, or Super High Material CD
, is an improved version of the Compact Disc that uses higher quality, more transparent polycarbonate material that was developed for use in LCDs. It is compatible with any regular CD player
. Universal Music Japan
, who developed the SHM-CD, say that the new material also allows the pits to be formed more precisely, and the signal characteristics are improved as a result.
What that translates to our listening experience, according to Universal and JVC, is a clearer, more open sound, better resolution that leads to more details, and lower distortion. Universal Japan is already reissuing many albums as SHM-CDs in their catalog in all genres, and people are taking notice.
After listening to the SHM-CD Jazz Sampler
and SHM-CD Classical Sampler
myself, I can say that there are clearly discernable differences. The SHM-CD offers a clearer, more open sound with better resolution. Voices and instruments sound more three-dimensional and richer in texture. The results may differ depending on one's audio system, and whether the perceived improvements are big enough to justify replacing one's existing collection with SHM-CDs has to be determined by each listener. However, if everything else (recording, mastering and manufacturing) is the same, SHM-CD offers definitive sonic advantages.