F&L&A 2002 HDCD from Hong Kong

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robertzombie
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Some photos have just emerged of this CD on facebook: https://www.discogs.com/Sisters-Of-Merc ... se/5181520

The photos are quite detailed and appear to show the release to be a HDCD (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Defi ... le_Digital). One owner says it uses the Mack Mix of Walk Away (found previously on the Elektra LP promo).

I'm trying desperately to find out more on the mastering and whether or not the disc utilises HDCD's peak extension feature but the denizens of Facebook aren't exactly au fait with the subtleties of CD variations, they just like pictures!

Does anyone here own this disc? Can you provide some data for us?
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According to one owner, this CD features the original LP mixes. Presumably the Elektra LP promo reel was used as the master. That puts this digital release of the original mixes 4 years ahead of the Rhino remaster.
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Maybe, if ELEKTRA reels were used, ELEKTRA were mentioned on the cover?

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* ... I nearly won the bid for this one some time ago ... nearly ... :wink: ...
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That is my listing but I for sure did not add mastering info
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Rise891 wrote:That is my listing but I for sure did not add mastering info
Do you own the CD?
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I do indeed. Those are my shoddy photos.
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Rise891 wrote:I do indeed. Those are my shoddy photos.
Great! Would you be willing to provide some data from the disc so we can learn about the mastering? I can guide you through over PM.
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This thread can be locked. A helpful Facebook user shared the CD files with me. It's simply a clone of the 1992 remaster. Nothing to see here!
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robertzombie wrote:This thread can be locked. A helpful Facebook user shared the CD files with me. It's simply a clone of the 1992 remaster. Nothing to see here!
I think we'll just leave it to sink Rob.
Might still be some discussion to be had & more info for the wiki page perhaps :)
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robertzombie wrote:This thread can be locked. A helpful Facebook user shared the CD files with me. It's simply a clone of the 1992 remaster. Nothing to see here!
So it's not really hdcd? What difference is hdcd to normal cd, or sacd even anyway?
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deadagain wrote:
robertzombie wrote:This thread can be locked. A helpful Facebook user shared the CD files with me. It's simply a clone of the 1992 remaster. Nothing to see here!
So it's not really hdcd? What difference is hdcd to normal cd, or sacd even anyway?
I do have an asian marilyn manson compilation, i think its called "hrcd", its 24 bit, likely the same here.
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deadagain wrote:
robertzombie wrote:This thread can be locked. A helpful Facebook user shared the CD files with me. It's simply a clone of the 1992 remaster. Nothing to see here!
So it's not really hdcd? What difference is hdcd to normal cd, or sacd even anyway?
Foobar's HDCD tool couldn't detect any HDCD elements to decode from the uncompressed CD rip, so I'm willing to state that, no, it's not HDCD at all.

HDCD is a Microsoft proprietary audio encode-decode process that can provide increased dynamic range over that of standard Redbook audio CDs, while retaining backward compatibility with existing CD players. By using the HDCD protocol, it's possible to have a dynamic master on a CD which, when played with ordinary equipment, is compressed (to satisfy loudness war idiots) but, when decoded with an HDCD player or software, will play the full dynamic mastering. It's kind of like upscaling but in reverse. Imagine if blu-ray were compatible with DVD players but was down-rezzed on the fly to work on the DVD player. That's kind of how HDCD works.

SACD is completely different. It was introduced by Sony and Philips in 1999 and was intended to replace CD. SACD audio is stored in a format called Direct Stream Digital (DSD), which differs from the conventional Pulse-code modulation (PCM) used by CD. DSD is 1-bit, has a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz, and makes use of noise shaping quantization techniques in order to push 1-bit quantization noise up to inaudible ultrasonic frequencies. It has a far greater dynamic range and frequency response than CD. Unfortunately SACD died a death through lack of promotion from the industry, and lack of understanding from the public. It also didn't help that SACD is virtually impossible to copy, not very helpful when it was introduced at the beginning of the iPod era. The demise of SACD is another example of why the music industry is failing. They simply don't have the guts to push a high quality home disc format and promote the virtues of quality listening at home. I think the film industry has done a pretty good job in the face of piracy with the promotion of blu-ray and the home theatre experience. How I wish the music industry had done the same!
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We can widen the scope of the thread...

I remember some very shiny-looking kit that I saw for SACD/DSD playback back in the early 2000s. Two separate boxes: one disc player that just fed the digital bitstream into a separate D/A converter (which could also handle PCM and other digital data streams). However, I'd been burned by MiniDisc (I fell for the hype and didn't realise until too late that ATRAC was lossy) so I didn't become an early-adopter. Hey ho.

I think that part of the problem the music industry has compared to the movie industry is that the progression VHS -> DVD -> BluRay has obvious advantages for even the most casual viewer with each step forward, whereas Vinyl -> CD -> SACD does not. Obviously a serious listener with decent hi-fi kit can hear the difference, but your "average Jo(e)" with a crappy mass-market all-in-one player can't tell or doesn't care. Many listeners feel that they were conned into replacing their vinyl collection with a CD collection (at great expense) for no real audible benefit, and are reluctant to upgrade again.
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I think the music industry got it wrong with multiple new formats being let loose on the public at the same time.
It's a bit like giving a car buyer a choice of 2000 paint colours. The decision process becomes longer & will always leave a niggling doubt that you chose the right thing.
To allow SACD & DVD Audio to battle it out for supremacy was a schoolboy mistake that should have been learned from the VHS/ Betamax war. That's where the movie industry actually won out, setting a consumer/ industry "standard" & moving on from there.
Even the minidisc had alternative formats to slog it out with. Remember DCC & DAT?
& even now the music industry pits formats against each other with Pure Audio Blue Ray & Hi Fidelity Pure Audio. No wonder people give up & either revert back to vinyl or download higher resolution audio files.
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markfiend wrote: I think that part of the problem the music industry has compared to the movie industry is that the progression VHS -> DVD -> BluRay has obvious advantages for even the most casual viewer with each step forward, whereas Vinyl -> CD -> SACD does not. Obviously a serious listener with decent hi-fi kit can hear the difference, but your "average Jo(e)" with a crappy mass-market all-in-one player can't tell or doesn't care. Many listeners feel that they were conned into replacing their vinyl collection with a CD collection (at great expense) for no real audible benefit, and are reluctant to upgrade again.
Any hope for pushing quality audio in the home needs to be presented as a whole package I think. Same, again, with blu-ray. You can't enjoy HD picture and sound on a laptop, you need a walloping great TV and surround set-up (or so says the movie industry). I think the music industry needs to work with the hi-fi industry to promote the idea of high quality home audio products (they don't need to be expensive) and the virtues of quality formats. At the moment there is a massive divide between the music industry trying to push HD downloads and expensive LP reissues (that often sound stunning) but at the same time the most popular "hi fi" items are low quality record players, lifestyle speaker systems, and Beats headphones. If the music and hi-fi industries worked together to promote #goodsound we could see a real upswing in quality recordings and formats.
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Pista wrote:I think the music industry got it wrong with multiple new formats being let loose on the public at the same time.
It's a bit like giving a car buyer a choice of 2000 paint colours. The decision process becomes longer & will always leave a niggling doubt that you chose the right thing.
To allow SACD & DVD Audio to battle it out for supremacy was a schoolboy mistake that should have been learned from the VHS/ Betamax war. That's where the movie industry actually won out, setting a consumer/ industry "standard" & moving on from there.
Even the minidisc had alternative formats to slog it out with. Remember DCC & DAT?
& even now the music industry pits formats against each other with Pure Audio Blue Ray & Hi Fidelity Pure Audio. No wonder people give up & either revert back to vinyl or download higher resolution audio files.
Definitely. The humble compact disc still offers more than enough resolution and sounds great with the right mastering. Unfortunately the loudness wars has meant the last 20 years of recorded music has all sounded more or less crap. Maybe this is why the music industry doesn't want to push quality home audio....
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These days, in terms of digital audio, the most popular consumer formats are probably a) mp3 and b) the Vorbis codec that Spotify streams; both of these are lossy but the average consumer doesn't seem to notice or care.
markfiend wrote:Obviously a serious listener with decent hi-fi kit can hear the difference
I'm not even sure that this is the case: in fact, laboratory blind testing suggests that people genuinely cannot hear the difference between a 160kb/s mp3 and the CD of the same piece of music, even using reasonably high-quality playback equipment. Even the most dedicated hi-fi nut is going to struggle to create a setup where the differences you might see on a spectrum analyser are actually audible to a human listener, over environmental influences created by the room and equipment itself.

To be brutally frank, I think that once you get past the entry-level Richer Sounds-style hifi separates, you enter into territory of very rapidly decreasing returns. A separate CD player costing £999 is not going to be ten times as good as one costing £99. In fact the level of improvement between the two price-points will be marginal at best. It doesn't help that the industry and its press is full of nonsense, with blatant bull$hit like claiming that USB cables costing hundreds of pounds can make any difference whatsoever to the sound. When you're fed this kind of nonsense, it's difficult not to be sceptical of claims that are (on the face of it) more plausible.

tl;dr version: I don't really see the point of paying for an allegedly high-quality digital audio source when the difference from a Spotify stream is literally inaudible.

The loudness wars thing is a whole separate kettle of buckets though.
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Pista wrote:I think the music industry got it wrong with multiple new formats being let loose on the public at the same time.
It's a bit like giving a car buyer a choice of 2000 paint colours. The decision process becomes longer & will always leave a niggling doubt that you chose the right thing.
To allow SACD & DVD Audio to battle it out for supremacy was a schoolboy mistake that should have been learned from the VHS/ Betamax war. That's where the movie industry actually won out, setting a consumer/ industry "standard" & moving on from there.
Even the minidisc had alternative formats to slog it out with. Remember DCC & DAT?
& even now the music industry pits formats against each other with Pure Audio Blue Ray & Hi Fidelity Pure Audio. No wonder people give up & either revert back to vinyl or download higher resolution audio files.
Not forgetting V2000 videos which I understand were better than vhs and were double sided, like audio cassettes!

My head aches after trying to understand alot of the above posts :?
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deadagain wrote:
Not forgetting V2000 videos which I understand were better than vhs and were double sided, like audio cassettes!

My head aches after trying to understand alot of the above posts :?
& that's prolly reflective of punters all being fed the tech babble when these media formats & associated players hit the streets.
& there's another variable. The format itself could be the best ever, but there is always equipment that will come nowhere near to doing it justice.
Ultimately, the best judge is your own ears. If you like the way it sounds, then no amount of fancy spec.s & marketing blurb is going to change that. :)
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Well yeah. Ultimately music is a subjective experience. De gustibus non est disputandum.
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markfiend wrote:These days, in terms of digital audio, the most popular consumer formats are probably a) mp3 and b) the Vorbis codec that Spotify streams; both of these are lossy but the average consumer doesn't seem to notice or care.
markfiend wrote:Obviously a serious listener with decent hi-fi kit can hear the difference
I'm not even sure that this is the case: in fact, laboratory blind testing suggests that people genuinely cannot hear the difference between a 160kb/s mp3 and the CD of the same piece of music, even using reasonably high-quality playback equipment.
I'd agree with you at 320kb/s, but I've personally been able to hear the difference between 160 mp3 and lossless in an ABX test. Once you know what to listen for, it becomes quite easy. 320 is nearly impossible for me to differentiate from the lossless source, however.
Even the most dedicated hi-fi nut is going to struggle to create a setup where the differences you might see on a spectrum analyser are actually audible to a human listener, over environmental influences created by the room and equipment itself.
If digital audio is your flavour of choice, then it is fairly easy to put together a highly resolving system for little outlay. Modern DACs in the £200 range are bit perfect. Even my £70 soundcard is bit perfect.
To be brutally frank, I think that once you get past the entry-level Richer Sounds-style hifi separates, you enter into territory of very rapidly decreasing returns. A separate CD player costing £999 is not going to be ten times as good as one costing £99. In fact the level of improvement between the two price-points will be marginal at best.
For digital components I would mostly agree. I didn't hear a huge difference when I upgraded from an entry level DAC to my Rega DAC. However, the more expensive DACs are more versatile, with multiple inputs and outputs and have better power supplies. Of course, you would hear a huge difference between a £99 turntable and one costing £999.
It doesn't help that the industry and its press is full of nonsense, with blatant bull$hit like claiming that USB cables costing hundreds of pounds can make any difference whatsoever to the sound. When you're fed this kind of nonsense, it's difficult not to be sceptical of claims that are (on the face of it) more plausible.
Agreed.
tl;dr version: I don't really see the point of paying for an allegedly high-quality digital audio source when the difference from a Spotify stream is literally inaudible.
My biggest issue with Spotify is that a) you don't get to pick which mastering of an album you hear, b) your library goes away if you don't have an internet connection.

If a good mastering of Album X is available on a long out of print CD, but Spotify only has the bad sounding remaster, then I can certainly see the point of paying for a high-quality digital audio source (CD player/DAC) if it means I'll get to hear the higher quality mastering.
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Never really saw the point of an external DAC.
My take is that if I am shelling out for a decent digital player, then a DAC is just another piece of stuff in the signal path connected by even more cable.
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You know something... I'm genuinely worried about my hearing from this thread. My dad, and his dad too, both started to struggle with their hearing. I have noticed that I have to ask people to repeat themselves. Wow.
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Style: deathrock. Yeh.
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Pista wrote:Never really saw the point of an external DAC.
My take is that if I am shelling out for a decent digital player, then a DAC is just another piece of stuff in the signal path connected by even more cable.
Well, the signal path is irrelevant since the data is transferred digitally.

There are a number of uses for an external DAC, computer audio being the primary one. Or, you might have an ancient CD player that still works but incorporates outdated DAC technology and you want to upgrade just that element. It's amazing what even £100 DACs can do over the DACs used in CDPs from the '90s. An external DAC also allows you to connect multiple digital sources and route them all through one box before the amplifier. For example, I've got my laptop, Raspberry Pi, TV, and blu-ray player all going through the same DAC :) Means they take up one input on my amplifier, giving me room for more sources at the amp! :D
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