Impressions of SHM-CD? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-13-2008, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, I'm surprised to see AVS doesn't have a dedicated music forum...so I thought I'd try here. Anyone having tried a few SHM-CDs have opinions to share? Seems opinions, what few there are, over at SHMF are mixed, but there are some amazing titles from the Universal catalogue and I'm wondering if they're worth the hefty asking price, which in particular might sound outstanding, who's found a good place to pick them up, or are they a gimmicky waste of money?

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post #2 of 21 Old 10-13-2008, 06:30 PM
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sounds similar to "green cd markers" to me...

bits are bits... there's nothing "special" about audio bits that will make them 'better' if there's some kind of mystical coating/construction on the disc... they either get read, or they don't... and they get read just fine off of plain ol' vanilla discs...

gimmicky waste of money...

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post #3 of 21 Old 10-15-2008, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
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No one has listened to an SHM-CD??

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Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-15-2008, 10:22 AM
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Those imports are expensive; from what I have read, the titles are not necessarily remastered, but the loudness is increased. To some people, that makes the CD sound "more lively, musical, etc".

- Steve O.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-15-2008, 06:10 PM
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I have the Led Zeppelin SHM cd box.....imho it's pretty good......Just listen to Sandy Denny's voice on Battle Of Evermore on the LZ IV SHM disc for proof of how good it is[you can hear every word she sings much clearer than on the old box set version].

If a movie or concert video or a TV show isn't on blu ray it darn well should be.

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post #6 of 21 Old 10-16-2008, 05:39 AM
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A google search, which I'm sure you must've performed, indicates enormous controversy regarding the SHM-CD's. Some think they're wonderful. Others are of the strong opinion that seeing as how CD's don't involve physical contact, that this is nothing more than an attempt to sell the same stuff on a medium that's a little bit different. As to how it's different, I'm not sure. I don't know if they've actually been totally remastered or if they've been 'remastered' simply by making them a little louder or softer. Maybe a different molecular weight for the polycarbonate? It allegedly permits greater read accuracy however my own informal investigations into C1 & C2 errors on regular old CD's indicates no problems with reading.

It seems to me that you're looking for anyone to respond directly to your inquiry which will alleviate your concern about spending considerable sums on discs that you may already have.

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post #7 of 21 Old 10-16-2008, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

A google search, which I'm sure you must've performed, indicates enormous controversy regarding the SHM-CD's. Some think they're wonderful. Others are of the strong opinion that seeing as how CD's don't involve physical contact, that this is nothing more than an attempt to sell the same stuff on a medium that's a little bit different. As to how it's different, I'm not sure. I don't know if they've actually been totally remastered or if they've been 'remastered' simply by making them a little louder or softer. Maybe a different molecular weight for the polycarbonate? It allegedly permits greater read accuracy however my own informal investigations into C1 & C2 errors on regular old CD's indicates no problems with reading.

It seems to me that you're looking for anyone to respond directly to your inquiry which will alleviate your concern about spending considerable sums on discs that you may already have.

As you say CG, I have seen really mixed reviews, on the Net and SHF, so I was just trying to elicit some opinions from folks that have actually spun them. One of the problems is information...there isn't a lot of it. Most of the sites carrying the discs are Japanese, and don't offer up much information about these releases being newly remastered, what the process was, etc. About all you can ever get is the standard marketing drivel announcing the product.

Obviously the LZ set gets the most attention, and I think overall reaction to their sound has been positive, but there are some really great titles in that UM catalogue. I personally would love to check out some of the offerings by Steely Dan, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, ELP, and the like (there are like 20 Keith Jarrett titles! and lots of Pat Metheny too), as I think there is a reasonable expectation that those discs will have a decent sound as they are good-sounding CDs to begin with. But then that begs the question if previous releases of these titles are already good-sounding, just how much better can these SHMs be?

Then there are the other titles, like Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque, PJ Harvey's Rid Of Me, the Nirvana stuff...and the like; these are great titles, but awful-sounding CDs (IMO, Steve Albini should be shot for what he did to ROM). Is it possible they have somehow pulled a better sound out of these titles for the SHM releases, or is it just louder and clearer (the material, not the sonics...lol)?

Again, there are some really intriguing titles (if you haven't had a chance to browse http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/special/new...step=20&genre=); I'd personally be hard-pressed to just choose like 10 to give a try, and at like $25-40 a pop, that's no small layout. I just thought anyone with some ears-on might share their impressions.

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post #8 of 21 Old 10-16-2008, 08:14 AM
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I'm not sure but you might find some critical comparisons involving some A/B measurement stuff over at hydrogenaudio.com. Like you said, the prices ain't cheap and the information regarding the whole SHM-CD thing is very, very nebulous. That in itself turns me off.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-30-2009, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Then there are the other titles, like Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque, PJ Harvey's Rid Of Me, the Nirvana stuff...and the like; these are great titles, but awful-sounding CDs (IMO, Steve Albini should be shot for what he did to ROM).

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Yeah Steve Albini produces with that "lo-fi" sound intentionally. That's why Nirvana chose him to produce 'In Utero'. Kurt Cobain was partial to lo-fi sound, and wasn't happy with Butch Vig's production on 'Nevermind'. Kurt once said that he recorded Nevermind from CD onto cassette tape, by placing the speakers of the CD player next to the mic of a cassette recorder, and that he preferred listening to the album on the tape. I don't share Kurt's preference. I love Butch Vig's production on Nevermind, and don't much care for Steve Albini's production on 'In Utero'. So I bought the MFSL Gold CD remastered release of the album. I also have the MFSL edition of 'Nevermind'. I haven't sat down to compare either album to their standard CD counterparts yet. As far as whether the gold aspect produces any difference in sound quality, I don't know. MFSL boasts of their greater reflective quality, but I haven't seen an explanation that explains how it makes them sound better. I would say that it produces greater read accuracy, but I don't see how that translates to better sound quality. I imagine that it's the same thing with the super high material aspect of SHM-CDs. At any rate, the gold CDs have much greater resistence to oxidation, so they'll last longer!

I was looking into buying some SHM-CDs, especially the new Led Zeppelin box set. A lot of people swear by them. After further consideration though, I'm thinking not. At this point I don't get how they'll sound better, unless there's a different mastering process involved, which I haven't seen mentioned anywhere. The SHM Led Zep box set does have bonus tracks on it, but it's not worth paying twice as much for it, unless it does sound better.
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post #10 of 21 Old 06-09-2010, 03:07 PM
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So i have discovered this whole SHM-cd fairly recently.
I have found the Zeppelin box set for cheap, and its the SHM version, i will compare these cd's to earlier cd's.
I wonder if any new info on SHM-cd's has been found, i have very little luck trying to find the info myself.
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post #11 of 21 Old 06-21-2010, 08:22 AM
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i wrote a long detailed informative post about this, only to see it erased because the site logged me out!
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post #12 of 21 Old 06-21-2010, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Uv7x77 View Post

So i have discovered this whole SHM-cd fairly recently.
I have found the Zeppelin box set for cheap, and its the SHM version, i will compare these cd's to earlier cd's.
I wonder if any new info on SHM-cd's has been found, i have very little luck trying to find the info myself.

Unless you know the exact same masters were used, you're wasting your time. Even then there'd be no real reason for a difference in sound.

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post #13 of 21 Old 10-21-2013, 02:42 PM
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I understand the argument of "bits are bits", and it depends on how the disc is mastered. But I own quite a few of the SHM cd's and nearly all are a significant improvement over the regular cd counterpart. I listen to them in my car, and all I can say is that it's like removing a layer of gauze from the speakers. Vocals are more intelligible, bass is super tight, and every instrument is clearly audible. It would be nice if the prices weren't so high, I find it's worth it in almost every case. Standouts are the Steely Dan catalogue (AJA in particular), the Zeppelin box set, Kiss Me..-The Cure, the Genesis box set (with Gabriel, especially TRESPASS), the Elvis Costello catalogue, and the Rolling Stones catalogue. SACD's sound just as good, but is primarlily for home listening.

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post #14 of 21 Old 10-24-2013, 11:32 AM
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Then it's because you like the mix and/or mastering of those discs and have had a good streak of judiciously chosen title purchases. There's nothing special about the materials or format itself to enhance the musical content. Sure, there's marketing technobabble which tries to convince otherwise, but nothing that stands up to the least bit of technical scrutiny or bias-controlled listening tests. Plus, I've read enough user reviews of SHM-CD discs to know that there are a decent number of SHM discs which are no better or actually sound poorer than their ordinary CD version counterparts.

Mourning the disappearing usage of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-24-2013, 12:33 PM
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They are apparently excellent recordings. The material into which the data is burned has nothing to do with it. You can thank the audio engineers that mixed and mastered them.
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-25-2013, 12:02 PM
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On sa-cd.net there are some mixed opinions about the quality of SHM releases.
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-31-2013, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, fellas; as the OP...I want to commend you for your passionately-stated positions. But uh...did anyone notice, this "debate" is almost 5 years old...to the day??

Can we at least argue about, hi-res...or DSD now. tongue.gif

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
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post #18 of 21 Old 11-01-2013, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

They are apparently excellent recordings. The material into which the data is burned has nothing to do with it. You can thank the audio engineers that mixed and mastered them.
Many SHM CD recordings are horribly compressed compared to previous/other releases of the same album.

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Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -- Thomas Alva Edison
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post #19 of 21 Old 11-15-2013, 08:23 AM
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I understand this is a old discussion about CDs, an old and now 'obsolete' media, and while I realize there are all sorts of new media that might replace them; so then did CDs 'replace' vinyl, but lo there are vinyl that I will still listen to (usually digitally recorded) over the CDs that came after them because IMHO that particular mastering, or recording, or pressing, sounds better to me. You can blame the phase of the moon for all I care, but I will switch like a gang whore between media to hear what I like.

 

I began my musical journey on vinyl and have owned many FSL remasters and loved them on vinyl and repurchased them on CD (some I did not for various reasons). I may buy again if I find the new Man Who Fell to Earth super-crystal is better than my old FSL vinyl, or the CD I bought, IF and ONLY IF the mastering, the data, the stuff on it, when I hear it—or someone I respect recommends it, has some redeeming quality that gets my attention. My final motivation is what the reproduced stuff from the media sounds like.

 

I'm still unsatisfied with every release of some albums/tracks. I can just hear that there is something better in there someone will eventually tease out.

 

I hate that there is no list that says here is Album-x the vinyl has these qualities, this many people have rated the FSL Gold CD this way, these are the comments on the SHM-CD and how it compares to the others. That would be great!

 

I would also love to read some definitive analysis of the mastering process behind the production of the clearly over-hyped little plastic thingies (SHM-CDs) that rip on my computer exactly as well as the ones before them that are not made out of magic-plastic. In a hundred years will the SHM-CD or FSL Gold CD be free from the oxidation that wiped out several hundred of my first CD purchases (or something else equally heinous)? I probably won't care (but yes, I hope to live that long). I buy them, rip them to a loss-less file and put them away. It is unlikely I will ever visit them again unless I grow suspicious of the rip, need a scan/re-scan of the artwork, or the Men in Black knock on my door to see if I really bought all the music I apparently have.

 

Vinyl is still out there. CDs are still out there. Some of the vinyl are better than anything that has come after it. Some of the CDs are vast improvements over the vinyl and have not been topped since. Some have been significantly topped. There is even some reason to have multiple masterings (I know, not a word, hush) of some things. There are times when all is quiet, the FSL Original Master Recording from vinyl at just the right volume is the sweetest most wonderful sound I have ever heard, but it will be lost in the car. On the other hand, that 'horribly over compressed' SHM-CD is just the thing going down the road and still beats the heck out of silence. My memory will fill in the rest until I can return to the sweet beauty that decorates the silence of a perfect room.

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post #20 of 21 Old 11-15-2013, 11:42 AM
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Can't disagree with much of anything you just said there. Welcome to the board!

Mourning the disappearing usage of the -ly suffix. Words being cut-off before they've had a chance to fully form, left incomplete, with their shoelaces untied and their zippers undone. If I quote your post (or post in your thread) without comment, please check your zipper.
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post #21 of 21 Old 11-15-2013, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post

Can't disagree with much of anything you just said there. Welcome to the board!

 

Hi, thank you very much! :-)

 

I guess I just proved that I'm not a lurker who lacks an opinion. LOL

 

I was actually just trying to figure out which master of a particular album I want to get and stumbled here. Before I knew it I had posted a comment. A big thank you to who ever mentioned they lost their post earlier. I copied mine to a notepad before posting and, sure enough, I was logged out and had to log back in, paste and post; I think it had something to do with first-time sign-up-log-in issues because now it seems to hold the "remember me" just fine).

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