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Thread: HDCD - Help a newbie

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2023
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    HDCD - Help a newbie

    So, I just discovered that some of my CD's are actually HDCDs. I'm trying to rip them in the 20 bit versions, and so far, it's not working out for me.

    Beck - "Midnight Vultures": Discogs tells me this is an HDCD. dbPowerAmp ripped the files in 24 bits, but when I did the Audacity inversion trick, there was no difference between the 24-bit tracks and the 16-bit tracks.

    Ballydowse - "The Land, the Bread, and the People": This one actually has an HDCD logo on the disc. When I ripped it, it just came out as a 16-bit version.

    If you have any help for me, please, please, PLEASE understand that I *kinda* understand all this stuff. If you start going into really technically explanations, I'm gonna have no idea what you're talking about.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Re: HDCD - Help a newbie

    The first thing to know is that the HDCD standard has several variations and many CDs that identify as HDCD don't use the part that allows you to get two more bits worth of resolution (which in reality means there is potentially 12 dB of possible lower noise) Many record producers and engineers liked the HDCD encoder and its analog to digital converter because they thought it "sounded better" than others on the market. So they would use it to master the CD, even without using the feature that provided the additional two bits. And if the source material was already digitized at 16 bits, nothing could generate any more resolution (although it might be possible to provide better dither on it).

    Also, if the CD says HDCD, that doesn't mean all the tracks were encoded as HDCD.

  3. #3
    dBpoweramp Guru
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    Apr 2021
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    Re: HDCD - Help a newbie

    There are a lot of existing threads about HDCD so search those out if you want more details, but the best way I've found to determine the active HDCD features is to use FFmpeg.

    There's also a non-exhaustive list of HDCD discs here, that includes Midnite Vultures (which doesn't need HDCD decoding).

  4. #4

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    Sep 2023
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    Re: HDCD - Help a newbie

    Thanks for the help, folks! I'm checking out FFmpeg now.

  5. #5
    dBpoweramp Guru
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
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    Re: HDCD - Help a newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by bad1978 View Post
    Thanks for the help, folks! I'm checking out FFmpeg now.
    If you're looking at FFmpeg to identify the HDCD features then you'll need to make sure you haven't already performed the decoding in CD Ripper.

    The Track Technical column in the CD Ripper interface (right click on Title and select) can be helpful to identify anomalies like these (including CDs with pre-emphasis).

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