In the press reports I saw there was no mention of where this new box set was “cut”. They said newly remastered from first-generation analog sources; but cut by who? pressed where?
Concerned that the EU MOV 6lp box may have the same treatment as the recent Paul Simon reissues – ie pressed not using the US cut by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound NY. I ordered a US copy of this set. And lo and behold I have found the records have been mastered by Ryan Smith and look to be pressed by RTI. I hold Mr Smith’s “cuts” in high regard.
So the cutting mystery solved, what do you get? The five S&G Studio albums plus the Greatest Hits album, download cards, a thin 12*12 book of mainly photos and a 12*24 “poster” from WM3am. What you don’t get is the Bookends poster, Live in Central Park and The Graduate, which I understand are or will be available separately. Maybe one day the Live in ’67 and ’69 albums will get their first vinyl release.
The sleeves are pretty standard lightweight card unlike the solid replicas seen in the Dylan Mono box, while the box itself is of the same construction as the Dylan mono box.
The labels are of the time, although I am not sure they got the research totaly correct -PSR&T has been given a black 360 label which I think went out a couple of years before it release – but I am nit-picking.
The Box Set
But the most important thing is how do they sound?
First impression, from playing a number of tracks (uncleaned) from BoTW, Bookends and PSR&T is that they sound excellent, better than I was expecting.
What does excellent mean? Clear and clean, nice bass weight and and guitar colour, good stereo definition, dynamic, retaining the yumminess of Art’s harmonies….. a sound that makes you listen and listen and listen.
I guess some would like to know how they compare to the originals, or the 2 Sundazed variants (the 1st “standard” Sundazed mastering and the second the Kevin Gray cuts, pressed at QRP), or, for BoTW against the 2 Half-Speed Mastered issues and the several Classic Records issues (180gm*33rpm, the 45rpm set and the Clarity vinyl issue) and I can’t tell you. But maybe when the winter comes I will have some “spare” time and undertake a few comparisions with older copies I do have and update this post.
Update 19/08: Noticed two of the pressings are badly dished – you can see daylight from label edge outwards under the record when on a turntable – so check yours.