Archive for July, 2020

Return to HDCD it only took me 10 years! (Part 2!)

Monday, July 20th, 2020

I’ve recently been reminded after installing my new “balls” or Cambridge Audio “Puds” on my DAC – see here – S700 Isomagic DAC “puds” – rubber balls!,  that these outboard DACs (digital to audio converters) have the HDCD chip manufactured by  , which Microsoft purchased all those years ago. This chip decodes the HDCD information. My Arcam Alpha 5 DAC does not have this technology but roll forward 10 years, and some vintage DACs do have this ability to decode HDCD. But it is unlikely that we will ever see this technology incorporated in modern-day DACs, because rumours are that Microsoft requires a payment of $400,000 for the license!!!

and after Googling about HDCD, I found this – 10 Years ago, I blogged and wrote about HDCD, as a reminder it’s here –Hidden information on some Music Compact Discs – HDCD

I had forgotten!

It has also been removed from Windows media player in Windows 10, so it looks like the only way to play HDCD content, is on a vintage DAC!

Why Microsoft purchased the technology, not to use it, and to price it out of the market, when digital audio content is now on the rise Hi-Res Walkmans, e.g. Sony NW-A50 Hi-Res Walkman® Portable Audio Player, USB DACS, FLAC and lossless audio are on the rise again.

When we ripped to MP3, we were trying to make the rip as small as possible, to conserver storage space on our hard drives, my first MP3 player had only 128MB storage cards, today storage is cheap, and we are now ripping to lossless formats, e.g. FLAC, DSD, DSF.

In this modern-day when recording studios record to digital media and not analogue tapes, not sure why HDCD encoding is not used more, other than the lack of equipment to play it!

You need to have a CD Player that can decode HDCD or an HDCD encoded digital file. The CD I’m playing is “Brothers In Arms [2005 – 20th Anniversary Edition]”

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S700 Isomagic DAC “puds” – rubber balls!

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

These are the “puds” for my S700 Isomagic DAC!


Cambridge Audio "Puds"

Cambridge Audio “Puds”

These little rubber balls, sit underneath the isomagic DAC to prevent vibrations!


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