I want to pick up New Order's catalog on CD (up to Technique): please advise!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Norm Apter, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. Norm Apter

    Norm Apter Well-Known Member In Memoriam Thread Starter

    Location:
    Worcester, MA
    Back in the 1980s, I had Low-Life; Power Corruption & Lies; Brotherhood; and Technique all on cassette. Substance is the only title I purchased on CD (and somehow Movement slipped through the cracks.

    A recent revived interest and purchase of additional works by The Smiths, Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and The Sundays has convinced me that a lack of New Order's work is a major hole in my CD collection that needs to be filled. Toward that end, I'd like to pick up the best quality CD versions (of Movement, Low-Life, PC&L, Brotherhood, and Technique) I can. I'm aware of the huge debacle surrounding the 2008 expanded remasters from reading the thread here. So assuming that all of those errors have been addressed in the following run of re-reissues from 2009, it seems that there are basically 3 viable options:

    1) original Qwest
    2) original Factory
    3) 2008 (2009 corrected) expanded reissues

    Primary consideration for me is sound quality. Secondary consideration is quality of bonus tracks (i.e. if they are compelling then I might go for those over an even better version, or just get both).

    If your answer is 'Factory', what is the best way to go about picking these up online (from the U.S.)? (I'm assuming that most copies from U.S. Amazon Marketplace sellers will be Quests; Amazon itself no longer offers these, suggesting that they are OOP). I just check Amazon.co.uk and many of the New Order titles have a label listed as "Factory Too" and the release date as 2000. I wonder if these are straight up reissues of the original Factory editions.

    Thank you for any opinions and insight you can offer, even if you've just heard one or two of these versions. I haven't heard anything on CD with the exception of my Qwest Substance, which sounds a little muddy to me (not sure if the other Qwests are the same).
     
    negative1 likes this.
  2. jsayers

    jsayers Just Drifting....

    Location:
    Horse Shoe, NC
    Original Quests should do you just fine - I see them in used shops all the time for $5. I have an original Japan cd pressing of Technique I scored a few years back and the original USA cd, and to be honest, there's not THAT much difference that I can hear.
    Therefore I leave my Japan cd stored in a mylar sleeve on the shelf and play my USA cd when I want to hear it. Technique is my favorite NO album.

    Sure, it's nicer to have the original Factory cds, but the cost to track them down vs. the USA versions will be much larger than the sound difference between them, imho <like the Smith's Rough Trade vs Warner Bros. cds, for example>.
     
    George P likes this.
  3. rediffusion

    rediffusion Forum Resident

    but there's nothing like a FAC number ;)
     
    fortherecord and Numanx like this.
  4. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    I think that you'll be pleased with the original Factory issuances to the Japan market. I have these three so far:

    Low Life 25CY-3110 (note: if I recall correctly, this one has pre-emphasis)
    Brotherhood 25CY-3111
    Technique 25CY-3083

    The first 2 albums have eluded me so far, but you can likely track them down with a little effort, especially if you don't care for the OBI. The 25CY series Joy Division CDs have the best sound quality for UP, Closer, and Substance. I've been very, very pleased with these three!
     
  5. hutlock

    hutlock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Original Factory UK if you can track them down for sure. They aren't CRAZY expensive or anything, but are sort of hard to find. I have a couple of the full-lengths and a bunch of singles and they all sound great (plus those awesomely confusing Factory serial numbers and original Peter Saville designs/packages!)
     
    DetroitDoomsayer likes this.
  6. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Was there a series between the original factory issues and the deluxe editions? I seem to remember there was (maybe on London). Are these the same as the original Factory cds?
     
  7. boiledbeans

    boiledbeans Forum Resident

    Location:
    Asia
    Yes. I have the German Warner London CDs. They are still in print today. They are not loud at all.

    I don't know if it uses older masterings as I have nothing to compare them to.
     
  8. Norm Apter

    Norm Apter Well-Known Member In Memoriam Thread Starter

    Location:
    Worcester, MA
    Thanks for bringing this up.

    New copies of all these (with the exception of Technique) are available from Amazon.co.uk, put out by Factory Too in 2000. I did a Wikipedia search and found that Factory Too was the name given to Factory when it was revived, with the help of London Records, in 1994. The Wikipedia article says that it continued to function down to the end of the 1990s (but curiously enough says that it was a division within the company called Factory One that was responsible for re-issues of the Factory catalog).
     
  9. Norm Apter

    Norm Apter Well-Known Member In Memoriam Thread Starter

    Location:
    Worcester, MA
    If your collection is nearby and handy, would you mind checking on the release year. Is it 2000 by chance? (this is the year given for many of the titles on the Factory Too label I discussed above).

    Furthermore, does anybody know about the (former) relationship between London and Factory. Did Factory become a division within London? I ask because some editions are listed by the London label, but if Factory was incorporated then it would be likely that original Factory masterings were used, unless there is a little discussed remastering job that took place).
     
  10. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Well, I think when Factory went bust the back catalogue was picked up by London (I also have some Happy Mondays stuff on London). London acquired the use of the name Fcatory I think as well. There is a good scene in 24 Hour Party People about this. None of the bands had signed contracts to Factory so it was all a bit of a mess.

    Anyway, I have PC&L on cd so I'll have a look what it says.
     
  11. In-Absentia

    In-Absentia Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I have the Factory versions of Technique (FACD 275 2 CD1-299(RTDCD 100)) and Low-Life(FACD 100). The Factory Technique is up there with my best sounding CDs. Great dynamics, perfect sound level, perfect bass presence, and crystal clear.

    Low-Life is simply good sounding. It is quiet, and doesn't sound too compressed, but it doesn't jump out of the speakers quite like Technique does.
     
  12. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Anything from 'Brotherhood' on you'd certainly want the original Factory CDs, as they were mastered for the CD format from the original tapes in the first place. 'Low-Life' originally only came out on LP in the UK (despite what it claims in the booklet for the remaster) and Columbia issued the CD only in Japan (pretty clearly not using the same master tape as the UK LP) The first UK CD of 'Low-Life' used the Columbia disc and just slapped a Factory label on it. I'm not sure if later UK-manufactured discs went back and mastered from a better source, but I doubt it. PC&L and 'Movement' came out later, along with the Joy Division titles and what generation of tape they had lying around at the time is a question I'd love to have answered. I've never heard anyone claim that any CDs of the first three albums sound as good as the original UK LPs.

    That having been said, I'm not at all convinced that the current remasters are taken from better source tapes. Even 'Low-Life' just sounds like they took the old CDs and fiddled with them a little. I have them (just the first three) but only for the bonus discs (which do sound a little less annoying than the 'Substance' set). I wouldn't recommend them to anyone with access to the original 12" singles, but they are convenient.

    Does anyone have any reason to believe that any of the Joy Division or New Order (up to 1985) CDs (original Factory, US Qwest, Japanese Columbia, UK London or US Rhino) used the same tapes as the original UK vinyl issues? Or that the current 2CD "remasters" didn't use the already-issued CDs as their source?
     
    Izozeles likes this.
  13. Theadmans

    Theadmans Forum Resident

    I have all the original UK Factory CDs (some including Car Carry cases) - they sound OK but not as good as the original vinyl (except "Technique" which sounds very good on CD).

    I strongly suspect that all New Order Cds had the same mastering as the Factory originals until the new deluxe versions came out. From what I've heard these new deluxe versions should be avoided at all costs. Steve Morris said this about the deluxe discs in a recent interview:-

    "How many cock-ups can a record company make? And you thought Factory were bad? It's not just the record company, it was a recession led cock-up, the remasters. Originally, the record company wanted to remaster certain recordings, I think they wanted to do 2 or 3 and we said "NO, DO THEM ALL!" but they said no. So we said "DO THE FACTORY ONES!" and they begrudgingly said yes.

    Basically, it was just as the recession hit and what happened was the albums got done by John Davies at Alchemy but they folded. All the mastering rooms in London went, I think there's only Metropolis left. They were half way through and had done the albums but not the bonus discs. We were trying to put the bonus discs together and the record company ended up finding any old studio, I think it was somebody's shed! They did it off really old Sony 1610 digital tapes on badly maintained 1610 players. Unless they are properly maintained, they just kick and add noise etc and that's what happened. It was just terrible which is a shame, I wasn't happy with the whole thing! It was just a f***ing disaster! And we'd been told the tape library was a nightmare and tapes didn't exist so we went down and had a look. Sure enough, there are all the bloody tapes! "So why didn't you use the proper analogue tapes?"

    Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk. But when we got in, got our hands dirty and started sorting it out, it was perfectly straightforward. It's the old thing of "if you want something doing, do it yourself"! Somebody else wouldn't know what the 'spaghetti western' version was because the titles don't make sense to the untrained observer. So you've got to know a bit and be able to decipher the code! *laughs*

    But it was a really good experience. We went through loads of tapes, started sorting it out and we kind of fixed all the bonus discs but then they cocked up sending people the fixed bonus discs so that was a waste of time! *laughs*

    It wasn't really because it gave me an idea of what was where, plus what you could do and what you couldn't do. "
     
  14. peter

    peter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise
    At the risk of incurring extreme criticism, I simply cannot see how anyone can justify owning anything other than original UK Factory CD's or LP's of this amazing and iconic BRITISH band. I picked up all mine used in the local shops in the last 5 years for basically the same money as the domestics. Just my 2 cents.
     
  15. Levitated

    Levitated Forum Resident

    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    Unfortunately I don't think I saved any of the peak values, & I have since sold off my QWest cd's, but from what I was able to figure out:

    the FAC UK CD's & the London (Centre Date) CD's share the same mastering

    the 1st JPN FAC CD's have a unique mastering

    the QWest have their own mastering

    So the cheapest way to get the UK FAC Cd's is to buy the London's, as they are cheap & easily available on Ebay. Though the UK FAC's are much cooler looking!
     
    hutlock likes this.
  16. Levitated

    Levitated Forum Resident

    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    Actually I just did a quick search on my hard drive & did save a few of my peak level files. Perhaps others can fill in the blanks for these 3 albums.

    PC&L London
    80.4/81.3/95.0/77.6/80.4/100.0/96.5/80.0

    PC&L JPN
    94.2/94.8/100.0/93.6/83.8/100.0/96.9/88.7

    PC&L QWest (w/ 2 additional tracks: Blue Monday (5) & The Beach (10)
    84.5/79.5/86.2/68.8/99.5/90.7/100.0/100.0/89.1/94.1


    Movement London
    97.1/82.2/91.5/84.5/77.7/86.5/78.9/84.7

    Movement FACD 50 (made in France by MPO)
    97.1/82.2/91.5/84.5/77.7/86.5/78.9/84.7


    Low Life FACD 100 JPN
    85.1/82.6/75.2/73.0/82.3/81.8/95.7/72.6

    Low Life Qwest
    94.0/89.5/72.0/71.1/64.0/68.6/78.8/65.9
     
  17. jh901

    jh901 Forum Resident

    I'm willing to wager that the Japan market 25CY issuances are the best sounding just as the Joy Division are. That being said, it isn't a bad idea to track down the UK CDs with the car carry cases. Perhaps I'll get around to that someday, but for the best sonics I don't think many will find anything better than the original Japan market issuances.
     
  18. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    I wish Morris had been a bit more specific, especially about the albums themselves (rather than the bonus discs) What did John Davies at Alchemy use as the source for the remasters? Do the band members actually prefer those to the earlier CDs (or the original LPs)? And, if so; why?

    It does seem as if a significant number of people (me included) bought the 2CD editions only for the bonus discs. If anyone wants to defend the remastering of the albums proper, I'd love to hear it. Or, in the other direction, just how much worse are the Rhinos compared to the Factorys? Just slightly worse or enough to buy them as well as, assuming you already own the Rhinos?
     
  19. HiFi Guy 008

    HiFi Guy 008 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Connecticut

    Re: Low-life. I've added peak levels for the London/Centredate reissue and matrix info for Qwest, Factory and Centredate.

    Low Life FACD 100 JPN
    85.1/82.6/75.2/73.0/82.3/81.8/95.7/72.6
    matrix: (rough dot matrix font) 1b3 58 C38-7453 Pre-Emphasis detected in EAC Pre-Beta 3

    Low Life Qwest
    94.0/89.5/72.0/71.1/64.0/68.6/78.8/65.9
    matrix: X17956 1 25289-2 RE-1 02 M1S1 (HUB: IFPI 2U3S)

    Low-life London CentreDate German 8573 813131-2
    77.7/95.6 /69.2/99.1/82.2/92.0/87.7/88.8
    matrix: IFPI L012 (Warner Bros. logo) 857381313-2 12/99 (in hub: IFPI L503)

    Pro: the CentreDate most faithfully replicates the original artwork and inserts
    - more so than any other version.
    Con: the CentreDate is the worst sounding version of any pressing (digital or otherwise) of this beloved recording I've ever heard. I reserve the right to change my opinion in the future as my system and electricity are improved.
     
  20. Norm Apter

    Norm Apter Well-Known Member In Memoriam Thread Starter

    Location:
    Worcester, MA
    Guys, I'm going to head down to Amoeba Records in Hollywood this afternoon in search of some Factories in the used section. For those of you with original Factories, do they have the respective FAC numbers on the cases (for easy identification purposes).

    HiFi Guy thanks for posting the additional peak levels for the London. So I guess we can conclude that some London/Centredate reissues such as that for Low-Life are different masterings but other London/Centredates have identical masterings as the Factories (i.e. Movement, based on the identical peak levels in Levitated's post above.)

     
  21. Theadmans

    Theadmans Forum Resident

    OK here's some of the gaps filled:-

    PC&L FACD75 UK FACTORY DISC
    80.4/81.3/95.0/77.6/80.4/100.0/96.5/80.0

    BROTHERHOOD FACD150 UK FACTORY DISC
    91.1/100.0/90.5/99.4/100.0/83.2/94.7/94.4/75.5/100.0

    TECHNIQUE FACD275 UK FACTORY DISC
    97.0/92.4/93.9/91.8/94.2/91.1/97.3/95.2/94.6
     
  22. Theadmans

    Theadmans Forum Resident

    and here's another :-

    LOW-LIFE FACD100 UK FACTORY DISC
    85.1/82.6/75.2/73.0/82.3/81.8/95.7/72.6

    ...all Factory UK discs have FACD and the respective number marked on the spine.
     
  23. peter

    peter Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paradise
    I am always willing to stand corrected. My comment was really directed to the Qwest CD's.

    I have one car case, for PCL.

    I have one JPN. 25CY, Low Life. With obi. Sounds amazing indeed.
     
  24. Levitated

    Levitated Forum Resident

    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    Wow! Are you sure that's the UK FACD 100 & not the JPN? That's the same peak levels as the JPN, weird!
     
  25. Levitated

    Levitated Forum Resident

    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    The London & UK Factory PC&L seem to match. I think I have the London Technique, I'll post those peak levels in a little bit.......
     

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