I am trying to understand the hype with original Blue Notes sounding better than say Music Matters, Classic Records Reissues, or Tone Poets reissues. I have many originals and I am trying to figure out other than the collectibility of the record, the Original Blue Notes really just different sounding, certainly not better than the newer reissues mentioned above. Unless you can get the original for about 20 bucks, I see no reason to spend thousands of dollars on originals. Most of the time, they are not as good anyways, noisy, and not in the best shape yet many really push those older pressings, why? Other than collectibility, why?
Reissues of original Blue Notes are fine if they are remastered in the analog domain. Sadly these days the trend is for old analog tapes to be cut from digital files. This is anathema for the serious collecter! One might as well just buy a CD or stream! Hence the rising prices for the dwindling supplies of original LP pressings of all musical genres! To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, there just appears to be more "there" there in those old grooves!
You can talk and talk and talk this one to death. Or you can just go buy a BetterRecords.com White Hot Stamper and then you will know:
Its not that the originals are all better. They are all different. Same as the reissues are all different. No two copies sound exactly the same. Don't take my word for it. Play any two back to back and hear for yourself.
So the way it works is, among the many copies of original pressings are some that sound spectacularly good. So good you can hardly even believe it. I mean just jaw-droppingly good.
By and large, if you can average such a thing, then original pressings sound better than reissues. Some reissues are just pure crap. Honestly, the only reason everyone doesn't know almost all reissues are crap is because almost no one ever gets to hear just how good those spectacularly good sounding originals are. Because they are so few and far between. Otherwise, if you care about sound quality, then you would be like me and never throwing your money away on a reissue ever again and dissing reissues every chance you get.
Thousands by the way, if you are in it for sound quality, is a ripoff. For sound quality you only need to pay several hundred at most. Anything beyond that and you aren't buying a record, you're collecting a stamp.
I have enough original Blue Notes to make a claim that they are definitely not as good as the newer releases. If I had the choice of spending 50 bucks on a well made reissue, or 300 dollars on the same recording in an original blue note, I ll take the reissue everyday of the week. I have enough originals to know the difference. Now if I found an original for say 25 bucks in decent shape, well then I’d probably buy it. Unfortunately, not many of these exist in decent shape that are for sale today. Many originals were purchased by analog lovers when vinyl was thought to be going away for good due to the digital craze. Now we know that vinyl is back and it is true that there may be features in original vinyl that you cannot reproduce such as the fact the the original tape was new back then but they have really done a great job with the existing tapes and the reissues are for the most part fantastic.
In the original vinyl era, stampers would make 15,000 copies of a record. These days they rarely make more then 3000. I run a record label that used to go through Warner’s, I remember being in the lowest floor of the building and seeing someone working in a studio there. There weren’t really studios in the Warner offices so I asked what he was doing. He was making new masters from notes from the mastering lab of the original records master as they had gone through all their metal parts and needed to make new sets. No original producer or artists in attendance.
I understand what people are hearing on the originals. the sense of space that new tapes give is something that most of the time you will only get on the earlier pressings. However, many are very noisy and the newer quality reissues are very good, maybe a more up front presentation, but very enjoyable and I do not have to empty my bank account. However, for the not so popular Blue notes and if you want that more spacious sound, even the blue notes from the early seventies are pretty good at getting you that perspective of the recording. Those can still be had at reasonable prices if you want to put the time in.
"How many copies of each original Blue Note record do you have? What is the greatest number of copies of the same original record you have compared?"
If I need 10 copies of a given recording thats a problem. Just as withthe original blue notes, the Music matters, for example I had two copies of Sonny Clarke Struttin. The one was defective and had to be sent back. The one I received that replaced it was much better all around so I gues if want to spend 5 to 10 grand over a period of years to get the best Hank Mobley Original, all the power to you.
I buy sealed original issue lp’s on Ebay mostly. There is a seller on there right now that has listed over 800 sealed older records. I just bought 24 of them for $398 bucks. To me it was a bargain. I once bought 10 sealed original issue julie london records from one seller for $110! If you spend time looking, you can score sealed unplayed gold. My personal experience in buying records is that the originals or even 2nd 3rd pressings sound better than any reissue. The only problems I sometimes encounter is the seller misrepresents an excellent or near mint record...then I have to contact seller and either return it or get a partial refund. I sometimes have found sealed or near unplayed records at my local thrift type store. He typically cleans out 1/2 a dozen or more attics or estates every few weeks and has an influx of rare records available. Some are beat up, but some look to be never touched! The best part? He charges $1 per record!
Well I’ll take my chances, they do exist....I can tell if they have been played before reasonably well upon unsealing.....I have only been burned twice on a sealed record and both times I returned them for refunds....we are not talking about major sought after titles here that fetch tons! We are talking for instance "Eddie Arnold’s greatest hits" and "Vicki Carr unforgettable" etc....not exactly stuff that is sought after, but I do not care as I have a very varied taste in music. Here’s another..."starland vocal band, rear view mirror" lol, you got that one in your collection? So I highly doubt any one of these would be resealed lmao! Also, the sealed records that I buy at my local antique/thrift store came from common peoples basements and attics. I should know as i know the owner of the store pretty well. I guess I’ll just do me and you do you and we can all be happy...cheers.
Just to add, most of the "sealed" records I have bought have corner cuts, punch holes etc...and are most likely bought up old store stock nos records that did not sell. I don’t care if the titles are not mainstream or on the "TAS" list or even if they are considered collectable! I buy them because if they are in fact legit, I’m the first to play it. I also buy them because as mentioned, they sound better than anything available today as a reissue. If there are no spindleMark’s, the labels are clean, the vinyl surface is clean and void of any scratches or marks, and most importantly plays without distortion or detectable groove wear, then I indeed received an actual "sealed" record imo. Life is a gamble, I’m willing to gamble on records, as I mostly win.
Just to mention, the sellers I buy from on Ebay have been members for a long time and have sold thousands of records and have 100% feedback.
I have only one original Blue Note and number of 70x reissues + modern reissues. I also have ~80 jazz and classical records from 1955 to 1964 period by other labels: Columbia, RCA, Verve, Atlantic. IMHO, most this original records sound better than any reissue from any period in term of tone, texture of instruments, micro-dynamics, airy, alive. 90% of modern reissues are junk. For example I don’t understand any reason to do reissue using digital technologies in any stage of process. There are some good modern reissues and very good reissues from 90x and 2000x. Some of them sound more "audiophile" then originals - more bass, cleaner and clearer high frequencies. But in 80% cases I will prefer VG++ original press to modern good reissue. There are some rare exception like, Classical Records - Satchmo Plays King Oliver that sound for me even better than original. Regards, Alex.
Original Blue Note copies in well kept condition were never cheap, but in recent years they have become 'trophies for the rich' and prices have completely spiralled out of control. That's a most unfortunate trend for 'normal' record collectors. And for audiophiles too, as the originals do have a sound that even the best reissues have not managed to reproduce.
Van Gelder's masterings - especially the mono's - were cut loud and stand out for their dynamics, bordering on distortion and sometimes crossing that border. If anything it's 'edge of the seat' stuff and modern audiophile reissues from Classic and Music Matters always sound too civilised in direct comparison. At least that's my opinion.
But given the expertise of guys like Bernie Grundman and Kevin Gray I wouldn't be surprised if their mastering work is actually closer to what's on the master tapes. And we can't rule out the possibility that these source tapes have deteriorated and lost some of their dynamic freshness after 50+ years, which would limit them in their attempts to recreate the original RVG sound.
What it comes down to for me is this: I always (need to) adjust my expectations whenever I put on one of those reissues, but never the other way around (except adjust the volume). That speaks - uh - volumes....
I own a number of the original Blue Note recordings and also a number of the Music Matters Reissues. Personally I usually prefer to listen to the reissue, simply because the pressing is almost always quieter. OTOH, if the original is quiet, and I own several that are....I typically find that there really isn’t a huge difference between the original and the MM reissue. Unfortunately, I cannot say that for some of the other reissue labels compared to the original. I am going to be acquiring some of the Tone Poet series, should be interesting to see how they compare.
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