Sparks CDs mastered from vinyl

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Frip, Dec 6, 2020.

  1. Frip

    Frip Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    So, I understand that some CD re-issues of 80s and late 70s by Sparks are mastered from vinyl.

    Is anyone able to help in terms of which pressings to avoid?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Veronica Mars

    Veronica Mars Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I could be wrong but there might only be one which would be Introducing Sparks.
     
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  3. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    The official Lil' Beethoven Records release of Introducing Sparks (long out of print) is indeed mastered from a needledrop. It doesn't sound horrible from what I remember, but it's been years since I heard it (I don't own a copy). I'm not aware of any others.
     
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  4. c-eling

    c-eling Fruit Juice Everywhere

    It shouldn't if it's sourced from the old Zentz cut :laugh:
    [​IMG]
     
  5. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Some of the 12" mixes on various compilations are from vinyl sources but, yeah, 'Introducing Sparks' is the only album I know of ever mastered from vinyl.

    Though I wouldn't be surprised if/when 'Is There More To Life Than Dancing?' ever gets issued officially on CD that it's also gonna likely be a needle-drop. I'd live to be proven wrong.
     
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  6. Frip

    Frip Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I read (possibly on these forums) that some of the 80s albums had been issued as needle-drops. Sparks in Outer Space was mentioned in particular. Anyone able to confirm or deny this?
     
  7. Frip

    Frip Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    A couple of tracks from that are on one of the editions of No 1 in Heaven, but not the edition I have, so I can't say what the source is. There's a good fan remaster of the LP on YouTube.
     
  8. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    Introducing Sparks is mastered from vinyl. The original In Outer Space was mastered from tapes but later and current versions are from vinyl. I suspect the same about the later/current version of Pulling Rabbits but I have the original first CD reissue and it's from tapes. All other CD's (that I have) are from tapes. Some of their compilations use vinyl sources here and there.
     
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  9. Frip

    Frip Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks Scott. Are you able to put a before/after date to that (ie when was Outer Space first issued as a needle-drop)?
     
  10. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    Not exactly but here's the In Outer Space that I have which is from tapes. I suspect the Oglio CD may also be because they informed me at the time they used these CD's to master from and only tweaked as necessary:

    Sparks - In Outer Space

    This is the one I bought later to see how it sounded and I was surprised to find it was from vinyl chewed up by auto-click and pop removal:

    Sparks - In Outer Space

    And I think it's safe to assume the later Repetoire CD editions with bonus tracks are also from vinyl because that's pretty much what their reputation is, aside from an occasional release. Their versions of No. 1 in Heaven up to Angst In My Pants appear to be from masters, though I recall hearing the later editions bonus tracks are from vinyl.
     
  11. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    The Repertoire ones sound like garbage anyway, regardless of the sources. And on not one, but TWO, they misspelled the band's name as "Spakrs". If only we could blame the audio quality on a typo, too.
     
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  12. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    The Repetoire releases have also all been unauthorized (according to the band) and possibly unofficial? I read a statement they get no sort of royalty from those releases. That being said, someone closer to the project informed me a few years ago the band CD release of Introducing is actually sort of a grey area release. They stated certain behind the curtain things happened for the CD to happen. And when I tried to license the album from Sony back in 2017 (because Sony do still have the master tapes), they had trouble finding U.S. contract info and after awhile they told me they had to send the request over to the UK branch because that's the only thing they could find about current ownership. Being that Introducing was released in 1977, it didn't fall into the copyright law of 1978 that allowed artists to ask for their material back after 35 years.
     
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  13. InStepWithTheStars

    InStepWithTheStars It's a miracle, let it alter you

    Location:
    North Carolina
    It's been a while since I've dug into Spakrs, but I recall the band wasn't happy with the album, and when the label couldn't immediately provide the tapes for their authorized release on their own label, they just said "screw it" and mastered from an LP instead. I can't stand needledrops personally, but I recall that one sounding fine, no obvious clicks or pops or any of that stuff. Of course, all I had was an MP3 copy and it was several years ago, before I cared about audio quality... so that doesn't mean much.

    I do recall that the one thing I wanted more than anything was a well-done CD release of A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing with all the tracks at the correct speed. Even on the ones that have the albums on separate CDs, the last four tracks are always sped up.
     
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  14. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    I had the CD and wasn't a fan of the transfer. Vinyl is tricky to remaster from and even if the best engineer has only worked primarily from tapes in their career then there's going to be some big drawbacks working from vinyl. I remember some people stating the song Forever Young even has a skip in it. I didn't listen that far before I put it on eBay those years ago. I credit them for putting the release out but it was a let down after all the years of waiting.
     
  15. Frip

    Frip Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Doing my own speed-correction of that is on my to-do list. But I've not been able to find the correct track lengths. The speed problem seems to go right back to the 70s, and possibly even the original pressing had those tracks at the wrong speed.
     
  16. johnnyyen

    johnnyyen Senior Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    There are a couple of tracks from Introducing...on the recent compilation, Past Tense, and they sound properly mastered, and not a needle drop. I agree with others that the Repertoire releases are terrible sounding, and it was good to see the No.1 In Heaven get a proper remaster recently, as the Repertoire release could finally go in the bin, where it always belonged.
     
  17. cracklehead

    cracklehead Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Do you suppose those tapes burned up in the Universal fire also?
     
  18. lwh1

    lwh1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, England
    You're right about the licensing problems. There seems to be some uncertainty over the U.K. ownership of the rights, as it was originally licensed to CBS by Island Records for the U.K. release (both 'Big Beat' and 'Introducing Sparks' were still part of their Island contract, I understand that their release from Island was a bit messy), although I suspect that the U.K. rights may now reside with Sony.
    The more recent releases of any tracks from the album have the phonographic copyright to Sparks.
     
  19. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    None of those were Universal owned albums.
     
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  20. lwh1

    lwh1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, England
    There were some copies of a U.K. pressing of the 'Woofer' album that had the whole of side two running fast. It had the rough textured label with the smooth strip around the edge.
     

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