Encoding HDCD redbook? (playback on something other than WMP)
Mar 20, 2006 at 4:39 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

J-Pak

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I did a search and the only relevant thread was this:
http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...highlight=hdcd

which turned into a big flamewar
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I have a King Crimson cd thats HDCD and was wondering what would be the best way to rip this? I encode everything in flac and playback in foobar2000 right now. Is this possible?

Thanks
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:34 PM Post #2 of 7

machead

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As far as I can tell, only CD players (or stand-alone DACs) that incorporate the special Pacific Microsystems digital filter can decode discs encoded with the HDCD process. The filter must then be followed by a DAC with at least 20-bit resolution. I don't know of any soundcard that fulfills these requirements.

Note, however, that the "C" in HDCD stands for "compatible". In other words, an HDCD disc looks just like any other red book disc to a player that lacks the dedicated hardware. It won't display its full potential but neither will its playback be crippled.

Since the "bit fiddling" that HDCD relies upon occurs in the least audible part of the waveform, it is likely that any lossy compressed format (such as MP3, AAC or Ogg) will strip off the extra information. Lossless compression will retain it upon decompression.

If you send your computer audio to an external DAC that can decode HDCD, then you should definitely use lossless compression when ripping the disc. If you don't have an external DAC, then it really doesn't matter how you rip the disc since you'll be losing whatever advantage the HDCD processing provides.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 6:07 PM Post #4 of 7

machead

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That's fine. Your King Crimson disc will sound like a non-HDCD disc for now. When shopping around for an external DAC, you might might want to look for one that includes HDCD decoding. It doesn't seem to be as popular as in the past, however. The Pacific Microsystems digital filter is reputed not to be happy with bitstreams that have been upsampled to faster than 96kb/s, whereas many DACs these days like to upsample to 192kb/s. My Muse Model Two Plus and my MSB Link DAC III both have HDCD but they're discontinued. The remaing stock of MSB Link DACs is being handled by www.sound4sale.com.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 7:05 PM Post #6 of 7

InSides

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Pacific Microsystems was acquired [or licensed, don't hold me on to that] by Microsoft, and Media Player is compatible with HDCD. Once you start the CD playback, a HDCD icon within Media Player will light up - assuming your soundcard is compatible [which, IMO, should be].

I have a Rotel RCD-02 HDCD, and use a E-MU 1212m. Inserting a Dire Straits HDCD lights up the HDCD lights in both Media Player and the Rotel CDP.

Now, for the good part - when you rip to WAVE, the HDCD information is retained. Not sure about FLAC, though. I did rip a single track in WAVE and when played through Media Player, the HDCD icon lit up.

I am not sure as to whether this would work with foobar2000. In order to test it, I would need an external HDCD DAC, and I don't have any.

Some little experimentation should be in order.
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Mar 20, 2006 at 11:20 PM Post #7 of 7

Grahame

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FLAC is lossless, so the original bits are restored.

HDCD used a certain bit pattern to signal itself as a HDCD recording.

If you are using a "bit perfect" output chain, the sourcing HDCD from flac should not be an issue.

Windows digital sound caveats apply ( vol at 100 % etc - check out this thread
http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=169526
for helpful info)

Confirmation that others have succeed is here

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=14803

(Note if you use replay gain - this may alter bit patten - so turn it off for HDCD recordings)

Having said all the above,
The question as to if HDCD actually did anything ( i.e. compress 20 bits of audio info into 16 bits, using only the last 4 bits) or just turned on a light on the decoder and added +3Db gain, as opposed to being audio "snake-oil" is left as an exercise for the reader.

Similar to the CD / SACD debate in that it was dificult to obtain a HDCD / non HDCD version from the same master to compare.

But back to the question at hand. Yes, flac, by itself, will not prevent encoded HDCD information from being recovered
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