Yes. Same impression, especially for 70s reprints of jazz albums I have. The
pressings by King, Toshiba, and Victor beat the US versions I have of a similar
age. Of course that's just me...
That said, some of it may be that Japanese people took better care of their
records once upon a time... The cost of a record in Japan in the 70s and 80s,
measured as a percentage of average monthly salary or disposable income,was
significantly higher than the US ratio at the time.
I have a huge collection of Japanese vinyl and agree. Most do sound better. I think it might also be because they used virgin vinyl or at least a better vinyl compound mix.
Hmm. Disagree in that some Japanese pressings don't have the "boogie factor" (such as King Analog or some of the early Japanese Columbia pressings of Stravinsky for instance. Half-speed mastered? Second Generations tapes? OTOH--as mentioned in a post earlier--Japanese "New Remix Masters" of Walter's stereo Brahms and Mahler sound infinitely better IMHO. I believe pressed in the '80's.
Quiet vinyl though.
just curious, what were LPs selling for in Japan?
I collect Japanese vinyl and yes, 90% sound better than my other pressings. I believe the vinyl used is superior, hold it to light and you can see thru it, the process used to cut the Lps, and that due to living space constaints, most were played once, taped and stored away.
Better quality vinyl. Smaller production runs off the master stamper. These two factors together mean that the records retain better reproduction. No big news here,but it does make a difference. My personal thanks to the Japanese for caring more about American Jazz when the original labels could give a rip because the profits were not big enough.
Sadly,it seems,the big Jazz boom in Japan is well past us now. Get those nice Japanese pressings while you can.
Let's hear some details on that store!
I have a japanese pressing of Blood On The Tracks that sounds shrill and sibilant in comparison to the domestic release. Just my 2 cents.
Agreed on Japanese records; almost always better. German vinyl can sound very good too by the way.
If you have the obi (or sometimes on the back side bottom right of the cover), you'll note that they ranged from roughly 1500 yen +/- a bit in the late 60s to 1800-2500 yen in the 80s. All media (books, magazines, records) had artificially high prices at the time because of a byzantine set of regulations and distribution practices which meant that costs were high so prices were high. Enforced capitalism with socialistic aspects.
How much were those LPs? I was in Tokyo about 3 years ago, and visited pretty much all of the disk union and audio union stores. I saw a lot of US pressing Jazz LPs but not too much of Japanese pressings. And the US presings were all over US$100. Most of my Japanese LPs sounded detailed, but somewhat leaner than their respective US presings. Less noise, but also not as full bodied. I am kicking myself for not picking up the Shelter 9000 cartridge at that time. The exchange rate was $1 to 105 yen. Now it's $1 to 80 yen. Guess we won't be going back to Japan any time soon.
Japanese Vinyl: mixed bag... sometimes better in some ways, sometimes not... mastered a little 'dry' and sometimes lacks inner detail and spacial information found on other pressings. Vinyl itself is better quality though. Some Jap. pressings have better treble extension, better detail, but usually still lacks soundstage depth... probably due to 2nd gen. master tapes used (?) ... also Jap. pressings sometimes a bit harsh and hard sounding, inner groove cuts are hashy distorted abit sometimes.. I find though, that Jap. pressings of early 60's recordings on Verve, Columbia, Impulse labels are clearer, cleaner, better treble, better detail... quieter background.
Albums at Disk Union range from 500 to 10000 Yen. There were some boxes with cheaper ones for 300 Yen, they call those "Dead Stock". I dive into the Dead stock and picked out a few good sounding Jazz LP. I always look into the cheap boxes first, even here in the USA, because I have found some real Gems in those boxes. Last year I saw a few albums at one of Disk Union Jazz Store for $1500.00. This time I went into Disk Union with a price range in mind, I did not buy any record over 1000 Yen. I bought mostly Jazz LP. Earlier this year I when I was there i spent up to 2500 Yen for records, not this time. But make sure you check out this store if you are in Tokyo. I also visited two other record stores in Tokyo but the records were too expensive. I was also in Singapore and picked up a few Jazz records. But the prices there are crazy. I Shelby Laine (spelling???) for $28 SGD. I know I could get it here cheaper but I got caught up in the shopping fernzy. In Singapore I also net Gabriel, the guy who invented the Zenn Record Cleaning Machine. He demo the prototype and I saw the real thing at another record store in a building called Adelphi. Google to get more details. I almost bought one for $450 SGD. They used it to clean some records I bought from them and it seems to work really well, but I still think the vacuum suction on a RCM like the Nitty Gritty I have, does have the edge over the Zenn RCM. What I like most about the Zenn is that it is very quiet, it make as mich sound as a small room fan. But of course, Gabriel told me that he used a fan motor in the prototype mentioned above.One more thing: Adelphi is a building that have many floors with High End Audio stores and record shops. Prices are high. Better deals here in USA.
I have quite a few Japanese albums and for the most part they sound better than US pressing. They have quieter backgrounds, the music sounds clearer and more crisp. I find the Gold Disks album releases sound about the best as far as Bass is concerned. But Pink Floyds The Wall has the most bass of any Japanese pressing I have heard to date.
I think Bass is minimized as much as possible because of the tight living condition of the cities in Japan, just my opinion BTW.
Also this may or may not be true. I heard but do not remember from who that vinyl for records in the US since the late 60's was from any old vinyl they could find. Car tops, flooring etc. They were melted down again with all the impurities to make records. Thats why the surfaces were getting noisier and noisier.
Japan made their vinyl for records from scratch.
I have a couple of Japanese and have heard more. They are usually better but not always,but that's life.
I have a Brubeck release called "Brubeck Gold". If you like "Take Five", you need to hear this version.Much more dynamic and much lower sound floor.I bought it online (not telling,not ebay)and they thing looks like it was in a fire. There is smoke damage on the cover and some of the vinyl looks discolored.That said it plays perfectly!
Yes .It is true.
In fact The same is true for the Japanese pressed SACDs and CDs too.
The German pressings are also much more superior than american ones
No doubt (from my own experience) that pressings are superior, but to me the sound is subtly more dull. Generally-speaking, t's not just Japanese (re) pressings, but Philips pressings of Columbia (Szell, Walter, Stravinsky) or German pressings of "Shaded Dogs." Enjoy, but proceed with caution. I'll take a few ticks or surface noise of domestic pressings along with the more immediate sound.
Adding to what Jdaniel says, German pressings of early EMI classical records also can't match up to liveness of British EMIs.