Should HDCD be a consideration?
Jan 4, 2004 at 11:21 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

Mr.PD

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I have been shopping for a new CD player. There are several I have considered. Everything from a modified Shannling T100 to a modified Music Hall. I have always wanted an Arcam FMJ CD23t. The only problem is that the Arcams do not have HDCD capabilities. Neither does the Wadia which is a player I just learned about and fell in love with.
I have it in my head that I need HDCD.
Am I wrong?
I already have an SACD player, and a couple SACD discs. I have several HDCD discs, but I have no idea if that format sounds much better, since I don't have a player for HDCD.

So, how important is HDCD decoding?
 
Jan 4, 2004 at 11:31 PM Post #2 of 18

Welly Wu

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Mr. PD:

It depends on whom you ask. For me, I had the NAD C 541i HDCD player and I still have two HDCD discs. Comparing my memory of that NAD player with my small collection of DVD-Audio / SACD discs, I'd have to say that HDCD is becoming more irrevelant to me; in other words, I could live without HDCD but I can not live without of both SACD & DVD-Audio. They are really much better formats albeit their target audience is thus far -- audiophiles. Don't worry too much about HDCD when picking out a new source component. However, do focus on whether you want to try out both high resolution formats or even vinyl.
 
Jan 4, 2004 at 11:51 PM Post #3 of 18

markl

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You're probably better off with a stellar CD player without HDCD than a mediocre one with it. Your HDCDs, even though not being played back in HDCD, will still sound great. HDCDs do sound good (in general of course it depends on the recording and the mastering as with any CD), but it's not like the jump you get to SACD/DVD-A, IMO.

Of course, if you could get a great CDP that also has HDCD, then of course that's the best of both worlds!
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 12:00 AM Post #4 of 18

gpalmer

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My personal take on HDCD is that it isn't that important. I would have loved to have had it on my sources, but it wasn't available... I just don't think there are enough HDCD discs available that it should be a must have, more of a nice to have. And since getting a good player will make ALL your CDs sound better I'd start there.
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 1:27 AM Post #6 of 18

GWN

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As the owner of an Arcam FMJ CD23T I can positively tell you that it has HDCD capability. Having said that, I own several HDCD's and there is no doubt that they do offer up more info (mostly spatial cues) but it would not be a major consideration on my part if I wanted to upgrade to a better cd player. It certainly would not keep me from purchasing a Wadia.


Quote:

Originally posted by Mr.PD
I have been shopping for a new CD player. There are several I have considered. Everything from a modified Shannling T100 to a modified Music Hall. I have always wanted an Arcam FMJ CD23t. The only problem is that the Arcams do not have HDCD capabilities. Neither does the Wadia which is a player I just learned about and fell in love with.
I have it in my head that I need HDCD.
Am I wrong?
I already have an SACD player, and a couple SACD discs. I have several HDCD discs, but I have no idea if that format sounds much better, since I don't have a player for HDCD.

So, how important is HDCD decoding?


 
Jan 5, 2004 at 1:35 AM Post #7 of 18

buzzlulu

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I just finished "rebuilding" my Hi Fi system and came that close to purchasing a dealer demo Arcam FMJ. I was blown away by its sound. It is my understanding that the 23 is being replaced by the new 33 (at an even higher price). Right before my final decision I introduced a Linn Genko CD player in the mix and opted to it. You owe yourself a listen (and you can save a bit, though not much, money)
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 1:52 AM Post #8 of 18

EyEPoD

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The Cary players will offer the best of both worlds
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 1:56 AM Post #9 of 18

GWN

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I actually did the opposite. Went from a Linn Genki to the FMJ23. I liked the Genki quite a lot. The poor ergonomics and unreliable drawer mechanism (apparently fixed now) made me switch. I auditioned the 33 and found it a bit of a step backwards for Arcam. The things that lead me to the Arcam 23 have been lost in the 33. The 33 does not retrieve nearly as much info from the silver disc and has lost ground in the area of dynamics. I guess I'm not the only one, the Bristish press as been faily lukewarm to this new Arcam. Not sure going from the DCS Dac to a Wolfson Dac was such a good idea.

Quote:

Originally posted by glevethan
I just finished "rebuilding" my Hi Fi system and came that close to purchasing a dealer demo Arcam FMJ. I was blown away by its sound. It is my understanding that the 23 is being replaced by the new 33 (at an even higher price). Right before my final decision I introduced a Linn Genko CD player in the mix and opted to it. You owe yourself a listen (and you can save a bit, though not much, money)


 
Jan 5, 2004 at 2:52 AM Post #10 of 18

Mr.PD

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Thank you very much GWN for pointing out that the FMJ does do HDCD decoding. I didn't pick that up anywhere before.

edit
I just sent an email attempting to buy an Arcam FMJ CD23T over at Audiogon.
biggrin.gif

This is the player I have always wanted. It may not be as nice as a Cary 306/200 but it is also half the cost. I think it should do well for me. I hope somebody else didn't beat me to it.
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 3:37 AM Post #11 of 18

Wodgy

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HDCD is pretty much a dead or dying format now. With no new HDCD digital filter chips being designed, and the newest ones being more than five years old (a very long time for digital components), fewer and fewer manufacturers are going to be using the HDCD digital filters in their gear. It's too bad that Microsoft didn't keep innovating after they bought Pacific Microsonics, but with SACD and DVD-A on the horizon, it probably doesn't matter anyway.
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 7:27 AM Post #12 of 18

Nietzsche

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Quote:

Originally posted by GWN
I actually did the opposite. Went from a Linn Genki to the FMJ23.


I have a DVD-A (Panasonic A7) and a strictly "normal" CD player Arcam CD 23.

The Arcam sounds noticeable better with normal CD compared to the Panasonic with DVD-A. So, format isn't all.

I can't turn off HDCD on my Arcam, so comparison is not easy.
I have +- 40 HDCD's and they all sound good to very good (see classical "Reference recordings", Neil Young's CDs, Andy Summers "Green Chimnies" (Victor) is really spectacular).
I have also several CDs (example : Emi Classics Prokofiev/Shostakovich/Bartok) where the red led HDCD indicator goes on, although the CD doesn't mention "HDCD". So I guess it's HDCD).

But I have many 'normal' CD's that just sound as good.

The most important part is still the way the music is recorded.
Probably most HDCDs are recorded very well.
I have the same impression with SACD. I have +- 20 hybrid SACDs (newly DSD-recorded, not older recording reissued on SACD) and the red book CD layer on them (I can't play the SA-layer) sounds mostly better than my CDs with HDCD!!!
I guess because the recording is done via DSD with seems to give a very uncoloured sound (I're read that somewhere for what it's worth).

Don't let you be only guided by the HDCD compat.

Just buy a CD-player that you've HEARD and take as many CDs as possible to the HIFI-shop to listen to the players that might interest you. Trust your ears!
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 2:31 PM Post #13 of 18

eyeteeth

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Forget about HDCD. I have 2 HDCD's, Tool's 'Lateralus' & Beck's last which Im bored of and is available as a SACD. If you're a big Dead Head i'd get HDCD compatibility.
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 2:40 PM Post #14 of 18

jpelg

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Quote:

If you're a big Dead Head i'd get HDCD compatibility.


Yeah. Of my favorite artists, only Joni Mitchell has her CD's on HDCD. Aimee Mann has one, older CD on HDCD format, but her newest is on SACD. I still wonder if it is worth getting a player for just those few CD's, which I really like (in redbook).

Any artists looking to use a hi-res format, from this point forward, will likely go for SACD or DVD-A (or some variation thereof).
 
Jan 5, 2004 at 6:53 PM Post #15 of 18

Canman

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Quote:

Originally posted by eyeteeth
If you're a big Dead Head i'd get HDCD compatibility.



I'm a Dead Head but I don't think HDCD decoding adds that much on better CD players.

My Dead CD's sound better on my Wadia 301 than they did on the HDCD equipped Arcam CD 23, which is a very fine player.
 

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