Back on Black: LED ZEP 1-3

Available on preorder through Music Direct and Acoustic Sounds. Remastered by Jimmy Page on Atlantic label. The fact they are available packaged with a CD is kind of a red flag for me. Hopefully they are sourced from the best available masters, and there is NO NO NO digital in the chain. Slab weighs 180 grams, $24.99 US!
Jimmy Page also remastered Mothership and there was a huge diff in SQ
between vinyl and the compressed CD. But with these new releases there is
also a hirez version available. (But costs more)
From Rolling Stone article:

Page first announced the reissues in November 2012. Each album will come out as a deluxe edition that he told Rolling Stone would include "added sonic and visual thrills." Page explained that he intended the reissues to include alternate mixes of the band's songs, as well as concert recordings that were never officially released. He also said that the albums will sound much better than the versions now available. "The catalog was last remastered 20 years ago," he said. "That's a long time. Everything is being transferred from analog to a higher-resolution digital format. That's one of the problems with the Zeppelin stuff. It sounds ridiculous on MP3. You can't hear what's there properly."
Mothership is compressed? Uh, I don't think do. What would Jimmy Page hope to achieve? Do you think he caved to corporate big shots? Lol
Way ahead of you :)
I've pre-ordered "1".
It's available as a single or triple album.
Triple album shown here :-

The others are single or double.
Jimmy Page intends to release the rest of the series after these 3...

Best regards,
"Mothership is compressed"

The CD.
I pre-ordered the deluxe versions of I-III, largely out of curiosity. I already have multiple pressings of these albums, including for the first album, the 74 Piros/Monarch as well as the Classic 45; for LZII, the vaunted 'RL' ss/narrow side two deadwax pressings, and the Classic of III. The best pressing of LZI that I've heard is a '69 first press from Monarch, not easy to find, though the Piros cut is very good, and removes some of the sluggish, closed-in sound that I always associated with this album (which is my favorite of all the Zep records). II has so much primitive processing going on that it is hard to say what's 'natural' sounding- the RL is simply the best I've heard. The Classic pressing of III is regarded as one of that label's better efforts; none of these are audiophile recordings, but it is still worth trying to find the best sounding copies you can. That's why I'm willing to throw a few bucks toward these newest pressings. We shall see....
Useful info Whart - many thanks.
We shall see, indeed :)

For the ultimate Led Zep fan.
Lowrider57 wrote,

"The CD."

I heard you the first time. I totally disagree. Sorry about that.
Still not in any Blu-Ray format?
Page must be saving that for Christmas...
I shall stick with my Classic records led Zep reissues.

I doubt they will sound better than these
Downunder- I tend to agree, although I may give just one a try. I am well stocked on the Classic too. I have 1/2/4 on 180 gr + the 200 gram box w/ 1/2/3/4 and he Stairway 45.
Sure wish I sprung for the 45 box when it was available.
For giggles I compared my std pressing of 2, cat. # SD19127 with the 180G Classic. According to Discogs the std press is a First Press. I usually prefer Std pressings, but not here. The Classic is much more fleshed out, and open. Really not even close. I was going to take out my 200G Classic, but I wasn't up for it tonight. Classic did a great job. I have never heard the RL or a First UK, but I'm real happy w/ the Classic.

the Stairway 45rpm is supposed to be superb. I am envious of that.

I have the Classic 1,2,3,4 and PG. No need for me to search anymore:-)

enjoy yours :-)
IMO, it is safe to assume that remastered from the original masters really means, a digital remaster of a 24 bit copy of the original analog tapes. I see no evidence that they are using the analog master for this reissue and cutting a lacquer from the remastered (in analog) master tapes. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Nothing is going to beat the CR issues which were mastered from the analog digital in the chain.
Looks like there's 5 "versions" for the first 3 coming this spring:

Super Deluxe Edition 3LP + 2CD + Download
3LP Deluxe Remastered Edition
Super Deluxe Edition 2LP + 2CD + Download
2LP Remastered Vinyl
Remastered Vinyl

The 3LP sets include live concerts but as most folks know LZ were a horrible live act. Downright deplorable. So that one is not for me. The "Super Deluxe" 3LP sets with CD and 70 page hard cover booklets is of no interest to me either.

The 2LP Remastered Vinyl (previously unreleased audio, bonus LP) look good. As do just the orig re-releases (1LP) with orig cover art (which as with all reissues the cover art is never as good as the original releases). Hopefully the outer sleeves on all these re-issues will be real cardstock and not some cheap pressed paper imitating card stock. Not to mention the lame gatefolds these days that when you close grab the inner LP sleeves making removal a PITA.
the bonus material is ho hum
1 new track and 3 outtakes

no Hey Hey What Can I Do bundles with the III second disc

hopefull they do a good job and maybe the Classics Records prices go down some

if they mine the outtakes on Physical Graffitti
"Swan Song" early "In the Light" that will be worth buying
"Remastered from the Original Master Tapes by Jimmy Page and Pressed at Pallas In Germany."

Since the word "analogue" is never mentioned, I agree with Rockitman. But were the analogue tapes ever used for reissues/remasters?
I thought Jimmy Page said this is the first time the original tapes have been digitally remastered since twenty years ago. That would seem to suggest this will be a new digital remastering of the original analog tapes. Am I missing something?
Lowrider- Siddh, in a posting above quotes from a Rolling Stone article that describes these as mastered from hi-rez digital and I have seen other articles that say the same. For what it's worth, though I am pretty much a dyed in the wool analog guy, I have heard digital mastered vinyl that has actually bettered original analog pressings; one example that comes to mind is the Steve Wilson remix of Tull's Benefit- I have a first UK press, a first US press and both are murky, closed-in sounding. The Wilson version is far more revealing without sounding strident.
As to other Zep remasters done all analog, I'm sure the Classics were, as Rockitman indicated; there were also many older reissues and remasters, including, for LZ1 the Piros one I mentioned (which is really good, circa 1974); the old MoFi of LZII (which isn't bad). If you go to Discogs, you can see dozens of reissues by country that were done back in the day before digital become prevalent.
We did a shoot-out of LZI at my house last year which included a UK first pressing (not the turquoise lettered cover, but same matrix numbers), the first US (I think a Presswell) and a first US pressed at Monarch. The last one had far and away more drive than the other two. (At the time, I only had the 33 Classic of LZ1 so we did not compare it to the 45 Classic, which I only acquired later).
I haven't heard the 45 Classic of LZII but FWIW, the 'RL' is far 'hotter' than the other early US pressings of that record.
I'm offering this, not because I purport to know everything Zep, but because I have spend some time and money comparing and buying pressings of these. (And yes, the 45 of Stairway is very good- you can find it out there- I bought a test pressing last year).
Don't ask me about Aqualung, another one of those records that just isn't a great recording to start with, thus driving me to buy an almost endless number of different pressings in search for the best sound.
Geoff, not sure where that leaves Mothership, which was probably a digital remaster, not of the entire catalog, but certainly within the last 20 years.
I have the Classic box with 45 rpm Stairway, but am still curious about these. But the lack of info is staggering. No mention of analog mastering, why 2 LPs of each album unless they are either: 45rpm (no mention), one sided (no mention), or very widely tracked for possibly more dynamics (no mention). Anyone know why each LP is on 2 LPs? Obviously the third LP is the extra stuff.
The 2nd LPs are unreleased companion audio which include studio outtakes of songs from each of the studio albums as well as previously unheard compositions...

The 3rd LPs are live concerts that more than likely are embarrassing i.e. hard to listen to - really for completists...
I think I'll go for the new 180 Gram pressings to replace my worn-out 1970s Atlantic LPs. I hope these can reproduce the bass-slam of Bonzo's kick-drum better than the Mothership sessions did.

On a different note,
The consensus is that the Classic releases have the best SQ, but is anybody familiar with "The Complete Studio Recordings," remasters, Atlantic/1993 ? Are these CD only or was vinyl released?
JKarczmit- if you look at the descriptions on Music Direct, the deluxe LP version of LZ 1 is three LPs, two of which are out-takes or previously unreleased material. LZII and LZIII are two LPs each, and the description says the second LP in each is the previously unreleased stuff. No suggestion of 45 rpm or one sided pressings. I think we already read that these were taken from digital files.
Low, as to the Classics being the best representation, not sure. I own several, including the 45 rpm set of LZI, as well as the 45 of Stairway, along with a 33.3 of LZIII from Classic. Haven't heard the 45 of LZII, but would be surprised if it has the impact of the 'RL.' As mentioned, the best pressing of LZI I've heard was a first press by Monarch that I haven't been able to source; the one much loved among Hoffman devotees is the Piros 74 remaster of LZI (which I do have) and it is very good.
I'm not dumping on these newest releases- I've already pre-ordered the deluxe editions and will see how they compare to the many pressings I already have. (And, as I may have mentioned, I'm not absolutely against digital re-do's- the Tull Benefit on vinyl (UK track list) with the Steve Wilson remix sounds better to me than my first UK and US pressings, though that album was very muddy). If these prove to be good, they will be a bargain, given the cost of the Classic 45s and some of the early original pressings.
I'm ok with digital remasters, but only if the original analogue tapes were used at some point to create a new master using modern equipment. Then they can keep remastering as digital technology evolves.
My 1969 Atlantic Zeppelin is MINT.
Had classic records copy and decided to keep an original.
Check out Fremer's Analogue Planet site for a full diatribe on this upcoming LZ reissue disaster.
Im still waiting for MusicDirect to send me the Grateful Dead SACD I "pre-ordered" in early December.

I find nothing on Analog Planet about these upcoming reissues. Are you relating something you've actually seen or making a prediction?
Son, scroll down a few articles on the home page and you'll see M. Fremer's piece re the Zep reissues.
Somofjim... Go to Analogue Planet Home page and scroll down 3 articles/blogs. It is right there.
I was never that impressed production wise with early Zep Lps...IMHO they didn't hit their stride till Physical G. which sounds amazing on my original LP copy...and the 90s CD sounds pretty darn good as well...Mothership was well done...and a quantum leap over the early period material...I was under the assumption that zep 1-4 were to soon follow...but I am intrigued by the upcoming releases to say the least.
There is so much speculation going on even on the Analog Planet website.
In creating a new master from analogue tapes, the end result is still a HiRez digital file. Then that file is sent to the record cutter. Just because it's a digital file doesn't mean it will be compressed for CD, as long as the RIAA specs were followed, then I see no problem in cutting a record.

If the anonymous source is correct and the vinyl reissues were cut from digital sources, then we're talking about a less than stellar product.
Same argument surfaced about AC/DC LP reissues years ago...whatever the verdict...I opted for a couple to complete my collection as clean, quiet originals are hard to locate...probably due the same with Zep.
Phase- agree about the production quality being lackluster. These are not 'audiophile' records. That's why, in my estimation, fans who are into sound quality are on a constant, almost futile quest for the best sounding copies. The 'RL' of II is killer, despite the heavy use of effects and tape loops in the production where you can hear generation loss. LZ1 always sounded 'canned' and 'closed in' to my ears, although the Monarchs (and the Classic 45) improve on it. I don't listen much to the other albums, though i have some 'good' copies. The Classic of III has decent sound (i forget which side sounds better).
Obviously no substitute for good music...I will start with 1 and IV, as these are the most in need of sonic. Improvement...I don't have the famous RL of II...but my copy is quiet and acceptable...ditto for III...after that houses, PG, presence, etc sound pretty decent on orig Lp...
IV has always been a muddy mess until the Classic version...but that had very little bass in my sysytem
Thanks. No idea how I missed that. Based on what I read there I cancelled my pre-order for these reissues. I may try one later but if they turn out like the Beatles did recently they're just not necessary.
I'm surprised to hear some people think "Mothership" sounded good. To me it was unlistenable. It was mastered ridiculously low and sounded so anemic an Enya record would have more kick and dynamic drive. I found it impossible to bear a full side the many times I attempted to give it another and yet another try. I ended up getting rid of it.
Actusreus...Whenever I've voiced my complaints about Mothership, I appear to be in the minority of opinion.
When listening to this boxed set, I always have various copies of the Atlanic releases to use as a baseline; they are no high-quality sound achievement, but I can hear the cohesiveness of this great combo as I remember them.

The good...the Mothership remaster has almost none-existent tape hiss, air around the instruments, Plant's voice sounds very clean; IOW, they did a great job cleaning up these old recordings. But where is the deep soulful bassline, and where is the thunderous boom of Bonzo's 26" kick-drum ... it's gone. I don't mean to turn this into a review, but it lacks dynamics. I would rather hear some tape hiss in lieu of a lifeless recording.

That's why I was looking forward to these new releases in the hope that they reproduce that LZ monster sound.
If u were dissapointed with Mothership then I would probably pass on these Zep reissues...all others...enjoy the excess of riches....
Mothership rules!
I had high hopes for sound quality of the new versions until I read Analog Planets take on it.

Mothership is on the shelf behind me, never play it due to sound quality. It's amazing to see some people here saying it sounds good. Mine sucks big time.

I will wait until Analog planet does the reviews on them before wasting more money on inferior recordings that could have had great promise.
It's amazing to see some people here saying it sounds good.

I'm not sure why there is such disagreement regarding the SQ of Mothership. Everyone on this forum has a good ear for high quality sound; could it be that the people who grew up with LZ and know their sound intimately know that Mothership's sound does not do them justice?

In my case, I was in a drummer in my teens in the 1970's playing Led Zep covers. I had a drum kit with a 24" kick drum, 2 floor toms and I learned every trademark lick that Bonham was known for.
I will also wait for the reviews to come in for these rereleases
Ah man, reading Fremers article on these new releases made me cancel my preorders... Its for the better. Waiting now is the hardest part
Yeah, I'm gonna wait for the reviews too. Professional and consumer alike. I already have original US pressings of the whole catalog so these would really have to knock me for a loop in order for me to buy them.
With reviews pouring in across the interwebs - the conclusion is unanimous - the new LZ reissues are not worthy of purchase on vinyl.
That's true, but I still had to hear it for myself. Wanna buy my Zep 1? They do serve their purpose if someone doesn't want to hunt down a nice std pressing! Then of course, the dlx versions contain the extra songs. All that said, I am glad they are selling, and making the analog world prosper. Just wish they were all analog.
I read the reviews, but I went and bought 'III' anyway based on what I heard at HDTracks and Spotify. I like it better than my original. I am very surprised at this, really.
Mmm- I'm sure there are many different sounding Originals, 1st press, 2nd press.... I can't comment on the NEW Zep 3, because I only have Zep 1. Glad you are enjoying it.