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mondie

Collecting early production CD's - my perspective and some photos.

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l was a pretty early adopter of CD when in 1984 at the age of 14 l bought my first CD player. Back then CD's were very expensive, $25 for a single and $50 for a double. Discounts were non existent for the first few years and some tittles hard to get. l liked the sound of CD's and set my heart on getting my favourite artists of the time on CD - Dire Straits, AC/DC, Midnight Oil, Eagles, Pink Floyd etc. Universally they all sounded great on CD and l preferred them to my then basic TT setup.

As time went on l continued to buy CD's but sometime in the early to mid 90's l started to wonder why a lot of the CD's l was buying did not sound as good as my earlier ones bought in my teens. l reasoned that it must have been because pre 1987 all CD's were either made in W.Germany or Japan. l started to seek out CD's made in those countries rather than the local Distronics stuff of the time. Sometimes l got a better sounding CD, other times l didn't. Of course today l know what was going on, it was down to the mastering of the CD and not where it was made.

Recently l have started collecting early CD's after discovering there is a whole wealth of collectors and information on early CD pressings (yes l know, but the term works!) The various early CD's have been tagged with names to represent the label designs used at the time. Targets are what l have mainly purchased, so named because the label looks rather like a sight or Target. These all sound great, some exceptionally so. Targets are the earliest CD's made and are believed in many cases to contain the original vinyl master. Some are very collectable as they not only represent the early history of CD but sound marvellous, like CD could sound if commercial interests & the loudness wars had not got us into the sonic mess we are in these days. Even though l was buying CD's early on l never once bought a Target new.

l have heard SACD and own a few XRCD's. l can say that without a doubt these early CD's wipe the floor with XRCD. Its not the RBCD format that's the problem, but what happens in the studio.

Anyhow, here's a few pics of some of my collection. And before anyone asks, vinyl is still my SQ preference but seeking these early CD's can certainly close the gap significantly. In fact researching various pressings of your favourite CD's and then hunting for the best masters can reap much more sonic benefit than many HiFi upgrades, and the same applies to LP.

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By far the best sounding Target is Queens Greatest hits. not surprisingly it was also the hardest and most expensive to find. l recall a mate who owned a copy of this l used to borrow as a teenager that sounded amazing too, must have been a Target...

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The Queen CD is so early in CD production that the smooth sided case even has "Pat Pending" stamped into the case

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A couple of smooth sided cases, some but not all early CD's used these cases. Much stronger than the modern crap that cracks at the first sign of impact.

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My early W.German Dire Straits CD's all bought new in the mid 80's, these are known as orange swirls, they are also available as targets but have identical mastering and are much easier to come by these days

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This is a very early pressing of Brothers in Arms, the matrix code is 07 apparently meaning it was in the 7th batch ever made. Sounds great, l wonder how it compares to the many re-releases available these days.

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Another early CD bought in the mid 80's, these too are very collectable and known as "atomics"

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My original early AC/DC CD's all pressed in Japan for the Oz market, universally great sounding.

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Early Floyd - The Wall was the 2nd CD l ever purchased in 1984. $50 was alot of money back then, its now very collectable and sounds brilliant, second only to Queens GH.

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Lastly a few examples of other early CD's.

Cheers,

mondie

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After talking about this last week with you and the others I certainly can't wait for my next trip to my local CD-Vinyl place to search for some of these. Gees! I just realised that i might even have some in my collection, I haven't looked, although I was a fairly late CD adopter

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l was a pretty early adopter of CD when in 1984 at the age of 14 l bought my first CD player. Back then CD's were very expensive, $25 for a single and $50 for a double.

Had nothing on us poms. £20-£24 for a single CD. :party

Nice to have some of those old discs though!

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Nice little stash there Mondie!

I too was buying cd's from the beginning and, having only recently rediscovered my music collection,

was pleasantly surprised at the number of early japanese and west german cd's I have.

I have Targets of Rickie Lee Jones : ST and The Magazine; The Eagles : Hotel California; Stevie Nicks : Bella Donna;

Phil Collins : Face Value and The Doobie Brothers : Minute by Minute. Plus a stack of other german pressings including those "Atomics".

Also have Billy Joel : The Stranger, japanese 35DP-2, one of the first 50 cd's pressed.

Is that Japanese "The Wall" the first Oz "Made in Japan" issue? If so could you tell me what your matrix says?

Mine is DIDP-10204 11A2 +++++, but according to

http://www.pinkfloydcd.com/WALL/JapanCDCBS88485disc1.html

the first release was DIDP-10204 11A3 +++++

Another thing I've found is that the DCC remasterings, done by Steve Hoffman, are also worth seeking out, some are very good.

Apparently you're just up the road from me, I'm in Coromandel Valley, so If you're interested we could arrange a bit of temporary cd swapping!

Cheers,

Trevor

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Hi mondie,

Good to see your collection and a great idea to share our treasures. :party

I have a few Dire Straits and my Brothers in Arm is exactly like yours, with 07 matrix code. However, I must say that the recording level is very low and dry on the original, the subsequent 20th anniversary reissue has much more dynamic headroom

Brothers%2BIn%2BArms%2B-%2BFrontal.jpg

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JCR,

Its nice to know that the 20 year reissue was decent. You are right most of the early CD's are low on volume, quite similar to vinyl unlike new stuff. For an unscientific example, The Wall on CD vs LP is about the same setting (21) For a new loud CD like The Butterfly Effect l cannot get much past 12 before l want to leave the room. However this low volume on the early CD's leads to excellent dynamics, way beyond anything you would ever get on a new release, unless done by a mastering engineer that cares about the sound, or is allowed to.

Had nothing on us poms. £20-£24 for a single CD. :love

Nice to have some of those old discs though!

Geez thats outrageous, "rip off" Britain goes back a long way :)

Is that Japanese "The Wall" the first Oz "Made in Japan" issue? If so could you tell me what your matrix says?

Mine is DIDP-10204 11A2 +++++, but according to

http://www.pinkfloydcd.com/WALL/JapanCDCBS88485disc1.html

the first release was DIDP-10204 11A3 +++++

Another thing I've found is that the DCC remasterings, done by Steve Hoffman, are also worth seeking out, some are very good.

Apparently you're just up the road from me, I'm in Coromandel Valley, so If you're interested we could arrange a bit of temporary cd swapping!

Cheers,

Trevor

Hi Trevor,

Yes l am just down the road in Bridgie, it would be good to catch up one day :party

My Wall CD is indeed made in Japan - Disc 1 Matrix DIDP-10471 11A4 & Disc 2 DIDP-10472 11A5. Most likley a little later than yours but l am not sure if the numbers were always chronological.

Cheers,

mondie

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Mondie is very dangeous to be around - Im now feeling and urge to colllect old CD's - ouch the hits from Mrs Thiing really hurt whn she sees another disc come into the house

You are bad news Mondie:love

PS having heard his Queen target CD during the week I can only say it rocks. We also tried a bad company LP vs a early bad company CD and the CD killed the LP pressing I owned. Chalk and cheese:confused:

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Mondie - interesting

Believe it or not I was an early CD adopter when I believed the marketing of " Perfect Sound Forever ".

I would agree on the quality of the early CD's - It was a bit like a hi end boutique SACD sound back in those days. I still remember Lloyd Cole and the Commotions album rattlesnakes - the only CD that sounded better than my Aussie pressing.

I thought the CD's at that time sounded clean and pristine but something was missing compared to my $120 Pioneer table. I was told by the then guru's in quite a few audio stores eg Seeto's store, Leisure Sound and Quality hifi that I needed a new pre amp and amplifier to handle the huge dynamics of perfect digital sound.

Anyway fast forward to Feb 2005, I still had about 2-300 LP's that I wanted to get to sound closer to CD's. I then walked into Riverina hifi and heard the Linn LP12. It sounded better than and music I had ever heard before. They guys then brought around the Linn to my seedy flat and played some of my records. I realised then that CD had been a big marketing con (for me at least) They then plugged in a naim nait and it absolutely crapped all over my Giant Yamaha pre and Power amps that I had to buy to handle digital sound.

To cut a long story short, within 3 months I had sold ALL my 65 CD's, CD player and Yamaha amps. The first and only time I have lied about why I was selling off the CD's and equipment. No one would have believed me in 1985 that I was going back to my turntable, so I said I was in debt and had to sell my hi fi .

The rest is history, and I am still in debt :love:party:)

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I must have been from an alternate universe then. All my early CD listening made me conclude that early recordings were atrocious. Yes they were generally more dynamic, but the quality of recording left me terribly cold.

Nevertheless, your collection looks fabulous.:party

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From memory, CDs made their appearance in Australia in 1983. I started buying CDs back in 1986 (or was it 1985?), when the prices of CD players had dropped significantly. I recall that the first CDs I saw for sale back then were priced around $20. Today's prices for new CDs seem to range anywhere from $20 up to $35, although there are the occasional lower priced releases. The prices of many CDs today seem unjustifiably high to me, especially in comparison to DVDs, which may be one reason for the drop in CD sales. (Also the reason why I spend a lot of time trawling through 2nd hand racks. Not only are they cheap, but I often come across titles that I don't see anywhere else.)

I also liked the way CDs sounded, especially in comparison to the vinyl copies I had of some of those recordings. It was so refreshing to be able to hear the music cleanly without the bugbear of surface noise (I know, my hobbyhorse - not trying to reignite an argument over which medium sounds best, but I still prefer CD over vinyl).

I had never come across those terms 'targets', 'swirls' and 'atomics', and didn't know the early releases were considered to be collectibles. Incidentally, I have a couple of the early Dire Straits releases, as well as the more recent re-issues, but I'm not convinced that the earlier ones are better sounding.

To me, collecting CDs is all about the music, and there are good and bad recordings from all decades. Many popular recordings were just not all that well recorded in the first place, and both the vinyl and CD releases suffer because of it. These days, though, my musical tastes tend to lie in other directions - Indian, African, Chinese and especially Irish music. Luckily, many of those recordings, being largely acoustic, don't seem to suffer from the so-called 'loudness wars' and there are many fine sounding releases around.

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The first cd I ever heard was a Vangelis album - Soil Festivities. I heard it on the first Mission cd player when they had just come into Oz. I tried buying Antarctica by Vangelis and was asked to pay $100!

I remember when all the cds came with nicely rounded and smooth edges...

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The first cd I ever heard was a Vangelis album - Soil Festivities. I heard it on the first Mission cd player when they had just come into Oz. I tried buying Antarctica by Vangelis and was asked to pay $100!

I remember seeing a copy of The Travelling Wilbury's Volume 1 CD in a 2nd hand rack, with an asking price of $75! I thought it was a mistake, but the guy at the counter assured me it wasn't. Had a look on the web, and sure enough, that was the asking price. Luckily their CDs and a DVD have now been packaged together and re-released at a sensible price.

I remember when all the cds came with nicely rounded and smooth edges...

Some were, some weren't. Depends which manufacturing plant they came from.

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Great story and pics Mondie. Have a number of those early releases here too. Didnt really gather that many though as I found pretty soon that I preferred to stick with the LPs. Only when Lps became hard to come by did my CD collection take off.

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Thanks Mondie for the info, i have a stack of these myself. I guess it is one of the benefits of being around when CD came out.

It probably explains why CD was impressive back the too.

Just think, now it is the reverse, LP made from CD masters.

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Very interesting Mondie.

I've just had a look through some of my second hand discs, I didn't start buying CDs until the early 90s, and I have that matrix 07 Brothers In Arms too. Well, I assume I have it, the number reads 824 499-2 07. Is that matrix 07?.

I'm off to give it a listen now.

Cheers,

Darryl.

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