From Wikipedia, therefore not necessarily definitive:
HDCD encodes the equivalent of 20 bits worth of data in a 16-bit digital audio signal by using custom dithering, and some reversible amplitude and gain encoding: Peak Extend, which is a reversible soft limiter; and Low Level Range Extend, which is a reversible gain on low-level signals. There is thus a benefit at the expense of a very minor increase in noise.
The claim that the encoding process is compatible with ordinary CD players (without audible distortion) is disputed: not being able to decode the peak soft limiting, a normal CD player will output distorted peaks.
Thanks All, so appears aside from SACD/HDCD a CD is limited to 16/44, but digital downloads can be uptp 24/192, so with that in mind why all the fuss about ripped CD’s, surely buying the higher Res download is better?
Quite often the hires version is a touch better but not always, it depends on the mastering or if any re-mastering has been done.
Ripped CDs sound really good, again assuming a decent master. And on the s/h market are cheap too
Good question. Sadly, there are many cases of downloads sold as hi-res but actually consisting of nothing beyond 16/44.1 data. There are review websites where people run analysis of HR tracks to see which ones really were recorded at trillion bit/gazillion MHz resolution and which give you little more than tarted-up redbook data in a cheap dress and lipstick.
Not necessarily. On balance from what I have gleaned most people seem to feel that for the same mastering hi res does generally sound better - not “night and day”, rather sounding subtly better, typically with more of a sense of “air” around the performance. And indeed that generally is my feeling.
However if, as is not uncommon, the mastering is different, it can be another kettle off fish entirely, when the standard 16/44 CD version may sound better than the hi res, or vice versa……
I know there are instances of this. I have several discs where it is true. But I am not convinced it is all that common. Can you direct me to any of the web sites you speak of?
Edit - the instances I’m thinking of are physical discs. I am unfamiliar of any instance where I paid for a h rez file and received a CD quality file. Brothers in Arms might be one example. To my knowledge, it’s a 44.1/16 recording. But it’s been issued in hi res both in disc and download form.