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HDCD - High Definition Compatible Digital


HDCD logoHDCD stands for High Definition Compatible Digital.  It is an enhancement to regular audio CDs to effectively increase the dynamic range, resulting in better and more natural reproduction of music (both vocals and instrumental timbre).  The additional dynamic range allows more low-level details to be captured in the digital recording.

Regular audio CDs are based on 16-bit data word length, while those enhanced with HDCD have been encoded with effectively 20-bit data word length.  Longer data word lengths provide more resolution in which to capture the nuances of intricate musical passages.  The HDCD enhancement algorithm is invented and licensed by Pacific Microsonics.

HDCD enhanced CDs are identified by the HDCD logo on the front and/or back cover, and are backwards compatible with non-HDCD enhanced playback equipment (you simply hear the quality of regular audio CD).  As of early 2001, there are over 5,000 CD titles available with HDCD enhancement.  To take advantage of HDCD enhanced audio CDs, you need a HDCD compatible DVD player or CD player.  These models are identified with the same HDCD logo on their faceplate.

To see which DVD players feature HDCD playback compatibility, check under the  "HDCD" column on our DVD Player Basic Feature Comparison page.

Additional Information and Reference: HDCD web site

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