Author Topic: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters  (Read 7237 times)

drone on

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I guess I'm obsessive when it comes to sound quality of CD pressings.  I've spent countless hours on the Steve Hoffman forums, where posters debate the various versions to the point of insanity.  Lately I've noticed how superior the sound is on the early Japan issues.  Case in point is the Pink Floyd material from the early 70s like Meddle and Dark Side of the Moon.  Last night I bought a 1984 japan issue of DSOTM  for $7.95.  It's by far the best I've heard compared to many versions I've heard previously.  I know collectors are big on these.  Anyone know why the Japan quality is seemingly superior?   

I've also found the UK discs mastered by Nimbus in the 80s and 90s are superior to the US versions and subsequent remasters. 

Am I imagining this or do I have dog like extra sensory hearing?


         

LNerell

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2015, 06:03:22 PM »
Hard to know if you are imagining it or not. Early CDs that were reissues of old classic albums sounded different from region to region mostly because of the master tape  used at the time. What would happen is a master recording is made at the studio (I am talking analog tape here). After that the master tape was then copied several time. Due to the nature of analog tape if you make a copy of a copy the quality of the sound goes down. Some times several generation of copies were made which where then sent to different parts of the world where they would then make vinyl masters from those copies. When CDs first hit the market in the 1980s, they would take those same tapes and would use them to make the CDs. So, depending upon where the original master was  kept, one version of the CD would sound better then the rest.  As an example The Who's album Who's Next the US version was considered the best sounding CD at the time because the original master was used instead of a copy of it. On the opposite end Jethro Tull's album Aqualung, the original US version was considered one of the worst sound CDs issued because they used a copy of the master that was several generations below the original.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

Scott M2

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2015, 11:18:46 PM »
I know when I used to buy Japanese vinyl pressings, they would often sound like very different masters. ie: Pink Floyd's Meddle had overwhelming bass, as I recall.  If they use those vinyl masters, as Loren was saying, then the CDs would share their character, better or worse.

jkn

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2015, 02:23:08 PM »
wow - Loren - that was wonderful information.
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drone on

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2015, 09:23:15 AM »
Yes,thanks for the information!

I did notice the Floyd discs were more bass heavy, but I like it this way.  I wonder if the people who collect Japan issues do it for sound quality reasons or just plain collecting.

Scott M2

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2015, 01:03:40 PM »
I was always searching for the best sound. The Japanese Floyd (that I bought) were not it for me.
My favourite DSotM was the British Quad pressing which had the most solid bass (and heartbeat). I wore that out even though I had no quad system.

Now I have a quad system and the BluRay of DSotM with both the newer James Guthrie 5.1 and the original Alan Parsons Quad mix - and no pops or crackles.

Heaven!

Paul Vnuk (Ma Ja Le)

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 06:24:21 PM »
Hey Drone On, do you post at Hoffman often? Just wondering what handle / screen name you use there?

My hobby has also expanded to collecting and comparing different masters as well as new hi-rez releases, although I am often cautious about those. Sometimes they offer little over the original cd and other times they are amazing and revelatory.
"I liken good ambient to good poetry ... enjoyable, often powerful, and usually unpopular" APK

LNerell

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 06:56:47 PM »
Now I have a quad system and the BluRay of DSotM with both the newer James Guthrie 5.1 and the original Alan Parsons Quad mix - and no pops or crackles.

Heaven!

You must have the Immersion Box Set (not related to Mr. Roach  ;D). I was thinking about getting that, is it worth it for the surround sound mixes?
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

drone on

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2015, 10:12:44 AM »
Paul,

No I don't post at Hoffman, just read.  Can drive you crazy when everyone is adamant their favorite CD pressing is the best. 

Scott M2

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2015, 01:20:37 PM »
Now I have a quad system and the BluRay of DSotM with both the newer James Guthrie 5.1 and the original Alan Parsons Quad mix - and no pops or crackles.

Heaven!

You must have the Immersion Box Set (not related to Mr. Roach  ;D). I was thinking about getting that, is it worth it for the surround sound mixes?

I have the DSotM and WYWH Immersion boxes (The Wall box did not contain any surround mixes.) I definitely found them worthwhile for the surround mixes and each set contains both the original quad mixes and newer James Guthrie 5.1 mixes to compare and contrast. As for the rest of the content, each box contains a corresponding live set from 1974 which are interesting and enjoyable and the DSotM box has a CD with some interesting out takes like the Travel Sequence (replaced by On The Run) and an early rough Parsons mix of the album. There's visual odds and ends too, such as Concert Screen Films, live tracks and a doc. DSotM has one more disc.

As for the rest of the detritus: the books are good, coasters OK, DSotM marbles surprisingly charming and I was pleasantly surprised when my wife said she'd grab the scarves and wear them at school. (She teaches high school.) Other than scarves, all the junk resides in the boxes. The CDs have been ripped for my iPod and the BluRays inserted into old DSotM and WYWH CD cases and placed into my surround shelf for easy access. I love being immersed in these albums. WYWH is my personal favourite album for SOYCD alone.

The prices on Amazon often seem to dip, which helps offset the regular high price, but they "may" be getting scarcer. Also investigate Amazon.ca to take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar.

LNerell

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2015, 01:36:38 PM »
I definitely found them worthwhile for the surround mixes and each set contains both the original quad mixes and newer James Guthrie 5.1 mixes to compare and contrast.

Thanks for that, I just ordered Dark Side Immersion, looking forward to hearing all the mixes and stuff.  :)
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

LNerell

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2016, 02:45:05 PM »
Well a bit off on a tangent but I just got my copy of Dark Side of The Moon Immersion box set. I love the new 5.1 mix, everything is so clear. I gave the quad mix a listen but it's not quite as good, I haven't listened to the rest of the CDs yet. Not sure why they included all that other stuff, I guess they included the marbles in case you already lost yours from years of listening to Brain Damage?   ;D

Oh well, going to enjoy this one for a while, I'll probably get Wish You Were Here as well at a later date.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

drone on

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 03:51:49 PM »
On my immediate wantlist of the Japan CD pressings is David Bowie's "Heroes," because I listened to the 1999 remaster last night in my car and it's just horrible.  The volume is cranked to 11 and crazy on the compression.  Just really unlistenable.  I originally had it on cassette in the mid-80's and then I believe I had the early CD back then too.  I'll have to go after the Europe or USA discs from the 80's on RCA that were made in Japan.  These are supposedly the best versions.  But my "Scary Monsters" 1999 remaster sounds very good.  The volume is cranked but not to the level where it ruins the sound, which is overall very good.   

cvac

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Re: Early Japan CD pressings vs. everything else including recent remasters
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2016, 08:29:21 PM »
There is a certain amount of collector fetishism for "rare" CDs and especially anything from Japan. Sometimes there are sound quality related merits to this, sometimes not. There are plenty of older "rare" discs and fancy newer Japanese CDs pressings that have the same exact mastering as a more common/cheaper issue from somewhere else. You have to do your research and not rely on hyperbolic comments on audiophile forums that have no basis in fact.

The one thing about the Japanese CD market I like is that many times albums that are long OOP will be reissued in Japan but nowhere else. When that happens I will sometimes hop on CDJapan and place an order. The prices, even with overseas shipping are a lot more reasonable than what domestic sellers charge for these discs.