Steely Dan / Pretzel Logic: Japanese mini-LP SHM-SACD / CD reissues


Pretzel Logic, Steely Dan’s 1974 studio album, has already celebrated its 40th birthday this year, which may or may not be related to the fact that Universal Music Japan will reissue the album in three formats this later this summer.

Dan’s third LP (which features the single Rikki Don’t Lose That Number) will be reissued on SHM-CD, Platinum SHM-CD and an SHM-SACD. If you’re unaware of SHM, here’s the ‘science bit’: the ‘SHM’ stands for Super High Material a manufacturing process used in Japan to improve the accuracy of the reading of the CD by the laser head. You either buy into this or you don’t, but there is more information here.

The Platinum SHM-CD is different to the SHM-CD because it uses platinum in place of the aluminium to form the reflective coating. Again, this is claimed to be advantageous. Both the SHM-CDs are compatible with all CD players (with the platinum discs there is a proviso that the player should be CD-R compatible also) although it should be noted that the SHM-SACD is not hybrid, therefore you can only play using SACD hardware (it’s also stereo-only, no 5.1).

This Pretzel Logic reissue features a new remaster with a flat transfer via HR cutting from DSD master in 2014 from the original US analog tape. The cardboard sleeve faithfully replicates the first pressing US LP artwork and includes an ‘OBI’ strip replicating the one included in the first pressing edition of Japanese LP.

The packaging for these releases is normally superb, but the SHM-SACDs in particular are exquisite, with the mini-LP vinyl replica sleeve sitting inside a video-game style outer box (they are rigid board, not plastic).

These Japan-only Pretzel Logic reissues are out on 27 August 2014.

Pretzel Logic SHM-SACD

Pretzel Logic Platinum SHM-CD

Pretzel Logic SHM-CD

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Hi Justin,
Thanks for the info. I just came back to this page. Countdown to Ecstasy Shm-sacd is out of stock on cdjapan. Anyone interested, should try Elusivedisc.com


These links now all refer to the Countdown to ecstasy release. Has Pretzel Logic be postponed?

Tim Larkham

I’m just hoping that one day Steely Dan will revisit their sessions and provide us with a comprehensive box set of out takes and alternative versions. They were perfectionists of the highest order; so much stuff must be in the vaults. Oh, and decent remasters of The Nightfly and Kamakiriad would be very welcome too!



Not to put a damper on Steely Dan on SACD, but supposedly their masters are missing? lost? Do some research. Years ago , The Who’s Tommy was supposed to be from original analog tape, until SACD came out and either Pete Townshend used his master or the original tapes were found. MOFI and others didn’t have it.
I truly hope that they are original analog master tapes.


Hi Richard,

Some individual multitrack tapes were missing (Black Cow, Aja from ‘Aja’ in particular, as discussed in the 1999 remaster notes), but not the stereo masters. I think that’s why other potential 5.1 SACD releases unfortunately ground to a halt. If the stereo masters are available then it’s possible for a remaster but not a remix.


“Countdown to Ecstasy” is also getting the SHM-SACD treatment by the way (out on July 30th).

Ian Hill

You really ought to mention that the main selling point of these SHM-SACD etc. releases is that they are usually unique masterings of the title and often ‘flat transfers’ of the source tape. Many are thought to be the best versions available. They are expensive but if you love a particular title they are worth it, and they’re not going to get any cheaper.


I’m very glad to see that there are still labels that have not abandoned SACD. However, I wish these labels would take full advantage of what SACD has to offer. There was a very nice quadraphonic mix of Pretzel Logic issued back in 1974. They could have put that on the 5.1 layer. (There were also quad mixes of the first two Steely Dan albums.) Some people invested in SACD because they wanted high-res, others invested in SACD because they wanted surround sound (some, like me, wanted both.) Putting the old quad mixes on the 5.1 layer of the SACD would only serve to increase record company profits as more people would buy them.

Anyway, even without the quad mix, if there was ever a band who deserved to have their catalog available in high-res, it’s Steely Dan. So I’m sure I will be getting this.