Ongoing History Daily: SHM CDs

A lot of people have no idea that the technology behind compact discs dates back to the 1970s.  Other than a few minor tweaks, the CDs that we buy today work on technology that’s 40 years old.  And it’s been really hard to update things because if we did, people would have to buy brand new players and burners.  That’s been tried and it hasn’t worked.  But I should mention this from Japan. 

They’re called SHM CDs, which were developed by JVC and Universal Music Japan. “SHM” stands for “super high material” and is a spin-off from research done into making better LCD screens. Basically, this new material makes the data side of the disc more transparent, which means it can be read more accurately by the laser. 

Right now, SHM CDs are mostly only available in Japan–but I’ve bought a couple and you know what?  They DO sound better than the standard CD.  Really.

The last Ongoing History Daily was on the history of the LP. Go here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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