THIS WAS WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!: Nick Drake's Debut Vinyl Reissue Cut From Tape AAA Not From Digital

My sincere apologies for this mistaken post! I've left the original wrong headline and scrubbed the rest. This is what happens when your information comes from a secondary source! In this case from a vinyl seller's website. The seller shall remain unnamed. After posting this I decided to go directly to the primary source, engineer John Wood who recorded these albums (and so many other greats) and who also supervised the re-mastering of all three.

Here is what Mr. Wood sent me and this is definitive (and if anyone tells you anything different and you believe them I might have to smack you upside the head):

NICK DRAKE – Vinyl Mastering Notes.

There has been little change in the methodology and process of transferring Tape to Master Laquers since these albums were originally Mastered in the late sixties and early seventies. However over the next 15 years until the advent of the compact disc improvements were made to the design of cutting heads that allowed more high frequency signals to be transferred which for ‘acoustic’ based material such as Nick’s gives a feeling of more air and space to the material.

In parallel with these improvements was the arrival of more sophisticated analogue equalisers offering the ability to subtly highlight parts of the audio spectrum in ways not available in Mastering channels when these records were transferred from tape originally. This new Mastering of Nick’s albums has made full use of these developments whilst retaining the integrity of the originals.

It is inevitable that when dealing with tapes that are now over 40 years old there will be some degradation in quality consequently we have not always been able to use the original first generation tapes. The sources are as follows:

FIVE LEAVES LEFT : The original tape was unusable and although there were tape copies the best source was using a 24bit digital file made from the original tape when re-mastered for CD some 12 years ago.

BRYTER LAYTER : Unfortunately the original Masters have been lost so I used my personal copy made at the time of the original mixes.

PINK MOON : This was cut from the original Masters.

All three albums were mastered at Abbey Road Studios, July 2012.

Mastering Engineer Adam Nunn

COMMENTS
Paul Boudreau's picture

The previous two boxes sold out quickly so anyone who wants one of these should act with alacrity.  Quickly, too.

mikemoon's picture

If I've read correctly Layter was cut from analog tape and if I'm not mistaken it was a John Wood's personal copy.

Michael Fremer's picture

Apologies to all.

AQ Shane's picture

I can't find my insert with the mastering info for the Bryter Layter LP, but my memory is also that it was cut from an analog copy.

BryterMusic.com says: The record pressings are on high grade 180gsm audiophile vinyl and no digital interference is involved in their manufacture.

And says this on Five Leaves Left which suggests the same: As with the other two albums, it was remastered from the original un-eq’d quarter inch master tapes by John Wood at Abbey Road Studios and pressed using wholly analogue processes onto 180 gsm virgin vinyl.

Michael Fremer's picture

Isn't that the Drake family site? I wonder how well clued in they are if that's the case...

AQ Shane's picture

I finally found the Bryter Layter liner notes:

"Unfortunately the original Masters to Bryter Layter have been lost so I used my personal copy made at the time of the original mixes." - John Wood January 2013

AQ Shane's picture

what a tangle!

Michael Fremer's picture

Was cut from 24 bit digital.

AQ Shane's picture

jeez, i guess from the original tapes, or near-original tapes, that will in some cases mean that they used a digital copy of said tapes!

Michael Fremer's picture

Digitized at 24 bit resolution from original tapes. It will be interesting to compare the 24 bit FLAC download and the record.

planarhead's picture

If only all reissues could have been done like these three

mikemoon's picture

I know the initial press release and statement said that Five Leaves was a 24 bit transfer but then news broke a a while back that it was all analog. I actually put in an order because of this news. I'm still a bit confused but this quote is from brytermusic.com.

"As with the other two albums, it was remastered from the original un-eq’d quarter inch master tapes by John Wood at Abbey Road Studios and pressed using wholly analogue processes onto 180 gsm virgin vinyl."

mikemoon's picture

Just want to say all this is confusing with the last Drake title and I hope what I wrote above is not misinformation. Also, I'm not trying to call anyone or any information out. I tried to take it from the source or close to the source for Five Leaves information. The listings on different online sites are a bit odd too and not quite transparent but what is these days really? I find AAA albums not advertised as such being AAA and ones that try to promote themselves as analog actually being AAD in many cases.

BTW, I enjoy your site and have learned and discovered a lot from it!

detroitvinylrob's picture

Just happy we have what we have of Nick's with these new releases, and don't need to elbow each other out of the way for any of those way too pricey, half chewed pink rims!

Happy (way to blue) Listening! I'm living on solid air!

Cassius's picture

Every day the notion of a AAA Five Leaves keeps getting pushed in different corners. What I think is important to keep in mind is that these transfers were all done over a year ago. Remember when the code on the Pink Moon box first came out and Universal accidentally gave early buyers access to download all 3 albums? It means that the transfers were a done deal, not an ongoing concern. Hell I would love to be proven wrong, but I don't think the timeline supports the theory that an analog source was found just in the Nick of time.

I really enjoyed these first two, but I will be waiting for the reviews on this one. Keep in mind that the original and best sounding pressing of this album is the solid pink Island UK original (pressed by Polydor // )  which is a completely different mastering than all subsequent (Pink Rim EMI mastered) copies.

However I will go out on a limb and guess that folks will dig this one too. Why? Based on the original/legit (pre Bootleg) Simply Vinyl pressing. I would imagine the source material on that one was similar, perhaps at 16 Bit, to what is being offered here now. I really enjoyed that pressing, even though I wasn't "supposed to" and regreted selling it for several years now. Would have been helpful to have all 4 to do a righteous shoot out.

C

hi-fivinyljunkie's picture

This is the most analogue sounding digital sourced vinyl I have heard but this reissue has been plagued by delays and misinformation. In the end they managed to screw it up as the labels are printed red and purple as well as omitting the album title and track listing. A couple of photos have been posted on SH forum. How this got through I don't know given they show authentic labels on the Youtube promotional video. The sound though very analogue sounding is somewhat on the dull side - hey you can wind it up without any digititus. On this showing I would give the nod to the 2007 Japan vinyl in terms of presentation, quiet surfaces and even maybe sound. BTW the Japan was way better than SV which I was reliably informed were mastered from CDs.

planarhead's picture

Overall I think this box set reissue sounds very good, whatever the source. The sound is on the warm side (think recent MFSL reissues) just like Pink Moon and Bryter Layter. I played the Hannibal CD a couple of days before and this vinyl reissue is a clear step up.

cdb3's picture

The notes in the box say:

It is inevitable that when dealing with tapes that are now over 40 years old there will be some degradation in quality, however FLL was remastered from the original Sound Techniques pre-eq'd quarter inch master tape.

John Wood, July 2013

(The equivalent in the other boxes, say:
Bryter Later: ...the original masters have been lost so I used my personal copy made at the time of the original mixes'

Pink Moon 'was cut from the original Sound Technique Masters')

Excuse my technical ignorance but is this consistent with what he says about using a digital source and in Spars code does this mean ADA?

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