Eagles Hell Freezes Over, is the SHM-CD or K2HD-CD better than the regular CD?

Discussion in 'Music Forums' started by zepherman, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. zepherman

    zepherman New Member


    I'm considering replacing my now very old and worn original CD with a new remastered edition. Is either the K2HD-CD or SHM-CD way better sonically than the original CD?




  2. Permanent Waves

    Permanent Waves Digital Man

    Many here despise remastered albums because of the whole "loudness wars" issue, and often times it is true that remastered versions of cd's do sound worse (too overdone, hamfisted, lack of air, even distortion).

    But some, imo, actually enhance the original cd pressings. It is up to you to compare the two and see which you prefer of course.

    SHM, however, is a total gimmick. The material the cd is made out has nothing to do with how it sounds, just like with gold cds (of which I own a few dozen). What DOES is if the company producing the SHM remasters the source tape and thus plays with it's levels for the negative (to make it louder in order to attract the non hi-fi crowd that equate LOUD with good sound). But if a laser could read the 0's and 1's on a piece of wood there would be no sound difference between it and a plastic, gold cd, or SHM cd. 0's and 1's are 0's and 1's.

    I'm not sure about K2HD's, but I'm wary of all these "hi-res" formats since, afaik, the human ear can not detect the differences they are supposed to make (i.e. they expand the frequency range way beyond what the human ear can hear). But I'm not totally sure on this issue as I haven't researched it enough, but I've seen strong evidence against it (and it sounds like typical audiophile pseudoscience and marketing hogwash), for instance some links itt: http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?1971483-The-myth-of-high-resolution-audio-busted! (the first link is broken and is found here: http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=4&blogId=1).

    I also have a DAC that can play these formats and a cdp that will play DVD-A/SACD as well. No difference between the regular cd and DVD-A/SACD or the rips I took from them imo. Basically only perhaps recording in high bits makes a difference, but not mere playback delivery. Save your money.

    Finally, if your cd is very worn but still plays fine, then you could try to rip it to a lossless format for preservation of the music as it were. No need to "upgrade" to a newer version, especially one that might be overly mastered (SHM) and thus will actually sound worse than the original version. When I buy cd's (that I rip to FLAC) I always try to get the original non remastered version. Then, if I really like a particular album, I'll get a remastered version of it on cd to rip to FLAC to see if it is an improvement or not. Sometimes it is, but most of time it is not. But any SHM's I've heard sound terrible because they are so overly mastered (again, to trick the consumer into thinking the plastic used somehow makes a difference when all that is being done is a totally hot remaster).

    All the above is jmv (just my view) and I will not argue it, but I could, of course, be wrong (though not if I am understanding the science behind such things). You are free to try what you wish and let your own ears be the final judge.

    Also, welcome to AK! :thmbsp:
  3. zepherman

    zepherman New Member

    Thank you for that very informative reply. I really appreciate your honesty in your response.

    I totally agree that some remasters are horrible! And are overly cooked! A prime example is the Ultimate Survivor Collection. I own the 1993 Survivor Greatest Hits CD and the Ultimate Collection is not only too loud, but too harsh to the point that it's really takes away from the songs. Some remasters are amazing, like the Dire Straits-Brothers In Arms 20th Anniversary Edition. The sound is very dynamic, and is detailed but easy on the ears. I wish all remasters were as good.

    I may go ahead and buy either the K2HD or SHM of Hell Freezes Over just to see if they did a good remastering job. At $30 each they're not cheap, but not overly expensive either. If I do get one or the other I'll chime back in and share my findings.:)

    Thanks again for the info, and thanks for the warm welcome!:)

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  4. Quint

    Quint Super Member

    I have the XRCD and recently bought the SHM out of curiosity. For me, it didn’t take too long to declare a winner. The XRCD is definitely better in my system: more detailed, better bass (especially on the intro to “Hotel California”), a little smoother, and more dynamic. I just sold the SHM to my friend.

    I agree with the previous poster that SHM is largely a gimmick. I’ve done a bunch of comparisons, and by and large it’s the mastering, not this “miracle” coating, that makes the difference in sound between pressings.
    Anyhoo, that’s my two cents. Hope it helps.
  5. Fisherdude

    Fisherdude Regular Dude - Super Mod Super Mod Subscriber

    I'm with Quint. I have the XRCD of "Hell Freezes Over", and it is amazing. I played the intro to Hotel California for a friend, and he was mesmerized. There is no dynamic compression, and the build-up from the soft opening notes is just spectacular.
  6. olson_jr

    olson_jr FREE THE GLUTENS Subscriber

    Probably an ex friend after reading that!
  7. Quint

    Quint Super Member

    He doesn't read AK, so let's keep this to ourselves, shall we? :D
  8. soundboy

    soundboy Super Member

    For those who are interested in the XRCD or the K2HD of "Hell Freezes Over"....

    These are commissioned by Hong Kong Universal Music and were meant to be sold in that market specifically. Therefore, the remastering may reflect a bias toward local preference....which may or may not to your liking. The discs themselves are made in Japan by JVC (for XRCD) and Memory-Tech (for K2HD). I have the K2HD of "Hell Freezes Over" but haven't had time to listen to it though.
  9. zepherman

    zepherman New Member

    Thanks for the input everyone.;) I'm glad you all educated me on SHM, as I was almost ready to order that one. The XRCD sounds like a winner, but I went ahead and took a leap of faith and ordered the K2HD-CD. Once I get it I'll let you all know what I think of its sound quality.

  10. zepherman

    zepherman New Member

    Thanks for sharing that. I've ordered a lot of audiophile CD's from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan, and I like the sound of the remasters. So if this K2HD-CD of Hell Freezes Over is anything like the others I have I'll be very happy. We'll see.

  11. olson_jr

    olson_jr FREE THE GLUTENS Subscriber

    Your secret is safe with me!
  12. Permanent Waves

    Permanent Waves Digital Man

    No problem, glad you found it informative! It's always difficult to gauge what someone knows or doesn't know about such issues, so I wasn't trying to talk down to you or belittle you in any way (besides, as I said, I'm no expert here!).

    I've heard several remasters that sound like crap (like the new Stones remasters) too, but I've heard others that, imo, sound better than the original (like the Rush remasters or new '09 Beatles). It really depends on how well the original was recorded and whether the remaster is done well or "done popular" (i.e. LOUD!). And it also depends on your own listening taste.

    Yep. Definitely the case, it's the mastering, not the material, just like with "gold" cds.

    I've heard a dozen or so "SHM" cd's (I have a friend who buys them mostly because they are new: the latest thing! :no:) and man do they sound like crap compared to my original--or well remastered--cd pressings! Mastered to sound LOUD to trick those like my friend (who won't listen...oh well, as long as he likes the sound it's all that matters) who equate LOUD with good SQ.

    Though I'm dubious about the "higher res formats" (as I said above), it sounds like this is the one to get at least on mastering purposes alone. That is, regardless of whether the "hi-res" actually helps the sound or not, the mastering on this one seems to be good so it would be the one to get. Good that others chimed in who have several versions of this album they can compare directly (I don't have the album personally).

    Hope you enjoy! :music:

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