5 star for the material itself
3 star for the lack of SHM for North American markets
I think one reviewer talks about SHM as a remastering technique. Although most SHM titles are remastered, SHM is ’super high material’ CD which is a manufacturing & materials process primarily. This results in better transparency of the coating layer and optics, which in theory results in less information loss, digital jitter, etc.. I thought any difference would be minimal but I ordered a 2 CD sampler from Japan called “Have You Ever Been Experienced” – they have a various artists SMH disc and the exact same disc on standard CD. They put their money where their mouth is – and yes, it CLEARLY sounds better on my equipment. I don’t think anyone disagrees that it is audibly different. There seems to be more bass, a little more detail and a fuller overall sound. Actually, the mere existence of SHM and the audible difference is tantamount to an admission that CD technology has been fundamentally flawed because of poor materials and optics. Yes, CDs have been a very durable format (I have been buying since 1984) but they are not even doing the job of delivering on the full promise of 44.1Khz and 16 bit audio if they can clearly be improved on in this way. Audiophiles buy disc ‘cutters’ that render CDs perfectly round by shaving the edge, optical enhancement materials, markers, cover discs, and players with special clamping mechanisms/transports to try and reduce jitter and maximize retrieval of information from the disc.
So why do North American customers get inferior product? (like the Genesis and Depeche Mode non-SACD box sets). I think someone dropped the ball big-time here.
I don’t see therefore how anyone can call this a ‘definitive’ collection if there is a better one elsewhere…What I saw in retail stores here in Canada is even made in Japan! So they made it there, but not in SHM for us… thanks…really… The SHM version is more than twice the price from Japan, but if you want a ‘definitive’ set, it’s probably the way to go