California Audio Labs Icon Mk.II Power Boss CD player HDCD & DVD

Sidebar 2: HDCD & DVD

HDCD technology, developed by Pacific Microsonics, "tricks" today's limited-resolution CD technology into behaving as if it possessed a higher sampling rate and greater number of bits. The California company should be applauded for developing a code/encode technology which is backward-compatible with existing technology and for licensing the technology to encourage its broad application. My comparisons of HDCD and nonHDCD recordings of the same performance have proven to me that HDCD is a successfully superior medium to stock CD sound. True, until a new standard is reached (footnote 1), it is a Band-Aid—but a damn musical Band-Aid. Fortunately, more record companies are adopting the HDCD standard (to wit, Winston Ma's spectacular new Golden String releases, and mainstream pop material such as the voluptuous and silky-sounding Wrecking Ball from Emmy Lou Harris), so even with an audio version of DVD around the corner, the technology has the potential to be more than just a niche oddity.—Robert J. Reina

Footnote 1: I am hoping, if the recording industry doesn't screw it up this time, that the audio applications of DVD will result in a high-resolution stereo reproduction standard that can equal the sound quality of the best analog.—Bob Reina
California Audio Labs
113 Taylor Way
Blue Lake, CA 95525
(707) 668-1736