SHM-CD is still 16bit CD format we know since 1982 that will play on your old CD player...it's just clearer plastic used on CD :] even remasters are the same remasters that are already available on the market.
in Decemember Sony will release Blu-spec CD which will compete with SHM-CD on this lucrative audio voodoo red book market :)
SACD is totally different story, no audio voodoo just higher quality (resolution) audio format
Ive done extensive comparisons with SHM-CDs, and personally Id NEVER abandon SACD for it. As for the quality of SHM itself, its title-dependent. Some are quite good (though IMO not worth the premium over the normal CD), while others are pure rubbish. Theyre reportedly going ga-ga for it over in Japan, but to my ears, its not a huge cause for rejoicing. Ive bought a few out of curiosity, but Im certainly not going to replace my normal CDs with their SHM counterparts. No way.
I own a number of SHM-CDs and I agree that it's a title dependent proposition. As I posted in other threads when they first came out, if the original sounds excellent then the SHM gives it just a bit more refinement, especially in the high end. So the best ones are very good. If sound quality is important to you AND you're committed to redbook then these are worth seeking out IMHO. The SHM cannot turn a sows ear into a silk purse. To me, SHM is not revolutionary but more subtle in effect. As always, I would suggest checking a few out and forming your own opinion.
Agree with Hooper that the prices on these are a little out of line but then CDs in general are more costly in Japan. So adding the SHM premium onto already higher prices makes them around US$25-$27 not including shipping which is also high. So US suppliers have to ask somewhere in the mid $30s or more. And of course, exchange rates come into play.
As far as purchasing a SACD player or not, the existence of SHM-CD would not affect my decision one way or another.
i own two smh cds. these are jazz and classical samplers. i have compared many selections on both cds and prefer the original masters, usually produced in the 90's.
the problem with the smh cds is they master they use may be of poor quality because of age.
as i recall, some of the early sacds--not hybrids were of dubious quality.
the only way to definitively judge the merits of smh cd is to make a recording, not remaster, and create copies using conventional materials and smh blanks. as far as i am aware, this has not yet been done.
I own several (actually more than several) Japanese CDs, latest release and latest release in SHM. I believe they are identical (same mastering) except for the Super High Material.
The differences I note are a very slight increase in clarity and a slight increase in high end refinement. As I mentioned, if the sound of the CD is not very good to begin with the SHM is probably not worth the effort. However, the SHM can make an excellent sounding CD sound just a bit better. Again, not by leaps and bounds, but by a more subtle magnitude.
Whether that subtle difference is important enough to seek out or pay a premium price for is an individual decision. As far as the original post, definitely don't see these replacing SACDs.
On a related note I have heard several of the new HQCDs and IMO they sounded rather good. I believe these were produced in response to the SHM-CDs. I also have several Miles Davis Blu-spec CDs on order which should arrive around the first of the year.
SACD is the same "Tittle Dependent" and questionable "premium" expense, so takem your pick!
Just think, if you could download the CD-quality (16/44.1) file and play it from your server, the quality of the disc material would be, um, immaterial.
And what if you could download and play a 24/96 version? I suspect that, a few years out, these new types of discs will look like overpriced, best-ever buggy whips.
Drubin - Absolutely right. CDs will disappear. Current attempts to introduce new formats (CODE on DVD 20bit/96kHz) are going nowhere. Article in Stereophile suggested that SACD is dead as well - many new BlueRay players don't even support it. Everything will be as servers/downloads but not in 24bit/192kHz quality (sane people wouldn't release master).
New formats like HDCD or SACD have strong copy protection (SACD cannot be copied at all - pit modulation) and it probably turned off a lot of people who did not want to spend over $30 without option of backup.
I don't think that 24/96 downloads will ever become popular, people are happy with mp3s and hi-res files are 1,5GB, it will be a niche just like SA-CD and since the price of a hi-rez download is equal to physical SACD, I prefer physical SACD ...
PS SMH-CD is still low resolution CD
True that 24/96 downloads will not become mainstream. But they will be more available (more titles) than SACD and, in all likelihood, will sound better, at least on the more modest playback systems most of us have.
currently there are more SACD's than 24/96 albums and 24/96 doesn't sound better than DSD, actually DSD sounds more musical to my ears and I like it more than PCM. There are almost 6000 SACD titles to chose from and about 50 24/96 titles do download, and prices of downloaded files are the same as SACD discs :( I prefer real SACD disc with cover and 30 pages booklet than a file for the same price...
PS when do you think that 24/96 PCM downloads will be more available than SACD? in 5 years, in 10 years? I wouldn't wait for that...
I'd say 2-3 years if there's decent demand for it. Agree with you about the 30 page booklet. A PDF version isn't as useful. Then again, CD packaging doesn't compare to LPs.
My estimate of timing above assumes that it's relatively easy and cheap for a publisher to put up files of different resolutions. If that's not true, then I'm probably optimistic. But the iTunes Store populated pretty quickly if I recall. Seems to me that if there are people willing to pay a premium for higher rez versions and all it takes is disk space and bandwidth, why wouldn't they offer it? Would love to hear comments from industry insiders about this.
I doubt there will be demand for hi-rez, in SACD you have mostly jazz and classical releases
hi-rez downloads of pop music don't make any sense, people won't hear any difference between normal and hi-rez Britney Spears and will soon go back to mp3s
I have a Pat Metheny "Offramp" SHM-CD ordered from Japan and found no difference in sound quality compared to the ECM CD.