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AUDIOPHILE CD FORMATS

 

An audio file format is a file format for storing digital audio data on a computer system. This data can be stored uncompressed, or compressed to reduce the file size. It can be a raw bitstream, but it is usually a container format or an audio data format with defined storage layer.

HiQualityCD

HiQuality CD (HQCD) is a CD originally developed in Japan. It is a regular CD made of a higher quality polycarbonate plastic. The reflective layer is a silver alloy rather than aluminium used in regular CDs. The HQCDs are fully compatible with conventional CDs and plays on regular CD players.

SUPER AUDIO CD

Super Audio CD (SACD) is a read-only optical disc for audio storage, introduced in 1999. It was developed jointly by Sony and Philips Electronics, and intended to be the successor to their Compact Disc format. While the SACD format can offer more channels (e.g. surround sound), and a longer playing time than CD, research published in 2007 found no significant difference in audio quality between SACD and standard CD.

Extended resolution CD

eXtended Resolution Compact Disc (XRCD) is a mastering and manufacture process patented by JVC (Victor Company of Japan, Ltd) for producing redbook Compact Discs. It was first introduced in 1995. A XRCD is priced about twice as high as a regular full-priced CD. JVC attributes this to the higher cost of quality mastering and manufacturing.

K2HD Mastering

K2 High Definition (K2HD) is a mastering technique developed by JVC Music. K2HD encodes the music in 24 bit and 100 kHz resolution while in the mastering stage, even though the end product is a standard red book CD (16 bit, 44.1 kHz) and does not require special hardware for playback.

 

Dual Disc

DualDisc was a type of double-sided optical disc product developed by a group of record companies including MJJ Productions Inc, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and 5.1 Entertainment Group and later under the aegis of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It featured an audio layer similar to a CD (but not following the Red Book CD Specifications) on one side and a standard DVD layer on the other.

Vinyl

New “virgin” or “heavy/heavyweight” (180–220 g) vinyl is commonly used for modern “audiophile” vinyl releases in all genres. Many collectors prefer to have heavyweight vinyl albums, and they have been reported to have a better sound than normal vinyl as they have a higher tolerance against deformation caused by normal play. 180 g vinyl is more expensive to produce only because it uses more vinyl.

HM CD

SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) A new high quality sound CD that utilizes polycarbonate resin, used on LCD panel displays, as a transparent substrate. Improved transparency of the polycarbonate resin.Pits of the CD are formed more precisely due to higher fluidity and transcribing characteristics Birefringence quality results in better tracking and less jitter.

GOLD CD

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High Definition CD
Blu-spec CD

High Definition Compatible Digital, or HDCD is a Microsoft proprietary audio encode-decode process that claims to provide increased dynamic range over that of standard Redbook audio CDs, while retaining backward compatibility with existing Compact disc players.

Blu-spec CD describes a Red Book Compact Disc manufactured by a proprietary process introduced by Sony Music Entertainment Japan in late 2008. Its name derives from the similar manufacturing process to that used to create Blu-ray Discs. Instead of a traditional infra-red laser, a blue laser is used for recording the pits on the CD master that is needed for disc replication. The blue laser creates more precise pits, reducing distortion in the optical read-out process.

DVD - Audio

 

Direct-Stream Digital

DVD-Audio (commonly abbreviated as DVD-A) is a digital format for delivering high-fidelity audio content on a DVD. DVD-Audio offers many possible configurations of audio channels, ranging from single-channel mono to 5.1-channel surround sound, at various sampling frequencies and sample rates.

Blu-spec CD describes a Red Book Compact Disc manufactured by a proprietary process introduced by Sony Music Entertainment Japan in late 2008. Its name derives from the similar manufacturing process to that used to create Blu-ray Discs. Instead of a traditional infra-red laser, a blue laser is used for recording the pits on the CD master that is needed for disc replication. The blue laser creates more precise pits, reducing distortion in the optical read-out process.

DSD FORMATS

Sometimes you just have to wonder who dreams this stuff up. I received an email from a reader the other day about a “clever” technique to remove “the digital harshness” from MP3 files. We’ve already looked at a couple of algorithms from Harman and Sony…Clari-Fi and DSEE respectively…that attempt to restore the high frequency information that is thrown away by all of the “lossy” data compression techniques. The article over at monoandstereo.com advocates converting all of your MP3 files to DSD. And not just any old DSD flavor will do…they want you to use DSD 256 or DSD 512. I wasn’t aware that DSD 512 had reached the consumer level yet. Engineers like Michael Bishop are using DSD 256 to make new masters but moving to 22.5792 MHz and 1-bit to rescue 96 kbps MP3 files seems like overkill to me. But that’s what the article wants you to do.

Let’s assume that this technique actually “make (our music) more analogue sounding”. One of the primary reasons for encoding music using lossy techniques was to make the files small enough to fit on our iPods or other portable music players. Take a look at the illustration below for a size comparison between an MP3 file and the same file in DSD 256 and DSD 512 (I couldn’t even fit the DSD 512 circle on the page!).