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Thread: HDCD and Harman Kardon gear

  1. #1
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    HDCD and Harman Kardon gear

    I got talking about this in another thread recently, and rather than take their discussion off-topic, I thought it best to start this new thread here.


    According to the Wikipedia:
    High Definition Compatible Digital, or HDCD is a patented encode-decode process, now owned by Microsoft, that improves the audio quality of standard Redbook audio CDs, while retaining backward compatibility with existing Compact disc players.

    In other threads I've gone round and round with this HDCD thing ...
    Yes, its currently still in production.
    Yes, I am told new albums are coming out in with HDCD coding -
    Yes, HDCD discs play fine in regular players, computers or DVD machines.
    Yes, its invisible unless you have the Brown and Burr chips or their equivalent to decode it.
    Yes, Harman seems to like it - my HK changer has it, the Oppo passes the signal through the optical connection and the HK AVR 7300 receiver can decode it (see image below).
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    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
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    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    HDCD uses a 20-bit master instead of 16 bits and stores the additional data in a subchannel that is processed on HDCD-equipped players



    So what about media?
    Well, I have all of the (remastered) Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry Albums, plus I have some Rhino Grateful Dead remasters marked HDCD.

    I know I have others, but these are just few I had quick access to ...

    And, not all HDCDs are labeled as such - but if they are HDCD encoded, the indicator light should light up on your player or receiver, depending on how your system is configured.

    For my main system I have an Oppo 981H disc player (CD/DVD/etc) - and a Harman Kardon AVR 7300. The HK has the HDCD decoding technology and recommends I use the optical feed from the CD player to its optical in ...

    My other system has a vintage Yamaha receiver (CR-1020) and a Harman Kardon FL-8380 CD changer. It has the built in HDCD decoder.
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    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- XDA-2, BDP93, 4b NRB, B&K 5ch amp, Vandy 3A, 2Ce, VCC1, TF600 & JBL 4641

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    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    The HDCD Database!

    http://www.hitbutiken.com/hdcd/?p=home&lang=en

    here's another list of discs - some are "stealth" HDCD - no logo, but the encoding and quality is there:

    http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=67082


    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- XDA-2, BDP93, 4b NRB, B&K 5ch amp, Vandy 3A, 2Ce, VCC1, TF600 & JBL 4641

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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    ...In other threads I've gone round and round with this HDCD thing ...
    Yes, HDCD discs play fine in regular players, computers or DVD machines.
    They play in regular players, but with less accuracy than a regular CD.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    HDCD uses a 20-bit master instead of 16 bits and stores the additional data in a subchannel that is processed on HDCD-equipped players.
    The disc itself is purely 16 bit. The music on a HDCD CD is encoded at 16 bit.

    There is a myth on the internet about there being 20-bit data on the disc including 4 extra bits on a sub channel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tnargs View Post
    ... , but with less accuracy than a regular CD.
    Thank you for contributing.
    I did not know, but it seems to be true:
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDCD
    I have a few HDCDs. But I never cared as my equipment can't decode these .

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    Hmm, was always wondering what that logo was on my H/K receiver. I don't ever remember it popping up on the bottom like yours though. I will have to look into it some more. Will every CD/DVD player stream this to my receiver?
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    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyLittleViking View Post
    Hmm, was always wondering what that logo was on my H/K receiver. I don't ever remember it popping up on the bottom like yours though. I will have to look into it some more. Will every CD/DVD player stream this to my receiver?
    Well first - do you have any HDCD discs to play?

    I have an HK changer in the other room that lights up and decodes the signal itself - it outputs the "already decoded" analog audio to my carver receiver and the Carver doesn't know or care about the difference.

    Although I still have my OPPO DV981HD in place, the HK receiver in that picture is currently in for repairs,
    so I can't check the configs for you right now. But in the original post, I said "the Oppo passes the signal through the optical connection and the HK AVR 7300 receiver can decode it" - so your disc player needs to be connected and use the optical path for the full signal to be passed to your receiver.

    With my OPPO, I have 3 different kinds of connections connected.
    I have high quality phono cables (stereo Pair) for the regular CD inputs
    I have 6 phono cables for the discrete surround signals (5.1) for SACD (surround) and all of those kinds of sources.
    I have the optical (laser) cable connection for Movie surround sources and HDCD.

    I have different sources programmed to use the appropriate audio signal path in my receiver.
    2ch - Oppo981, JoLida502, JBL L200+, KEF 105.4
    HT7- XDA-2, BDP93, 4b NRB, B&K 5ch amp, Vandy 3A, 2Ce, VCC1, TF600 & JBL 4641

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    Senior Member SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    looks like JVC tried a quality boost thru the mastering process called XRCD waayyy back in 1995 ...seems 2 overlapping concepts to achieve same results ??


    Extended Resolution Compact Disc (XRCD) is a mastering and manufacture process patented by JVC (Victor Company of Japan, Ltd) for producing redbook Compact Discs. It was first introduced in 1995.

    If analog, the source material is first converted to digital via JVC's patented K2 20-bit or 24-bit analog-to-digital converter.
    The musical information is next encoded on a magneto-optical disk for transport to JVC's Yokohama manufacturing plant, where jitter reduction is applied. The musical signal on the disk is down-converted to 16-bit through a K2 "super-coding" process. This 16-bit signal is EFM-encoded before going through a proprietary "Extended Pit Cut" DVD K2 laser technology to produce a glass master. This optimizes the linear velocity of the glass master, giving precise pit lengths to eliminate time jitters, controlled by an extremely precise Rubidium clock. All CDs are finally stamped directly from this glass master.
    XRCD2 and XRCD24 are improved versions of the original XRCD process. XRCD2 is the first to record to a magneto-optical disk via the digital K2 regenerator, while XRCD24 upgrades the original music signal's bit depth signal from 20 to 24 bits.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extende...n_Compact_Disc
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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    I heard a couple of XRCDs when we did the California Audio Show a few months ago... they all sounded fantastic. I have no idea if it was their process or the material they chose to work with.

    Here is a pic of the device that creates HDCD data and a link to some info about them.

    http://www.goodwinshighend.com/manuf..._model_two.htm


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    about HDCD...

    Hi,

    I have been mastering CDs in the HDCD format for over 10 years. Many are on the Audio Fidelity label. It is not a lie or a scam. The process was developed in part by Keith Johnson of Reference Recodings. And YES, it IS "20 bits on a 16 bit CD". It does require that the original recordings are either analog or higher bit digital. Pacific Microsonics, the company behind HDCD, developed the proprietary process to encode the additional 4 bits of real data in a signal that looks and sounds like dither on any non-HDCD player. When decoded on an HDCD player all 20 bits are there. It is easy to prove and to demonstrate. There are several other things in the HDCD process which improve the sound when properly decoded. Do you really think Microsoft would pay big bucks for snake-oil? ...I don't think so. Unfortunately they haven't done much with the process as far as I know. They originally were interested in the technology to improve internet audio. With the dawning of high res formats with DVD and Blu-Ray density, or for FLAC downloading, it is no longer as necessary. The Model Two is still the best sounding A-D / D-A I have heard and I have heard dozens. They made less than 200 of them and they are very hard to find used. Contrary to popular belief, all 24 bit converters are NOT equal. In fact some are down right lousy. The lack of linearity, among other problems, can be measured and is audible.

    All the best,

    Kevin Gray
    Cohearent Audio

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