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Guide to Audiophile LPs - Part 2 of 2

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Audiophile Labels (continued)

Nimbus Supercut
 
Nimbus Records have achieved somewhat of a legendary status within the audiophile circle for their 'Supercut' releases, which were only available by mail order through the Hi-fi magazines 'Practical Hi-fi' and 'Hi-fi Today' in the early 1980s. Nimbus mastered each release from the original master tapes using the best available mastering processes. Infact, Nimbus employed many techniques for each release that were not commonly used. For example, generally when bass moves from channel to channel on an LP, groove modulation is employed to reduce the movement of the stylus and this results in this bass being centered more over both channels. Most audiophiles would argue that this - and in fact anything, which changes the original recording should be avoided although this is common practice on most LPs. For example, the release of 'Joan Armatrading' had bass moving from channel to channel in several places, but Nimbus did not limit this, resulting in an outstanding pressing. Nimbus also had the ICI company produce an extremely pure vinyl for the LPs, which has amazing frequency reproduction and is virtually noise free - similar in quality to the 'super vinyl' used on earlier Mofi pressings. Due to their rarity and small pressing quantities, they are often more expensive than audiophile LPs from other labels, but the sums paid can be justified by the outstanding quality of the pressings and the fact that they tend to rise in value over time and as such are deemed as investments by some audiophiles. Other releases included Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here', Beatles 'Sgt Pepper' and Wings 'Band on the Run' and many other excellent titles.

We are the only store on eBay to have consistent listings of Nimbus Supercut titles, sourced from the best collections and usually in near mint or mint condition. See our current range of Nimbus Supercut LPs available.
 
Nautilus
 
At a similar time to the original Mofi LP releases, Nautilus  released a comparatively smaller - though excellently mastered number of audiophile LPs in their 'Superdisc' series. Most of these were mastered at half-speed and pressed on high quality standard weight vinyl. These are also rare releases and were released in limited quantities. Nautilus also released some direct to disc releases. See our current range of Nautilus LP rarities available.

CBS Mastersound

This label released a large range of half speed mastered LPs during the 1980s, all mastered on excellent quality vinyl and using the best available mastering techniques. These releases also include a 'CBS Mastersound Information Sheet' (where still included), detailing the mastering processes used. These releases are arguably sonically equal to many of the earlier Mofi releases, but often do not command such high sums and as such are usually quite a bargain. The exceptions are for some of the releases which are outstanding such as Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here'.

Sheffield Lab

This label released a range of audiophile LPs during the 1980s, many of which were mastered direct to disc. We sometimes have these titles available, but they are quite rare and tend to be more obscure jazz titles.

Pure Pleasure
 
Pure Pleasure are quickly gaining an excellent reputation for releasing excellent sounding jazz and blues releases on 180 gram (180g) vinyl, many of which are mastered from the original master tapes. See our current range of Pure Pleasure LPs available.

Sundazed
 
Sundazed are dedicated to releasing older rock, folk and psychedelic albums, which have included much of the Bob Dylan catalog (in original mono), the Byrds catalog (also original mono) and many more. Each release also includes faithful reproductions of original artwork and LP labels and are pressed on high quality 180 gram (180g) weight vinyl. The Bob Dylan releases are arguably the best sounding versions of these albums available, each having a much fresher sound than on standard pressings - which in some cases can be surprising, for example with 'Highway 61 Revisited', on which 'Like a Rolling Stone' sounds much fresher than most other versions available. See our current range of Sundazed LPs available.

Warner/R.T.I.

These releases are mastered at half speed, often by some celebrity mastering engineers, including Stan Ricker - who mastered many of the earlier Mofi LPs. They are pressed on high quality 180 gram (180g) weight vinyl and are always presented with high quality thick artwork sleeves and LP labels. See our current range of R.T.I. LPs available.

Other Labels
 
There are many other smaller labels producing excellent quality audiophile LPs, which we stock in store. These include releases from Lileth Records, Earmark, Tapestry and many more. See all 180 gram (180g) LP releases available in store.

DCC
 
DCC released a small number of audiophile LPs, most notably the Doors catalog, which were arguably the best releases of their albums ever available, many of which were mastered by Steve Hoffman. We sometimes have these available in store.

Japanese LPs
 
Japanese LPs are often highly regarded for having excellent sound quality and for being produced on excellent quality vinyl. They can usually be identified by an 'OBI strip', a long piece of paper around the cover with the album details in Japanese. Some releases are also pressed on red vinyl, which some argue has greater sonic qualities than standard black vinyl, though this is debatable and arguably depends more on the actual quality of the vinyl used. We sometimes have Japanese LPs in stock, including red vinyl releases. See our current range of Japanese audiophile LPs available.
 
Other 180g & 200g LPs
 
We also stock a range of brand new 180 gram and 200 gram weight audiophile vinyl from many other labels. See in our store under 'All 180g LPs' and 'All 200g LPs' to see our full range.

Conclusions

Audiophile LPs are generally more expensive as a rule of thumb in comparison to standard LP releases, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The greater care, craftsmanship, presentation and most importantly the sound quality of audiophile LPs mean that you are getting something truly special, that will allow you to get the very best out of your music system, and enjoy music the way it was recorded and supposed to sound. Infact, we get many comments from customers that they have heard details and sounds on their favourite albums that they have never heard before and the entire experience is like buying the album for the first time and enjoying how good it sounded when you first heard it when it was originally released. Furthermore, many audiophile LP releases are much greater in their sound quality than their CD release counterparts, making a real case for vinyl as a format and luxury for a music system that deserves only the very best.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments about this guide.
 
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