Two CD questions

Mike Broadman

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
4,951
1. What is an XRCD?

2. What's the deal with those gold discs? Is Mobile-Fidelity that only company who makes them? Are they still being produced? Which ones are recommended?

Thanks

NP: Miles Davis, Get Up With It, CD
 

Ryan Spaight

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
676
1. JVC's line of "audiophile" CDs. I believe they use a scheme similar to Sony's Super Bit Mapping to "down-res" higher bitrate material to the CD spec. It's not something with a hardware component, like HDCD, so far as I know.
2. Several labels manufactured gold discs in addition to Mobile Fidelity. DCC made some excellent ones with Steve Hoffman at the mastering controls. Some majors such as Sony/Columbia, MCA and Atlantic had lines of gold discs at one time as well.
MFSL (Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs) went out of business a couple of years ago. The name has been resurrected as a subsidiary of Music Direct, and some Patricia Barber titles have been released. No word on any future releases.
DCC is similarly defunct at the moment, but rumblings persist that it may return. In the meantime, Steve Hoffman is starting a new record label, S&P Records, to issue gold discs as well as vinyl, SACDs and DVD-As.
Though gold discs have definite advantages over aluminum in the areas of surface consistency, reflectivity and corrosion resistance, most (but not all) agree that any improvement in sound quality on gold discs results from superior mastering and not the gold surface.
IMHO, you can't go wrong with the DCC gold discs -- all the ones I have sound remarkable. The others are more hit and miss. MFSL are generally good but sometimes aren't enormously better than the standard issues. The Atlantic ones sounded good but are quite rare and expensive these days. The Sony Mastersounds could have a whole thread devoted to them in terms of which were good and which were underwhelming. I don't have any first-hand experience with the MCAs.
You might want to look around the archives of the message boards on www.stevehoffman.tv -- they're obviously biased toward the DCC stuff over there, but there's also some good (if somewhat extremist) opinion on lots of other gold disc releases as well.
Ryan
 

Frank_S

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 28, 1999
Messages
565
Nice reply Ryan, ditto everything you said.

I think the future looks better than ever for redbook CD quality with the likes of Hoffman and the folks at Chesky also putting out quality discs. My DCC Doors vinyl issues are absolutely amazing, which were mastered by Hoffman on all tube gear.
Last week I picked up the Creedence re-issues done by Hoffman, very nice, and vinyl!
 

Mike Broadman

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
4,951
Thanks for the info.

I saw an import XRCD of Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique in the store today and might pick that up.

I saw a couple of Sonny Rollins gold discs, but didn't check the production company. I'll have to give that a second look, though they were in the used section, which causes some suspicion...

NP: Louis Armstrong, Plays W.C. Handy, CD
 

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