the one piece of equipment that I would never sell. It does HDCD right.

By the way, there was a great point made about Licensing. Pacific Mirosonics believed at one point that they would be in the drivers seat...but companies like SONY are not big on paying licensing fees to small companies when they can find ways to create their own proprietary technology...marvels like DBX. Once Microsoft had the rights, nothing was going to stop Gates (who owns 30% of Apple) from supporting the Ipod movement.
Two comments:

First, not every high-end CD player included HDCD decoding. Playing an HDCD disc on my former moderately priced CD player was a great improvement, but I wonder the degree of improvement with a very expensive CD player.

Second, I really enjoy the Redbook CD remastering on Hybrid SACD's. Yeah, the SACD layer probably sound better [I don't own a SACD player], but the Rebook mix is outstanding!
Thanks all. Mcpody, I appreciate your info and the EAD 2000 may sound great but I am unwilling to take a chance on the inevitable breakdown for which parts may no longer be available. To my certain knowledge this is already affecting maintenance/repair of some extremely well known and highly regarded units from very established, reputable companies - that are still in the CD reproduction business in a 'very' strong way.
Neither my Sony 9000ES nor my 9100ES process HDCD, but Reference HDCD discs sound great on my system. Could it be Reference recordings and not HDCD per se' that are so good?

Fatparrot, Dbphd, just as you both have touched on with the Hybrid layer, and the HDCD re-master, I do believe many cases is the recording is just that much better when done in redbook with these formats on the disc, and the end result is they can sound just as good without the decoder in many cases, meaning sometimes it has less to do with the technology, but the better mix.
Differences with the hdcd are subtle .I had a arcam cd92 with hdce it sounded good,with hdcd cd's it still sounded good,but definitely was nothing groundbreaking.I've heard from more then one who said it definitely should have did better then it did.Of course going to greedy microsoft i'm sure didnt help its future either.
I think you're both right. The mix and recording skills are vital. Yes the RR recordings will sound great on any decent machine, however, IMO you haven't really heard them til you've heard them via HDCD on a comparably decent machine. I was very surprised at how much more refined the sound was via the old Toshiba SD9200 HDCD compared to the new Sony NS9100ES.
It is possible the differences stand out more due to the Spectral/MIT system.

Appreciate your being conservative regarding repairs. However, EAD equipment is supported by Noble Electronics, which is a tech group composed of the engineers that pioneered the EAD products. Not only can they repair EAD products, they can update them...and they have an inventory of parts...and they are very fair with their pricing. They can literally build you a new unit. Now the best part is that the EAD stuff is built to withstand a meteor strike, so it will still be playing long after the Accuphase dinosaurs are extinct. If you have an opportunity, check Noble on the internet and it may give you a better sense of security.

Thank you very much Mcpody, I will check them out. Today I went and listened to a Sony XA9000ES. Unfortunately I am spoiled by the Spectral/MIT but I found it good enough that I will try it at home in the next day or 2- they are clearing it out at 1/2 price.

Please post the results of your comparison of the XA-9000ES with your 9100ES. Make sure to turn the video processing off on the 9100.

Dbphd,I will.
I've just listened to the NS9100ES again in my system.
I found it better than the Toshiba SD9200. More detail,faster & more dynamic as well.
I had not matched power cords when I previously listened
to it, which was a mistake on my part.
Although it's unquestionably better, I think I'll wait a bit for a move to a Sony XA9000ES or Lexicon RT20.
I was not able to audition the XA9000ES at home as it sold; but I believe it must be a fair amount better. It was impressive through a pair of JMLabs speakers.
I guess I may be in the minority here, but as much as l like the sound of HDCD discs played on my Arcam CD23, in my system the 96/24 DAD discs I own sound even better played on my humble Sony DVP-C600D DVD player via it's analog outputs. One listen to Alan Parson's "I Robot' on Classic Records DAD will make you a believer.

With the mass-adoption of the DVD format soon after it's introduction, I will never understand why stereo 96/24 never caught on as the next logical step beyond redbook CD for music. I mean, originally, the term "DVD" stood for "Digital Versatile Disc", not "Digital Video Disc". Meaning, it should have been developed as a high-resolution stereo audio format as well as for the dominant movie format.
"With the mass-adoption of the DVD format soon after it's introduction, I will never understand why stereo 96/24 never caught on as the next logical step beyond redbook CD for music. I mean, originally, the term "DVD" stood for "Digital Versatile Disc", not "Digital Video Disc". Meaning, it should have been developed as a high-resolution stereo audio format as well as for the dominant movie format."

What John z said !! Seems like the most sensible way things should have gone !!
John z, I'm with you on that.
Digital music has certainly been confounding.
I prefer to purchase HDCD or hybrid SACD when available just for the red book CD playback, which generally is better than average on these discs. I assume the red book benefits from the quality of the mastering of these better formats. However regarding HDCD, I have my CD transport (EAD T-1000) going out to two different DACs 1) an EAD DAC that supports HDCD but doesn't do upsampling, and was new in 1997 and 2) a Bel Canto DAC-2 that doesn't support HDCD that is newer, 2002 and supports higher resolutions and up-sampling.
The Bel Canto seems to sound a bit better, even on HDCDs, although I have a hard time detecting much difference.

One thing I like about HDCD is its ability to live within the red book standard: CDs can be ripped using apple lossless and stored on a server, and played through a squeezebox, and the HDCD on the DAC still lights up.

My squeezebox is routed through the same 2 DACs (they each have two inputs) and my impression is the same as for CDs. Basically my take: HDCD discs--good. HDCD player--not necessary if you have a very good DAC or output stage. All things being equal I would take a DAC that didn't support it over one that did, but things are never equal so you should take the one that sounds the best.

HDCD white papers did claim that HDCDs would sound better than normal CDs even when played through non-HDCD equipment, IIRC.
Sharpnine, Yeah thats the exact point I was illustrating way back on this thread.. For sure the main point is most HDCD or Hybrid SACD's simply have better Redbook playback as well due to they ended up thru a better re-mastering process anyway vs. the original redbook only versions.. I believe it has much less to do with the technology or decoding of the actual Hi res layer vs. just the fact the re-master version just comes that way from the recording being bettered in the first place.