Heads up, when buying vinyl

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beck
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Heads up, when buying vinyl

Post by beck » 2018-06-27 14:01

As soon as you have discovered or rediscovered the plessures of analog vinyl you run into new problems. Many hit records of the past are being made again as vinyl records and you cannot see it on the record or cover that they have been through a digital proces in the meantime. They sound nice but uninvolving compared to the originals.
I have bought a few to reconfirm my take on what digital does to the music by comparing to my old ones.

Discogs is one of the best weapons against the disappointment. See elsewhere on this forum.

ThomasOK
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Re: Heads up, when buying vinyl

Post by ThomasOK » 2018-06-27 17:04

Yes, they have been doing this for a while and I'm not at all happy about it. When Robert Fripp came out with the 40th anniversary vinyl LP of "In the Court of the Crimson King" I thought we were in for a treat as he had finally gotten his hands on the original master tapes a few years earlier and the new LP was made from them. When I received it I found that, while it wasn't bad, it was nowhere near as good as a UK first pressing and not even as enjoyable as a 2nd pressing (which was made from a safety copy as the master tapes had been lost). A little detective work and I found out that Fripp had the LP made from a so called high-res digital copy of the original analog master tape. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, if you ask me.

Unfortunately this is rather common. For one thing the original master tapes of any reasonably popular album are worth a fortune so the record labels are not too thrilled with letting them out of their hands. They are also rather delicate normally needing to be baked to keep the oxide layer from flaking off when played. Then there is the fact that in the past some master tapes have gone out and what came back was a copy, if it came back at all. So many, if not most, of the rereleased LPs are made from digital copies of the master tape as that is all the labels will allow. Some are even made from the CD masters!

So it is no surprise that the musical quality isn't what many of us are looking for. The labels do let some of the mastering engineers who have a long-standing good reputation, like Bernie Grundman or Kevin Gray, have access to the master tapes, so some new LPs can be pretty good. Records of this type will generally prominently display the fact that they are all analog and made from the original master tape (or maybe a backup copy if the original master is no more). But then you still sometimes have mastering electronics that are optimized for aspects of the sound that are more audiophile than musical. Therefore musical quality can and does still vary. Caveat emptor!
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David Neel
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Re: Heads up, when buying vinyl

Post by David Neel » 2018-06-27 19:32

Thanks, Thomas!

In the Court of the Crimson King is a big gap in my collection, so thanks for the warning....
I get suspicious when all that is said is "remastered from the original analogue tapes" without further comment.

On a separate but parallel track, I have recently discovered Gretchen Peters, and bought all 3 LPs. Hello Cruel World was issued on vinyl by Diverse Records, an offshoot of Diverse Vinyl who are one of the UK's best online stores. The later LPs, Blackbirds, and Dancing with the Beast, have been issued by Gretchen's main label, and it is noticeable that the transfer to vinyl has been much more perfunctory than the Diverse issue, with very recessed bass frequencies in particular. Diverse have told me they would have liked to do these albums too, but having demonstrated that the vinyl would sell, the label took it back in-house. Still great music, but could have been so much better...

PS thanks also for the Rhiannon Giddens recommendation. Have you heard her on Sing Me Home, YoYo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble? She does an unmissable St James Infirmary Blues.
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beck
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Re: Heads up, when buying vinyl

Post by beck » 2018-06-27 21:47

So is it worth the effort many might ask?

Yes, yes and yes. Sitting here being 15 again listening to Genesis just bought second hand and all the memories come back to me. The thing is that when everything just clicks (recording, record and system) it is an experience that makes you forget about sound and just let you feel what is being communicated.
And when it ends you wake up from a kind of dream and the whole of your mind and body is saying “PLAY IT AGAIN”. :-)

David Neel
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Re: Heads up, when buying vinyl

Post by David Neel » 2018-06-28 08:24

beck wrote:So is it worth the effort many might ask?
Agreed - yes!
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beck
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Re: Heads up, when buying vinyl

Post by beck » 2018-07-02 14:54

Visiting my local 2nd hand vinyl store again and I found gold! Original vinyl from my childhood (1970s) with old price marks on them and totally unused for a bargain price of 2 euro each.
The sound is nothing short of fantastic. So dense, punchy and natural that my jaw just dropped!

It is still possible to get lucky out there. :-)

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Re: Heads up, when buying vinyl

Post by Charlie1 » 2018-07-02 15:49

David Neel wrote:On a separate but parallel track, I have recently discovered Gretchen Peters, and bought all 3 LPs. Hello Cruel World was issued on vinyl by Diverse Records, an offshoot of Diverse Vinyl who are one of the UK's best online stores. The later LPs, Blackbirds, and Dancing with the Beast, have been issued by Gretchen's main label, and it is noticeable that the transfer to vinyl has been much more perfunctory than the Diverse issue, with very recessed bass frequencies in particular. Diverse have told me they would have liked to do these albums too, but having demonstrated that the vinyl would sell, the label took it back in-house. Still great music, but could have been so much better...
Thanks for the info. I've been lucky and she's only one of a few artists where I've had to resort to CD. 'Burnt Toast and Offerings' is also worth getting btw

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