Coltrane's A Love Supreme and Ballads All-Analog Mastered Set For October 9th Release

Verve/UMe announced today the October 9th release of its second round of Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series/ Acoustic Sounds pressings of two essential John Coltrane albums: A Love Supreme and Ballads, both in stereo, cut using the original analog master tapes. Deluxe laminated Stoughton Press Tip-On gatefold jackets complete the "must have" release. The pre-order links:

A Love Supreme


MalachiLui's picture

i thought the original master tape was thrown away in the 70s or 80s and the "master" they have now is the UK EMI copy? i'm confused...

Michael Fremer's picture
Is that at some time in the 1970s, ABC made a one off the master copy fearing that the original might be shedding oxide or whatever, and that it then threw away the master (insane but it was the '70s). So this one off the master became the master that's now being used. Since many, many "original pressings" from the 60s and 70s were sourced from a "running master" or an "EQ'd copy" or a 3-2 mix down, I feel calling this tape a "master tape" is acceptable.
MalachiLui's picture

the 2002 RVG CD reissue used the UK EMI copy tape that was sent over in 1965, from what i've gathered it's because the tape copy you mentioned was copied further and also dumped. i think it's fine to use the term "master tape" but "original master tape" is a stretch IMO and should only be used when referencing the very first generation master.

jazz's picture

That the term „original master tape“ is misused already to some extent, doesn’t mean it should be a „relative“ term generally. After today’s post I tend to begin to believe some experienced fans of originals, that original masters from around the 50s/60s hardly exist anymore at all generally. They say, even those nice tapes in the original session commented boxes occasionally pictured by today’s reissue companies are copies already.

I’d still trust what the mastering engineers say about those tapes, but they officially certainly underly the communication strategy of the reissues companies, too and start to refuse talking about sources.

MalachiLui's picture

it’s safe to say that unless otherwise stated by those close to the matter, impulse reissues aren’t from the original master tapes (these two coltrane titles were thankfully spared from the fire). a lot of verve tapes and nearly all blue notes (with a few notable exceptions) still exist in 1st generation form. recent prestige AAA reissues from the master tapes have been good, although some of the splices need fixing. a few riversides might be in good condition (not that they’re being used for AAA reissues anyway), although columbia tapes are most questionable. sony has a tight grip on those, which therefore limits the number of people handling and commenting on the condition of the tapes.

PeterPani's picture

I can attribute that I own some very old tapes (e.g. Furtwangler early fifties) that sound fantastic and I am pretty sure, have no quality deterioration at all. Problems have late 70, 80s tapes. So, in principle it is possible that perfect first generation master tapes are still around.

Michael Fremer's picture
I can say with 100% authority that Miles' "Bitches Brew" tapes are in outstanding condition

What's more, Columbia tapes are generally in very good condition and have been well stored at Iron Mountain. There are exceptions of course like some of the Simon and Garfunkel titles. The label did much better with less popular titles especially jazz and classical. Remember, until The Byrd's first album Columbia really didn't do rock and roll at all! Even John Hammond's Dylan signing was called "Hammond's Folly".

clucking's picture

So, will this be the same as the 45 set, or is this a new mastering from a different source?

MalachiLui's picture

the 2010 AP 45 was cut by kevin gray, this new UMe/AS 33 is a new cut by ryan smith. i assume both use the same tape source, the question is more of which exact tape they're using.

AnalogJ's picture

The difference between this new one and the previously reissued (excellent) Speakers Corner and AP 45rpm will largely come down to EQing choices/preferences, which sometimes can be subtle, other times pretty significant.

Michael Fremer's picture
The mastering chain itself will contribute significantly to the final sound. If you compare Kevin Gray's 45prm cuts at AcousTech Mastering with his later 33 1/3 ones cut at Cohearent from the same tapes, the 33 1/3 versions absolutely kill the 45s. He's got all new electronics and a few other not to be mentioned "things".
AnalogJ's picture

Kevin seems to have changed the tonality, as well. That could be due to the change in mastering chain. His mastering sounds much brighter, and to me, the high end at times sounds less natural, more harsh with the MM 33s. There are many variables involved, as you know, in producing a record. I concur that since he moved to CoHearant that the sound has changed, though. I'm just not sure that his new chain "kills" the old one.

Keep in mind, though, that Ryan Smith is mastering the albums that will be getting a new mastering, and they're using George Marino's mastering for the Gilberto/Getz.

Mijostyn's picture

Hi Michael,
You have your links backwards! Ballads pulls up A love Supreme and vice versa. I pre-ordered both as Analog Productions does a uniformly excellent job. Amazon will not have them until October 9th. Thanks for the high sign.

Michael Fremer's picture
Sorry, I fickst it. These links were provided by the publicists.
volvic's picture

Ordered the Getz & Armstrong releases, still backordered. Looks like there is a lot of demand for these releases.

AnalogJ's picture

The Getz/Gilberto release (I'm not sure about the Armstrong) is not out yet.

By the way, AP, apparently, is using the same George Marino mastering for it as they did for the 45rpm release. Not all loved that mastering, although he did properly switch the channels as they had been reversed incorrectly for prior releases.

volvic's picture

The initial press clipping was for both to be released July 31. Lookimg forward to getting them.

Michael Fremer's picture
I have a copy. I'm waiting for the Oscar Peterson and will cover both in a single "bundle"
volvic's picture

I hope i have my copies by the time you wrap up your review.

Anton D's picture

Dang, my "Love Supreme" shelf is too full to add this unless I encroach on my "Way Out West" shelf!

Maybe if I go to two shelves for "Kind of Blue."

Michael Fremer's picture
I've got 1/2 dozen Joni Mitchell "Clouds" for various ridiculous reasons. I'm not even that big a fan of that album and I need to make space!
PeterPani's picture

with MJ‘s ‚Thriller‘. 14 different pressings and one obscure tape.

McFaden's picture

which one is the best sounding.

PeterPani's picture

Go for the first US pressing or my favorite, the japan pressing:

I also own the commercial reel to reel. But it was released as 3 3/4 ips only. With a lot of effort on the tape-machine, the position of the playhead and the prehead-amp this will sound better in MJ's high notes.

But best sounding and in the bass rock-solid are - like many other releases on that format - the analog tracks on the Laserdiscs Thriller and HIStory I and II, if played by-passing the internal preamp stages of typical LD-players. Nothing beats analog tracks of well done LD's, in my listening experience.

mrgopal's picture

Michael, I have an original stereo of Love Supreme that's in pretty good shape. Any point in buying the reissue?

Have you heard the 45 RPM version still in print? Is it better than the OG?

TommyTunes's picture

My friend and I just did a comparison between a mint original, the AP 45 and Speakers Corner. We found that the original had more top end then the others. This gave the album the sense of having more air. The 45 had a smoothness but it lacks the presence of the original. I’ll still pickup the new issue.

crosscatch's picture

I have Ballads Original Recordings 2x45 and Speakers corner 33
and Analog Recordings 2x45. Are these new recordings as good/better? Will I be needing these too or am I ok?

ChrisM's picture

Back from London, I had the chance to make a quick A/B comparison of A Love Supreme Verve / Ume and a US 1967 stereo pressing in Mint condition.
On the 67' at the beginning of Acknowledgement for example the cymbals are loud and deploys themselves widely, on the Verve / Ume they are muted, that's my main complain about this edition. Otherwise the QRP pressing is dead silent, and the K Gray mastering sounds modern : incredible presence of the instruments, more bass than on the early stereo mix, and much more attack. The solo drum of pursuance is very impressive on this late pressing, and when Coltrane start to play, the saxophone seems to jump out of the left speaker.
In conclusion you'll get a bit less details in the top end but much more presence.

ChrisM's picture

my mistake