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The Good Ol' Grateful Dead

Posted by Gordon Rekcikssa 
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avatar Re: The Good Ol' Grateful Dead
August 15, 2017 05:05PM
Grateful Dead - Blues For Allah
original release by Grateful Dead Records, 1975 - this HDCD released by Rhino Records, 2004



A fairly far out and experimental album, even by the Dead's standards. This one opens with the trio of Help On The Way>Slipknot>Franklin's Tower that would become a standout in their live sets. The following track, King Solomon's Marbles goes off into some deep funky jazz, before another live favorite kicks in with The Music Never Stopped. Crazy Fingers gives musical life to a series of haiku by lyricist Robert Hunter. Sage & Spirit (named after manager Rock Scully's daughters) plays around with instrumentation, introducing some beautiful acoustic sections layered with flute passages provided by Stephen Schuster. The album closes out with the three part title suite. All kinds of Eastern rhythms and non-traditional melody structures come together with some more experiments in sound, including Mickey Hart placing a microphone in a box of crickets, creating a long track that sounds more like avant-garde jazz than anything else.

The HDCD reissue pictured above contains six outtakes from the sessions and adds well over 30 minutes of music to an already epic album.







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avatar Re: The Good Ol' Grateful Dead
August 16, 2017 02:26PM
^That sounds great!

Slightly related technical question... I know Windows Media Player can properly utilize HDCD discs but how does one know if their DVD-RW drive does? I can't seem to find a source for such information. I assume that most "newer" DVD-RW drives have such a capability but maybe I'm assuming wrong.



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avatar Re: The Good Ol' Grateful Dead
August 16, 2017 02:41PM
HDCD compatibility is usually a software issue AFAIK, though CD players do work off a decoder chip if they are able to decode HDCD (I don't think computer drives do). Since HDCDs are not very common anymore most newer CD player manufacturers no longer offer this feature. If you want to be 100% sure you are getting a full HDCD decode, the best thing to do is download a program like MusicBee and check the option for "HDCD - Rip as 24 bit output" and make sure you are ripping to FLAC. You should end up with a set 24 bit/44 khz FLAC files which are pre-decoded. You can then play that through your DAC or your soundcard. Make sure the preferences for your DAC or soundcard are set to output at 24/44 or higher in your playback software before playback though. I use Foobar2000 for playback and it is very easy to change output preferences with that.

RE: the Dead, can't remember if I mentioned it, but I watched the entire documentary series on Amazon a few weeks back. Very interesting stuff, kinda sad at the end. Now I just need to dive into their music more.



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avatar Re: The Good Ol' Grateful Dead
August 16, 2017 02:45PM
^My drive is a pretty high end Plextor burner from back in the day so I hope it does decode it but that's solid advice, I'll try that to be sure.



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avatar Re: The Good Ol' Grateful Dead
August 16, 2017 03:03PM
Quote
rchecka
^My drive is a pretty high end Plextor burner from back in the day so I hope it does decode it but that's solid advice, I'll try that to be sure.

On a computer, the decoding should be done by the hdcd.exe file which is part of Windows. That is true no matter what program you are using. The problem with CD ripping programs is most don't decode or do anything to recognize HDCD. It's a similar problem to the pre-emphasis issue I wrote about before.

Even my favorite CD ripping program, arguably the best CD Ripper in the world - Exact Audio Copy - will not pre-decode HDCD. It only places a "flag" on the ripped files, which have to be decoded on the fly during playback.

Like I said, the surefire way to deal with HDCD is to just decode them during the ripping and not worry about the flags and decoding on the fly. If you don't get 24/44 files on your rip, that means they NOT decoded.

Also be aware that not all HDCDs use peak extension, the main feature of HDCD decoding. The ones that don't use peak extension were just encoded to regular CD format using a Pacific Microsonics converter that had HDCD as a feature. The only way to tell whether or not an HDCD has peak extension to compare non-decoded files to the decoded files and see if the peak levels differ. You could do that in an audio editor program, but a much faster way to do this is to run the DR meter plug-in in Foobar. That's how I do it. The peak levels are in the log file that is produced when you run that plug-in.

Complicated? A little.



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