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How bad are those older pre-RVG versions?


connoisseur series500
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Okay,

I decided to listen to some of my pre-RVG cds of the same titles that are due out in August and September.

We've got to clear the air on this: I don't find them that bad.

For the record, I listened to Dexter, Grant Green, Shorter, Blakey, Henderson, and the Lee Morgan. Some of them had a tinny sound to be sure, but I thought the Dexter disk seemed adequate.

Of course, I am wrestling over the issue of whether it is worth the money to upgrade these things when RVGs come out. That "Mode for Joe" sounded fine to me, although the vibes really leap out at you in the first track. What a session, by the way! Whoooooo! Smoke! :rhappy:

Actually, it occurred to me while listening to these that these sessions are amongst the finest examples of BN sounds.

The problem we all face is must we upgrade whenever these things get remastered? It is expensive to do so and it hard not to feel ripped off in some way. It's flat out bullshit that "Blue Train" is reissued as many times as it has. Supposing someone had bought each emanation? That's not right.

We build our collections at great expense then we are tempted and told by BN marketing that we should upgrade them when they are remastered.

Let's try and put our heads together to determine if any of these older versions are worth keeping.

I don't really feel qualified to make a good judgment on this issue. Anyone want to venture some opinions?

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I'm trying not to fuss with remasters too much until I have the money to buy a stereo good enough to *really* show the difference between different masterings. On my mid-fi system, RVGs tend to sound a little brighter and more aggressive, but honestly it isn't a huge difference. I'm sure there's more to the story than what I can hear with my stereo.

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Better to buy more music.

That's always been my take too, Chuck.

I've made some exceptions, here and there, but generally unless an older release really sucks rocks in the sound department, I've never upgraded - like to TOCJ's (never) or RVG's (seldom) - for titles that I've already owned in their prior U.S. release.

Or, if I'm really interested in the expanded liner-notes that the RVG's include (along with the better wound), I'll upgrade a title, but then give the old one to a friend who's open to having their soundworld widened. Or put the extra on a shelf until I meet just such a person, who I know will really dig "Unity" or one of the Herbie titles, or even "All Seeing Eye". I'm sitting on a couple older issues right now, just waiting for that 'right person' to appear, as they always seem to, every year or two.

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There's only one CD that I have an RVG and a preRVG copy to compare: Soul Station. The RVG sounds a lot better, even on my cheap (as in "too cheap to say how cheap it is on a jazz board!") stereo. That said, I still can't seem to make myself buy a disc I already have... If I'm not willing to buy the RVG of Out to Lunch, you can bet I won't be "upgrading" anything else!

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I'm not much of a upgrader at all. If I've got a title as an earlier domestic BN or on a Mosaic, I usually don't re-buy. I think I've maybe picked up 4 or 5 duplicates over the years - Unity, because I wanted the full album on one disc, Idle Moments, Maiden Voyage and Go - which I eventually turned into a clock, by the way. Heck I've still got my old screwed up version of Cool Blues.

I'm as happy as the next guy when something I don't have comes out in great sound. But the sound on the old stuff generally doesn't bother me or sound bad enough to want to replace it. I'd rather spend my money on stuff I don't have.

I'm actually in a bit of a quandry as to what to do over the upcoming Conn release. I've already got Fuschia Swing Song and Mother Ship on Mosaics but I've also got every Conn released thus far. What to do............

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Personally, I think the sound on the Dexter and Henderson is just fine the way it is. But I've long seen the "RVG" label more as a marketing technique. The good thing is that, supposedly, once a title is on the RVG roster Blue Note is going to keep it in print for the forseeable future. So far, they have. So I like hearing that a favorite title is being RVGed because that means it's saved from the deletion ax. That's what I hate about the Connoisseur's: try finding one two years after it's release. Jeeze! I realize it's a business and all, and BN needs to make money, but I'd like as much of the music as possible to be as available as possible. If the RVG dodge serves that end (and so far, it does) then I'm all for it.

So: An RVG of Davis Cup and Ready For Freddie, please.

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I'm an avid supporter of the "buy new music" slogan, but I will say that one's system does seem to play into the upgrade game. I recently re-did my whole system (into Rotel and B&W ... and credit card debt), and finer nuances in recordings have become shockingly evident. I kid you not: when I first got everything up-and-running, it was like I'd bought 1200 new cd's. Every album (whether in recent or 80's remastering) had something new, and often something better, to offer. And ... the limitations in the McMaster's became more glaring.

One good method for an uncertain upgrader: If you really love a certain recording, upgrade it. You probably won't regret it.

But, we all know — Rudy had a special fondness for Bud's playing, and therefore every Bud RVG is a mandate for those on this board. ;)

Seriously, however, the RVG's of Doug Hawkins' material truly are indispensable ... ... ... ... in my opinion. Those little gems should be in every serious jazz collection.

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I agree with Late: your system may dictate whether upgrading is worth it to you. And there is nothing absolute: some of the older remasterings sound great, some of the new ones are sort of wild turkies.

As a general rule I buy the RVGs because I like his remasterings for the most part, and the music. As mentioned above his remasterings of the earliest material smoke anyone else's (in my opinion.) And in general on my system his (controversial) style sounds very involving to me.

So though I'll buy all the domestic RVGs, the other upgradings I am choosier about. I prefer to amass more music, but I do find that if a favorite old cd is improved by remastering I reach for it more often. So it's mix and match for me nowadays.

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I used to upgrade all the time, but then I worked in a record store and could do it by exchanging my old copies for new, and just paying the difference. This wasn't strictly legal, but there was no specific company policy forbidding it. After I left B&N, this practice came out, and I'm fairly sure that once the company found out about it, they made a policy making it completely forbidden. I never saw the harm in it myself, since the old copies were returned to the distributor as "defective" and B&N got paid for them. I don't think anybody actually "lost" on the deal, in fact. A friend of mine recently pointed out that if working in a record store *doesn't* allow you some "fringe benefits," what's the fucking point of working there?

Now that I'm a civilian again, obviously upgrading would mean paying for the CD all over again rather than just paying the difference. So I would only do it in cases where the old CD really sucks, and I really want a new copy.

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I don't have a great, mega bucks invested juiced up system but I do have a system which reveals the weaknesses of some early issue Blue Notes.

In particular Search for a New Land and Mode for Joe sound bad to me, on a disc man as well as my main player. No bass, unbalanced and NO DEPTH. However, my system also highlights the beauty of the RVG releases, where applicable (A Fickle Sonance?!? :angry: )

The titles I have will be upgraded. Most of the other titles I don't have so it'll be new to me.

Edited by Templejazz
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I'm more choosy about upgrading these days. It has to be a favorite session (or be on a great sale). However, I do hold off on older stuff if I think an upgrade is coming soon. Like Adam's Apple, for instance.

Two things:

1. I just realized that some of these "old" discs are close to 20 years old. That's a long time in the world of technology, so having a "new" version for folks to whom these albums truly are new is a good thing.

2. Blue Note is not the only label doing this. Bluebird is redoing some resissues that aren't that old to begin with, seems to me.

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I never saw the harm in it myself, since the old copies were returned to the distributor as "defective" and B&N got paid for them.  I don't think anybody actually "lost" on the deal, in fact.

Except possibly the distributor...

I have thought of that, but ultimately, how much of a loss do you think that would be to the distributor. It's not as though they *didn't* make money on these CDs when they originally sold...

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In my experience upgrading is largely pointless exercise in money wasted> I would far rather have a session I have never heard than rebuy a spruced up session I already own.

The RVG early Powells, Monk and Davis sessions are however vast improvements. Others such as POD or Unity or The Connection sound ever so slightly better but not worth the dough.

Edited by Clunky
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I usually do not upgrade. However, although not an RVG, I jumped on the remastered version of Milestones because the previously released version had horrible sound. So far that is the only title that I purchased twice. However, I plan to purchase the upcoming release of Morgan's '"In Search for the New Land" because Lee Morgan's Trumpet sounds horrible on the previously released version.

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First, let me say that I'm not a heavy audiophile. And, the music comes first, way ahead of which CD version is involved.

But, I almost always find that the late 80s McMasters have a brittle, hard, irritating sound that I just can't settle down and listen to with much enjoyment. This poor quality gets in the way of listening to the music, and I am unable to fix the problem by twiddling the tone knobs. The problem is almost exclusively with McMasters: other companies' old CDs usually sound fine to me.

When I put on a TOCJ, I can sink into the music and forget the issue of which remastering it is, or even that it's a CD. I also like nearly all the RVGs and JRVGs that I have heard. There is almost always a very noticeable improvement over the original CDs. For example, the recent RVG of "Jackie's Bag" brings out the cymbals more clearly than on any other version that I have heard.

I have steadily upgraded just about all my old BN CDs now to one or more of the recent versions, and, as Hans would say, the TOCJs are the definitive ones.

Anymore, one does not have to pay more than about $7.50 for an RVG, thanks to zweitausendeins and hmv.co.uk. These two stores have knocked the bottom out of the market, and I don't know how anyone can make a profit with prices as low as that.

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O.K., I'm a money-wasting RVG and Conn upgrad-a-holic! :D I just like the smell of a freshly-opened RVG! :)

....but...by the way...A Fickle Sonance RVG does SSSSSUUUUUCKKKKK.

"I love the smell of RVG in the morning. Smells like...jazz."

Fickle Sonance: I thing the MUSIC is good.

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