David Bowie: Five Years 1969-1973 - 2015 12CD or 13 Vinyl Box Set

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by RobCooper, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    purely by coincidence i was tagging some vinyl rips yesterday and this alternate Changes came up in a search, so i'd forgotten about it.
    i doubt many realise Bowie was left-handed due to his guitar playing.
  2. NickCarraway

    NickCarraway Forum Resident

    Gastonia, NC
    So when can we expect details on The Next Day - errr... the next box? It looks like 5Y was announced in July '15 and WCIBN in June '16. So that would mean May '17, right? :p
    e.s. and Curveboy like this.
  3. Justin Brooks

    Justin Brooks Forum Resident

    does anyone have the edition that includes the CD of the Pin-Ups radio show? i just read about this in another thread. i have the box but not that particular disc...
  4. Strontian

    Strontian Well-Known Member

    United Kingdom
    @Justin Brooks I have the 10" with the Vinyl Pre-Order, never played it but the show was on Radio 6 Music I think at some point in 2013. Free Pin Ups Radio Show with Five Years pre-order - David Bowie Official Blog

    Edit:Radio Show detail - Unheard David Bowie Pin Ups radio show to air on 6 Music - BBC News
  5. Summer of Malcontent

    Summer of Malcontent Forum Resident

    That promotion must have been a flop, because they were selling the Radio Show CD on its own a couple of months later (which is how I picked it up). I think it was $10.

    For the record, it was barely worth it. It's very brief, and all you get is truncated versions of the songs with a bare sentence or two of introduction / contextualization by Bowie.
  6. BlueSpeedway

    BlueSpeedway overground | underground

    London, England
    It's weird how they are allowed to use the RCA logo, or it wouldn't be all over the accompanying book, but they didn't use it on the so-called original vinyl replicas / replica CDs. Not a particularly big deal, just struck me as odd. Usually if logos are changed or removed on these things you get a caveat note somewhere, like on some of my Elvis stuff and others.. along the lines of "certain historical record company and other logos have been removed for legal reasons" etc.
    Matthew Tate likes this.
  7. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    London, UK
    How's the vinyl mastering of TMWSTW and Hunky Dory? I don't have these in my collection.
  8. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    the replicas come from Japan where this stuff is taken very seriously. the trademark is presumably still owned by one company or another here and thus its use by any other company (i.e. EMI, Warners, whoever) is prohibited. this has always been complicated here as, for example, the Nipper dog and word "Victor" were owned by a different company in Japan than the US, so any RCA records imported to Japan were required to have those elements covered up...

    BlueSpeedway likes this.
  9. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    two of the best of the current remasters. do you have neither in any format and you're not intimately familiar with them, or do you simply not currently have vinyl copies?
  10. BlueSpeedway

    BlueSpeedway overground | underground

    London, England
    Interesting. Shame it's not like for Presley.. Sony still use all permutations of the RCA logo on their various Elvis reissues and replicas.
  11. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Richmond, Virginia
    bowie seems to be the master or having songs/albums with different mixes . i ca never really tell a huge difference
  12. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    then it would seem Sony owns the copyright for RCA in Japan.
  13. weirdoc

    weirdoc Forum Resident

    I can only comment on TMWSTW which is great IMO!
    I already had a US reissue from the early 80's, which is pretty muddy in sound, a RCA international from France which is somewhat flat/lifeless and the UK EMI from '90 which lacks the low end - so none of them was really satisfactory so I decided to give the new remaster a try... and do not regret ;)
    It has massive bass - but in my understanding that's how it was originally mixed - however it doesn't sound muddy at all, very "alive" and powerful!
    From the choices available in my collection it is the "to-go" version :righton:
    tin ears likes this.
  14. BlueSpeedway

    BlueSpeedway overground | underground

    London, England
    I guess they swallowed RCA (and BMG?) up whole?
  15. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    London, UK
    The latter :)
  16. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    OK, well on this forum nobody but me seems to care that a few inherent noises have been digitally excised on Hunky Dory, and that the tail of Life On Mars? has been faded early. on a dedicated Bowie forum this information was received differently. that and some audible tape damage prevent me from endorsing it fully but it is still one of the better current masters and is very affordable.
    Robert C and mdm08033 like this.
  17. dead of night

    dead of night Forum Resident

    Northern Va, usa
    Which Bowie forum?
  18. cmcintyre

    cmcintyre Forum Resident

    I just came across this post, and to date it hasn't been answered. Important questions I'd say, especially after the first one.

    Focussing just on Bowie albums - the answer here is "sometimes yes".

    The most obvious is the removal of the semi-instrumental filler on the North American 1969 album, later given the name "Don't Sit Down" (as that's what DB is singing). The timing on the jacket indicates this was either unintentional or done at the last minute after the jackets were finalised. This version became the RCA album "Space Oddity".

    The most significant, but possibly less known example of this is the 2nd RCA album : "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy..........."
    The master tape sent from the UK to head office in New York (and presumably copied in the UK) was revised prior to being used in the UK - the single mix of Starman was substituted for the album mix. A by-product of the master tape being sent to the US was that it was also damaged - there exists a short dropout in Suffragette City that has appeared on all editions of the album, until the recent Parlophone issues, with the few exceptions of the very few countries that used the revised UK master.

    RCA Pinups has a very different unexplained tonal aspect in the US and the UK. Possibly the incorrect application of noise reduction (like how RCA applied Dolby A noise reduction when mastering the first Lou Reed album, even though it wasn't recorded with Dolby)

    During the mid 1970's the UK Aladdin Sane was remastered, containing fractionally more music and a different noticeably different gap between tracks 2 and 3.

    RCA New York metal masters were used in various territories at various stages - though in the UK, up to and including Station to Station the UK cut its own masters. Generally speaking larger territories received tapes, small territories received metal parts, generally though not always from the US. I've a NZ album where one metal side comes from a different territory than the other side.

    From what I've seen the metal parts seem to originate from the Indianapolis plant - RCA had three US plants until the early 1970's then two for most of the rest of the decade.

    The New York pressing plant (Rockaway) cut their own masters, I'm not sure if Hollywood and Indianapolis cut the same album individually or jointly and then shared and made identification markings. From what I have observed, I'd infer that there must have been fairly good quality control and adherence to cutting notes - because if Hollywood and Indianapolis did cut differently, the end result was very similar, if not exactly the same.

    Tapes sent out to other territories would then align the tapes according to instructions, and then cut the metal parts. This is where the most variance comes in:

    Deliberate variance: Records were cut to suit markets - sound preferences - and hence (e.g.) a US album would sound different to the UK equivalent because decisions were made to tailor the sound to that market. Compare 1970's albums US and UK. Low is an example where the evidence is there to see - both the US original and the UK edition were cut at Sterling in New York - but they are different - dead wax space is not the same. Two albums later (Lodger) the US and UK editions originated from the same metal parts. Scary Monsters each are different again.

    Maintenance and attention to detail. (We're talking people- normal human behaviour). The RCA Japanese LPs are good example of very careful mastering and manufacturing - excellent attention to detail, and an effort to get the best out of what they have to work with.

    In Australia the first RCA to be cut here was Diamond Dogs, and it was/is woeful - no high end. Things got better, and by the end of the 1970's the RCA cutter was doing a great job with what he was given.

    Philips album - UK
    MWSTW - US

    RCA era
    Hunky Dory - UK first (then tape to US and from there most of the world)
    Ziggy - same as above
    Space Oddity (reissue) - US
    MWSTW (RCA reissue) - US
    Aladdin - I'm not sure - approval was when DB was in US - I've always thought these two are very close in sound (US and UK)
    Pinups - UK - see note above for US tonality (Tape to US and from there most of the world)
    Diamond Dogs UK - and tape to US and..........
    David Live - US - tape or parts to the rest of the world
    Young Americans - US - as above
    Station to Station - US - as above
    Low - US and US for UK, and then per normal US sourced distribution
    "Heroes" - US, then as per YA and Station to Station
    Lodger - In the US for shared metal parts (US&UK) , then as YA & StS
    Scary Monsters- US, not sure what for UK

    In some territories albums were recut (several times in some instances) and each has a unique sonic signature.

    Let's Dance (for EMI America) ushered in a new method. For example the Australian LP is Mastered on Copper (so excellent attack and response).

    For LPs Japan received tapes from the US. See comment above about care and diligence. (Not the only country where this happens of course). Compare the Jpn RCA Ziggy Lp with the US RCA LP - loss of high frequency, but mastered with a lot of care.

    If one understands such things and had access to releases from many places, one can make some reasonably educated guesses.
    krlpuretone, Alexlotl and onlyconnect like this.
  19. Alexlotl

    Alexlotl Forum Resident

    York, UK
    I've heard of this Aus pressing, but never heard it. Do you know how the sound compares to the WG RCA CD, which also had no high end? I've wondered in the past if they share a common source - it may be the Aus RCA cutter had a bum tape to work with.
  20. cmcintyre

    cmcintyre Forum Resident

    Don't have the WG CD to compare with, but they won't be the same source.

    In early 74 it was not uncommon for Australian cut RCA LPs to not sound so good. I think there was something within the work flow or machinery set up.

    The tapes for the WG CD were either the ones sent over from the US (where the master was held) or were sourced within Europe. If they were the US sourced masters, then their lineage would be similar, but certainly not the same. Done 10 years apart, and probably with different machinery.

    If you ever consider buying an Australian RCA DD LP, then keep in mind that Australia was one of the few countries that changed the rear track listing as well as the labels (from Future Legend to Future Legend/Bewitched) and first editions have only Future Legend in both places.
  21. Billy Hunt

    Billy Hunt Forum Resident

    Cardiff, Wales.
    Early 'UK' copies of Pinups were pressed in Canada (attributed to vinyl shortages during the oil crisis), which could add an extra variable.
  22. mikedifr0923

    mikedifr0923 Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    So I read through this whole thread in the last couple weeks....could anyone help me out and give me a couple recommendations on older pressings that are affordable for this era of Bowie??? Reissues are fine. I don't need perfection and typically not one to seek out originals, I just want good sounding analog recordings that won't cost me too much. I believe someone mentioned some reissues in the early 80s but couldn't seem to find the post again
  23. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    All clean copies of Bowie albums from this period are tending to go for at least $20 and up these days. Possibly less depending on area, but $20-$30 is a safe starting point, really. Plus later RCA reissues don't tend to sound as good as early pressings.

    If you're not seeking perfection, just get the box. You'll have new, mint copies of everything. It is not garbage no matter what some would have you believe.
    mikedifr0923, stinsojd and The Beave like this.
  24. thoutah

    thoutah Forum Resident

    SF Bay Area
    Therein lies the problem. Many folks (myself included) feel the only good sounding analog Bowie recordings from this era are the original (or early) RCA LPs and CDs, but those cost an arm and a leg and they are not super easy to find in good condition. You'll spend $20-$40 on nice, clean LPs from this era, and anywhere from $30-$80+ on the preferred RCA CDs.

    The Rykos from the very early 90s seem to be reasonably priced and super easy to find (at least in my local shops), but many (myself included) feel those sound overly bright and and kind of harsh or glassy. There are also the late 90s reissues by EMI/Virgin, but many people (myself included) think those suffer from squashed dynamics due to compression and a weird overall sound due to the use of no-noise and probably some other weird mastering choices.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  25. cmcintyre

    cmcintyre Forum Resident

    Given that you're not seeking perfection, I'd think about the time and effort required to seek out older pressings (and consider likely wear), and consider the ease of purchasing the Parlophone reissues, which have much better packaging than some of the reissues.

    With your criteria I'd buy the Parlophones from this box set, with two exceptions - David Bowie (1969) and Aladdin Sane.


    1969 album on Parlophone has an tape slice (or similar) that loses a small section of music, and changes what David is singing. (God's land becomes God land)

    Find a 40th edition on LP (it's the only one that's decent that contains the short instrumental that was absent for almost two decades).

    Aladdin Sane on Parlophone has all the tracks' volumes changed so they're almost the same volume - loud tracks same volume as quiet tracks.

    Find any decent US press on RCA (same master used 1973 - 1981) OR first press UK (stamped matrix, 3T in the matrix, RS 1001)

    @mikedifr0923 : you're getting three good answers here.

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