Thanks much, so I still wonder if with the plugin used the copied disc/file is equivalent to the original HDCD information?
My response is accurate for dBpoweramp.
Foobar and dBpoweramp offer a plug-in which can be used to decode and rip HDCD tracks, and store them as 24-bit WAV files. These decoded files can be played on any DAC which plays 44.1/24.
Yes. If the plug-in is used, the decoded file has the same information as if you played the file through an HDCD-enabled disc player. The late Charles Hanson of Ayre posted extensively on HDCD. He maintained that you really only got a couple extra bits worth of dynamic range when peak extend was enabled. That is consistent with what I see when I look at decoded files in foobar2000 (i.e., the volume gets into the upper 6 dB range but not by much) and also with the fact that decoded HDCD files (even those with peak extend) sound much quieter than undecoded files (unless you check the 6dB boost option when decoding). They never claimed more than 20-bit resolution so the last four bits are empty. When I play decoded HDCD tracks the display on my DS Senior flips back and forth between 18 and 16 bits during play, if I recall correctly (or maybe its 18 and 20).
HDCD encoded files also have increased noise. This is the tradeoff for using the 16th bit for HDCD.
Haven’t owned a CD player transport in years. I still buy CDs too. Once ripped, I either give them to my brother or donate to the library. HDTracks.com and Bandcamp have both allowed me to avoid purchasing CD’s for the most part.
In my application CD/SACD/XRCD etc still sound better (subjectively of course) than streaming the files. That is why I’m anxiously waiting to see the Octave will be able to do and how it will perform.