All About SHM-CD Format
SHM-CD Department

On The Factory Floor

A: Factory for production of glass masters, DVDs and CDs.
B: Silos containing raw materials for CD production.
C: This is where master discs are received and checked. All formats, DDP being the most common, are checked for error rates and other possible technical issues.
D: This picture shows various master disc formats from record labels. U-matic was the most common format, succeeded by PMCD, with DDP currently the most widely used.Original masters are also sent digitally.

Manufacturing Process of the Glass Master

1: Original master playback equipment for manufacturing the glass master. Any K2 encoding would be done here.
2: The glass master is created in a self-enclosed clean environment to prevent contamination at critical points of the manufacturing process.
3: After it performs the essential production and quality control checks on the glass master, the machine will then creates the metal master stamper.

Manufacturing Process of the SHM-CD

1: A silo containing polycarbonate. Each grain is less than 5mm in size.
2: A pipe flows from the silo (photo B) to the press (pictured center).
3: The metal master stamper is attached to the injection mold and pressing begins. Polycarbonate is injected into the mold. The high-pressure stamper forces the polycarbonate to spread in a circular shape, while also creating the CD pits.
4: A SHM-CD fresh off the press. The prism effect is due to the pits. This disc will not be playable until it has undergone sputtering.
After sputtering with aluminum, the disc will be coated with a protective lacquer.
5: The completed disc then undergoes rigorous inspection to check the audio signal, protective lacquer and such, before heading to the printing press.

A: The label is printed on the non-data side of the disc using a silk press.
B: Replica LP paper sleeves and other specialist package designs are painstakingly crafted by hand.
C: *Standard CDs are pictured at the top and SHM-CDs on the bottom of the column. The difference in transparency is unmistakable.

SHM-CD Popular Titles

*All of the contents except for the sentence on the very top are provided by Universal Music Japan.