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Author Topic: HDCD Support  (Read 10742 times)

oldnewbie

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HDCD Support
« on: May 02, 2015, 01:18:00 pm »

Hello, first off thanks for such a superb program; the only thing that is missing to make Media Center truly perfect is HDCD support.

It may vary but in my CD collection almost 20% of the discs are HDCDs (most of the remastered Warner stuff ranging from Roxy Music, Tom Petty, Van Halen all the way to the Beach Boys).

This should not be hard or time intensive to include and would really complete the program Hi-Fi audio-wise; especially since some free programs have long since offered HDCD Support (like foobar).

Thanks again for making the best media program.

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kstuart

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2015, 02:08:39 pm »

Read:

http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=69105.0

(Also note the search box at the top of this page, since I did not know until I did the search for you.)

kstuart

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2015, 02:40:50 pm »

Bonus info - technical explanation of why HDCD does not - as a whole - work as well as it is supposed to do:

http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/HFN/HDCD/Enigma.html

oldnewbie

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 07:07:05 am »

Thank you very much for your reply. I did search the Forum before posting and had even read the linked post.
I am also aware of the (tedious) workarounds and that not all HDCDs sound better. If they were mastered by experienced engineers (like say Bob Ludwig) who know what they are doing and care, they can sound better.

I guess everyone has a different experience when it comes to HDCD tracks but (except for a couple songs from compilations) the majority of my HDCD tracks come from fully mastered HDCD Discs that were made intentionally so.

As stated I am a big fan of MC but for an audiophile product I would think that the developer does care about every improvement that can be gained (and in the past MC has done so constantly).

There may be certain audiophile technologies (like for example SACD) that can't be implemented (yet) because of hardware and/or license impossibilities but in the case of HDCD decoding this does not seem to be the case.

So despite the limits and sometimes bigger or smaller benefits the bottom line is that HDCD can and does benefit the quality of recordings, and as such would have a place in an audiophile product such as MC.  Especially since it neither seems difficult or time intensive to implement as some of the excellent stuff already integrated in MC.
 
Even more so since audiophile and non-audiophile equipment from NAD, Naim, Vincent, Marantz, oppo, some of the Denon even Media Player all support the decoding of HDCDs; why do we have to use tedious workarounds with the best audiophile software player on the market?
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Arindelle

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2015, 09:15:33 am »

I'm not getting into whether this format should or should not exists. I was sort of concerned about this a couple of years ago, because of my Linn cd player had the chip in it. I have a few cds actually mastered in HDCD (not remastered, btw). It was n interesting trick to get some extra dynamic range .. but honestly I don't hear the difference (which means absolutely nothing, not starting a debate :) ) in sound improvement compared to a good,  recent mastering in 16/44.1. I can sometimes hear that it is not as good when playing from a ripped no-decoded version. but then again that is all very subjective right?

However, you mentioned Naim?  Naim dacs don't support HDCD chips, at least the  two new ones and the unities -- maybe the old ones do .. not sure about the new Linns. Ever since microsoft bought HDCD, and there are 24bit recordings for those that like them -- think they have gone the way of 78's. Probably better to just rip your cds with a ripper that will decode it to 20 bits once and for all.  Now out of 6500 cds only 30 of mine were in HDCD and of those only about 5 where the original was actually mastered in HDCD. I can see it would be a drag to have to re-rip everything if you have already done so, but in theory wouldn't it be better to rip to 20bits anyways? less transcoding on the fly and all.

This is a good read -- http://emotivalounge.proboards.com/thread/39127/hdcd

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6233638

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2015, 10:27:14 am »

I've never encountered a player or DAC with HDCD support, for what it's worth.
I'm sure that they exist, but they seem to be uncommon.
 
And software-based HDCD decoding doesn't seem to work correctly.
I recently checked the discs which I had run through dBpoweramp's decoder with another tool and they actually only contain 17 bits of data. So they trigger my DAC into saying that the the audio is "between 16-24 bit" (both the 16 and 24 bit LEDs light up) which you would assume to be the correct 20-bit HDCD signal, but that does not appear to be the case.
 
And the decoder they use does not support all of the features anyway. So there is still a need for a better HDCD decoder, though it doesn't sound like JRiver will be developing one.
 
Which reminds me, I really need to re-rip those discs and just keep them as CD-quality for now, until there is a solution for proper HDCD decoding.
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oldnewbie

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2015, 12:42:50 pm »

Thanks for your replies. Naim CDPs 5x onwards supported HDCDs (at least a few years back) als did for ex. Denon DVD 2910, 2930, 3910, 3910, A1XVA, A1, A11...

The interesting thing that many people seem to forget is that if you ripped and encoded with flac you still have the HDCD info in the files. This means you just need a good decoder to utilize this, hence my humble request to include this in MC. I mean for crying out loud even Microsofts dingy Media Player 9 could do it.

For more info on ripping HDCDs check:
https://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?27540-Ripping-HDCDs-Best-practices&highlight=HDCD
And
https://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?22742-Improved-HDCD-information-and-logging&highlight=HDCD
And on a side note
https://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?25648-Questions-about-DSP-s&p=119732&viewfull=1*post119732

For more on the HDCD.exe decoder used in foobar and dpboweramp
http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=79427
And in a previous post on this forum ashman5 posted a a link to what seems to be different versions of the plugin
http://hdcd.cjkey.org.uk

Thanks for your efforts
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Hendrik

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2015, 12:50:10 pm »

I mean for crying out loud even Microsofts dingy Media Player 9 could do it.

Thats not a big surprise, considering that Microsoft owns the patents on the format.

Unless there is a specification (or a reference implementation we can look at) that describes how HDCD works and how we can support it, its not likely that we'll try to reverse engineer a dead format.
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Arindelle

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2015, 12:59:25 pm »

The interesting thing that many people seem to forget is that if you ripped and encoded with flac you still have the HDCD info in the files. This means you just need a good decoder to utilize this, hence my humble request to include this in MC. I mean for crying out loud even Microsofts dingy Media Player 9 could do it.[/url]
just for my 2 cents ripping to 24bit flac decoding via dbpoweramp without checking that additional gain unless you like clipping is good stuff. You get a couple of extra 0s, but there is no extra decoding for your processor to do so it it goes directly to the dac. its really just acting as a compressor/expander tag right? You do it once, then  you're finished. If you do not want to rip then I could see going through an HTPC for direct playback so you don't have to have a DAC that has the chip in it, but I'm not sure way you would not want to do this on the rip. Its not like you are going to be buying more of them. No musical artifacts are being lossed other than the initial bit they lop off on the final master are they? why wouldn't you want to do this ... not sure I get it, just curious :)

Oh and the reason Microsoft's player can do this is that they bought HDCD from the developing company. oops Hendrik beat me to the punch
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ferday

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2015, 01:06:20 pm »

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kstuart

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2015, 04:09:11 pm »

Thanks for your replies.

The interesting thing that many people seem to forget is that if you ripped and encoded with flac you still have the HDCD info in the files. This means you just need a good decoder to utilize this, hence my humble request to include this in MC. I mean for crying out loud even Microsofts dingy Media Player 9 could do it.
Okay, what I got out of the JRiver thread that I linked is that HDCD is patented.

Unlike free music players, JRiver charges money.  This means that they cannot decode patented formats just by using some open source crack of the format.

So while JRiver will support various obscure free formats, they don't want to pay money to support some obscure old dead format.

And as ferday linked, there is a free open source crack that you can use for yourself to convert your HDCD's to 24-bit WAV files, thereby creating the same sound quality that would get by decoding HDCD on the fly.  And, of course, you can then - separately - play those 24-bit files in MC20.

Frobozz

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2015, 04:49:22 am »

I've never encountered a player or DAC with HDCD support, for what it's worth.
I'm sure that they exist, but they seem to be uncommon.
 
And software-based HDCD decoding doesn't seem to work correctly.
I recently checked the discs which I had run through dBpoweramp's decoder with another tool and they actually only contain 17 bits of data. So they trigger my DAC into saying that the the audio is "between 16-24 bit" (both the 16 and 24 bit LEDs light up) which you would assume to be the correct 20-bit HDCD signal, but that does not appear to be the case.
 
And the decoder they use does not support all of the features anyway. So there is still a need for a better HDCD decoder, though it doesn't sound like JRiver will be developing one.
 
Which reminds me, I really need to re-rip those discs and just keep them as CD-quality for now, until there is a solution for proper HDCD decoding.

The software decoding does work correctly.  HDCD isn't true 20-bit.  It's a sliding scale that can move up and down to give the impression of more bits (this is the LLE feature).

Here's a HA post that explains some of it: http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=79427&st=175&p=737725&#entry737725

I decode my HDCD titles using CUETools.  I only bother to decode titles that make use of Peak Extension (PE) or Gain (LLE).  Discs that only made use of the Trasient Filter (TF) and didn't make use of PE or LLE get no benefit from decoding because there is nothing to decode.  The CUETools log will show what HDCD features were detected when it verifies or scans a CUE file.

 For HDCD titles I make two rips.  One as a regular 16-bit FLAC rip with no software decoding done.  And one as a 24-bit FLAC rip with software decoding. And I use CUETools to do the processing.  The resulting files play in JRiver Media Center, my PonoPlayer, and everywhere else that FLAC can be played.
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tbng

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2015, 03:12:57 pm »

I have downloaded (from within DBPoweramp) and executed - apparently successfully - DSP Effects R11. I want it primarily to rip HDCDs properly for playback using JRiver 20 v.115, but no DSP selections ever appear in the DBPoweramp DSP tab. "Load" appears but that step finds nothing in its search for *.depeffects. I am confused. This appeared to be a simple install, but it's not installing.
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Dmitry Nevozhay

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Re: HDCD Support
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2016, 04:45:12 pm »

Good news here!
I have found the source codes for HDCD inline decoder for foobar2000, freely available.
(Copyright (C) 2007 Christopher Key, 2010 Chris Moeller, 2012 Gumboot).
The VC++ project home is:
https://gitlab.kode54.net/kode54/foo_hdcd/tree/master
The "hdcd_decode.c" sorce code contains a plain C implementation of HDCD decode process,
while the other sources implemets wrapping it into Foobar's dsp api interface.
So please, JRiver engineers, wrap this into JRiver's DSP api interface,
as your customers (known as audiophiles) need every hidden bit to be unvelied.
You should not even reverse engineering something (it's done by Christopher Key), just learn the source code and reuse it for MC...
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