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candyflip

Japanese Vinyl Pressing Malarkey

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Japanese vinyl pressings.

 

Some love 'em, some hate 'em.

Which camp are you in?

 

 

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I'm on the plus side.

OBI won't make it sound better though.

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3 minutes ago, eman said:

I'm on the plus side.

OBI won't make it sound better though.

Are you sure???   😛

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I have always found the pressings to be good quality, but that could be because only the better ones get exported.

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Geinoh Yamashirogumi sample @ 0.12 from the album "Ecophony Gaia"?

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2 minutes ago, Tubularbells said:

Geinoh Yamashirogumi sample @ 0.12 from the album "Ecophony Gaia"?

Ummm...yes?

🤪

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I haven't got a lot of Japanese pressings but the ones I have are all excellent, so I guess that puts me in the love camp.😍

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I have around 60 plus Japanese pressings.  They are very good IMO.

 

EMI standout as being the best, or one of the best.  OBI is really only about resale value.  I prefer to buy a release with the OBI, but only for that reason (the resale value is always higher - not that I’ve sold any)

 

if you want a good example, Paul McCartney - give my regards to Broadstreet. Silly little Love songs is high SQ

Edited by scuzzii

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4 hours ago, aussievintage said:

I have always found the pressings to be good quality, but that could be because only the better ones get exported.

I doubt Japan has Australia's backward mentality when it comes to exports.....ie: exporting the best overseas and depriving the locals.🙄

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2 minutes ago, stevoz said:

I doubt Japan has Australia's backward mentality when it comes to exports.....ie: exporting the best overseas and depriving the locals.🙄

Yeah, but I didn't mean it like that.  Probably more that local resellers here and around the world, only want the good ones, so there's no market.

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4 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

Yeah, but I didn't mean it like that.  Probably more that local resellers here and around the world, only want the good ones, so there's no market.

Ah, I see what you mean.....👍

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total malarkey, not my first choice for a great sounding pressing.

 

japanese pressings are my last resort, when i can't find a good us, uk, eu etc.

 

they are beautifully made, flat vinyl in nice thick jackets, often quiet but mediocre sounding compared to a good original country pressing.

 

eg. my aus pressing of men at work, veteran of too many parties, still blows the jpn pressing away.

 

 

ps.  back in the early 1980s The Absolute Sound magazine had a special report on The Strange Sound of Japanese Imports.

       i might still have the issue, will see if i can get a scan for you guys.

 

Edited by michaelw

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On 06/11/2019 at 6:37 PM, michaelw said:

total malarkey, not my first choice for a great sounding pressing.

 

japanese pressings are my last resort, when i can't find a good us, uk, eu etc.

 

they are beautifully made, flat vinyl in nice thick jackets, often quiet but mediocre sounding compared to a good original country pressing.

 

eg. my aus pressing of men at work, veteran of too many parties, still blows the jpn pressing away.

 

 

ps.  back in the early 1980s The Absolute Sound magazine had a special report on The Strange Sound of Japanese Imports.

       i might still have the issue, will see if i can get a scan for you guys.

 

I hear what your saying and from what I've heard over the years, I concur......although in my case, I have only two Japanese LP's, 'The Swing'  INXS and 'Rio' by Duran Duran. The Swing is dynamic like you wouldn't believe.....it really thumps and sounds divine! On the other hand, 'Rio' is detail personified but does lack some dynamics.....I can see that it could fit that Japanese reputation for 'dryness' but I sill enjoy it immensely.

My take is there's probably more Japanese pressings that sound good than there are that sound bad.....but certainly not all are 'ideal'. Personally, while I'm fine with UK, US, German and even Australian and Canadian 1st pressings, if I can find a Dutch 1st pressing, I'll go for that. I think Holland should have the 'bees knees' reputation for LP SQ.....IME, they always offer a consistently high standard of mixing, lacquering and pressing and the results are always stunning!👍

Edited by stevoz

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1 hour ago, michaelw said:

pss. as promised scan from The Absolute Sound  

 

the strange sound of japanese imports tas24 dec81.pdf 5.73 MB · 2 downloads

Although I didn't read it all, mainly just the first few pages then the conclusion, that seems to be a pretty good assessment of the pro's and con's of Japanese pressings.....technically perfect but across the entire frequency spectrum, not always tonally balanced and as such, musically imperfect.

 

For emotional music involvement and everything consistently in the right place.....I say go Dutch👌  (then UK, German or US😉)!

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The Japanese press of 'Love Over Gold' is often held up against any other stock country copy as the pinnacle, at least in somewhat audiophile-like online forums I have visited.

It looks very pretty indeed.

 

When compared to the US 1st press Bill Kipper mastered OG, or especially against the Aussie '301 Studios' (Maxicut) locally mastered copies, it pales.

My experience only.

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I didn't realise the local BIA pressing was a Maxicut. I want this album on vinyl and that opens up things nicely.....always impressed with Maxicuts.....especially of local acts where Don Bartley is involved.👍

I will search for an Oz pressing of this then.....

 

PS: Oops....wrong album! 🤪

Edited by stevoz

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hi steve,

i have a jap. rio too - ems-91037 its squeaky clean and lacks the liveliness of my nz copy.

dutch pressings ?

yeah, nah - good quality, on par with the germans but the sound tends to be overly smooth.

 

candyflip;

yes see love over gold frequently mentioned.

also the sony cbs pink floyd the wall - that one i would love to hear,

all copies of the wall i've heard have been noisy, including the first press uk i bought last year - fantatsic sound but noisy noisy noisy.

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@candyflip I see on Discogs that there is three Australasian issues of the 'Love Over Gold' LP listed from 1982 and they all have the same catalogue number (6359 109)....but it is only the third one listed that has any hint of Maxicut mentioned and that is only in the notes/credits where it says "lacquer cut at EMI Studios 301" and "lacquer cut by Allan Parsons" (not of 'Project' fame!) and on the run out matrix where "AP 301 - MAXICUT" is etched.

 

This would make it very hard to identify and purchase an Australian maxicut 'Love Over Gold' without actually checking the LP's runout matrix first......unless all the Australasian listings are actually Maxicuts......and for some reason it's only mentioned on the third listings notes and runouts?😕

Edited by stevoz

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Very interesting forum discussion on the Australian EMI Maxicut process here at Steve Hoffman forums from over ten years ago:

 

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/emi-maxicut-record-mastering-vinyl-cutting-process.102348/

 

....including this post which contains a letter from the man, Don Bartley himself, explaining the Maxicut process and why/how it came into existence:

 

Ok, so I wrote to Don Bartley and he has replied :righton: What a nice guy! This is what he had to say about Maxicut:
 

"As most mastering engineers at the time knew the Neumann cutting system was designed around stereo classical music and it's natural phase / level relationship, in other words as the stereo orchestra played loader there was an equal increase in the ambient out of phase information.

The Neumann lathe would see this increase in level and phase (particularly the bottom end) and adjust the depth and pitch of the groove to accommodate the modulation of the signal, avoiding "light" grooves and "groove jumping" on playback. However the Neumann system was not user friendly to loud rock / pop music etc. whose bottom end signal was practically mono, resulting in the lathe maintaining a constant depth groove no matter the level of the signal. This resulted in what was classified by the pressing plants as a "dangerous" cut that would "groove jump" on cheaper playback systems. So most engineers did something to overcome this problem.

Prior to my days at EMI I was mastering records for RCA Sydney and developed a system where by a phase shift was introduced to the bottom end of the lathe control signal resulting in a level to depth relationship resulting in a "safer cut". The clever people at EMI decided to re-design the control circuitry of the Neumann lathe and replace one the PC boards with their own "Maxicut" board. This created a sensation and engineers around the world were peering into their microscopes to see what was going on.

By the time I joined EMI in 1980, "Maxicut 2" had been introduced, a more refined version and the one we used throughout the eighties and into the nineties. "Maxicut" was definitely the best and most transparent solution to what was an annoying problem with the Neumann cutting system and I believe there was a patent on the design however I'm not sure if "Maxicut" was adopted by any other users."


So there you have it! Mystery solved.

There is also some interesting posts by Otto Ruiter, who was a mastering engineer at Studios 301 in the early 80's and extensively used the Maxicut system.👍

 

Edited by stevoz

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a modern, better tracking cartridge would make those "dangerous cuts" playable today,  revealing sonics that listeners back in the day never dreamed of.

 

witness the resurgence of those classic 60s records like the rca living stereo and mercury living presence series.

 

those "safer cuts" may not be the best sounding ?

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2 hours ago, stevoz said:

@candyflip I see on Discogs that there is three Australasian issues of the 'Love Over Gold' LP listed from 1982 and they all have the same catalogue number (6359 109)....but it is only the third one listed that has any hint of Maxicut mentioned and that is only in the notes/credits where it says "lacquer cut at EMI Studios 301" and "lacquer cut by Allan Parsons" (not of 'Project' fame!) and on the run out matrix where "AP 301 - MAXICUT" is etched.

 

This would make it very hard to identify and purchase an Australian maxicut 'Love Over Gold' without actually checking the LP's runout matrix first......unless all the Australasian listings are actually Maxicuts......and for some reason it's only mentioned on the third listings notes and runouts?😕

A couple of us wrote to Don in that thread, and we all got answers, which was great.

See Page 4 of that thread for a head-to-head on 'Making Movies'.

And Page 5 for a list of other Maxicuts to chase!.....

A lot of the mastering engineers also drop in for a chat in later pages, so read the whole thing is my advice!  :) 

 

Yes, there are three 'LOG' listed currently, but I know from buying a stack of them over the years that there are more - I just couldn't be bothered listing them up on Discogs.  :) 

 

The one you want is an Allan Parsons (cursive 'AP') Maxicut II (also etched in the deadwax).

 

And yes, you can only identify them by checking the deadwax yourself (or asking your seller to do so) before you buy one.

Which is why you'll see me travelling this planet, slipping vinyl carefully and quickly out of there covers, before I buy a single copy of anything. Most people who chase mastering will do the same - we are all on the hunt for that elusive great copy of all kinds of titles.

In Australia's case, we are lucky to have a world class edition available of 'Love Over Gold' (with some hunting), mastered and pressed locally, that stands up to the very best around.

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36 minutes ago, candyflip said:

In Australia's case, we are lucky to have a world class edition available of 'Love Over Gold' (with some hunting), mastered and pressed locally, that stands up to the very best around

Same with that Sgt Peppers that was mastered at EMI 301 back in 83 I think and was sold at the Sydney HiFi show. The rarest Sgt Peppers and apparently the best of the lot.

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1 hour ago, candyflip said:

A couple of us wrote to Don in that thread, and we all got answers, which was great.

See Page 4 of that thread for a head-to-head on 'Making Movies'.

And Page 5 for a list of other Maxicuts to chase!.....

A lot of the mastering engineers also drop in for a chat in later pages, so read the whole thing is my advice!  :) 

 

I just finished reading the whole thread.....wow, talk about THE definitive Maxicut thread. The posts by those Aussie mastering engineers were enlightening indeed. Great stuff!👌

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Currently spinning Eagles The Long Run Japanese pressing for the first time and it sounds fantastic.  Better than my USA & Australia pressings - which aren’t bad at all.  This pressing has great balance top & mids but the bass shines beautifully which is not always the case with some Japanese vinyl I have. Have original Hotel California Japanese pressing to compare later today with my UK, USA originals and the lauded Ken Gray pressing (fantastic).  
Recently picked up Japanese pressing of Simply Red’s Picture Book - I have Aussie & USA pressings as well - the Japanese pressings just bursts out of the speakers - sounds amazing in comparison. Great sound.

My Japanese pressings of Stones Some Girls  & It’s Only Rock n Roll awfully thin compared to US pressings.

Love the Japanese jazz vinyl I have.

Pays to do research.  When you get it right you get great sounding records on super quiet vinyl, usually at good prices from the best sellers in the world.  The grading, packaging and service from Japanese sellers is great.

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