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Alpine Electrocats

First Pressings

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I have been buying vinyl for about 50 years (and selling off stuff for only about 20 years). Only in the lastfew years did I become aware of first pressings, I discovered at the weekend that on of my promo LPs is a first pressing, so wondering if its going to (help) pay off my visa debt:)

https://www.discogs.com/buy/CD/Georgia-Satellites-Georgia-Satellites/962088666

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I thought first pressings were vinyl only -  I've learnt something today..

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First pressings of vinyl records (including promos) are considered desirable because the stampers are new and not worn.

 

First pressings/masterings of CDs are collectable by some because often the original mastering has retained the dynamic range of the original recordings.  Latter mastering often compresses the dynamic range, which is less desirable to audiophiles. 

 

However, it is not always straightforward.  Many early CDs were mastered from multi-generation tapes (or tapes with eq for record cutting), which have reduced audio quality (even though the dynamic range may be preserved on the CD).  Latter CDs may have been generated from lower-generation tapes, but are degraded by mastering fashion. 

 

The value depends on many things, and collector demand.  Early CD pressings with the so-called "target" design are very collectable, as the quality is considered to be excellent. 

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1 hour ago, audiofeline said:

First pressings of vinyl records (including promos) are considered desirable because the stampers are new and not worn.

and also because of the mastering...

 

There is a belief that the original mastering has a higher value, in some cases, for vinyl issues.

As mastering changes from country to country press, and from release to release sometimes within the same title (ie. later versions have different mastering engineers), then 1st vinyl presses have a perhaps perceived value that the 'original' mastering should be the best.

This is provably wrong in so many cases and really should be taken on a case by case basis, for vinyl.

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1 hour ago, candyflip said:

and also because of the mastering...

... in so many cases and really should be taken on a case by case basis, for vinyl.

Which makes our hobby so frustrating, for records and for CDs (and high-res media). 

It would be so much easier if record companies and mastering engineers did their job properly to high standards, and marketing people stop dictating poor production standards. 

 

I find it quite tedious trying to make sure my purchases are the better quality offerings, it would be much better to have confidence that what was sold was the best quality available.  But if that happened, I guess that a lot of people would think the fun of collecting would be diminished! 

 

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5 hours ago, Alpine Electrocats said:

so wondering if its going to (help) pay off my visa debt:)

If your Visa debt is $55 or under then yes it will! 😀

 

 

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On the subject of first pressings I just scored this Columbia ML4001 Mendelssohn Concerto in E Minor from 1948. Not the earliest sleeve which is worth more but close enough and seldom seen. This is apparently the first commercially released 12 inch long play record so I wanted it more for the the novelty value of owning one and it will go well with my vintage collection. I have been getting into mono first pressings of the Stones and Beatles lately so when this came up cheap I thought why not. Apparently it grades as very good plus so I am looking forward to a listen with my new mono Audio Technica cartridge. 

It may even be worth something some day.158790382_s-l1600(1).thumb.jpg.ccf270f72dac45941deeedd1807af0cb.jpg2036261263_s-l1600(2).thumb.jpg.68ba4f63c37d3903e7ccb0008c92c8c5.jpg

s-l1600 (3).jpg

s-l1600.jpg

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Not all first pressings. The green original pressing of Silverchair’s Frogstomp is notoriously unplayable. Luckily mine is signed by the band 😉 

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4 minutes ago, jakeyb77 said:

Not all first pressings. The green original pressing of Silverchair’s Frogstomp is notoriously unplayable. Luckily mine is signed by the band 😉 

Unplayable but signed, I must get one of those. 😉

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1 minute ago, awayward said:

Unplayable but signed, I must get one of those. 😉

Yours for anything north of $1000 😉

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Here is some interesting information on a very early Columbia pressing ML4001 that I found. Seems my copy is not one of the earliest ones but its still old at least. I lifted this info from the net and there is nothing like a history lesson. Early pressings are a mine field to work out what you have got.

Here is some info that I found

Columbia invented the Long Playing Microgroove record. The picture  is Microgroove 12-inch classical LP number one.  The Columbia introductory catalog of 105 classical and popular recordings, both 10-inch and 12-inch, was released on June 21, 1948.  The press demonstration was on June 19.  This edition of the blue classical label is the earliest.  The musical note and microphone logo to the left is the identifier for a record pressed in 1948-49.  The pop recordings used a similar red label.  Green was used for broadway shows.

Columbia ML4001, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor, Nathan Milstein Violin, Bruno Walter conducting the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York, Recorded: May 16, 1945, Carnegie Hall, New York City.; Original 78 rpm release: set M-577 (mx XCO 34739 -- XCO 34708). Original LP release: ML 4001; Session producer: Goddard Lieberson; Originally Released 1945; Mono recording, Bruno Walter Edition, SMK 64459

ML4001 was mastered direct-to-disc on 16-inch lacquer.  By 1949 magnetic tape was used for mastering.

The following is an extract from the Sony website (a few years ago): A Brief History of the Sony Classical Label.  This page has evidently been removed from the Sony website.


"In 1948, Columbia gained a formidable edge on its competitors with the introduction of long-playing 33-1/3 rpm records (in 10" and 12" formats), establishing a new industry standard that would hold for almost 40 years. The first 12" recording, released on June 28, 1948, and selling at a premium price of $4.85, featured violinist Nathan Milstein in the Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor with Bruno Walter conducting the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York; the first 10" 33-1/3 recording (selling for $3.85) featured Walter conducting Beethoven's Symphony No. 8
Billboard Magazine July 3, 1948 published the entire first release of Columbia Microgroove recordings.  ML2001, Beethoven's 8th, is number one in the list of 10-inch classical recordings.
Columbia began to master classical music at 33 RPM years before the first releases in 1948.  The 78s were mastered simultaneously with the 16-inch lacquer masters at 33 RPM.  The 33 RPM masters were shelved in anticipation of the planned release of the Microgroove LP in 1948.  RCA had released a long playing 12-inch vinyl record in the 1930s.  It failed because of excessive groove wear.  The available cartridges tracked too heavy for vinyl.  The RCA had a 1.5-mil groove.
The Columbia Microgroove LP introduced the 1-mil groove that was the industry standard until stereo converted to a .7-mil groove in late 1958.  Many Columbia classical recordings were released at the same time when ML4001 was put on the market.  ML4001 is technically number one because of the number.
The earliest blue labels were glossy.  The later blue labels were flat finish and continued until the new Columbia gray label was introduced in 1955.  There are several variations of the blue label.

The following is from High Fidelity Magazine, April 1976, Volume 26, Number 4.  An interview with Edward Wallerstein (1891-1970).
"
I insisted that our setup be built so that everything that was recorded at 78 rpm was also done at 33 rpm on 16-inch blanks. This gave Columbia a tremendous advantage over its competitors, who, when the LP finally appeared, were forced to make copies from their old, noisy shellac records for any material predating tape. RCA issued many of these old records with words of apology for their poor quality printed on the jackets. Columbia had masters of good quality going back almost ten years, and this made a great deal of difference in our early technical superiority................
 Columbia also had an advantage in that we were the first people in the U.S. to use tape for master recording. Murphy was one of the first to see a German Magnetophon tape recorder in newly liberated Luxemburg after the war. He quickly packed it up and shipped it back to CBS. Not long thereafter both EMI and Ampex came out with machines, and we immediately placed an order for both. By mid-1947 (see note below), we were using them and had discontinued direct disc cutting. The Ampex proved to be the better machine, so we sent the EMI machines back. Of the originally issued LPs about 40% were from tape originals".  (end of Wallerstein quote)

NOTE: mid-1947Columbia archival information indicates 1949 to be the actual beginning of taped masters being used in the manufacturing of records.  
The early Columbia direct-to-disk recordings may sound lifeless through solid state circuitry, but can have remarkable fidelity when played through vintage tube systems.  They were usually quickly worn out with the metal needle cartridges of the era.  The G.E. (some were diamond tipped) magnetic cartridge, introduced in 1946, was already on the market when the LP was released.  It is possible to find blue labels that are not severely worn.  The General Electric cartridge had enough compliance to play vinyl without damage, if the stylus was not severely worn.

4001label.jpg

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On 25/06/2019 at 2:46 PM, audiofeline said:

I find it quite tedious trying to make sure my purchases are the better quality offerings

I think it's all part of the hobby, finding that info sometimes can be tough then once you know the press your after finding that record can be even tougher. 

I keep a list of "currently searching for" albums with best press options on my phone, sometimes you can get lucky. 

 

Information is king @candyflip is a wealth of knowledge and if he tells me that the 2016 remastered press of Pink Floyd Meddle is as good as any then if I happen stumble on one I have some idea it's worth purchasing. 

 

Beware, people sell scratched first pressings, "it's all part of the nostalgia"

 

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Those Columbia’s are definitely rated highly by collectors, in some cases more than Deccas . Ever looked at that website, it’s something like cherish the music?

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16 hours ago, Powerglide said:

I think it's all part of the hobby, finding that info sometimes can be tough then once you know the press your after finding that record can be even tougher. 

I keep a list of "currently searching for" albums with best press options on my phone, sometimes you can get lucky. 

 

Information is king @candyflip is a wealth of knowledge and if he tells me that the 2016 remastered press of Pink Floyd Meddle is as good as any then if I happen stumble on one I have some idea it's worth purchasing. 

 

Beware, people sell scratched first pressings, "it's all part of the nostalgia"

 

You can get it at JB, as with all the other 2016 all analogue remasters of PF.

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50 minutes ago, furtherpale said:

You can get it at JB, as with all the other 2016 all analogue remasters of PF.

Just using that as an example.

 

Unless you have to, why chase the elusive "near mint" first press to be let down with a few annoying pops. 

 

 

 

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On 13/07/2019 at 2:32 PM, Powerglide said:

Just using that as an example.

 

Unless you have to, why chase the elusive "near mint" first press to be let down with a few annoying pops. 

Because otherwise you end up being let down by a warped, compressed record likely sourced from digital masters that could also have some noise despite being new. But yes, they are easier and most of the time cheaper than finding the right pressing from the right country.

 

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