HDCD produces amazing sound in Media Player!

Discussion in 'Windows Media Player' started by HDCD Fanatic, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. HDCD Fanatic

    HDCD Fanatic Guest

    I was wondering if anyone had heard of Microsoft's long-term plans for the
    HDCD music decoding technology that they purchased from Pacific Microsonics
    (PMI), in September 2000. Right now, it is an obscure feature of Windows
    Media Player versions 9 and 10. Like most people, I didn't pay any attention
    to HDCD because it has been poorly marketed, and is easily confused with
    other technologies like SACD and DVD-audio. But I recently expereinced what
    this technolgy is cabale of, and I was blown away! Finally, CD music playback
    that sounds rich, alive, and REAL. Allow me to give a short
    definition/history lesson on HDCD:

    The HDCD (High Definition Compatible Digital®) technology makes it possible
    to get closer to the original sound. This is facilitated through a
    sophisticated system, where a 20 - 24 bit sound signal is encoded onto an
    ordinary CD’s 16 bits through dithering. When played on a Windows XP PC with
    Media Player version 9/10 AND a 24-bit sound card, the sound signal is then
    decoded again to 20-24 bits. The encoding process allows an extra 6 dB
    available (7 dB extra at low level), which gives noticeably reduced
    distortion levels and an extra enhanced resolution. All parameters of the
    sound image are enhanced, resulting in an all-improved sound! A dynamic range
    of up to 115 dB can be obtained.
    The creators of the HDCD technology are Keith O. Johnson and Pflash
    Pflaumer. Together they developed the idea of HDCD between 1986 and 1991. In
    1996 they started Pacific Microsonics (PMI), an audio technology company
    based in California. In September 2000, (PMI) was acquired by Microsoft.

    This is a great technology! It deserves to be continued, and I think
    Microsoft can play a big role. The stand-alone CD players with HDCD
    caplalbity are almost non-existent. Media player with HDCD software may be
    the best option at this point. If any one cares to comment on this, I would
    love to hear from you. Thanks!
     
    HDCD Fanatic, Mar 17, 2006
    #1
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  2. HDCD Fanatic

    Mike Lowery Guest

    My comment is that CDs will eventually be replaced by DVDs, so HDCD is a doomed
    technology.
     
    Mike Lowery, Mar 17, 2006
    #2
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  3. Assuming solid-state memory doesn't just blast both out of the water
    first. CDs will probably hang around for another 20 years because of
    in-car systems, but I'd guess that solid-state portable devices combined
    with the wireless technology du jour would be the follow-up.
     
    Mike Williams, Mar 17, 2006
    #3
  4. HDCD Fanatic

    HDCD Fanatic Guest

    Mike:

    I agree that music format CD will be with us for a while. The format is very
    well entrenched, as you say, for use in the car. For HDCD playback at home, I
    just bought a Panasonic DVD player (display model) for $99 with HDCD
    playback. It took a lot of looking to find it, it seems most manufacturers
    are now getting ready for DVD-audio. But I still think that these will not
    replace redbook CD for audio-only playback. People still want the universal
    playback offered by CD. Which brings me back to HDCD. Its fully backward
    compatible, does not require a DVD player, and can offer audiophile qulaity
    when combined with Windows Media Player. Neil Young has been a big supporter
    of the HDCD. His new album, Prairie Wind, is HDCD compatible. The Greatful
    Dead catalogue is also being re-masterd to HDCD. I think the hardware
    community dropped the ball by introducing too many fomrats, and not marketing
    them properly. We will probably see a similar situation with the upcoming
    HD-DVD vs. Blue-Ray war....
     
    HDCD Fanatic, Mar 17, 2006
    #4
  5. Plenty of big names were put behind Mini-Disc too and that's fizzled
    outside of Japan, despite Sony's continuing desire to foist ATRAC on the
    world.

    I think that the success of the iPod generation of machines will
    probably kill any hardware audio format for a while. The audiophile
    market is too small to generate the numbers that the big companies need.
    Their target market was mostly born after Neil Young generated most of
    his significant back-catalog.
     
    Mike Williams, Mar 17, 2006
    #5
  6. HDCD Fanatic

    V Green Guest

    Most people will not be able to hear the difference
    btwn. this format and "regular" CD Audio.

    Therefore, it's doomed. No $$$ to be made regardless of
    how technically superior it is.
     
    V Green, Mar 18, 2006
    #6
  7. HDCD Fanatic

    zachd [MSFT] Guest

    Yeah, but that *did* require a dedicated player. HDCD is cool in that it's
    all transparent to you - I have zero interest in SACD or DVD-A, but HDCD...
    I lose nothing by picking up one of those - it's exactly as if I picked up
    the regular CD, no matter how I end up playing it back/using it. It's good
    stuff. =)

    -Zach
     
    zachd [MSFT], Mar 28, 2006
    #7
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