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Pink Floyd vinyl mastering confirmed

SDE has made enquiries about the forthcoming Pink Floyd vinyl reissues with regards to the mastering and whether the vinyl is cut directly from analogue or via digital files…

We can confirm that these vinyl reissues do use brand new remasters from the original analogue tapes, but they are not cut directly from analogue. The vinyl reissues are created from the digital file of the new remaster. This information comes directly from the label, via the PR company.

In other news, all the vinyl reissues which Amazon had listed for July have now been removed from the online retail giant, and while there is no doubt that these are happening, we await further official news with regards to release dates.

44 responses to Pink Floyd vinyl mastering confirmed

  1. Philip says:

    Lots of the comments below including those written by Mr Fremer are to be taken with a grain of salt, this one included. I have had the occasion and pleasure to purchase several of these 2016 re-mastesters-re-issues-replacements, what ever you call them. Specifically, I picked up Meddle, The Wall, and Wish You Were Here locally. An FYE was selling them at 1/2 price for whatever reasons, brand new never played for 9.99$ each. Thats what- 75$ in new vinyl elsewhere, Amazon being the less expensive place by my research.

    I buy vinyl in spurts, but lots of it and have been since 1973. I bought the above 3 Lp’s when they were new and have several copies of each, US, UK and German, as well as original Mofi versions from the 1980’s. I’m pretty well experienced with vinyl, and can say honestly a good many reissues, represses and remasters made between 2000 and the present simply suck from a listener’s standpoint. For Example I have 2 sets of the Classic Records 200 Gram Led Zeppelin box set, one unopened one not. Prices are absurd for these LP’s, some going for upwards to 10 times what they did when released. I wouldn’t pay that, the analog tapes were used on this project and I’m hear to tell you every release sounds terrible. I’d take a UK early pressing even a US early pressing of any before playing the Classic records versions. The 180 gram versions sound terrible as well, and the go for less, but more than they should. This is not the only instance where remasters or reissues using the original tapes, or a digital source to cut LP’s brought forth less than stellar results, the downright disappointing and disparaging. There is no lack of ability regarding my gear, digging and transferring the grooves from any of these LP’s to music is not due to a substandard turntable, cartridge, phono stage or other component.

    Currently. I’m rocking the VPI Prime Signature, including the JMW 3D arm, Cardas tonearm wiring, an SDS speed box, Periphery Ring, Sumiko’s Blackbird MC cart , finally a Manley Steelhead phono stage. Premp and power amplification comes from McIntosh separates, 2 Mc501 mono amps are fed from a C2500 tube preamp. Finally, the music emerges from a pair of extra large McIntosh’s XRT 22 speaker’s which have been re-coned, all 48 tweeters checked and verified and both crossovers meticulously rebuilt following the instruction of Roger Russell ,the Mcintosh engineer who designed and built these among other loudspeakers before retiring in 1995.

    As far as the 2016 Pink Floyd Releases, I can attest to the quality of Meddle on Pink Floyd Records. You know the pedigree info, having among others Bernie Grundman at the wheel for his part in the project. Compared to my US Capitol and MoFi releases, the 2016 version of Meddle is better all the way around and back. It’s not beat you over the head better, but on many subtle levels often simultaneously. Starting off, there is no surface noise, no pops, clicks, ticks or ‘swish’ as I call in, from run in, to deadwax. There is silence between the tracks and much of the tape noise which is very obvious if your system is accurate and revealing when you listen close to all of the preceding releases regardless of when and where. Thats one thing eliminated from the list. There is more clarity overall, but not in overly detailed and harsh. Air surrounds the performers and instruments, the separation between the left and right channels is perfect, not too wide not all mashed together in center. There is information behind the listener, the speakers, in all directions, again more so than in previous releases. Pink Floyd never suffered from a lack of spaciousness, but some cases more could have been used. In this case it’s just right.

    The best way to describe that you would know this release has digital in it’s pedigree is to listen carefully. The lack of hiss, detail, focus, the overall picture is extremely clear, and early 70’s tapes at this point are not getting any better. Recording them to the digital domain in some instances is a very valid move, who wants a new 180 gram release of a 30 year old digital copy or a 50 year old analog safety copy as the recording used to but new acetates the plate new mothers and stampers from? Why bother, you can buy those recordings all 0ver the place. If you are going to revisit something, clean it up make it as good as it can be using the beat of old and new technology. Using a digital file to cut the acetate from is a very acceptable alternative to using old tapes over.

    If you own quality copies of the old releases, buy this one to enjoy its merits. I found that these recordings actually respond well to a little digital touch before pressing. Then again I liked the Echos vinyl box set from November 2001, I have 2 sets, one still sealed in case the day comes where my open set is worn out. Bernie Grundman and the present 3 musketeers also were the team on the Echos project. No surprise I love these 2016 releases, since the are involved with them as well. I will buy all of these new vinyl releases, forgoing the Discovery reissues from 2011. As for digital, I have the CD box set from 1992 Shine On. Those recordings are very good to m y ears, the set was close to 250$ new as I recall, including a nice book and other goodies.

    I would say all things being equal, buy these 2016 releases, if you simply want clean copies or have never owned or heard them. maybe vinyl in new to you. I can’ think of a better way to being introduced to vinyl than listening to new Pink Floyd. truthfully, aside from warping or other technical issues causing noise, buying new vinyl makes sense and most of it is really well done. Some folks tend to romanticise buying old vinyl back in the day, They forget the oil embargo of the 70’s records thinner than a business card (almost), noisy from using recycled vinyl with the paper label shredded in the mix, warped LP’s (badly) mold release compound issues causing noise and so much more. Yea you could exchange them for a replacement copy back then too, and still get 1,2,3,4,6 copies with the same issue varying from better to unplayable. Since run of the mill turntables on the whole were often inferior back then, records tended to be cut on the less aggressive side less dynamics and punch as well as equalization, especially on inner tracks where cheaper or inferior arms and carts track poorly and sibilance/inner groove distortion runs wild as a result. Since even the lower end turntables (over 300$) and carts track records far better, the cutter can be more aggressive and dynamic when making the acetate and Mother. They can even spread single Lp’s over 4 album sides. Playing back at 45-rpm, with a wider more aggressive cut, this has the same effect as increasing bit depth and resolution in a digital release. I was hoping they were going to do this with the Pink Floyd Catalog, as they have with others such as Peter Gabriel’s catalog, Dire Straits, Fleetwood Mac, and many more.

    To sum it all up, in order to keep things affordable and retain quality, the way Pink Floyd approached this 2016 reissue makes sense. The LP’s sound great, as stand alones or compared to most scratchy worn out 40 and 40 year old copies. Are there better individual audiophile copies from certain countries or runs, that sound somewhat better, are uber expensive, and hard to find as Blue Unicorn? Yea, maybe. Life is too short to be chasing Blue Unicorns, unless you have the power of an online audience, major magazines and fans on all the continents on the globe willing to help you find out, then find them. Spending 20$ on a really good brand new Lp with a warranty of something goes wrong makes sense and is a no brainer, no matter what end of thee buying spectrum you come from

  2. Peter says:

    It is surprising that the new releases of Wish You Were Here and DSOTM are actually based on brand new remasters. These have the same catalogue number as the editions that were out previoulsy. It seems strange (and perhaps a bit unprecedented from a well-managed catalogue such as Pink Floyds) that they would release a brand new remaster under the same catalogue number. Perhaps this needs a second round of confirmations:-)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      This information was based on the very original batch of PF vinyl reissues (the early albums). I’m not convinced that DSOTM and Wish You Were Here ARE remasters.

      • CJ says:

        I’m convinced the latest DSOTM is remastered. Wywh, in the US, is not, it’s the same 2011, hence the lack of Bernie Grundman’s credit on the hype sticker. If BG is credited, as on the DSOTM and UK/Europe reissues, it’s a remaster. I own three copies of DSOTM now and each one is different. 1978 Japan Pro-use, 2011 reissue and 2016 reissue. I’d say the 2016 is the best although the Pro-Use is no slouch, but sonically they are very different.

  3. Nass Khan says:

    I took the plunge & bought the vinyl reissues.

    I do have good condition 1970s vinyl issues but inevitably they have the odd pop & click considering the ambient nature of the Floyd’s music it can be irritating. My turntable/Arm/Cartridge & rest of system is the best I could put together.

    I am pleased to tell you that they sound great & although these are sourced from digital they shouldn’t sound thin , sterile or harsh to your ears & will sound fine on a decent system.

    I read a lot of Michael Fremer s reviews & respect his opinion but it must be noted his playback system & equipment is ultra high end & it’s his profession to compare various pressings & perhaps hear much more clearly than me ultimate in analog vs digital.

  4. Dean T says:

    Well Michael,
    Reading the Stevehoffman site on the floyd reissues would suggest that confidence in RTI is a little lacking right now with so many post from your fellow audiofiles trying to decide whether to buy eu or domestic ,there is clearly a reason for so much debate.I would suggest you read it,it’s good fun but I think you already have.
    I’m sorry if the word avoid upset you …maybe I should have said..look for a more reliable source…
    I myself have a fair few RTI pressings ,in fact at this moment I am playing my rhino doors box set( you put me in the mood for it after your last post) great stuff to my modest ears ,first time on my newish oppo pm2…fantastic…dead quiet vinyl ….lovely .
    I wish you many years of happy listening .
    Dean.

    Ps.. Don’t mention off centre labels and dished vinyl…

  5. vinyllover says:

    excellent post mr fremer.
    thank you.

  6. It was immediately apparent to me that these PF reissues were cut from digital masters. While James Guthrie and crew did a very excellent job in terms of EQ and preservation of dynamic range, and while these new reissues are far superior to the Capitol Records American issues, which were dreadful, the original UK pressings are far superior overall.

    It’s easy to hear the “digital”. Anyone who thinks digital conversion is somehow transparent at 192/24 (not to mention at CD resolution!) doesn’t have a clue.

    Cutting from digital when an analog tape exists, is absurd in my opinion. I often hear the excuse “well the tape is fragile…”.

    Well now that they’ve got their high resolution 192/24 bit masters that will now be considering THE masters, why not take a chance and try cutting from the tape?

    Rhino issued The Doors catalog on vinyl from high resolution files supervised by Jac Holzman and Bruce Botnick.

    Though they said the tapes were too fragile to cut from, later, Chad Kassem was able to license the tapes and have the LPs cut from tape… and anyone comparing the Rhino to the Analogue Productions LP box sets will immediately receive an audio education into the superiority of an AAA cut compared to one from digital, even at high resolution….

  7. Dean T says:

    Hi LedMan.. Glad your enjoying your copy of saucer .you will love the others when they arrive .
    I’m realy likening More at the moment ,l only discovered this album when I bought the Oh by the way box set but has become a real fave ,with only cd copy(which is still a great sound)this new vinyl is a sonic revelation and out of this first batch was my first choice.so glad to have it.
    Good to know RTI are back on form,I have a fare number of Hendrix ,Doors ,Zeppelin etc ,
    Pressed by them and there all fine by me,so maybe what i read about are just bad luck.
    Well I’m o ff to search the house now for any spare cash (back of the sofa…under the bed ..etc)
    See if I an buy Ummuguma tomorrow .Dean.

  8. LedMan says:

    Dean, thanks for your reply. Yesterday “A Saucer Full Of Secrets” arrived and I’m very impressed with the mastering. The album sounds fat and my copy has no surface noise. This came from Amazon.com and the other 3 are the EU pressings. I’m losing sleep (LOL) anticipating the arrival of them. I agree this is not just a cash grab and that these reasonably priced LPs are receiving excellent reviews in general.

  9. Dean T says:

    Sorry forgot to say…. David …I’m realy glad your US copies are up to standard .. I have read about problems with the Beatles and Zeppelin reissues some of you folks had.

  10. Dean T says:

    This is no money grab… At this Momment I am comparing a early press (not first press) and the new of saucer on my Oppo pm2 /ha1….with lp12 front end and it blows the old one out of the water.Time and skill has clearly been spent here.Add flip backs and it would have been perfect.

  11. David Rubin says:

    After reading the comments, Im glad I downloaded the torrents from an uploader named PBTHAL. He did rips that are amazing. I may dig them out instead of paying for digital vinyl!
    Seems like a money grab to me. And no flip back sleeves for the early releases seems a bit stingy.

  12. Gary says:

    My concern would be sibilance..

    Endless River suffered really badly, thank god only one track had lyrics because it was so noticeable. I know that it doesn’t relate to my setup specifically as others reported the same issue. Not to mention that disc 1 was so badly warped…and that’s after trying 3 copies.

    For those that have the first set of reissues (Piper, More, Umm), have you noticed any issues with sibilance?

    Cheers

    • David says:

      I was very impressed re lack of sibilance on Piper. It’s has very “s” heavy lyrics with tonnes of close-mic work, and even near the end of the sides there was no evidence at all of sibilance. Unlike a recent mono copy of Beatles SPLHCB I purchased, which had serious issues. BTW, I have the US pressing of PATGOD. Both the PATGOD and the SSFOS copies I have are dead quiet with superb clarity and range. Too bad about the scanned back covers for the flip-over format, though.

      • Gary says:

        Thanks David, that sounds promising. Think I will take the plunge with More first. Looking forward to hearing Meddle when it’s finally released!

  13. Dean T says:

    Hi ledman
    From what I know the uk/European vinyl is pressed by optimal (this is printed on the sleeve)and the us vinly by Rti .apparently rti have had quality issues over the last few years and a lot of amarican audio files would avoid them given the choice ,optimal on the other hand are pressed in Germany and go from strength to strength .Over the last few years they pressed the Beatles,Led Zeppelin and Queen reissues to great success .The same masters are used but the vinyl pressing would make all the difference .I just played More again and it sounds fantastic ,buy the uk/European vinyl with confidence .realy hope this helps….Dean.

    • RTI presses excellent records. From where did you get the information that audiophiles “avoid” RTI? Every pressing plant occasionally has “issues”, Optimal included.

  14. ccahoon says:

    Will there be hi-res downloads (HDtracks, Pono, etc) of these new masters as part of this vinyl release campaign?

  15. LedMan says:

    Almost forgot to mention thanks Paul for inquiring.

  16. LedMan says:

    Dean T, Thanks for the review! I do have a question, are your copies U.S. or import? The reason I ask is because I pre ordered 3 of the LPs from AmazonUK and 1 from Amazon.com. I’m curious which sound better if there’s any difference at all? That’s a shame that these reissues are not all analog as I was hoping however I plan to purchase all the reissues.

  17. Dean T says:

    Well to be honest guys I have played my copies through and thay sound great and dead quiet pressings ,More sound the best out of the first three I do not yet have umagumma.

  18. Mike the Fish says:

    Miles Showell now from Abbey Road mentioned in an interview that it was not the done thing now to do several runs of valuable old master tapes due to additional wear. Also drop outs and stuff can be repaired and de-essing can be applied to small patches of audio rather than the whole lot at real time. Loads of beloved 80s vinyl had a digital delay in the chain anyway.

    • Some beloved vinyl had DDL lines, but not “lots”. It depend upon where it was mastered. The good lacquer cutting houses stuck with preview heads, not DDLs.

      Yes, you can “fix” things in the digital domain after you ruin it by digitizing it.

  19. Ron Fleischer says:

    1) These aren’t the 2011 digital remasters as Amazon is listing with some song titles.
    2) These were remastered specifically for vinyl. For playing a standalone file you wouldn’t want to use one that was remastered for an LP.
    3) In the past Guthrie and company have worked with 24/96 transfers.

  20. Steven Campbell says:

    There already is a box set back in 2011 of Piper at the gates of dawn that contained 3 CDs , the 1st is the stereo remaster, the 2nd mono and the 3rd b-sides and rarities, I bought it when it came out on amazon.

  21. Johnny T. says:

    “brand new remasters from the original analogue tapes, but they are not cut directly from analogue. The vinyl reissues are created from the digital file of the new remaster.”

    Well that stinks!! I am glad I have a nice rip of the original UK vinyl of “Animals” which will prob sound better than this new vinyl version.

    • Paul Wren says:

      Not necessarily – the newly released Abbey Road half speed remasters of well known albums have all received rave reviews for sound quality and they are all made the same way. The problem lies with the mastertapes that are now often so fragile that they won’t withstand much more handling and are often considered too precious to ruin forever, hence high quality digital copies being used that will last forever in comparison.

    • Steve Benson says:

      Does anyone know if this is same as the direct metal mastered Beatles LPs released in late 80s at same time as first CDs came out? I have few of them and they sound Ok but I haven’t original vinyl or recent remasters to compare.

  22. Mauro says:

    On TPATGOD, ASOS and More NO flipback cover laminated like original first pressing Columbia end ’60! Only a scanner from the original cover. Audio Stereo remaster 2011.

  23. Kyle says:

    Did they confirm the resolution of the digital master? 24/192? 24/96? 16/44.1? That info always helps when deciding whether to buy or not.

  24. Gary says:

    Can someone explain how a digital file played via vinyl differs audibly from a digital file played via CD, Bluray or PC, using the same speakers. Also what the benefits are of using vinyl in this context when it seems to be the most irksome of the options in terms of storage, cleaning and changing sides etc.

    • cory eling says:

      Gary, Assuming the same mastering is used, it comes down to one’s gear pretty much
      The Phono Pre and Cartridge can ‘flavor’ playback
      Thing is with Floyd, there are so many quiet passages, so these pressings are going to demand excellent quality control
      As for why? Finding original quiet UK’s are expensive and a crapshoot

    • Gary, the analog tapes have to be converted to digital to become digital and THAT can color the audio. In this case, to make vinyl records the digital copy would then have to be converted BACK to analog and THAT could color the audio further. Whenever they make records “cutting from a digital file” there’s that extra step. However some old analogue tapes are so brittle that the company doesn’t want to use them more than absolutely necessary so they make as good a digital copy as they can and then go from that every time they wish to access the music.

      • Asbjørn Andersen says:

        The A/D conversion will most likely be done at a high resolution so there should be no degrading of the sound. The vinyl is actually what colors the sound :)

    • Paul Wren says:

      Vinyl sounds different to CD. A cartridge has unlimited ability to extract all available sound from the groove, subject to cartridge quality which can be upgraded. Ditto CD subject to what electrical gear is inside your CD player – if you own a bog standard CD player, then you will have to buy a very good CD player to stand a chance of the player being able to extract all the information that is on the high resolution digital file that the CD is pressed from. All the information on that file will have made it into the vinyl grooves, hence a good quality cartridge will be able to access it all.
      Quality of turntable and phono stage will also make a big difference.
      Go with whichever option your ears think is best.

    • If the digital file is at 192/24 bit resolution, it will sound far superior to a 16 bit/44.1K resolution CD.

      If the record is cut from the hi-rez file and properly played back it will sound far superior to the CD.

      However, even a record produced from a CD resolution file can sound superior to a CD if the digital to analog decoder in the studio is superior to what you have at home….the odds of that are pretty great that that’s the case.

      Of course if you think CDs are “perfect” and that high resolution audio is “snake oil” and that DACs and CD players all sound the same and “perfect”, then there’s not much I can write here to convince you otherwise (other than to sit you down and do some comparisons)….

    • Lee Malone says:

      Gary, the main difference between the vinyl and digital is the master.
      The source for the vinyl is never the same as the source for the digital release (except with really shitty vinyl reissues that didn’t even bother to get a decent source, but rather just press the CD tracks to the vinyl).

  25. Nuno Bento says:

    Do you think we will have a box set at the end of this run of reissues?
    How about mono Piper and Saucerful?

  26. Simon F says:

    Trouble with the art work no doubt!

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