Wednesday, December 5, 2007


It’s not exactly hard to see why the Traveling Wilburys Collection on vinyl was priced as high as it was. In a nutshell, it’s the deluxe CD/DVD edition, only larger… and without video.

The contents of the box, though, are pretty impressive. Both LP covers and labels are faithfully reproduced, the inner sleeves are now just one sheet inserts while the albums themselves are held in a more storage-friendly paper/poly sleeve. With the poster and postcards included, the set works. It may not be the biggest value for your dollar, but it makes for an excellent collector’s piece.

But any vinyl pressing is only as good as the source music. While Volume One and Volume 3 are pretty solid sound wise, some of the bonus tracks have detectible tape flaws. The extended version of Handle With Care is particularly bad. Whatever the case, the bonus tracks are worth the price. There’s a sizable improvement in the extended version of End of the Line.

The main exclusive here (for me anyway) is the remix of Not Alone Any More. Will most people shell out $75 for that feature? Probably not. But it’s a nice soon-to-be rarity using different vocal takes from Roy Orbison while uncovering some nice instrumental parts.

I never really weighed in on the debate over vinyl vs. CD. And frankly, I’m holding off on it until I have the ability to rent a high-end turntable and capture these tracks in 24-bit digital on this PC. But, after I spent a considerable amount of time using my (not high-end premium nor bottom of the line) consumer turntable, running the audio thru a small professional-grade mixer/amp, digitizing it into a consumer (but not cheap) audio restoration program, then creating uncompressed audio files for the iPod, I still can’t get satisfactory results sound-wise. So, for now, my stance on preferring remastered CDs stands.  I'll hold out hope there will be some CD of these bonus tracks (whether promo or not) eventually.

Now, anyone is welcome to change my mind about vinyl. But when I hear the Traveling Wilburys on vinyl, I hear these songs as good quality recordings. But, whenI hear the remastered CDs, I hear these songs like they’re happening in front of me. I understand the Vinyl + Analog = warmer, fuller & better versus the CD + Digital = thinner, weaker & shittier argument. But, making uncompressed audio files (stressing uncompressed here) from remastered CDs and listening to those files on an iPod is currently blowing the doors off of any vinyl I’ve ever heard. Again, if you have any suggestions on the right way to hear vinyl records properly, I’m all ears.

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