SHM-CDs, anyone?

November 27, 2010
1 min read

One of my favourite friends from music-freakdom, Californian Ron Kane (check out his blog at has been telling me about his adventures with SHM-CDs.

If you haven’t heard of them, here’s the official line: “The high quality SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) format features enhanced audio quality through the use of a special polycarbonate plastic. Using a process developed by JVC and Universal Music Japan discovered through the joint companies’ research into LCD display manufacturing, SHM-CDs feature improved transparency on the data side of the disc, allowing for more accurate reading of CD data by the CD player laser head. SHM-CD format CDs are fully compatible with standard CD players. Experience the high-fidelity audio quality of the SHM-CD format.”

Yep, another format that claims better-than-ever-before quality audio, and Mr Kane is impressed with the four discs he’s so far purchased from the only country producing SHM-CDs, Japan.

“They are remastered in 2010 in Tokyo and sound AMAZING; especially Black Sabbath. It has some hiss, but boasts 100 percent of the master-tape sound”, he writes.

“The 10cc is probably the most impressive sounding.”

Ron says that they’re actually single layer non-hybrid SA-CDs, which means they will ONLY play on SA-CD players, unlike hybrid SA-CD discs.

They’re wrapped in gorgeous album cover replica paper sleeves and cost approximately $71NZ each.

I’ve not seen any SHM-CDs in NZ. Have you? Do any Witchdoctor readers own a SHM-CD or two? If so, what’s the verdict?

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here


  1. Further to the original post, my friend Ron also notes:

    Best sounding stuff: “Tommy” by The Who – sounds
    like they’re in the room, clarity! Moody Blues “Days of
    Future Passed” sounds like it cost millions of pounds to
    record, just amazing. The Dylans all sound really good.

    Best SA-CD I’ve had recently is Herbie Hancock “Future
    Shock” (from Sony Japan). ’83 recording, super crisp –
    very 3-D!”

    Anyone got anything to say about these discs?

  2. Even though I own a good SACD player, I wouldn’t be going out of my way to buy expensive SACD disks, let alone wildly overpriced exotic CD variants. Better to buy new and used vinyl or to look online for high res downloads IMHO.

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