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Universal Japan SHM-SACDs

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DuncanS

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No physical reason whatsoever for this to happen, so methinks its something mind related!

Has anyone ever heard of such a thing as playing an SHM SACD 5 to 6 times before getting improved sound out of it? Sounds a bit weird. Here is the link and a quote from the link just below it:

http://www.hraudio.net/showmusic.php?title=9329#reviews

"...As a forward, and after my first listen of this SHM SACD in its entirety, the initial impression was a noticeable lackluster quality to the audio. I responded by repeatedly playing "Long Distance Voyager" (5-6 times) with the volume off. Then I listened with the volume turned back on and immediately noticed a significant improvement in the the audio as the dynamics 'opened up'. I have a large number of SHM SACDs in my collection and previously encountered this audio result with a few discs, notably The Who: Who's Next and Steve Winwood: Arc of a Diver. What is the reason for such a change? Is it related to the plastic coating applied to SHM discs? Perhaps but it would be just a guess on my part. If anything is to be learned, it is do not make quick judgements based on your first impressions of audio quality. Nevertheless, and it is important to point out, my review is based solely on the outcome of listening to "Long Distance Voyager" for any benefits in high resolution audio..... it is not about perceived issues with the quality of sound from some SHM SACD discs..."
 

Clint Eastwood

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Yes I had heard that before...only the number was 10:music when I heard it....there is no science to support it...BUT...I have had some SHM-SACD'S that "appeared" to sound better with more plays...but there could be a lot of reasons for that...I try not to get involved in these type of "theories" because it's difficult to prove and easy to refute...but the bottom line is that if you think it sounds better...how can it be a bad thing and why should someone want to refute your opinion..if it works for you...that's all that matters in the end..
 

seilerbird

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A human being's hearing has a very poor memory. I have known a lot of audiophiles in my lifetime and 99% had severe problems with listening properly.
 

Rickko

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Has anyone ever heard of such a thing as playing an SHM SACD 5 to 6 times before getting improved sound out of it? Sounds a bit weird. Here is the link and a quote from the link just below it:

http://www.hraudio.net/showmusic.php?title=9329#reviews

"...As a forward, and after my first listen of this SHM SACD in its entirety, the initial impression was a noticeable lackluster quality to the audio. I responded by repeatedly playing "Long Distance Voyager" (5-6 times) with the volume off. Then I listened with the volume turned back on and immediately noticed a significant improvement in the the audio as the dynamics 'opened up'. I have a large number of SHM SACDs in my collection and previously encountered this audio result with a few discs, notably The Who: Who's Next and Steve Winwood: Arc of a Diver. What is the reason for such a change? Is it related to the plastic coating applied to SHM discs? Perhaps but it would be just a guess on my part. If anything is to be learned, it is do not make quick judgements based on your first impressions of audio quality. Nevertheless, and it is important to point out, my review is based solely on the outcome of listening to "Long Distance Voyager" for any benefits in high resolution audio..... it is not about perceived issues with the quality of sound from some SHM SACD discs..."
I write reviews on HRAudio.net and I wrote this particular review on "Long Distance Voyageur".

I did not use the term 'burning-in' in the review but I have read references to some SHM SACDs attributable to this phenomena. I attach this discussion as an example:
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/shm-sacd-s-need-to-be-burned-in

As a member of the old SA-CD.net, I also remember a number of discussions of repeated playing of SHM SACDs for better audio quality. I attach reviews from SA-CD.net of Steely Dan's SHM SACD of Aja with some wide disparity of opinions of audio quality including references to repeated playing for better results.
http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEV2dOm4JXrlAA66jrFAx.;_ylu=X3oDMTEybHNjOW9yBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjAzMDlfMQRzZWMDc3I-/RV=2/RE=1468206031/RO=10/RU=http://www.sa-cd.net/showreviews/6499/RK=0/RS=2U39Bqmrr2Z_3ExXcgTAbXg8QLs-

I have only encountered this particular issue with Japanese SHM SACDs. I have never noticed improved audio quality on any other SACDs by repeated playing (with volume off) nor I have I found any other circumstance to do so outside of a few SHM SACDs.

I am trying to point out in the review not to make quick judgements about audio quality of a SACD (or DVD Audio, Blu-ray Audio, etc) based on initial impressions which can 'colour' your viewpoint (particularly negative). I note a number of QQ Forum members often listen several times to a disc before committing to comments or reviews particularly in multi-channel polls.

Yes, scientifically such a viewpoint or theory of repeated playing (or burning-in) may be questionable but if it works for you, so be it. I live by the music motto "if it sounds good to you, it is good".
 

Franklin

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If it burns in (not strictly literal, I know - but if repeated playing effects performance then it has changed physically), that means it's subject to physical wear from playing, which taken to a logical conclusion suggests that it could wear out from repeated playing. If that's the case then there's a serious laser issue going on and/or something quite incompatible with the materials used to make the disc. Fair play to Rickko for sticking his neck out and claiming the review, though.
 

fredblue

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No physical reason whatsoever for this to happen, so methinks its something mind related!
Somethings afoot..! :yikes

..I don't know what.. but 12 inches is also "a foot".. and I'm a sucker for a footlong!
(A Footlong Subway Sandwich, that is..!! :eek: )
 

Tornado Red

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I have 2 SHM-SACDs that seemed to have improved with age. But I also think that I've improved with age, so take it all with a grain of salt ;)
 

HomerJAU

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It's probably just training the brain to like that version. I bet if gave you one of my SHM-SACDs you could not tell it had been played once or 20 times, based on listening alone.
 

alk3997

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Has anyone ever heard of such a thing as playing an SHM SACD 5 to 6 times before getting improved sound out of it? Sounds a bit weird. Here is the link and a quote from the link just below it:

http://www.hraudio.net/showmusic.php?title=9329#reviews

"...As a forward, and after my first listen of this SHM SACD in its entirety, the initial impression was a noticeable lackluster quality to the audio. I responded by repeatedly playing "Long Distance Voyager" (5-6 times) with the volume off. Then I listened with the volume turned back on and immediately noticed a significant improvement in the the audio as the dynamics 'opened up'. I have a large number of SHM SACDs in my collection and previously encountered this audio result with a few discs, notably The Who: Who's Next and Steve Winwood: Arc of a Diver. What is the reason for such a change? Is it related to the plastic coating applied to SHM discs? Perhaps but it would be just a guess on my part. If anything is to be learned, it is do not make quick judgements based on your first impressions of audio quality. Nevertheless, and it is important to point out, my review is based solely on the outcome of listening to "Long Distance Voyager" for any benefits in high resolution audio..... it is not about perceived issues with the quality of sound from some SHM SACD discs..."
Perception is a wonderful thing. How many times is our memory of an album different than when we actually replay the album later? I truly enjoy getting back from a trip where I only had a cheap rental car radio and hotel TV and putting an album on at home. It's like having a new system again. Same music, same system but it always sounds so much better because my near-term memory is based on the cheap rental car radio.

From an engineering standpoint - as you know SACDs (even SHM SACDs) work by going up one bit or going down one bit at a time. Since it is physically (or firmware-ably) impossible for the sound to rise by more than one bit or lower by more than one bit each sample, that means that, at some point, during the first 5 plays the bits went in the wrong direction. Then magically during the 6th play, the bit increase/decrease went in the right direction. Not only that, but it was large enough that it could be noticed.

If the claim is that there were bit errors on the first 5 plays, then that means any error checking/correcting wasn't working or the errors were so large the error checking couldn't work. But, the error wasn't so large that the music was still intact. I think the odds against this are astronomical.

This is right up there with a different HDMI cable producing better video colors or audio clarity. This isn't analog - it's digital bits.

The owner has most human's ability to remember audio quality - which is about 30 seconds. We remember the words, we don't remember the texture as well. However, I will admit that repeated plays do help the memory of audio texture and quality.

And, of course, the desire of wanting it to sound better often helps make it perceived to be better.

Now if someone says the air pressure was different that day or there were extra blankets in the listening room or the speaker drivers aged or the listener's ear canals had less fluid, I would be more inclined to believe a change. But, the disc - no way.

Andy
 
Last edited:

Tornado Red

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What we need is a member with deep pockets to buy two identical SHM-SACDs, keep one sealed and play the other 20-30 times, then do a back to back on the same equipment. ;) When you're done, I'll take the spare copy off your hands :spot
 

fredblue

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I have 2 SHM-SACDs that seemed to have improved with age. But I also think that I've improved with age, so take it all with a grain of salt ;)
Oh I have 2 SHM-SACDs too, Red..! :p

I got one of them because Songs In The Key Of Life SACD is all on one disc rather than 2 discs like the CDs (SHM or not.. that SACD is the only way other than the Blu-ray - uh oh.. got that too - to get the whole album on one disc, afaik!?).. :D

oh and the other one is Yellow Brick Road.. I do wonder why I got that on SHM-SACD..? oh yeah.. because when 9 distinct versions (LP, yellow LP, cassette, DJM CDs, remastered CD, MFSL CD, Hybrid SACDs, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray Audio) of the same album are not quite enough, you know its time to get an SHM-SACD of it, to really take things into double digits of lunacy! :eek:
 

fredblue

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What we need is a member with deep pockets to buy two identical SHM-SACDs, keep one sealed and play the other 20-30 times, then do a back to back on the same equipment. ;) When you're done, I'll take the spare copy off your hands :spot
HAHA!! :D Nice try.. ;) ;)
There are (and have been and no doubt will be again!) many things I "take one for the team" on round here.. but that's not one of them! No, Siree.. :eek:
 

fredblue

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It's probably just training the brain to like that version. I bet if gave you one of my SHM-SACDs you could not tell it had been played once or 20 times, based on listening alone.
Ahhh.. I could tell if I went about dusting the disc for fingerprints and then sent it off to the lab for carbon dating and DNA analysis! :p

Unless you handle your SHM-SACDs with kid gloves..? :yikes

(Only "kidding".. baaah! :ugham: )
 

Tornado Red

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HAHA!! :D Nice try.. ;) ;)
There are (and have been and no doubt will be again!) many things I "take one for the team" on round here.. but that's not one of them! No, Siree.. :eek:
I thought my genuine offer of taking the spare disc might spur someone to purchase. I felt it was the least I could do, and most people that know me will tell you I always do the least I can do. :ugham:
 

fredblue

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Perception is a wonderful thing. How many times is our memory of an album different than when we actually replay the album later? I truly enjoy getting back from a trip where I only had a cheap rental car radio and hotel TV and putting an album on at home. It's like having a new system again. Same music, same system but it always sounds so much better because my near-term memory is based on the cheap rental car radio.

From an engineering standpoint - as you know SACDs (even SHM SACDs) work by going up one bit or going down one bit at a time. Since it is physically (or firmware-ably) impossible for the sound to rise by more than one bit or lower by one bit each sample, that means that, at some point, during the first 5 plays the bits went in the wrong direction. Then magically during the 6th play, the bit increase/decrease went in the right direction. Not only that, but it was large enough that it could be noticed.

If the claim is that there were bit errors on the first 5 plays, then that means any error checking/correcting wasn't working or the errors were so large the error checking couldn't work. But, the error wasn't so large that the music was still intact. I think the odds against this are astronomical.

This is right up there with a different HDMI cable producing better video colors or audio clarity. This isn't analog - it's digital bits.

The owner has most human's ability to remember audio quality - which is about 30 seconds. We remember the words, we don't remember the texture as well. However, I will admit that repeated plays do help the memory of audio texture and quality.

And, of course, the desire of wanting it to sound better often helps make it perceived to be better.

Now if someone says the air pressure was different that day or there were extra blankets in the listening room or the speaker drivers aged or the listener's ear canals had less fluid, I would be more inclined to believe a change. But, the disc - no way.

Andy
Perception is a wonderful thing! :upthumb

Although I think I prefer the sound of the 5.1 on The Doors' "Perception" box set in DVD-Audio form to the SACDs..

..those ever-changing SACD bits just create too much silky liquidy velvetness, I prefer that incomparable meridian lossless packing sound you only get from DVD-Audio.. haha..! ;)
 

4-earredwonder

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Oh I have 2 SHM-SACDs too, Red..! :p

I got one of them because Songs In The Key Of Life SACD is all on one disc rather than 2 discs like the CDs (SHM or not.. that SACD is the only way other than the Blu-ray - uh oh.. got that too - to get the whole album on one disc, afaik!?).. :D

oh and the other one is Yellow Brick Road.. I do wonder why I got that on SHM-SACD..? oh yeah.. because when 9 distinct versions (LP, yellow LP, cassette, DJM CDs, remastered CD, MFSL CD, Hybrid SACDs, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray Audio) of the same album are not quite enough, you know its time to get an SHM-SACD of it, to really take things into double digits of lunacy! :eek:
Sounds to me, AB, that you're suffering from acute chronic Yellow Brick OVERLOAD....and/or Songs In The Key of STRIFE!:yikes

BTW, do you still have your childhood Teddy Bear, 'fredbrown?':ugham:
 

himey

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I write reviews on HRAudio.net and I wrote this particular review on "Long Distance Voyageur".

I did not use the term 'burning-in' in the review but I have read references to some SHM SACDs attributable to this phenomena. I attach this discussion as an example:
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/shm-sacd-s-need-to-be-burned-in

As a member of the old SA-CD.net, I also remember a number of discussions of repeated playing of SHM SACDs for better audio quality. I attach reviews from SA-CD.net of Steely Dan's SHM SACD of Aja with some wide disparity of opinions of audio quality including references to repeated playing for better results.
http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEV2dOm4JXrlAA66jrFAx.;_ylu=X3oDMTEybHNjOW9yBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjAzMDlfMQRzZWMDc3I-/RV=2/RE=1468206031/RO=10/RU=http://www.sa-cd.net/showreviews/6499/RK=0/RS=2U39Bqmrr2Z_3ExXcgTAbXg8QLs-

I have only encountered this particular issue with Japanese SHM SACDs. I have never noticed improved audio quality on any other SACDs by repeated playing (with volume off) nor I have I found any other circumstance to do so outside of a few SHM SACDs.

I am trying to point out in the review not to make quick judgements about audio quality of a SACD (or DVD Audio, Blu-ray Audio, etc) based on initial impressions which can 'colour' your viewpoint (particularly negative). I note a number of QQ Forum members often listen several times to a disc before committing to comments or reviews particularly in multi-channel polls.

Yes, scientifically such a viewpoint or theory of repeated playing (or burning-in) may be questionable but if it works for you, so be it. I live by the music motto "if it sounds good to you, it is good".
So your the one spreading false rumors...;)

Same thing happened when Stereophile pushed the green "magic" marker for CDs. They probably made a buck or two in the advertising section however. Audiophiles are so gullible in search of great sound!
 

fredblue

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So your the one spreading false rumors...;)

Same thing happened when Stereophile pushed the green "magic" marker for CDs. They probably made a buck or two in the advertising section however. Audiophiles are so gullible in search of great sound!
I picked up a used MFSL CD of "Aja" with all green magic marker round it.. sounds kinda "meh" to meh, I mean me :eek:
 

himey

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I picked up a used MFSL CD of "Aja" with all green magic marker round it.. sounds kinda "meh" to meh, I mean me :eek:
Just a few more spins, repeat button!, and it will begin to sound MUCH MUCH, better...Audiophile peer pressure :)
 
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