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Blue Note Classic Vinyl Reissues

Discussion in 'music' started by poco a poco, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    Two copies of Empyrean Isles arrived last night loose in a large box from Amazon. The second was a mistake on my part as I forgot I had ordered one with a Gift Voucher. Still given the reports here of pressing noise at least it will give two chances of getting a quiet one. ;)
    mikechadwick, RickyC6 and gavreid like this.
  2. mikechadwick

    mikechadwick pfm Member

    Got a new copy today - plays through fine :)
    kjb, poco a poco and gavreid like this.
  3. poco a poco

    poco a poco I'm Jim

    I lucked out on my Empyrean Isles as the first copy I opened of the two was completely flat and quiet even at high volume so I’m able to return the still sealed one for a credit against further preorders.

    Sound quality is great. I can hardly believe the amount of really clean very low bass on Ron Carter’s string bass and Tony Williams kick drum that Kevin Gray has got on this. I’m feeling it more than hearing it!
    tpetsch, mikechadwick and gavreid like this.
  4. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Got lucky with my Empyrean Isles too.

    I’ll get the Sam Rivers because It’s Sam Rivers, but it’s exceptional stuff only for me at this point: £18 for some fun hard bop is fine, £25 uh-uh. No reason for these to be that price as far as I can see when £18-20 is the going rate for new releases.
  5. norliss

    norliss pfm Member

    Picked up Empyrean Isles, my first new record purchase since last August. Side A was fine but Side B has some loud pops during Cantaloupe Island and The Egg has numerous instances of miscellaneous pops and ticks. I'll be hoping the replacement is good but if not, I think that may be me done with both Classics and new records full stop. Just doesn't seem like the plants can handle pressing these records with any consistent quality. A shame but there you go.
  6. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    US Blue Note store has a big sale on - BN75 vinyl for $12, recent CDs for $8.

    Offers on the UK site are sadly rather less generous... :rolleyes:

  7. tpetsch

    tpetsch pfm Member

    I'm returning my Amazon copy, listened to it last night and it was a very noisy and uneven press as you also mentioned, disappointing. Compared it to my Blue Note -2015- 75th anniversary release and I'll be sticking with that press for this release.
  8. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    I'd swap it - there are good copies out there. The Classic Series is generally *much* better than the 75. I have the vast majority of them.
  9. tpetsch

    tpetsch pfm Member

    Correct, the Classic is usually better, no doubt. But in a shootout between my 75th and the classic in this particular situation the 75th is 95% there.
  10. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    Just played my Empyrean Isles and it’s one of the best Classic pressings I’ve heard. No issues at all and a great record.
    gavreid and poco a poco like this.
  11. norliss

    norliss pfm Member

    A little earlier I opened up, vacuum cleaned and played my replacement copy of Empyrean Isles. Side A was great and Side B was sounding good until the tail-end of The Egg at which I suffered about 30 seconds of repeated popping. I gave it a second clean but sadly this did not improve things.

    So this one is going back too albeit for a refund as I'm not trying out a third copy. It's a shame because this Blue Note Classic series is a great idea but is marred by Optimal's inability to press decent copies with any consistency. I'm done with these now and I think I'll avoid buying new vinyl altogether until such time that it seems like we have a plant (or hopefully plants) that can do the kind of job that these sorts of titles deserve.
  12. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    That really hasn't been the consensus re Optimal over the past 18 months. They were patchy at the end of lockdowns etc but that improved markedly...
  13. norliss

    norliss pfm Member

    I'm sure you're right. This was the first one I've bought since the Unity/ Adam's Apple releases of last August. But I'm not the only one who's been having problems with this title: plenty of people on the Hoffman forum and Discogs.
  14. kjb

    kjb Losing my edge

    I've had very few issues with any of the BN records I've bought in the last 5 or so years. The only return was Brain Blade's Fellowship ( a BN 80) which has terrible swooshing across two of the 4 sides.

    I accept and expect a pop here and there tbh. I've been buying vinyl for 50+ years and have always had a few pops and crackles.I only ever returned records than jumped or had deep scratches on the surface.

    I do wonder if, having had CDs for 30 years, we've developed somewhat unrealistic expectations of vinyl and want a standard higher than the form can consistently deliver. I am certainly aware I've higher expectations than I had when vinyl was the only game in town.
    paulfromcamden and RickyC6 like this.
  15. hermit

    hermit human spam

    You raise a good point. For me the threshold varies depending on price. I may well tolerate a few pops or crackles or a slight edge warp on regular priced lps but anything more than that and it is going back.

    On expensive records like Tone Poets or Acoustic Sounds series, I expect a much higher standard and if it is not totally flat and silent it is going back as I know I can get a perfect copy if I am persistent.

    The things I can't put up with at any price are stitching distortion and badly dished or warped records even if they are playable. Any record displaying such faults are returned.
  16. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    I can live with some crackle and warp, except with the really pricey stuff - as Hermit says that needs to be as good as it gets. But I can’t stand that noise you get with non-fill (?) - like a digital glitch kind of sound. I just can’t play a record with that particular flaw so it has to go back. Only had 1 or 2 BNs like that and none recently.
  17. norliss

    norliss pfm Member

    I think you make fair points: decades of listening to music from digital sources probably has raised the bar in terms of expectations relative to what they would have been back in the days when records (and cassettes) were the only show in town.

    FWIW, if I had no tolerance for imperfections I'd have a miniscule record collection since very few are perfect. Indeed, I have a decent number of Blue Note Classics (and some Tone Poets) and very few of them play absolutely perfectly, but I'm not prepared to put up with horrible bursts of stitching distortion and/ or multiple, repeating pops as I find it irks me and takes me out of the music, especially when I already have this stuff in digital form (or access to it on streaming). I suppose we all have different levels of what is or isn't tolerable to us. "YMMV" as our North American friends would say...
  18. norliss

    norliss pfm Member

    I'd never encountered stitching distortion until about 2 years ago. As it happens it was not a BNC but a record pressed by GZ and the replacement was fine. In fact, since then, the ONLY records I've bought that have this problem have been these Blue Note reissues pressed at Optimal. Vinyl records aren't a perfect medium and even when they're being pressed as well as they possibly can be, you will always get the odd one with problems. The problem is I don't think they are being pressed as well as they can be, I think pretty much all plants leave a lot to be desired. A good number of people buying even these super expensive Analogue Productions & MOFI records report poor QC and it's just not good enough.

    Often in these discussions (usually on SHTV) someone pipes up to point out how busy the plants are etc. I think everyone immersed in this whole thing is fully aware of the lack of capacity and demand, but truthfully it's irrelevant to the customer. At the end of the day, these records aren't being distributed for free or at some super low subsidised price, they cost a decent amount of money. I can't think of any other consumer product that I'm expected to buy and accept poor quality because the manufacturer is so busy. If you're so busy and life's so hard, then just get out of the game and do something else!
    Seanm and paulfromcamden like this.
  19. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    Yeah I recall very few issues like the ones above when buying records regularly throughout the 70s and 80s, which considering the volume produced does ask questions of current quality control and maybe expertise?
    norliss likes this.
  20. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    I have some non-fill on my OG copy of London Calling - it's nothing new, although 180 g records are more prone to it. The Classic series really is the bargain among reissues, usually as good as any RTI pressing.
    hermit likes this.

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