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AI and Machine Learning. AI and Machine Learning Reputation. I'm surprised more companies don't use them for the security a lone. Not just with Jewelry but all products. The same problem exists for audiophile CD reissues also. There has been a long history of decpetive marketing, as we are slowly finding out.
I wonder if DCC used an original master tape on more than just a handful of their releases. I commend Mobile Fidelity for their Silver Series for not trying to pass these releases as being sourced from the original master tapes.
The past 10 years, as vinyl picked up popularity again, it seemed like an onslaught of companies offering "audiophile G" vinyl. I remember purchasing some, and quickly learning my lesson. One could put out a G album that was cut from a 30 years old cassette copy of your college roomate's cassette, which was 35th gen copy made at the record company factory Even with the good audiophile companies that Michael listed, one needs to check carefully. They didn't sound right to me. In an email exchange with MFSL, they admitted the LP's were not cut from the "original masters" but from a remix provided by Yoko Ono who knows if digital was involved.
So not really "original masters". Trust your ears. A truly great article and responses. And there there are those boots with those gram gold and black stickers used by gray area companies like Scorpio.
I was quite excited when I saw many of the classic blues titles from Yazoo being reissued. I bought one, a Blind Willie McTell. The source was some kind of digitally sourced, noise reduced flat sonic wash with all the life and dynamics sucked out. Yazoo appears to have nothing to do with these as their ability to coax fantastic sound out of old 78's set the gold standard on vinyl back in the 70's. They sound fantastic to me, but note they do not say original analog masters.
This is not a case of semantics and again leaves one to wonder. If they were taken directly from the original two track analog masters, I believe they would have said so. Yes I should have mentioned them as "musts to avoid. Sundazed's mistake was to not put its name on them! Readers of Audiostream. Lack of provenance and of relying on familiar "Good Housekeeping"-style labels are pervasive. I'm reminded that not until sometime in the '70s did amplifiers advertise comparable power and distortion specs based on common criteria and that it didn't happen for car audio until the '90s.
Although none of that describes sound quality it's still a help on some level knowing what's what. Perhaps one day the reissue and "HD" music businesses will reach a level of public conscieness that similar ad hoc voluntary, yet accurate and agreed-upon standard vocabulary and its uses will come about. Abuse (Accapella) goes way back to the original Mobile Fidelity LP's from the 70's and 80's.
A look a the photos of Shes Lost Control - Joy Division - YMCA 2-8-79 (Vinyl, LP) tape boxes that appered in the box set were very revealing. Can you be more specific here? You have made a very serious charge. Please be more specific about your charge! Magical Mystery Tour was the specific title I had in mind when I orignally posted this.
These were all sourced from Capitol submasters and not EMI originals. How many generations down they were is open to debate but MMT was definitely 4th generation. Some of these tapes were originals, but some weren't. Some say dub tape, some say corrected copy tape etc. But that's another story. I agree with you there! The EQ was "car stereo valley" all the way: boosted bass and treble, sucked out midrange. Very sad. Geoff called it "rubbish" and demanded a take it off the turntable!
He heard the HF boost and was outraged. Then I played him the red vinyl Japanese Odeon mono pressing and he declared that "spot on. I also really like the Japanese red mono vinyl, but mostly for the different mix. But the latter doesn't sound better IMO.
Vocals in particular seem as if burlap was placed in front of the mic Whether or not the former is rubbish is open for some debate, considering the multilayered approach to the recording wasn't a purist, minimalist effort by any stretch of the imagination. It was my first MFSL and nearly my last. Every time I played it which of course wasn't often I had to tell myself, "This is supposed to sound good. This is supposed to sound good. This is I'm reading an old thread, but just to add my 2 cents: back in the late '90s I realized Mofi did not always use original masters when I bought Clapton's " Ocean Blvd", which contained a track from his subsequent album "One In Every Crowd" right in the middle of the CD.
The only way to teach these companies that won't clearly state the source of a recording is to not buy their records. I Timewarp - Sub Focus - Sub Focus (CD, Album) sent emails to Capital and 4 Men with Beards about the source of certain LPs and they never responded.
And some post partial information, like on some John Coltrane reissues that have a sticker that says "Sourced by Rhino, distributed by Scorpio. Then there are all those cheap Blue Note reissues. Why the difference? Probably different sources. I'll wait for the Music Matters reissue later this year.
Sure bet. Now when I shop and I'm not sure about a title I'll ask the vendor to hold the record behind the counter for a day or two so I can do some research on sites like this. Transparency in what you buy in music is not good. Apart from the ones mentioned, it gets really difficult to work out what sources are. Sometimes you buy something, put it on the platter and get confronted with 2 dimensional, harsh crap where you were expecting something decent.
It would be worth putting an area on Analog Planet devoted to this. Put on album title, record label or company, and what the sources were for the record. Make it updatable by anyone. Anyone can go in, open a new record, and put in the info. And anyone can go in and update information. To my knowledge, there is no such resource anywhere on the web. Most record labels don't seem keen on the idea of any kind of transparency. Unsurprisingly, if you can pass off Rolling Stones - 60's catalog reissues; 2.
Compressed and terrible sounding Nirvana, Nevermind, Simply Vinyl. Digital something, and not good. Bob Dylan Bootleg Series 8, Tell tale signs; The whole set. Great sounding, transparent, clear and full. Great sounding, good dynamics. Rolling Stones, "Rarities - ". Rolling Stones, "Stripped" double LP. No-one seems to know. Bob Dylan, "Modern Times", digital, resolution unknown. Same with "together through life". Then the labels mentioned above, steer clear of anything from Doxy, it is virtually guaranteed to be Simply Vinyl is pure chance, you never know what you get.
Sundazed always sounds good. And I'm glad you are not "digiphobic" and call them as they sound. The CD is totally compressed while the LP has lots of dynamic range and better tonal balance.
I suspect Doxy is one of those labels that's sprung up in Europe to release music that's now in the public domain under EU law, which is pretty much anything pre or so, Reputation (Original 2011 Mix) - Djebali - Reputation (Point G Remix) (Vinyl), from what I understand. That's the way it works. I think Doxy is an Italian label. They are taking advantage of the EU law that puts stuff beyond a certain age in the public domain. Their stuff so far as I know is just CDs pressed to vinyl.
It is unfortunate. I see their stuff sold here in real, reputable record stores like Jecklin and other places. People buy it under the impression it's analogue. There are a few others like that here too. Doxy have done a series of Muddy Waters box sets on vinyl for example.
Great track selection, pretty questionable sound from various sources. EU law used to Adagio - Safri Duo - Episode II New Edition (CD, Album) sometimes quite advantageous, for umm, unofficial releases.
Heaven only knows how they got here and in the surprisingly good sound quality. There are others too. The quality on these releases has been steadily improving over the last few years. Great article, and critical subject matter. As a newb vinyl listener largely influenced my MF articles in Stereophile, thanks!
We buy the hardware and software in the hope we're avoiding the digital nasties but it would appear there's much more to this than would appear. Having only just started to re-build my vinyl record collection, advice like this is invaluable! While I do try to chiefly hunt down original pressings of my favorite albums, the occasional re-release is unavoidable for the unobtainable. Still, you would be hard-pressed to trump a well-kept, well-cleaned original.
Great read Mikey, thanks! This is a really good article, and hopefully, along with consumer pressure, it will lead to greater transparency from reissue labels. One concern I have is that some vinyl enthusiasts will automatically reject any reissue that has been "contaminated" by digital in any way whatsoever, which might be part of the reason labels are sometimes not forthcoming with information.
This is unfortunate because, as you note, LPs cut from hi-rez digital can sound fantastic. There are a lot of factors that go into whether an LP sounds good or not, and whether digital was involved is only one of them. Try finding a Reputation (Original 2011 Mix) - Djebali - Reputation (Point G Remix) (Vinyl) good sounding Stones record on the London label. It's not easy! Many of them were cut at places like Bell Sound that used dupes of dupes for cutting, and they sound awful.
I'd take the DSD sourced vinyl over those any day as they are way closer to the masters unboxed Decca UK pressings are a different matter, most of those sound great if you can find them in good condition. But I know people that will refuse on principle to buy any vinyl that they know to have had its purity of analog essence contaminated by digital. That's their right of course, but くだらないの中に - Gen Hoshino - くだらないの中に (CD) swear it's almost like a disease None of this is to excuse those reissue labels that have no interest in sound quality and simply cut LPs from commercially available CD sources.
And in the end, I believe we would be better served by greater transparency about sources and mastering because the current atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion not helpful. The Londons? Not so much but I wouldn't blame Bell Sound. That mastering stamp more often than not indicates a good sounding record.
I suspect it was either a bad sounding tape supplied by Decca though why? Nice article, Mikey. I'd like to throw in my two cents: Avoid anything released by the Italian reissue label Get Back records. Terrible sound, terrible QC. Never again. Hey we need to bring back those goofy AAD designations that used to be on CDs, where it was implied that DDD was somehow the ideal, but now we need them for vinyl -- AAA implying pure analog recording, mixing, and mastering!
I completely agree with Mickey that it's dicey Reputation (Original 2011 Mix) - Djebali - Reputation (Point G Remix) (Vinyl) best with remasters if the info is limited. Just a thought I have had horrible luck with new issues. Show Newport, and It's so crackly, back it goes.
I guess I have to stick with mainly used vinyl. At least I'm not as dissapointed when it is a dud. Is best ignored even though some titles were pretty good. My understanding is that when Simply Vinyl licensed titles from EMI, the label used analog sources from its vault but other label sources are a crap shoot and mostly sound mediocre. Apparently no one at Simply Vinyl pays much attention to sound. They are "simply" about vinyl. Same for "together through life". It sounds quite respectable.
Leonard Cohens "Old Ideas" is digital, resolution unknown, but quite nice sounding. In my opinion, 10 new songs suffered a bit from some wierd Pro-tools sounding stuff. Simply Vinyl has done some Elvis reissues and other LPs. The ones I have heard are uniformly crap. I have some Elvis gold CDs that sound better. A number most? They sound great. The Chess Masters reissue, it was done all analog by Steve Hoffman. So there might be a tape that could be used for a reissue!
Didn't know there was an analogue version of Modern Times. Would be a Sándor Déki Lakatos And His Gipsy Band - A Pacsirta = The Lark (CD, Album) idea for a reissue.
Use the analogue tape. Love the record, it sounds just a tad muddy. Great sounding record!! There is a limited vinyl 12" that came out for record day with 3 or 4 versions of "Get it on", Accoustic, Electric and a boogie version! Then on the other side 3 versions of I think Jeepster. Sound is Ok, sounds digital, a bit flat. Marginal improvement over the CD.
Whatever your take on Robert Palmers interpretation, the sound on that single is awesome. It is HUGE. Everything is there in three dimensional space in front of you.
If you're talking about the Rhino Electric Warrior, I don't know what it was cut or sourced from, but the record itself was noisy, and I was not impressed with the sound. I wanted to replace my Reprise pressing from the eighties, and tried like heck to find any information about the Rhino pressing I could, but no luck.
Bought it anyway, and wasn't super happy. I also picked Bez Razum I Svest - Sanatorium (3) - Sanatorium (CD) the Fat Possum reissue of The Slider, even though my copy is still in good shape.
Wasn't terribly impressed with it, either. Anyone know anything about Fat Possum's reputation? If Mikey, with his connections, can't get this information, what hope is there for us?
You'd think there'd be some obsessive on the internet keeping track of this stuff. Tell ya what though, the pressings I've been happiest with have come from Quality Records. Talk about truth in advertising! Greetings, Kevin here in The City. I have to agree concerning the 4MwB pressings. I picked up Dylan's 'No Mercy'. The vinyl is noisy and Dylan's voice is all over the place. He mainly travels from center to right. I have a couple of other artists from that label, and they're ok; nothing to write home about.
After this last purchase, and your article, this will be definetely one label that I shall be avoiding like Unbelievable - Various - 20 Злобных Хитов vol.14 (CD) plague. I can recommend whole heartedly and with a clear conscience to other music lovers, please, stay away from 4MwB.
Great article and followup posts. I couldn't agree more re some labels simply putting out junk copied from digital. When I first played it, it sounded so bad I thought there was something wrong with my system. I pulled out my original copy and, although it lived a hard life during my misspent youth, it still sounded way better than the Vinyl Lovers. It was then that I noticed that the actual tracks on the individual albums weren't in the same order as on the Easy Life - New Paradise - Easy Life (Vinyl) or the original, and that there were actually some additional tracks, like one of those extended cd reissues.
I can only guess what that all means, but it can't be good and can't be from the masters. Caveat Emptor. I think it's worth putting this on. This is an exchange with HD Tracks I had a while ago. I think it speaks for itself.
From: Support [ mailto:contact hdtracks. Some Girls came from the tapes, so I suppose it depended on the condition of the tapes. They use their own mastering engineers, so I imagine they aim for the best possible result. The compression may be an aesthetic choice, or may be done so to accommodate use on portable devices. At any case, I do empathize with your comments.
My apologies if someone has already asked this. Manhattan - Bendik Hofseth - Itaka (CD, Album), the LP reissue is Can you tell me please what the original sources for the HD Tracks files are?
Or just As for our sources; We are provided with the best possible analogue masters available. On top of that, our sound engineer has over 35 years of experience in cutting and mastering records for major labels. Very interested to compare to originals though.
Our records are pressed in the Netherlands record Industry- one of the best in the business. This is my biggest grievance with vinyl toady. Lots of labels have cottoned on to the fact that they can make great margins Various - Songs For Tibet (CD) knocking out a badly sourced record so long as they put a 'g audiophile vinyl' sticker on the front.
I sometimes think these labels would do better getting a mint, native original LP, cleaning it, transferring it to 30 ips tape via a reference level set up and then cutting again. Call me crazy but I think this would sound much better. Obviously if you only want the classics then you Morphine Run - Sweetwater Abilene - Lift Up Your Eyes (CDr, Album) usually get a good deal but if it's anything that was on an independent Been reading Plain Recordings and 4 Men With Beards are one in the same and have the same mailing address.
Most of what I've read isn't positive. Not uniformly bad but definately hit or miss, and for typical vinyl prices I can't afford to take chances on labels like these. Can anyone chime in about the simply vinyl nick drake releases? Legend states that "Pink Moon" was the only Nick Drake album that still has the existing analog, 2-track master. The rest Legend also states that because of the availability of the "Pink Moon" original tape, it is the only remaster done with an entirely Reputation (Original 2011 Mix) - Djebali - Reputation (Point G Remix) (Vinyl) signal path.
I purchased this album with that information in mind. The album, IMO, sounds incredible. I've never heard a 1st pressing, only CD masters until this point, so I can only compare what I have heard. It's a Universal remaster. Seems to be known for its superiority over other, questionable reissues. Is Get On Down if you're into hip-hop at all. The do a lot of reissuing of Wu-Tang LPs. Not a single one I've heard comes even close to the OG presses.
All are flat and muddy sounding. I've heard better MP3s than some of their presses. Scorpio and many other "to be avoided labels" are reissuing many hip rare underground records that the high end reissue labels aren't doing and will never do. I've been around vinyl since the 70s and many of the Scorpio records sound good and have stickers stating "manufactured by Rhino" whatever that means. Try finding an original copy of Gris Gris.
The Wah Wah label from Spain has reissued tons of obscure 70s records from France and Germany that I am glad I am able to own in the vinyl format, regardless of the source. These "bad" labels have their place and often provide a service for people who want more than Living Stereo and certain Blue Note records in their music diet.
Rhino is a division of Warner Brothers and if you see Rhino, chances are sources are good, even if the label is Scorpio. Of course sometimes content trumps source but if the source was originally analog and the source is available, using a CD to cut a record is inexcusable.
About the "manufactured by Rhino" you see on the back of the Scorpio reissues, those are legit and pressed by Rhino. John, Gil Scott-Heron. All of the Meters and Electric Prunes albums have the "manufactured by Rhino" sticker on the shrinkwrap. I thought it was cute that Rhino used the wrong labels on the Meters and Dr. John LP's so people don't pass them off as originals like that dealer in New Orleans by using the 2-color Reprise W7 label for the Meters and the old 50's Atco label with the harp for Dr.
The reissues sound nice but the original recordings weren't audiophile material. I suspect the James Brown reissues are from CD but it's nice to see them out there, it's also funny to see a mid 60's King LP with a early 70's Polydor label with JB's picture when he had the big fro.
The Electric Prunes and Reprise Meters albums sound great, the Josies are OK since the original recordings weren't that great but the music will get you moving.
I prefered a complete analog experience, that's why ilisten to Lp in the first place. So i buy my lps produce before the digital era, with warts and all. Another informative article by Mikey and terrific feedback from the many knowledgeable readers; most of whom, I imagine are far more knowledgeable than myself, which is why I am throwing my question out to the field. Sole DEuropa - Enrico Ruggeri - Fango E Stelle (CD, Album) there an easy and inexpensive way I can improve my system?
I built a low budget LP playback system below a few years ago and, frankly, the sound is uninspiring. And, I still own the first LP my family ever owned - Neil Diamond's Moods fromwhich my mom bought on impulse as we were returning home from school and she saw the album in a record store window.
She hit the brakes, put some money in my elder brother's hands he was the bravest of us three boys, although not the eldest and said "Tell the Sarabande: Andante - Grieg* - Grieg Edition (CD) owner that your mom wants to buy the man hanging in the window.
The album is badly in need of a proper scrubbing, and sounds as noisy as ever, but we still love giving it a spin. I know the individual components are quality pieces because I never buy any hardware or software the real subject of this article that hasn't received some favourable reviews from credible sources, so I am sure O Give Thanks (Psalm 118) that they are not complementing each other as a system.
I've been toying with the idea of replacing the Pro-Ject pre with a Bellari VP tube pre amp, but I am wary of throwing money at the problem out of blind ignorance. They have also released some excellent sounding pressings, for example of film soundtracks or historical compilations—they are not a pure re-issue label, they also have original releases, though no original artists I think.
They also seem to be in the habit of clearly noting transfer sources, involved engineers, studios and plants, which is always commendable. Best see if you can find a review before purchase, or whether you can give it a listen. Don't dismiss them outright because of the label, because you might be passing up a good vinyl.
Well if the source and other info is listed on the record, of course consider that release. Thanks for that information. A lot of websites that sell new re-issues have little to no information about the pressing. And even if they did, as a new collector, is it Main Street - Lee Konitz - Timespan (Vinyl, LP) and error or is there a comprehensive list out there of the good and not so good producers?
Acoustic Sounds is as good as I've ever seen in terms of having commentary on re-issues. I'm getting into this conversation pretty late it looks like but I've gotten some really great sonding Lp's on Doxy. Plus they're titles that most labels wouldn't dare put out.
All these records sound very good, so I'm very happy with this label. While the Music on Vinyl might be from a high rez digital source although given I've never seen one on HDTracks etc, maybe notit definitely isn't just ripped from CD, as the mixes are distinctly different.
It's definitely a good effort. Wax Time reissues are sold widely by reputable record stores like Amoeba and Rasputin, and while not in the price range of the true audiophile masterings, they're not exactly cheap, either The tell-tale sign to me is that, while the jacket art is pretty close to the Reputation (Original 2011 Mix) - Djebali - Reputation (Point G Remix) (Vinyl), the label never is -- it's always a Wax Time label, never Columbia, etc.
Again, this is s jazz material that is in the public domain in the EU. Wax Time is made in Spain, if I recall correctly. Last time I checked, they didn't even have a website, just an email address, which also makes one suspicious that the operation is a bit fly-by-night.
Perhaps they don't have the dynamic range of a re-mastered LP from a major label, but I find the sound quite enjoyable on my vintage system. I have not yet tried any of their jazz releases. And I must say
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