mattal...I don't know why. that is the truth. I purchased the Japanese version solely because it had more songs. I figured that would be worth the extra price paid in shipping alone. but...it also featured the selling point of having an extra high quality audio cd (only available in japan, a SHM cd). I didn't really care. I thought...that would just be gravy.
but you inspired me to try and find out. see if there was any truth in my ramblings and observations.
I found this for you non believers:
SHM-CD: New and improved CD format from Japan!
by Robert H. Levi
With all the work being done to upgrade CD materials these days, it’s no wonder Universal/JVC would actually discover a new material that really does something…a big something at that! SHM-CD, or Super High Material CD, is an improved version of the Compact Disc material that uses super quality, enhanced transparency polycarbonate material developed for use in LCD screens. They will play in any CD player. Universal Music Japan and JVC co-developed the SHM-CD. They report that the new material allows the pits to be formed more precisely plus eliminates laser splatter. The signal characteristics are improved as a result with overall lower distortion and better musicality. Universal Japan is reissuing a ton of albums in their catalog in all genres as SHM-CDs and this is the first report of their CDs to reach these shores!
Eastwind Imports sent me a two disc Jazz Sampler with one CD made of regular aluminum and the other an SHM-CD. Made from the same masters (newly re-mastered in Japan without any use of equalizers or compressors) and pressed with the same stamper, they sound very different. Taken from the vast catalog of Universal which includes Verve and Impulse labels, each CD contains 13 famous jazz numbers recorded in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The artists include John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, and Anita O'Day.
I first listened to the regular CD supplied, focusing on Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto "Corcovado." It sounded quite smooth and focused with very good definition and depth. I then played the Verve 20 Bit CD Reissue from 1997 which sounded a tad brighter, but that’s about it. I then listened to the SACD Verve Reissue from 2002 on my ModWright 9100 with tube power supply …it was improved in every way. It was SACD of course, but it had substantially more definition and air …better depth, too. It was then I played the SHM-CD of this cut. Oh boy, it sounds like the SACD!
What? How could this be? A CD formulation that actually works? I tried the SHM-CD on all my CD sources: ModWright Sony 9100, 999, E.A.R. Acute Tube CD Player, and Alesis Masterlink. I heard improvement on ALL players with the SHM-CD versus the regular editions.
I heard more definition, more air, smoother textures and nuances, a lot more depth, reduced digititus of all types, more of an analog sound and feel, bigger dynamics micro and macro …the whole ball of wax. I put some L’Art du Son on the SHM-CD for even better results.
Will I replace all my CDs with SHM-CDs? Probably not. But, I will look for Universal releases I don’t have in this format for sure! It closes the gap by 80-90% between CDs and SACDs on top audiophile machines and this is quite an achievement. Compatibility appears perfect, too. The sound just pops with a sense of reality I rarely hear from CDs or SACDs for that matter. Harmonious sounding CDs…how very nice!
end of article...
again...I've heard both copies. I did not play them side by side. but after learning the red version...and then hearing the Japanese blue version...there was something noticeable right away. on the opening track, save us...the backing vocals are louder on the red domestic one...and the instruments (rhythm guitar) was more subdued. but on the Japanese version...the instruments are all individually separated and more noticeable.
I've heard...been involved in, even...discussions about this by people who know way more about music than I do. producers, mixers, and remaster-ers. they say it can't possibly be better if they all come from the same master. but it comes down to a higher quality material it is being written on (compare a cd to a cassette tape...although that is a bit extreme). and coincidently...only the one's who have not heard the shm cd claim it couldn't be better. and the one's who have heard it all seem to say it is.
you don't have to believe me. i'm not benefitting one iota from the sales of a high quality cd sold only in japan. but I have to report it as I see it. or in this case...hear it.
Last edited by chris
on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I got to get a belly full of wine.