Home Digital Drive

Upsamplers, DACs, jitter, shakes and analogue withdrawals, this is it.

RE: HDCD - Charles is a must read + from 1999 & 2005

>> Charles, do you happen to have Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road"? If so, could you check it to see if it is real or fake HDCD? <<

Sorry, I like that album a lot but never bought it. It was released in 1998, so if it lights up the HDCD light, chances are that it did use an HDCD feature that can be decoded but that is just a guess. The PM A/D converter is still one of the best sounding units ever made. Any mastering engineer that cared enough to purchase and use it was clearly dedicated to sound quality. Right off the bat those are two good signs - a great A/D converter and a mastering engineer who cares about sound quality.

As noted in the previous post LLE was not meaningful for popular music. As to whether PE was used would be just a guess without running the ripped file through Foobar. The operator's manual states:

Operating Techniques:
Listening to both undecoded as well as decoded 16-bit playback is important, since HDCD
amplitude encoding effects such as Peak Extension limiting are more audible undecoded.
Limited Dynamic Range Pop or Rock
The best method to record highly compressed, limited dynamic range material depends
greatly on the results that are desired with undecoded playback.
Using Peak Extension allows very high average recording levels without "clipping" or gen-
erating "overs". This approach can be used to get the "hottest" possible sound (almost no
dynamics) during undecoded playback for air play, with decoding restoring normal dynam-
ics for home listening.
However, because Peak Extension limiting has an "easy over" curve that begins to affect
the signal at - 3 dBfs, it usually shouldn't be used with highly compressed source material
that will almost always be in the limiting curve, unless a highly limited or distorted sound
is desired during undecoded playback.
Typically, Peak Extension recordings do not have the "crunch" or "edge" produced by hard
clipping that is sometimes desired for certain types of rock material.
To get a hard "crunch" without any "easy over" limiting, turn Peak Extend off and adjust
DSPGAIN to a level just below full scale, usually - 0.1 dB. The digital input signal level can
then be adjusted using an external device such as a 24-bit editing workstation. This allows
as much clipping as desired without generating any "overs". To eliminate the need for an
external gain adjusting device, the Model Two can be put into a dual output mode with
digital output 2 set to HDCD_24, and digital output 1 set to HDCD_16, and offset -0.1 dB
relative to output 2 using OUT1OFS in the Levels Menu (see page 36). DSPGAIN can then
be adjusted to provide "crunch" on digital output 1 without generating any "overs". Digital
output 2 may then "over", but isn't used.
When a "dry" or "punchy" low level sound is desired with limited dynamic range material
that has little ambient information, Low Level Extension can be turned off.

That gives a "peek behind the curtains" as to the job of the mastering engineer. Clearly they are looking to create a "sound", not necessarily a direct transfer of the microphone signals to the disc.

I read your link to CG's review of Howard Ferstler's book. Pretty funny stuff! And have to admit that as a teenager in the '70s also had a Watts "Dust-Bug"... :-)

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