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Abbey Road engineer explains why half speed mastering produces great vinyl


Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios on 15 July 2017 on the half-speed mastering process

Audio Engineer Miles Showell discussed the  half-speed mastering process to a select audience at Abbey Road Studios last night and SDE was there and put a few questions to him after hearing the new Brian Eno vinyl reissues…

In the event, hosted by Uncut’s associate editor Michael Bonner, Miles Showell started off by giving an in-depth description of how the half speed mastering system works:

“It’s quite simple, if you think of the music from speakers, the soundwaves, it’s recorded on an LP as a wavy groove. So the size and shape of the groove is directly correspondent to what the music is doing at that point. So let’s say, for example, we have some bass… you have a very slow lateral movement of groove. It goes a long way, but it travels quite slowly. Mid-range would be a guitar or a snare drum, or some vocal. Much, much faster… but still not too fast. High frequency information, like a tambourine or a high-hat – or anything that’s high end – moves really fast. So let’s say with a tambourine, you might have a 12kHz component in there. That’s 12,000 air cycles a second. The only way you can cut that into a record is to have the recording stylus vibrate at 12,000 times a second, otherwise if it didn’t do that, it wouldn’t get it on the disc and you couldn’t play it back – it wouldn’t be there! That’s actually quite difficult… to persuade this tiny chisel [to cut] into a disc, and it’s buzzing around – it gets really hot and quite stressed. So if you can slow the whole thing down, and reduce the music by a factor of two and the speed of the cutting lathe that’s cutting the disc, all of that difficult-to-cut high-frequency information becomes mid-range – much easier to get on! The system’s not getting pushed to its limits, it’s not getting stressed. Everything has got twice as long to record that intricate groove.

The system has an amplifier, 600 watts-per-channel, which feeds two little coils of wire, like headphone coils, that vibrate and they move the stylus that records into the master disc, and that’s how records are cut – that’s how it works. The amplifiers that are feeding the cutter head – usually at half-speed the cutter head will draw about a quarter to a third of the current it needs for doing the same thing in real time, so it’s just far easier. It’s certainly the most accurate way to get a recording onto a disc.”

Talking about the Brian Eno albums specifically, Miles explained the process with regards to the master tapes:

“We sourced the best tapes that were around. I have a very good machine upstairs, and like [the fact that] there are no new cutting lathes, there are no ‘new’ tape machines, really, anymore. Certainly in the professional world. I have a machine from the late seventies, made by the Ampex company – a great sounding machine. I have custom heads that I bought for it and I capture a high resolution digital file. Very, very high resolution, through very good analogue-to-digital convertors and it will go into a workstation and I’ll fix any errors with the audio… I mean quite often, you have old tapes and they’re starting to fall to pieces…that’s the problem with this stuff. It’s a mechanical thing. You’re running a tape through a machine and each time you play it you’re wearing bits of it away. So it’s actually not good practise to continually play these old tapes. Fortunately by re-capturing them digitally you can get in under the radar and repair some of these problems. You can take out hums that have got introduced or clicks. If somebody has a tape machine and the heads haven’t been de-magnetised correctly, it will put a load of clicks all over the tape and in fact, one of the tracks on one of these [Eno] albums had that problem. So I had to go through forensically and every couple of seconds – ‘aah, there’s a click’ – and remove it. There’s no other way you could do that, by just playing a tape. So I always prefer to capture, very high resolution digital. I’ll do a vinyl specific transfer, so I’ll be capturing it to the workstation as if I was cutting it. No massive compression, to reduce the dynamic range, no crazy limiting which is what you put on a CD to make a CD sound loud. So I do a transfer which is clean, fix any problems and run that at half-speed into the cutting lathe, which is one I’ve had restored. In fact these Eno albums were one of the first sessions I did with it.”

We spent an hour or so listening to various tracks from the Brian Eno remasters (they sounded great) and afterwards I put a few questions to Miles on the process:

SDE: You said at the beginning that you took the tapes into the digital domain which allowed you to do some fixes and repair things. Would you still do that if the tapes were in really good condition, because there is this school of thought that advocates an all-analogue workflow…

Miles Showell: The tape machine I use is an Ampex machine. They never made a machine with an advanced head and I’ll try and keep it as basic as I can on that… but when you’re cutting a record, obviously, the grooves are all this shape (does a narrow ‘v’ shape) and then if you get a big bit of bass, you get a massive bit of expansion, laterally. Often with albums you’re trying to squeeze everything as close as you can, because you’ve got a lot of music to pack in. So the lathe has a half revolution warning of what’s coming up. So it thinks ‘I’ve just cut this shape and I’m about to cut this massive bit of bass… so I need to allow for it’. Normally you would use a Studer tape machine and they’re pretty good… they have a big loop and the thing plays twice. The first head feeds to the computer in the lathe and the second head feeds the cutter head. Ampex, even in 1978, never made a machine with the loop…then their tape machines came with a digital delay… but the sound of the Ampex machine is so much more superior than a Studer, that when I’m capturing it hi-res digital, it still, to my ears would knock a Studer machine dead, even going all analogue. Plus, some of these tapes are Dolby A noise reduction. There are about 20 half-speed Dolby A cards in the entire world, none of which I have and the Dolby company aren’t forthcoming about what they did to modify the card to decode Dolby because that’s there secret knowledge and they don’t care about that anymore and that’s all history. Yeah… I understand what people say about going all analogue…and I definitely have a problem cutting from shoddy CD masters, but if you do a very nice clean capture, extremely high resolution with very good convertors all locked down with really stable word clocks, I don’t think, personally, there’s much to be lost there. I think the gains you’ll get from the tape machine are far greater than any losses you’ll have by going via high resolution digital. You’ve got to imagine that every roller, every bearing in a tape machine has an effect on the quality of the sound that comes out. Now on a Studer all-analogue machine you’ve got probably 15 wheels it has to go round, before it gets played. If any one of them has a slight problem, it will have an effect down the line… There’s digital and digital, basically. You can have shoddy digital and that’s not great to cut from and I’d never do a half-speed album from an over compressed, limited CD master. What’s the point? It’s going to sound crap. If you give me rubbish to work with, I can’t produce a good cut. If I’ve got a good source and I do a nice capture, digitally, high resolution, it’s incredible. It will sound great.

SDE: How can you tell if something isn’t right, though? If you are listening to the cutting at half-speed then you have no idea if there are problems?

MS: We insist that for every half-speed session, the client has an acetate, which I will check realtime, either here [Abbey Road] or at home. Then it goes off to the client. If they are happy and everyone’s happy, then I’ll cut the masters, because you’re right, you’ve got no idea what the cutter head is doing, because everything is slowed down so much. The funniest things are the live albums because all the ‘whoops’ at half speed sound like booing… as if no one is enjoying the gig! Yep, it’s no fun to work on in the studio, but then when you play it back, you think, ‘wow’. When you think what we’re listening to… there’s a diamond in this cartridge here, that’s vibrating in a piece of plastic and it’s making a very, very low-level noise which we’re amplifying. And that’s it! Don’t think records are hi-tech. The system was invented in 1887.

SDE: Do you think 45RPM pressings changes the nature of the album, because instead of sitting there for 20 minutes and flipping the record over, you’re now listening in bite-sized chunks?

MS: If you’re going to dedicate 45 minutes of your time to an album, to half little ten second breaks… is that a major problem? There certainly is a trend for double albums at 45RPM. Yeah.. it’s a faff to get out of your chair, but it sounds so much better.


The four Brian Eno half speed mastered albums are out now. Each gatefold package comes with OBI strip, download voucher and ‘Abbey Road Half Speed Master’ certificate. Note below that these are well-priced via Amazon Germany.

Compare prices and pre-order

Brian Eno

Here Come The Warm Jets [VINYL]

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.1
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 23.48
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 28
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.99
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.99
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 35.68
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 24.99
FNAC fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
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Brian Eno

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) [VINYL]

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 21.31
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 23.48
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.06
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.99
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.99
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 35.68
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 24.99
FNAC fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
Currency:

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Brian Eno

Another Green World [VINYL]

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.93
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.49
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 33.81
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.99
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 28.55
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 39.99
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 24.99
FNAC fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
Currency:

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Brian Eno

Before And After Science [VINYL]

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon uk 6LP coloured vinyl box 24.3
Amazon de 6LP coloured vinyl box 23.48
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 27.06
Amazon fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
Amazon it 6LP coloured vinyl box 26.99
Amazon es 6LP coloured vinyl box 31.99
Amazon ca 6LP coloured vinyl box 35.68
JPC de 6LP coloured vinyl box 24.99
FNAC fr 6LP coloured vinyl box 25.99
Currency:

Here Comes The Warm Jets

Side 1:
1 Needles In The Camel’s Eye
2 The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch
3 Baby’s On Fire

Side 2:
1 Cindy Tells Me
2 Driving Me Backwards

Side 3:
1 On Some Far Away Beach
2 Blank Frank
3 Dead Finks Don’t Talk

Side 4:
1 Some Of Them Are Old
2 Here Come The Warm Jets

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)

1. Burning Airlines Give You So Much More
2. Back in Judy’s Jungle
3. The Fat Lady of Limbourg
4. Mother Whale Eyeless
5. The Great Pretender
6 Third Uncle
7. Put a Straw Under Baby
8. The True Wheel
9. China My China
10. Taking Tiger Mountain

Another Green World

Side 1:
1 Sky Saw
2 Over Fire Island
3 St. Elmo’s Fire
4 In Dark Trees

Side 2:
1 The Big Ship
2 I’ll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoes)
3 Another Green World

Side 3:
1 Sombre Reptiles
2 Little Fishes
3 Golden Hours
4 Becalmed

Side 4:
1 Zawinul / Lava
2 Everything Merges With The Night
3 Spirits Drifting

Before And After Science

Side 1:
1 No One Receiving
2 Backwater

Side 2:
1 Kurt’s Rejoinder
2 Energy Fools The Magician
3 Kings Lead Hat

Side 3:
1 Here He Comes
2 Julie With……

Side 4:
1 By This River
2 Through Hollow Lands (for Harold Budd)
3 Spider And I

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60 responses to Abbey Road engineer explains why half speed mastering produces great vinyl

  1. negative1 says:

    nice interview. very informative.

    thanks for posting it paul.

    later
    -1

  2. Michael says:

    I purchased the new half speed vinyl versions of Brian Eno’s “Here Come the Warm Jets” and “Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)”. My copies have excellent clarity and deeper bass, with dead silent vinyl playing surface. Do they sound better than the CD versions? I guess that depends on what kind of listening experience you enjoy on your sound system. But if the warm realistic sound of records is preferred, these re-issues from Abbey Road studios will not disappoint you Additionally, the recreation of the original album jackets is impressive.

  3. Tom M says:

    ” If I’ve got a good source and I do a nice capture, digitally, high resolution, it’s incredible. It will sound great.” I wonder if Miles is aware of The Nightfly release and what he thinks of it. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with cutting LP’s from digital sources.

  4. derosa says:

    I haven’t been impressed with anything Miles has remastered so far. I’m waiting to hear more reviews on these Eno titles, half-speed is a gimmick and none of the best sounding vinyl in my collection is from digital conversions. I’d say skip the long paragraphs about why Half Speed Mastering is supposed to be good, and just use your ears.

  5. adam shaw says:

    Thanks Paul .
    Really enjoyed that .
    I bought one Pete Gabriel half speed master as I wanted the download as much as the vinyl (German Melt ) but have to admit I haven’t played it .
    Might have another look at remastered digital vinyl now , but which ones are as good as the ones mentioned ?

  6. Philip Cohen says:

    I have no doubt that the Abbey Road Studios staff do excellent vinyl mastering, or that GZ vinyl, Universal’s European pressing plant of choice is capable of pressing good vinyl. Unfortunately, factory workers then damage these good pressings by careless handling. That was my experience with Universal’s 3-L.P. reissue of “The Who-Live at Leeds”(an Abbey Road half speed mastered effort). I’m lucky that a pricing error by amazon.co.uk enabled me to obtain that 3-L.P. set at a very low price. At the full price, I would have been upset by the visible damage to the records & inner sleeves inflicted by factory workers who just don’t care.

    • moog_man says:

      You’re being kind to GZ Vinyl, Philip – I’m not so polite.
      pressing vinyl is the final stage and so many record companies can’t seem to acknowledge the importance. No point in having the Marketing department boast about how a classic album has been remastered at Abbey Studios if the pressing is shoddy. GZ is shoddy. I had exactly the same experience as you with “Live at Leeds”. As for Grace Jones’ “Nightclubbing”… scuffed 180gm vinyl squeezed into sleeves that were too tightly bound in shrink wrap so that they had ringwear *before* leaving the warehouse.
      I complained about Universal working with GZ to Miles last year, just before the second batch of “Abbey Road half-speed remasters” was released (The Who/ Mike Oldfield/ Marvin Gaye/ Amy Winehouse, etc). The first batch had been pressed by Optimal in Berlin (who did the Beatles Mono box set) but Universal wanted to continue with GZ. He said they were aware of the concerns and would improve.
      It doesn’t look like these Eno remasters were pressed at GZ – either Pallas, or Optimal, again. Thank goodness. I’m OK to pay the premium rate for such records, long as the pressing is up to the standard of every other part of the production chain.
      [Universal – if you read this… WAKE UP !!!]

      Rant over !

      • Mark Wood says:

        I couldn’t agree with you more, what I would like to know is who is pressing what. In my opinion it should be easier to tell, as a consumer I can usually only find out who has pressed it after I have bought it. I had a long discussion with a technician at Pallas and asked him what they were pressing and he told me that he wasn’t allowed to divulge that information, why not I asked, he said it wasn’t company policy to do so!
        The only label I have had faultless pressings from is Speakers Corner and they are probably pressed at Pallas.
        I have just listened to Steven Wilson’s LP ‘To the Bone’ and whilst it looked very good there is considerable surface noise, where it was pressed I haven’t a clue, is there a list somewhere of what the initials are for what press is used?

  7. Schu says:

    Thank you Paul. It is always very interesting to hear what goes into the recording, mixing, mastering, media transfer processes that ultimately lead to the CD, Album etc. that we listen to.

  8. Keith says:

    A good description of the process from Miles Showell With care and skill this digital workflow can sound just as good as the all analogue workflow.

  9. Zongadude says:

    Great work, and thank you Paul for sharing it with us :)

  10. Erick Haight says:

    What kind of digital download will come with the vinyl?

  11. Chris Fahey says:

    Hey Erick.
    Digital card is for a WAV.

    I bought ‘Before & After Science’ and it sounds stellar.

  12. Fady says:

    A great read thanks Paul. I’ve always found the technical side of producing records quite fascinating. To be honest I still can’t get my head around how the grooves in the vinyl actually produces the beautiful sound of music that we hear! :-) Cheers.

  13. Ausmonty says:

    Half speed mastering is not a new concept, MFSL were doing it in the 70s.

  14. Friso Pas says:

    I like these behind-the-scenes things a lot. Thanks for your efforts, Paul.
    Looking very much forward to that 45RPM half-speed mastered Eye In The Sky.
    I hope you talked about that one as well, and maybe you are saving that for a later entry, when the release is getting closer?

    • Philip Cohen says:

      If you’re refering to “Eye in The Sky” by Alan Parsons Project, the 2-L.P. set at 45 RPM will be available only via a CD/Blu-Ray audio/vinyl/book boxed set to be released in November.

  15. tom says:

    Really interesting, his explanation of how sound is carved into vinyl brings home what a complex task it is to create a record….it makes me appreciate them even more.

  16. Klaus says:

    Hi Paul,

    thanks for posting this episode of CSI: AbbeyRoad.

    I’ve something to say though to Miles preferring 45 RPM double-vinyl releases:
    One of the greatest advantages that the CD has against vinyl or cassettes to me always has been that it’s enabling you to listen to the music with lesser intermissions.
    Me, i’m finding it hard to imagine that listening to e.g. Pink Floyds “The Wall” with seven breaks instead of one will be a great listening experience.
    It has something to do with diving into the music. So, i’m still fascinated by vinyl selling well again, but for me it’s: Thanks, but no, thanks.

  17. Rune T says:

    Another interesting article from SDE!

    One question rears it (ugly) head though; why not simply go for the hi-res digital audio instead of ‘losing’ something of it when it is cut…

  18. andrew r says:

    How many people buying this lp have a turntable available with 45 rpm capability?
    Most high end turntables able to get the most out of this recording are single speed
    or require adjustment to the motor to play. If you are using a budget turntable then
    it is not able to process the signal as efficiently therefore rendering the purchase pointless.
    Perhaps someone can enlighten me ? This 45 rpm fashion seems like a marketing ploy more than a genuine sonic upgrade.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      My Rega Planar 3 has 45RPM – but you have to lift up the glass and manually move the rubber band. Not convenient, but you get used to it!

      • Chris Squires says:

        I guess it depends on what your budget is. My Rega would be considered budget by some and audiophile by others. It switches speeds at the touch of a button.
        My favourite 45RPM LP is Fleetwood Mac – Rumours, however I do agree that 9 minutes per side can be a bit of a bind. However if I really want to *listen* to
        something rather than just having some music on these pressings are brilliant and the sonic thrill more than compensates. What I find when I just have music on is that I end up doing something else, reading, chatting, email etc. But when I put one of these on (Gabriel also) I really do listen and don’t do anything else (You don’t get the time to be distracted :-)

      • SimonP says:

        I’m not aware of any turntables that only have one speed, in fact, most high end ones have a 78rpm speed, as well as 45rpm…

    • Mike the Fish says:

      Even Linn Sondeks have 45rpm capability, and from what I gather it doesn’t require seven days written notice and two men in white lab coats to perform the procedure. Also there’s power supply variations that allow for speed adjustment with a flick of a switch/press of a button. 45rpm is all over the budget spectrum.

      • andrew r says:

        To get a sondek to play 45 rpm you either have to use the adaptor (fiddly possible damage) or buy a separate linn lingo power supply. So not press of button.

  19. LMTR14 says:

    interesting interview

    I’m no friend of having to get up every 10 minutes though, but I’m also lazy.

  20. Brian says:

    Fascinating interview Paul, thanks for sharing.
    I have the Peter Gabriel 45rpm studio albums and a Rumours 45rpm ‘audiophile’ pressing and to my ears they all sound significantly better than their 33rpm and CD versions – and I also prefer them to the hi-res downloads. Agree with Fady , its hard to get your head around how vinyl recording and playback works – and how it can create such amazing results

  21. EW99 says:

    Thanks Paul, fascinating article.

  22. What is the resolution of the download? If hi res that might swing a purchase for me!

  23. Daniel says:

    They sound amazing – just listen to Baby’s on Fire – It’s like an entirely new version.

  24. elliott buckingham says:

    half speed mastered sounds amazing the peter Gabriel 45rpm are amazing compared to the half speed 33rpm of the same albums. all new albums should be half speed mastered.

  25. Francois says:

    If you could buy only one of these, which one would it be ? I’m not much familiar with Eno’s solo work, and this surely looks like a good opportunity to get to know the works better

  26. Professor Quatrmass says:

    The only 45rpm album I’ve purchased was the Dylan “Desire” – and maybe I’m picky, but having the side end on the album’s sole cross-fade (“Durango” into “Black Diamond Bay”) was the deal breaker.

    I cannot even imagine how disrupted side two of “Here Come the Warm Jets” will sound. And wait until they do “Abbey Road”!

  27. Joe Walsh says:

    Great article, Paul! Very interesting stuff. I have to laugh thinking how I just picked up Peter Gabriel’s third album (Melt) as a half speed master, an album with no cymbals! Kidding aside, it sounds great.

  28. Martin says:

    Miles has done an outstanding job on these issues. They are easily the best I’ve heard this music sound and are outstanding by any standards, eclipsing Mobile Fidelity’s various efforts. Very clean, powerful sound. None of the vinyl sound tropes of woollyness, warmth etc. Pressing quality is excellent – looks like Pallas did these, poly-lined inners, and excellent quality printing. Even has the locked run-out groove on The Great Pretender (which must have been a nightmare to achieve at half-speed). My only criticism is that the master tape obviously has some issues on Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy – I can hear drop outs on certain tracks. Overall though -excellent work

  29. ZoetMB says:

    I’m an ex-recording engineer, although I never worked on any big commercial product. IMO, half-speed recording is fantastic for high frequencies, because you’re now taking 12KHz to 15KHz and knocking it down to 6KHz to 7.5KHz which is much easier to reproduce and is much flatter. But at the same time, you’re also halving low frequencies and there’s a limit how low one can go, so it seems to me low frequencies would get cut off – harmonics of bass drum, very low bass notes, low growls of a B3, etc. Even at full speed cutting, low bass is purposely cut off because the cutting engineer is afraid that low frequencies will force the stylus out of the groove on playback. One of the classic “impossible to cut” tracks is the 1812 Overture when it’s recorded with fireworks. I remember our studio contracting with top flight cutting engineers, but I was always disappointed with the sound of the vinyl as compared with the original tape masters, even masters a generation or two away from the original raw recording.

    I’ll have to admit to never thinking of the Dolby issue before. The Dolby system increased recording levels at certain frequencies on record and reduced them on playback, with the primary intent of reducing tape hiss which recorded at a steady level, so lowering that level for that frequency on playback reduced the hiss. It only worked if you calibrated to Dolby Level – a special warble tone was recorded at the beginning onto each tape. Playing that tape back at half speed without a suitably modified Dolby card would be disastrous – since I never copied at half speed while using Dolby, I don’t know the artifacts, but I imagine it would drastically throw off EQ and you’d probably get pumping. I don’t see how you could do it and the effects would be multiplied for material recorded with the later Dolby SR which used sliding frequency bands.

    Personally, I always thought that a Studer sounded far superior to an Ampex, especially a late-70’s Ampex. The earlier Ampex 350’s and 351’s sounded spectacular. They had a warmth (probably due to odd-harmonic distortion) that was unlike anything else. At one studio I worked at, we replaced all the original Ampex electronics with “modern” electronics and they sounded so bad, we had to put a lot of the Ampex electronics back, especially on the machines used for recording.

    In the end, what matters is the end result whether it was done analog or digitally, cutting half speed or full speed. If it sounds good, it sounds good. But having said that, if you’re going to have some intermediate stage where you’re going digital to clean the recordings up, it’s almost a moot point that one is going back to the analog masters and tube electronics and then releasing on vinyl. Once it’s in the digital domain, you’re listening to all that digital brings to the equation – good or bad.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      Have you played the Telarc cut of the 1812 Overture? The first released cut is hard for many turntables to play, apparently the second easier with the third being harder than the first! The cannon is cut loud, and a web image search will quickly find pictures showing some of what the stylus has to get through!

  30. superenigmatix says:

    Love the complaining about having to turn over the record every ten minutes, most of us from the generation who bought this music originally were all raised on 7″ 45rpm singles that lasted between 1:30 to 4:00 minutes (well until Bohemian Rhapsody came along!). It most be the old and creaky knees not wanting to get up offa that thi.. chair.

    As someone above pointed out when you put a single on you used to listen to the music not use it as a backdrop to some other activity. I’m as guilty as the rest in that respect these days, to much to fit into a day, time surely does evaporate as you get older.

  31. mm says:

    Obviously all this technical detail sounds very impressive but the proof is in the pudding I’m afraid,and the TTM I had suffered from chronic dropout and seems to me a pointless exercise if the original used is not up to the process being employed upon it.-what is the point?I played my original US Island after i took it back and it sounded wonderful.Yes,use your ears-it’s recommended!

  32. Paul Wren says:

    At last – a clear, insightful explanation of what the half speed mastering process is and how it produces results. I now understand!
    Excellent work on this, Paul – well done and can we have some more of this stuff from Miles on the technical side of reissues in future please? Maybe feature why some pressing plants are better than others etc.

  33. Wayne Klein says:

    “Yeah… I understand what people say about going all analogue…and I definitely have a problem cutting from shoddy CD masters,”

    Well I hope he is referring to somebody else’s “shoddy CD masters” because the last batch done for Eno sounded wonderful. Of course, I like the sound of them so maybe it’s my shoddy ears…

  34. Redshift says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but the download card provides access to the previous CD master, not the new mastering which was the basis for the new LPs.

    Paul – wondering if you could find out if there are plans for a high res download release?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      No, I’m pretty sure the download is the new mastering.

      • Redshift says:

        Are you sure? The DR values are the same as the previous CDs.

        In any case why not high res release?

        Seems a shame to create a new high res master and then subject it to vinyl deficiencies.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          No, I’m not 100%… but this isn’t an Amazon ‘autorip’ where you can end up with anything. Universal would have had the digital files from the new tape transfers, so why wouldn’t they use it?

  35. moog_man says:

    Great find with those Amazon.de prices, SDE.
    Thought I’d done well to pre-order “Another Green World” at £25; off to snag “Before and After” courtesy of Germany, now. Cheers

  36. Adey says:

    Wouldn’t “quarter speed mastering”, or even “real time mastering”, be better?

  37. Adey says:

    ….or is that saved for future release, once everybody has bought a copy mastered at half speed?

  38. revroth says:

    I’m sure the sound quality is amazing, but you’re supposed to clean each side of a vinyl album before you put the needle down for maximum sound quality and preservation. So I find Mr Showell’s “10-second break” comment to be a little optimistic. I happen to hate vinyl anyway (bring back the CD!) for a number of reasons, but having to split what once was sequenced as a 20+ minute “side” into two bites, with a significant interruption to break out the cleaning kit, is even more undesirable to me.

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