JVC released 10 new HiQuality CDs (HQCDs) using an audio encoding/mastering technique called K2 High Definition (K2HD) in Japan today. This is neither a band new technique, nor the first time HQCDs have been released, but the expansion to contemporary albums will entice audiophiles. A list of the released albums is provided below.
JVC and Victor Musical Industries began the development of the K2 technology in 1987. Professional recording and mastering studios used the original interface to stabilize and improve sound quality by decreasing the “jitter and ripple” of digital signals.
K2HD encoding is part of the K2 technology. It encodes music in high quality 100kHz/24-bit to be packed into the Redbook CD standard of 44.1kHz/16-bit at the mastering stage so the audio can be played on standard CD players. This reportedly enhances the sound quality by 4-5 times compared to standard CD quality.
HQCD is an advanced audio CD that is constructed from a high quality polycarbonate, which is used in LCD TVs, to increase the transparency and durability of the disc. This increased transparency produces a more precise pit transcription of the disc by optical readers.
Also, the reflective layer of HQCDs is produced from a silver alloy, instead of aluminum like standard CDs. This silver alloy increases the reflectivity of the discs, producing an even clearer pit transcription. The combination of this disc’s unique polycarbonate material and reflective surface allows for a more precise read of the K2HD encoded audio.
JVC and Victor Entertainment released the first discs of this type in 2008, calling the format “K2HD MASTERING + HQCD.” The first three discs were of classical music and sold for around 180,000 yen (or $1,700 at the time!). The new discs will be considerably cheaper, costing between 2,800 to 3,500 yen or $35 to $45 in Japan.
Even though these discs can be played on standard CD players, they are intended for jazz and classical music audiophiles who have high quality audio setups that can utilize the increased bandwidth and resolution. Unlike DVD-Audio, which was intended for mass consumption, the K2HD MASTERING + HQCD discs may survive as a format because it’s for a niche market that desires improved sound quality and will possibly pay the higher costs for higher quality.
Bobby Caldwell –What You Won’t Do for Love
Shakatak – Night Birds
Paul Butterfield’s Better Days – Live at Winterland Ballroom
Bobby Charles – Bobby Charles
Todd Rundgren – Somewhere/Anywhere
Todd Rundgren – Something/Anything
Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
Yardbirds – Five Live Yardbirds
Yardbirds – Roger the Engineer
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly