New Half-Speed Mastered Vinyl series launched by Universal

Universal Music have launched a new series of special vinyl releases, including classic titles from The Rolling Stones, Simple Minds and The Police, under the ‘Half Speed Mastering’ banner…

Half-speed mastering is a vinyl cutting technique where the source is played back at half its normal speed while the turntable on the vinyl cutting lathe also runs at half-speed (16 2/3 to be precise). Everything plays back as normal on your turntable at home.

The idea with this method is that the recording stylus has twice as long to carve the intricate groove into the master lacquer and high-frequency information is easy to cut because it’s not high frequency any more – when played half speed it’s mid-range, which is easier to cut. The advantages are supposed to be a record that is capable of an ‘extremely clean and unforced high-frequency response’ and a detailed and solid stereo image.

When these releases were first posted on Universal’s Udiscover store there was much talk of ‘artisan processes’ and going back to ‘original master tapes’. An eyebrow or two was raised here at SDE at the possibility that a new remastering of The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street had been created from the original tapes, so we asked Universal to clarify the sources for each album on the release schedule. The following is what they came back with (these are written by Miles Showell, mastering engineer at Abbey Road Studios).


The Rolling Stones / Exile On Main Street (half-speed mastered vinyl)

Source: 24bit/96khz digital transfers supplied by the Stones made from original ¼” tapes

This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known analogue tape in existence. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.


Free / Fire and Water (half-speed mastered vinyl)

Source: Digital transfers from the original ¼” tapes, recently prepared by Free remastering engineer Andy Pearce.

This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known analogue tape in existence. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.


The Police / Ghost in the Machine (half-speed mastered vinyl)

This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known ¼ analogue tape in existence. The tapes were re-played on an Ampex ATR-102 fitted with custom extended bass response playback heads. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible.

Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.


Simple Minds / New Gold Dream (half-speed mastered vinyl)

This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the original ½” analogue masters. The tapes were re-played on an Ampex ATR- 102 fitted with custom extended bass response playback heads. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.


John Martyn / Solid Air (half-speed mastered vinyl)

This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the ¼” analogue masters. The tapes were re-played on an Ampex ATR-102 fitted with custom extended bass response playback heads. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.


Cream / Disraeli Gears (half-speed mastered vinyl)

Source: Digital transfers made from the original ¼” MONO masters (with edits) from Atlantic Studios NYC, 1967 – transfers were made at Sterling Sound, NYC, in 2013

This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known analogue tape in existence. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.

This information and more is now available over at the uDiscoverMusic store.

107 responses to New Half-Speed Mastered Vinyl series launched by Universal

  1. Adrian says:

    Really sick of the flat, lifeless vinly that Universal churn out. The original vinyls are far better with great dynamics and image. The only positive is that the new pressings have a nice quiet background.

  2. I have Brian Eno’s – Music from Films – on Abbey Road Studios Half Speed cut by Miles Showell. It sounds exquisite and yes the high frequencies sing as if the synth is being played in front of my Monitor Audio floor-standers. This is absolutely a premium format and I promise you all it truly will stand hairs on the back of your neck when you listen to the vinyl when delivered through a great analogue system.

  3. James Davies says:

    What I dislike about half speed mastering is that all record seem to only have a couple of tracks per side, it’s a small issue I’ll admit but I hate it as I have to getting up to change record every 10-15 minutes!

    • me says:

      Buy a CD :)

    • Todd Crookham says:

      This is not the fault of the half speed mastering, but is caused by groove optimization for best sound quality!
      A 12″ vinyl record at 33rpm can hold about 25 minutes of program material maximum, but for the best sound quality it is limited by groove spacing to 16 to 20 minutes. I do suggest that if you actually get a chance to list to an actual analog sourced half speed master recording on a system that is all analog that you sir down relax and not worry about having to flip over the record! Even my 20 year old niece thinks it’s something special! We have become so use to the convenience of digital media sources that we often forget that we are ourselves analog beings, that we hear in an analog way and that much of the music performed and produced comes from analog sources! Now days digital work stations are how engineers tend to mix, master and store recordings till they are ready for media duplication!

  4. Florian Meiler says:

    It’s funny that no one has even mentioned the existence of direct cut records, they are made without any digital or analogue recording directly from the mixing desk to the record cutting head, live and with no possibility for overdubs or second takes.
    In the late seventies this was the absolute best quality available.
    That’s where the record company’s should look if they want to convince hardcore analog disciples to buy new products…

    • David Morgan says:

      Direct cut is suitable for only a very limited range of music; if you can’t do it live, in a small room, then forget it. Imagine a direct cut of Dark Side of the Moon? No, it couldn’t work. Some jazz, some small ensembles; that’s it. Mastodon will not be doing direct cut.

      • mike mccurley says:

        direct to disk has been done by sheffield labs in the 80’s. including orchestral and big band works.

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  8. Mark Lukinovich says:

    If you have a stereo system capable of playing half-speed masters they are clearly better than CDs. At least 99.9% of people don’t have a system that comes close to paying these LPs justice. Speakers are everything and I still have a set of JBL 4311 Studio Monitors, they are the real original monitors that many of the MFSL recordings were originally mixed with. Getting a MFSL pressing into digital with a 24 bit / 192 bps sound card is a challenge, they are that good. Telarc also made some fantastic recordings like the 1812 Overture; few turntables can handle this pressing. Even on the LP there is clipping, but it’s not as harsh as on the CD. You can’t truly appreciate this album without a very serious sub woofer. Much of the cannon’s energy is below 40 Hz and there are fundamentals below 10 Hz. CD’s cut off at 20 Hz. On the vinyl. you feel this album.

    • DP says:

      I’d suggest that if it is your belief that speakers are everything then you don’t have system capable of getting the best out of such an album as this, either.
      The source is everything, absolutely everything, the vinyl if not excellent will never excel. Unless the cartridge can dig out every wobble and wave made by the cutter it will never get all the information from the vinyl in the first place. The cartridge needs and arm, the arm an armboard, the turntable motor needs a power supply and it all needs to sit level on a proper stand or table.
      Then you need a phono stage, pre amplifier, amplifier, cables and finally speakers.
      Feed great speakers rubbish and that’s what you hear, feed rubbish speakers excellence and they’ll do their best to reproduce it.
      Feed excellence from an excellent source to excellent speakers and you’ll do justice to the vinyl and this piece of vinyl is a great album, made greater. Sounds wonderfully solid, tuneful, timing and soundsatge are magnificent.

  9. Devinder Sehmbi says:

    I have several Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s half speed masters I purchased in the eighties, they cost £15-25 then, and without exception sounded better than original ‘standard’ vinyl copy. Sorry, I’m not going to invest in analogue recording pressed from a digital source.

    • David Morgan says:

      I have a few of the CBS Mastersounds albums from the same period. They sound stunning. I’m with you on the digital. If any stage of production or playback is digital it may as well all be. All you are doing is moving the DAC around.

  10. stuart s says:

    when this snake oil gets down to 10 dollars, I might bite for the artwork alone.

  11. Nass Khan says:

    I just bought a copy of 1/2 speed Exile On Main St. My previous copy was the reasonably priced 180g reissue a few years back. I also got the Polydor Deluxe CD , Vrigin 1994 CD & an old CBS CD copy.

    Why so many copies ? Truth is I have always suspected ( and hoped) that this album might sound better than what was previously presented.

    It always annoyed that one of their best albums sounded murky as hell . All I wanted was a version that sounded like the blanket had been taken off the speakers.

    It wasn’t cheap but was it worth it???

    YES!!! This IS the copy I have always wanted.

    I have just read approx 50 reviews slating this release from people without them
    actually hearing it?? It’s up to you can trust the other reviews or grab a copy while you can .

    Meanwhile I am just Rolling the Tumblimg Dice.

  12. Bobby Woolard says:

    All this technical talk about records. I have been around long enough to see all these changes and have bought duplicates in other forms seeking the best sound and now I am playing my old records again. Some of us can’t afford the best in audio gear so we spend what we can to hear what makes us happy, what entertains us, regardless of the clicks, pops and rumble (or the lack of.) I have spent some money on the new HD players and do find that it is much better than mp3s to duplicate and carry my music with me, but it is still not as good as some of my 40+ year old records. Stop listening to all the bad and enjoy the good in what you love with what you have. That’s what it’s all about.

  13. Michel J says:

    Well – I did get the whole batch as I like some of the other stuff that Miles Showell has worked on. Played the first of the 6 tonight – Free, “Fire and Water”, then played my original UK Pink Island version right on the back of it for comparison. The half-speed master sounds much, much better to my ears. Huge gain in clarity on the vocals and drums, much better soundstage although this remains a boxed-in, patchy recording. Much better extension at both ends, too. Doesn’t suffer from the sort of coldness that marred the Beatles stereo vinyl remastered set, on which all of the above was true but there was a strangely uninvolving quality to the music, which is obviously easy to blame on the use of digital sources.

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  15. matt says:

    Little feat Feats Don’t Fail Me Now half speed pressing would complete their 70s releases on 1/2 speed….anyone?

  16. mat says:

    how many will be pressed as a ltd edition or will they continue making them …this happens…

    • Mitchell says:

      Indeed. Why is there no comment from Universal on how many were pressed?
      ‘Exile On Main Street’ appears to be sold out already, none for sale through Universal or Abbey Road sites

  17. Paul Nyman says:

    So would anyone have a UME email to make Suggestions for Artists/Groups to include in “Half-speed Mastering” Vinyl releases?

  18. fan says:

    if it had been all analogue, I’d have a try on the Stones one and maybe Police too

    but digital…come on…

  19. Greg says:

    Although I am not a fan of digitally sourced vinyl, there is a potential of it being better than a CD because if the digital source is 24-bit, then when you bring it to vinyl you’re not limiting it as you would be by bringing it to a red book CD. Nevertheless if they put it out on a Blu-ray, then one would get exactly what is on the high resolution source. I think the record companies are being short sighted by cashing in on the trendiness of vinyl. If they would invest in the future and market Blu-rays as a high-end items, with appropriate special features (like the Neil Young Blu-ray box set) and deluxe packaging, then every movie fan out there with the Blu-ray player could become a potential music customer. To quote Graham Parker: I gotta dinosaur for a representative. It’s got a small brain and refuses to learn

  20. Jack says:

    Glad there’s a healthy degree of cynicism regarding these releases. For me the central issue is mastering: if it’s from a digital source, what’s the point of pressing it on vinyl? You’re actually just adding the surface noise of vinyl! It will probably sound inferior to a well-mastered cd.

  21. Daran says:

    You can check loudness of most releases at the Dynamic Range Database website (just Google that phrase). Some CD’s recently remastered have better loudness stats than vinyl releases. But, it’s a complex subject in terms of what releases sound the best, encompass ing all aspects on the mastering that was done. Take for example PF’s Wish You Were Here. There are pages and pages of forum threads on the subject. Oddly one of the best sounding versions by consensus is a 94 ‘audiophile’ release from Columbia due to it’s warm analogue tone, yet you look at the dynamic range stats and see that it is really poor and appears to have the worst volume limiting of any WYWH release. Go figure the crazy science of what sounds good. Perhaps we should just listen to the music and stop trying to get the last smidgen of sound quality.

    • Nod Bor says:

      I picked up the 94 WYWH thinking what the hell it’s only $2.00 not knowing what to expect sound wise, to fine that it does sound amazing. This is also true of my original vinyl copy, and the SACD copy of this title. This is why people do buy reissues. What the hell is $2.00 to $50.00 for any format of music issued if it is what a person likes. Compare that to the waste of money on disposable items that you have nothing to show for.

      I have also about ten half-speed masted and DMM LPs, they all sound amazing. What is the best sound quality of any music? To me it is a case by case issue of what is the best sounding released format of the issued title . I do wonder if people that are being negative and knocking the differences, have listen to the many different formats that are available of the music issued.
      Is it snake oil to suggest that in general, Japan and Germany have the best pressing? Is it wrong that other countries that released the same album at the same time have a different sound or mix than what it is familiar to your ears. I listen to records, CDs, SACD, Blu-ray, Cassettes, and Reel to Reel tapes. I even have the evil MP3 and FLAC players.

  22. Mick says:

    So far, I’ve held off buying new/2010’s vinyl unless it’s coloured vinyl or picture disc.
    One main reason is this business of them being cut from digital sources. They can bloviate all they want about alleged benefits like greater low range frequencies, digital restoration abilities & whatnot. It’s still putting digital into the analog chain, and thus negating the whole point of buying an LP.
    A lot of my favourite LP’s are being re-released, and I’m very tempted to get new, pristine copies of some of them. I keep passing on the black vinyl ones. The only exception I’ve made (so far) was the mono “Sgt. Pepper”.

    As for half speed: I have a 1980’s Nautilus half speed pressing of “Ghost In The Machine” by The Police, and FWIW I can honestly say it’s one of the best sounding records I’ve ever owned.

  23. russell finch says:

    Here’s an idea for the record companies, why not release special remastered CDs without compression and limiting, mastered to sound good rather than loud? Why is it that even 24 bit downloads are turned up to 11 and you have to buy vinyl to get good sound?

    • Mick says:

      Greg answered that above: ” because it (vinyl) is currently the most profitable medium they possess.”
      You want good sound – You have to pay.

  24. moog_man says:

    At the risk of sounding like a, umm.. broken record, I’m going to say what I always say when UMG announce a “newly remastered vinyl” program.
    > Who’s pressing it? <
    In Europe, UMG work with GZ Vinyl in the Czech Rep. Sadly, a guarantee of mediocrity.
    You can sink your marketing budgets into promoting how you took the tapes to Abbey Rd, blah blah blah but all that work is wasted if you press the vinyl poorly. This is typical Universal blowing smoke over the mirrors…
    Record companies are stubbornly hilarious….. they just cannot get a handle on what quality means…

  25. Gisabun says:

    Probably half mastered and twice the price!

  26. Dean says:

    Genius. They just keep rehashing these techniques. I’m old enough to remember these the first time around. Some albums were actually released at half speed (Klaus Schulze, for example).

    So when’s Quad coming back? Surely everything should be remastered for quad?

  27. Ron I says:

    I always have to laugh at the comments on these kinds of stories. A bunch of people who supposedly love music bash the music companies for trying to make money by selling MUSIC in a form that people want.

    Stick to MP3’s and stop whining if you don’t like these things.

  28. Daran says:

    I can see it now on a front cover label: “Minimum wage person notification: You will hear the SQ difference present in these half-speed releases if you have a Linn deck, but you won’t notice if you have a Rega or Technics!” :)

  29. Paul Wren says:

    Seems straight forward to me. Top end hi-fi gear: Buy half speed reissues.
    Average to bottom end hi-fi gear: Buy good used copies. End result: Happiness and harmony all round.
    Record companies have to work their vaults like this as nobody wants to pay for new artist releases anymore. These reissues effectively pay for new artist releases in due course.

  30. Brian says:

    I have some magic beans for sale, if anyone is interested.

  31. stuart s says:

    Why not stamp the vinyl from the original analog source? What a waste of time but not my money. I’ll stick with my original New Gold Dream and Ghost in the Machine thank you.

  32. Zongadude says:

    Exactly. Half-speed cuts exists since the 70s. I believe one of the first album to be pressed in half-speed was Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage”.

  33. JasonC says:

    Weren’t last year’s Queen vinyl reissues the same Universal-released half-speed mastering too?

  34. John says:

    Half speed mastering is nothing new. audiophiles could buy these in the 70s. Like a lot of processes mentioned above you will only notice it on top of the range equipment. Someone joked above about being issued on 2 x ten inch instead of a 12inch. Don’t joke! The standard LP also used to be issued for audiophiles on 2 x 12inch discs at 45rpm. I believe Peter Gabriel recently revived this

    • Paul Wren says:

      Double 45 rpm discs are commonly used on original single vinyl disc reissues as they allow for wider and deeper groove cuts and therefore better playback possibilities. This has been going on for probably the last ten years on countless reissue – Gabriel is just the latest.

  35. Greg says:

    After reading about and listening to as much vinyl, audio Blu-rays, & SACDs as I can afford, I have made a lists of 7 truths. 1) The Beatles Mono LPs, which were “pure analog” sound great, as do many of the “pure analog” LPs I have collected over 40 years. 2) Some of SACDs and audio Blu-rays sound great, even better than the original LPs. 3) Most people buying vinyl today are buying it because it is “trendy” and do not have the playback equipment to appreciate a well done LP. 4) Most people buying SACDs and audio Blu-rays have moderate to better grade playback equipment. 5) Music conglomerates are pushing vinyl because it is currently the most profitable medium they possess. 6) In most cases the music cut from digital sources will sound better on an audio Blu-ray than on vinyl (mostly because the average buyer does not have a high end cartridge, arm, turntable, and phone preamp to get the most out of the vinyl.) 7) Vinyl does not sound warmer, if done with care and from an analog source sounds like MUSIC, as it was intended to sound when recorded. Quality remastering (Steve Wilson’s XTC, Tull, & Yes remasters for example) sound better than the original vinyl. They do not sound warmer they sound like music.

  36. Disco says:

    I’ll be very interested to read reviews of the Simple Minds album.

    I just played my first issue A&M vinyl tonight. It’s a great album, but something about the sound or the mastering (I’m not a mastering geek, so forgive me) is just off.

    The music is somewhat quiet, so I have to really crank it up to get good volume. Bigger issue is that the bass just (for lack of a better word) “pops” a lot, like the bass is clipping occasionally. It doesn’t sound natural.

    And certain tracks have something of a veil in that the clarity and definition isn’t there. Would love to have a great vinyl copy of this album, which is easily in my top 20 favorite.

    • DaveM says:

      Disco, totally agree about New Gold Dream. I haven’t heard it for about 25 years, but remember the sound on cassette, vinyl and then CD as being muddy. Spoilt was is to me an absolute classic album.

  37. Simon F says:

    All this technical stuff is making my head spin. Bet I could find decent second-hand original copies of all of the above LP’s without too much trouble. Incidentally do you still get the postcards with “Exile”?

  38. Piotr says:

    Seriously? Universal must be running out of ideas. Then again, these albums sell well, and it will be the same people buying them over and over.

  39. Yani says:

    Emperors New Clothes

  40. Mike the Fish says:

    I’m surprised at the hostility towards half speed cuts. It makes sense in terms of physics, and strangely better sense when cut from digital at half speed. It’s not like being bit identical on a different piece of plastic, nor a directional A/C lead. With tape I gather the optimum is 2/3 speed cutting. Look it up if you’re not sure!

    • Mike the Fish says:

      “directional” A/C lead, that is.

    • Daran says:

      Yes, but you don’t have to go far on the internet to learn that there have been some poor sounding half-speeds released due to them messing up the eq. So it’s not a guarantee of sounding better than the regular cut discs. The same was true of some SACD’s which had enough top end to cut glass.

      • Daran says:

        Like this comment from an audiophile LP reviewer… “The most serious fault of the typical Half-Speed Mastered LP is not tonal incorrectness or poor bass definition, although you will have a hard time finding one that doesn’t suffer from both. It’s Dead As A Doornail sound, plain and simple. And most Heavy Vinyl pressings coming down the pike these days are as guilty of this sin as their audiophile forerunners from the ’70s.”

      • Mike the Fish says:


  41. David Atkinson says:

    This audiophile will be giving these releases a wide berth. Just can’t see the point, unless you didn’t look after your genuine analogue originals. Oh, you didn’t? Well I did. Bully for me.

  42. Jim says:

    I suggest people read this from an interview with

    I think the Simple Minds seems like it could be the biggest improvement over the original.

    Here is the interview:
    UMe Abbey Road 1/2 Speed Mastered Series Update: We Ask the Tough Questions:

  43. RJSWinchester says:

    That old chestnut “remastered”. Record companies are getting desperate now and insulting the intelligent of the record buying public in the process. Just how many times can you remaster an album? In reality, anyone who has bought these albums in the past must have received a sub standard product.

  44. baward says:

    I’m with the naysayers on this, it smacks of previous technological ‘advancs’ like metal cassette tape and Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) for vinyl in the eighties.

    Regarding The Police one and the comment by Mr Showell that they were cut “from the best known ¼ analogue tape in existence.” I would be seriously surprised if at the eak of their success, The Police used quarter inch analogue tape, half inch tape or Sony PCM F1 would be far more likely.

    • neil storey says:

      Be surprised. We work with 1/4″ master reels all the time; in fact we just mastered the vinyl for our upcoming Chris Wood project 10 days ago – both sides off of 1/4″ reels. It’ll be precisely the same for the CDs which we start to master w/c Feb 22. Those 1/4″ reels will include eq’d production masters, masters, Sterling Sound cutting masters as well as (unhappily) copy master reels where the master or equivalent no longer exists. Not all 1/4″ masters do exist – just a sad fact of 21st century life. Therefore, when Miles Showell at Abbey Road says they’re from the best available / known source, he’s not trying to kid or fool anyone! We all know there are rogues out there who don’t particularly care about the sources from which they master. The guys at Abbey Road certainly do; we certainly do too. To the normal ear and using equipment the majority of us cannot afford, you might be able to hear the difference. If, on the other hand, you listen to and enjoy your music on normal equipment or on the move, I’d defy anyone to tell the difference between what is, technically, a 2nd generation reel and a first generation master. Lastly, while I’ve never worked with any Police reels, I’d not be surprised if the 1/4″ reels they’re using aren’t Sterling Sound cutting masters.

      • Phil Cohen says:

        I had read about a possible Chris Wood boxed set more than a year ago, but by now, I assumed that the project had been abandoned. Have better sources been found for the selections from the unfinished Chris Wood solo album “Vulcan”? I’ve got the previous CD of the album.
        Could there really be enough Chris Wood music for a boxed set? I’m assuming that it will be mostly Wood’s work as a session man on other people’s albums. I recall that he played flute on a few songs by the group “Free”.

        • neil storey says:

          No… far from abandoned! The set has taken over four years to pull together. Developed hand in glove with Chris’s sister Steph who administers his Estate. The vinyl is, in brief, the never-released solo album; while some of the titles are known, none of the tracks have been heard before – the two 1/4″ proposed masters which were sequenced by Chris and engineer Terry Barham in October 1978 (turned down by Island that winter) were discovered in a barn in the west country during the spring of 2013 – they’d not been touched for over 30 years. The CDs comprise music from throughout his entire career; unfortunately no Sounds Of Blue or Locomotive recordings with Chris playing exist… home demos and sketches, different versions of known titles as well as his last two studio sessions (April 1983) are included as well as, perhaps, the more obvious (Traffic, Free, Gordon Jackson, Jim Capaldi, Bobby Whitlock, John Martyn and so on) to the, perhaps, more obscure like Martha Velez to the previously unreleased like Tyrone Downie, Rebop Kwaku Baah, Remi Kabaka and others.

      • matt says:

        hello Neil,
        can Universal say the exact edition being pressed or is it a’press for demand’ situation? thanks

      • matt says:

        how manyFree and John Martyn 1/2 speed will be made?

    • Paul Wren says:

      DMM was, and still is, an alternative and very good way of producing new vinyl repressings – it avoids the need for lacquers to be made in the more conventional way of repressing vinyl. I get the feeling that there are fewer DMM machines around, so they don’t feature as much these days.

  45. Volker says:

    When will we get the early Donna Summer records remastered?

  46. Gary says:

    Anything to keep selling the same record to the same few people.

    • Yes, that’s my entire argument for the past 40 years. From mono to stereo, 4-channel, high-grade Lp’s, half speed mastered, gold disc cd’s, it’s always the same old artist being rehashed. I purchased John Klemmer’s TOUCH album in 1977. Then on high chrome tape for the car, then the Compact Disc version in the mid-80’s. Later, Mobile Fidelity released (and I purchased) the gold disc master version. Now, apply this to the small catalog of artist that seems to be released everytime a new format, or technology comes along. It’s always the same artist, the same albums all over again. It just seems so unfair, those classic albums from Motown, Stax, Atlantic, regardless the number of pieces in the orchestration, many good albums go un-re-released. Temptations in a Mellow Mood Carol Bayer Sager and Too. Shirley Horn with Strings. Crystal Illusions Sergio Mendes Brazil 66 December George Winston The Way We Were (not the soundtrack) Barbra Streisand Just to name a few.

  47. Wax Monster X says:

    Ahhhh. You had to know this was coming! Oh the majors must be loving on these vinyl hipsters. Same old snake oil, all new pigeons to pluck.

  48. Brian says:

    so true Eric, What next quarter speed and on two 10 inch records?

  49. Friso Pas says:

    The question for me is then, did they use limiting on the previous version of Exile? Oh well, I’m just going to play the blu-ray audio, should sound the same, I guess.

  50. Richard says:

    More marketing nonsense aimed at audiophiles who will buy the same album for the tenth time if they convince themselves the audio is better than the last one.

  51. Denis Woods says:


  52. vikerii says:

    Does this half speed technique, on its own result in a noticeable audio difference? Or are they relying on the other transfer changes to justify the release?

    And from the “Ain’t never gonna happen” department, it would be nice if they had upgrade pricing for those who already bought earlier remasters. Lol.

  53. Mark Jensen says:

    Hmm… Why go to all the trouble to produce a record that has been made from a digitally sampled source. I realize it happens all the time, but the concept of “half speed mastering” seems a bit wasted when this, at least in theory, could not possibly sound any better than just playing back the high resolution digital source directly with the same quality DAC that was used in the mastering. It is a shame that so few record companies are willing to go to the trouble to release new vinyl that has been mastered from tapes without ever being digitally sampled. I will maintain that even high resolution sampling degrades sound, though 24-bit digital is certainly much better than 16-bit digital, as I personally believe it is more the amplitude quantization than the Nyquist filtering that really changes the feel of music from digital sources.

    • Paul Wren says:

      Agreed – boutique vinyl reissue labels cut out all digital involvement and go analogue from the original tape to the cutting machine.

    • Phil Educate says:

      I agree totally with Mark Jensen, whose description was spot on. The whole point of vinyl is to preserve the audio in the analog domain all the way through to playback. To master a vinyl record from a digital source begs the question: Why not just play back the digital source, because (assuming a decent D/A converter), it would always sound better than a downstream vinyl rendering. The downstream vinyl record introduces speed variations and other distortion, signal loss and surface contact noise. How anyone could ever prefer the downstream vinyl over its upstream digital source, baffles me.

      • paul says:

        hi there
        I ‘ve been tested to compare digital recordings , analog and analog to digital remasters
        and recordings analogous have a deeper warmer Somido , better bass and crisper midrange , while it is true treble are a bit more planes are not a problem, can be enhanced with an equalizer . I prefer anyway recording reissues era to today , but recognize that there are well made work and worth giving a listen

      • Diego says:

        Exactly. I’d rather invest in a good D/A converter than taking the vinyl route. I agree that with proper care it’s possible to restore mater tapes with improved sound, but it all comes down to the digital transfer. Now there are hundreds of DACs in the market, and they all give different sound. it only proves that it is impossible to restore the waveform to its original state. Zeroes and ones are difficult to amplify because of electronic nature. The waveform can be transfered from magnetic media to vynil because it doesn’t lose its mechanical qualities. It’s a waveform. The moment it gets converted to digital the sound is electronic. It comes down to different implementations of DACS, different techniques. All sound different. Its is my humble opinion.

      • Roger mallison says:


        • Florian Meiler says:

          LOL Much to much! My Revox A77 reel to reel (remember, the source for all your “classic rock” albums was 1/4″ tape), designed in 1967 has a 1600 hz reference which, when compared with a wave generator at 1600hz has a drift of 0.1 hz, at 3150hz this is a drift of 0.196 hz.
          I guess you test record wasn’t centered correctly….

  54. Rob Wilcock says:

    Whilst I would only buy vinyl if it was a picture disc or on coloured vinyl, I think it is good to know that some care was taken with the mastering process.

    Great to know some analogue tapes still exist and are being used.

  55. Daran says:

    I could not remember the name on my first post, but yes this has the same sort of unproven / unquantifiable theory behind it as Sony’s ‘Superbit’ DVD releases a few years back – the idea there being that by dumping the special features you had more space for the main movie and audio to be less compressed. Nobody could tell the slightest difference from the standard versions…. Except Sony and their marketing team of course.

    • Mike the Fish says:

      Half speed mastering can really make a difference – you know some records are cut with a 15/16kHz cut off to save cutter wear? No need with half speed as 20kHz is being cut at 10kHz. There is apparently a price to be paid as the lower end frequency response of *tape*/tape heads when played at half speed could lead to loss of lower frequency stuff, presuming much was on there on the first place. Digital half speed removes this issue.

  56. At £25 a pop, these are a bit pricey! I will wait for the hope-it-comes soon box set of Simple Minds “New Gold Dream” which should include a hi-res stereo version on the DVD. That to me is as near to hearing the master tapes as you can get!

  57. FrankB says:

    Where’s the remasters of Donna Summer’s whole Casablanca/Universal catalogue!!!!! Way over due!!

  58. Daran says:

    Sounds like snake oil…. But abolishing limiting to stop the march of flat level volume and squashed dynamics can only be a good thing. Mastering for the Ipod generation has really harmed music listening pleasure.

    • David Berexa says:

      Obviously you have never heard the original Mobile Fidelity Half-Speed Masters. Anyone who has been listening to Audiophile pressings for a while knows that they are regarded as some of the best ever. Example any of The Beatles series they did. DJ Berexa Pgh PA

      • Billy D says:

        I have several Mobile Fidelity discs and several CBS discs as well. They sound better than standard lp releases. Of course having some good gear makes a difference as well. If you’re using a Crosley turntable don’t bother. DJ elektrolad formerly of Pittsburgh , PA

  59. Eric says:

    Thanks you for posting the details on these.

  60. eric slangen says:

    They still find a new way to get out money :))

    • Chunky Johnson says:

      Just got the Cream Vinyl Remaster. Played on my Quad Tannoy Thorens set up, Dont waste your money this is nothing special. I have lots of remaster and original vinyl dating from the 60’s.One of the best is 1967 Remaster…Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green which is stunning.

    • Philip Saulnier says:

      I own nearly fifty half speed mastered recordings. Here’s the thing. You can buy a conventional record that sounds incredible. You can also buy a half speed master that sounds average, but a great half speed mastered recording is the cats meow.

    • Mike says:

      They only get the money from the ones who want to give it!

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