Vinyl Box Set to Be Released UPDATED x2

On December 12, 2012, Universal Records will release a rather interesting box set.  It’s called “Black Sabbath: The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978″.   It will contain the original 8 Ozzy era 1970’s studio albums.   It also contains the Live at Last album (which actually came out in 1980), and a book with tour programs, a 7″ single (Evil Woman/Wicked World), and a voucher for a digital download.    If you are someone who is still into vinyl, and plays it regularly, you’ll definitely want this.  I can also see a target for this being people who don’t actively play vinyl, but want the vinyl for their collections.  All good.  I have the formal press release below, but I raised a few questions about all this to Universal, and I’ll relay that information, as I’m sure some will be interested in it.

There are some good details added on after I originally posted this – see the Nov 28th update:

Point 1:  This is a vinyl box set, and the press release says it’s been remastered.   I asked them if this is using the same remastering that was done in the 2008-2010 remaster release series by Universal.  I was told no, it was remastered again by Andy Pearce in 24bit for the 2012 vinyl project, so this is another new remastering to factor into the equation.

Point 2: There are no plans to release the 2012 Remastering on CD.  I was told this is for just the vinyl / digital project.  Which brings us to…

Point 3 UPDATED: Inside the box will be a voucher that will let you download the entire box set in a digital format.   I have inquired as to how this will practically be handled (iTunes UK, Amazon UK, or something else), but haven’t yet got a response (mostly because I asked right before I posted this).  Given the sale of the box will be for everywhere else except USA/North America, I have to assume the voucher download won’t work in the United States, either.   If I get some clarification on this point, I’ll edit my post.  UPDATE: Still no word on where the voucher will let you get the files from, and in what format and bitrate.  I’ll keep trying to find out.

Point 4: This is not being released in USA/North America because of an issue I’ve written about many times.  This material (along with all Black Sabbath material from 1970-1987) has a dual set of record deals.   The one in North America/US is Warner Bros/Rhino.  Everywhere is Vertigo/Universal.   One cannot sell it’s product in the market of the other one.  Why Warner/Rhino hasn’t jumped on this is beyond me, but before everyone goes off and blames the band for this, make sure you have this in the right focus.

Point 5 UPDATED:  I have inquired as to whether or not they plan to release the vinyl albums individually, but no response yet.  If I had to guess, I’d say no, but I have no hard facts on that issue.  They responded and said there are no plans at this time to release the vinyl albums individually.

UPDATED NOV 28: 

Point 6: Limited Edition? – Someone on twitter asked me if the box set was going to be a limited edition, or if it will be around for sale in a year or two (new).   I sent that guy’s tweet to my contact at Universal records, and I was told this: “It’s a limited edition, around 7-8 k I don’t have the exact figures but once its gone its gone”.   So, if you want this, it might NOT be the thing to procrastinate on.  Due to that, I’ll be surprised if I can get a review copy – these kinds of things usually aren’t available for review when in limited supply.

Point 7: Digital vs. Analog Recording: – I’d seem some noise online (no pun intended) from audiophiles who were wondering what the deal with the audio source for this was.  Those of you are into vinyl, or know someone who is still into vinyl in 2012 usually throw around the battle cry about vinyl being a better sound than digital/CD/mp3 – that it’s more “warm” (or any other kind of word like that).   I received an email from site fan Ivan Nonov, who had written to Universal inquiring about the mastering process.  A fellow from there wrote him back with a lot of detail on that, so I’m presenting it here.   This is good information, it seems.

Hi Ivan,

Thanks for your email. 

Below is the response I got from the label. 

I hope it helps as its quite lengthy 

To start the process to create ‘The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978′ limited edition box set, the original master tapes were first retrieved from both Black Sabbath’s own private archive and the Universal Music vaults. This meant that there were several different versions of each album to work with, which led to a greater opportunity to make these the definitive Black Sabbath masters, and of considerable interest to all Black Sabbath fans. 

Working at the renowned Wired Masters studio in London, veteran engineers Matt Wortham and Andy Pearce meticulously and painstakingly transferred, and then mastered the tapes at a resolution of 24-bit/96 kHz to ensure the best possible audio quality. Referencing previous versions from both vinyl and CD sources to ensure that the tapes were still in prime condition, the team ensured that these 2012 vinyl remasters were given the best possible starting platform. 

Following the careful use of equalization, subtle compression and limiting techniques in the mastering process to achieve a sonically balanced and natural-sounding result, the masters were then prepared on lacquers at Masterpiece Mastering by the highly-experienced engineer Greg Moore. Having already done checks between the direct metal master (DMM) and lacquers, the engineers strongly believed that the warmer tone achieved from lacquers was far better suited to the band’s sound, and would be the perfect choice for ‘The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978′. 

Cutting the master lacquers on a pristine VMS80 lathe, Greg then did a number of meticulous test cuts. This was a laborious and time-consuming process, but was done to ensure the maximum possible audio quality had been achieved for the vinyl disc master. Greg noted “It was crucial to ensure that digital masters had retained the original dynamics and hadn’t been over-mastered to a point where they went off the scale. This happens all too often when classic bands and albums undergo the re-mastering process today, and as a consequence, instead of enhancing the listening pleasure, the opposite happens.” By putting in this extra effort, the team knew they could guarantee optimum results. 

Throughout the remastering process, the aim was to keep the original recordings as intact as is possible while also taking them to a new level in sonic quality. The studio techniques employed were specifically intended to enhance the music when pressed onto vinyl, with the whole remastering process tailored to the vinyl format. And vinyl is definitely the format in which Sabbath work best, which will be absolutely clear for all hear when listening to the remastered records on the180-gram heavyweight vinyl pressings included in Black Sabbath’s ‘The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978′. 

When you listen to these iconic albums as they are presented here, you are truly getting the best representation of Black Sabbath’s music that you’ll ever have heard, without overriding the incredible musicianship and atmosphere of the originals. While the band’s genius and inspiration will always come through in whatever format is used, the remastering team have fine-tuned and further enhanced the original masters to ensure the best possible results, and produce the definitive Black Sabbath vinyl masters. 

These brand new remastered versions ensure that ‘The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978′ set gets you closer than ever before to being in the studio when these classics were originally recorded, fully conveying the epic sound that the band wanted to capture in the first place. ‘The Vinyl Collection 1970-1978′ will allow you to hear Black Sabbath as you’ve never heard them before.

Universal Music Direct Support Team

All those points aside, it does look like a very nice box, whether you actively still play vinyl or not.   The issues I bring up are mostly minor administrative things, it should not be assumed I’m not in favor of the box, I am.   When I first posted this story, it was originally unavailable to pre-order at the “regular” sites I link to.  That has changed, and you can now officially pre-order it through Amazon’s UK site.   You can order it from Amazon’s US site, but REMEMBER, this is a product that is sold in the UK/Europe only.  Not in the US, so if you buy it from the Amazon US site, you’re paying import prices.  You may find it cheaper to order it yourself from Amazon’s UK site.  Keep that in mind when you order.

[ Order from Amazon UK | Order from Amazon US ]

Below is the artwork for the box set, as well as the formal press release.   Looks like a good project to have on one’s Christmas list.

There is also an official trailer video for the box out now.  It’s shown here.  Looks like good stuff.  Especially if you still play vinyl.

 THE VINYL COLLECTION: 1970-1978
LIMITED EDITION BOX SET | RELEASE DATE: 12/12/12 

Following their hugely successful reunion shows this summer and the news that Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler are currently recording a brand new album, Black Sabbath today announce the release of ‘The Vinyl Collection: 1970-1978’ – a limited edition box-set celebrating the iconic albums featuring the band’s full original line-up.  

Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne – four names that resonate throughout rock’s recorded history as clear and sublime as the bell that tolls the opening to the band’s eponymous debut album from 1970. Collectively, they formed Black Sabbath and forged the most haunting and hypnotic rock sound of all time.

Now, one year on from the band’s momentous 11.11.11 reunion announcement, ‘The Vinyl Collection: 1970-1978’ celebrates the might of the all-conquering original Black Sabbath line-up combining the complete Ozzy-era studio albums re-mastered from the band’s personal archives, and encased in a mighty box set package. Beginning with the band’s eponymous debut album, the set includes Paranoid, Master of Reality, Volume 4, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die, before culminating in the only Black Sabbath live album to feature the legendary original line-up, Live At Last. The 9-LP set features complete reproductions of the original LP album releases including posters and inserts, a hard-backed book containing all of the bands ‘70’s tour programmes, plus a 7” vinyl of debut single Evil Woman and non-album B-side Wicked World. The set is completed by a Back to Black download voucher allowing easy download of the complete box-set contents.

To ensure pristine audio quality for this very special limited edition set, the original master tapes were remastered at a 24-bit/96kHz resolution, giving a listening experience to rival being present at the original Black Sabbath recording sessions. Presented here on heavyweight 180-gram black vinyl, The Vinyl Collection: 1970-1978 is the pinnacle of sonic excellence, bringing the best-sounding Black Sabbath collection ever created without ever overriding the incredible musicianship and atmosphere of the original genre-defining recordings. 

From humble beginnings, the Birmingham quartet enslaved the minds and souls of millions of rock fans around the world continuing to this day, where the band’s massive influence on modern music cannot be underestimated. Frequently cited as one of the greatest hard rock and metal bands of all time, the musical genre Black Sabbath created has inspired countless musicians and spawned countless bands, all of which have attempted to emulate the heavy metal originators, though few have ever come close to rival their uniquely powerful musical make-up.

With 70 million worldwide album sales under their belts plus a prime place in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Black Sabbath are now back in the studio, stronger than ever, as they prepare to unleash a brand-new rock behemoth, primed to set alight 2013.

To get ready for this epic aural onslaught, experience the songs that built the legend in the best-ever sounding format with the Black Sabbath Vinyl Collection: 1970-1978.

BLACK SABBATH THE VINYL COLLECTION: 1970-1978 

  • 9 x 12” LP: full reproductions of the original album releases, remastered from the band’s personal archives on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl
  1. 1.      Black Sabbath
  2. 2.      Paranoid
  3. 3.      Master of Reality (with poster)
  4. 4.      Volume 4 (with photo insert book)
  5. 5.      Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
  6. 6.      Sabotage
  7. 7.      Technical Ecstasy
  8. 8.      Never Say Die
  9. 9.      Live At Last
  • 7” Single: featuring the band’s debut single Evil Woman and non-album B-side Wicked World
  • 12” x 12” Hard-backed Book: containing original tour programmes from 1970, 1975, 1976 and 1978
  • “Back to Black Sabbath” download voucher: for easy download of the full set

Order from Amazon UK | Order from Amazon US ]

Comments

  1. What format is the digital download in? If it is a HiRez format like 24bit/96KHz FLAC or WAV files that would be studio quality remastering available for the first time.

    To bad it will not be available in the US.

  2. Janet Ritchie says:

    Joe, just letting you know that you can pre-order it from Amazon .com . That is what i have done. Thanks for the update.

    Regards
    Jan

  3. jeff Downing says:

    Hmm….I gotta say that sounds enticing. I already have like four copies of each on CD and vinyl….if Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was the original gatefold along with Vol4, I would have to surrender. Ha. I wonder if Ecstacy and NSD have the blueprints inside? If they are going to keep making money off previous releases they should give you those things.

  4. But, are these recordings from the “band’s personal archives” from tapes? And did they ever go into a digital format during the remastering process? It will be great if they are purely analog. Otherwise, it pretty much defeats the purpose of listening to them on vinyl.

  5. Sylvain Allaire says:

    Hello friend!!!

    The box set is avalaible (pre -order) at amazon.ca for about 267.00 shipping include…..
    Have a nice day!!!!!

    Sylvain.

  6. me gustaria saber el precio y el contenido del paquete en venta gracias

  7. I am not going to advertise against this remastered vinyl box set, but just my 2 cents…. The whole point of vinyl was the original *analog* recording mix put on vinyl not involving digital mastering at all. That’s why vinyls issued at the time the orignal recording took place (70s-80s) was valuable due to its unique sound. Once the recording gets digitized, what’s the point putting it on vinyl? Of course digital CDs are going to sound better and true to the the digitized copy. The point is all these vinyls reissued at digital age are marketing plot and no way they have the same sound as the original vinyl press. Not even close.

    –Leonid

  8. They’ve got it wrong, Master of Reality had the one-off Vertigo swirl and black with white writing label.

  9. Stuart Tacey says:

    Nolan has it right, if these have gone through digital processing during remastering, which it looks like they have quoting 24-bit/96kHz, it defeats the object of having them on Vinyl. My original UK Vertigo Vinyl is from the original master tapes and im willing to bet will still sound superior to these new LPs! No doubt these will sound like CDs pressed on Vinyl!

    • Looking at the remastering and the price of this commercialized effort.
      I’ll stick to my original vinyl issues, singles and albums. I can’t see anyone buying
      this. One can find the old records when you search hard enough.

  10. The label writes “…Following the careful use of equalization, subtle compression and limiting techniques …”

    My comment. All of this is EVIL even in subtle doze!!! Compression and limiting techniques go hand in hand together and ruin music. This is why I am always after the 1st CD pressings of any 70s, 80s and early 90s albums. In general I don’t buy any CD pressings mastered like this if the original 1st unmastered pressing exists. But if vinyl is mastered using compression & limiting technique – this is something for me to avoid. Again just my opinion…

    • Leonid, I’ve got the first pressing of every Sabbath Album on both vinyl and CD from the 80’s and those two versions are the ones that sound the closest to each other to me.
      The Sabbath remastering seems to make the tracks cleaner and brighter every time they do it, I’m sure they’ll eventually sound like modern country albums at this rate.

      80’s albums from Seventh Star onwards were released on CD from day one (in the UK at least) and even they sound totally different to the remasters.
      Remastering does make a different album, when I record I go through different versions of mastering until I get the sound I want. With Sabbath, the sound I want is they one they made in the 70s and 80s.

      I want the fluff back on the Sabbath needle.

  11. I pre-ordered this from Universal and received it via courier yesterday. A fantastic looking collection indeed. This is the at least the third time that I have purchased these albums on vinyl, some of them the fourth time (original pressings, Castle 1985 box set, and some of the ‘deluxe’ pressings from Universal a couple of years ago). I also have these on CD four times (castle remasters, black box, deluxe edition remasters, and cross box). Sabbath is pretty much the only band I would go to such lengths for!

    The whole package looks fantastic and I am looking forward to working my way through the vinyl to see how these new masters compare to the origonal vinyl and the Castle box from 1985.

    I should add that Universal were very fast with shipping. It was not aupposed to be released until the 12th and I received it in Australia on the 13th.

    Thanks for your ongoing dedication to the site Joe. Best wishes for the holidays.

    Mike FB
    Host – Infernal Noize Radio

  12. Just got the box and started listening to the first LP. I hear some clicks in the song “Black Sabbath” at the start and when Ozzy starts to sing. Anyone else heard it?

  13. Received the box set last week. Sonically these remasters blow all previous remasters out of the water.
    If you havn’t got UK first presses then these are the best versions by far

  14. Hello.

    Well it is true that this new vinyl editions will never reach, neither tops the original editions. But all this digital process allow us to keep on enjoying this masterpieces, in the same way restorations and Photoshop do with cinema.

    So this box set works perfectly for the completist and of course for the new generations of fans, that wants to stay as close as the original editions were released at the time. Anyway hardcore fans will look for this box set and will place it alongside their original vinyl editions.

    Also I think the same arguments will apply with the hardbook cover book, that holds the tour books re-editions.

  15. I purchased the box a few weeks ago and decided to return it due to the following issues.

    – pressing quality is poor for new vinyl, high level of surface noise/pops, totally unacceptable, deadwax information revealed GZvinyl who have a spotty reputation for the quality of their LP’s, if this box was pressed at Pallas I’d be raving about it however that’s not the case here
    – LP’s with the swirl label came in cheap paper inner sleeves that shed paper fragments (not good).
    – the covers are not high quality, they are rather thin (the Rhino reissues were better in this regard).
    – the box itself does not have a protective coating

    Whoever is responsible for quality control at Universal needs a lesson in modern vinyl manufacturing and what it takes to release a high quality product that is cherished by vinyl lovers, going the cheap route and charging a premium price is a sure fire way to upset customers and I wasn’t happy the second I pulled Black Sabbath from its inner sleeve and had to remove pieces of paper fiber from the LP. This boxset had huge upside potential if it was done right, unfortunately they failed.

    Rating: for completists only

  16. Some info to fill in the cracks:

    The digital download is handled by Back to Black Vinyl:
    http://backtoblackvinyl.com/vinyl/Black_Sabbath-The_Vinyl_Collection_1970-1978.php

    You may or may not have mentioned this, I didn’t see it — the box set also includes the 7″ single “Evil Woman” / “Wicked World,” which is a reproduction of a South American disc, I believe. At least, the song titles are listed in both English and Spanish on the back.

    The included book, “Black Sabbath: The Tour Programmes 1971–1978,” is nice but for some reason only includes programs for Paranoid Tour 1971 (Europe), Sabotage Tour 1975 (Europe), Technical Ecstasy Tour 1976–1977 (World), and Never Say Die! Tour, 1978 (World). I’m not certain there were tour programs for the tours and albums that were omitted, but I have to assume there were. Why they were not included is a mystery, but definitely a disappointment.

    Keep up the great work. Been visiting your site for years and the quality is high. It is much appreciated. You do a great job man.

  17. just wanted to say that i recently bought all the black sabbath rhino editions on vinyl and i have not listened yet due to a turntable breakdown but i,ve heard the rhino editions are not that great…..i hope the vinyl box set sounds great

  18. DarkSonority says:

    Hey BS Fans,
    I’m from Poland and I’ve just got the box. I haven’t listen to it yet but I must agree with Deuce66 in relation to these issues:

    – LP’s with the swirl label came in cheap paper inner sleeves that shed paper fragments (not good)
    Yeah, there is a need to buy additional plastic bags for the discs
    – the covers are not high quality, they are rather thin (the Rhino reissues were better in this regard).
    I agree, I am also not sure whether covers are true copies of the original EU pressings
    – the box itself does not have a protective coating
    Would be helpful, I will use the additional box.

    Anyway, it didn’t know that this box was in fact pressed in co-operation with backtoblack (there is a short info on the box only). If I knew it I would had never bought this box probably. I’m not a fan of backtoblack releases due to their (usually) poor quality (especially cover artwork).

    Well. Good things? Very nice is the attached book although it is also rather poor paper / photo quality.

    Conclusion, I am quite dissappointed and hope I will like sound these pressings.

  19. JOSE CARLOS REYNA says:

    I’m from México and I bought the box on December 2012. I also must agree with Deuce66 in relation with these issues:
    -The supossed “swirl” labels are AWFUL! very poor quality paper and I’m very upset for that!
    -Inner Sleeves are made of cheap paper as well and poor design quality.(seems like a photostatic copy)
    -Covers have VERY POOR quality photo.
    -Didn’t like the poor quality photo book,sure there are great photos on it but the awful quality do not allows you to enjoy it properly.
    -I didn’t hear ANY surface noise or pops on any of the LP’s,the sound is completly clean.I do have the first Black Sabbath UK Vertigo pressings,and the sound of this box set compared with that is not as good,THAT’S FOR SURE!, anyway I won’t return it,neither is the worst pressing ever! We’ve seen worse.
    I would say that the sound of these LPs is Excellent,maybe is not THE AWESOME SOUND QUALITY of the first UK pressings but still worth a lot to me to have it, and as Deuce66 said,someone on Universal needs a strong lesson in modern vinyl manufacturing.
    I will have to wait until some decent Company make some Black Sabbath Vinyl Box-Set in a decent shape maybe another 25 years…

  20. Michael says:

    The overall quality of the sound is without doubt fully comparable to what Led Zep have released on vinyl and that is in my opinion utterly superb work from masters to final product. To enjoy the true sound of these Sabbath records you need a FINE stereo set up and a FRESH stylus to begin with and do have in mind that this box set is aimed for the ultra high end audiophiles. One can complain that the records don’t come in polylined inners and that the swirls on labels don’t look like the real thing but in the end it’s all about the fantastic sound that is there if you listen to it properly.

    Far far more important is that the lack of polylined inners is the fact that no matter how hard I have tried, there’s not one single UNDAMAGED box to be purchased in Sweden which is remarkable. The weight of the vinyls seem to be too much for the innerbox and all copies I have seen have more or less breaks underneath which is unacceptable. And Universal refuses to walk the extra mile for us high end collectors and offer replacements. A smaller company like Earache always keep in stock extra sleeves of vinyl releases.

    What I am really looking forward to now is what Jimmy Page is up to with the upcoming reissues of the Zep albums.

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