I hope I am in the correct sub-forum. Recently I have been puzzled with the different mastering techniques. My two hour away local CD shop has the following CD’s in its online catalogue.
CD, Gold CD, HDCD, K2 HD CD, UltraHD CD, XRCD CD, XRCD 2 CD, XRCD 24 CD, DXD CD, UHQCD, Hybrid SCAD, Hybrid Mono SCAD and Hybrid Multichannel SCAD. Now that was a mouthful.
I think I have my head around a few of them after a lot of Googling. Though I am still confused with UltraHD, DXD CD and UHQCD. As I own a Nait CD5 XS my mindset is not into purchasing SCAD CDs, possibly I am in error with this line of thought.
Could forum members please spare a few lines on what these three mastering techniques are please and if it is worth purchasing CDs mastered in this way.
To date I have couple of CD’s in HDCD, K2 HD CD, XRCD 2 CD and XRCD 24 CD. Plus lots of standard red book CD’s.
If I have posted in the wrong forum I will copy and paste into Hi-Fi Corner.
Unless you are going for some niche-audience just do Red-book. There you can choose pre-emphasis if its something like quiet choir-music, but I dont think anyone use it anymore. The other is what kind of dither you want, there are some noise-shaped ones giving lower-noise, special punch etc. But remember if you go wit anyting but plain triangular then re-dither (like after digital volume control) has unwanted side-effects. I help out with mastering sometime and I usually recommend customers going with tringular.
Hello agan Jan, I am not trying any mastering myself. I am trying to understand the different terms to see what is good for my CD5 XS and what maybe over-kill. I believe the CD5 XS has a chip inside to decode HDCD and there fore I wished to take advantage of that. Though where do I pull the pin on the other formats (wrong word I know). When is too much, too much with respect to a CD5 XS?
My CD player does play sacds and I can really notice the difference when I play that layer. The Japanese experimented with single-layer sacds which won’t play on conventional CD players so make sure you only buy hybrid sacds. I would recommend many discs that were released in the early 2000’s,
the only problem is that many of them are now going for very high prices. Mobile Fidelity and Intervention Records are two companies that still occasionally release excellent back-catalogue discs. I guess many of these disc types are niche products and it is a matter of personal opinion whether one type of disc sounds better than another.
The CD player is quite capable of showing up differences in masterings and also any format it can play.
A question which is at least as important as the one you ask is to what extent you can pick and choose from the formats you name. Are there many albums where you have a choice of XRCD, HDCD, UHQCD etc for the same source?
The exact mastering of a given album can make far more difference than the format you buy it on.
A similar situation exists for the rest of your system. If it’s a good match for your player, it will help you hear any differences; if not, not.
Overall, the only true test - as is said very often on this forum - is to try it for yourself. If you can’t hear any difference between, say, HDCD and Redbook on your system, in your room with your ears, then no meaningful difference exists, no matter what anyone on this forum tells you.
Nice summary. The only things I would add, is that to my mind there are two things more important than the technology: who is doing the mastering (and/or remixing if that is involved) and what is the source.
I’ve used this example in other posts - the Capitol albums by Sinatra. There have been numerous over the past 60+ years created by different engineers using different source tapes, but nothing sounded right to me until the Mobile Fidelity releases of the past decade. These are hybrid SACDs, but even the redbook layer surpasses the others I’ve heard. (My dad had the original vinyl for some of these, but I was not quite the audiophile at ages 4-9.)
My system has not changed since the purchase of the CD5 XS.
The amplifier is a Nait XS 2 and the speakers are Celestion SL6Si. Whilst playing a LP recently I think I heard the right speaker breaking down when a trumpet was played as I listened to Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue”. I have yet to play the “B” side as my wife arrived home and does not appreciate my taste in music. Anyhow this is off topic.
I do have plans to possibly gown the track of a 282/202 and or a NDX 2. Though after a payout from work and no employment on the horizon the money is staying put. When the opportunity arises I will listen to the album via headphones and speakers and if the distortion is still evident then the speakers will go.
At the moment everything is in dream mode and on hold.
Where I purchase my CDs, the shop has many variants of the types of processing and cutting that I have mentioned. Though not the same album in different CD masterings. Where this does change is that there maybe an album both available in vinyl and CD formats. With respect to the latter it may be in one of the many different masterings and cuttings as I have listed above.
My record player is a Linn LP12 in Akurate level with a different stylus which I can never remember without referring to the sales receipt.
The reason I enquire about different CDs processing is that I can not validate the expense of expensive vinyl, $250 AUD for a single LP or procrastinate for far too long. Though when I finally come around to it. The LP’s are sold out and I am left to purchase the sold out LPs in CD of one the various processing formats mentioned above.
Today HDCD is more or less dead. Microsoft bought it but its off their website since a long time. There are a number of utilities/libraries that will convert a 44/16 HDCD file to a 44/20.
Algorithms like Apogee UV22 and Pow-r killed HDCD. They work with any CD-player and mastering celebrities like Sterling Sound and Bob Ludwig endorsed UV22 as it made red book sound so very close to 20-bit.
Actually HDCD uses Redbook - the HDCD is a form of dynamic non linear PCM using a special reconstruction filter (originally developed by Pacific Microsonics)controlled by the least significant bit of the Redbook PCM… the areas where you may hear a benefit, subject to how it is mastered is expansion of large transients and elevating very low level details … but realistically HDCD is still more 16 bits than true 20 bits -
The format has effectively died as reliance of CD has lessened and 24 bit LPCM media has become more prevalent… which requires no licensing to master or replay and is more accurate.
That is what I am here for. To read and learn before I spend my dollars. With the death of HDCD I take one would be better off investing in a streamer. Such as the ND5 XS 2. I suppose this is a self defeating statement in that it must obviously be true. Is the way of CD reproduction a thing of the past, as long as the titles are there for streaming?
Regular LPCM CD is still alive - the myth of its so called death has been much hyped - but certainly in the UK it is still a valuable format. However its associated revenues have significantly declined from its hay day - and streaming has become a dominant format.
So although CD is still very real and alive - its probably fair to say that there is unlikely to be any new innovation to the format itself