Vinyl reissues: are you getting what you think you’re getting?

Earache Records have a blog – Ask Earache – and on it label staff are brutally no-bullshit honest in answering the queries they get sent. From reading it you can get a good idea of what being a metal label this millennium actually means. It’s highly recommended reading.

A post today got me thinking. The question was:

What is the audio on Earache’s vinyl re-issues cut from? Is it re-mastered from the original tape or is it the same lacquer used on the original pressing?

The answer may surprise you – it certainly surprised me.

We recently re-issued the first 4 Morbid Angel albums on gatefold LP wax, and the audio for them simply comes from the CD.

They go on to explain – on old recordings, mastering from the original tapes isn’t practical (presumably economical) for producing new vinyl. Additionally, unless the same type of player is available and all the EQ settings etc are identical, the recording may sound very different from what people are used to hearing on CD. New recordings don’t suffer from the same problem so the vinyl version IS the analogue version of what was recorded.

Still – when I see a reissue of a classic album on vinyl, the assumption I have is that it comes from the analogue originals and it will sound superior to the digital version. As much as the fancy packaging, that’s what I think I’m paying for. But as it turns out that’s not the case. Given the reasoning supplied in the post, I would assume that would be the same for other labels as well, not just Earache.

I think I’d better start reading the fine print and scouring second hand shops for my vinyl. Am I the only one surprised by this?

~ by goatlady on August 28, 2011.

One Response to “Vinyl reissues: are you getting what you think you’re getting?”

  1. They’d have to tweak the cd master for vinyl – vinyl needs bass to be mono and anything below ~80Hz can be problematic. I think high frequencies can also cause distortion with vinyl, so they’d need to cut those too. Probably easier to do that off the digital master than send the old analogue master to a studio capable of cutting a vinyl master.

    Lots of good info from the pros here: http://www.gearslutz.com/board/mastering-forum/101371-preparing-vinyl-master.html

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