During the introduction of who Reference Recordings is, we have mentioned the term HDCD a couple of times. So today, I’d like to help explain what HDCD means and why Reference Recordings uses it.
First off HDCD stands for High Definition Compatible Digital and is a process now owned by Microsoft. The process is supposed to bring back some of the analog “warmth” that is supposed to be lost in digitally mastered recordings. These contain compatibility with existing, normal CD players. And HDCD-encoded CDs aren’t priced higher like SACDs (Super Audio CD).
But how does a small, indepndent label like Reference Recordings end up being the first company in the world to release HDCDs? Well, the HDCD technology itself was co-developed by none-other than Reference Recordings’ own “Professor” Keith O. Johnson. So now when you see/hear/notice the Reference Recordings Titles marked HDCD, you will know that it means they have a new level of accuracy and musicality for digital recordings. Heard on a standard CD player, their sonic superiority will be evident. However, the finest levels of resolution, imaging and spatial information will be revealed when these CDs are reproduced on players with HDCD decoding, available from limited manufacturers.
However, this really cool innovation is not the only area where Reference Recordings is at the forefront in sound technology. They have also introduced HRx files which we will discuss more tomorrow.