Japanese Pressings, are they the best quality vinyl and what do you have?

Discussion in 'Music Forums' started by Pal147, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. Pal147

    Pal147 Member

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    Just come across my first Japanese pressing in a job-lot of vinyl I recently bought not yet played it, but generally are they the best recordings you can get and what titles do you have and recommend (Any genres will do but prefer LPs)?
     
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  2. PooreBoy

    PooreBoy AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I don’t think you can categorically state that Japanese pressings are the best vinyl. It just depends on each individual release. I have 3 Japanese pressings of Styx...Crystle Ball, Equinox, and The Grande Illusion. All 3 of these are much better than the U.S. counterparts.
    But on the other hand, I have a Japanese pressing of Foreigner’s Head Games that sounds terrible compared to other pressings. I have several German pressings of different albums that sound as good, or better than the other available pressings.
    One thing I will say is that every Japanese pressing I own is dead quiet.
     
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  3. KeninDC

    KeninDC Speedfreak Jive Subscriber

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    Japanese vinyl is most often "dead quiet" as noted above. However, as good as some (but not all) Japanese pressings are, there is almost always a better pressing available. For example, an original 70s Japanese LP pressing of the Stones' Sticky Fingers will sound fantastic, but an original U.S. "MO" pressing will be just a bit better and will have a certain "mojo" lacking from the more polite Japanese LP.

    A bad Japanese pressing often suffers from not having access to the master tape or questionable EQ choices. But while Japanese pressings can be hit or miss with rock & roll, I have yet to be disappointed with a Japanese LP jazz pressing.

    My best Japanese rock LP is the Stones' Emotional Rescue. Best LP version ever, IMO. So, yeah, it depends.
     
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  4. Hajidub

    Hajidub Chihuahua/Pug = Chug Subscriber

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    It's not necessarily best, as far as recorded, it's usually the fact that Japanese vinyl used is higher quality.
     
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  5. qdrone

    qdrone Music is my mistress

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    Bingo, you hit the nail on the head. I have Japanese imports that don't sound as good as American pressings or English counterparts but yeah all and all the Japanese Imports are always quite.
     
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  6. RhythmGJ

    RhythmGJ Here, But I'm Gone... Subscriber

    Now Playing: Bennie Green, "Soul Stirrin'" (Japanese pressing)


    GJ
     

     

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  7. RhythmGJ

    RhythmGJ Here, But I'm Gone... Subscriber

    And dad-gum, yeah, pretty much every Japanese pressing I own (under 10? and all Jazz, iirc) is super quiet (which I love).

    GJ
     
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  8. charles64

    charles64 reVox reGret

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    My Japanese pressings are mostly Jazz albums that are hard to find and/or way beyond what I can afford to pay for an Lp. I think their quality control is superior,and the whole presentation is top notch. The only downsides I've heard are some people think they may sound a little sterile or too bright,but that hasn't been my experience. I would rather have a Japanese pressing than say an OJC pressing if I couldn't find a VG+/NM original pressing....
     
  9. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I’ve never heard one I guess I should grab one and see.
     
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  10. Hajidub

    Hajidub Chihuahua/Pug = Chug Subscriber

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    You're a subscriber, Multichamp just posted a bunch in Bartertown.
     
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  11. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Good idea.
     
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  12. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad

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    Thirded or fourthed: Often quiet, but not consistently "the best" re: mixes / other SQ factors. They do offer the best "obi", heh heh. Overall I prefer UK pressings for UK bands; re" American bands, US pressings and Jap pressings often are 'a tie' but I'll give the overall nod to original American pressings re: the albums in my collection. And don't forget the excellent (West) German pressings out in the ether, e.g., HorZu.
     
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  13. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad

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    The "worst" pressings, consistently, which I have collected since the 70s are on Filipino and Brazilian labels, where much of the vinyl appears as if it contains twigs 'n' seeds 'n' even pebbles, shit from 'nature' that ought not to be embedded within an LP. But hey, these albums, especially the PSYCH (or just ROCK) material, didn't (or maybe they did?) grow on trees. so I grabbed 'em anyway @ every opportunity.
     
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  14. E.Man

    E.Man Super Member

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    JPN Jefferson Airplane Surrealistic Pillow stereo has a proper fullness the US doesn't.
     
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  15. meggy

    meggy AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Some of my favorite's are the "OP-80xxx" series Odeon Black Vinyl/ Black Labels. These are usually Odeon's first pressing of the album. In general fantastic SQ, Weight seems to be heavier than normal but not quite 180.


    fullsizeoutput_b51.jpeg



    Then there's Odeon's red vinyl. SQ is higher & Cleaner then the Black's. Much harder to find prices rival MFSL, DCC OP's.




    fullsizeoutput_bc3.jpeg


    Check that spindle...
    fullsizeoutput_bbd.jpeg




    Then there's the EMI/EMS series. The Odeon (above) is part of the EMI Group, as well. Seems to be a lot more artists available on EMI labels then the Odeon's. Very High SQ and pretty consistent.
    IMG_6636.JPG


    And the Sony SOPH's. Again High SQ, consistent and you'll pick up a lot of Jazz artists with them.
    image.png
     

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  16. the_nines

    the_nines AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I own a couple of Japanese jazz titles. :rolleyes:

    Quiet? .... you bet!

    They are without doubt the quietest records I own and mostly on King Records, Toshiba EMI. Only the jazz re-issues from the hi-fidelity outfits (Music Matters, Analogue Productions, ORG, etc..) are in the same league in terms of quiet.

    The first time I heard a Japanese pressing, I had to take a second look to make sure the needle was on the record. I thought I had forgotten to lower the cue lever. Honest!

    I have a couple of rock but, mehh, nothing like the jazz titles.

    As for what I have, if you can spare a couple of days, I can take a physical inventory, make a list and get back to you. Ouchhh!

    They're that good, IMHO.
     
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  17. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    First off I agree with Ken's post #3

    Condition
    If condition remains as good as new after all these years just like any record they can be good. Not all but I have found that the Japanese treated their records better than say us in western countries. I don't think they used their records the same as we did and they protected them better with outer bags and inner sleeves. You never really see any writing on the records as we did bring them to parties and other friends houses. The Japanese also didn't party like we did in the states, kind of hard to keep a record in good shape when your wasted.

    Pressing and manufacturing
    The Japanese took great pride in putting out good products and work ethics was different. They also had a much smaller market and tended to use virgin vinyl all the time. So 40+ years ago they where basically putting out Audiophile records. Top notch materials, packaging, good work for a limited/low output.

    Mastering
    The Japanese mastered for a different environment and congested living. Most their records are very light on the low frequencies as to not disturb your neighbors and have bass going though walls. If it was artist from other countries they really never had the mastered tape to work from. They would get copies and reworked tapes generations away from the master.

    You will also see with rock records that they where really mostly putting out reissues. While they started to do rock around 1969 they really didn't get up to speed until 1973-4, and the vast majority of their rock records and Japanese "First Pressings will be 75-76. So artist and titles could have been 10 years old by the time the Japanese started to press the records.

    Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, took notest of the quality work, good materials, and low numbers the Japanese where doing. As such to put high quality records in the US market they went to Japan for the pressing work.

    Now all that said, "The Grass is Greener on the Other Side of the Road"
    The Japanese don't want their records, they want US & UK copies and the artist country of origin first pressings. We in the other parts of the world and US want the rarity and quality pressing work the Japanese did and for a change and something different.
     
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  18. meggy

    meggy AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Here's some examples of what 4-2-7 is talking (CMIIW). The MCA/ Universal "UIJY" series, as an example.

    Gaucho released in 1980, 1'st Japanese also 1980 (not this one), then this in 2007.


    Exodus released in 1977, 1'st Japanese release 1977 (not this), and this one also released in 2007?

    Sorry about the crappy pics.

    They are very consistent (have about a dozen of these), all with strong SQ. May have been EQ's up a bit and most of them are 200g. Very quiet.
    fullsizeoutput_8a8.jpeg fullsizeoutput_8d0.jpeg
     
  19. BassKulcha

    BassKulcha Cathode Follower Subscriber

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    I don't know how it is with other musical genres or recording processes, but I've been lucky to have been able to listen to quite a few original mono pressing Blue Note Jazz recordings lately (most not mine) and feel that compared to the Japanese pressings, the originals just have more energy, presence, dynamism, strength, fire, oomph—in a word, more BALLS. It literally feels like switching from the 1:10 to 1:20 setting on my SUT. Even occasional surface noise gets swallowed up by the intensity; like clinking rocks glasses and idle chatter in a late night club when the group is on fire, do you really even notice (or care)?

    Personally, for Blue Note Jazz I would suggest sticking with the more affordable Liberty/United Artists pressings with Van Gelder in the run out—and the mono repress if you can find them, over the Japanese pressings...

    Caveat: I'm willing to concede that this may be just my personal preference. I don't often use the words "quiet" and "Jazz" next to each other, and I don't have the most resolving system (in fact, the synergy of the vintage tube gear, horn speakers, idler TT, and LOMCs that make up my system might just be the right historical match for these hotter pressings, who knows.)
     
  20. souljay3

    souljay3 Super Member

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    i just grabbed this from a record fair at the weekend it sounds great,i also picked up a copy of the bunnymen's porcupine and it isn't anywhere near this sonically.
    20190114_165147.jpg
    20190114_165244.jpg
     

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