Let It Bleed   50th Anniversary Deluxe Box From ABKCO Coming November 1st

You can always get what you want: ABKCO will release a DSD remastered by Bob Ludwig "stand-alone" CD or vinyl LP version of Let It Bleed if that's what you want, but if you want it all, you can have it all.

"All" being the 50th Anniversary Limited Deluxe Edition consisting of a 2 LP/2 Hybrid Super Audio CD set remastered by Ludwig, including both the original stereo and mono mixes. The set also includes a reproduction of the 7" mono picture sleeve single of "Honky Tonk Women"/"You Can't Always Get What You Want".

The box also includes a full-color 23” x 23” poster with restored art from the original 1969 Decca Records package, an 80 page hardcover book that includes an essay by journalist David Fricke and never-before-seen photos by the band’s tour photographer Ethan Russell.

You may be saying to yourself "Why can't they just do this directly to lacquer from the tape? When I visited ABKCO studios in New York and interviewed ABKCO's Teri Landi she had master tapes in hand and explained to me the issues that prevented Beggar's Banquet and Let It Bleed from being cut from tape. The interview took place with the proviso that ABKCO's Jody Klein would get to hear it and say "yes" or "no" to its publication (as a digital file). Unfortunately Mr. Klein never responded and so it was never published.

Happy Will's picture

let Mikey spill the beans!

Garven's picture

I wonder if they're actually getting Ludwig to redo the audio for this release or simply re-releasing the 2002-2003 masters. I already have the original hybrid SACD, the 2003 LP reissue and then the GZ-cut version from the 1964-71 box set. I doubt they could improve on the quality of these, so only new audio for this set might be a release of the original mono mix (besides I seem to recall reading it wasn't really a dedicated mono mix but a folddown! If I want to hear the original stereo mix folded down, I'll save my hard-earned cash and create a folddown myself!!!!)

firedog's picture

Sounds fantastic. There was a 24/176 that's been sold that is a PCM conversion of that, AFAIK. Also sounds good. Those are also Bob Ludwig remasters from the original master tapes.
Is this different, or just a repackaging of the same stuff?
I'm doubtful this is going to sound better, at least in digital. Maybe the LP will sound really good and be worth it.

Anton D's picture

Good call.

Rashers's picture

at $125 you would think that they would add a few goodies into the Super Deluxe Box Set. Presumably this contains the 2003 Bob Ludwig DSD version on SACD and vinyl plus a mono version (recent mono box set) that, for me - it being 1969 - is pretty pointless. Could they not have dug up some unreleased video or tv shows from the archives, a CD or 2 of demos/outtakes (lord knows that there are plenty of bootlegs out there), a surround sound mix, a new documentary about the making etc? All a bit of a lazy cash in. Compared with the recently announced, and similarly priced, Gene Clark "No Other" box set (https://4ad.com/news/1000), this is a pretty poor effort.
I'm not sure when the super deluxe format (LP plus multiple digital discs) appeared first - my first purchase of one was the 2009 "Kind of Blue" 50th anniversary - but, it seems to me that the vinyl content of these boxes is mediocre, at best (and I have a lot of them). Usually digitally sourced and pressed without any great care. Looking at Discogs, they don't seem to become particularly valuable with time either.

Michael Fremer's picture
bent river music's picture

thanks for the No Other link - one of my fav albums.

Michael Fremer's picture
Yes that was a great record. You know we did an entire AnalogPlanet radio show on Gene sourced from original pressings. You can find it in the dropdown menu at the top of the site under "Music"
Bigrasshopper's picture

Regarding the latest and upcoming reissue of Gene’s No Other.
This is the response I received from 4AD. Make of from it what you will, but I’m delighted that they responded so openly.

Thanks for your mail.
Re. this, we thought about an all analog vinyl but, quite honestly, when Abbey Road a/b’d the original tape against his remaster the 94/24 sounded better with a wider stereo field.
We could have cut from the analog vinyl master but it was more compressed so we went back to the original studio masters for the cut.
Abbey Road have good A to D converters so in the end it’s a matter of taste, which is why I put the flat transfer of the original vinyl master on the Blu-ray.
Hope this helps.
Best x


Michael Fremer's picture
If they had the original "studio master" tape, they could have cut from that. Why a 96/24 digital master would have a "wider stereo field" doesn't make sense to me. In the end what counts is how it sounds and please weigh in if you have an original with which to compare it to.
Johnnyjajohnny's picture

"When Abbey Road a/b’d the original tape against his remaster the 94/24 sounded better with a wider stereo field."
So this must mean that the remaster (in 24/96) must be the one sounding better than the original vinyl master - which you should also hope, since there would be no point in remastering something if you can't make it sound better (although I am aware that some people remaster something and then it sounds worse).

Bigrasshopper's picture

One of my first Discogs purchases was a pristine example of that album and almost my first used record purchase. The cover is in mint condition as is the vinyl but unfortunately the sound is really mediocre. There is no reason to spend heavily on that. I go to my digital file for listening. I’m more heartened to learn that the studio master was found, than news of another digital reissue. Of course It’s only logical that the vinyl master does not live up to what it was copied from. So I am cautiously optimistic that in certain respects the new version may sound better. If it doesn’t then something is really wrong at Abbey Road. Their half speed remasters we’re a complete waste of time, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it doesn’t. But if the master is available for use then it does leave open a possibility of an audiophile reissue ! Why our favorite labels have overlooked this is a good question. The master may be sonically restricted. But more generally my suspicion is that mastering studios, Abbey Road included routinely discourage analog reissues out of hand in any number of ways. It would only serve their interest to advise a client that an easier, cheaper digital remaster will sound as good as its analog source. To my mind the popularity of vinyl has killed what might have otherwise been a good number of analog releases, certainly audiophile reissues. The labels might as well be selling Captain Crunch. Consequently I’ve curtailed my record buying significantly while upgrading my digital front end quite dramatically. So now, having put all my energy into optimizing my vinyl purchases for the last 10 years, I’m faced with the daunting process of attempting to bring some kind of parity between my sources, my digital files are haphazard at best. Digital mastering credits are even sloppier.
What would be really helpful for me at this point is an update on the best methodology of current vinyl conversion techniques and technologies. Can a vinyl rip of say a MoFi release sound better than it’s digital twin ? Is it worthwhile to invest in the equipment to save on duplicating similar digital versions ? If so under what circumstances ? “Somebody” should really be comparing the options or at least explaining their own methods in an extended article. I think.
I’m also interested to see if the hybrid SACD that’s included in the No Other deluxe package beats the original vinyl. I will certainly chime in if you do a review. I could send my original to you, whatever, if you need one, but unfortunately it would not be hard to beat. If you could reach out to the label it would be interesting to get permission to get a fuller story from the engineer and confirm this analog master claim.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

With regards to MOFI releases, then their LP and CD releases routinely have different masters. Although I have my suspicions I don't know why.
I have "Surrealistic Pillow" and "Volunteers" by Jefferson Airplane on vinyl by MOFI, and they are EQ'ed completely different on vinyl and CD. I already know the frequency response of my cartridge and phono preamp, so they are not the cause.
Also, if you're interested, someone did similar comparisons between the vinyl and CD versions of several MOFI albums, showing that they usually differed significantly in mastering. I can give you a link to this.
As for making a digital copy of said albums, if the vinyl version is EQ'ed differently than the CD, then a digital copy will sound different than the CD. Personally I like those two Jefferson Airplane more on MOFI vinyl, although the CD's are very good as well (and the best CDs released so far).
Although certain people like to state/scream something to the contrary, a digital recording is fully transparent within audibility, unless you use faulty equipment, so the digital recording of the vinyl record will sound identical to the vinyl record. And that means your digital recording of a MOFI vinyl record will sound better than the original MOFI CD if the master for the vinyl version sounds better.

Bigrasshopper's picture

Thanks for your perspective. That is interesting about Mofi having different masterings for different formats. Sure pass it along.
I too generally like the sound of vinyl. To what degree that has to do with the format and or the mastering is probably a complicated combination of things. My new digital stack - Innuos Statement and Bartok certainly raised the level of my existing cd sourced library but I’de still say in general that my vinyl set up which is roughly equivalent in cost is more fully formed. But digital now is certainly more relaxed and nuanced. The old unit was increasingly intolerable. I haven’t yet compared Vinyl to digital in-depth, mostly because I would need more comparable music. To duplicate all my Mofi purchases would get expensive. But from what you claim and what Michael has said about his vinyl recording experience, it can certainly be transparent enough to compare versions and probably translate the overall vinyl gestalt. But if you had the two, the original vinyl would have to be the go to choice for deep listening. Transparent but not the same. I haven’t heard it so I’m just reasoning it out. Certainly your noise floor would be raised because of surface noise. You’d be hearing all the things you hear when listening to viny, your cart, arm, table, phono stage and the ADC. As in my case if the vinyl was generally clean then you may not want to add or insert some sort of component that processes noise or ticks with software or not ? I’m guessing Micheal goes straight through to a Prism A to D. Which is not a high end priced unit. So one could jump in at a reasonable cost.
Certainly your digital would start sounding more like your Vinyl collection. It might be one way of avoiding the typical over compression of common digital mastering. Eventually one might copy a whole collection. So if you kept buying good vinyl and kept to the rule of copying what comes in and only buying unique digital releases, one might save money. But of course that’s not really a goal, just a rationalization. It’s just another way to listen and become more engage with your music and equipment.

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Here's the link:

Scroll down to post #13 by the user called Back2Vinyl who did the comparisons. If you want to see more comparisons, you can try to write him and ask if he has more. I've been in touch with him about other issues, and he's a very nice guy.
I have done similar plots comparing the two Jefferson Airplane albums between vinyl and CD. I can upload those pictures for you if you like.

I will be honest about another subject though: I didn't understand much of the rest of your comment, which is why I'm not commenting on it :-).

Michael Fremer's picture
Both Beggar's Banquet box and this one are new remasters not the ones used for the SACDs from long ago..
labjr's picture

The email I just received form Music Direct says "Remastered by Bob Ludwig from DSD files taken from the Original Master Tapes." If that's true it seems like it's gonna be pretty much the same old stuff. It's a shame Jody Klein and Co. won't trust someone like Bob Ludwig with the original tapes.

Grx8's picture

“Says Ludwig, who has mastered or remastered many other Stones albums: “When we did the first Let It Bleed remaster in 2002, our intention was to pay homage to the original work. When we did this new version, the purpose was to make it as great as it could possibly sound. If you listen on a good set of speakers or good headphones, you’ll hear subtle things in the background that are now much more clear that were somewhat hidden before.”


Martin's picture

The recent Beggars Banquet remaster, if you just run it through Audacity, it's easy to see how squashed and compressed it is. The 2002 remaster is, in my opinion anyway, far superior.
You hear additional detail on the 50th because it has been so squashed, the quieter stuff is now further up and audible. But it's fake, you're getting it not because the mastering has been improved, rather, the wave forms have been flattened into sausages.

Anton D's picture

I'm even happy just comparing pressings!

I just got a Beggars Bamquet LP set from England...2018 ABKCO with bonus 12" Sympathy for the Devil and a floppy Mick interview.

I forgot when I ordered it...I choose to simply blame Mike Fremer for times like these: "But, honey! Mike Fremer mentioned it!"

I haven't played it yet.

Michael Fremer's picture
Happy to provide you cover...
purrecs's picture

ABKCO is sitting on prime unissued tracks and alternate versions from the band's Brian Jones and Mick Taylor eras. C'mon, Jody! Let's unleash "Two Trains," alternates of classic "Beggar's" and "Bleed" tracks and whatever else your dad conned out of Decca nearly a half-century ago!

Anton D's picture

I dunno if it helps Analog Planet, but if you put in purchase links I would be happy to use those and the site gets credit!

Martin's picture

There seems to be absolutely nothing new here.
The mono is a fold down of the stereo.

Rashers's picture

I'm curious - if the original tapes are not suitable for analog transfer (or I presume first generation copying) - what was the source for these new "remasters". Did Bob Ludwig use digitalized multi-tracks and remix/remaster or did he use a digital copy and tweak the frequencies?
If he had access to the tapes, then surely and AAA record and an SACD a-la mobile fidelity or analogue productions would have been possible.
Much as I like vinyl, the 2003 SACDs and the mid 1990s Virgin CD remasters (particularly "Exile..") are the best sounding Rolling Stones recordings that I have heard.* The recent vinyl reissues have been horribly digital sounding and compressed.
*I have never heard the original 1960s pressings of these records and never will be able to afford them in any case.

Michael Fremer's picture
somewhere, an original "Exile on Main Street" (Artisan stamp) and you'll know what good is!
Tom L's picture

at reasonable prices, as long as you don't care about the postcards!

Rashers's picture

I have committed to coughing up a pile of cash for yet another copy of Exile!

RLss's picture

And if you can find an Artisan Monarch pressing ("MO" suffix after catalog # on label, "MR" inside a circle on runout) it's even better!

RLss's picture
RLss's picture

- for anyone interested, the UK first pressing of Exile is killer, too. And, for a few bucks less, the later Artisan (especially Monarch) represses (which have a gatefold cover rather than the original Unipack) sound excellent as well.

Generally, any Stones title you can find with the "MO" suffix label, encircled "MR" and/or a triangle symbol on runout is worth a listen. Pressings from the old Shelley plant (an "LY" label suffix, encircled backward "S" in runout) usually sound excellent also.

Just adding details b/c I have a dozen copies from comparing pressings - obsessed w/ Exile, and Stones vinyl generally.

RubenH's picture

I've got a US vinyl (purchased in the '70's) and the 2002 SACD. So unless this new remastering gets rave reviews, I will pass. A huge lost opportunity in not including alternates, demos, videos, etc. Yes, I understand the outstanding ownership issues, blah, blah, but there's just too much other good music to spend my limited resources on.

Macman007's picture

with my original Monarch Lp, as well as the 2003 LIB vinyl release, which much to my surprise sounds really good. However, I'm a sucker for these kinds of releases so I'll be in line to get the Super Deluxe with all the trimmings. As with all the other 50th anniversary releases these past few years, it seems the new thing to do, I have to keep reinventing new ways to get my wife to understand how necessary these things are...

After submitting to watch a couple Youtube videos with me of Mikey opening the Bowie and 2014 Beatles Mono vinyl sets, I'm happy to report she finally gets it. Doesn't necessarily like the prices, but understands the need just the same. Guess that makes me pretty lucky all the way 'round! The LIB Super Deluxe will be on my Christmas list this year, unless something else big comes out between now and then. I picked up the 2018 Beggars Banquet RSD vinyl recently from a local shop which had 2 new copies in stock not selling, so I got a few dollars knocked off the price. I'm very happy with the sound quality.

bkinthebk's picture


sckott's picture

....VMP has a preorder for LIB in coke-bottle colored vinyl pressed at TMR, dropped today. Release is for Nov 2019.