Japanese Mini-LP Obi CD's -- Audiophile Quality?


Hello all,
My comment/question is concerning with those often called "collector" CDs imported from Japan as Mini-LPs often including an "obi."

Now I have no question that the CD cover & artwork is REALLY nice and almost always above typical & audiophile CD stuff. The "obi" I could really care less about but some folks like and are willing to pay for. And lets not forget that these things are EXPENSIVE, as far as CDs go.

OK, so the real question is are they worth it??? Are they remasters from the original masters? Are they realy considered audiophile grade or is all this just MARKETING junk.

I have mixed thoughts of my own - some are great, some are comparible to Wal-Mart, some are overly remastered to the point of loosing warmth.

So, the next question is: if there is so much difference from one to the next -- what are the realible high quality producers/labels?

Cheers
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&policy=eyjlehbpcnkioje1mtm2nzq3mzisimnhbgwiolsicmvhzcisimnvbnzlcnqixx0%3d&rotate=exif&signature=6c4a3f329537c55602740ae0cb6226949b8ece60df2bddd199956c008882cb35&w=128grateful
Long ago the japanese discs were the only CDs that were sure to be remastered from the master tapes. And they sounded better than most american CDs. This is no longer true. The price difference is based on the exchange rate more than anything else.

I own many (approx. 100, most purchased direct from Japan) of these CDs and there's no definitive answer to your question. Many of the CDs are excellent but not all. Most of the Blue Note releases sound superb. The recent Santana CDs sound excellent (Abraxis, III, Caravanserai). The Bruce Springsteens I thought sounded harsh although the second half of Greatest Hits sounds great. The gold Pat Methenys sound wonderful. So to a great extent sound quality on these is a crap shoot. The prices reflect the higher cost of CDs in Japan to begin with plus all related costs to get them here etc.
I agree, although there are many titles which are only available as remasters from Japan. For instance, I'm a big YES fan (I know, beat me hurt me). The Anderson, Bruford Wakeman Howe CD available in the USA is a terrible piece of flat garbage, but the Japanese remaster is wonderful! Space! Shimmer! Actual bottom end slam!
So if the title is only available remastered in Japan, I always go for it. Haven't been burned on that yet.
Conversely, the Japanese "Kind of Blue" doesn't hold a candle to the USA remastered version. It's compressed, flat and impossible to listen to. It IS quiet though. Go figure.
How will you know the diff? Beats the heck out of me, although reviews on Amazon.com, Tower and other sites can be helpful in this respect if you wade through them and find someone who comments on sound quality.
Good luck!
the manufactured quality of cd's varies wildly(and dvd's too) from plant to plant. many of the mini lp's sound better, even though the masters are the same. their relative value for many though is the attention to detail(packaging is becoming a lost art), and the fact that their numbers are limited. they are in most cases as good of a pressing as you are likely to find.in a hobby where we overspend on equipment as a rule, there's nothing wrong with insuring the best software is collectable too.
I appreciate the comments. And I full agree with you, Jaybo - I definately have no problem with paying top $$$ for great "software" I would be dead if my wife knew what I have paid for some of the rare ultradisc's I have.
the only problem i have with the minis is there are too many to buy. i have a friend with over 600 jazz releases....i'm not brightest guy, but thats a lot of coin. its like building a model railroad

In many cases the mini LPs are only produced for the first run of a re-issue then further runs are cased in standard jewel case packaging. At least this has been the case with many that I've purchased such as the recent Steely Dan, Jackson Browne and Santana CDs. So the mini LPs are probably the same quality as the later issues of the same titles.
I just received this email from artist-shop.com. You will need to email Gary Davis at list@artist-shop.com to order any.

Hi, folks:

I just got a special sale notice from my import distributor. All the titles
below are Japanese mini-LP sleeve editions (except for those marked 12 X 12
which are CD's packaged in full sized LP sleeves), but are going for gem
case prices!

Due to the exchange rate, most Japanese mini's retail between $30 - $40 or
even higher. Two thirds of the titles below are UNDER $20! And the rest
just a couple dollars above that! These prices are only listed in this
newsletter and are not to be found on the website. Be warned, though, that
these prices are only good on the distributor's existing stock. This sale
could last a few days or it could last just a few hours! So get back to me
immediately with the titles you want!

Thanks,

Gary

ADAMS, BRYAN CUTS LIKE A KNIFE (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
ADDERLEY, CANNONBALL CANNONBALL ADDERLEY QUINTET IN CHICAGO (JPN LP SLEEVE)
(GOLD CD) CD $18.95
AEROSMITH DONE WITH MIRRORS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
AEROSMITH PERMANENT VACATION (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
ALPERT, HERB/TIJUANA BRASS LONELY BULL (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
ALPERT, HERB/TIJUANA BRASS LOST TREASURES (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
ALPERT, HERB/TIJUANA BRASS SOUTH OF THE BORDER (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
ALPERT, HERB/TIJUNANA BRAS WHAT NOW MY LOVE (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95

BADFINGER DAY AFTER DAY (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
BEACH BOYS ALL SUMMER LONG (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
BEACH BOYS LITTLE DEUCE COUPE (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
BEACH BOYS SURFIN SAFARI (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
BEASTIE BOYS LICENSED TO ILL (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
BLACK WIDOW BLACK WIDOW III (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
BRAXTON, ANTHONY TOWN HALL 1972 (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95

CAN SOON OVER BABALUMA (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $16.95
CAN SOUNDTRACKS (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $18.95
CAN UNLIMITED EDITION (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $18.95
CARPENTERS NOW & THEN (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
CIRCUS CIRCUS (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $20.95
CLAPTON, ERIC 461 OCEAN BOULEVARD (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
CLARK, GENE WHITE LIGHT (+5 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
COLOSSEUM LIVE (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $27.95
COREA, CHICK PIANO IMPROVISATIONS V.1 (JPN LP SLEEVE) (LIMITED EDITION) CD
$18.95
CREATION PURE ELECTRIC SOUL (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $19.95
CYRKLE RED RUBBER BALL (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $17.95

DARIN, BOBBY LOVE SWINGS (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $21.95
DAVIS, SPENCER GROUP GLUGGO (+5 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED)
CD $20.95
DAVIS, SPENCER GROUP LIVING IN A BACK STREET (+12 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP
SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $20.95
DELIRIUM DELIRIUM V.3: VIAGGIO NEGLI ARCIPELAGHI DEL TEMP (JPN LP SLEEVE)
(REMASTERED) CD $21.95
DELIRIUM IL GIARDINO DEI SEMPLICI (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $22.95
DELIRIUM LO SCEMO EL IL VILLAGGIO (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $21.95
DENNY, SANDY LIKE AN OLD-FASHIONED WALTZ (+4 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE)
CD $17.95
DENNY, SANDY NORTH STAR GRASSMAN & THE RAVENS (+4 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP
SLEEVE) CD $17.95
DENNY, SANDY RENDEZVOUS (+5 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
DONOHUE, DANE DANE DONOHUE (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $17.95

EAGLES HOTEL CALIFORNIA (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $16.95
EMBRYO STEIG AUS (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $17.95
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER IN CONCERT (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER WORKS VOL. 1 (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $22.95
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER WORKS VOL. 2 (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
EMINEM EMINEM SHOW (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
END INTROSPECTION (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $17.95
ENO, BRIAN MORE MUSIC FOR FILMS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95
ENO, BRIAN MUSIC FOR FILMS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95
ENO, BRIAN THURSDAY AFTERNOON (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95

FIRE MAGIC SHOEMAKER (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $24.95
FOGELBERG, DAN/TIM WEISBERG TWIN SONS OF DIFFERENT MOTHERS (JPN LP SLEEVE)
(REMASTERED) CD $15.95
FOGLI, RICCARDO RICCARDO FOGLI (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $22.95
FREEDOM IS MORE THAN A WORD (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $24.95
FREEDOM THROUGH THE YEARS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $22.95

GARBAREK, JAN SART (JPN LP SLEEVE) (LIMITED EDITION) CD $18.95
GERRY & THE PACEMAKERS FERRY CROSS THE MERSEY (+16 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP
SLEEVE) CD $20.95
GIBBS, MICHAEL TANGELWOOD 63 (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $19.95
GLEASON, JACKIE MUSIC TO CHANGE HER MIND (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
GURU GURU GURU GURU (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $17.95

HACKETT, STEVE PLEASE DON'T TOUCH (+3 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
HADEN, CHARLIE MAGICO (JPN LP SLEEVE) (LIMITED EDITION) CD $18.95
HARRISON, GEORGE ELECTRONIC SOUND (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
HOLLAND, DAVID/BARRE PHILLIPS MUSIC FROM TWO BASSES (JPN LP
SLEEVE)(REMASTERED) CD $18.95
HOPKIN, MARY EARTH SONG, OCEAN SONG (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
HOPKIN, MARY POST CARD (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95

IGGINBOTTOM IGGINBOTTOM'S WRENCH (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $18.95
IT BITES BIG LAD IN THE WINDMILL (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $18.95

JACQUET, ILLINOIS SWING'S THE THING (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $17.95
JADE WARRIOR RELEASED (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
JAM IN THE CITY (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
JAPAN OBSCURE ALTEMATIVES (JPN LP SLEEVE) (LIMITED EDITION) (REMASTERED) CD
$16.95
JARRETT, KEITH BELONGING (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
JARRETT, KEITH RUTA AND DAITYA (JPN LP SLEEVE) (LIMITED EDITION) CD $18.95
JARRETT, KEITH/GARY PEACOCK/JACK DEJOHNETTE STANDARDS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE BLESS IT'S POINTED LITTLE HEAD (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
JONES, ELVIN JAZZ MACHINE (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
JONES, ELVIN VERY RARE (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
JUDAS PRIEST BRITISH STEEL (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD
$15.95
JUDAS PRIEST METAL WORKS 73 - 93 (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $21.95
JUDAS PRIEST PAINKILLER (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $16.95
JUDAS PRIEST POINT OF ENTRY (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED)
CD $15.95
JUDAS PRIEST PRIEST LIVE! (+3 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD
$21.95
JUDAS PRIEST RAM IT DOWN (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD
$16.95
JUDAS PRIEST SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE)
(REMASTERED) CD $16.95
JUDAS PRIEST TURBO (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $16.95
JUDAS PRIEST UNLEASHED IN THE EAST (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $15.95

KALEIDOSCOPE TANGERINE DREAM (+3 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED)
CD $18.95
KUHN, STEVE MOSTLY BALLADS & MORE (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95

MANCINI, HENRY BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $18.95
MANN, MANFRED EARTH BAND GLORIFIED MAGNIFIED (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP
SLEEVE) CD $21.95
MANN, MANFRED EARTH BAND GOOD EARTH (+3 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
MANN, MANFRED EARTH BAND MANDRED MANN'S EARTH BAND (+3 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP
SLEEVE) CD $21.95
MANN, MANFRED EARTH BAND MESSIN (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
MANN, MANFRED EARTH BAND NIGHTINGALES & BOMBERS (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP
SLEEVE) CD $21.95
MARLEY, BOB & THE WAILERS CATCH A FIRE (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
MARLEY, BOB & THE WAILERS ON THE PITCH (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
MAY BLITZ MAY BLITZ (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
MAY BLITZ SECOND OF MAY (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
MOTLEY CRUE GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95
MOUSE LADY KILLER (+4 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95
MR FOX GYPSY (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $20.95
MR FOX MR FOX (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $20.95

NOMI, KLAUS KLAUS NOMI (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
NOMI, KLAUS SIMPLE MAN (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95

PLASTIC PENNY TWO SIDES OF A PENNY (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS 50,000,000 ELVIS FANS CAN'T BE WRONG (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS BACK IN MEMPHIS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS CHRISTMAS ALBUM (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS DATE WITH ELVIS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS ELVIS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS ELVIS IS BACK! (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS GOLDEN RECORDS V.4 (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS HOW GREAT THOU ART (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS LOVING YOU (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS NBC TV SPECIAL (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS ON STAGE: FEBRUARY 1970 (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESLEY, ELVIS RECORDED AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
PRESTON, BILLY ENCOURAGING WORDS (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
PRESTON, BILLY THAT'S THE WAY GOD PLANNED IT (+3 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP
SLEEVE) CD $20.95
PRINCIPAL EDWARDS ROUND ONE (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
PUENTE, TITO TAMBO (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $18.95
PUENTE, TITO TOP PERCUSSION (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $18.95

QUEEN DAY AT THE RACES (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $20.95

RACCOMANDATE RICEVUTA RITORNO PER UN MONDO DI CRISTALLO (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD
$22.95
RAINBOW COTTAGE RAINBOW COTTAGE (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95
RANEY, SUE NEW & NOW (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $20.95
RUNNING MAN RUNNING MAN (+1 BONUS TRACK) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $24.95

SANTANA, CARLOS BLUES FOR SALVADOR (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
SANTANA, CARLOS HAVANA MOON (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
SANTANA, CARLOS ILLUMINATIONS (& ALICE COLTRANE) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
SANTANA, CARLOS LOVE DEVOTION SURRENDER (+1 BONUS TRACK) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD
$16.95
SKIN ALLEY TWO QUID DEAL (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $24.95
SLAYER LIVE UNDEAD (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
SMITH, STUFF HAVE VIOLIN WILL SWING (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
SOUTHER, J.D. YOU'RE ONLY LONELY (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $16.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE 18 TRACKS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE BORN IN THE U.S.A. (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE GREATEST HITS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE GREETING FROM ASBURY PARK NJ (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE HUMAN TOUCH (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE IN CONCERT/MTV PLUGGED (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE LUCKY TOWN (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE RISING (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
SPRINGSTEEN, BRUCE WILD THE INNOCENT & THE E STREET SHUFFLE (JPN LP SLEEVE)
CD $15.95
STARR, KAY ONE MORE TIME (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $20.95
STRAWBS FROM THE WITCHWOOD (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $17.95
STYLE COUNCIL CAFE BLEU (12 X 12 JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $19.95

TIPPETTS, JULIE SUNSET GLOW (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $21.95
TRIOSENCE AWAY FOR A WHILE (JPN LP SLEEVE) (REMASTERED) CD $21.95
TROY, DORIS DORIS TROY (+5 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95

VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR LEAST WE CAN DO IS WAVE TO EACH OTHER (+2 BONUS
TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95

WATANABE, KAZUMI DOGATANA (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
WATANABE, KAZUMI TO CHI KA (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $15.95
WILKERSON, DON ELDER DON (REMASTERED) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
WINTER, PAUL JAZZ MEETS THE BOSSA NOVA (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $16.95
WYMAN, BILL BILL WYMAN (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
WYMAN, BILL MONKEY GRIP (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95
WYMAN, BILL STONE ALONE (+2 BONUS TRACKS) (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $18.95

XTC BIG EXPRESS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
XTC DRUMS & WIRES (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
XTC GO 2 (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
XTC MUMMER (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
XTC NONESUCH (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
XTC ORANGES & LEMONS (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
XTC WHITE MUSIC (JPN LP SLEEVE) CD $20.95
I recently received a Music Direct e-mail newsletter with a sale on allot of Japanese mini lp cds. As mentioned earlier I think some will sound better but I also think you need to value the packaging and collectability.

http://www.musicdirect.com/japaneseminilpcd_2.asp