cd options...hdcd, dvd-audio, sacd, etc.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom_Price, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. Tom_Price

    Tom_Price Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 4, 2001
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    I'm a little confused between all of these new formats and unfortunately, i am trying to decide which cd player to purchase. I was looking at a Denon 5 disc changer with MP3 capability because it had "hdcd decoding", but it lacks sacd capability. Are any of these new formats universal, and are they really worth having right now?


  2. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

    Jun 16, 1999
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    CD-Audio ("Red Book Audio") = standard audio disc format; does not, by definition, have any copy protection (beyond the SCMS 'single generation of digital copying' flag)

    HDCD = supposed way of encoding 20-bit audio on a standard 16-bit audio CD, in such a way that a standard player will play the disc, but a HDCD-aware player will get a benefit.

    MP3 = Lossy compression format that in practice offers less fidelity than CD-Audio. The benefit to a machine that can play MP3 CD-Rs (or DVD-Rs) is that you can throw a whole bunch of tunes onto one disc for continuous play (e.g., at a party or in a car), or do random playbacks from a greater assortment of songs.

    DVD-Audio = DVD-based copy-protected audio format offering multiple channels and higher resolution. DVD-Audio discs may have DVD-Video tracks that are viewable using DVD-Video-only players (backwards compatibility option). The copy protection on DVD-Audio involves not just "out-of-band" scrambling of the data, but "in-band" marking of the audio signal itself.

    Super Audio CD = Another high-density-disc-based copy-protected audio format offering multiple channels and higher resolution. SACD discs may be hybrid discs with CD-compatible layers, though Sony (the originator of the format) so far has not made much use of this. The remastered Rolling Stones CDs are said to be hybrid SACDs (just not advertised as such on the outside of the package).
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Mar 28, 2000
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    Tom, I wouldn't worry about MP3 or HDCD. MP3 sounds worse than CD, and in most cases, much worse. HDCD is not a big deal. HDCD-encoded CDs play just fine in non-HDCD players, and in my experience, the quality of the player overall, not the presence of an HDCD chip, is the key. I have found that HDCD discs can sound better in non-HDCD players than in HDCD players if the right non-HDCD player (and not necessarily more expensive) is used.

    SACD and DVD-Audio are great formats. Both offer higher-resolution stereo than CD plus surround sound. Check out the software available on the two formats and see if anything interests you. Note that all DVD-Audio players play DVD movies, while there are some non-DVD SACD players out there.

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