Saturday Deluxe / 8 October 2016


It’s Saturday! SDE catches up on the latest box set and reissue news. This week, Neil Young‘s new vinyl box, good news for R.E.M. fans, update on PiL reissues and more…

Neil Young is following up his 2014 Official Release Series Discs 5-8 vinyl box in November with the appropriately titled Official Release Series Discs 8.5-12. This collection features the following albums: Long May You RunAmerican Stars & BarsComes a TimeRust Never Sleeps and Live Rust. As with the previous set two years ago, this appears to be tied to Black Friday in the USA (it has a 25 Nov release date) so availability in Europe and beyond is not confirmed. But you can pre-order from Amazon in the US. And before you ask, there is no CD version.

Compare prices and pre-order

Shop Price GBP Stock
Amazon usa 6LP coloured vinyl box 113.98

R.E.M. / Out of Time 25th anniversary edition

REM price-drop

If, like me, you’ve been lamenting the very high pre-order price of the forthcoming 4-disc R.E.M. Out of Time box (it was £63) then I have some good news. The 3CD+blu-ray super deluxe edition of the classic 1991 album is down to £43 on Amazon UK which is a bit more like it. It’s still not out for over a month (18 Nov) and we’ve yet to see any detailed shots that reveal what the packaging will look like.

Read more about R.E.M.’s Out of Time 25th Anniversary reissue


PiL taking the metal mickey?

While R.E.M. is moving in the right direction price-wise, the same can’t be said about the vinyl super deluxe edition of Public Image Limited‘s Metal Box – that’s going for a cool £230 on Amazon UK which is surely some kind of a record for four vinyl LPs in a box. I know it’s metal, but it ain’t gold. Even the official site is charging a staggering £166, more than £40 for EACH record. If you’re not bothered about vinyl then Amazon UK are now offering the CD boxes cheaper than the official store, with the Metal Box 4CD set at £43 and the Album 4CD super deluxe going for £37.

Read more about the PiL reissues

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42 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 8 October 2016

  1. tom says:

    As Johnny Rotten once said…Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

  2. Tim-meh says:

    Metal Box is a great record but I don’t know anyone who gives it a regular spin. Its not great at dinner parties.

    • ENGLAND says:

      I do play Metal Box often (if you immerse yourself in it late at night it really gets under your skin) … maybe that’s why I don’t have dinner parties?!?

  3. Ghostbuster says:

    So we had the first Neil Young volume on both CD and vinyl and the next two just on vinyl. Fuck vinyl and fuck Neil Young.

    • Ben Williams says:

      Sums it up for me too, though stronger than how I’d put it :-D

      His vinyl releases have ridiculously high price tags and I would rather have remastered CDs to match the reissues from years back now.

      • CJ Feeney says:

        The vol. 5-8 set hit the shelves at £200 and didn’t even come in a metal box. I bit at £100 but sent it back as the quality was so bad. One cover was falling to pieces, another album had a defect in the pressing. I have no interest in this box.

    • DaveM says:

      @Ghostbuster. Yeah, I am starting to feel the same way. Puts me right off.

    • Richie says:

      And so the vinyl vs. CD war begins,

  4. Lee Taylor says:

    Is it just me or does it seem like Neil Young might be less concerned with making his music available in the best possible fidelity than with making sure that people have to pay as much as possible to hear it?

    • Craig says:

      I think so man. He took his music off Spotify to put it on PONO. The PONO player idea, is a great idea in theory, however he’s messed it up by only having the player take a maximum of a 128GB card.

  5. Kevin says:

    I think that Neil Young has squandered most of whatever goodwill he still had with his increasingly bitter attitude and substandard music. For his next album, he should record himself arguing with Clint Eastwood for 40 minutes, and call it Get Off My Lawn.

    • MiG says:

      Is that your foot on my grass? IS THAT YOUR FOOT ON MY GRASS?

      I’d be more excited to buy it than what he does put out.

  6. Andrew Mogford says:

    The Out of Time blu-ray set is down to the same price as well! And the queen on air vinyl has dropped by a tenner and the CD box set has dropped by £15 of that set too. The benefits of pre-ordering!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Sorry, it was the blu-ray one I was referring to. Don’t think there is a 3CD+DVD version! Anyway, corrected!

  7. Andrew Mogford says:

    ah ok. I just checked my preorder – i haven’t looked at all the configurations. A shame they haven’t done a DVD version so those without Blu-ray players can’t experience the excellent 5.1 mix.

    And for God’s sake please let their be movement on the vinyl set. I will get it but £60 is insane. Wish they’d have done a big box with everything in one.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      To be fair the 2005 CD+DVD set featured the 5.1 mix on DVD/DVD-A so I do think it’s reasonable that they move on to blu-ray audio this time. I guess they didn’t want to do two formats, so at least we’re not stuck with a lossy DVD with the 5.1 mix, which is what would have happened.

  8. Mic Smith says:

    Why did Neil Young release the first 4 albums on CD and has so far not followed suit with the next 9 releases? And what has happened to Archives Volume 2? I loved the gig of his I saw in June at Leeds Arena and buy every album on pre-order but this habit of not bothering with CD editions on these classic albums is so disrespectful to those fans who have followed him through thick and thin and want to continue to support him by upgrading the CDs we all bought in good faith in the 80s and 90s. This is special music and needs to be available in the most popular of physical formats.

  9. Andrew Mogford says:

    Oh, I would have been unhappy with it if there HADN’T been a BD disc in there. Just not sure adding a DVD for those without would have added much cost to producing the set. I’m more concerned about the lack of B sides and remixes but that argument has been done in another thread so is not from here.

    At least it’s now at a good price for an excellent album….

    Automatic next I presume. Now that has an even better 5.1 mix.

    Unless these super duper box sets I read about on here some time ago (I think) happen. But if they then release an even better version than this within a year or two I will be deeply p****d off.

  10. Craig says:

    Neil Young has no consistency with his archival releases. I mean the man, musically is great but….

    He released the archive volume 1 series in 2009. Still nothing for volume 2.

    The prices of his archive sets are stupid too. The archives volume 1 set is £210 on Amazon U.K. for the DVD boxset. The Blu Ray box can be purchased from £204 used.

    I still go for DVD over Blu Ray but £210 for a boxset takes the piss.

    I am looking forward to the REM reissue though. That will be great!

  11. Dean says:

    I echo many of the comments about Vinyl. But then, I’ve been saying so for some time.

    /RANT ON

    Some try to argue for Vinyl on the basis of sound quality – and this is, and has always been, a nonsense. There is no reason a slab of Vinyl should sound “better” than CD. Many “facts” are talked about, but if I can quote David Byrne and Talking Heads:

    “Facts are simple and facts are straight
    Facts are lazy and facts are late
    Facts all come with points of view
    Facts don’t do what I want them to
    Facts just twist the truth around
    Facts are living turned inside out
    Facts are getting the best of them
    Facts are nothing on the face of things
    Facts don’t stain the furniture
    Facts go out and slam the door
    Facts are written all over your face
    Facts continue to change their shape”.

    The CD format has been abused by poor mastering. There’s nothing inherently bad about the format. The poor mastering in recent years – the so called Loudness Wars – affects Pop and Rock mostly, but hardly all CD releases. I listen predominantly to Jazz and Classical, along with some electronic music, and I can assure you, the Loudness Wars are nowhere to be seen. In fact, but ANY disc from ECM, for example, and tell me CD sounds worse than Vinyl.

    Redbook – which I admit has really come to the end of its life – offers frequencies that cover the entire range of human hearing. Few of us have the range we were born with, since everyone’s hearing deteriorates over time (search for Presbycusis). We lose the upper frequencies as we age, and by middle-age the numbers looks significant, although having reached that age I can tell you it doesn’t seem so. :)

    Not that redbook ought to be the future. The future ought to have been Blu-Ray. It’s the best all-around upgrade, and I still have hope that SACD, DVD-A (a much abused term these days, how often do we see releases claim a disc is DVD-A when actually it’s an audio-only DVD? Paul is often guilty of not specifying this).

    Instead the industry has gone back to Vinyl. Why? Well, the industry is built on physical product, so it makes sense to them to revive it. Not only that, but playing on nostalgia and the iconography of the past, they found they could charge a premium for it. Mix in some silly “facts”, and they have a marketing dream.

    Of course, there’s tons of Vinyl out there already, and most can be had cheaply, so how can you see back-catalog at Premium prices? Simple, invent a 180gm weight advantage. There is no technical reason to suggest 180gm Vinyl is the best possible fidelity, that tops out at 160gm (some claim 140gm). Besides, while some of like to pretend we have bionic hearing, the truth is most of the difference people hear, if they’re hearing anything at all, is down to superior mastering and pressing. But again, let’s not allow facts get in the way of things.

    Vinyl today is sold on two-premises: 1) Superior Sound; 2) A monetary investment. On the first, you’d be better off with a Blu-Ray disc, properly mastered. On the latter – we’ve allowed greed and avarice take a hold, as a music lover I’d much rather everyone be able to buy the music in any format they wish at a reasonable price. I’ve no wish to make money off other music lovers – there are too few of us as it is!

    So to bring this rant somewhat back on-topic – Neil Young and his folk may be taking the line that CD is dead. Indeed, the curve is in freefall. It’ll bottom out before it hits zero sales, but let’s face it, CD is not the format of the future. It won’t go away, but it’ll become less important as each year passes. CD is seen as digital media, and digital is in a bit of a mess right now. Digital means CD, Streaming, MP3’s. Of those three, CD is the one that’ll tank. Furthermore, physical digital media is a bit of a mess, one created by the industry. CD, SACD, DVD-A, DVD, Blu-Ray – WTF? Fights over patents have splintered physical digital media to the point where it’s difficult to know which ones to support for the future, with some titles only available on one, two, of perhaps three formats – but never, it seems, on all.

    A cynical exec might look at digital and say – “You know what, digital is all streaming and MP3’s, let’s not do a physical digital. Let’s do Vinyl, because the profit on that is outrageous.” You think this thought process never happens?

    I don’t know why artists allow their music to be butchered on CD. Robert Plants last album is a great work, with great songs and performances, and the CD is useless. Radiohead’s Moon Shaped Pool is far from good too – yet the music is superb. It beggars belief that all the care and attention that goes into recording these things, in designing packaging, and marketing them, gets thrown aside by some moron mastering the hell out of dynamic range. The industry is just killing itself, and aiding in killing a format that could still have legs if only they’d grow up a bit. Let’s not blame the humble Redbook format though, this is a very human problem, not a technological one.

    Fact is – Vinyl is selling at vastly inflated prices. Profit margins and high. A portion of the market is buying it up and the word on the street is eating it up as though those of us who grew up with Vinyl don’t know full well what Vinyl sounds like, and what the drawbacks are. Vinyl today allows the record business to do something that absolutely love – to remarket back catalog and sell it once again. Yah!

    I gaurantee that one day each and every one of the people who read this site will get to the point where you’ve had enough of rebuying stuff you already have. At least at the inflated prices Vinyl goes for these days. In the mean time a successor for CD might, just might, skip right passed physical media. If that happens, and we’re saddled with Vinyl, it’ll be because the industry killed it off, not because the market spoke.

    /RANT OFF.

    • SimonH says:

      Great post, well argued and far from a rant!
      As ever , follow the money:)

    • Daran says:

      +1 across the content of the rant Dean ;)

      But point of order re DVDA: ” Paul is often guilty of not specifying this”.
      Actually the industry is not even very good at specifying what is a true DVDA as opposed as DVD with a DTS soundtrack on it. Take Depeche Mode’s collectors editions (2nd release without SACD disc). They were for a long time marketed on Amazon as DVDA when in fact they are DVD’s with a 5.1 DTS and PCM 2.0 mix. It even says confusingly DVD Audio on the back of some of them!

    • Jeff says:

      Dean, this “rant” needs to be put into an independent blog post. It’s great!

      • MiG says:

        Those good old flat disks are 127 years old — haven’t they had their run? You’re absolutely right, those of us who lived through the “vinyl age” remember how good they were (I still get nostalgic about the smell of those big black slabs of petroleum byproduct) and how bad they were. So kids today are being duped into buying them? Their loss. Somebody saw a market and exploited it. You don’t revive an industry in the long term by going backwards.

        Music history is wrong on many things. It’s just a fact of the beast. One of the things it’s wrong about is that the CD killed off vinyl. I pretty much stopped buying vinyl in the mid-1980s because the quality was getting progressively worse. The vinyl got thinner, the sleeves got shabbier, inserts and gatefolds vanished, the industry started shafting us as hard as it could. Anybody remember those inner sleeves with the coated HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC outside and sandpaper rough inside? I remember I had to make frequent trips to WH Smith to buy some of their plastic-lined inner sleeves. The industry couldn’t care less about the quality of the vinyl experience long before they started selling us all CDs. When it did happen, the CD was such an attractive proposition partly because vinyl had gotten so bad. So we lost that big foot square cover. A shame. But we gained something durable (I still have mid-80s CDs and they still play perfectly, 30 years and endless plays since) and these are the physical objects on which music will make its last stand.

        I think BluRay audio is a non-starter simply because we’re not all going to buy our collections all over again. The industry has gutted us in recent years — it’s still in the process of doing it, as this site demonstrates. I think we’re all almost sated on how many reissues of the same record we’re going to buy. SO will we upgrade to BR audio? Ha. Sure we are. But the CD exists in huge quantities and, just as you mentioned, they’re actually a pretty fine audio format if they’re mastered well. And to be fair, a lot of them are. Rather than investing in new media, perhaps people should invest in better quality hifi equipment to play the disks they already have? Just a thought.

  12. James says:

    Magnificent post, Dean.

    You’ve nailed the (sad) situation perfectly.

    Blu-ray should have been the prefect format for archival releases, but that’s the problem – it’s perfect. The industry doesn’t want perfect as it stops the need for future purchases of the same material.

  13. Craig says:

    CD sales still comfortably outnumber download purchases and vinyl combined (in the UK at least) , it’s still the dominating format of choice for buying music despite the garbage printed about vinyl being ‘back’ and CDs being dead.

    Neil Young will release the missing albums from his archive in CD format once he blows the cash from his vinyl sales on his latest project! (I’m saying this who has bought all his stuff that’s available on CD, and he was excellent at Leeds this year)

    If BR audio was playable on something not attached to a screen I’d have bought a player years ago. My TV is small and rubbish, I listen to music rather than watch it. If BR audio was possible through simple hi-fi like CD it might have taken off more. (or maybe that is possible now, I’d be interested if it was?)

  14. DaveM says:

    @Dean, totally agree. Loudness has destroyed the CD format and that includes recent CDs as you point out as well as some remasters. Last year I picked up a live Joe Jackson double CD from the late 80s to complete my collection. On putting the first disc on my immediate thoughts were this is where its all gone wrong for CD. The reason why is because it sounds superb and if dynamics like that had been maintained redbook would have continued to be a physical product no brainer to this day for most people. Maybe its time to hunt down first generation CDs.

  15. Daran says:

    @ Dave. I always go to the loudness wars website to check out the db’s of the various (multiple) issues of the same album. I am finding myself hunting down 1st releases of albums on CD where the loudness was not ‘mastered in’ as per recent re-masters.

    We all know that if done properly the redbook CD can sound as good as anybody could possibly want, and far far superior to vinyl. If you want artificial ‘warmth’ added in to what you are listening to then try a valve amp I say.

    Compcat Disc was the perfect media – tough and resilient, cheap to produce and buy, massive array of playback devices, high quality and small practical storage. If it dies then it died because the music business was careless and lost sight of quality, not because of any inherent flaws in itself.

  16. DaveM says:

    @Daran, I use the DR database as well. I changed my HiFi a few years ago and my new stuff (cheaper than the old) offers no polish at all, so the source has become more critical therefore the DR database has been essential for the older stuff.

    The saddest thing is the more recent stuff that is recorded for the sound dock generation, examples like The Nationals Trouble Will Find Me or Future Islands Singles which are so brick walled it spoils great albums. Why not buy vinyl and listen on a Dansette type record player or download onto an ipad when theres little to be gained by doing otherwise. There are still new artists who do put out well recorded stuff though, but for every five that are sub par there will be one gem

  17. SeanH says:

    @Craig – so hook it up to your stereo amp and turn the telly off. Sounds brilliant!

  18. James says:

    Craig – as SeanH says, just hook up the blu-ray player to the amp. Treat it as you would a CD player – exactly the same.

    After going through a few (very) cheap options, I went with an Oppo blu-ray player a couple of years ago – the playback on CDs is superb, as is, naturally, blu-rays.

    • Daran says:

      Agreed, Oppo players are top grade with audio quality. For the money can’t be bettered.

      • Craig says:

        That’s for the comments re: BR Audio, I will investigate further – I have a Temple of the Dog BR just delivered and an REM one coming next month so I may as well attempt to make the most of the boxsets that I’m forking out for !

  19. Adam says:

    There is no issue with the Radiohead album. It sounds just fine – the parts that need separation have it. Some of it sounds cluttered, but that was clearly an artistic choice.

    I think the emphasis on vinyl rests primarily on nostalgia, but also that you can do much more with it (color, splatter, etchings, different sizes, etc), and you get a big canvas for the artwork. People are clearly willing to buy it, and record companies, desperate for cash, are plenty willing to part those people from their money.

    I would have seriously considered the PiL.vinyl box if it was just a straight reissue (three 45rpm 12″s in a circular canister) plus a record or two of extras, but not as it is. (And that’s even before we get to the pricing.) CDs for me on that one.

  20. SimonH says:

    The loudness database is useful, however in the end trust your ears.
    Some newer CDs with unpromising DRs actually sound fine, conversely some old CDs with great DRs are thin and anaemic.
    Joe Jackson’s Body and Soul original cd issue is another that shows what cd was/is capable of.

    • DaveM says:

      @SimonH, agree that its not totally about DR and sometimes compression works on inherently good recordings like the new remaster of Fleetwood Macs Mirage where its been used to bring out harmonies and guitar to great effect. To my ears in this case its an improvement.
      Body and Soul is a great example of the ‘original CD sound’ which of course was subsequently fu&ked up by a remaster that even added clicks and pops to the mix (totally true) and never corrected.

  21. Dougie Adam says:

    I went to Deacon Blue’s album signing session at HMV in Glasgow last week. There was a free 30 minute acoustic gig where they played 6 songs, 3 oldies and 3 from the new album and stayed around to sign albums and CDs. I already had the signed box set with CD, bonus CD, and cassette + download card for the 2 hour live show. I was quite happy to buy the vinyl for £14.99 and have it signed by all the band.

    If you want a review of the box set I’d be very happy to provide one Paul. I love the new album, and the bonus disc is well thought out for big fans of the band. There are a few songs which were recorded at the session and didn’t make the final cut, a few other new / unreleased songs with just one or 2 band members playing on them. On the 71 minute bonus disc there are 8 songs from the album where we hear snippets of work tapes when work began on the songs, followed by early rough draft demos, and full band demos.

    And then there is the 2 hour live concert from 1988 with a bonus unreleased live track from 1989 on cassette / download. A very good recording of the band playing many of the tracks from the 2nd album live more than 6 months before the album came out as well as lots of Raintown songs and a wide variety of covers.

  22. Gisabun says:

    It is still idiotic to release something exclusively on vinyl [and charge quite a bit for them as well]. Vinyl still has a very small fraction of the market.

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