Blu-spec: Sony’s latest CD format

by admin on February 24, 2009 · 5 comments

in Studio/Tech/Recording News

with thanks from The Audiophiliac Blog

by Steve Guttenberg

If CDs really are on their way out, Sony is ready with their replacement: Blu-spec CDs.

Although details about the new format, launched in Japan in November, are somewhat scant, we do know that users won’t need a new player for Blu-spec CDs.

“The Blu-spec CD format boasts a new approach to the faithful reproduction of music by utilizing the leading-edge blue laser diode technologies optimized for the manufacturing of Blu-ray,” according to CDJapan. The new discs’ polycarbonate plastic, optimized for Blu-ray discs, is used “to ensure accurate reading of the data.”

Sony doesn’t claim that the Blu-spec CD sounds any better than a CD or how the new discs compare with Sony’s previous and nearly dead super-CD format, Super Audio CD (SACD).

Although Sony made its Blu-spec PR splash in Japan, a few titles to the United States. The site lists Blu-spec CDs from Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Weather Report. While most Blu-spec CDs carry a list price of $25 in Japan, Amazon.com is selling them for $35.49 here.

Another CD format, SHM-CD, seems to be similar to Blu-spec CD, but with non-Sony artists.

Have you heard a Blu-spec CD or SHM-CD yet?

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Posts about Blu-ray as of February 24, 2009 » DVD Newsroom
02.24.09 at 12:08 pm
Topics about Music » Blu-spec: Sony’s latest bCD/b format — Audiophilia
02.25.09 at 11:31 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Martin Appel 02.24.09 at 10:29 pm

I just received several SHM cd’s and am impressed initially. I’ll need more time in evaluation and try to find standard versions of these cd ’s to really make an intelligent comparison. Unfortunatly they are quite expensive and will deffinitely not appeal to a large audience. At least they are compatible with standard cd players and not another new format.

John Shepherd 03.17.09 at 5:15 am

In light of the current economic conditions, I cannot believe Sony and their blind ambition. The format wars continue and the pattern seems to repeat itself. This is really the definition of insanity. It is only now that engineering staff from various manufacturers are admitting the inferiority of SACD to Redbook CD. Yes, you read that correctly. It was all about copy protection and not enhanced fidelity. It is happening again folks in the world of video. HDMI is an inferior connection which is there only to protect their property from duplication. The professional and superior connection is HDSDI. You will never see this on a consumer product and now you know why.

If the industry really wanted to move forward it would move towards the standardization of DVD-Audio. Simply, this is 24/96 studio masters on a DVD format which is uncompressed. This has been done but it has not caught on. This is difficult to understand. In contrast, the market and even high end manufacturers have embraced compressed, downloaded files because of the convenience and not the fidelity. The Ipod and it’s competitors are fast food let it be understood. It has it’s place but the sea of followers have all moved in this direction and have embraced it as a high quality alternative to a high capacity disc format. What a shame. There is a slim chance that people will experience the 24/96 DVD format. T Bone Burnett re-introduced this in his CODE format which is pretty much audio on DVD format at a 24/96 resolution. The beauty of this is that almost everyone has a DVD player. Thus, there is little resistance for the consumer. I am afraid it is too late for several reasons.

* Confusion by the buying public and a lack of understanding
* A recording industry which is out of touch and afraid of progress
* A whole generation that only has experience with the Ipod
* A demise of the record store
* A demise of the Hi-Fi industry and the preoccupation of video

How many times will these same people make the same mistakes and try to re-invent the wheel? There have been so many format wars between audio and video applications and now we are facing years of reduced discretionary spending by the consumers due to economic conditions. I would think that there would be true collaboration between the studios, record companies and manufacturing end of things to simplify and improve the quality to a standard format. Sony for one os more concerned with protecting it’s studio divisions to progress. In past eras, the studios and recording companies did not control the hardware manufacturing. We live in a compromised time. This new CD format is doomed to fail.

admin 03.17.09 at 7:07 am

A thoughtful, insightful post, John.

Just as the newspaper industry is being changed profoundly, the music business models are no longer viable. But record execs are among the most tenacious. Sometimes, blindly so.

Cheers, a

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