Tom Petty’s Wildflowers & All the Rest  (Not Quite) "All Analog" Box Set Cut From ½” Master Tapes Coming October 16th From Warner Records (SOURCE CLARIFICATION 8/21/2020)

(Just off the phone with Ryan Ulyate who co-produced this box set. First of all, regardless of what's posted elsewhere, the 1994 2 LP "Wildflowers" was cut from a 1630 CD master and was not AAA. Until 2015 tapes of the individual songs had never been assembled so it could not have been cut from tape. Ulyate and Chris Bellman put together the individual tapes to produce cutting masters. Careful engineering meant uniform azimuth so the spliced together tunes, with spacing carefully done to match the original release, could be used to cut lacquers. The new "Wildflowers" uses that spliced together master tape for two more "go-rounds" as referenced in what's below. However, I erred in asserting that everything else was also cut from tape and for that I apologize. After receiving the test pressings last April I was asked to not write anything about this project and I kept my word. There was a publicity screw-up and the world announced the release yesterday (August 21st) and I was "left in the dust" and so had to scramble to in haste post a story. According to Mr. Ulyate, the home recording material was from Tom's private stash of A-DAT tapes recorded at 48K/24 bit resolution. All of this material was transferred to ProTools and brought to Chris Bellman's mastering suite where it was converted back to analog, through the board, processed in the analog domain, and then re-digitized so that all of the set's material would be at the same resolution. The alternate takes material was all sourced from 24 track analog tapes (many dozen), which were baked then played back on Mike Campbell's Studer A800 to Pro-Tools at 32 bit/96K resolution and processed at Chris Bellman's the same way as the A-DAT material. The live stuff was a combination of multi-track analog tapes recorded on various "mobile recording studios" and some sourced from 48K/24 bit A-DAT board recordings and all processed as above.

According to Ulyate, the other LPs in the box sets were cut from 96/24 files that were not limited and/or compressed. The CD box sets were produced to be "almost" as dynamic, with some limiting and were not "slammed" as is typical these days, but, he told me the downloadable 96/24 files are also full dynamic range. The files created for streaming are the most compressed. All of this came at me in a phone call at "high speed" so Mr. Ulyate said he'd read it later and give me corrections if necessary. I've always said I care more about the results than the sources used, though if there's tape it should be used. In this case much of the source material (other than the AAA "Wildflowers" album itself) originated in the digital domain and the material sourced for 24 track analog tape would have been impractical and difficult to mix down to analog tape given the 24 track tapes' fragility after baking. When I checked out these 9 test pressing I found the sound to be as I wrote below "10-11" as long as you take into consideration that the "home stuff" was never intended for release (but still sounds great). That's it—MF

Arriving October 16th in multiple formats and configurations, Wildflowers & All the Rest features the original 1994 Wildflowers album, newly re-mastered and cut directly from the original ½” analog master tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering and pressed at Record Industry in The Netherlands, plus unreleased tracks, solo demos, live performances, alternate versions and more—many of which were sourced from analog tape but then of necessity digitized..

The 15 song Rick Rubin-Mike Campbell co-produced original released on CD November 1, 1994 also saw a vinyl issue cut from the digital master, though the album as well as all unused material was originally recorded to analog tape. Originally intended by Petty as a double CD set, it was released per the label’s insistence as a single CD, double LP set.

Petty had intended to later release a collection he named All The Rest featuring ten un-released songs recorded during the Wildflowers sessions and five unreleased tracks that were different versions of four songs later appearing on the soundtrack to the 1996 film “She’s The One”.

Tom’s daughters Adria and Annakim with his wife Dana curated this compilation along with Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench. Petty’s longtime co-producer and engineer Ryan Ulyate produced.

Wildflowers & All The Rest is a 2 CD ($19.98) and 3 ($39.98) LP 25 track set featuring the 15 original tracks on one CD or 2 LPs and the 10 All The Rest tracks (10, including 5 unreleased songs) on a second CD and 3rd LP.

Wildflowers & All The Rest—Deluxe Edition is a 4 CD ($49.98) and 7 LP ($174.98) set featuring 54 tracks, eight unreleased songs, and 24 previously unreleased versions. The 4 CD set includes Rick Rubin’s introduction, track-by-track for all songs included on these formats, while the 7 LP set also includes David Fricke’s essay as well as song lyrics. In addition to what’s listed above, this set includes Home Recordings/Demos and Live versions on 2 CDs and 4 LPs that includes 15 tracks—3 unreleased songs; 12 unreleased versions and 14 live tracks—12 unreleased versions; two distributed to Fan Club only).

Wildflowers & All the Rest—Super Deluxe Edition is a 5 CD ($149.98) and 9-LP ($249.98) Direct-to-Consumer, Limited Edition set featuring 70 tracks, nine unreleased songs and 34 unreleased versions. It includes Rick Rubin’s introduction, David Fricke’s essay, track-by-track for all music and lyrics to all songs on Wildflowers & All The Rest. Also included is a hardbound book, a Wildflower cloth patch logo, a sticker, a “Dogs with Wings” tour program replica from the 1995 Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers tour, hand-written 4 song lyric reprints in vellum envelope, a litho of new and exclusive art by Blaze Ben Brooks for the song “Only A Broken Heart” and a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.

In addition to all of the Deluxe Edition content, the 5th CD and 8th and 9th LP feature alternative takes (Finding Wildflowers) (16 tracks—one unreleased song; ten unreleased versions).

The Ultra Deluxe Edition.
Wildflowers & All The Rest—Ultra Deluxe Limited Edition ( $499.98, limited to 500 copies) includes all of the Super Deluxe Edition content plus an exclusive unisex necklace—hand-made by Maria Sarno in a faux suede pouch, an exclusive lyric book with illustrations by Blaze Ben Brooks, an exclusive 7” of “You Don’t Know How it Feels”, packaged in a custom fabric bag with a metal Wildflowers logo as the closure—designed and fabricated by Los Angeles-based, Made Worn.

Visit The Tom Petty website for more details, to watch video and to order the limited edition boxes.

AnalogPlanet Exclusive! All 9 LP Preview!

Rick Rubin asked me back in April, as “the only person in North America with a turntable” (lol) if I’d please listen to test pressings of the 9 LP set. Regularly having one’s vinyl chops busted by RR is a distinct pleasure and an honor! Of course, I said “yes”.

Soon thereafter 9 Record Industry test pressings arrived, and I began listening, stopwatch in hand. That’s how you do this. You have to watch the numbers go by and when you hear a blemish you note the time. Normally when it’s a single or double LP set you get two copies so you can determine if the sonic blemish is a “one-off” or related to the stamper.

The process is hardly like listening for pleasure but in this case even listening this way produced nothing but pleasure throughout the 9 LPs. This was Petty peaking creatively and the band playing live, so locked in. If you were lucky enough to have watched the “Shangri-La” Showtime documentary filmed at Rubin’s studio (which is not where this material was recorded) that gives you an eye-witness view of at least part of his creative process working with artists. Listening to the demo, unreleased and alternative versions of familiar tracks, you can almost hear Rick saying to Tom “why not try it this way?” or “how about if you?”. Now maybe that’s just my imagination, but that’s where it went while listening.

Many stuffed with extras "deluxe sets" being released lately are often forgettable once you get past the actual re-issued album. In this case, once I finished listening for sonic blemishes, of which there were not many, I went back for a “listen for pleasure” session (over two days) and I’ll tell you that if you are a Tom Petty fan, you will not regret getting at least the 7 if not the 9 LP sets. The sound is uniformly 10-11 on the AnalogPlanet sonic scale. In case you are wondering, the original album here is not sourced from the 2015 all-analog reissue. They went back and re-mastered it from the original tape for this box. In fact, after I'd finished my listening I was sent another version of the album because Mr. Ulyate and Bellman felt they could get an even better cut (and they did). Like all great analog (unlike digital), the louder you crank it, the better it sounds. A box set review with “opening video” will appear on AnalogPlanet as soon as it arrives.

COMMENTS
fdroadrunner's picture

So am I to understand that this is a all-analog AAA reissue?
If that is indeed the case, you can call me first in line, and my apologies to anyone I run over on the way.

Michael Fremer's picture
Not American Automobile Association, not Alcoholics Anonymous ALL ANALOG!!!!!!!!!!! ANALOG RECORDING, ANALOG MIX, ANALOG MASTERING!
MalachiLui's picture

just AAA for the main album or for the entire box?

Michael Fremer's picture
It's in the copy "...though the album as well as all unused material was originally recorded to analog tape. .... but these days I understand why i should make it perfectly clear that ALL of it was cut from tape!
Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Speaking of analog and digital and hi-res Fremer, you never answered my question from the C-Lock thread:
Will you accept my hi-res vs. 16/44 challenge, whether in the stated form or in a modified form, or not?

Michael Fremer's picture
I've previously done with another individual. His response? What DAC do you have????? Get the picture?
Johnnyjajohnny's picture

It was a yes or no question. I already outlined the details of the challenge in the C-Block thread, and as I mentioned there you will be using your own system, doing it at your own pace, so it doesn't matter to me what DAC you use.
So do you accept my challenge, whether in the stated form or in a modified form, or not?

Johnnyjajohnny's picture

Judging from this comment and your comments in the C-Lock thread, you seem to be talking to someone else than me in your mind, and you seem to be making a lot of assumptions about how I am as a person and what my intentions are. I'm neither Stanley Lipshitz, nor Arny Krueger.
As I mentioned back then, this challenge is made in good spirits :-).

Hergest's picture

I'm a touch confused by your mention of Warners originally issuing this a single lp. I have the original vinyl release and it's a double album in a single sleeve of 15 tracks. I bought it here in Australia on first release as a standard USA pressing. Great album.

sdecker's picture

Seems to be a rare Fremer 'fail'. At 62 minutes, all Wildflower LP releases were 2x33 LP. Considering they were cut from the 16/44 CD files, the LPs sound pretty good. Which is why they're typically $500 on Discogs. Now if only one of these new AAA releases could simply be the 15-song original album...

Michael Fremer's picture
The original was supposed to be a 2 CD set, whittled down to a single 15 CD release. That was my mistake. And a double LP for the 15 tunes.
Mike Mangold's picture

Mikey, I love ya buddy, but only the original album is AAA. Ryan Ulyate confirmed this on the Hoffman Forum twice today.

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/new-tom-petty-album-dropping-wild...

Michael Fremer's picture
My understanding is that the original album from '94 was not AAA. I will check with Ryan.
Michael Fremer's picture
Just got this email from Ryan hisself: "The orig vinyl was cut using the 1630 dig". Not sure what you were looking at but perhaps he commented about the new reissue
Mike Mangold's picture

I wasn't referring to the 1994 release.I was referring to the first 2 of 9 in this reissue,that represent the original album. Also, I provided a link to his post.

vogelzang's picture

Thought I'd jump in here now that I can talk about this. I don't really follow social media too much, but I always love this thread. McCool has been a big help to me, over the last few years, pointing out things that I didn't know.

I'll try to answer some of the questions that came up here today.

1) Everything was mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. 24 bit 44.1K and 24 bit 16K mastered at a higher level for streaming (Spotify, etc). 24 bit 44.1K specifically mastered for iTunes (MFiT) -for Apple streaming. Apple now tells us that they can accept 2496 files, but they were too late in telling us for this project, and, at this time, Apple has no facility for streaming at that rate. Happy to consider that for the future!

The CD was mastered at a LOWER level than the original (for more dynamic range). There is another big project that I worked on this year that will come out on CD at a lower level as well. This is how I'm going to do things from now on, in large part from all the comments on the Hoffman Forums about dynamic range. IMO, CD is now it's own ecosystem, and those that are willing to pay for physical media should be rewarded with good packaging and good sound.

24 bit 96K format was mastered at even lower level (most dynamic range) and available for those that currently offer hi-res streaming (i.e.Tidal) and for digital downloads (i.e. HD Tracks). The new vinyl of the original album was mastered from the 1/2" analog master. This was NOT the case in 1994, where the album was mastered from the 16 bit 44.1K CD files! In 2015 Chris and I resequenced the original 1/2" master so he could cut from that. If you bought the deluxe vinyl set Warner's put out in 2015, that is essentially the same (analog) source and EQ that we used on the new pressing. The other vinyl discs were mastered from 2496 Pro Tools sessions (the digital format I transferred from analog multitrack into and mixed the songs) or 2448 Pro Tools (for the Home Recordings, which were transferred from ADAT, a 48K digital recording system that Tom used in the early '90's).

2) Trust me, you will want Disc 5! Some great, earlier, more "rock" versions of some of the songs, some with Stan on drums. "Wake Up Time" and "Don't Fade On Me" are the same takes that were on An American Treasure. They fit in well with the sequence on this disc. "Lonesome Dave" was not included, so we could fit in some more unreleased material (i.e. "You Saw Me Comin'"). Girl On LSD is the same master as the b-side, but it was remixed to fit in with the other new mixes on this disc. (If you're into "hi-fi" and dynamic range, you'll like this mix.) I'm not sure if Disc 5 will be available for downloads. For sure it's not going to be on streaming services.

3) Disc 2: "All The Rest" was as Tom conceived and finished it in 2015. We did not want to alter it in any way. Climb That Hill Blues shares similar lyrics, but is a different melody and just guitar and vocal. Tom loved this and wanted it on the disc.

4) Disc 4 is all live material, mixed from multitrack sources from concerts as early as 1995 and as late as 2017 (no Saturday Night Live). Designed to flow together as one show, imagining the kind of set list Tom would come up with.

Finally, these discs are jam-packed with material. They are all sequenced to "tell a story". We all put a lot of thought into song selection and song order, as Tom was the master of the album art form.

Hope you all enjoy this. It was a lot of work putting it together, and our goal was to make the fans happy with something we hope Tom would have liked a lot as well.

That's all for now, gotta get to work on another aspect of this project that I can't talk about yet ;-)

Michael Fremer's picture
I fear some readers will stop on your first paragraph and think the vinyl was cut from a digital file!
Michael Fremer's picture
This is one "chock full of extras" that is definitely worth having!
Andy18367's picture

Mikey-

I'm exaggerating, but not by much: Seems like every time there's one of these releases, you proclaim "Cut from the original analog files!!!!!"

But then there's the inevitable comments chain back and forth: "Was not" "Was so" "Was not."

The upshot is that us readers are all confused, we have to reread all the comments, go to the outside sources, and we're still confused.

Anyway, as best as I can tell, the end result is that you say everything was cut from the analog tapes, and the steve hoffman forum linked to in the long vogelzang comment says that only the main LP was cut from analog.

Can you please give us a clear and definitive answer? I'm not asking in anger, but in genuine confusion. Thank you.

Mike Mangold's picture

The link in my very first post goes directly to Ryan Ulyate's post on SH.tv. He explains in detail.

Mike Mangold's picture

" 2) Just the original album was recut form the original 1/2" masters. Everything else was cut from my digital stereo masters (since I mix "in the box" in Pro Tools). The one thing I do that is different than everyone else I know, is that I actually bring my Pro Tools rig into mastering with Chris and we cut from that. That way we can adjust any individual element of the mix when we're mastering. Better control than just using EQ, compression and level."

ncpd's picture

Michael,

I thought the version from the Album Collection Box Set Volume 2 was also AAA. Is that wrong? If not, is this simply a different mastering?

Michael Fremer's picture
That I do know for a fact because I was sent a test pressing of a new mastering and then they did it again and sent that one
ncpd's picture

Thank you, Michael. I went back to your review of the Complete Studio Album Volume 2 box set and saw that the included "Wildflowers"was indeed AAA. It would be understandable if you need a break after critically listening to the new 9-LP box. Should you be so inclined to compare these two AAA masterings in the future, I'd be very interested in your take.

hiwattnick's picture

I ordered my copy last night. Can’t wait for October!

Alex320's picture

This box set is getting a lot of press. It is main linked at www.analogsupreme.com

Tom L's picture

I recently finished reading Petty: The Biography" by Warren Zanes. It was very illuminating, especially regarding his difficult early years. Like so many other musicians and artists, the pain of his childhood was clearly reflected in the emotional depth of his work and his powerful desire to keep his band(s) together as a sort of family. Zanes had a lot of access to Petty, his family and friends instead of just being an outsider. The only real flaw in the book was a bit of a "fanboy" attitude because Zanes (of the BoDeans) admired Tom so much. It was published a year or so before Petty's sad death, so that isn't covered.

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