Any opinions on HDCD? Particularly The Grateful Dead

Thank you, Bob

I used to own a Music Hall player that decoded HDCD hooked up to a Micromega DAC. I have most of the GD releases plus many of the Reference Recording CD’s with HDCD encoded…never really impressed. My current (non-HDCD) set up with a DSJ is far better. Do any other labels still encode with HDCD since Microsoft took over?

It’s a mystery to me why the Dead continue to use it. I use dBpoweramp on a PC to rip HDCD discs with and without the HDCD plug-in. (The software was hacked out of Windows Media Player some time ago; apparently it only partially decodes HDCD files, which is surprising given that Microsoft owns the technology. Well, maybe not so surprising. It is Microsoft.) The HDCD versions seem to sound better but it may just be differences in apparent volume (I usually add back in the decoding process the 6 dB that HDCD subtracts and have not noticed any distortion from clipping as a result, but maybe I’m just not that sensitive to it; in brief comparisons also thought the HDCD discus sounded better without the 6 dB add-back). Don’t have a DMP so can’t comment on how HDCD discs sound on it (the DS does not decode HDCD in any event).

The DMP does not decode HDCD. (It plays HDCD discs as any non-HDCD-enabled player does.) Paul explained this during the beta testing. As I recall, turning on the HDCD-specific elements caused it to fail the bit perfect test.

Yes but it will play HDCD encoded discs (without decoding) so there could still be a question about how they sound on the DMP, although I don’t know what you would be comparing to (perhaps high-res downloads–most of the studio catalog and some of the more recent live releases are available). The original post was a bit open-ended. smile

Oh, and welcome to the forum mackave!

Thank you

I had a few discs I used to play, that sounded decent, only to find out thry were HDCDs.

I too have a lot of Dead and Jerry CDs that are HDCD. The Oppos used to play HDCD, but I’m not sure of the newer models. I would do some comparisons if you can. After yesrs of listening to Dead cassettes, I may not listen as critically, as with other groups.

Actually my 825 Lindemann plays HDCDs. I think someone mentioned that Foobar has plug-ins for HDCD, that might be the best way to do it?

Maybe more details would help. What gear you have and what you want to accomplish, or your concerns.