Various CD Formats

I am confused on these other types of CD formats such as gold CD, SACD, XRCD and HDCD. I have a new CD player that is pretty good, but I think that it only plays "regular" CDs. Can any type of CD player play these different types? Will they sound better then regular type CDs?
A regular CD player will play the "red book" standard. This is 16 bit 44.1 KHz. It will also play HDCDs, but may not convert them as HDCD, just normal CDs. In this case you don't get the benefit of the HDCD encoding. XRCD is JVCs "Extended Resolution CD". It is playable on all CD players. It is "red book" standard, but the CD's are re-mastered and produced in a manner that gives much better sound--very high quality control on these CDs and in my experience all of them sound better than the original CDs. SACD is "Super Audio CD". It is a "DSD" encoded CD which means it is streaming digital, 1 bit at very high sample rates. There are two types of SACD. One is a hybrid which carries the "red book" standard on one layer and the SACD standard on the other layer. These hybrids can be played on regular CD players, but you don't get the benefit of the SACD encoding. For that you need an SACD player. The single layer SACDs are playable only in an SACD player, they will not play in a standard CD player. You can read more about SACDs on Sony's website. Hope that helps.
The short answer to your questions concerning SACD and HDCD vs. (Red Book) CD is : 1) NO, and 2) YES. The decoding of an HDCD player requires hardware and software designed by Pacific Micronics incorporated into the CD player. The SACD format requires an SACD player. Both formats are superior to Red Book CD, and the reproduced playback incrementally better ... many may say exponentially better in the case of SACD. I am not familiar with XRCD, so I will leave that to others to answer. Happy Listening.
What brand and model CD player do you have? A "regular" CD player will play regular CDs, and gold CDs and XRCDs are just variants of regular CDs, so you can play them too. You can also play HDCDs, but unless your CD player is capable of decoding the HDCD encoding, you will not get the benefits of the HDCD encoding-- this is also a CD variant.

SACD and DVD-A are new high density discs that will not play on regular CD players. But, some SACD players (all?) are also designed to play CDs, but of course only at the CD Redbook standard of 16/44.1-- these are "regular CDs". Good Luck. Craig
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