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XRCD quality on music server


silverlight
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Hi - just curious if the benefits of XRCD discs (regular, xrcd2, xrcd24) are captured by a music server once ripped and stored as lossless files. Presumably the answer is yes (disc contents), but there is much commentary about the quality of the CD's themselves (physically) and how they reduce artifacts/errors/jitter through the production process, and curious if our computer drives that we're ripping from are going to miss something versus playing them on a high quality CD transport?

 

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Hi Silverlight - Good questions. I don't think anyone knows the 100% positive answer to this, but I will give you my opinion as it stands today. I think you can extract every bit of detail that the XRCD process provides through a lossless rip. I believe the quality of the disc itself would enable this extraction to be as error free as possible. The topic of computer drives is another story. Many people are split on this one. Some thing you have to use the best Plextor drive you can find and others believe any drive will work as long as it can extract the data without changing the bits. I think there are drives that work better when it comes to reading discs with scratches, but with a disc in good condition I'm not certain the drive plays an extremely critical role when ripping.

 

I am open to more data though. Proof either way would help people out big time.

 

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I will give you my thought on this. I had the original MO 24bit discs to compare to the released CD... not even close. Blindly you can pick out the 24bit master 100% of the time. Even my wife's untrained ears can tell.

Physically the RBCD is no better or worse than any other production. To me, it just seems like someone turned up the bass on XRCD and HDCD Redbook discs.

 

 

Regards,

 

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I have noticed much, much better sound quality on 24/96 recordings relative to Redbook (not all, but generally), which is why if a DVD/A (for extraction to music server) or 24/96 download is available, will always opt for this (vs XRCD, etc.). Not sure these files will be as good as the MO 24 bit sources, but hopefully production and processing doesn't degrade it too much.

 

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If you you think about the claims for XRCD and SHM cds, all they are claiming is that the player can read them more easily, and somehow, despite Reed-Solomon encoding of the disc (redundancy ensures that only large imperfections will result in loss of data) this matters to the sound. Who knows. It's possible.

 

But if you rip to disk, all you get is the data, and perfectly, and the initial read, if bit perfect, cannot matter. Once you have the data onto your storage medium, it gets processed by the computer in the same way.

 

Thus since every disk can be read perfectly (which we can assess with AccurateRip), it cannot get any better. So in that sense, you get the claimed benefit of XRCD manufacture on every disk--perfect reads of the data.

 

If you think of it this way--there is one fidelity of data encoding/decoding, and that is perfect. If the sound changes based on the manufacture of the cd, you are likely dealing with deviations from perfection. But the computer reads perfectly. So if there is a difference, it should be in favor of the hard disk.

 

However, to me the real audible difference of XRCD, and MoFi gold, etc., is that the mastering is different. And obviously you get that too when you rip.

 

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There was a thread on this before, and already then I got confused by people's responses;

 

I don't know any better than that XRCD is the mangling (which I personally mean negative, but never mind that) of an original good digital master with the result of saturated sound and soft clipping (meaning at -3dB or so) all over.

 

I never heard of any physical differences / advantages that may make an XRCD rip better. But since the responses in this thread again go in this direction ... could someone please point out what I miss here ?

 

Thanks,

Peter

 

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A XRCD is an ordinary CD in 16/44k/2 and can be ripped bit-perfect on most cheap computer drives.

 

A standalone player may have some advantages as it reads in real time. Absolutely no advantages on a computer.

 

There are a few more brands that sells ordinary CDs claiming superior production, like SHM-CD and K2HD. There are probably more.

 

If a disc can be ripped bit-perfect, the only interesting thing is the mastering.

 

 

 

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It's worth pointing out that the XRCD masterings ARE different. To wit most have a treble boost compared to the standard issue. A few do not. If you hear a difference, almost undoubtedly it's the mastering.

 

The SHM cds are a different issue. The majority of those use identical masterings, and some people claim they are better. There is a comparison disk out. Many on the net say they are better. But no one reliable has reported differences in a blind context, much less a/b/x.

 

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