News Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66/'77 SHM-CDs

Rudy

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Interesting. As terrible as most SHM-CDs I've heard sound, I'm passing on these. Mastering on the SHM titles I've heard has been abysmal.
 

Bobberman

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Interesting. As terrible as most SHM-CDs I've heard sound, I'm passing on these. Mastering on the SHM titles I've heard has been abysmal.
I never bought an SHM CD and since I have all the domestic Brasil 66 Cds plus An Japanese CD reissue of Stillness from the early 2000s I'm pretty much content with what I have which all sound the best that they can be circumstances not withstanding
 

Rudy

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It really isn't the SHM that causes the issues ("SHM" is "super high material," a better plastic with which to produce the CDs with that presumably helps prevent read errors with the laser), but the mastering on them in Japan is often not all that good. Two A&M related release batches that were compromised were the Styx and the Supertramp. The Styx had weird EQ that made the bass too tubby and everything else a little muddy, and the Supertramp were duller and the dynamics were squeezed out of them.

I would hope the Japan CDs sound better but since I have some of the US releases where applicable, they likely would sound the best of any of them.
 

Mike Blakesley

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Odd that Stillness is listed, but Ye-Me-Le and Crystal Illusions are not. You'd think Crystal would be there since it has a hit single ("Pretty World").

Not too surprising that Primal Roots isn't listed though. I'm glad I got that CD when I did. (Got the first Japan issue and the mini-LP version as well.)
 

rob793

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I'm glad you started this thread Harry as I had an email from CDJapan yesterday and would have posted immediately, but I was away from home and about to enter a very tiresome, unnecessarily long business meeting. As a reward, on returning home last night I pre-ordered the only two titles from your list I haven't got so far, STILLNESS and PAIS TROPICAL. These seem to be the rarest and most expensive titles so it's not surprising I haven't got them so far, despite years of searching and collecting.

For completeness, there are ten titles to be released in total. The four others not in Harry's list are Sergio solo efforts;

SERGIO MENDES (1983 A&M)
BRASILEIRO (1992 Elektra)
TIMELESS (2005 Concord)
ENCANTO (2008 Concord) << This is listed as Morning In Rio. Anyone know why?

Further to Rudy's comments, the SHM CD's I have from Japan are manufactured to an excellent standard - most if not all consignments I receive from CD Japan are manufactured to an exacting standard, SHM CD or not. However, some Universal masterings are dubious at best, whereas most Sony and Warners are exemplary (at least with my elementary knowledge).

With my two chosen titles there really aren't many masterings to choose from surely? That said, I hope to provide feedback when I receive them in June.

This leaves my Sergio Mendes collection nearly complete, so I may start a separate thread for recommendations on the remainder.
 

Harry

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My personal opinion is that the SHM doesn't mean a hill of beans. But as regular CDs, they generally are fine - always dependent upon the masters of course. I knew that some of these had been out of print for awhile, so it's good to have another round of availability for those that want them.

Mike's correct about PRIMAL ROOTS, it's hard to find and commands a high price in the marketplace these days - a treasure for sure when you've got it.
 

Rudy

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Yeah, it's a shame that the mastering is often flaky on the Mendes titles. Also, who knows what they use for tape sources? Japan would not have the original tapes, but would have a copy of those tapes if they are doing these from analog. The other two A&Ms I mentioned aren't as clean sounding as the tapes used here in the US (slight dullness and lack of immediacy), plus the wacky EQ and lost dynamics. A&M's original CDs sometime weren't too bad, when the right tapes were used.

And you'd think after decades and having the tools available, they'd rid the two albums of CSG processing...
 

Harry

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Not only don't they rid the two albums of CSG, but they continue to unnecessarily use CSG'ed masters for tracks on compilations when the cleaner ones are available.

Example: "Day Tripper" - nice clean version on various pressings of the first A&M album. Clean on the two GOLD SERIES releases and the Universal MASTERS COLLECTION from Europe, and clean on the FOURSIDER and the Shinichi Osawa release in Japan.

But - on the GRANDES NOMES CD, THE COLLECTION (Japan), THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION (Japan), and THE VERY BEST OF SERGIO MENDES, there's CSG processing on the track. They probably took it from the green GREATEST HITS master - and they were ALL CSG'ed.
 

Rudy

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Yeah, it wouldn't take much to correct it. Do a new analog transfer to 64-bit floating 192kHz (or 384kHz) digital, shift the phase on one channel, downsample it to something usable (up to 24-bit, 192kHz for downloads, or 16-bit, 44.1kHz for CD) and it's done. I'd prefer it done in DSD but I don't know if there is a phase shift tool available for the DSD digital workstations.

The only gotchas are on a couple of tunes where the introduction is not CSG processed, but the rest of the tune is ("Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" on Butch Cassidy, and I think "Sunny" on The Brass Are Comin').
 

Mike Blakesley

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Two different masters got mashed-up somehow? Given that all these things existed on reels of tape, as opposed to 'files' that have names, I can see where a mixup would have easily happened.
 

Harry

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In the two cases that Rudy mentioned, "Raindrops" and "Sunny", both start their tracks with sparse instrumentation. "Raindrops" starts with the ukulele, while "Sunny" has a guitar behind Herb's vocals. When these two tracks kick into gear, that's when the CSG starts, so it was likely a conscious decision by some engineer somewhere.
 

rob793

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All releases cancelled.

From CD Japan: "No details about the reason for cancellation has been provided.

At this time, there is no indication to show whether or not it might
be released at a later time in the future."


Baffling and disappointing.
 

Rudy

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My personal opinion is that the SHM doesn't mean a hill of beans.
I've felt two things about SHM over the years.

First, it doesn't make any noticeable difference in sound. As long as the laser can read the pits without errors, no matter what material is used, then it's all good. (Now, if SHM were harder plastic that held up to scratches better, that would be a nice side-benefit.) The error-correction on CDs is already quite robust--redundant data is on a different section of the disc. Correction means just that--the data is completely corrected. If a CD is too badly damaged, then interpolation (where the player has to rebuild the missing data through a guess) takes over.

I wonder if anyone has ever done a comparison as to the number of read errors there are in a brand new standard CD vs an SHM CD. I would think that if a laser in a CD drive were getting weak or wasn't the best quality, then an SHM might help. That is kind of the same reason behind the gold-plated CDs--it is an easier surface to read, so theoretically the error rate could be lower.

The second part of SHM to me feels like marketing--it's a great way to sell collectors something that they already own, with the vague hint that they might sound better. Thing is, if something sounds better/different, it's from the mastering, not SHM (and not a gold CD, for that matter). Gold and/or SHM are a nice side benefit to a newly mastered disc, but it shouldn't be the sole reason something is reissued. Gold and SHM are part of manufacturing.
 

Harry

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My feeling - and it really is a feeling - nothing scientific here - that SHM-CDs may sound just a tiny bit "smoother" when played directly in a regular CD player. Once you attempt to rip the sound in a computer, it's all just ones and zeroes and will sound exactly like a non-SHM disc ripped in the same machine. At least that's been my experience.

I have a few SHM-CDs that seem to sound a little smoother - less digital, maybe - hard to describe when I play them in a CD player. But when I rip them to my computer, the tracks sound exactly like what I get from a regular CD - no difference.
 

Bobberman

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Once you attempt to rip the sound in a computer, it's all just ones and zeroes and will sound exactly like a non-SHM disc ripped in the same machine. At least that's been my experience

I have a few SHM-CDs that seem to sound a little smoother - less digital, maybe - hard to describe when I play them in a CD player. But when I rip them to my computer the tracks sound exactly like what I get from a regular CD - no difference.
I concur with you on this now that I became an experienced Ripper of Cds to my computer
 

Rudy

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I don't see why Universal doesn't just release these digitally and be done with it. They could remain in print and available indefinitely, with no worries about production or inventory. It beats waiting for those rare windows of opportunity when they decide to release them as CDs. And in my situation, if I can't get a CD, at least I can get the music through a download and not be left hanging for another decade.
As opposed to.... some other time in the future?
Sooner future? Sooner or later, near or distant future? I think I'm lost in the past. :D
I have a few SHM-CDs that seem to sound a little smoother - less digital, maybe - hard to describe when I play them in a CD player. But when I rip them to my computer, the tracks sound exactly like what I get from a regular CD - no difference.
CDs are treated differently during ripping, especially when done in secure mode and checked against a database like AccurateRip. (My rip generates a checksum based on the bits that are ripped for each track, and if the checksum matches the AccurateRip database, that ensures the rips are identical.) When a CD is played back in a CD player, it is more of a real-time, sequential operation--if there is a read error, the player continues through it. It doesn't know anything about checksums or bit-perfect playback.
 

Bobberman

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I don't see why Universal doesn't just release these digitally and be done with it. They could remain in print and available indefinitely, with no worries about production or inventory. It beats waiting for those rare windows of opportunity when they decide to release them as CDs. And in my situation, if I can't get a CD, at least I can get the music through a download and not be left hanging for another decade.
To the best of my knowledge they ( most of them if not all ) are Availible digitally on Amazon last time I checked at the time of this posting.
 

Rudy

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Ah, true, I didn't think to look there. I only checked the service I'm subscribed to, and they don't have all of the album yet (mainly the obscure ones).
 
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