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Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

I just stumbled across this German article about SHM-CD that are being sold in Japan. Basically, the polycarbonate seems to be a little bit better. The good thing for the record companies seems to be that they are commanding a higher charge.

They compared one bit identical CD with the SHM version and this is google translated their result:

Quote
Relaxed in upper layers

So how do you listen to Fairport Convention on SHM-CD? On the drive / converter combination TL1N / DA1N from C.E.C. The SHM version actually sounds more relaxed, less glassy, ​​livelier, more relaxed and more three dimensional in the upper layers. The normal CD looks like constricted: more compact and occupied. These differences are clearly reproducible, and they are even confirmed in the other albums that we identified as not guaranteed bit by bit. So Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young get the voices more relaxed, more pleasant via SHM-CD. The bass sounds more powerful - from the normal CD, it is rather pappy and bland. The original CD by Led Zeppelin sounds comparatively pressed in the middle, while the SHM CD sounds much more homogeneous and relaxed and offers a more pronounced depth relief. More air for the voice, more freshness in the SHM version of Steely Dan - but here were possibly raised the upper layers slightly. Significantly louder than the normal CD is the SHM disc recorded by Miles Davis - which makes a serious comparison ultimately impossible.

As they are bit identical this is BS from my point of view.

What do you think?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #1
There are measurable differences between materials it seems https://troll-audio.com/articles/uhqcd/
In the end it shouldn't be audible.
Quote: By the time the playback process reaches the DAC chip, the three test discs are indistinguishable. Spending extra money on these discs for the better materials would appear to be a waste.

Is troll-adiposity coming from feederism?
With 24bit music you can listen to silence much louder!

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #2
There are some SHM CDs that do sound better than the regular issues, Supertramp is one example, but that is because it is a different remaster.  Whether it sounds better is subjective to an individual.

Apart from different remasters, the main reason SHM CDs might sound better to some listeners is due to incorrect comparisons eg not level matching or just as likely, expectation biases which can only be controlled with a DBX test, eg using Foobar.

But that article is BS, for example the Led Zep SHM Zep CDs have the same mastering and sound identical to the current regular releases.  If it is comparison with the orginal Diament/Sidore mastered Led Zep CD (as opposed to the current 2014 Davis remastered CD or hi res reissues) then it will sound different as it is a different remaster.  Again whether it is better is subjective and can only be determined by a listener through a proper DBX test.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #3
Quote
They compared one bit identical CD with the SHM version
Somebody doesn't understand what bit-identical means...


Quote
more relaxed, less glassy, ​​livelier, more relaxed and more three dimensional in the upper layers.
What a bunch of NONSENSE!!!    If it's not bit-identical they need to use words with real meanings...  I.e.  "One has more bass than the other..."  "The guitar is mixed louder..."   "One has a faster tempo..." 

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #4
I can see there *might* be an argument for "better materials" in terms of read-reliability (leading to fewer data-read errors), stratch-resistance and lifespan. However, the standard CD seems to stand the test of time adequately in most instances, when not abused, so it's all a bit borderline. To say the things in that article simply reveals that it's written by a clueless audiphool and is the sort of garbage exepected in the mainstream, advertising-lead press. I wonder if they used a green pen around the CD edge?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #5
if the first thing you do is to make an exact backup copy (using software like cdparanoia, eac, xld, et cetera) and if the results of these copies are identical then there'd be zero difference.
if there was a difference, it's either an error in the process of making a backup copy (which should not happen for any kind of standard conforming CD by definition if it's not damaged), or different mastering/mixing/etc.
also buying any kinds of CDs is a waste if the same data can be purchased on the Internet in some sane format like FLAC (but yeah the problem is that often you still don't know if it's actually the same)

also lifespan of CDs is almost a moot point, there's no reason to keep them anyway because of horrible physical data density (and cost per byte) by today's standards, there are better choices
1 SD card of 16 GiB can hold about 20 CDs even if we assume they are filled to maximum length and contain some kind of "noise music" which is almost incompressible by FLAC, in practice even more, and there are also SD cards with higher capacity; and there are even better storage methods afaik.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #6
So wait, if I understand this right those are normal audio CDs (CDDA) that carry the same kind of data as a normal CD, right? The difference is the production and material, which means that they might be less error prone and survive for longer periods of time?

How then can they possibly sound any different?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #7
Quote
So wait, if I understand this right those are normal audio CDs (CDDA) that carry the same kind of data as a normal CD, right?
yes
Quote
How then can they possibly sound any different?
several possibilities:
* different content (in this case the difference has nothing to do with medium type)
* pure placebo (and not using correct blind testing methodology to eliminate placebo)
* defective hardware players which introduce errors during playback of either "normal" or "shm" or both variants, possibly but not necessarily caused by malicions intent of the player's vendor

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #8
It is always the same for some reason, in the end they claim that the improvements can't neither be measured nor heart in a blind test. But if that is the case, it is all subjective, all pointless, all worthless. I could also say it sounds horrible and it would be true.

Btw, I thought this was about CD which are using Shorten to put more music on a regular CD but that would be SHN-CD. ;-)

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #9
I think we should dispense with all this what-if talk. I also think we should exclude the whole master debacle and look at this from a disc and player/ripper perspective.  There is zero difference. Talk about air, breath, presence, PRaT and the like is all placebophile bullshit. There isn't, and never will be a single shred of scientific evidence that will support the contrary.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #10
When I store my audio on my SSD, it sounds much clearer and roomier, and also loftier and airier, with a hint of more punchiness and breath, and with better depth and more defined resonance, compared to when I play my audio files from my hard disk. A hard disk is just spinning rust, really, and this just takes the life out of music.

(Btw, I am available for hire if you're running a publication that deals in all things audio and sound quality. Please PM me. I know this stuff. I can very easily discern the subtle audio quality differences between SSDs, HDs and gold-plated, diamond dust-protected titanium shielded USB thumb drives.)

/s

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #11
I have never seen any objective claims that SHM-CDs sound any better (or even different) than a CD of the same master.  I do own one or two SHM-CD and their regular CD counterparts.  I do recall, that their ReplayGain settings are not identical.  That right there tells me the discs do not use the same master.

Curious is SHM-CDs may last longer.

Instead of SHM-CD, I wish they would make M-Disc CDs, and have record labels sell me CDs on M-Disc.  M-Discs supposedly will last 1000 years.  Heck, I have some discs that were damaged and won't play, but cdparanoia chugs through them and makes good FLACs.  If I could burn those back to an M-Disc CD that would be wonderful, since I don't trust CD-Rs to last more than a few years.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #12
So some kind of premium vinyl quality buzz has reached CD?

On one hand I am curious over what would be the argument for playing CDs from the CD player rather than from a rip['] ... and on the other hand, I am not in the mood for facepalming.

['] in particular, whether the "valid" argument shows up: the rip sounds so harsh and brittle and "digital" that it matches a pre-emphasis EQ :-o
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #13
So some kind of premium vinyl quality buzz has reached CD?

On one hand I am curious over what would be the argument for playing CDs from the CD player rather than from a rip['] ... and on the other hand, I am not in the mood for facepalming.

['] in particular, whether the "valid" argument shows up: the rip sounds so harsh and brittle and "digital" that it matches a pre-emphasis EQ :-o

The reason why I am playing CDs over rips purely personal.

When I fire up Foobar 2000 I tend to hop around all over the place and pick songs I know I like.  I dropped a receiver and a CD player on my desk and now when I get up in the morning, I walk over to the CD rack and pick 8 CDs and take them to my desk and play them.  Forces me to listen to the whole album and also albums that might be outside my comfort zone, or ones I consider "safe."

Heck I own a bunch of thrift store CDs that I have never listened to.  This is forcing me to enjoy my musical collection.

Is there any sonic difference between the CD and it's rip.  I would REALLY doubt it, thought I haven't ABXed it.  My CD player is from 1986 and has a multibit DAC.  Placebophiles would argue that it's better because of that.  I don't care.  I can't be bothered to ABX it, because I don't care.  The use of CDs is there solely for 2 reasons:

1. Forcing me to listen to more of my collection
2. Nostalgia.

You can't ABX nostalgia.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #14
defective hardware players which introduce errors during playback of either "normal" or "shm" or both variants, possibly but not necessarily caused by malicions intent of the player's vendor
Let me get this straight, a hardware vendor would sabotage a player so that it didn't work properly?!?  What would be his motivation?  Do you honestly believe it would increase sales? 

Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #15
Sigh.

All other things equal they are the same. Longevity arguments need objective evidence.

Performing an ABX between a CD and the data that was extracted from it is pointless.  ABX tests of hardware is off-topic.

The idea that someone can't control himself and listen to an entire album that is ripped digitally seems silly.  While I shouldn't be bothered to argue it, I have a hard time believing one would or would not "hop around" depending on the playback device. It seems to me that listening to songs that makes one feel less comfortable would encourage more "hoping around" rather than force one to pay greater attention.

At this point I'd like to ask the OP if he's satisfied with the answers that were given. With any luck this topic will die rather then linger.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #16
Let me get this straight, a hardware vendor would sabotage a player so that it didn't work properly?!?  What would be his motivation?  Do you honestly believe it would increase sales?
Didn't Sony do this ages ago with MD-players to make their own ATRAC codec to sound superior?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #17
MD players also play CDs?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #18
When I fire up Foobar 2000 I tend to hop around all over the place and pick songs I know I like.  I dropped a receiver and a CD player on my desk and now when I get up in the morning, I walk over to the CD rack and pick 8 CDs and take them to my desk and play them.  Forces me to listen to the whole album and also albums that might be outside my comfort zone, or ones I consider "safe."
Heck I own a bunch of thrift store CDs that I have never listened to.  This is forcing me to enjoy my musical collection.
Masochism is symptomatic of audiophilia.

My music system is beholden to me.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #19
MD players also play CDs?
A few had SPDIF input and could be used as external DAC.
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #20
Your point being?

I can't believe I have to spell this out: an SHM CD is no different than a non-SHM CD in terms of the data packaging: red book.  If a player can play one it can play the other.  If there is a difference it can only be related to errors assuming the same master, which is only fair in the context of this discussion.  Errors don't manifest themselves as what is quoted in the original post.

So where do we go from there? A player that can't properly play a disc made of one material but can of a different material.  Someone goes in with their Hotel California disc to demo a player and it doesn't work because it's not SHM = lost sale = bad idea.

This is the idea being proffered and supported? Really?!?

EDIT: if -> of, but I'm sure someone will assume it was something insidious.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #21
Your point being?
Offering an answer to that question of yours.
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #22
Instead of continuing in the vein of the conversation* (originating here), you decided to play the role of a nitpicking smartass.  Check.

* ... I was attempting to have with with Pusherman
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #23
I did not even check whether your question was on-topic or not. I realize now that you deliberately - twice, even! - attempted to pollute the thread with rhetorical questions you yourself discard as irrelevant. And that you are pissed off that someone offered information.

There are three greynols at Hydrogenaudio. One is a most valuable contributor. The other is absolutely not. Replies #19 and likely also #16 mistook the ass for the good one. That mistake could occur again.
Unfortunately, one user prone to make that very mistake is the third version of greynol: the one who wields moderating powers.
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: Could there be possibly a reason why a SHM-CD is better?

Reply #24
Didn't Sony do this ages ago with MD-players to make their own ATRAC codec to sound superior?

Sony released a recordable MD within a special cartridge (made out of some fancy material - or so they claimed). They called it "Esprit" yet the disc itself was the one they also used for their standard MDs ("Premium"). TDK released a recordable MD with a golden reflective layer and metal-framed cartridge. After TDK came out with theirs, Sony released a very rare disc with similar properties. All for nought really, the MD was just as digital as the CD.

The only thing to influence the transparency of the recording was the quality of the codec itself. And to my knowledge Sony just developed their ATRAC codec further over the years (last version was DSP Type-R). But that's no different to what Sharp did with their own version of it.
marlene-d.blogspot.com

 
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