FWIW, one Member's findings. Reprinted from Head-Fi. I recognize you guys aren't as uneducated, or as clueless when it comes to different pressings of the same material, so please take as such. That said, I recognize the topic is equally controversial here as there. "Bits iz bits" and "all digital is the same" folks need not qualify. Go away and be miserable with your crappy CD-ROM drives and Ipods. What's a SHM-CD? It's a regular 16 bit 44.1 CD that plays on any ol' CD player. Nope, no extra data, no extra resolution, and no surround sound. It's a normally-encoded CD with all the same bits as any CD. In Japan, there's an explosion of SHM-CDs. These are NOT special remasters made just for SHM-CD. These are the same exact digital remasters that you will find on normally pressed good ol' USA CDs. Er, so what's the point? Why should I pay $30 for the exact same digital bits I can get in the USA for $15? Good question. Not everyone believes that all CDs are the same or sound the same, even when they press the same data. There is a reason why the early Japan and West Germany pressings of many titles are sought after by audiophiles. Yes, it's true that in the "olden days" of 83-87 all of these CDs were mastered without the absurd levels compression and LOUDNESS applied as we see today. DYNAMICS-- that's just one reason to seek out an old CD. If given a choice between an original Japan-pressed CD with the same data as a mid-90s version of the same thing, audiophiles will choose the original every time. Why? These early CDs were made to a ridiculous standard that modern CDs can't match. These old CDs are thicker, more solid, and more resistant to scratches and marks. They were made on superior equipment and held to a higher standard. They also sound better. Why? They are early pressings closer to the original glass master of the master tape. The stampers aren't exhausted and producing errors and mistakes that have to be corrected. When pits are clearer and more distinct, you get better sound. Yup, a claim without scientific back-up, sorry. OK, you caught me-- I don't know from a purely scientific standpoint why a pressing of the same data should sound better on one media than another except to say that I know it does from careful comparisons. SHM-CD is an attempt to make physical media matter again. It's today's best shot at making a "perfect" CD. As someone who can hear differences in physical pressings of the same data, and who has a system that is capable of revealing them, SHM-CD is a worth-while investment, so long as you are already a fan of the original mastering or re-mastering of the disc that has been turned into a SHM-CD. So far I've replaced about 20 of my regular CDs with their SHM-CD counterparts. Overall, I would say this investment is worth-while. The difference is not HUGE, nor does it turn a regular CD into Hi-Rez as some overly-enthusiastic reviewers have claimed. If you have a quality source and quality headphones, I believe SHM-CDs will be a worth-while investment for you, but only for your most treasured albums, and given you like their most recent remaster, which most SHM-CDs are based on.