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Edsel Records reject Robert Palmer MP3 mastering claims

Robert Palmer / Edsel Island-era reissues

“The CDs certainly don’t have MP3s on them”, Edsel’s Val Jennings told us

Online music forums are buzzing at the moment with fans claiming that Edsel’s recent Island-era Robert Palmer reissues show signs of being mastered from an MP3 source.

Using sound editing software such as Audacity, audiophiles often like to ‘look’ at the sound of tracks via waveforms – it’s a way to check the state of the mastering. Some fans of the late English singer have been doing just this with the latest reissues and are unhappy with what they see. “There is absolutely no musical information above 16 kHz, which is a dead giveaway” stated one person –  the implication being that this was an indication of an MP3 source. Many fans have emailed us in the last 24 hours asking if they should not buy the reissues and if we knew whether there was any truth in these claims.

So we put these allegations to Edsel label manager Val Jennings and he was adamant that the masters had been nowhere near an MP3 file.

“We were given flat transfers by Universal for all the albums and bonus tracks, on CDs with Universal’s Belsize Road Tape Library inlays. Since they came directly from the tape library, I can’t see how MP3s would come into it. The CDs certainly don’t have MP3s on them”, he said.

When pushed about the actual source and details around the transfers themselves he told us:

“I can but assume that they would have been new transfers from the tapes with no extra EQ. They were done in 2006 for Universal’s very own catalogue team, who were all set to reissue the albums, until the whole project was shelved for reasons no-one involved can remember”.

Clearly frustrated with the situation Val added, “I really don’t know what else to say. It’s shame that people can’t just be glad that someone has reissued the records, instead of trying to find or invent faults.

The Robert Palmer reissues were released at the end of August. Full details and track listings here.


ROBERT PALMER Sneakin Sally + Pressure Drop reissues

Click to enlarge

Sneaking Sally Through The Alley / Pressure Drop

ROBERT PALMER Some People + Double Fun reissues

Click to enlarge

Some People Can Do What They Like / Double Fun

ROBERT PALMER Secrets + Clues + Maybe It's Live reissues

Click to enlarge

Secrets / Clues / Maybe It’s Live

ROBERT PALMER Pride + Riptide reissues

Click to enlarge

Pride / Riptide

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79 responses to Edsel Records reject Robert Palmer MP3 mastering claims

  1. Mike F says:

    I can’t talk for this situation for Edsel at all, but it is not unknown for data compressed sources to be used. I have an EMI 80s CD set where at least one track has clear audible data compression artifacts.

    • Jason says:

      Mike F,

      I wonder if we share the same EMI 80s CD set, “Best 100 Music of the Eighties” (6-CD set), in which Richard Marx’s “Endless Summer Nights” is clearly MP3-sourced. Yikes!

  2. Simon G says:

    This story is hilarious – I know everyone’s gotta have a hobby, but come on! “audiophiles often like to ‘look’ at the sound of tracks via waveforms – it’s a way to check the state of the mastering” – maybe they need a re-think about what type of music these mysterious people actually enjoy listening too, rather than waste their time studying wave files.

    Having said that, some of the tracks on the early 12″/80’s series of CD’s had tracks mastered from vinyl, which really did suck :-(

  3. Chris D says:

    Arrogance here …

    ”I really don’t know what else to say. It’s shame that people can’t just be glad that someone has reissued the records, instead of trying to find or invent faults.”

    ignorance there …

    ” … maybe they need a re-think about what type of music these mysterious people actually enjoy listening too, rather than waste their time studying wave files.”

    If you don’t care about the quality of your music, that’s your business, but others do – and there’s absolutely nothing “mysterious” about this. Taking a few minutes of your time and actually looking at some waveforms, you’d see that it’s not like the information above 16 hKz was already missing from the original recording sessions, but it has obviously been simply cut off at some point – which is something you do not only see, but also hear.

  4. omar says:

    I’m no audio expert ,but the previous batch of RP reissues sounded fine to me. I have the Don’t Explain/Heavy Nova reissue which was excellent. I’m debating whether to get the Clues/Riptide one or not. I think the fault with those is the bonus track selection . On Riptide the actual 12″ mix of I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On is missing and replaced by the 7″ mix. Also no 7″ mix of Addicted To Love…

    • stuart says:

      The 12 ” Mix is very bad indeed i have the vinyl and if you do have a chance to listen to it you will notice that the vocals are very high pitched,very child like and can not be fixed on a computer,basically an idiot remixed the track and it has suffered dearly for it…might be why it was left off this remaster

  5. jupiter says:

    I haven’t heard these so I can’t comment but reissue labels do themselves a disservice with sloppy remasterings and cut corners when putting these out on physical media-there were a lot of complaints about some of the sources used on Edsel’s Tabu reissues so I think some people are wary. I’ve also seen a lot of complaining about some Cherry Red stuff. There are certainly lots of people who would rather stare at a waveform with their eyes than listen to it with their ears, but if something sounded dodgy it’s not unreasonable to think someone might want to investigate the sound further…

  6. Patrick O says:

    I’ve just listened to the Edsel ‘Sneakin’Sally ‘and ‘Pressure Drop’ and there’s definitely something lacking in the overall sound .Certainly not from the original master tapes for a start.We should not have to be content with the better than nothing approach ( or be grateful for anything should I say ).Just listen to a copy of Addictions Vol.1 or 2 and the quality there shines through.Island should have acknowledged the man with their own individual album reissues from the original tapes with an approved engineer.

  7. Simon G says:

    “There are certainly lots of people who would rather stare at a waveform with their eyes than listen to it with their ears”

    Definitely recommended for the forthcoming Bros re-issue :-)

  8. Chris D says:

    Mr. Jennings openly admits that he doesn’t have the slightest clue about the history of the material that was provided to Edsel, thus assuming there wasn’t MP3 involved at any stage is 100% pure speculation (and hope). MP3 sourced or not – perhaps we can simply agree on this simple fact: The original releases had information above 16 kHz, while these re-releases do no longer. I don’t think it is completely unreasonable or has anything to do with “nitpicking” or “SLAMMING” when demanding an explanation for this obvious discrepancy …

  9. Killian Scott says:

    What Val really means – “I really don’t know what else to say. We don’t know and we don’t care about the quality of the material that is provided by the labels. It’s shame that people can’t just be glad that someone has reissued the records and simply buy any trash we’re dumping on the market, ignoring even the most obvious faults.”

    • stuart says:

      You said it exactly,cost cutting is here to stay……the record industry hires accountants not people that love or want to make music,they want to make money, my good boy

  10. Newmusicmark says:

    “They were done in 2006 for Universal’s very own catalogue team, who were all set to reissue the albums, until the whole project was shelved for reasons no-one involved can remember”

    Universal manager: Hey, who ordered these masters?? The tapes we ordered have all the frequencies over 16k cut off!!??
    Universal employee: whoops…!
    Universal manager: [Sigh] Let’s just shelve it …

  11. Eric says:

    Val Jennings has already stated, quite categorically in the past, that he is not interested in audio quality, or upholding the sort of standards we had in the early CD era. He belives we should be grateful for what we get. Which is why, I suppose, we have these releases with up to three albums fitted onto 2 discs, showing compressed sound and with incorrectly-labelled mixes.

    Nobody cares anymore, nobody has the money or resources to care, because the people who should care are either retired, dead, going deaf, or believe that mp3s are the future for everything and audio fidelity can go to hell.

    There are too many mistakes and too many corners being cut now that the industry has abandoned any notion of competence or quality. Glossy sleeves with pretty stickers full of promises (that actually spoil the discs because of glue, doh!) is not the same as proper, quality music on properly mastered and manufactured discs.

    • Luigi says:

      Edsel did the same thing with the 10CD Philadelphia International box set – many of the tracks were audibly substandard as compared to other Legacy and BBR releases of the same material. Their response? That’s what Sony gave us – same with all the Invictus/Hot Wax re-releases. Edsel is the 21st century successor to K-Tel.

    • stuart says:

      bought the remaster of “rick springfields” “tao”,loaded with goodies the label said,the goodies included a short little interview with old rewritten news and some pretty little pictures,it did “not” include any “bonus tracks” nor did it include any “remixes” and the remaster sounded average at best,the vocals were buried in the songs of three tracks,i could not for the life of me understand a word the man said !!!,maybe in 50 years i will for my 80th birthday,find another remaster when its released and buy it with my penchant cheque

  12. Jason says:

    “The Very Best of Blancmange”, a 2-CD collection released on Music Club Deluxe (a division of Demon Music Group) in 2012, suffered the same fate as these Robert Palmer reissues/”remasters” on Edsel (also, a division of Demon Music Group). In addition to including incorrect mixes/versions, several of the tracks were MP3-sourced. Take a listen to “Waves” on that compilation. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

    I wonder if Val has any commentary on not using the 12″ mixes of “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On”, “You Are In My System”, and “Discipline of Love”, as listed, for the “Pride”/”Riptide” reissue. Sorry, Val, it’s not about trying to invent or find faults. It’s about acknowledging facts! Most people buying these reissues are looking for CD quality sound, not MP3 quality sound, and the correct versions of the songs (as stated on these releases). If people wanted MP3s, then they would download and not buy the physical release!

    • stuart says:

      we the fans waited almost 30 F_KIN years for these tracks to be of higher quality including several remixes and 12 ” mixes…..

      fans of the beatles,jimi hendrix,led zeppelin,johnny cash,elvis presley,the rolling stones,etc,etc,etc,etc.. never have they, had to endure this pathetic BS

  13. RoyalScam says:

    I’m tiring of this whole “people should just be happy with what we give them” attitude that Val Jennings seems to be furthering.

    No audio info above 16 kHz = lossy source, no matter how you cut it. Whether that happened at Universal, or at Edsel, it’s still a fact. An .mp3 converted to a .wav is still going to be lossy. Also a fact.

    What disturbs me is that if this wasn’t intentional, no one caught this in the mastering stage. Or cared to.

  14. Egebamyasi says:

    Now I’m glad I picked up that used original US CD of Clues the other day.
    It sounds better than I expected. It’s a shame that you can’t even find most of these 70’s Robert Palmer titles. Now there are quality issues with two different companies reissuing them.

  15. Ken Moore says:

    I bought a couple of compilations on the Music Club Deluxe label (A best of by The Beat was one of them) and I thought the sound was thin compared to the older CDs that I already had. I traded in the Music Club Deluxe double CD and have avoided the Music Club Deluxe label since. I’m no audiophile, I just thought their remastering didn’t sound up to par. Maybe other releases they have done sound good, I the ones I purchased did not.

  16. Lazlo Nibble says:

    Paul, the 16kHz “shelf” isn’t 100% proof of an MP3 source, as theoretically there’s a chance of a lowpass filter in the chain somewhere, but it’s a very very strong indicator. (It does pretty much guarantee that these were NOT sourced from anything resembling the master tape, though. Even the iTunes AAC version looks better on a spectrogram than these supposed “flat transfers”.)

    If there’s frequency-blocking, I’d consider it definitive proof of lossy encoding in the chain. It’d be easily spotted with the linear spectrogram view in Audacity.

  17. John Bacon-Shone says:

    Sorry, but Edsel have NOT refuted the claim. Refute means to prove erroneous. What they claim to have done is reproduced what was given to them, which in this case clearly is NOT a flat master. They do bear responsibility if they did no checks on the quality of what they were given and continue to deny the obvious falsity of the quality claim.

  18. Dean says:

    Sadly the modern age is littered with people in the music business who have failed to keep up with what their customers want. Time and again they have got it wrong.

    It is not 1980 anymore. We’ve got lots of things on which to spend our money, and we’re not simply happy because something exists. That is no longer good enough.

    It is not 2000 anymore. We don’t want compressed masters and butchered dynamics. We’re not all “audiophiles”, but we do possess the ability for critical listening. We KNOW we’re being short-changed, and it’s not good enough.

    It is not 2010 anymore. It is trivial to check a disc to see, in a stark factual manner, what is being presented. And we have the Internet to disseminate that information globally. We are not tied to country borders and music magazines where companies can employ damage control.

    I don’t own any of these discs. I have the only album by Palmer I’ve eber wanted, Riptide, from an CD bought at the time of release 20-odd years ago. But what strikes me here is that this incident should inform those in the music business that consumers aren’t passive animals who eat anything thrown over the fence. We are discerning. While I don’t particularly like Plamer’s catalog, or that of Chic, or Bros. etc – there are people that do, and their passion isn’t a vlind grab at anything andf everything just because it’s there. They want definitive releases – which isn’t solely measured in the number of tracks. This “shovel as much in as you can” approach is way too much Tesco and not enough Curator.

    So in short – all people want is for the record companies to give releases as much love as the fans who will be doing the buying. We WANT to buy this stuff, but we’d appreciate a lot more care and attention. You will be rewarded by more sales.

  19. Mani says:

    The music’s not much cop anyway.

  20. Richard says:

    I’m just grateful that this issue has been brought to light. I was poised to buy all 4 of these reissues but won’t bother now.

  21. Goratrix says:

    It’s a bit sad to see that this (otherwise excellent) blog is spreading misinformation. For starters, this issue has nothing to do with “looking at waveforms”. Yes, audiophiles do look at waveforms, to see dynamic range and loudness. It can be agreed that those are subjective issues, everyone hears them differently and there can be various opinions, all valid and true. But this is no such issue. A hard frequency cutoff (which, by the way, can not be seen in a waveform, you need to look at the spectrum) is something for which there is NO legitimate reason to appear in an audio recording on a CD. And it CAN be heard quite easily by a lot of people, without even looking at the spectrum. What’s even worse, a 16 kHz cutoff is not just something indicating “mp3″, it’s indicating a “very low quality mp3″. When you look at this table, you can see the frequency boundaries that the LAME MP3 codec uses:

    http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=LAME#Technical_information

    As can be seen, the V2 and V0 presets (which are the ones most people use) retail information up to 18 kHz or 22 kHz. A 16 kHz cutoff indicates a 128 kbps mp3 source, which is really really bad.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Don’t see how we are spreading misinformation. Just reporting a few facts, namely: People online are complaining about these CDs, Edsel are saying they are fine. The bit about audiophiles and waveforms was simply to try to explain to people who have no knowledge of technical stuff, how people understand – for example – whether audio is brickwalled.

      What we *have* done is get an official response from Edsel, which I would have thought people would appreciate, even if they don’t like what Val was saying.

      Wading in and criticising us and pointing out the difference between what a waveform will tell you versus what spectrum analysis will tell you is EXACTLY why we are avoiding getting into the technical debate. It’s frankly tedious and everyone thinks they have expert knowledge that is more valuable than anyone else’s.

      • Andy says:

        So Mr Sinclair, if you think that the technical information is boring and not informative for your audience, tell me, who is your audience? I thought that people who buy super deluxe editions priced at £100 or more have an interest in the quality of what they are buying. I don’t think casual listeners spend those amounts on old records. Maybe you are too lazy to learn about the technical stuff behind the products you review, which, in my opinion, takes away quite a large part of the credibility of what you write here. We are not talking about audiophile OCD here; this story is about a scam. You made a fuss with the PG boxset because you wanted a BluRay instead of a DVD. Why was that? Maybe because you wanted better video quality? Higher video resolution (or is that too technical a description?) So what about using the logic for audio too?

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Audio quality is *part* of the equation with deluxe box sets. SuperDeluxeEdition.com will cover issues around mastering naturally, but this is not a site just for audiophiles, it is far broader than that. The Steve Hoffman Forums is the place to go to get into lengthy technical discussions about why one mastering is better than another. The Peter Gabriel “So” box story was about many things – missing out vast quantities of archive material, not including a 5.1 surround version of the album, limiting the live video to DVD etc.

          I’m not exactly sure what the issue is here? I have reported on and encouraged discussion of this.

          All I do know is that as soon as the debate moves to technical stuff people get very rude. I’m “too lazy”, or “spreading misinformation”. Someone on Facebook discussing this issue has impolitely accused someone else of “not having the slightest clue about sound quality”.

          There is no evidence of a “Scam” by the way. Much more likely to be ineptitude / ignorance.

          Don’t bother to respond to this if you can’t be polite and friendly.

          • Andy says:

            “There is no evidence of a “Scam” by the way. Much more likely to be ineptitude / ignorance.”

            Well if this was “ineptitude/ignorance” they would investigate the claim with the help of someone who is not inept. Ask the first mastering engineer and see what answer you get. At least some humble pie would make them look better. This full-on attack on their “irrational” customers makes me even more convinced that they knew what kind of material they were dealing with and didn’t care, which I summarised with the word “scam”.

          • Gary C says:

            Hi Paul
            reading this comments thread with much interest, as I have many of the articles you post.

            I like the extra information that can be gleaned from music fans and armchair experts in the comments sections (apologies if any of you do work in the field). Sometimes that extra info can drive me to distraction and suddenly you feel like you have very ordinary expectations of a reissue you have been pinning your hopes on. It’s a bit like someone giving you a birthday present and then twenty people at the party telling you it could have been so much better if this or that or the other was included.

            Like many others, I too can get disappointed, annoyed, aggrieved etc with less than special product.
            Of course there are occasions when reissues have not passed muster, and I do have some shoddy work that I have bought that had little or no merit in presentation or sound. On those occasions I returned the purchase, and tried not to look to harshly on the artist.

            Artist involvement is a mixed bag it seems, as is no involvement at all. Artists want to make money on their catalogue, but occasionally they can seem a little precious about their material, and it appears the reverse is the case. A song or a remix they think is not unacceptable to release, can seem like gold dust to a long time fan.
            When it is purely a company purchasing an artists backlist to release it, the bottom line is profit. I’m sure there are some bona fide music fans working in the music industry, but they will always be beholden to profit.I assume that everyone realises this already.

            It can come down to one’s own ears..and a decent set of separates can make rubbish product sound ok I guess. I tend not to look too deep under the hood in this respect, but I am firmly not in the ignorance is bliss category. If it crackles, or there’s hiss, or, god forbid, is at the wrong speed, then most people will pick that up.

            Thank you for the continued guidance on all things, super deluxe and not so. Apologies for stating what may seem like the bleeding obvious.

            PS I’m still waiting for that Hipsway debut as a 2CD reissue.

      • Goratrix says:

        Paul Sinclair: “pointing out the difference between what a waveform will tell you versus what spectrum analysis will tell you is EXACTLY why we are avoiding getting into the technical debate.”

        The problem is when someone conflates a matter of subjective opinion on sound quality (which this issue isn’t) and a real technical error. When something like this happens, you need to get into a technical debate. These products are flawed and should be recalled and refunded. It’s like ordering a blu-ray and getting a VHS tape instead.

        • stuart says:

          i’m sorry to say but it seems to me your staring at the future of what was a one time enjoy-able sense,it looks like no one cares anymore and people and power in the recording industry now have a very,very arrogant attitude and hold all of the cards,they are the ones in control or from the sounds of it are “out of control”…..you are now witness to a very scary and sad begining

  22. Paul B says:

    Not all re-issue companies skimp on quality and show a lack of respect for the music and the listener-Ace,LITA and Tompkins Square put out consistently excellent releases-but of course, they are independent (AFAIK) and run by music lovers.
    Pity about Edsel -buyer beware on the imminent Andrew Gold, David Gates and Badfinger releases?

    • Eric says:

      I wondered the same thing about those Andrew Gold and David Gates sets. Most likely to have the same “qualities”.

    • stuart says:

      Very cautious of

      “Shakin Stevens” double cd/dvd collection which has a very,very bad quality dvd include…
      the dvd was copied, i would say from a very well used 30 year old vhs tape, jitter and static lines include for your hard earned money

      really,i’ve seen better quality on you tube

  23. Mr Olsen says:

    Brand new 2013 cd reissues sourced from 128 kbps mp3 files. Superdeluxe NOT.

  24. Marko says:

    Ok. This is it. I just cancel my pre-order Bananarama edsel deluxe editions and cancel my orders for Level 42 & Heaven 17 live box sets. I am also not happy with S.O.S. Band vinyl rips.

    • Kiki says:

      So you should also avoid Cherry pop’s reissue as they did very bad work with Eighth wonder or Spagna’s albums. You shloud also avoir Rhino who put some bad vinyl rips on New Order’s Reissues albums (including NO 7inch version in it!)

      I think this is a bit disappointing for fans (eventhough I didn’t buy any of Robert Palmer’s re-release, I would be very angry to buy a CD for a poor mp3 quality) but you should throw the baby out with the bathwater…
      Cherry pop (& recently Universal) made good work with Kim Wilde’s catalogue , for instance or Basia…Edsel did a wonderfull work with Jason Donovan & Rick Astley… let’s hope the result will be better for the Bananrama’s LPs !
      The problem with licensing is that when someone (Universal) give the tracks, you can’t do anything on it except compiling & releasing…

      • Goratrix says:

        “when someone (Universal) give the tracks, you can’t do anything on it except compiling & releasing”

        Or, you could complain to Universal and cancel the project, and keep your integrity and reputation.

    • NeilKelly says:

      Cancelled? Nothing sourced from MP3 we have been assurred. And 2 CD 1 DVD for £8.99 is nothing but a bargain

  25. Eddie says:

    I think this is a great blog and I am very grateful to Paul Sinclair for all his fine work, however….can you please change the headline because in no way does Val Jennings ‘refute’ anything.

    Refute = Prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false; disprove.

    So it would be much more accurate to say: “Edsel Records reject Robert Palmer MP3 mastering claims.”

    (I can’t blame you because I see ‘refute’ misused everywhere: in newspapers, on TV, radio…even by (oh horror!) the BBC.)

    Actually, and on second thoughts, the headline should say: “Edsel Records reject Robert Palmer MP3 mastering claims in an unconvincing and condescending manner.”

  26. RPM says:

    I’m appreciative of reissue labels like Edsel/Cherry Red/Music Club etc as they have reissued albums that I either missed first time around or expanded versions of albums that I loved.

    I hate it when they don’t do proper research but perhaps it’s due to budget restraints. These CD sets are unbelievably cheap (a 2CD set for £5-£8!! in a lot of cases) in good quality packaging. Perhaps they need to invest more time in sourcing and checking the material, but this would obviously add to the costs which would need to be passed on to us, the buyers. I would be willing to pay a bit more for a better quality CD but would it limit their appeal to other buyers?

    The problem is becoming more widespread as it’s affecting full priced albums, not just budget releases. Compilation albums are appearing more regularly which look and sound like itunes playlists burned to disc without any checking of the tracks/sound levels etc. The worst recent example is the new “Now That’s What I Call Disco” 3CD compilation. A poorly researched compilation with varying sound quality, wrong mixes, bad edits and re-records on a brand which used to proudly claim to use the original hits. It’s increasingly worrying that CD releases cannot be relied upon for quality.

  27. Justin says:

    Paul, first of all, thank you for bringing this to our attention. Although I love audio enhancement, I don’t frequent the forums for the exact reason you mentioned. As with most things musical, it’s subjective. There’s no way to ‘win’. Does it say ‘remastered’ on the sleeves at all, or give any mastering details? If not, is this just a simple re-release? I see flat transfers, but no evidence of any remastering. Just asking.

    I’m disappointed with these Robert Palmer release, simply because I love the ‘Riptide’ album especially and to think that the 2013 version is sonically inferior to my original Island CD pressing is completely unacceptable. When informed here of the re-release, I was excited to get a version of the album that was as good as it could be. Apparently that might not be the case. Surely the people that frequent this website and still actually seek out and buy CD’s do so to avoid the compression and limitaions of lossy formats. If I wanted convenience as a motivating factor, I wouldn’t be here. I appreciate the opinions of those who have done the preliminary investigation, hopefully I will evaluate this and get to make up my own subjective mind as to whether I will shell out my hard-earned on any of these sets. Surely record companies are aware that the consumers like us are the ones they really need to keep happy to stay alive. I say that with tongue lightly in cheek, and hopefully proved right!

    If indeed the albums have been sourced to Edsel from mp3-level masters, that is a sad state of affairs….which is the tactic of Island/Universal. They were happy to take the mega-dollars in the 80’s…now, it seems the tapes are being treated with contempt.

    • stuart says:

      well it is an 1980s product, do not most people feel contempt in many forums for the 1980s and especially the music of the 1980s,really, how do you expect the recording industry to take any music from 1980-1989 seriously when idiots, yes idiots are labeling everything 1980s as dated and inferior….and should be forgotten or deleted from our minds

  28. James says:

    I bought the Secrets/Clues/Maybe It’s Live set and actually have no issue with the sound. This thread has turned into pure speculation and accusations of foul play. Until there is conclusive evidence that corners have been cut then everyone should really be careful what they say. Pointing the finger at people and assuming that there’s some sort of conspiracy theory going on is helping nobody and i’m totally fed up of hearing people whining about big companies ripping us off and not caring. Universal have put out some pretty good stuff over the years and they at least have a catalogue marketing team that puts some effort into exploiting the material they own. Whilst I class sound quality as a high priority with my music I don’t take it to the extent of ‘looking’ at the music. I tend to use my ears to tell me if the sound is acceptable. The original Island issues of the Robert Palmer catalogue are awful (like most original Island CDs) so I’m actually happy with the improvement. And yes I am listening on decent equipment before anyone starts ‘questioning’ my opinion.

    • Andy says:

      ” This thread has turned into pure speculation and accusations of foul play. Until there is conclusive evidence that corners have been cut then everyone should really be careful what they say.”

      Trying not to get into the too technical stuff I think there is plenty of evidence from the spectral analysis and presence of mpeg artifacts. Can you please spell out what you would consider “conclusive evidence”?

      (Thanks to the Mr Sinclair for updating the title to better reflect the situation).

  29. Don says:

    I said it at the Hoffman forums and I’ll say it here… please don’t take your frustrations out on Paul. He’s doing everyone a service! I appreciate his measured approach. Accusing him of “spreading misinformation” about audiophiles evaluating music based on waveforms–and then engaging in a long and tedious discussion about waveforms and spectrum analysis–is frankly hilarious. People talk about how shocked and surprised they are about the Palmer reissues in one breath and then rattle off a long list of other Edsel reissues with problems in the next. Why are you surprised? Edsel is a budget label that will cut every corner possible in order to put products on the shelves and turn a very small profit. But people somehow expect their releases to get the Abbey Road treatment. No way.

    • Goratrix says:

      “Why are you surprised?”

      Because no other reissue label has done this on such a scale (9 full albums completely sourced from god-knows-where). They could have at least acknowledged it and apologized. I’m sure the mastering engineer was well aware of this, and it’s telling that there are no mastering credits whatsoever.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Thanks Don – appreciate your kind words.

  30. James says:

    ‘CD Mastering – Universal Studios, Belsize Road, Kilburn’
    Quite clear on the back cover of the booklet

  31. Steven Roberts says:

    This is a very sad state of affairs. The fans deserve better.

    And so does the music.

  32. dave says:

    They haven’t actually -refuted- (use a dictionary) any claims at all.

    Aucdtect says that CDs from all 4 sets are from lossy encodes… but the EMI releases from last year are not.

    They could have at least acknowledged it and apologized. Trying to discredit the allegation is very disingenious.

  33. fabiano says:

    I’m not an expert, just music lover and I bought them all… I hope that not been cheated.

  34. Chris D says:

    Paul, thank you for bringing this to our attention. Also thank you for getting an official response from Edsel. The third “thank you” goes to your replacement of “refute” by “reject” – all this is actually very much appreciated and you’re one of the good ones!

  35. Shaun says:

    First, I don’t consider myself an audio expert. Second, I also thank Paul for bringing this to our attention.

    People on the Hoffman Forum claimed to be using a program called TAU Analyzer (PC platform only) to get their results. I downloaded the program and processed the Esdel remaster of Some People Can Do What They Like. The result of MPEG came back for all tracks. THEN I processed my original Island Records CD of the very same title. The result came back as CDDA for all tracks.

    So there you go. Unless the TAU Analyzer program is bad, there are the results. An A/B comparison. And anyone is free to try it themselves.

    • Shaun says:

      UPDATE:

      I also processed the Edsel remaster of Suede’s Coming Up. The result was CDDA. Then I processed the Culture Factory reissue of Robert Palmer’s Some People Can Do What They Like. The result was also CDDA.

      • c-eling says:

        Shaun mp3’s can be converted to the cdda format, the issue was the cutoff frequency

        • Julian says:

          All CDs are CDDA format. The question is what the tracks were before they were pressed on the CD: Were they 16bit / 44.1 kHz wavefiles (=CDDA quality) or something inferior (lossy formats such as MP3, WMA, OGG, etc.)?

    • stuart says:

      Yes hello,this is the reason why “the American music industry” with apple now control the media market and stand alone computers are becoming dinosaurs!

      try again to do your examination on a “playbook or ipad” much hard/near impossible and nothing to argue..

      Control they have it and we the people/society are about to lose it

  36. Griffin says:

    I like Robert Palmer. But I didn’t want to buy any of these. Because there aren’t enough bonus 12″ for me. Perhaps only the Pride/Riptide. But now I won’t because of the quality issue.
    Ian Hill says (September 16, 2013 at 23:08):
    It looks like all 8 discs are sourced from mp3. It would be interesting if you could follow up on this Paul. Another case of music lovers being shafted by the record companies again!?
    http://www.superdeluxeedition.com/news/robert-palmer-island-catalogue-no-longer-marooned-thanks-to-edsel/
    I was also excited about the Tabu reissues. But in the end I didn’t get any for the same reason.

    I like to thank Paul for making his hobby (I guess/assume) on this scale! So we all music lovers can come here, getting the latest news on reissues, info’s we need to know, discussing, changing ideas on the tracklisting, a platform for record companies/labels & fans to communicate!

    I believe Paul only provides us a service here. He’s not responsible for anything/anyone (to buy or not to buy). Please respect each other here :) We are old & wise enough to decide whether we will get a reissue or not. You can get all the info’s you want on the internet. I have to work. So I don’t always have the time to check the latest updates on reissues. I come here every now and then to keep myself updated. Sometimes I still order/buy those CD’s although quality issues. Since I like to have “1 bird in the hand than 10 in the air”! If you’re not happy/satisfied with those CD’s. You still can re-sell it on eBay or elsewhere online. But we still help each other by mentioning problems/complaints we have on here. So recordcompanies/labels/artists can take some notes for the future reissues. Thank you for those tech insides. I’m happy someone took the time to explain those to us. :P

  37. rognova says:

    I’m hoping that the mixes they got weren’t the infamous “remasters” that Palmer took on himself. If you’ve heard any of them on his compilations released between 1989-2002, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. They have this crackerbox elimination sound to them where he removed instruments that still have echo in the BG. Give Me An Inch with the flute removed is particularly weird sounding.

  38. Philip Gorman says:

    I have these discs – they sound just fine to my ears, and its a pleasure to have the 70s albums available again, some with extra tracks. And yes – I have a true hi-fi system not a ‘stereo’.

  39. Mike F says:

    I’ve tried the CD analysing software Shaun mentioned. It does seem to throw out some false results (although to be fair, they do mention this) but when I trialled something I knew to be sourced from mp3 – something I had converted back myself from 320 Kbps I was quite stunned at the frequency response. It was a mixture of tracks, and all bar two showed a heavy cut off in the 16kHz range which could be seen in the spectrum view, and what looked like a brick wall filter in the frequency graph. I can’t say anything about the Palmer CDs as I don’t have them. They may not be mp3 at all, but it is unusual to have a cut off at that frequency point.

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  42. Nick says:

    Here’s food for thought for those that criticize people who look at audiophiles or complain about the mastering. Back in the early 80’s when CDs were just coming out, many music executives in the US were reluctant to embrace it. Their complaint was that once you bought a CD, you wouldn’t need to buy another one. With an LP you would have to buy one again in time because it would degrade from being played over and over again. They wanted the CD to be like an LP, were people had to buy one again and again in the future. I heard this in the news back in the early 80’s, when CDs where still around $50 to $80.

    What a coincidence that CDs started to be mastered so badly that people either didn’t buy them or bought a new release hoping to get a CD that sounded right. Now that the computer age is here and everyone has a one with cheap speakers, they can’t tell that the sound quality is crap. The music industry loves it because they don’t have to give you quality and spend less money mastering it. If people actually bought an affordable sound system, they would be able to tell how horrible the mastering is just by hearing it.

    • wtdk says:

      CD’s were never $50-$80. Even in the early 80’s.

      Just a comment on the Andrew Gold remasters–whomever provided the masters for those did the right thing as they are NOT sourced from mp3’s but clearly were remastered from tapes.

  43. Nicolas Martin says:

    It’s a small thing but perhaps telling. Edsel can’t be bothered to provide Amazon with track listings or samples for some or all of the Palmer reissues.

  44. Kevin says:

    Fascinating to come across this site. I fully agree with the comparison with theUSA Culture Factory Robert Palmer re-issue sound quality. I did a comparison with Culture’s re-issue of US 60’s band Quicksilver Messenger Service live album from ’68: Happy Trails with two other cd versions, one from US Capitol and other from Repertoire Germany. Culture had absolutely murdered it with high compression, severe limiting and secondary de-noising. Did a scathing review on amazon.uk under review name ”Gerbil”. Their end product was unlistenable and they claimed 96Khz/24 bit audiophile re-mastering. Absolute b*ll*cks.

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