Craft Recordings To Launch Exclusive "Small Batch" LP Series

Craft Recordings will soon launch a limited-edition one-step series focusing on their most revered recordings available exclusively via Craft Recordings. This is a "teaser" so no additional information can be posted here. You'll have to wait until next week. but you will surely like what you learn. So, as they used to say, "stay tuned".

COMMENTS
ChrisM's picture

I bought the Chet Baker Box set tree times because the Chet vinyl was full of scratches, I finally wrote to Craft Recordings to ask if they could swap the record. No response, nothing, zero.
They will never have my money again.

Jeffrey Lee's picture

As long as Craft continues to use MRP everything they release will be a crap shoot.

ff's picture

Unfortunately, I had the same issue. Two records in my Chet Baker Box set had label damage and one was warped right out of the box. I have become very wary of RTI pressings as used my Craft and others since I had two warped 2LP Resonance Record Bill Evans: Live at the Black Forest RTI pressings. At least, Resonance replaced the warped records while Craft just sent me back to the poor retailer. Me too, never again, one-step or otherwise!

Spindle Spinner's picture

I read this as I have Qobuz open in another browser window and listen to Coltrane '58 Prestige 24/192 files. It says these are from Craft Recordings. They sound good to my ears and I'm trying to find info on the Craft Recording LP box issue of these. Good pressings or not? Are the individual LPs (Lush Life, Soulltrane) from the same masters?

ArcAudio's picture

I do not know if Craft ever does any analog releases. However, I have the Charlie Parker 10 inch which is digitally sourced and it is EXCELLENT. Grundman did an excellent job with the Pink Floyd Albums. As time goes on, labels will be more "protective" about the original master tapes. To be honest, I'm not certain if anyone would know the difference if they were not told (assuming the original analog to digital transfer was good).

isaacrivera's picture

Concord Craft has an incredible tape catalog and has released many AAA. Don't forget that Analog Spark and Razor and Tie were both sub reissue labels of CC. To name a few, the Chet Baker Box and the RSD release of Booker T. and The MG's MCLEMORE AVENUE, several Fania and REM releases all AAA and all extremely fine mastering by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and very well pressed. These "Small Batch" editions will be One Step process as well.

Analog Scott's picture

In fact there are DSPs that can fix problems on the analog tape and in analog tape playback that can make the sound better. The result is what matters. better sound is better sound regardless of how it's achieved. IMO...

Michael Fremer's picture
Unfortunately I hear the problem.
Analog Scott's picture

You don't hear a problem. Unless someone really screwed it up or deliberately added some audible distortion. On the other hand if you are hearing an LP cut from a digitally restored analog recording using the Plangent process you certainly are hearing a difference. If you think that correcting mechanical tape artifacts is "a problem" that is a subjective opinion you get to have.Personally I prefer music without added audible wow and flutter. But that is just my opinion.

isaacrivera's picture

If a tape is damaged or the recording was somehow messed up, fixing the problems in the digital domain could be the best compromise there is and clearly better than the damaged experience. Nobody argues that. Saying that hirez digital transfers from tape are transparent to the source is demonstrably false.

As a case in point, recently Music Matters Jazz reissued Horace Silver's Song For My Father in a 33 SRX edition. The first track included in this edition was spliced from a recently discovered safety tape. Their previous 45 RPM edition included that track digitally repaired because of defects on the master tape. I have both and before acquiring the AAA 33 edition I thought the 45 hirez digital was unbeatable. A/B comparisons tells me and several of my listening buddies--some of whom collect music that has mostly been recorded digitally to begin with--that the all analog edition is far superior in detail, color and imaging.

It is impossible for a sampled copy to be identical to the original continuous signal. You may argue that perception can't distinguish them, but, like Karl Popper said, a theory only has to be disproven once to be completely false. You may not care about the difference or may find yourself incapable of or uninterested in distinguishing them, but that does not mean it is not possible or unimportant to others.

Analog Scott's picture

I have the kept two arguments quite seperate. Argument 1, digital done right is transparent so there is no reason to fear digitally sourced LPs unless they are being done by incompetent people. You say it's demonstrably false but it's been put to the test. We can put it to the test again but the results will be the same. We can even turn it into a pissing contest if you want and make a substantial wager. Nothing will change. In a level matched double blind test, you, Mr. Fremer or anyone else will not be able to distinguish between a live analog tape feed and a high res copy. Or for that matter vinyl playback and a digital copy. Argument 2, as well as hi res digital being audibly transparent, DSP can fix problems inherent in analog recording. And by the way you may want to do a little research on the Plagent system. It's not about fixing damaged analog tapes. It's about correcting inherent distortions in analog tape playback. Unfortunately this is where these conversations tend to deteriorate into a name calling contest. Count me out of that. My interest is only in sound quality and discussions about how audio actually works in regards to sound quality. And when it comes to gauging sound quality I want it to be done with bias controls in play. The science on bias effects is well documented and extremely strong. You would need a profound scientific break through to toss out the existing science on bias effects in auditory perception. I don't buy arguments that anecdotal accounts of non bias controlled listening experiences somehow trump our scientific understanding of human biology. It doesn't. Bias effects in aural perception are an inherent part of how our auditory perception works in coordination with our other senses. You can't will away millions of years of evolutionary development of sensory perception. If you want to put your beliefs about the lack of transparency of hi res digital to the test when we are past the extreme limitations of the current pandemic let me know and maybe we can set something up. But it will have to be level matched, double blind and statistically significant in sampling. Anything less is simply too unreliable.

Analog Scott's picture

Plangent not Plagent

Analog Scott's picture
Grant M's picture

alex, i'll take "can i buy a paragraph" for $200...

isaacrivera's picture

The "science on bias" has actually many concepts. Placebo describes how subjects perceive what they expect as positive or are excited about, while nocebo is applied to rejecting perception of those things you find negative or do not accept as possible (...sound familiar?) Yet a third concept, confirmation bias, describes how subjects will only admit data that confirms what they already believe... interesting... The concept of "negative bias" suggests we weigh negative outcome predictions 100x more than positive ones. The tests I described above were blind tests. Whether it is my placebo or your nocebo, that is undetermined, but again, a single case of someone passing the test proves the theories of "transparency to the source" (which is impossible as only the source is transparent to itself and even that changes over time!) and perceptual limitations as false and any indefinite number of failures do not prove anything else than those individuals could not pass the test. Theories have to stay falsifiable to be scientific at all. Furthermore, statistical studies can't really prove Truth or cause and effect, only probability and correlation. Again, an indefinite number of tests where sitters can't tell the difference makes the theory more probable and shows that it correlates with the cases but always leaves the theory open for negation and a single negation would render it forever false.

However, need I remind you that you music perception via a stereo IS a trick of perception? Soundstage, imaging, etc are all but tricks for your perceptual apparatus, there actually isn't a performance happening in front of you! Every record is a willing experiment on perceptual illusion. If you sit there and question the illusion, then what is the point? Said another way, if a sick person gets a spontaneous remission due to placebo (There are hundreds of cases documented in medical literature.) Does she care her miraculous healing was due to a mental trick? I don't think so. If placebo enhances my experience of music, and again, that is unproven, then placebo be welcome!

Analog Scott's picture

It's about the science on human auditory perception. Bias effects are only one element. It is also very specifically about human aural data processing, aural memory, and feedback loops. We can not remeber everything we hear. There are two stages of data reduction and each one is subject to feedback loops that steer the aural memory. they are biologically evolved to give us information quickly that will help us find food in the wild and not be food and they developed in tandum with our other senses. Those feedback loops are subject to bias effects in the moment of processing and can be steered because of the data reduction.
I understand the mathematical issue with the null hypothesis. But in practical application we set a standard of statistical significance that generally works well for that application. We never know things on an absolute level. But that doesn't mean we don't know them on a practical level.
You certainly don't need to remind me that stereo playback is one big aural illusion. It's a point I often raise when audiophiles get caught up in some misguided quest for "accuracy." But that is a very different subject than bias effects leading to false identifications of audible differences.

isaacrivera's picture

"Science on bias" was a direct quotation of your previous comment. I did not make such a claim. You did.

Analog Scott's picture

Here is the complete quote with context " My interest is only in sound quality and discussions about how audio actually works in regards to sound quality. And when it comes to gauging sound quality I want it to be done with bias controls in play. The science on bias effects is well documented and extremely strong. You would need a profound scientific break through to toss out the existing science on bias effects in auditory perception."

isaacrivera's picture

The whole thread is here for anyone to read. I simply can't quote you out of context when the context is surrounding my commentary. No need to quote a whole paragraph when a single phrase can lead anyone to the original thought. I have not been persuaded by your arguments, and clearly neither have you by mine. Interesting as the dialogue is, I sense you are veering into the character assassination territory by implying foul intention. We will simply have to agree to disagree.

Analog Scott's picture

If we disagree we disagree. But it might be worth noting that if you disagree with what I am saying here you are disagreeing with an entire field of scientific study. Psychoacoustics. Personally as a believer in science if I were to find my opinions in direct opposition of the findings of an entire body of scientific study that would give me cause to question my beliefs and do some research on that body of science. In fact that is exactly what happened in my case. I used to think I could reliably process and remember evey sound I heard in one listening and then compare it to the next sample without being steered by any bias effects. Now I know otherwise. It's not possible.

xtcfan80's picture

"But it will have to be level matched, double blind and statistically significant" Please....Just...Stop

Analog Scott's picture

Reality not your thing? You find reality offensive?

xtcfan80's picture

Oy vey!!! Enough with Double Blind ears already...

Michael Fremer's picture
IS 100% NOT TRANSPARENT. PERIOD. Double blind testing is the most abused thing in audio. PERIOD. It's mostly a source of confusion. We do NOT consume music that way. I've done my share of double blind tests and done very well. But that's not the point. The point is, in one double blind test at an AES, a population of ENGINEERS could not distinguish among 5 amplifiers all of which absolutely sounded different from one another. In fact, one was a VTL300 TUBE AMP that both measured and sounded very different, yet the ENGINEERS did no better than chance. Why? Because the amps sounded the same? NO! Because BLIND TEST TAKING IS AN ACQUIRED SKILL. THAT IS WHY I SCORED 100% CORRECT IDENTIFICATIONS. NOT ONLY THAT, I WAS ABLE TO TELL WHICH AMP WAS WHICH ONCE AFTER THE TEST HAD CONCLUDED WE WERE TOLD WHAT THE FIVE AMPS WERE!!!!!! However, since my result was "an outlier" on the curve, it was tossed! Yes. It was tossed, AND the test was produced specifically for my "benefit" to prove to me that all amps that measure the same sound the same, which is also bullshit. Why the individual uses a tube amp is beyond me, but he did. So you can indulge yourself in double blind tests all day long. Enjoy. To me, it's useful in medicine but for audio? Not so much. In another "blind" test, I was challenged to tell hi-rez 96/24 files from 16/44.1 files all meta data set for 96/24. This was an attempt to prove I couldn't distinguish them. Guess what?
Analog Scott's picture

when we are past this pandemic let's do a public test. we can even make a bet. Name the amount. I will bet that you can not distinguish between a direct feed from any vinyl playback gear and a hi res copy. We can do simple ABX. You can name how many samples you want as long as it is 10 or more and we will use a base of 99% statistical certainty as the standard of a positive result. Heck we can see if James Johnston or Sean Olive would be willing to design the test.Or do you think they are not capable of designing a good DBT? As fot the one test you are citing. 1. Sounds like a bad test. Really dumb to do a test of 5 different amps. But your description also suggests another thing, you do not understand statistical analysis of DBTs. Maybe we will have to review how that works so you will understand the null result you will inevitably get if we were to do such a test. It sounds like a porrly designed test but I would bet you your results were not "thrown out."

Mark Cherrington's picture

It seems to me that sample sizes and null points and statistically analysis is all very useful if you're trying to answer the question, "Can the average person hear a difference?" But the question you're arguing here is, "Is there an audible difference?" And that question is answered definitively by a single instance, in this case Michael Fremer. If he can hear a difference in multiple instances--as he did with five different amplifiers--then the difference is audible.

But the whole question is moot anyway, as far as I'm concerned. I listen to music to be engaged, moved, enlightened, uplifted, consoled, and a hundred other emotional, spiritual, and psychological purposes, most of which I cannot define. Anything that gets me there is a good thing.

As Art Dudley once memorably wrote, "My car goes faster after I wash it." I don't care at all if my knowledge of a source is fooling me into thinking something sounds better. If belief makes me engage more, feel more, be moved more, then please give me more fooling.

Analog Scott's picture

and you don't get a reliable answer in "a single instance." A coin flip will be right 50% of the time in any "single instance." And yet a coin flip is never correctly identifies reality. It only gets a 50-50 choice right half the time. This is why understanding statistical analysis is pretty important in understanding the results of any double blind listening test. Fremer's results were not tossed. They were added to the whole. Anyone can get lucky with one or even a few correct guesses. Doesn't mean they heard an actual audible difference anymore than using a coin flip to decide. Now your point about not caring about bias effects. That's a perfectly legit position to take. But it is a very different position than believing what you percieve with bias effects in play is objectively accurate. If knowing a record was mastered with a digital stage leads one to liking it less then so be it. Maybe best not to know too much about how records were sourced and mastered if that is the case. But claiming a hi res digital stage affects the final sound is a very different thing.

Mark Cherrington's picture

Of course a single instance of anything can be the product of chance. That's why I mentioned Fremer's amplifier IDs--he distinguished the difference five times out of five. Of course even five times in a row could be a random alignment if you're talking about coin tosses, but this was an intentional test: he was listening for differences. And it seems to me that changes how we should consider the results. A machine could drop a coin a million times, and one of them might land on it's edge out of pure chance, but if I claim I can make a dropped coin land on its edge and then I do it five times in a row, you have to concede there's something there, even with only five attempts.

Analog Scott's picture

That is exactly the point. 5 out of 5 Is not a statistically reiable positive result. Such is the inherent problem with using too few samples. But clearly this test (with all it's flaws) was designed to measure the collective sensitivity of the group as a whole. Not Fremer's as an individual. So for Fremer to say his result was "tossed out" or classified as an outlier is simply wrong and demonstrates a misunderstanding of statistical analysis. He may have heard and identified differences, he may have gotten lucky. You can't say one way or the other based on 5 out of 5. That's why well designed tests use enough samples to rule out chance. And please do not conflate a 50-50 probability of a coin flip with a coin landing on it's edge. Flipping heads 5 times in a row is not any kind of evidence of causation. Do it 10 times in a row in only 10 attempts you are on to something. Do it 20 times in a row you have made your case.That does not happen by chance. 5 times in a row simply doesn't measure up reliably. And Fremer may very well have heard differences in those amplifiers. People hear differences in amplifiers quite easily under blind protocols when the differences are really there. Well designed blind listening comparison tests are very sensitive to real differences.

Analog Scott's picture

not surprised

Grant M's picture

Karl Popper reference, nicely done.

Michael Fremer's picture
You've changed the subject. Digitizing analog is a problem. It is NOT "transparent". It introduces audible problems. Then fixing other issues is a solution. So it's kind of a wash IMO. We've had 70 or so years of superb all-analog recordings and records. It's a solution in search of a problem. I've heard good Plangent results so don't get me wrong. But digitizing to fix problems in the analog domain is a problem. I've been through this with "Mr. Plangent" and admitted that some of his results are better than AAA BUT not much is done with Plangent at this time. However if you compare the AAA Doors reissues from Analogue Productions with the 192/24 bit LP box in which Bruce Botnick and Jac Holzman were involved, it's not even close. The AAA wins. So if its a choice of AAA or AAD, I'll take AAA EVERY time. If you add Plangent, it's a different story.
Analog Scott's picture

Hi res digital does not introduce audible problems and you can't hear a difference. Pointing out that on top of being transparent, DSP can fix inherent problems in analog recording and playback is not changing the subject. It is merely pointing out that not only can digital be transparent but it can also literally be better. The fact that not many people are using the Plangent system is unfortunate but doesn't change the fact that it offers the possibility of better LPs than is even possible through an all AAA chain. It is unfortunate that the system is not being used more often but I suspect it's bullshit like this being fed to audiophiles that is holding it back as much as anything else. As for taking AAA over AAD? Are you saying you prefer vinyl over digital playback media all else being equal? (AA) Yeah, me too. I love the euphonic colorations of vinyl as a medium and the euphonic colorations of my vinyl playback gear specifically. No arguing preferences. But claims of super human hearing can be put to the test.

Tullman's picture

I hear the problem as well. Digitally mastered LPs are fine if there is nothing but a digital file to work with. Analog recordings sound best if kept analog.

Michael Fremer's picture
Unfortunately I hear the problem.
Michael Fremer's picture
And you have it backwards As this release and the Blue Note "Tone Poet" and others demonstrate, the labels are MORE not LESS willing to bring the tapes out and use them to cut lacquers. You can only say the Pink Floyd reissues sound good if you've not heard U.K. originals.
Rashers's picture

Hey Mike
any chance of just a smidge more information - is "small batch" like the Electric Recording Company's 300 copies at £350 or are they more like Analogue Productions/Mofi (numbered 3000 to 10,000) at $50? Craft have an exceptional catalog - particularly for jazz (Prestige, Contemporary etc.). The Chet Bakers were AAA and Craft seem to have come around to using analog sources - so this could be very exciting. Craft should just copy the Tone Poet model - moderate numbers of really high quality products at a non extortionate price. They really need to release "Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section" (mono)soon.

Analog Scott's picture

Craft Recordings are great. They don't get neraly enough credit in the audiophile world IMO.

jeffrosen's picture

I Have had issues with Craft RSD pressings. Got CAMILLE YARBROUGH THE IRON POT COOKER. Pressed so off center hard to listen to. I wrote them and was ignored. The store would not take the return since they said distributor had no more. Stopped buying there and might do the same with Craft

JJCalvillo's picture

more than they need us. I had a problem with a Mofi LP I bought locally, wrote them, was ignored. Music Millenium took care of me so no big deal, but I'm not likely to buy more Mofi.

ArcAudio's picture

Why not? The editions sell out instantly.

Tom L's picture

I always find it hilarious when someone who plays the kazoo with his butt calls Miles Davis "OVERRATED".

ivansbacon's picture

I am tuned but I can not seam to get the horizontal hold to hold.

Isolationdrill's picture
BillyJonesBilly's picture

Something seems a bit fishy or off about Craft. It feels like an industry plant in the AAA reissue world. Who started it? Who directs it?

isaacrivera's picture

Is the owner of an incredible catalog of labels and their recordings. Prestige, OJC, Stax, Jazz Dispensary, the list goes on and on. They are a big tape source for many of the reissues we value, like Analog Productions and Vinyl Me Please. They have been in the AAA reissue biz from their own archives for years but usually through their own sublabels like Razor and Tie and Analog Spark. Many of those have been praised here often. Recently they decided to start releasing and marketing under their main brand, Concord Craft Records. They have again, done many AAA issues praised here, like the Chet Baker reissue box (Riverside, which they also own) and many AAA RSD releases from their Fania and Stax titles.

BillyJonesBilly's picture

Thanks! I see they have Vanguard & Vee-Jay as well. Such a broader reach than say Acoustic Sounds, Blue Note, Impex, Mofi, etc. They could really do some interesting stuff (damage to our savings) if they focus in on a series; check all the boxes on mastering, printing, pressing and market properly to the AAA reissue renaissance sect. I'm guessing they aren't doing much licensing out if they have these mysterious plans in the works?

isaacrivera's picture

The VMP Classic Track seems to be sourced almost completely from CCR. But don't know otherwise. I have gotten some of their recent AAA reissues (not VMP) and they are very, very good. These will be One Step, which tells me they are stepping up their quality. I wonder what their price point will be for these. Blue Note's Tone Poet series is arguably as good as MMJ's in every respect (not SRX formulation though) and, because they do not pay licensing fees, they can offer their titles at $35 (MMJ $75). Mofi charges $125 for their One Step with special formulation... I am curious...

Their catalog is so immense, they probably have plenty room for both, licensing and their own. Was it last year that they pulled the plug on Analog Productions Sonny Rollins Way Out West because they decided to release their own? (which was digitally mastered in the end, a shame), so I assume they will keep their series' titles reserved.

cundare's picture

FREMER: "Double blind testing is the most abused thing in audio. PERIOD."

Oh thank GAIA that an authoritative voice has actually acknowledged this fact in public. Of all the damage that Peter Aczel did back in the day, his faith-based insistence on ".1dB level-matched, double-blind, A-B testing" was arguably the most destructive. Mike is right on the money when he points out that double-blind A-B methodologies simply do not map well onto the way that humans listen to music in the real world.

Thank you again, Mr. Fremer, for being a lighthouse of sanity amidst the Wile E. Coyotes.

Don

Analog Scott's picture

But Mike is dead wrong about blind protocols and bias effects. They map out quite as well as anything can map out. Why do you feel the need to know what you are listening to in order to evaluate it? And are you also against level matching too? Are you incapable of listening to music the way you do in the real world if you don't know what is in the audio chain in advance?

mraudioguru's picture
Tasingegade's picture

Hey Mike, I may have missed it above as I wanted to skip through the paragraphs of name-calling. But... what are the problems you have observed with digitized versions of analog recordings? This question is not posed with a lean to say that one is better than the other. Given your experience, what have you observed that is good/bad/better/worse?
thanks!

X