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Thread: Handling HDCD

  1. #1
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    Handling HDCD

    I was Netflixing the recent Bob Weir documentary, and got to thinking that I had a fancy Grateful Dead product somewhere, purchased while in an "I should really try to understand the Dead thing" enthusiasm. I found it, and it is indeed a beautifully packaged 3-CD/1-Blu-Ray of Sunshine Daydream, the 1972 benefit concert in Oregon. It seems to be widely lauded as a great intro to the Dead in their prime, which is why I presumably bought it - but I never did anything with it, it seems, other than watch the movie.

    It's labelled as HDCD, which in theory provides some incremental advantages if properly implemented, and which is also in theory backwardly compatible with regular CD technology. I'm wondering if I need to do anything special to take advantage within a SB environment of whatever benefits the format provides? I did see (here) that some other Dead releases with HDCD don't actually implement the features of the format and don't offer any benefit. But this one is fairly recent, and maybe it does.

    So my questions:

    • Does LMS support the HDCD format, so a full rip will give me the benefits?
    • How best to rip, I think dBp supports the format in some way? Or some other way?
    • Can I just do a regular 16/44 rip from the disc and have a regular set of playable files?
    • Is there anything else I need to know?


    R.
    LMS on a dedicated server (FitPC3)
    Transporter (Ethernet) - main listening, Onkyo receiver, Paradigm speakers
    Touch (WiFi) - home theater 5.1, Sony receiver, Energy speakers
    Boom 1 (WiFi) - work-space
    Boom 2 (WiFi) - various (deck, garage, etc.)
    Radio (WiFi) - home office
    Control - Squeeze Control (Android mobile), 2 Controllers (seldom used), Squeeze Remote (on Surface Pro 4)
    Touch x 1 - spare
    UE Radio x 1 - spare
    Boom x 1 - spare
    Controller x 1 - Spare
    Duet Receiver (backup)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonM View Post
    I did see (here) that some other Dead releases with HDCD don't actually implement the features of the format and don't offer any benefit. But this one is fairly recent, and maybe it does.
    Actually, it's the opposite. In general, the meaningful features of HDCD were more likely implemented on *early* CDs. Most, if not all, of the later Grateful Dead CDs are HDCD but do not implement the HDCD features that make HDCD any different from regular CDs (peak extension, etc.).

    • Does LMS support the HDCD format, so a full rip will give me the benefits?


    I don't think this is possible. As to get HDCD playback, one has to have an HDCD capable player. And squeezeboxes (hardware or virtual) would not be. There is a component in foobar2000 that allows one to play a 16/44.1 FLAC rip of an HDCD CD and play it back on foobar2000 player utilizing the HDCD info (just like using an HDCD CD player, or at least as close to this as possible given the reverse engineering of the component).
    EDIT: and foobar2000 with the HDCD component can also report information on files as to whether certain features of HDCD are present in the digital file.

    • How best to rip, I think dBp supports the format in some way? Or some other way?


    I use dBpa to rip myself. I rip these CDs to regular 16/44.1 FLAC files. Nothing special. And they sound great. One can use a DSP within dbpa to "decode" the files and backwards engineer to create 24 bit versions that "use" the HDCD information (these end up being 20bit files in a 24 bit FLAC container). If you're going to do this, note that these 24 bit versions are no longer bit perfect rips of the CD. I would say that best practice if you want these 24 bit versions is to rip to 16/44.1, then use dbpa converter and hdcd DSP to create a copy of the files with the HDCD DSP applied. If you want to really go down the rabbit hole re ripping HDCD, crack open a beer and start reading this thread:

    https://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthr...practices+hdcd

    And by the way, I've taken several of these (including older ones that do use PE) to a friends house that has an HDCD capable CD player. Nothing too formal, but in a single-blind test (where I didn't know which playback method was being used, HDCD CD Player, or FLAC via streamer), I heard no difference and trying to pick which is which just led to random guessing on my part).



    • Can I just do a regular 16/44 rip from the disc and have a regular set of playable files?

    Yes. This is exactly what I do and they sound fantastic. I probably have more than 100 Grateful Dead CD sets that are HDCD (and again, many don't actually use the features of HDCD that would make it need decoding as HDCD to begin with).



    • Is there anything else I need to know?


    My approach is rip to regular 16/44.1 FLAC and play with LMS. Sounds great. Early on, I created some 24 bit versions with dbpa HDCD DSP, but after realizing that they sound the same (to me) except take up a lot more space, I decided it was a waste of time. YMMV.
    Last edited by garym; 2019-03-26 at 06:03.
    Home: VBA 4TB (2.5)>LMS 7.9.2>Transporter, Touch, Boom, Radio (all ethernet)
    Cottage: VBA 3TB (2.4)>LMS 7.9.1>Touch>Benchmark DAC I, Boom, Radio w/Battery (ethernet, Radio WIFI)
    Office: Win10(64)>LMS 7.9.2>Squeezelite
    The Wild (no internet): PiCorePlayer 4.0 on rPi 3B+, hifiberry Dac+Pro, 4TB USB (LMS & Squeezelite)
    Controllers: iPhone6 & iPadAir2 (iPeng), CONTROLLER, or SqueezePlay 7.8 on Win10(64) laptop
    Files: ripping: dbpa > FLAC; post-rip: mp3tag, PerfectTunes; Streaming: Spotify

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by garym View Post
    My approach is rip to regular 16/44.1 FLAC and play with LMS. Sounds great. Early on, I created some 24 bit versions with dbpa HDCD DSP, but after realizing that they sound the same (to me) except take up a lot more space, I decided it was a waste of time. YMMV.
    Only yesterday I discovered that 4 of my albums were HDCD encoded. One of them "Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin" didn't contain any HFCD features but the other 3 did so I converted them. To be honest any difference is probably too subtle for me to detect but the file size of the 24 bit files was only very slightly larger than the 16 bit originals.

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by slartibartfast View Post
    Only yesterday I discovered that 4 of my albums were HDCD encoded. One of them "Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin" didn't contain any HFCD features but the other 3 did so I converted them. To be honest any difference is probably too subtle for me to detect but the file size of the 24 bit files was only very slightly larger than the 16 bit originals.

    Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk
    Good point. I misspoke on the size. I recalled wrong (I think I was remembering sizes of 24/96 to 16/44.1 files). I just converted some files to HDCD with the dbpa DSP and they are only slightly larger than the 16 bit.
    Home: VBA 4TB (2.5)>LMS 7.9.2>Transporter, Touch, Boom, Radio (all ethernet)
    Cottage: VBA 3TB (2.4)>LMS 7.9.1>Touch>Benchmark DAC I, Boom, Radio w/Battery (ethernet, Radio WIFI)
    Office: Win10(64)>LMS 7.9.2>Squeezelite
    The Wild (no internet): PiCorePlayer 4.0 on rPi 3B+, hifiberry Dac+Pro, 4TB USB (LMS & Squeezelite)
    Controllers: iPhone6 & iPadAir2 (iPeng), CONTROLLER, or SqueezePlay 7.8 on Win10(64) laptop
    Files: ripping: dbpa > FLAC; post-rip: mp3tag, PerfectTunes; Streaming: Spotify

  5. #5
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    Thanks all. Just regular rip is what I'll do.

    R.
    LMS on a dedicated server (FitPC3)
    Transporter (Ethernet) - main listening, Onkyo receiver, Paradigm speakers
    Touch (WiFi) - home theater 5.1, Sony receiver, Energy speakers
    Boom 1 (WiFi) - work-space
    Boom 2 (WiFi) - various (deck, garage, etc.)
    Radio (WiFi) - home office
    Control - Squeeze Control (Android mobile), 2 Controllers (seldom used), Squeeze Remote (on Surface Pro 4)
    Touch x 1 - spare
    UE Radio x 1 - spare
    Boom x 1 - spare
    Controller x 1 - Spare
    Duet Receiver (backup)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Wombat's Avatar
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    A while back when trying HDCD decoding we found good reasons to decode HDCDs using Peak Extension.
    https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,61733.0.html
    The free CUEtools/CUEripper software can decode HDCD also if i remember right.
    I decoded the few HDCDs using the Peak Extension and dithered them back to 16bit volume maximized because in the decoding process the volume is lowered.
    Some HDCDs only do a 1bit (6dB) volume level drop when decoded withoout doing anything else. It means they simply where mastered on HDCD hardware using no extra features but the info exists is in its unique dithernoise. I did not waste time with these.
    Transporter (modded) -> RG142 -> Avantgarde Acoustic based 500VA monoblocks -> Sommer SPK240 -> self-made speakers

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonM View Post
    I was Netflixing the recent Bob Weir documentary, and got to thinking that I had a fancy Grateful Dead product somewhere, purchased while in an "I should really try to understand the Dead thing" enthusiasm. I found it, and it is indeed a beautifully packaged 3-CD/1-Blu-Ray of Sunshine Daydream, the 1972 benefit concert in Oregon. It seems to be widely lauded as a great intro to the Dead in their prime, which is why I presumably bought it - but I never did anything with it, it seems, other than watch the movie.

    It's labelled as HDCD, which in theory provides some incremental advantages if properly implemented, and which is also in theory backwardly compatible with regular CD technology. I'm wondering if I need to do anything special to take advantage within a SB environment of whatever benefits the format provides? I did see (here) that some other Dead releases with HDCD don't actually implement the features of the format and don't offer any benefit. But this one is fairly recent, and maybe it does.

    So my questions:

    • Does LMS support the HDCD format, so a full rip will give me the benefits?
    • How best to rip, I think dBp supports the format in some way? Or some other way?
    • Can I just do a regular 16/44 rip from the disc and have a regular set of playable files?
    • Is there anything else I need to know?


    R.
    Foobar software utilizes the HDCD DSP linked above. This post summarizes:

    http://diyah.boards.net/thread/214/hdcd-on-foobar

    The Foobar HDCD plugin will decode such discs to 20bit and add four additional 0s for a total of 24bit.
    HDCD files can be easily converted to 24bit WAV, FLAC, ALAc or whatever one wants (rmemeber the real theoretical resolution is 20bit, not 24 which is only used for the sake of standarisation and compatibility). Converted files enjoy the benefit of HDCD but can be played on any player and not only in Foobar or WMP (Microsoft bought Pacific Microsonic's HDCD system).



    When I come across an HDCD disc in my CD racks, I'll use Foobar to rip it to FLAC files with the HDCD DSP. The resulting 24-bit files are only slightly larger than "regular" 16-bit files would be. I'll then listen via Squeezebox and can know that, if the HDCD tools were used, I won't be missing anything. (I'm a big DeadHead so I use this a lot. Lots of bluegrass CDs from the 90s also utilized HDCD.)

    I've found that all rips from HDCD discs, even to regular 16-bit FLAC, will retain the HDCD markers, i.e. even if the disc was ripped without utilizing the DSP, that same FLAC can be converted to 24-bit later on, utilizing the DSP, and the information is still there.

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