“Mastered by Nimbus” CDs question.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by flashgordon, May 25, 2007.

  1. flashgordon

    flashgordon New Member Thread Starter

    I’ve got several CDs with “mastered by Nimbus” info on matrix. There’s Steve’s work amongst them actually.
    What does this info means? Who’s that Nimbus?
  2. Greatest Hits

    Greatest Hits Just Another Compilation

    I know The Guess Who's production team went by the name Nimbus 9. Any relation?
  3. LesPaul666

    LesPaul666 Active Member

    New Jersey
    If I call recall correctly, Nimbus is a UK company that used to manufacture classical LP's, and started manufacturing CD's in the '80's. I think they don't actually master them, they master the glass stampers, I would imagine.
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  4. Wilkie

    Wilkie New Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    I've visited their plant right up the road from us in Greene County, Virginia. We sent a lot of local bands to them over the last decade or so. They encouraged small labels and local acts to hire them to manufacture small runs of CDs, as well as their bigger clients. Nimbus is now part of Technicolor, and they make a lot more DVDs and computer discs these days.
  5. reverber

    reverber Forum Resident

    Lawrence KS, USA
    Nimbus is a UK record label that specialized in classical recordings made with an ambisonic recording system. In the early days of the CD, it was sometimes difficult for a smaller label to get a release scheduled at one of the few CD pressing plants then around. So they invested in their own.
    They eventually opened an additional manufacturing plant in Virginia.

    The label is still around. Some of the more interesting items in the catalog are their recordings of Indian classical music and the Prima Voce series of transfers from 78 rpm discs. The Prima Voce stuff is played back on an acoustic reproducer set up in a recital hall (the horn is huge). The playback is recorded (ambisonically) and the best bits are edited together for each release.

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  6. Mike Ga

    Mike Ga Formerly meredrums and MikeG

    Wylie, Tx.
    This might help. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimbus_Records. This is the Nimbus site; http://www.wyastone.co.uk/ Check the "short run" section for overall info. Pretty interesting as far as CD's in the UK. I've got a handfull of Classical CD recordings on Nimbus, and they sound great. They may be a bit heavy in the "Reverb" category, but that has nothing to do with the mastering, manufacture, etc; just my opinion. (Mainly due to where they placed the mic's in the Hall, not an effects box:righton: )Their approach to Recording, both the actual performance (minimal editing), and the capturing of the sound, "full Dynamic range and Tonal Qualities..and the special qualities of the Ambience" holds up, at least on the disc's I've got.

    Nice to see an Independant like this still around and doing well. I'd love to take a tour of Wyastone Leys Estate!
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  7. flashgordon

    flashgordon New Member Thread Starter

    Thanks to everyone for sharing this info. I’ve become more educated. :thumbsup:
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  8. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Nimbus is famous for recording with an extremely reverberent acoustic--something of an aural trademark. I suppose you might say that Studio 8-H lies at one end of an acoustic spectrum, and the typical Nimbus recording is at the other.
  9. I have a Pat Benatar 'Crimes of Passion' CD Mastered by Nimbus from the U.K..

    The mastering is different from both the U.S. made Chrysalis, and Black Triangle CD's.

    It sounds much better than the Chrysalis CD, and slightly inferior to the Black Triangle.
  10. monewe

    monewe Forum Resident

    I have quite a few Nimbus discs and usually they sound excellent.
  11. Curiosity

    Curiosity Portable Audio Fan

    United Kingdom
    Nimbus pressed CD's were often good. They did quite few for the EMI group, MCA and some contract work for Motown actually (I've the Nimbus pressed Diana Ross Touch Me In The Morning/Baby It's Me 2 on 1).
    Just check your discs haven't got a sticky grunge on the top as some sadly were prone to it.You can clean it off with glycerin based soap with care.

  12. pitro

    pitro Forum Resident

    Valencia, Spain
    I have some Genesis titles mastered by Nimbus and they sound great.
  13. flashgordon

    flashgordon New Member Thread Starter

    Do not hasten to draw a conclusion on sound quality of such a CD. :shh:
    I think they’re normal early pressing discs. Some of them sound great, another sound middling. The same story as with Target CDs. I have Genesis’ “Trespass”, which is “mastered by Nimbus” and it sounds OK.
    On the other hand, I have Maiden’s The Number Of the Beast, which is also Nimbus production, but it is lackluster disc.
  14. JoelDF

    JoelDF Forum Resident

    Baton Rouge, LA
    Nimbus also pressed a lot of the early CD releases for Virgin Records including Tangerine Dream and Simple Minds. Cutting Crew's Broadcast was pressed by Nimbus.

    My initial US release of Heart's '85 S/T with the original mixes of several songs was made in the UK at Nimbus.
  15. oldschool

    oldschool I love tape hiss

    Sofia, Bulgaria
    My Motorhead CDs on Legacy Records are 'Mastered by Nimbus' and are considered the best sounding versions
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  16. monewe

    monewe Forum Resident


    True I have also had bad versions of discs mastered by Nimbus but like MFSL on the whole I have found them to vg.
  17. rikki nadir

    rikki nadir Gentleman Thug

    London, UK
    A fascinating story, and one which has implications for collectors of different pressings of CD's.

    First, here is the history of Welsh company (later to expand to Charlottesville, Virginia) Nimbus from the site referenced by Mike Ga:

    "Classical record label Nimbus Records moved to the Wyastone Leys Estate and started LP production for their own recordings in 1977. They quickly gained a reputation for making high quality vinyl pressings, and started to offer a custom pressing service soon afterwards. When the CD format was launched, Nimbus built the first CD factory in the UK, again on the Wyastone Leys Estate, and during the next years this business expanded rapidly until Nimbus Manufacturing had additional CD plants in Cwmbran and in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. During this time Nimbus also won the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement.

    From 1987 to 1992 Robert Maxwell was a major shareholder of the company, but when his business empire collapsed the CD manufacturing side of Nimbus was sold off and the original founders of the business regained control of both the record label and the intellectual property which had been developed to form the core of the manufacturing business. A new enterprise was started, Nimbus Technology & Engineering, to manufacture and sell the CD laser mastering equipment, which until that time had only been used in Nimbus factories, to the rest of the CD industry.

    Over the course of the next nine years this business grew to be the leading supplier of laser mastering equipment. Nimbus was closely involved in the development of the DVD format as a strategic partner of Toshiba and Time Warner, and for several years was the dominant supplier of DVD mastering equipment. Once again the company won a Queen's Award, this time for Export Achievement. In 2001 the optical disc manufacturing equipment industry went through some major restructuring, and a strategic decision was taken to sell Nimbus Technology & Engieering to a Swiss company with interests in the same industry, Unaxis AG.

    In 2002 the founders of Nimbus Records decided to redirect their efforts and concentrate on the record label and the management of the Wyastone Concert Hall under a new company name, Wyastone Estate Ltd. They established systems to manufacture efficiently small runs of Nimbus Records titles which were both more cost effective and more appropriate for that type and size of organisation, and since 2002 have made more than 2.8 million discs in this way.

    The staff of Wyastone Estate Ltd. collectively has over a century of experience of the CD industry, running a record label, managing manufacturing operations and designing, building and marketing manufacturing equipment."

    Here is the relationship with Virgin boss Richard Branson from a Virgin share offer (financial) document:

    "One brainstorm that Branson had in the late 1980s was to install a replication line in the London Megastore’s bottom floor, so that shoppers could see how CDs are made. Branson went ahead with the idea despite receiving advice against it from many of his own management, as well as from Nimbus, the Wales-based optical disc manufacturing pioneer in which Branson had a minority investment at the time. The operation turned into a boondoggle that he singled out in his 1998 autobiography as one of his biggest mistakes."

    I remember well the Virgin CD manufacturing plant in the London store - it was enormous, and had windows instead of walls, and a spiral staircase also surrounded by glass or plexiglass, so that store customers could go from floor to floor of the retail store but also see how CD's were manufactured. The CD plant staff wore space-age white suits, which it was explained were necessary to prevent dust and hair from entering the sterile CD manufacturing conditions.

    The problem with the plant was that, while it was innovative, it was highly costly. Premium Oxford-Street retail space, a lot of it, was taken up by a process that would have been just as effective on a light industrial site in one of the cheapest locations in the UK (Wales or the North), while the retail space could have been used to sell the CD's produced there.

    The value of showing consumers how CD's were made was fairly minimal - it was less important to see how they were manufactured (a confusing process that seemed to involve everyone standing around not doing very much), than to read in the newly launched 'Q' magazine that CD's sounded terrific and everyone should throw away their turntables and vinyl, because their favourite albums would never sound any better than on 'perfect sound forever' CD.

    I said here in January 2006:

    And El Bacho replied:

    That discussion is here:

  18. Wilkie

    Wilkie New Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    I took some pictures inside the Ruckersville, VA plant in 1991 or 1992. I'll try to find them and post a few scans here.

    About 3 years ago Coran Capshaw (manager of Dave Matthews Band, and other ventures) bought the Nimbus building in Virginia after Nimbus/Technicolor consolidated with Panasonic, and moved the entire manufacturing process to Mexico. This is interesting to me because in the days before the Dave Matthews Band signed with RCA, and BMG took over distribution of Bama Rags, we were their distributor. Coran used to pick up the CDs from Nimbus and make the 45 minute drive down Staples Mill Rd. (Route 33) to us in downtown Richmond to deliver the product. Now he owns the Nimbus building and the surrounding historic 18th century estate (in addition to plenty more real estate). I believe a video gaming manufacturer is currently in the old Nimbus building in Ruckersville.

    I'll look for those pictures as soon as I can...
  19. A.G. Pennypacker

    A.G. Pennypacker Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    Thank you for posting this info! I have a DCC Band on the Run and a Steve Winwood Roll With It, and I alway wondered what the back story was behind Nimbus!
  20. Surfin Jesus

    Surfin Jesus New Member

    Nimbus CDD6387

    Here's my favorite Nimbus CD that doesn't play music - manufactured to promote the 90s "holographic" (attempt at a) trend:

    Attached Files:

  21. bdiament

    bdiament Producer, Engineer, Soundkeeper

    New York
    Hi LesPaul666,

    This is almost exactly right. (I say "almost" because the glass gets plated and *that* is used in the subsequent manufacturing step - not the glass itself.)
    Technically, in the CD world, what folks like Steve and I do is referred to as "pre-mastering", the mastering being the cutting of the glass.

    This is confusing, I know. In the same way, the original multitrack recording initially created in the studio is the "master", the final stereo mix is the "master" and the mastering engineer uses that to create (you guessed it) the "master", used by the replication facility when they (guess what) master the glass. :sigh:

    So, those discs that say "mastered by Nimbus" can be thought of as *manufactured by Nimbus*.
    Unless of course, someone at Nimbus did the mastering too. :D

    Best regards,
  22. greelywinger

    greelywinger That T-Rex Guy

    Dayton, Ohio USA
    I have some T Rex CDs that say mastered by Nimbus.

  23. tonyc

    tonyc Well-Known Member

    Nimbus did the 69-77 Elton John albums back when CDs were first being made. "Empty Sky" and "Elton John" are a couple that have unique mastering compared to pressings in other countries. Most here like the sound on them.
  24. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Forum Resident

    I just listened to my US pressing of Jethro Tull "Living in the Past" cd and it's "mastered by Nimbus". Sounds great with very good dynamic range and tonality.

    I have others too, but just can't remember which ones they are. Since joining this site and realizing ALL the variations of masterings, most often identified with the matrix numbers on the actual disc, I look at every cd I put on now and all that info, many of which I haven't heard in several years.
  25. tootull

    tootull John Norman

    Regarding the US Jethro Tull "Living in the Past" CD, to my knowledge, no other country has this mastering. It's a good one. Canadian CD is poor in comparison.

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