ABBA on CD

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Supernautic, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    I've been searching inside the forum for hours but couldn't get a satisfactory answer, so I say sorry in advance if I SHOULD have found something...
    I understand that the only way to get good sounding ABBA is vinyl, and my research has revealed to me that every edition available (original or remaster) has its flaws. So my question is:

    What are the best available digital sources for the (more or less) complete ABBA catalogue?
    I don't mind piecing together albums from different sources, may they be compilations, box sets or downloads.
    Thanks - and sorry, if that's been already cleared!:hide:
     
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  2. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

  3. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    all I'm going to say here is that "best" is subjective.

    I've heard a few things Sathvyre recommends, and honestly, I like some other versions better. You may need to experiment, and that might be costly.

    That is all, carry on.
     
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  4. DirkGentlyUK

    DirkGentlyUK Forum Resident

    Location:
    London
    "I understand that the only way to get good sounding ABBA is vinyl" - Certainly not true

    "every edition available (original or remaster) has its flaws" - Not true either

    You might have to be patient to hunt down the better issues but they are out there. The Discomate Vinyl or CD releases are exquisite and it's not impossible to put together a collection of the former. Somewhat harder with the latter as people don't part with them very often and they are quite rare. Otherwise the original Polar releases on CD are good and probably your best bet.

    Are you registered at Discogs? Here's the Market page for 'Ring Ring' Polar issue:

    Buy Björn Benny & Agnetha Frida* - Ring Ring (CD) at Discogs Marketplace
     
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  5. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    And being in that part of the world Dirk, those old West German PDO's might be easier to source. He just needs to watch out for counter's
     
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  6. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    Of course I stumbled across his list (which is really extensive and gets my respect), but I made the same experience and would really appreciate another view.;)
     
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  7. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Kind of comes down to if you prefer modern compression or not, ie (remasters) I personally didn't care for them.
    For the Visitors, one worldwide mastering is used so take your pick on what country of manufacture.
    For Super Trouper, I prefer the US Atlantic over the WG Polygram
    Happy with the ABBA-1975 West Germany and Voulez-Vous
     
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  8. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    Yes, I know, lots of gustos go near the original Polar or Polydor CDs... but then, some Deluxe Editions (Arrival, Voulez-Vous or Waterloo) seem to be favorable to them. For Super Trouper, many votes go for the US Atlantic CD... and the Complete Studio Recordings box set doesn't seem too bad...:confused:
     
  9. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    Compression - well, if slight compression is the price for repaired drop-outs (read everywhere about them), than I'm okay.:)
    So you made a start with ABBA (1975), Super Trouper and Voulez-Vous - thank you!:righton:
    The first two albums seem to be real problem kids, don't they?
     
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  10. Jarleboy

    Jarleboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    For those three albums, the Deluxe Edition CDs are rather good. For "ARRIVAL" and "THE ALBUM"... Not so good. The blue "velvet" box set - "THE COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS" had recordings that were heavily compressed. You may hear the odd detail that you don´t hear on other versions, but it´s not a particularly pleasant listening experience. JMO, of course.
     
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  11. JP Christian

    JP Christian Forum Resident

    CSR box - from master tapes but Brickwalled to within an inch of it's life - avoid.

    My go-to versions on CD are mainly the WG Polydors/Polars - The 1997 remasters are ok, but I've never warmed to them, especially the 1997 remaster of 'The Album' which has atrociously wonky EQ.

    The original WG Polydors are supposedly taken from cutting masters so in theory they are a generation down from the master tapes, but overall they have the most uniform, neutral sound.
     
    pdenny likes this.
  12. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    Thanks for sharing your view. Is the blue box set really that bad? I had them rated "could have been better", but you sound more like "avoid!"
     
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  13. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    I read about the use of mixdowns for the CSR box, hence my hopes... but now...:thumbsdow
     
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  14. Jarleboy

    Jarleboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    For me, personally, I´m glad I have it. I´m not an ABBA completist, but... close enough to one. The sound on the CSR box is individual - it has its good aspects and its less good sides. Listening to just one song from there, you might find it pleasant to pick out details that were otherwise difficult to hear. And, as was mentioned upthread, the master tapes were used, I believe. However, the compression used is immediately felt, and it´s hard on the ears to listen to many songs in one sitting.

    I wouldn´t recommend thos box - unless you want those details.
     
  15. Limopard

    Limopard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leipzig, Germany
    For me:

    Ring Ring, Waterloo: Im' not interested in the whole albums. The Selections from "Thank You For The Music" do it for me.
    ABBA, Voulez Vous, Super Trouper: Deluxe
    Arrival: 80s West German Polydor
    The Album: MFIT download
    The Visitors: 80s Polydor for quiet environment, Deluxe for the bonus tracks, MFIT for mobile listening
     
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  16. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    my view is that some of the polydor versions, while cleaner sounding with more air in the mix and provide a listen that possibly reveals more hidden nuances.... the Arrival version I got was trebly as hell and zero low bass, even the bass guitar sounded boppity bop bop. In that respect, it might be an interesting listen, but it wasnt pleasant. I listened a couple of times and went back to my other copy, a more compressed, but warmer mix.

    Its all subjective, you know that from this forum... what one person loves and recommends, somebody else will hate it. With Abba its as bad as it gets because there are so many versions from different countries, and then the repeated re-masterings....
     
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  17. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    Aaah, the "Thank You For The Music" box set - I read about that one, seems like I confused it with the CSR box set... the sound on TYFTM is good (best?) but you just get a selection, right?
    What about that US Greatest Hits and European Greatest Hits Vol 2 CDs from the early 80ies ? Read many good stuff about them!
    And then those MFIT tracks... what makes them better in case of The Album? Why just for that one?
     
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  18. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    As a test I grabbed the MFIT of Super a couple years ago, it bypassed their specifications, has massive clipping (peaks hitting zero). It's the same as the 2011 remaster. I skipped the rest
     
  19. Tony Cruse

    Tony Cruse Forum Resident

    Location:
    Essex, UK.
    I managed to locate the out of print, Greatest Hits Vol2, on cd recently. It's got a good sound and I know all the songs are available elsewhere but I do like the track order.
     
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  20. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    Assuming the 2011 remaster is the deluxe edition, it means one can avoid the deluxe edition of Super Trouper, right?
     
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  21. Supernautic

    Supernautic Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    germany
    Thanks for your input, that confirms my assumption.:righton:
    Anyone else?
     
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  22. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    :agree: For my tastes/preferences
     
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  23. Jarleboy

    Jarleboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norway
    Well... That´s what´s difficult about being an ABBA fan. We always tend to disagree about the different masterings. I quite like the Deluxe Edition. There you go.
     
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  24. Alexlotl

    Alexlotl Forum Resident

    Location:
    York, UK
    I went for:

    Ring Ring - Swedish Polar (a bit muddy, but dynamic and complete)
    Waterloo - Swedish Polar
    ABBA - Swedish Polar (this one sounds fantastic)
    Arrival -> The Visitors - silver-faced Polydors, although the Swedish Polars are identical. The mastering on all silver-faced copies of The Visitors is identical to the old red-faced Polydor, which was the first ever non-classical CD mastering! It's insanely dynamic and sounds great.
    The Singles - The First Ten Years - silver faced Polydor

    That's all the ABBA I need!

    It's easy to pick up the original Polydor discs for chump-change on eBay UK by getting the barcodes from discogs, then doing an "EAN:XXXXXXX" search using the eBay mobile app (desktop doesn't support EAN searching). That'll find copies from bulk shifters like Music Magpie or World of Books - they'll almost certainly have incorrect descriptions, cover art etc, but these companies do everything by barcode, so provided the EAN matches it will be the correct edition when it arrives.

    I got all of mine this way (barring The Singles), and at least one other forumite has had success using the same method. I'm pretty sure Music Magpie ship to the rest of the EU without any fuss.

    For the Polar discs, I'd suggest registering on Tradera.se and keeping a weather eye - they're much cheaper there than when they show up on mainstream eBay, provided the seller doesn't limit sales to Sweden/Nordic Countries only. Good place to get other Swedish artists, too, and the sellers all seem very friendly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  25. ClausH

    ClausH Forum Resident

    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    The best Abba I've heard on cd is the 1988 Swedish Polar reissue of the self-titled album. It's better than the more common Polydor reissue. The old non-remastered The Visitors is also great.
     
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