Question about Asian import "24-bit CD's

Discussion in 'Music' started by DaveDickey, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. DaveDickey

    DaveDickey Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought a "Van Halen's Greatest Hits 2" CD from some guy on Ebay (shipped from Hong Kong). He advertised the disc as "24-bit." I bought the disc more out of curiosity than anything else. I didn't expect to get a hirez CD. However, I've listened to it a few times and it sounds remarkably good (about on par with a MOFI gold disc, or maybe a bit better). My question: Is it possible that the disc is actually 24 bit? I've heard of Masterdiscs and DCC remasters that are 20 bit, but never 24. Is this possible? I only paid $11.00 for it. Dave
     
  2. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    A CD can not be anything other than 16 bit, 44.1kHz. The only thing 20 or 24 bit about any of these discs is the source conversion.
     
  3. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Jeff is correct.

    However, I have seen Hong Kong Warner Music release titles, such as Phil Collins' "Hits" compilation, on 24K gold CD that were pressed and remastered in Japan by Denon. But that's Phil Collins. Van Halen is a relatively obscure act in the Chinese-speaking music market.
     
  4. NicholasL

    NicholasL Second Unit

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    The CD could have been an HDCD, in which case it would have been a higher bit rate wouldn't it?
     
  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I love their misleading advertising:
    to which I say balony. Yes, there SHOULD be more dynamic range, but with today's mastering philosophy, there isn't. Any of the other qualities are subject to the original recordings, and not something HDCD will create.
     
  7. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Jeff, I agree and that is why I said "HDCD claims 20 bits." HDCD won't make magic out of a crappy recording. I don't go looking for things that say HDCD. I have a couple of things that don't even say HDCD on it and are. The only reason I found out is that I stuck it in a secondary system that has HDCD. My main system doesn't. SACD or DVD-A also won't make magic from crap. My Dire Straits (imported) "Brothers in Arms" XRCD2 sounds better than many hi-rez discs as they paid very careful attention to the mastering process.
     
  8. Joel Fontenot

    Joel Fontenot Supporting Actor

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    Sony's Masterdiscs did use 20bit sampling for the analog-to-digital transfers and "Super Bit Mapping" which is a noise shaping method for re-sampling/dithering down to 16bit for the CD. It's basically yet another digital manipulation step away from the source.

    Steve Hoffman, who mastered the DCC CD's never did that. He mastered from the analog source (using the same console type the tapes were made on when possible and using analog equalizers when needed) straight to the analog-to-digital converters to a 16bit digital master. That master was then used to cut the CD glass masters with no additional digital manipulation steps in-between the transfer master and the CD you hold in your hand.
     
  9. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Here's an ongoing list at head-fi.org that tries to identify all HDCD-encoded CD/SACDs, marked or unmarked. The list at HDCD.com hardly identifies everything.
     
  10. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Which doesn't necessarily mean its any better than a master that has been manipulated in the digital domain, since he would still be using 16bit converters, which are not as transparent as 20 or 24bit converters of the same quality.

    Truthfully, the difference between these different techniques is what is happening with the least significant bits, so the question is whether one method is inherently better than another, to which I would answer no. At the end of the day it comes down to the talent involved, and their skill at using the equipment they have chosen for the project. Hoffman knows how to get great sounding masters with his technique, but I would bet he could get equally good sounding masters if he was working soley in the digital domain.
     

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