Led Zeppelin Classic Records 45 series -Am I nuts?


I couldn't help myself when I saw this new Classics Records Zeppelin set. 44 single sided records at 45 rpms! I've never spent so much money on albums in one shot. Classic Records put out the release below and describe the fact that the recordings are not remastered (you can get this stuff on remastered CDs) as a boon. Is this just becasue they couldn't get the rights to the remastered tapes or do you think they really are more desireable? I can still cancel the order. Anybody else reserve their set? I'm feeling a little more than silly since I got rid of my analogue rig a couple of years ago. I guess I'm hoping to set one up again soon?

From the site:
The Classic Records Led Zeppelin 45 rpm Box Set consists of 44 single sided 12" records housed in a special Classic Records Road Case. The titles include Led Zeppelin I, II , III, IV, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti, Presence, In Through the Out Door, and Coda with each spread out over either four or eight sides depending on whether the original LP was a single or double. These 45 rpm sides were cut at the same time as the 33 rpm discs and as such DO NOT represent a remastering that is different from the 33 rpm LP's approved by the Band. Further, there is no additional artwork or extra recorded material of any kind. Each title has an art jacket that is the same as used on the 33 rpm releases with the additional 45's in white jackets. Original label art by title is the same as used on the 33 rpm releases as well. All records are pressed on Classic's proprietary 200g Super Vinyl Profile for maximum playback fidelity. Since the mastering is exactly the same as the 33 rpms and the jackets and label art are the same authentic reproductions, why would anyone need the same material on 45 rpm discs? The answer is simple - you should be more kind to your cartridge by letting it play 45 rpm discs and reveal all the nuances that are nearly impossible to retrieve from a 33 rpm disc. The information in the grooves of these 45 rpms is EXACTLY the same as in their 33 rpm counterparts. To prove it is very easy - think of the lathe as it is cutting a lacquer, the cutter head doesn't know what speed the platter is spinning as the cutter blindly moves up and down back and forth carving the grooves. The difference is that at 45 rpm the same signal is imprinted over a longer distance and hence the "stretched" out groove is easier for a cartridge to traverse which allows the cartridge to give a better read on what is carved. The sonic difference can be quite remarkable, especially if the music is complex as with Classical music or dense as is often the case with Rock. Rest assured that you have never heard Stairway to Heaven until you've heard it at 45 rpm! This is as close to the master tape as we are able to get with an LP and as such is extremely special although requires you to change sides more often than with a 33 rpm disc. If you are a Led Zeppelin nut (you know who you are) then this set is essential - if not then go listen to some Barry Manilow!
kublakhan
Don't ask us if you're nuts because we're all nuts too!

I'm not familiar with this set but I will certainly check it out being a big Zeppelin fan. I'll pass on the Barry Manilow for now.

I would consider it a plus if it is not remastered. I've never been a big fan of things remastered. I get used to the original sound mix. If remastering alters this, it sounds like a different album. It can be so different that it's like listening to a cover of the original, rather than the original, albeit a pretty good cover.

If you do decide to purchase, I'll await your review. Thanks in advance.
To answer your question~ if you don't own a turntable, yes. If you do, no.
ps. many "remastered" albums ruin the initial intent/appeal of their og recordings...
pps. go get an analogue setup!
Thanks for the heads up. I have the 33 versions. Have you actually compared them to the 45s? While I agree that 45s have the potential to sound better that is a lot of money to buy on faith.
Herman, no I haven't compared them. I don't know how it would be possible without purchasing them. It seems that every classic series 45 set either has held its retail value or gone up so it probably wouldn't be difficult to buy, compare to the 33s and then sell if you wanted. I do think that the 45 series sound better (all things being equal) than the same recording at 33. I think the best thing to do would be to compare the red book zeppelin cds to the remastered and if the remastered sounds better then probably this collection would be a waste. I would try this but my current system wouldn't let me hear the difference anyway and if I wait too long I have a feeling this 45 series will be sold out.

If you're a Led Zeppelin fan I think you can still get the BBC sessions on 45 from classic records dealers for the original price of $60.
No argument here, every 45 set I've bought has easily surpassed the 33 version. However, as much as I want it that is a lot of money. I guess I can sell my 33 sets to offset the cost.
$16 a slab or about $32 for a 45RPM album of Led Zeppelin, on par with a lot of other 45 titles. Not too bad, you just have to buy them all...at the same time.... Still cheaper then upgrading my power cord though...
These are re-mastered, just not re-mastered again after they did the 33's. The ad says they were cut at the same time as the 33 series using those re-masters.
in the music business, this practice is called 'milking the assets'.......they are expensive, a pain in the ass, and the masters (which were originally approved by page) are now beyond dated........when you can't aquire new licenses, you milk the old ones.....i'll wait for the 78rpm versions.
You all can buy these. I'm waiting for SACD version.
I can barely wait for my set. Acoustic Sounds thinks they'll ship in about a month. I doubt we'll ever see them on SACD, as much as I like it, the format is dead in the water.
I've been thinking about buying it as an investment [keeping it sealed]. I've heard that some of the 200g vinyl [not sure if it's the Classic label or the Simply Vinyl label] is hit or miss.
classic records used the same 'digital' masters that where originally done years ago for the cd re-issues.
It’s a craps shoot. Caution might be in order considering the expense and Classic’s somewhat inconsistent reputation. The 45's of Crosby, Stills, Nash –S/T Lp truly suck for one example. Yet, the Mingus -Ah Um and the Cowboy Junkies –Trinity Sessions is a killer as many of the classical selections are, and markedly more dynamic than their 33 1/3 predecessors. I don’t find the 33 1/3 Classic Led Zeps anything special as compared to the domestic or UK Atlantic originals or the Japanese vinyls of the day, all sounding a little different and realizing that many of you were not even around to purchase any of these. Now Classic has left you with a tough choice and I have little respect for their marketing, all be it shrewd. It’s curious that no one in the business has been advanced samples of these for a preliminary review and comment. Pure speculation. Hmmmmmmm?!

Happy Listening (I hope)!
Jaybo, what is your opinion then on the digital masters you're talking about?

R F Sayles, I wish you wrote about the CSN 45 set sooner. I JUST ordered a copy!

I cancelled my order! I think I'll wait to see what people say about this set since it's $700 and I don't have a tt anymore. What was I thinking? There you have it: an ugly glimpse into the mind of an audiophile. I hope no children were reading.
If you are looking for an audiophile experience, I'd say yes - you are nuts. These were not "audiophile" recordings in the first place. The 45 rpm would have a slight effect on low level detail - but there ISN'T ANY on most of the Zep! There is very little that can be done in remastering to recover information that simply isn't on the master tapes. I have compared a number of 70's rock remasters and originals - and the reality is that the remasters are usually disappointing. I'd much rather have a beautiful original pressing. (Brit or German preferred - the Japanese are wildly overrated IMO). Even MFSL's - really all they could really do with most of this stuff was pump up the lows and upper mids - and people are paying megabucks for them now. Audiofools and their money are easily parted.

The reason RFSayles notes that the Mingus and Junkies and classical remasters are potentially wortwhile is that the original recording gives the engineer something to work with.
Good point Opalchip, I believe your spot on.

Just one point of contention, Bonham's drums are so compressed on every recording I have ever heard or owned and that is a real shame. Rock recordings in general at the pinnacle of the genre are plagued by bad recording/mastering of drums and cymbals, Zeppelin is far from alone. Don't get me wrong, I grew up with this music and have a great passion for it, Zep is huge in the Rock pantheon for me and many, needless to say but Kublakhan why spend a small fortune on something that will never sound excellent. Grab the 33 1/3 pressings if you need them and spend the rest on other vinyl. I truly believe you will be reasonably happy this way. I wish Classic no harm, it’s just a bad investment IMHO.

Just a comment on the digital recordings in the Led Zep Complete Studio Recordings Box Set [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED] that was originally issued in 1993, for CD they are very nice. The sound quality is very resolved with great detail. You can even hear Bonzo's bass drum pedal (I say) or possibly (some say) his seat squeaking on Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Babe”, or was it “You Shook Me”? from the first album. Anyway, not bad!

Happy Listening!
the masters were ok for the time, but i believe the mastering process (even for cd's) has improved dramatically over the last decade. this is truly putting the same old thing in a new wrapper. most customers who buy 45 rpm album sets also have previously purchased the 33's. you have to keep in mind, most new lp's only sell 1500 to 2500 copies GLOBALLY. although the zeps and floyds will do more, companies like classic cannot afford to spend a fortune on a license and then invest 10's of thousands of dollars upgrading recorded masters. they just get a digital clone of what exists, and print that vinyl in any conceivable fashion to sell it.....even if the clone was egineered decades ago.

...Very late to this party.

I have been trying to find reviews on the 45 rpm LZ's because I have just heard one disc of the LZ IV album (battle forever more & stairway to heaven) I have NEVER heard it sound so good, and it does sound great, weather your comparing it to modern recordings or older ones.

  As a point of reference, I have many UK 1st/early pressings and US WLPromos, all in Near Mint condition, I use a older Forsell linear tracking table with a $3,000 sumiko cartridge, Technical Brain solid state electronics, and highly modified Silverline Grandeur speakers.

   Compared to my two minty UK red & plum label pressings of IV...the 45 rpm is noticeably better from top to bottom.

   AND, as another point of reference...I agree with the poster who state the Japanese pressing are overrated...I will say one thing, they are skillful in the use of compressors, I have never heard a classic rock Japanese pressing that wasn't compressed. None that compete with a UK or US promo.

   MoFi?...again overrated, if you compare a UK pressing to a MoFi, it's not close. About a week ago we compared a UK DSOTM A7/B8 (so later early pressing) to the MoFi UHQR, the UK pressing easily bested the MoFi in every possible way. The only "third party" pressings I find to be worth it are the Nautilus.

I have only heard Stairway to Heaven @ 45rpm, as it was the bonus disc with my Classic 33 rpm box set of Zep 1 through IV. It’s damn good, but of course many of us missed the boat on the 45RPM box. I just can’t pay the current asking prices. Honestly at this point, I think it’s an album by album thing. It seems the CAN Red label is highly regarded for Zep I and III... For II the RL. I’ve never heard the RL II, but many swear by it, assuming one can find a quiet pressing. I’m quite fond of my newer Houses RL... The Classis HOTH is more exacting, and is quieter. BUT, the RL has some analog magic in those grooves. Beyond that, there is the obvious, which is the early UK PLUM labels. Sadly, I don’t think this thread will get a huge response. Pity, really! Oh what the hell... When I was a kid maybe 25 years ago, I walked in to the Joule/Merlin room @ CES. Michael Fremer pulled out a 45 RPM Stairway, so I first heard it there. It was one of those moments... Just awesome. Thanks Michael.
The Deluxe Led Zeppelin remastered set released a few years ago (starting in 2014) is the best I have heard for sound quality. Drums are much clearer.

i own the Classic Records 45rpm box set. I also own most of the Classic Records LZ 33rpm versions. i don’t own any true original pressings but have heard a few. and i own 3 15ips 1/4" low gen master dubs of LZI, LZII, and LZIV too.

the 45rpm LZ box set is my most prized and cherished thing in my music collection. if you are a fan then it will sweep you away compared to other versions. lower noise, more dynamic, more detail, the music leaps from the grooves. a force of nature.

of course, the tapes are even better.

the 45rpm LZ box set is crazy money, but in this case, worth every penny if you are a significant LZ fan and have a good vinyl front end to enjoy it’s magic.

Oops - this is a very old thread. FWIW the Deluxe set released starting in 2014 is the best remaster I have heard and is significantly better than earlier stuff.

That 45 rpm sounds better than 33 - well DUH big face palm!

Of of course it does.

33 is LP or long play and it has ALWAYS been compromised and compressed.

When Vinyl was the only option I bought Japanese only and as many 12” 45 rpm (used by DJ in dance clubs) as I could lay my hands on.

Always the 45 rpm on a 12 inch format sounded better - it breathed and had more energy (dynamics). This was true of all artists. I believe the target market was dance club sound systems which were a step well above a normal home audio speaker setup in dynamic range....and that is why they sounded so much better than a 33 LP.
The Music Matters 33's are excellent, and many feel are close, if not on par, with their 45rpm counterparts. So, still great info given by Mike. One thing's for sure... If they re-press that box, many of us will reach for our wallets fast. Are you getting all this, Chad! Off to spin some Zep.

the 45rpm LZ box set is my most prized and cherished thing in my music collection. if you are a fan then it will sweep you away compared to other versions. lower noise, more dynamic, more detail, the music leaps from the grooves. a force of nature.


Hearing this 45 at Mike's place ranks among the finest audio reproductions these ears have ever experienced.