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Does anyone know if HDCD recordings are still being made in any substantial way (I'm not talking about few obscure recordings)? It seems like there was a flurry of remasters for a while and now, after 10 years, I have assembled a grand total of about 7 CD's that are even worth listening to. Any opinions on whether getting an HDCD equipped CD player is even an issue anymore? It used to be that the superior filtering in the PMD100 made the chip desirable regardless of software availability but I'm not sure that even holds water any more.
Is HDCD realy dead? Interestingly, the Grateful Dead, who just reformed under the name "The Dead", have been issuing complete concerts in their Dick's Picks series, and these are HDCD encoded. Additionally, every Arista release over the past few years for both the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart, The Other Ones, and The Jerry Garcia Band, have been HDCD encoded.
Well reviewed sonic marvels put out by Jerry Garcia's pal, David Grisman, under the Acoustic Disc label have likewise been encoded.
In this sense, I guess you could say that HDCD is very DEAD, and in this corner of the audio world, very alive.
These CDs are very fine, especially the more recent vintage concerts, and the Acoustic Disc releases are stunning. This is not meant to be a blatant endorsement of HDCD, but just another log on the fire for consideration.
If it's worth playing, it's worth playing loud!
© 2002 Pacific Microsonics, Inc. All rights reserved. Pacific Microsonics, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation. © 2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
I never really got into HDCD, although my Toshiba 2200 DVDP decodes it. DVDA has more mo' going for it than HDCD...heck, even XRCD w/their new XRCD 24 discs are stealing pieces of the HDCD pie.
There may a website that you can visit, which lists the titles. Try a search.
> > I never really got into HDCD, although my Toshiba 2200 DVDP decodes it. < <
Well my car can be driven on the autobahn - but it will never be mistaken for a ferrari.
In other words - although your toshiba can decode HDCD - it does not have the capability to truly represent HDCD ... so therefore this machine will not present you (or anyone else) with the option of getting into, or truly hearing HDCD in the first place.
and that's (the Toshiba 2200) probably why I own zero HDCD discs. Actually, I have a Cibao Mato CD that triggers the light, but I think it's only a false positive.
If HDCD is indeed dead, Pacific Microsonics really shot itself in the foot with its licensing restrictions. For IMO, that stifled the chances of the format really taking off... Too bad, because after hearing Mannheim Steamroller's HDCD "Christmas Extraordinaire," this format done right yielded the best sonics I've ever heard from a digital disc source, be it standard CD, HDCD CD, SACD, or DVD-A.
I've monitored the HDCD site sporadically for years and it doen't look promising. The issue for me is that I've been trying to decide whether to upgrade my CD50 to the new Resolution Audio Opus 21. In fact my comments on the DVD-A board were intended to try and stir things up in an effort to see if I had missed anything regarding the format issues. I've come to the conclusion that, from a purist audiophile perspective, investing in the best quality conventional CD playback that one can afford, right now, will yeild the greatest dividends in terms of audio quality (and quantity) over the next few years and in the forseeable future. Of course many will not agree but I have enjoyed an outstanding music playback system for many years by sticking closely to the priciples of Hi Fidelity, defined in terms of absolute accuracy. This is not always the popular or generally accepted philosophy because the results are not always musically pleasing. The fact that this is a failing at the ultimate source, the sound engineer, is lost on many people, who then get trapped in the futile search for equipment that will compensate for flaws in the recording. It can be achieved, but ultimately at the expense of watering down truely well engineered and recorded music. Personally I'd rather put up with the bad in order to experience the very best.
it is difficult for more popular acts as they simply don't have a say in the matter. The record label/engineer/producer wants the recording to sound it's best on all types of systems. This usually causes the use and abuse of compression, - which kills the dynamics........
I'll tell you that if the OPUS is even 10% better that my CD50 it will be absolutely KILLER. I had an extra set of inputs put on my amp by the factory so I could drive it directly and at the same time run a switching device(preamp)for my other sources. The upgrade one gets by bypassing an entire active component(the pre) is HUGE. Add to that the fact that the Resolution is a competitive digital processor in it's own right and it's a pretty potent combination of positives. I'd really like to hear the CD50 or OPUS driving a pair of good active speakers. No preamp, no speaker wires, just a source connected to a transducer. Now THAT would be "IT"!
Unfortuneatly active speakers are not in vogue either.
running a CDP directly into an amp(s) isn't always the best thing to do and your assumption that it is, shouldn't be etched in stone. While eliminating a box, with all of it's circuitry seems to make sense in the 'less is best' vein, it can often lead to a very sterile presentation. In addition, not all analogue/digital volume controls are created equally. Further, one loses about 1 bit of resolution for every 6 db of attenuation in the digital domaine, so if you're not cranking it, you're not hearing it all.
Just a caveat.
If I were to look for a new CDP and I didn't have money for units lke the Burmester, Linn, Accuphase, etc., I'd definitely try to audition as many Universal or SACD combo players as I could. More choices are coming to market daily, so one isn't stuck with Sony and/or Marantz.
Many times at this level, it comes down to preference and not necessarily what is 'better.'
I know one needs a high quality analog volume control in order to bypass the pre effectively. My Resolution uses the same resister array network for volume control as found in the Rowland preamp. The fact that, if done right, the sound "can be" clinical simply makes my point that this is where HiFi diverges another area of euphonic manipulation in an effort to make everything sound good. Personally, I have no interest in tailoring the sound to my taste at the expense of acuracy. How can you tell it's accurate, you ask? First stick with technically plausible strategies. ie. technically there is no reason whatsoever to introduce a preamp into the chain if volume is handled correctly. Second, if the subtle differences in all recording become more apparent (deverge) you are probably hearing a fairly accurate presentation, some will sound better and some worse. For instance under some conditions the bass in my system sounds VERY thin while in others it sounds as though my Thiels have a subwoofer. That tells me the system produces accurate bass when present in the recording rather than having the loose, sloppy or pumped up bass found in many systems, which makes EVERYTHING sound the same (one note bass effect).
Another area that can be misleading is soundstage. I've found "some" tube gear makes it sound like every recording has a huge (phasey)soundstage, but on carefull analysis, the actual placement of images is vague and out of focus. My system on the other hand,sometimes produces a huge (and focused) soundstage and other times does not, depending on the recording. The fact that the system is capable of producing a large stage, but doesn't "always" do so , that tells me I'm dealing with an accurate presentation.
Finally, when I reach the limit of technically explainable phenomenon, such as is the case for cables, I will go the route that produces the most pleasing euphonic effect, but NEVER before. ie If I am running a passive I will start with a technically correct short low capacitance cable and then tailor the sound within the options available.
Ps I've known about the problems of digital attenuation ever since HDCD was introduced with the requirement for 6db of attenuation. I've had it disabled on digital gear in the past that accomplished the attuation in the digital domain.(Resolution does it in the analog domain.)
PPS The discussion about accuracy is not something that many people want to hear and I have no expectation of altering arbitrary and closely held belief systems. Posts such as this one sometimes draw out like minded people and opens a dialogue on what I believe is the the SERIOUS HiFi gear.
I agree with your opinion that a system that sounds different from recording to recording is probably more accurate. I also agree on the "less is more principal". Have you checked into transformer-based volume control? Excellent concept!
"I agree with your opinion that a system that sounds different from recording to recording is probably more accurate."
Kind of like a scale that is inaccurate (one pound is actually 1.1 lbs,) but measures changes in one's weight consistently.
Highly colored systems can show changes in mixing/mastering too. One way to guage if a system is reproducing the frequency spectrum accurately, is through measurement, which is tough for most of us to accomplish. Another way would be through some sort of master tape/live concert comparison. But then our short term auditory memory is not to precise.
I have four friends who have killer systems down here and I try and listen to as much of my music on them as I can. This can be eye opening once I get back to my rig.
Your comment would be true if a system never "equaled" the performance of another piece of reference gear in each area of interest. You failed to note that I look for the abilty to match the best in given areas, BUT only when the source permits it, in other words not all the time.
Once again you completely missed the point, that there is no technical basis for requiring a preamp, particullarly if the output of the source is properly implemented (buffered, analog etc etc). The fact that the results that are achieved may not be "pleasing" on ALL recordings simply demonstrates a bias for the colorations introduced by gear you've grown used to. Futhermore just because a component doesn't sound the way you have conditioned yourself to believe it should sound means absolutely nothing and I was merely pointing out a "more" logical process to assertain it's accuracy other than just making generalized and subjective statements. The maze that one wanders into when searching for "pleasing" sounding gear is encouraged and sponsored by the industry whicn has developed elaborate rationals for this futile endeaver, generally,and in my opinion, based on fallacy. The preamp arguement is just one example.
Ps Your warnings about the potential problems of driving an amp directly were unneccessary. I am way ahead of you on that point, having heard ALL the arguements and thoroughly explored each to my own satisfaction. As I said earlir I'm not really interested in a debate over these issues since, once a person has taken a position, ego usually becomes the limiting factor in the discussion. If you want to believe that your preamp somehow improves the sound of a source than be my guest.
In answer to your question I had a brief exposure to the Paradigm Active 40s which sounded promising, where dirt cheap, but are no longer made. I havn't heard the Meridians. The fact there are so few speakers out there that explore this strategy, even though there are clear on obvious engineering benefits and the potential for outstanding results is enormous, is more evidence that the high fi industry is not neccesary driven by the search for quality. That does not mean that an informed and discerning individual can't find it.
"Your comment would be true if a system never "equaled" the performance of another piece of reference gear in each area of interest."
What does this mean, in English?
"You failed to note that I look for the abilty to match the best in given areas, BUT only when the source permits it, in other words not all the time."
Come on buddy, you have a halfway decent CDP that some guy who puts out a newsletter says is a great value. Check out all of the inmate's systems and see how many are using what you use.
"Once again you completely missed the point, that there is no technical basis for requiring a preamp, particullarly if the output of the source is properly implemented (buffered, analog etc etc)."
Without going back and quoting myself, I think that I said to be careful about NOT running a preamp. I think I said that a lot of people, including me, have tried it and not enjoyed the presentation. However, I know a lot of people who are running CDPs sans preamp with good effect. Personally, I have a phonostage and I need to have a preamp.
"The fact that the results that are achieved may not be "pleasing" on ALL recordings simply demonstrates a bias for the colorations introduced by gear you've grown used to. Futhermore just because a component doesn't sound the way you have conditioned yourself to believe it should sound means absolutely nothing and I was merely pointing out a "more" logical process to assertain it's accuracy other than just making generalized and subjective statements."
No, I think what you said was that a system that shows differences in the recorded presentation (from record to record) are by definition 'accurate systems' and I'm saying that this isn't true.
"As I said earlir I'm not really interested in a debate over these issues since, once a person has taken a position, ego usually becomes the limiting factor in the discussion. If you want to believe that your preamp somehow improves the sound of a source than be my guest."
I wasn't debating you when I offered up caution about NOT using a preamp. It's valid, whether you think your source sounds better with, or without, a preamp installed. Personally, I've changed my mind about certain things 'audio,' by virtue of having time and experience under my belt. I have the pleasure of listening to four or five really stellar systems, systems that have had many variables over the past three years, so I'm comfortable in my own little world.
No offense, but you seem to talk a good game and you seem to believe that you have all of the answers and I just don't think it's so.
cause I don't want to have to repeat myself.
That thing over there..., that's a hole in the ground.
And that thing you're sitting on, well..., THAT'S your _____.
And that you are quite self satisfied. As he said, you are acting like you already have all of the answers, but you've made many assumptions about the rest of us here. Remember just as you may be smarter than some others, there are always people who are smarter than you... Also in the same vein, there are certainly people with worse and better systems than you have.
You might note that many here agree with a lot of your points but others (with just as much experience) don't.
There are many paths to great sounding systems that convey music.
I'm just suggesting that you tone down the condescension a little. Also your last post wasn't exactly the epitome of maturity.
But I won't bother and lets just boil it down to this:
If you, Chris or anyone else wants to point out the errors in my reasoning and have alternative ways of determining the accuracy of HIFI gear(other than I LIKE IT) then, BRING IT ON, because I'm ALL ears.
If, on the other hand, all you can do is misinterpret my points and then criticize them, because you're incapable of recognizing that this is really a Ferrari vs Lexus debate, then stick it, cause we're not talking the same language and....
Ok, just one small, smug, example (for the record):
"Your comment would be true if a system never "equaled" the performance of another piece of reference gear in each area of interest."
"What does this mean, in English?"
This means (for people who need it spelled out for them):
That with a given reference, such as an Audible Illusions L1, I might get bass varying from say 7-9.5 (arbitrary)units but.....
When I remove the preamp and go direct from CD50 to the amp I might get bass that varies between 4-9 units.
Direct,I essentially can match the max bass of the AI, but only sometimes, with a much wider variation, and only when it is actually present in the source material. The AI on the other hand is obviously jacking up the bass ALL THE TIME, and in a non linear fashion. The fact that the CD50 direct sometimes sounds lean might be, and in this type of scenerio often is, MISINTERPRETED as a weakness. Hence my comment that I look to equal the performance of a reference in a given area, at least some of the time.
(note reference does not mean "best", it means comparative base line)
I won't go on because if some people aren't capable of reading between the lines I don't have the time to explain myself.....
Holy smokes, that really WAS condescending wasn't it? ;^)
Personally I compare the sound on my system to live performances and to other people's systems. There are some fine systems in the local area.
Chris's initial post just points out that not all systems do best with passive volume controls. His 2nd response was just reminding you that there is a difference between resolution and accuracy. Both of these are good points and you didn't address them in a rational manner, but instead you just claimed to know better.
All I did was point out that you'll never learn anything with your mouth open.
This is a little like the arguements I have with 16 year old students who are incapable of following a line of reasoning, and then go back and selectivly alter what was said when they paint themselves into a corner. Go back and READ the thread.
There was NEVER any mention of the "resolution" vs "accuracy" arguement , which is a whole diffenent and legitimate debate. I never once even used the word resolution nor did Chris attack the concept.
What happened was:
-I made a comment about running an amp direct.
-Chris gave me some relatively novice advice, as a "warning". (who's condescending?)
-I responded with some, not neccesarily perfect, but at least logical, evidence of the validity of my approach.
-SOMEONE COMPIMENTED ME ON THE POST at which point....
-Chris felt it neccessary to step in, presumably to put me in my place, and pointed out that that a system, that demonstrates the variations in recordings I cited, is nothing more than consistent.(again who's condescending?)
-I curtly try to clarify some points since it appears Chris has missed the essential concept (now I'm getting annoyed)
-Chris fires back that I'm a know it all and....
-I decide I'm wasting my time dealing with this on an intellectual level.
-Blah, blah, blah, blah....
Going back to my comment about 16 year olds who can't follow a line of reasoning and then have selective memory about how the conversation developed. Who exactly is the juvenile here.
Since you mention comparison to live I had an direct experience with Thiel which put their testing gear in it's place. Described under a thread at DVD Audiobahn titled: "Now that you mention Thiel"
Ps Krell, Levinson, Wadia, Theta, Cary, Camelot, MSB, Tact and Resolution (to name a few) have all explored the direct to amp solution. The fact it has not taken off has more to do with the lack of convenient switching and the inertia in the marketplace than misguided engineering.
I would like to get one in my home sometime after my speaker upgrade.
Pardon me, I'm sorry, but I don't know what the CD-50 is? Who makes it...??
The CD50 was Resolution Audio's first CD player about 5 years ago(They made separates beford that). I'm not even sure if I will replace it because it's still pretty competative and has the PMD100 chip in it to do the digital filtering. Resolution lost their licence for the chip and now use a proprietory filtering algorithm.
In fact Martin DeWulf from Bound for Sound (an underground audiophile newsletter) ,who first spotted the CD50 as an outstanding player, suggested to me that I keep it and run it into the ground. He gets to hear all the state of the art gear and said I'd have to spend a LOT more money to do marginally better, even with the advances in digital over the last 5 years. My impression is that Resolution was somewhat ahead of their time, doing things like upsampling, long before it became a catch phrase.
PS DeWulf had spotted the CD50 about 2 years before TAS did a (glowing) review on it.
I don't think that we have an "accepted" definition of "absolute accuracy," - but I hear and agree with what you say.
I too have about 10 HDCD and enjoy a few of them very much. They sound great, - but that's about all I can say. Unfortunately, - I don't have any redbook of the same CD to do a direct comparison to.
I am also thinking of moving to the Opus 21.
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