Vinyl Reissues: Sorting Wheat from Chaff.

Many Vinyl-using forum contributors have highlighted the highly varied and rather inconsistent quality of many Classic Album Vinyl reissues. I’m thinking there should be value in starting a thread where folk can highlight the ones that they’ve found to be particularly good. I’d certainly find this enormously helpful. Hopefully, others might too.

Original Post

The inherent problem I see is that if you had an original issue, you likely wouldn't be playing a re-issue. So assuming you're familiar only with the re-issue, you have no comparative basis to evaluate SQ. Case in point, I have a circa 1989 re-issue of 'Blood On The Tracks'. I think it sounds pretty damned good, but have no idea how it plays versus the original vinyl. Consequently, I wouldn't make a recommendation on it.

That said I suppose you could, either way, steer folks away from crap re-issues.

I can recommend Acony Records set up by Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. The album Harrow & The Harvest by Gillian Welch in particular. I don’t think it was originally issued on vinyl when it came out some years ago. They set their own label up and bought their own equipment to do vinyl releases properly as they describe it. It’s fantastic sound quality. I also have David Rawlings album and their is another Gillian Welch album coming out on vinyl soon.

Well worth checking out.

Prem.

Premmyboy posted:

They set their own label up and bought their own equipment to do vinyl releases properly as they describe it.

Wow, just read a review by Mike Fremer and indeed Gillian bought and spent $100K on refurbishing her own cutting lathe. Now that's genuine enthusiasm by an artist that wants to get the AAA vinyl sound right! Mastered by Stephen Marcussen and Fremer gave it a 10 for both music and sound. Never heard Gillian's music but I'm half tempted to buy it based strictly on her passion.

joerand posted:
Premmyboy posted:

They set their own label up and bought their own equipment to do vinyl releases properly as they describe it.

Wow, just read a review by Mike Fremer and indeed Gillian bought and spent $100K on refurbishing her own cutting lathe. Now that's genuine enthusiasm by an artist that wants to get the AAA vinyl sound right! Mastered by Stephen Marcussen and Fremer gave it a 10 for both music and sound. Never heard Gillian's music but I'm half tempted to buy it based strictly on her passion.

Joe,

I can highly recommend The Harrow & The Harvest by Gillian Welch. Check out some of the tracks on YouTube then go buy the vinyl.

Prem.

All the Gillian Welch albums are fantastic - she and David Rawlings are essentially a duo - he is a virtuoso acoustic guitarist and she is an amazing songwriter. They are very particular about their recordings and the CDs sound excellent too. However, as suggested above, the vinyl issue of The Harrow and the Harvest takes the sound to a new level.

Xenasys posted:

IMO Same as hardware source first where does the source for the re-issue come from? Tape, Digital? Original or Safety backup only your ears can decide or the recommendations from the community or reviewers.

I've given up on this game - bottom line for me now is that if it sounds good, it is good. 

I've had good results with some reissues, not so good with others, as I've posted in the new vinyl purchase thread. 

One I was reminded of this morning was the US reissue of Dire Straits first album.  Very nice indeed and appreciably better than my reasonably early Uk original. I like this album very much and recently happened across the early 80's Half Speed reissue in mint condition.  I haven't played it yet, but it will be fun comparing against the US reissue.

Similarly the US 45rpm reissue of Fleetwood Mac's self titled album was excellent.  Rumours 45rpm was good too, although the US and UK issues sound slightly different, the latter a bit warmer and rounder.  I'm told there's possibly another EU pressing out there that's not as good as either.

I also found the Donald Fagan box set of reissues (Cheap Xmas) to be excellent.  Likewise the Talking heads reissues - although the originals were generally as good, if not better. Neil Young reissues have been excellent too, and often it's nice to have an immaculate unworn, unplayed version of an old favourite, although I do wonder whether the original tapes are beginning to suffer a bit.

If I can make any generalisations it's that the Rhino reissues are generally quite reliable. 

Some of the EMI100 series and the slightly later Millennium Vinyl series were excellent, although not all.  

Classic Records were generally very reliable - I loved their Living Stereo reissues and the pressing standards of the earlier 180g issues was almost uniformly superb. Pure Pleasure have been similarly excellent.  Speakers Corner, more patchy, with some real duds, but others really nice. 

I was reading Steve Harris' column in this month's Hifi News and he was mentioning a reissue of Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section that he heard many years back in the Naim room at a show.  To him, it sounded excellent but he had since lost his own copy and recently tracked down a replacement. I have a copy of that '80s reissue (from Boplicity) and it does indeed sound quite excellent.  But it also made me realise something rather alarming. I also have others from that series and they're also mostly of a similar standard - what's more they're beautifully pressed, perfectly flat, perfectly round, immaculate surfaces, and come in a nice anti-static inner sleeve. The vinyl is totally silent too - it's a sad fact that too many of the premium audiophile labels these days can't get close to such pressing perfection. And I have to ask why?  There are exceptions of course, and not always from where you expect - step forward Gearbox and Acony.

Thanks to all for these helpful replies, especially Richard’s comprehensive list! 

Dire Straits 1 is a priority for me as it’s a favourite of mine also. Plus my original copy seems bizarrely to have gone missing from my collection along with a few other key albums including Dylan, Blood on the Tracks. Richard, can you please give me more details of the Straits reissue you like? Is it still available or am I looking for a second hand copy?

i will take a look at Kuma’s thread when I get a chance.

Peter Gabriel 1 is another key album that’s gone missing. I’ve ordered a reissue from Burning Shed on spec. hope that’s a good one...

Kevin

 

Kevin,

the Dire Straits is the US Warner's "Because Sound Matters" issue from 2009. Mastered and cut by Bernie Grundman and pressed at Pallas. The front label states "180 Gram Audiophile Quality Vinyl Plated And Pressed At Pallas-Germany. Mastered From The Original Analogue Tape." Barcode is 093624978305 and it should have BG etched into the dead wax.  There still seem to be some sealed new copies around.

Peter Gabriel's first album is trickier.  You may be best off with an original, although it was never the best sounding of his albums.  I have some original UK issues, as well as the recent 45rpm half speed.  I wasn't overly impressed by the latter - not bad but no revelation either. I'd really like to hear a Classic Records issue of this one...

kevin J Carden posted:

Many Vinyl-using forum contributors have highlighted the highly varied and rather inconsistent quality of many Classic Album Vinyl reissues. I’m thinking there should be value in starting a thread where folk can highlight the ones that they’ve found to be particularly good. I’d certainly find this enormously helpful. Hopefully, others might too.

Having rekindled my vinyl listening recently (I'd mislaid my LP12 platter in storage!) after almost 2 years and nearly buying a cheaper turntable, I've bought several dozen re-releases or newer albums on vinyl.  For the most part I must say they generally sound very good, one sounds exceptional but there must have been a pressing flaw as I have some clicks at scratch like intervals but can see no evidence of a scratch!

While in many cases originals might be better, if you can get a good copy, I personally felt new release quality went downhill after the mid to late 80's, so there may be some merit with re-issues especially from this era as well as older albums I played on 'music centres' in my youth which will have been worn to death - once blu-tacked a 2p piece to the headshell of a Fidelity music centre to stop a couple of albums sticking or jumping on certain tracks!

While a thread could be useful, it may be difficult to navigate for a particular album, though I may be wrong if searches work well.

The 'what are you playing' thread is great but it's also vast with many repeated entries a few weeks or days apart - I guess a thread in itself may be difficult for vinyl re-issues as a site with reviews for individual titles would work better - in essence I tend to look at Amazon reviews, filtering by 'Vinyl' purchases only in the reviews.

That Gillian Welch album is very nice but I'm not sure I was as bowled over by the vinyl as I though I'd be given all the positive reviews and recommendations - perhaps their recording techniques simply translate to a good sound on a variety of media.

kevin J Carden posted:

Thanks to all for these helpful replies, especially Richard’s comprehensive list! 

Dire Straits 1 is a priority for me as it’s a favourite of mine also. Plus my original copy seems bizarrely to have gone missing from my collection along with a few other key albums including Dylan, Blood on the Tracks. Richard, can you please give me more details of the Straits reissue you like? Is it still available or am I looking for a second hand copy?

i will take a look at Kuma’s thread when I get a chance.

Peter Gabriel 1 is another key album that’s gone missing. I’ve ordered a reissue from Burning Shed on spec. hope that’s a good one...

Kevin

 

i recently bought 2 dire straits reissue albums, remastered by Bennie Grundmann: Communiqué and Making Movies.  I have the near original copies from the year of production and find their sound quality better than the reissues.

Buffalo Springfield: What's That Sound? Complete Albums Collection - 5 LP set with 1st 2 LPs in both mono & stereo and Last Time Around in stereo.

From the blurb "Mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in 2017. Re-mastered from the original analog tapes under the auspices of Neil Young." This is an all analogue reissue and much care has gone into it, like with Neil's own archive releases. The box set was released at the end of June.

I have never owned any originals - just the Best of, so never really listened to the albums. They have been spinning for a few days and are fabulous. Any fans of Neil Young,  CSN and early US country rock will enjoy these.  The sound is excellent, clear with deep bass and just sound right. The mono's have real punch. Vinyl is clean and flat.

It is still being offered relatively cheaply at Amazon US - $64 - so even with shipping and upfront duty to the UK the Amazon US price still worked out considerably cheaper than any UK source at the time I ordered.

 

French Rooster posted:
kevin J Carden posted:

Thanks to all for these helpful replies, especially Richard’s comprehensive list! 

Dire Straits 1 is a priority for me as it’s a favourite of mine also. Plus my original copy seems bizarrely to have gone missing from my collection along with a few other key albums including Dylan, Blood on the Tracks. Richard, can you please give me more details of the Straits reissue you like? Is it still available or am I looking for a second hand copy?

i will take a look at Kuma’s thread when I get a chance.

Peter Gabriel 1 is another key album that’s gone missing. I’ve ordered a reissue from Burning Shed on spec. hope that’s a good one...

Kevin

 

i recently bought 2 dire straits reissue albums, remastered by Bennie Grundmann: Communiqué and Making Movies.  I have the near original copies from the year of production and find their sound quality better than the reissues.

Agree with you on Communique (I have the US issues - but haven't tried my Making Movies reissue yet) - a disappointment compared to the original.  However, try the first album (my good experience is from the US issue).

Hey Richard,

i have the first dire straits album, pressed in the year of production.  The best with communiqué for me.

Some reissues i have are better than original :  santana / abraxas/ mofi.   Tony Joe White / ice made cream / analogue productions.   Herbie Hancock / Headhunters / analogue productions 

and some others.....mostly on mobile fidelity and analogue productions.  Classic records, music on vinyl, pure pleasure...are generally a bit cd like sounding.

for me at the very, very top of the quality on re issues are St Pepper - a real WOW with out losing the music 

All of the half speed masters from Peter Gabiel - So is superb! everything that Steven Wilson records is outstanding in quality and my only wish is that ALL artists get to this level, new Genesis on 180grm

I have not as yet had a bad remasters album, but some quality issues on recent almums  - Father John Mistry is not a get recording

the one album I would advise to purchase if you like Damien Rice is 0 on vinyl that is sublime

If you like Jazz then the Music Matters reissues of many Blue Note titles are pricey but very good sonically and as some of the original titles are now stupid money these reissues are a viable alternative I have Ike Quebec - Blue and Sentimental and Grant Green - Green Street most of the titles are available on both single 33rpm and double 45rpm.

I have a quite a few Analogue Productions all of Norah Jones LP's are excellent quality, Muddy Walters - Folk Singer, Freddie Hubbard - Body and Soul are all excellent to name a few but the best are the Nat 'King' Cole 45rpm double LP's the two I have Love is the Thing and the very thought of You are both very, very good.

 

John Lennon, Walls and Bridges. Another album that seems to have gone missing from my collection. Any decent reissues of this one?

Inspiration for this query is that I’m sitting here listening to my Greek(!)  pressing of Paul’s Band on The Run. First play in decades. Hopes were not high given the cheapie pressing, but this sounds just stunning and reminded me of what a superb album it is. Surely the best effort from any of the fab 4 post Beatles, but John’s Walls and Bridges I recall being pretty great too... 

SamS posted:

Buffalo Springfield: What's That Sound? Complete Albums Collection - 5 LP set with 1st 2 LPs in both mono & stereo and Last Time Around in stereo.

From the blurb "Mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in 2017. Re-mastered from the original analog tapes under the auspices of Neil Young." This is an all analogue reissue and much care has gone into it, like with Neil's own archive releases. The box set was released at the end of June.

I have never owned any originals - just the Best of, so never really listened to the albums. They have been spinning for a few days and are fabulous. Any fans of Neil Young,  CSN and early US country rock will enjoy these.  The sound is excellent, clear with deep bass and just sound right. The mono's have real punch. Vinyl is clean and flat.

It is still being offered relatively cheaply at Amazon US - $64 - so even with shipping and upfront duty to the UK the Amazon US price still worked out considerably cheaper than any UK source at the time I ordered.

 

Great spot Sam.  It comes in just over £50 landed in the Uk with taxes and shipping.

A few months ago I posted regarding Donald Fagen's Cheap Xmas box set.  At the time I thought the Chris Bellman cut reissue of The Nightfly sounded really good, maybe even as good or perhaps better than my early UK/Europe Alsdorf Masterdisk issue. Well, I finally got to compare the two and yes, in isolation the recent CB reissue is excellent, and you could easily be very happy with it. I know I am. However, listening to the early Masterdisk and it has more sparkle and is marginally more dynamic, if maybe a lacking a little of the warmth of the CB reissue. There's possibly just a little extra inner detail with the CB, but that may be down to being fresh and relatively unplayed (my Alsdorf/Masterdisk copy is in lovely nick but has had a LOT of plays over the years, albeit always on a good deck/arm and cart).  It's pretty close really, but overall I think I tip my hat in the direction of the earlier pressing as giving me just a bit more of the "tingle" factor.  I don't have a US pressing with which to compare though - that might be interesting.  

Richard Dane posted:

Kevin, look out for the EMI Millennium vinyl reissue of Lennon's Walls and Bridges. Also, look out for the EMI 100 reissue series of Lennon's Imagine.  These were "analogue cut from analogue tape" and very nicely pressed on virgin vinyl. 

Well, whaddayaknow... I just discovered that I DO have a copy of this very disc Richard! I bought a bunch of Vinyl about 15years ago from a record collection that Graham’s HiFi had bought in from a customer going digital. A very pleasant surprise indeed. My 18month old Granddaughter is staying with us for the next few weeks, so the LP12 is locked away, but I’ll give this Millenium reissue a spin after that.

I’ve discovered a few titles remastered by Kevin Grey’s Cohearant Audio that aren’t easily recognizable and can be had relatively cheaply under £30 inc p&p.

I have bought Kind of Blue and Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus so far  but there are many non jazz titles that some of you may be interested in all of the recent Prince reissues for instance  

Go to Discogs and search Kind of Blue and I think it is the 2010 US copy that had Cohearent Audio in the listing somewhere click on this and it will take you to all of the CA releases.

As I have said I can only recommend the 2 I have bought especially the Sonny Rollins both disc and cover are excellent quality and sound great .

 

kevin J Carden posted:
Richard Dane posted:

Kevin, look out for the EMI Millennium vinyl reissue of Lennon's Walls and Bridges. Also, look out for the EMI 100 reissue series of Lennon's Imagine.  These were "analogue cut from analogue tape" and very nicely pressed on virgin vinyl. 

Well, whaddayaknow... I just discovered that I DO have a copy of this very disc Richard! I bought a bunch of Vinyl about 15years ago from a record collection that Graham’s HiFi had bought in from a customer going digital. A very pleasant surprise indeed. My 18month old Granddaughter is staying with us for the next few weeks, so the LP12 is locked away, but I’ll give this Millenium reissue a spin after that.

Kevin - If you happen to find an EMI 100 of Bowie - Hunky Dory in there, then you hit the jackpot. Beautiful sounding re-issue and considered superior to originals. 

Quite expensive now.

 

SamS posted:
kevin J Carden posted:
Richard Dane posted:

Kevin, look out for the EMI Millennium vinyl reissue of Lennon's Walls and Bridges. Also, look out for the EMI 100 reissue series of Lennon's Imagine.  These were "analogue cut from analogue tape" and very nicely pressed on virgin vinyl. 

Well, whaddayaknow... I just discovered that I DO have a copy of this very disc Richard! I bought a bunch of Vinyl about 15years ago from a record collection that Graham’s HiFi had bought in from a customer going digital. A very pleasant surprise indeed. My 18month old Granddaughter is staying with us for the next few weeks, so the LP12 is locked away, but I’ll give this Millenium reissue a spin after that.

Kevin - If you happen to find an EMI 100 of Bowie - Hunky Dory in there, then you hit the jackpot. Beautiful sounding re-issue and considered superior to originals. 

Quite expensive now.

 

Ha!  Yes, I know!  I ordered a bunch of the EMI100s from an early online vinyl seller years ago but had to wait ages until they finally told me they had run out of stock of the Bowie (they went under not long afterwards).  By then everyone had run out, so I was a bit peeved to miss out.  In more recent years I've tried to track down a decent copy but the prices have got way out of hand.  I have an early UK press in good, if not mint condition, and also a copy I bought in the States back in the early '80s which sounds really good.  I guess they'll have to do until I get lucky...

I've just had a nosey on Discogs and the EMI100 Bowie issue for Hunky Dory have quite the price range - Lowest: £125.00. Median: £159.53. Highest: £311.82. Blimey. Some ambitious pricing there! Was playing my first pressing orange label HD (non laminated - hangs head in shame) late last night and that sounds pretty good. I've also got a 2016 Parlophone issue waiting in the wings to come out to play. 

Were there many Bowie EMI 100 albums?

 

 

Yetizone posted:

Were there many Bowie EMI 100 albums?

 

 

Ziggy was an EMI 100 Yeti, but it wasn't as good as the Hunky.

The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Surf's Up were also pretty good; as was The Dark Side of The Moon, Blondie's Parallel Lines, Iggy's Lust For Life, Band on The Run by Wings and Lennon's Rock & Roll and Imagine. The two Syd Barrett titles are OK.

The Stones' Sticky Fingers isn't great, nor is Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols - but on the whole, the series was pretty well done.

Thanks Kevin, very much appreciated. I've got all of DAVE'S albums on orange label first pressings anyway, plus a few Japanese copies too, so the EMI 100 editions would be a nice find but not at the current prices!

I'm awaiting delivery of a first pressing of Blackstar and also a 2016 Parlophone copy of Hunky Dory, so will be interesting to find out how this compares to the orange label HDory disc, and Blackstar to the HD download.

The Beach Boys Surf's Up on EMI100 is really good - way better than the Capitol "Audiophile" reissue and in some ways I prefer it to the recent Analogue Productions issue.  

EMI got some flack for the first series as they were cut digitally, and many from digital files.  So for the second series (from LPCENT21 onwards, IIRC) they made sure that for most all of them the chain was kept analogue.  Another superb one worth looking out for is The Waterboys This Is The Sea.  

Also look out for the EMI Millennium Vinyl Collection series.  Again they tried to stick to an all analogue chain and well pressed in virgin vinyl.  These came with a heavy PVC folder-style cover. As well as the Lennon, I can highly recommend R.E.M.'s Document from this series.

SamS posted:
kevin J Carden posted:
Richard Dane posted:

Kevin, look out for the EMI Millennium vinyl reissue of Lennon's Walls and Bridges. Also, look out for the EMI 100 reissue series of Lennon's Imagine.  These were "analogue cut from analogue tape" and very nicely pressed on virgin vinyl. 

Well, whaddayaknow... I just discovered that I DO have a copy of this very disc Richard! I bought a bunch of Vinyl about 15years ago from a record collection that Graham’s HiFi had bought in from a customer going digital. A very pleasant surprise indeed. My 18month old Granddaughter is staying with us for the next few weeks, so the LP12 is locked away, but I’ll give this Millenium reissue a spin after that.

Kevin - If you happen to find an EMI 100 of Bowie - Hunky Dory in there, then you hit the jackpot. Beautiful sounding re-issue and considered superior to originals. 

Quite expensive now.

 

Sadly not Sam. However, That’s one crucial album that I do have a nice copy of ; an original Orange label RCA. Owned for more than 40 years, it’s been heavily played and has many ticks and pops, but still a great experience to play 

kevin J Carden posted:

Sadly not Sam. However, That’s one crucial album that I do have a nice copy of ; an original Orange label RCA. Owned for more than 40 years, it’s been heavily played and has many ticks and pops, but still a great experience to play 

In the end Kevin, that's all that matters. I am constantly delighted by records I pull off the shelf that haven't seen light in decades, yet still manage to make me smile when they play.  

Back on thread - there is a small reissue label in the US called Intervention Records who have been doing some very fine sounding work. The chap who runs it, Shane Buettner, is very committed to the task and can be found on a somewhat dedicated thread over on the Hoffman forum. The catalog is small but growing, and everything he touches is done with great care. I have Joe Jackson - Look Sharp, I'm the Man and Night and Day and there is a definite improvement on the originals, particularly in the 1st 2 titles and most notably in the bass which really highlights what great playing was on these records. Night and Day  is perhaps not as large an improvement - in fact my bog standard CD of that sounds pretty good but the reissue is welcome nonetheless. 

I also picked up the Murray Head, Nigel Lived  more out of curiosity than anything else as it had been referenced in the recording engineer, Phil Brown's book Are We still Rolling. It is indeed interesting, and perhaps a bit more of its time, but sound-wise (field recordings etc.)  a treat. My previous knowledge of Murray beginning and ending with his role as Judas in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' - an album I have owned for 40+ years that still gets an airing every year around Easter (much to my family's chagrin).

Other titles such as those form Judee Sill also get high praise but I had to draw the line as they are expensive to get into the UK unfortunately. 

Thanks Sam. I took a look at the Intervention Records website. I’d happily pay the disc prices for those two Stealers Wheel records, but postage is virtually the same price as the records. Shame, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to go there yet. But I will remember it for a potential future purchase. They are fabulous albums...

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