They were just released today. I'm waiting to hear as well.
110 responses Add your response
I'm still waiting for mine to be shipped, even though I pre-ordered them (Deluxe vinyl, with the extra tracks) back in March. There are several threads on the Hoffman site going now, including one specifically for each of the formats. As the Rockitman knows, I have quite a few pressings of these, and have compared even more.
On LZ 1, the Piros/Monarch circa 1974 is very, very good; the best pressing I heard on my system was a Monarch pressed in 69, but hard to find. I also have the Classic 33 and the 45. The 74 era Monarch should be findable for under $100. We did a shoot out last year with first UK, first US (east coast) and first US (Monarch) and the Monarch had more of the 'freight train' delivery associated with the 'RL' of LZII. I haven't had a chance to compare the 69 Monarch with the 74 Monarch.
On LZII, i had to go through several 'RL's' to find one that wasn't chewed up. It's pretty impressive because of its 'drive'- the notorious 'hot' cut that got pulled from the market. I have not heard the 45 rpm Classic and have a few other old copies- the RL, which is my 'go to' is quite expensive.
On LZ III, my go-to is a Classic III, which is pretty good for this record, given the acoustic stuff and midrange. I haven't bothered to try early UK and US, though I probably have some US copies languishing in the stacks.
LZ IV- can't remember, think it is a Piros, but would have to check. Not very expensive. I do have a Classic 45 rpm test pressing of Stairway- it's fun.
HOTH- if I remember this is the other 'RL'- and not expensive.
PG- I have a sort of first UK (albeit with a "5" stamper on the B side of the first record). The earliest UK pressing is expensive (I think it is 1/4/1/1) but the 1/5/1/1 stamper copy is not very pricey.
I'm not against sourcing from a digital master. If you are a Tull fan, you know that Benefit is very congested sounding- I have a UK first, a US first and a bunch of other copies. The recent remix by Steve Wilson (if memory serves) sounds better than either and it is digitally sourced.
Whether these new releases are the 'best' may be doubtful, but for the price, and given the fact that finding the right copies of the old pressings is somewhat time consuming, if not expensive (and the Classics are also expensive), I was willing to buy these just for the sake of hearing them.
(I'm really into the first two albums, after that, my interest wanes).
Just go to Hoffman's site- there's a ton of comparisons there with all sorts
of pressings of Zep and other things. I've barely scratched the surface, and
I'm hardly an expert, on Zep vinyl or other records- just done the research
and listened. (I have a friend that knows matrix numbers and first pressings
off the top of his head- I'm not anywhere close to that level of knowledge).
(Occasionally, I get lucky too!)
I've found that the albums I buy the most pressings of are
those which aren't terribly good recordings in the first place. I can't tell you
how many different pressings of Aqualung i have (i could, but it would be
embarrassing); all in the quest to find one that sounds 'good.'
Zep 1 is probably my favorite of their catalog, first heard it when it was
released, and for me, that combo of blues-based hard rock was the most
interesting to me- granted, other people like other Zep albums as the band
evolved. Unfortunately, to me, the first album always sounded a little
congested, sluggish, and lacking in 'life' and vividness. But, when you hear
a better sounding pressing, you realize it doesn't have to be that way. None
of these pressings get to the level of 'audiophile' (in the non-pejorative
sense of the word). The Classics, imo, give you a more open, detailed
sound; the Monarch Piros of LZ 1 seems to have more drive. The RL of II is
a well-known grail record- pretty pricey even for a VG+ and elusive as hell
in really minty condition.
That's one of the reasons I'm interested in these newest remasters. Not
everybody is going to go to the trouble to track down the 'right' old
pressings, or pay the prices some of them (the LZII RL) command, and the
Classics aren't really cheap either. But, dig in, the research is actually kind
of fun if you are patient; and if you are a bottom feeder, you can sometimes
find some of these early pressings in the bins or on the Bay.
They are all digital transfers from what I read online, which to me is an automatic disqualification. Weird to hear someone bash the classic records version, I thought it is universally accepted that they are the best thing since sliced bread. By the time I became smart to them they were over $150 a piece and rising so I backed off(Stupid). Originals, Oh Yeah Plum label...I would love to have I-IV original first press.
Seems like there is 2 camps, the classic records guys and the original guys. Classic = faithful to the tape NOT the first press, but the tape is old now. Also dead quiet vinyl. Despite being quiet I heard they are also hit or miss on quality from that label (No fill, Off center spindles etc..). Originals = I have yet to hear a dead silent first press, they all tend to be a bit noisey, but they were made when the tapes were FRESH. I can understand both camps.
The thing I do not understand it why Page decided to put digital into the signal path, very disappointing. My Guess is that it will not be too much longer before other reputable audiophile companies put it out as well. I am waiting for the next good press, and though I have not heard it yet. I think this aint it.
Much like Bruce Springsteen's output in the 70's, these were mastered to sound good on a car radio, but not much else. Who can blame them, given the kinds of home stereos that were in usage back then? Hearing these recordings on modern, highly resolving audiophile systems make this even more obvious. Remastering and reformatting can only go so far with those mediocre recordings.
The thing I do not understand it why Page decided to put digital into the signal path, very disappointing.
I take it you mean why didn't he use the original analogue tapes rather than using digital files/digital tape to create a new master. Possibly because it is a monumental task to pull the analogue sources and who knows what condition the tapes are in, or if they are even archived. Or the reason could be budget constraints.
We were lead to believe that "Mothership" was to be a great remaster supervised by Jimmy Page, but was only a remix from digital masters. I'll give them credit for eliminating tape hiss and using minimal compression, but in no way sounded like an original LZ recording; no bass slam, no soul.
I'm with Dfel pretty much, but reality is quite simpler than that. I'm far away from being audiophile, but crazy meloman and collector where I'd always hunt for original releases anywhere I go or dig.
Page isn't alone and most of the artists create digital transfer out of the old tape. 30th Anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon had been pressed out of the hi-rez digital file and sounds as superior as ever. There's some of the advantages for sure.
Classic records releases have lower sound level transferred to pickup vs. originals and lots of audio information is simply LOST compared to originals obviously having the fact of old master tapes.
Creating a digital file normalizes the audio information substantially closer to the original recording of more than 40 years ago and therefore it's nowdays the right way to build reissues and remaster.
Good luck and happy tunes to those who ordered and waiting to hear!
I'd be surprised (and delighted) to see uber quality all analog vinyl remasters of these, but I doubt that will happen for several reasons.* While vinyl has been enjoying a 'bump' it is hardly a determining format; leaving aside the condition of the tapes and who has them (I would assume for the stuff mastered in the States, that's Atlantic), there is little incentive for the label to do yet another release-even if it is a high end analog release- on the heels of this big push. (Hell, I even saw advertisements on cable TV for these). If they were done at all, I'd think it would have to be at the hands of a third party, like Chad. And assuming he could strike a deal, the cost of the master licenses would probably be insane.
Dfel- other than the RL of LZII, I think you can find good original or early pressings for less than astronomical prices. And based on what I've heard on my system, I wouldn't assume that the UK pressings are necessarily the 'best.' Finding copies that haven't been munched by grotty old tone arms is a challenge but you are more likely to find 'all analog' this way.
*PS I'd love to be proven wrong.
The 30th Anniversary of Dark Side does sound spectacular. Possibly the finest Redbook I've ever heard.
All the record labels had to use the analogue tapes to create masters for the first generation of CDs in the 80s. So I assume that now they are all using digital workstations to create these new masters. Digital technology has come a long way since then.
As one who was hesitant I'll say I'm pleasantly surprised by these reissues. For more than comprehensive comparisons I would also recommend the Hoffman forum. Suffice it to say that I enjoy these a lot more than the scratched up originals and early reissues typically available. They've made these albums fun and readily available at a reasonable price again. Digitally sourced or not, that's a success in my book.
I'm not trying to stir up trouble; everyone hears music differently and each opinion is valid, but this user review has convinced me to order the new LZ I-III.
I picked up a used copy of Mothership for a song last year, mainly because I was underwhelmed by my OP copies of I-HH. Mothership vinyl was flat & quiet, which gave it a nice nod in listen-ability over my crackle-n-pop presses, but the sound was a bit dull overall. Not terrible, but not exciting.
Technical talk of waveforms and the presumed mastering process aside, there are literally hundreds of accounts so far from people who are actually listening to these discs and are thrilled. At some point, you have to admit that counts for something. There are places I wish maybe I heard a bit more bass extension or more defined highs but this music really was never intended for critical nit picking playback. The overall presentation is very enjoyable and many have compared it favorably to Classics, UK Plums and even the RL II. If someone visiting my house wants to hear some Led Zeppelin from now on these are likely what I'll pull out.
The original tapes masters are analog to start with. They have the most dynamic range. When files where made a/d to make cd versions the sound was compressed and normalized, killing the dynamic range amongst creating other problems. The LP's are far more dynamic than the CD's. In fact the CD's are completely unlistenable, imo. They sound like dog doo.
That is true, the CD player has more dynamic range potential than a record player. The issue is the music. CD's in general are so far squeezed (compressed & normalized) LP's generally will have better playback dynamic range. It's as simple as that. Records sound better than CD's. Perhaps you should start another thread if you wish to explore the issue further....and let's not forget how the A/D conversion kills the spatial integrity of the analog master music...ie Soundstage and image focus, micro detail. I have many cd's. Given the choice of the CD version or vinyl...Vinyl wins every time.
On topic, based on the mostly positive reviews and feedback, I've ordered LZ II. I look forward to giving it a listen and adding my 2 cents. Thank you all for yours.
Off topic, I 100% agree with you Rockitman. For my ears, vinyl simply crushes cd and digital almost every time, given the pressing was well done etc. The only exception I've experienced, and I'm sure there's others, is "Who Are You". 5 lps and all of them sound horrible while the cd sounds pretty good, go figure :)
Now I only use digital, which for a long while was my only source, as background music and any serious listening is done analog. An incredibly fulfilling transition.
CDs sound great; until you hear a good vinyl set-up. On paper, vinyl should have died out with the b&w picture tube television set. Spec sheets are tailored to the product that is being marketed. CDs have better dynamic range, better S/N, zero wow&flutter on paper. Vinyl sounds better. Maybe its like in the movie, The Matrix; the matrix kept failing because it was a perfect world. We want something less than perfection, or just maybe the spec sheets are not comparing the right parameters. It definitely helps when a record has a dead quite background. I wonder if that's why some of these new reissues sound better- quieter background.
"CDs sound great; until you hear a good vinyl set-up." Maybe so, on the other hand I can make the statement, vinyl sounds great until you hear a good CD set up. Did you know that in 2001 Stereophile's Mike Fremer, the uber vinyl dude and author of the long standing Analogue Corner column in Stereophile, made the observation that of the five best sounding systems at the show that year four were digital systems?
Imagine how good those 4 systems would have sounded with vinyl front ends.
I have heard HD Audio files. Those have the potential to beat vinyl. If that format survives, I could go there one day. HD Audio, what I heard had the full dimensionality of vinyl and the quiet, perfect presentation of digital. After hearing some HD Audio tracks on a top end system and then going back to CDs, the images felt like flat cardboard figures and the soundstage was smaller.
I find it amazing just how good the sound we can get out of vinyl and how that horse has stayed in the race this long.
Guys: don't you think the endless debate over CD v vinyl is not only beside
the point here, but moot, given that with these reissues, you can pick your
format- vinyl, CD, Hi-Rez?
Czarivey- were you actually serious that you thought this newest LZ1
reissue sounded worse than a cassette? Did you buy a copy and listen to it
on your system?
DGarretson- was there a point you were trying to make here, more
generally, about original issue v Classic remaster since in a thread about
Zep reissues, you stated that you don't even like Led Zep and were
referring to another band altogether?
This place is a madhouse.....
I am a little leery about the digital editing so I will wait to purchase. BUT a friend has purchased them and will bring them over this weekend I hope. We will put them against the originals including ZPII RL and the classic record releases, also including the 45 box set. I just hope Page did not mess with the drum effects Bonham wanted on the albums