Country Of Origin - Superior Fidelity?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Matt Smallwood, Jan 7, 2019.

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  1. Matt Smallwood

    Matt Smallwood Member Thread Starter

    Hello all,

    Recently, I have been trying to research into how the master recordings of an album were transferred to other countries for pressings... However I am unable to find any thing useful or mildly related to the actual quality of a pressing from a country other than the country of origin (or country of recording?).

    Does anyone know generally how the original master tapes would have been transferred to other countries, and whether this transfer would deteriorate the sound quality in any significant fashion?
    After listening to one or two of my German presses, they sounds quieter and perhaps softer compared to US or UK pressings, so presumably these issues are mastered separately in different countries?
    I live in the UK, where I am a big fan of Big Band and Swing, therefore collecting US (country of origin) records is far harder than collecting native UK records, so should I go that extra mile to seek the country of origin press?

    Many Thanks for your time, and Happy New Year!
    oddmentandtweak and Recordfan like this.
  2. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Some of the most stark difference I’ve heard have been comparing the US and Canadian pressings of Elvis Costello on Columbia vs the UK F-Beat originals. The F-Beats crush all competitors.

    I really can’t see the transporting of tapes as ever being an issue. I think that’s a nonstarter. It’s the duplication process, and the deterioration therein, wouldn’t you think?
  3. mahanusafa02

    mahanusafa02 Forum Resident

    There's no hard and fast rule(s), unfortunately. Some labels sent dupe tapes to their overseas subsidiaries, while some sent metal parts. Some sent mono tapes and stereo tapes, while some sent only stereo tapes and overseas subsidiaries simply folded them down for mono releases. Sometimes the master tapes in the country of origin went all the way through the record pressing process onto poor quality vinyl, while dupe tapes, even a couple of generations down, ended up on superior vinyl pressings overseas. Sometimes tapes were flat transferred, and sometimes EQ moves during mastering were deemed necessary for overseas markets. Any dupe tapes, necessarily, would be of lesser quality than the originals, but by how much and how audible this would be is impossible to generalize and is also dependent on gear and ears.

    I would go the extra mile to find the cleanest possible pressing in your price range, or any with alternate takes or mixes, if you're a completist. As an American living in the UK, having gone through numerous US, UK, and German copies of the same "American" 1950s and 1960s albums from several different labels (mostly Capitol, Reprise, A&M, and Columbia/CBS), I found that Capitol suffered the most from sound quality issues with dupe tapes on UK mono albums, but many UK stereo albums were pressed with US metal parts and sound fantastic. I would be hard-pressed during a blind listening session to distinguish US, UK, and German A&M stereo LPs from one another; they all sound great. Columbia/CBS were EQ'd very differently--Columbia US being more cold and trebly and CBS UK being more warm and mid-rangey.

    Again, all generalizations, but hope this helps.
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