SACD vs. SHM CD?
6-5-08 SACD vs. SHM CD?
Will the format wars never ever end?
Whenever I found them inexpensively, I picked up a few “DVD Audio” ( = DVD-A ) discs – Simple Minds, Frank Zappa, Motorhead…I was intrigued by the “SHM CD” ( = Super High Material CD ) from Universal Japan, until I read that it is merely a ‘shinier’ CD and not a new mastering process…not exactly a ‘new format’, but…something new on the fading CD horizon. Should I order the over US$40 SHM-CD of 10cc “Original Soundtrack”?
I also recently obtained a SACD ( = Super Audio CD ) of Peter Gabriel “Security” for a very low price (under US$5). All of my other SACD titles (Rolling Stones, Can etc.) have been ‘hybrid SACD’ – which means compatibility. The PG title? My CD player didn’t know what to do with it – “No Disc” it said! The Universal website is rather clear about which SACD’s are ‘hybrid’, uh , I didn’t know about it. The PG disc wants an SACD player. I am not against buying a SACD player – I understand that they can output ‘SACD stereo’ (as in, a mere two channels).
I must confess, it seems like we are talking about quadraphonic – or some other equally incompatible format, here. Multi-channel CD player into a multi-channel amplifier? Sound familiar? They’re moving my TV closer and closer to my stereo system! Menus on DVD-A’s? Gotta see a screen!
The mysteries of the Peter Gabriel CD await me. I never listened to PG #4 (i.e. “Security”) when it came out in ’82 – I was otherwise occupied at that time. It’s a late enough (1981/2) recording – so, it should sound really good. I also got re-mastered regular CD’s of the first two Peter Gabriel albums – really the only two I am familiar with.
So, everybody else waits for LP’s to go away (they won’t), waits for the death of CD (it may take a while), waits for digital TV (we all gotta go sometime!)…and I’ve got an SACD that I can’t play.
I like to buy re-mastered CD’s of records that I like. I like the (sometimes) improved sound and the improved packaging – particularly when the Japanese do beautifully made little paper album covers (i.e. kami sleeves). I’m a good customer – first I bought the LP, then probably an imported LP…then eventually a Japanese-pressed LP. The 80’s brought my initial CD of any given title, the 90’s (and to the present) my 2nd CD purchase (i.e. the re-mastered edition or kami sleeve edition). How many more times am I going to have to buy my favorite titles?
I turn 50 in a few months. Maybe it’s time to draw the line in the sand. No new formats! Read my lips! No more ‘special edition re-masters’! No more kami sleeves? Ooh, I really like the kami sleeves, can’t I just buy a few hundred more?
Music has a ring through my nose – and I will follow it, wherever it goes. Bend over!