HDCD list

Discussion in 'Music' started by megaptera, Mar 28, 2004.
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  1. interpolate
    Yes thanks for the information. Interestingly enough my soundcard interface has a volume range to -132dB to +12dB (144dB) in the software side of things however the actual specification of the DAC won't go that low. The analogue inputs and output are more likely to be 20-bit (120dB) at very most. Also I've seen that DSD developers aren't really pushing the envelope for any claims beyond that.
    It makes me wonder if I should do dither at 20-bit for futher recordings although some of my plug-ins dithering on the fly internally reducing the need to do it anyway. This is why I get bemused when I see people arguing about the quality of the copper and AWG used for speaker cabling, I'll buy good reputable OFC although not $100's for it.
  2. CHansen
    Several different topics:
    1) Computer-based digital volume controls work with 32-bit floating point operations. These only have 24 bits of precision, as the rest is in the exponent. When you turn your volume down by (say) -48 dB, you are literally throwing away 8 bits of resolution. If you are starting with 16-bit data (99.9% of all music files), you are only left listening to 8 bits of resolution. Not good.
    2) DSD is only 1-bit and actually has roughly the same noise as signal in raw form. The way they "fix" this is to "noise shape" the noise. Noise shaping pushes the noise, but it is a game of "Whack a Mole". If you reduce the noise in one frequency range, it increases in another frequency range. In other words, there is no free lunch.
    Sony and Philips chose a 7th-order noise-shaping filter that provides 120 dB S/N in the audio band. Yet it climbs like a rocket immediately past 20 kHz, and by 100 kHz, the S/N is only about 12 dB! That is one reason it is not necessarily the best format out there, although it can sound very, very good.
    3) In my experience, dither actually doesn't sound as good as rounding. Besides, dithering to 20 bits wouldn't do anything for you as computers work with byte-wide data. All three major OSs use 32-bit floats to represent audio data, whether it contains 24, 20, 16, or even fewer bits of actual data. The floats are converted back to fixed point for storage on the hard drive. There will be no savings of computation and only a minor reduction in storage space by reducing to 20 bits.
    4) I've not found anything that doesn't make a difference in sound quality. You would be surprised at the differences that different cables can make. There is a lot more to cables than just the purity of the copper.
    Hope this helps.
  3. interpolate
    All very good points.
    Some I sort of knew and others I never. I've only seen 20-bit rendering being used in Waves L2 plug-ins so that was off-the-cuff and I tend not dither if I don't have to.
  4. Dick James
    You can add to the list The Very Best of the Doors* by The Doors, released in 2001 by Rhino.  I played this a few weeks ago and found a pleasant surprise when my universal player detected HDCD.  There is no HDCD indication anywhere on this release.
    Also add Tracks by Bruce Springsteen, which is marked as HDCD; and add 16 Biggest Hits by Johnny Cash, which is not marked as HDCD on the disc, but the HDCD logo is on the back of the case.
    Thanks for keeping the list up to date.
  5. CHansen
    Hi Dick,
    Don't forget that the HDCD indicator does not necessarily mean that the disc requires any decoding! Instead it only means that the mastering studio used the Pacific Microsonics A/D converter.

    This converter has two optional features that can be engaged by the mastering engineer at his discretion. Decoding is only desirable if these features are used.
    In other words, the "HDCD" light is not a useful way to know if a disc is actually encoded with HDCD features that require decoding. For the technically-minded, details are below. Hope this helps.
    The best way to know if the disc requires decoding is to use Foobar and install the HDCD decoding component. Then go to "File - Preferences - Default User Interface". There are three boxes with long text strings. Cut and paste the following into the middle box, "Status bar":
    %codec% | %samplerate% Hz | $info(bitspersample) bits | %channels% | %playback_time%[ / %length%] | %bitrate% kbps | HDCD = $if(%__hdcd%,'yes | ','no')$if(%__hdcd%,PE: %__hdcd_peak_extend% LLE: %__hdcd_gain% TF: %__hdcd_transient_filter%)
    Now when you play a file, the status bar at the bottom of the Foobar window will display all the important information about the file:
    Codec - Sample Rate - Bit Depth - Number of Channels - Elapsed Time - Total Time - Bitrate - HDCD Info
    If the track was recorded with the Pacific Microsonics A/D converter it will say "HDCD = yes" but that does not mean decoding is required. There are three components:
    PE = Peak Expand and definitely will improve the sound if decoded. PE compresses the top 9 dB of the original dynamic range into only 3 dB of space on the encoded file. Decoding will restore the full dynamic range. This feature is normally "On" or "Off" for the entire album, although it is possible that some "Best of" compilation albums could have some tracks with PE and some without.
    LLE = Low-Level Extension and oddly enough almost never requires decoding, even when enabled during the mastering process. LLE is only active when the peak level falls below -45 dBFS. For popular music this only happens during fadeouts! You will never notice if the decoding happens for a second or two during a fadeout! Even with classical music, LLE will only be active during extremely quiet passages with one or two solo instruments. You can see it coming on and off in real-time as the music plays.
    TF = Transient Filter and never requires decoding! The Pacific Microsonics A/D converter has 2 different anti-aliasing filters which are automatically selected by the converter. There are no adjustments or controls on this feature and it cannot be decoded. As far as I can determine, Pacific Microsonics had planned to include this, but were beaten to the punch by Ed Meitner (then at the now-defunct Museatex) who had patented this idea and precluded its use by others. You can see the Transient Filter changing in real-time as the track plays, but all HDCD players have only one playback (reconstruction) filter. There is absolutely nothing to be done with this information.
    Bottom line - Just because a disc lights the HDCD light on your player does not mean that it requires decoding. Only if PE was used will there be a noticeable benefit. If LLE was used there may be slight benefits, but I wouldn't bother decoding LLE by itself unless PE is also used. TF cannot be "decoded".
  6. Dick James
    I also use foobar2000 and here is what it detects for The Very Best of The Doors:
    CDDA | 1411 kbps | 24 bits | 44.1 kHz | stereo | HDCD - peak extend: no; transient filter: no; gain: 0.0 dB 
    Note that the transient filter toggles on and off about every few seconds for most of the tracks.
    Do you agree that Tracks by Bruce Springsteen is a HDCD disc?  You have listed 18 Tracks, which is the 1 disc compilation of Tracks.
    16 Biggest Hits by Johnny Cash shows:
    CDDA | 1411 kbps | 24 bits | 44.1 kHz | stereo | HDCD - peak extend: yes; transient filter: no; gain: 0.0 dB
    Although, peak extend sometimes turns off and on during a track.
  7. CHansen

    Hi Dick,
    The "Very Best of the Doors" is what I call a "fake HDCD". It not only does not require decoding, it cannot be decoded. The only thing it does is light up the light... :frowning2:
    The reason this came to be is \there were three main people at Pacific Microsonics. The guy who designed the machines was Keith Johnson, an absolutely brilliant guy, and the real reason that HDCDs sound so good. One of the guys was a "marketing" guy that was full of baloney... Everything made with the HDCD-capable A/D converter will light up the HDCD light, even if the mastering engineer did not engage the features that can be decoded (Peak Extend and Low-Level Extension).
    All of the nonsense about the "secret" system is just that - nonsense. In most cases it gives you 1 extra bit of resolution (from Peak Expand), but then takes that bit away by using the LSB for the sub-code. There is no net gain!
    (The Low-Level Extension - LLE - only gives another roughly 0.6 bits in the very best case, but this happens so infrequently that it literally can be ignored.)
    The Transient Filter shows that there were two different anti-aliasing filters used during the conversion process. If the circuit detected a lot of high frequency content (eg, a cymbal crash), it would use the filter with flat frequency response to 20 kHz. But if there were no high-frequency content, it would use a different filter that rolled off the (non-existent) highs and gave better time-domain response (less ringing).
    Even this was a silly feature with no use! In the first place there was only one playback filter, as using two playback filters would have violated another patent. In the second place, the only time that the extended frequency response filter would ring was if there were high-frequency transients. This means that the only music that would create ringing in the filter would engage the filter that could ring! The filter with less ringing is only engaged when there is no spectral content that will induce ringing... :frowning2:
    The Pacific Microsonics A/D was the first A/D that sounded good simply because the only other thing available through the mid-90s were two models of Sony converters that sounded quite ordinary. All of the analog circuitry, power supplies, and connectors were ordinary grade stuff that you would find in a $199 home receiver. Nothing high performance about it whatsoever. Keith Johnson had everything possible optimized - super low jitter clocks, fully discrete analog circuitry, ultra-low noise power supplies, and on and on and on. It was like the difference between a $199 home stereo for playback and a mega-buck audiophile system - but nothing to do with the HDCD "process". That was one of the biggest smoke-and-mirrors tricks of all time.
    On the Johnny Cash disc, Peak Extend should never turn on and off within a single track. It is either "On" or "Off" and switching is disallowed. Almost certainly this was ripped from a scratched disc that destroyed the "subcode" in the LSB. The best thing to do is use Accurate Rip, a database of ripped discs from many different users with many different discs and many different optical drives. If they match, you know the rip is perfect. EAC is nearly worthless, as it can only compare different rips of the same disc with the same optical drive. If there is a defect in the disc, it will likely give the same data every time it is read...  :frowning2:  Another big myth that people fell for...
  8. veloroad
    Hi all! It has been awhile since my last post on the subject, and since then I got a new PC (imagine that - an Intel Core i7 8Gb RAM rig rescued from a dumpster; after cleaning and testing the components, installing a SSD and Windows 7, I'm good to go!). I just around installing FooBar 2000 and the HDCD decoder (thanks Charles Hansen for the Status Bar string!) and decided to see if some of my recent HDCD discs are 'real'. Much to my surprise, it seems the long-time proponent of HDCD, Reference Recordings, isn't using the technology to its fullest potential! For example, the two Joel Fan CDs I have, catalogue numbers RR-119 and RR-134, have no PE, LLE, and TF; on the well-reviewed Elgar and Vaughan Williams disc, RR-129, I've observed only TF. Another example: the CD layer of their Dvorak and Janacek SACD (FR-710SACD, released last year, 2014) has no PE or LLE, but at least TF fickers. I don't have all of their material to confirm my observation, but it seems RR may have decided sometime after 2008 it wasn't worth turning on PE; my last true RR HDCD disc is their 'Tempest' recording, RR-115, and it has a copyright year of 2008, the aforementioned RR-119 of mine has a CR of 2009.
    Well...I am disappointed but not surprised, with RR issuing their recordings in HRx, SACD, and (what is old is new) LP formats, the writing's on the wall and their maintaining HDCD in its hobbled form is almost like a face-saving measure. They can't dump the format they've been hailing all these years, so they turn off what perhaps is the best (only worthwhile) feature of HDCD?  Cost perhaps, maybe Microsoft wants more $$$ for full HDCD implementation? Maybe the Pacific Microsonics DAC/recorders can't implement PE anymore? (After all, it's been some 23 years since HDCD became available.) Could it be the HDCD PE algorithm is lost, so modern chips can't encode/decode it?   
    Anyway, time and technology moves on; besides the hi-res formats I've mentioned, there's Blu-Ray Audio and a plethora of digital file formats (high-res WAVs, FLACs/ALACs, DSDs, etc.). Indeed, I'm finding I've been gravitating to buying SACD and Blu-Ray Audio for my physical-disc purchases, and I have plenty of open-reel recordings to digitize before they turn into a pile of iron oxide. Maybe it's time to go back to vinyl too...I suppose it's a good thing I didn't throw out my Kenwood KD-500/SME IIIS/Shure V15-V. 
  9. CHansen
    Hello Veloroad,
    Superb analysis! Here is my take:
    1) TF will always be flickering. The PM A/D converter has two different anti-aliasing filters that it automatically selects when recording and this feature cannot be disabled. However there is no possible way to "decode" this. No HDCD player ever made has more than one playback filter, so there is no need to even encode the information about the A/D filter in the "hidden subcode".
    I suspect that their original intent was to have two different reconstruction filters in the player, but they were beat to the punch my Ed Meitner's patent when he was working for Museatex. The fact that the flag even exist is probably an anomaly that was easier to leave in than to remove. Any disc ever made with a PM converter (Model One or Model Two) will activate the TF flag (with pop music it usually changes whenever the drummer hits a cymbal), but it is only of theoretical interest, as there is nothing to be done during playback.

    2) LLE is next to useless. It only comes on when the signal level falls below -45 dBFS. This is basically never during pop music, and only for very short times during classical music. I've only ever seen it turn on with a very quiet passage with one or two instruments playing.
    3) PE did provide an extra bit of dynamic range (6 dB) at the top end, but it also cost a bit of dynamic range at the bottom end because that's where they put the "hidden subcode". The net gain was really pretty minimal.
    The reason that they don't bother to use it any more for their recordings is that when played back on a non-HDCD player, the dynamic range of the music will be compressed by 6 dB.
    Their original plan was to "take over the world" and have all CD players use their technology. That plan was sidetracked by two events:
    a) The introduction of true high resolution formats such as DVD-Audio and SACD, and now high-resolution files available in download format. I have the entire Beatles catalog in 44/24 from the USB thumb drive that came in the green metal apple. I can download all kinds of true high resolution files from PonoMusic, HD Tracks, and many other places. The masses are happy with MP3. People who really care about quality want something better than a slightly hot-rodded 44/16 CD. Probably 20% of my music collection is now high-resolution digital files. The very best that HDCD could offer is the equivalent of 44/17.4 - not exactly earth-shattering news!

    When HDCD was introduced PM claimed 20 bits of resolution, but that was just marketing fluff. Most of the "extra resolution" actually came from dithering, but every A/D converter in the world has dithering now, and even the early Sony converters that didn't have built in digital dithering would be very nicely dithered by the tape hiss during the transfer from analog tape.
    b) HDCD lost out because of the same reason that FireWire lost out to USB - money.

    It's all about money, control, and power. PM wanted to make money by licensing their technology. It's not worth it to pay the license unless you absolutely have to.
    When FireWire was introduced, it was far faster (400 Mb/sec) than USB 1.1 (12 Mb/sec). But the licensing for FireWire was $1 per port while USB was free. Once they introduced USB 2.0 at 480 Mb/sec), it was faster than the original FireWire, but it was still free. Why pay $1 per port for something that is slower than the free stuff? That's why they came up with FireWire 800 (800 Mb/sec). But it was still only marginally faster than USB 2.0 and died shortly thereafter. Apple kept using for a couple of years and then dropped it from their products.
    Nobody wants to pay Microsoft a $10,000 license fee plus per-device royalties on HDCD patents that have expired, so there are fewer and fewer and fewer products that will decode HDCD. The only reason to do so is for the collection of legacy discs that were made from around 1998 to around 2006. No smart manufacturer is going to add it now, as it won't sell many extra players.
    As far as decoding, from around 2000 to around 2004 the very best sounding digital filter chip on the market was the PMD-100 that also included HDCD decoding. To even buy this (relatively expensive) chip, you had to have a license ($5000 at the time, but raised to $10,000 after the Microsoft acquisition). The problem was that the factory that made the original chips used a 600 nm process. When they shut that down, PM would have had to pony up another $500,000 or so to get new chips made. (For reference, the fastest chips made today use a 16 nm process - finer process parts run faster, are  smaller and cheaper, and consume less power.) PM apparently didn't have the money so sold the business to Microsoft. Microsoft immediately dropped all hardware support.
    The only way to decode HDCD today is to buy a programmable digital filter and license the HDCD code from Microsoft. There are some DVD and Blu-ray players that do this, but almost nobody makes a CD-only player any more and the ones that still exist don't use fancy programmable parts that could even use Microsoft's code. The patents have all now expired, so reverse-engineering is legal but probably not worth it to most companies.
    Reference Recordings has recognized the fact that HDCD is dead and that only a small fraction of CD players can even decode HDCD's one feature that even really requires decoding (PE), so they have faced reality and make CDs without HDCD encoding. If a customer really wants better sound quality, they are going to buy a true high-res file (eg, 192/24), not something that is only literally about 1 bit better - about 44/17. There are far more playback devices that will play 192/24 than there are that will decode HDCD. Heck, even the crappiest smart phone on the market will play back a 48/24 file. Most people that buy physical discs these days either want true high res or they want to play it back in their car stereo. I don't know of any car stereos that will decode HDCD.

    Obviously these are just my opinions. There is a lot of speculation here. You would have to ask Reference Recordings why they stopped using the HDCD features to know for sure. Clearly they still believe that the PM converter is the best sounding one, or they would switch to another brand. When they remastered the Beatles catalog in 2009, the engineers spent a lot of time comparing the sound quality of A/D converters. The best one at that time (in Abbey Road's opinion) was no longer the PM but instead they chose a Prism. The Prism is a very good one, but there are likely even better sounding ones available today, almost 7 years later. It's hard to believe that nobody has come up with a better sounding A/D converter than the PM in all of these years. The Model One was introduced over 15 years ago, and the Model Two was basically the same except it added higher sampling rates. It's still a great converter and well respected, but no longer considered the "King of the Hill" that it was in the early 2000s. Do you think that nobody has made a better sounding CD player or D/A converter since the year 2000?
    It is only through Foobar that we can even see which HDCD features are used and which ones aren't. This is the only way to distinguish a "real" HDCD (that requires decoding for best sound quality) from a "fake" HDCD (that cannot be decoded at all, but was simply made using the PM A/D converter).

    I hope this helps, and I hope it makes (at least some) sense.
  10. Dick James
    I looked at my CD and FLAC collections looking for HDCDs using foobar2000 and found the following...

    You can add these to the HDCD list, and all have PE enabled:
    Chris Isaak - Speak of the Devil
    Neil Young - Harvest
                      After the Gold Rush
                      Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
                      Neil Young
                      Greatest Hits (deluxe edition with DVD, probably all editions)
                      Dreamin' Man Live '92
                      A Treasure
                      Live at the Cellar Door
    Grateful Dead - Formerly the Warlocks
    Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces
    Allison Moorer - Alabama Song
    Soundtrack - City of Angles

    These are on the HDCD list but do not have PE enabled and should be removed, unless you want to start a list of fake HDCDs:
    Roy Orbison - 16 Biggest Hits
    Johnny Cash - 16 Biggest Hits
    Grateful Dead - The Birth of the Dead - The Studio Sides (disc 1 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           The Birth of the Dead - The Live Sides (disc 2 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           The Grateful Dead (disc 3 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           Anthem of the Sun (disc 4 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           Aoxomoxoa (disc 5 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           Live/Dead (disc 6 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           Workingman's Dead (disc 7 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           American Beauty (disc 8 of The Golden Road, also issued separately in 2003)
                           American Beauty (CD side of DualDisc)
    Van Halen - Women and Children First (2000 reissue)
                       Fair Warning (2000 reissue)
                       Diver Down (2000 reissue)
                       1984 (2000 reissue)
    John Mellencamp - The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988
                                 Cuttin' Heads
    The Traveling Wilburys - The Traveling Wilburys Collection
    Bruce Springsteen - 18 Tracks
    Chris Isaak - Best of Chris Isaak (deluxe edition with DVD, probably all editions)
    Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now
    Paula Cole - This Fire
    Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive (25th anniversary deluxe edition)
    Bee Gees - Their Greatest Hits: The Record

    These are not on the list and are fake HDCDs, which means PE is not enabled but a HDCD player will still identify them as HDCDs:
    Jewel - Spirit
    Chris Isaak - Baja Sessions
    Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach - Painted From Memory
    The Doors - The Very Best of the Doors
    Neil Young - Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968
    Various Artists - Hank Williams Timeless
    Grateful Dead - The Best of the Grateful Dead 1967-1989
    The Beach Boys - Made in California
                               Surf's Up (2012 reissue)
                               Sunflower (2012 reissue)
                               Beach Boys Concert/Live in London
                               20/20 (2012 reissue)
                               Friends (2012 reissue)
                               Smiley Smile (2012 reissue)
                               Pet Sounds (2012 reissue)
                               Beach Boys' Party! (2012 reissue)
                               Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) (2012 reissue)
                               Today! (2012 reissue)
                               All Summer Long (2012 reissue)
                               Shut Down Volume 2 (2012 reissue)
                               Little Deuce Coupe (2012 reissue)
                               Surfer Girl (2012 reissue)
                               Surfin' U.S.A. (2012 reissue)
    John Mellencamp - Mr. Happy Go Lucky
    Soundtrack - Music From the Motion Picture Practical Magic
    Various Artists - Remembering Patsy Cline
    "Weird Al" Yankovic - Running With Scissors
    Emmylou Harris - Red Dirt Girl
    k.d. lang - Invincible Summer
    Sixpence None the Richer - The Best of Sixpence None the Richer
  11. CHansen
    Hi Dick,
    Awesome work! Thanks so much for sharing the benefit of your labors with everyone!
    Thanks also to the Foobar developer who created the HDCD plug-in. That is the only way to know what is actually going on. By looking at enough HDCD discs, one can easily tell exactly decisions the mastering engineer made about engaging different features. The PE is either "on" or "off" for the entire disc. The LLE rarely comes on, even when engaged. With pop music the best way to look for it is to watch the Foobar Status Bar just as a song is fading out. With classical, try a really quiet passage and/or a time when the microphones are unmuted but the music has not begun playing (ambient noise in the hall). The TF will change whenever there is loud high-frequency content (typically cymbals), but since there is nothing to decode it is only of academic interest.
    Thanks to all of the various people around the world who did various reverse-engineering efforts to decode the "subcode" strings. At this point in time, all of the patents have expired, so HDCD is now officially in the public domain. The only thing still protected is the HDCD logo itself, which is a trademark that does not expire.
    The real gift of HDCD was it was the very first A/D converter that sounded great. A lot of the problems with early digital audio sound quality were due to the mediocre design of the Sony A/Ds that were the only options available for years. The real trick of HDCD was that it was a ringer. It would be like replacing a $99 multi-channel receiver full of op-amps and cheap parts with mega-buck separate preamp and amp combination. Of course it made for better sounding CDs. It's just that very little of the improvement was due to the claimed extra resolution.
    Even today, over 15 years after the introduction of the Model One, it is one of the best sounding A/D converters available. There were even a few years after it had been discontinued that it was something of a collector's item as it was better than most of the competition and used ones cost more than the original new price. Yet in the intervening 10 years other manufacturers have equaled or surpassed the sonic performance of the PM converter and it is no longer in high demand.
    The best way to understand this is to go out and compare identical masterings of a 192/24 file with a 44/16 file. The better your playback equipment, the easier it is to hear the difference. But even on the very best equipment, there is not a night-and-day difference. It is relatively subtle - I've heard some absolutely stunning recordings that were done at 44/16. All HDCD did was extend the resolution to 44/17 or in very rare cases briefly to 44/17.4. If the difference between 192/24 and 44/16 is not massive, we can hardly expect that going from 44/16 to 44/17 is going to be a breakthrough...
    A classic lesson in marketing! It is always easier to sell features than performance. If they had just made a killer sounding A/D converter, that would have been great. Lots of mastering engineers would have evaluated and bought it. But by adding the special features that required decoding, it became a power-play. They charged CD player manufacturers a license fee to sign up, and then collected a royalty on every player sold. (I don't think there was a royalty on the CD itself.) Before the CD patents expired, Sony/Philips were collecting $1 billion per year in CD royalties. (A $25,000 license fee plus around $0.07 per disc and a small percentage of each player sold.) A billion dollars a year is a lot of money! PM had visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, I think...  :)
    The bottom line is that when the HDCD light comes on, you know with certainty that they used a really good sounding A/D converter on that disc. It is much less clear whether it will benefit from any decoding or not. The list you provided helps people know which ones will benefit. (PM even argued that the compressed sound of an undecoded CD made with PE would sound "better" due to the compression. Of course the "loudness wars" that over the last 20 years have really taken the wind out of the sails of that argument.)
  12. veloroad
    Reference Recordings' Saint-Saens 'HDCD' disc recently received a Grammy nomination and got lots of praise for its sound, so I decided to acquire it. Well, it's marked 'HDCD', it does sound great...and sure enough, FooBar indicates no PE used. I can only guess why 'Prof' Johnson decided to no longer use PE...perhaps it's due to the dearth of players supporting HDCD, so might as well turn it off so the playback of the disc on a non-HDCD player could be fully supported, without worrying about decoding artifacts - and still have people think it's HDCD (hey, they can't give up on their marketing tool). It's a testament to Reference Recordings' engineering team to get the sound right with resorting to fully implementing HDCD; can one imagine how it'd sound with PE and LLE used, in SACD, or HRx (24/176K)? Then again, maybe all that hi-res isn't really needed...
  13. kiwivda
    Is this thread alive?
    Within Temptation - The Silent Force
    HDCD not labeled.
  14. CHansen
    Hi Kiwivda,
    The reason why there are very few posts on this thread is that many have been fooled by what are called "fake HDCDs". A "fake HDCD" will light up the light on a "compatible" HDCD player. However there is nothing to decode! It is just a great sounding recording made with a great sounding A/D converter. The HDCD light was simply a scare tactic designed to scare people into buying something that (for all practical purposes) hasn't existed since 2009.
    Most of the "secret" HDCDs that comprise this list that is the subject of this thread fall into this category. Please refer to post #580 for more information, along with corroboration by other users in the posts below that post.
    Hope this helps,
    Charles Hansen
  15. veloroad
    Perhaps to make this thread helpful, maybe folks could report on 'true' HDCDs, to identify those discs that can benefit from HDCD decoding...
    Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised recently; I happened to get a copy of Linda Ronstadt's Prisoner in Disguise album, Asylum 1045-2, and it turned out to be a 'true' HDCD! There was nothing on the liner notes or back cover to indicate it was a HDCD disc, so I wasn't expecting anything special. Opening up the jewel box revealed a disc with the logo, and a run-through using Foobar showed Peak Extension was used - a 'true' HDCD. (Anyone who's new to this thread, check out CHansen's prior posts.)   
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