LP

Pink Floyd Re-Released on Vinyl

Four of Pink Floyd’s albums have just been re-released on vinyl. Just thought the fans would like to know, if they didn’t already.

The Big Question

So, have you ever pondered the meaning of life ? Have you wondered what it all means, why we are here and what happens after people die ?

I have as well, amassing several theories on the subject matter. But this is a blog on music so I won’t be discussing it here. 🙂

The big question I am obviously referring to in the subject line of this blog entry is related to music ; Specifically what format I believe is the best from the many choices we’ve had over the years.

This is of course a contentious issue with audiophiles on the internet but I think most formats have their advantages and disadvantages.

Having been born in 1970 I was exposed to multiple formats through my childhood and teens, from vinyl and 8-tracks in the 70’s to cassette tapes and compact discs in the 80’s.

My parents had a small collection of opera, classical, jazz and contemporary trumpet long play records, along with a few contemporary albums from ABBA, Simon & Garfunkel and The Carpenters. And they also had a copy of some of these recordings on 8-Track tape, which we played at home and in the van. But when I started collecting music on my own I opted for cassette tapes, for portability and durability.

I loved the depth of vinyl and purchased 45’s. But I also loved listening to music on my JVC portable cassette players. And over time I had acquired a collection of cassettes, courtesy of Columbia House.

Audio cassettes had a great bass sound, like that of vinyl. But dust and scratches weren’t an issue in you cleaned your cassette deck regularly. And although some cassettes were eventually damaged or were loosing some of their integrity by the mid 90’s, I had already started to replace my favourites on compact disc, again courtesy of the CD Clubs (Columbia House Canada, BMG and CDHQ).

To prevent fingerprints, dust and scratches on these compact discs I invested in Pioneer, Technics and Sony compact disc changers, in which I stored my most favourite CDs. I also eventually started compiling my favourite music on CD-R and CD-RW to save space in those devices but basically waited for the mp3 players to get a significant amount of storage capacity before buying one.

By 2008 I had stored most of my favourite music on my hard drive in WMA and MP3, most at 320 kbps, and had begun to purchase the odd single or track on the legal music download services by 2010. But I still preferred to purchase compact discs, SACD and DVD-audio discs that featured more than four or five songs that I liked. And prior to the legal music download services I had purchased compact discs used if they had fewer than three good songs.

Since 2010 I have been buying significantly less music because i’ve pretty much upgraded all of my collection to compact disc.

I do buy the occasional music video compilation or live performance on DVD or blu-ray. But I only find myself dabbling in music downloads and streaming, finding the odd track here and there. And one has to wonder if compact discs or any high resolution formats are actually required for today’s pop music.

Let’s face it, we aren’t talking about multi-track productions with intricate arrangements here. There are little to no subtle nuances in most of today’s rather shallow pop music. It’s a consumer product with a short shelf life that’s mass produced and shipped out quickly to take advantage of a trend.

Streaming is of course adequate and ideal for this situation. Kids and teens don’t want to waste their time deleting the less trendy, older recordings on their devices to make room for the music their peers listen to. And a high bit rate isn’t required because of the aforementioned lack of production.

I had hoped that blu-ray audio would have swam against that tide but it appears to be faltering since it’s introduction in 2013 by Universal Music, who had released 36 titles that year.

Unfortunately we’ve all seen SACD and DVD-audio fail to gain traction but I think the industry simply failed to understand what the market wanted.

I believe when people go shopping and see DVD audio and Blu-Ray Audio discs they expect more than just superior audio. These discs are compatible with most video players so why wouldn’t they include music videos, live performances, “making of” footage, etc ?

Warner Music did manage to release Seal’s “Best 1991-2004” on DVD audio, which not only contains 14 of his hits but 10 acoustic versions and 10 of his music videos, all in 5.1 surround sound.

Yes, there may be issues related to rights when it comes to some visual material and some music video compilations have already had their audio remastered for their DVD release. But a significant amount of content can be released on one blu-ray disc.

Unfortunately, when I looked at the current blu-ray audio releases available from Universal Music and Warner Music, many were just audio, with no bonus tracks or material. But these are of course initial releases and perhaps Sony Music’s high fidelity blu-ray audio releases will contain this bonus material.

Sony are planning on releasing 20 titles by this summer, including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual”, Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” and Pearl Jam’s “Ten”. And I guess I may consider buying a few select releases but I suspect that only the top best selling albums will be released on this new format, starting with those that were certified diamond in the states.

Basically i’m going to be dabbling in both vinyl and blu-ray audio over the next few years, buying my very favourite albums on either format as they are re-released. And hopefully I will get a chance to bump them here as well.

New Vinyl Plant & Store

Global News has just reported that a new record pressing facility will be opened in Calgary in a month.

Canada Boy Vinyl will also include a recording studio and records store.

The Laser Record Player

Back in the 80’s an American company called Finial turntable had started working on an optical turntable that uses lasers instead of a stylus to play records. And although the technology had garnered seven million’s worth of investment, the emergence of compact discs eventually caused it to fail to be manufactured.

It had issues related to playback, namely the inability of lasers to push dust aside and to read single and long play records that were back in colour and the popularity of compact discs grew day by day so the technology was shelved and sold to ELP Japan, who have been trying to reignite demand for the product since 2008.

The device is of course quite expensive because it is not mass produced, from US$9,000 to US$14,000 new depending on the model. But perhaps it will become more affordable with the resurgence of vinyl. Who knows ?

Any Queen Fans ?

Queen’s full catalogue will be remastered and re-released on vinyl soon.

Their 15 studio albums will be re-released in an 18 coloured Vinyl LP collection on September 25th, 2015 and this collection is available for pre-order at Amazon Canada, Amazon Italy, Amazon Germany and the Official Queen Store in the U.K.

This collection includes a 108 page hardcover book and the original album artwork has been duplicated from the cover to the inner sleeve, some of the albums including posters.

Queen’s individual albums will also be re-released on September 25th, 2015
and are available for pre-order as well from Amazon Canada

Vinyl Store Listings Fixed

Didn’t notice that something had happened to my vinyl record store listings. Corrected it tonight. Don’t forget to contact me if you know of any more. Thanks.