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New Richard and Linda Thompson Box Set

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Clement

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Not surround, but a comprehensive retrospective--definitive, even! I had high hopes for this one, but this posts indicates potential quality control issues:


We shall soon see! Here's hoping . . . Stay Surrounded, Comrades!
 

humprof

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Not surround, but a comprehensive retrospective--definitive, even! I had high hopes for this one, but this posts indicates potential quality control issues:


We shall soon see! Here's hoping . . . Stay Surrounded, Comrades!
Yowch--I would definitely stay tuned for updates about ripping & playback before plunking down $130. Even if we eventually get the all-clear, that's a lot of dough, and I'll probably stand pat on my trusty copy of Shoot Out the Lights, together with the old Rykodisc anthology Watching the Dark, which includes quite a few Richard & Linda and Fairport Convention tracks:
 

mattB2

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Funnily enough I had just posted the following in the "Now listening to on CD" area:

"Richard and Linda Thompson Hard Luck Stories 1972-1982. Terrific box set with eight CDs, all for £56 from Amazon UK (although this seems to have been a pre-release price and it's gone up a bit now). It's very well mastered with only a couple of tracks from "Sunny Vista" sounding a bit compressed - a remarkable job given the variety of sources. Some people in the UK seem to have had some problems playing or ripping some of the content but my OPPO 203 found no problems. Great music and great value. "

I'm glad I got it at a bargain price compared to what is being asked now.
 

scooob

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I saw a post on the Steve Hoffman forum saying that the suspected issue is that the discs are warped, so that they don't spin flatly, resulting in reading errors. Apparently some disc players are more tolerant of this, or maybe some of the discs aren't as warped as others, resulting in mixed results for different people?

Anyway I'm a huge RT fan, particularly of the era with Linda, and I'd love to have this set. I might even plunk down the $100 or so it's now going for on Amazon U.S., but later, if/when there's some assurance that the manufacturing problems have been totally corrected. I already have all these albums on CD, but the fidelity and mastering on them is scattershot, and there are lots of rarities and live tracks in this box that sound very worthwhile.

And not to wander too far off-topic, but the new Richard Thompson EP, called Bloody Noses, is really good, maybe my favorite release of his over the last decade or so. You can stream it (then buy it) at Bandcamp.
 

humprof

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And not to wander too far off-topic, but the new Richard Thompson EP, called Bloody Noses, is really good, maybe my favorite release of his over the last decade or so. You can stream it (then buy it) at Bandcamp.
Glad to know about this (and to know that Thompson is on Bandcamp). I've been lucky enough to see him live a handful of times over the past twenty+ years, both solo and with a backup band. Mostly in small auditoriums, but once in a (large) bar. He's one of the most engaging performers I know--great pacing and audience rapport, really generous with his time, and wry as hell.

Album of his I would most like to hear in surround: Mock Tudor.
 

scooob

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Glad to know about this (and to know that Thompson is on Bandcamp). I've been lucky enough to see him live a handful of times over the past twenty+ years, both solo and with a backup band. Mostly in small auditoriums, but once in a (large) bar. He's one of the most engaging performers I know--great pacing and audience rapport, really generous with his time, and wry as hell.

Album of his I would most like to hear in surround: Mock Tudor.
Totally agree about RT live. I've seen him five times, I think, in both solo and band settings, the first time in '91 and the most recent at Bonnaroo 2007. My favorite of his many live releases is Two Letter Words from 1994, which I think is long out of print on CD but can be found on most streaming services (but not Bandcamp, strangely), and can be purchased as a download at his official web store. He starts solo on that, with his band gradually joining.

Mock Tudor would be great in surround (and with a more dynamic mastering; starting with this album his CDs are all way loudness-compressed). Shoot Out The Lights would probably be my choice, if only because it's such a great album. I have both Rumor & Sigh and The Old Kit Bag in their 5.1 releases, and those are both very well done I think, particularly the former (again, a standout album of his in general).
 

halbroome

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Totally love Richard Thompson! First saw him during the Edinburgh Festival of (1984?) with an electric band, and then several times at Slim's (r.i.p.) nightclub in SF during the 90s. Just him and his guitar, and he dominated the stage. I remember one opening act, the newly-formed Barenaked Ladies from Canada, roaming around handing out sample cassettes. I got one, of course :LB.

In-between those Slim's shows, I also saw him play in Berkeley during a recording of the second Frith, French, Kaiser, and Thompson album.
A highlight was that a friend along with me taped it, and, somewhat disappointed with the sound, gave the master to me (?!). I later put it out on a DC Hub (remember those?) as a torrent, and even with the rather warped sound, it was apparently treasured for the talking in-between songs. . . .

As for this box set . . . nah. I have enough bootleg to last me more years than I have to listen. Not that I'm complaining 8').
 

Clement

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scooob

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Replacement Discs!
Thanks Clement! That article mentions that the record label claims this box is "sold out" and no more will be made. That was enough to scare me in to taking the jump and ordering it, from amazon.co.uk. It ended up costing me under $100 after currency conversion, even with an upgrade to their fastest overseas shipping, "AmazonGlobal Priority". Hoping against (but kind of expecting) receiving a set with faulty discs, but given that Universal has promised to replace defective discs with proof of purchase, I feel comfortable plunking down a Benjamin for (by all accounts, aside from the manufacturing issues) a really well-done collection by one of my favorite artists.
 

mattB2

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Thanks Clement! That article mentions that the record label claims this box is "sold out" and no more will be made. That was enough to scare me in to taking the jump and ordering it, from amazon.co.uk. It ended up costing me under $100 after currency conversion, even with an upgrade to their fastest overseas shipping, "AmazonGlobal Priority". Hoping against (but kind of expecting) receiving a set with faulty discs, but given that Universal has promised to replace defective discs with proof of purchase, I feel comfortable plunking down a Benjamin for (by all accounts, aside from the manufacturing issues) a really well-done collection by one of my favorite artists.
Hope you get a good set. Mine plays OK in my OPPO 203 but it struggles a bit in my computer's disc drive so I have requested the download.
 

scooob

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Hope you get a good set. Mine plays OK in my OPPO 203 but it struggles a bit in my computer's disc drive so I have requested the download.
I'd love to hear any comments you have on the box... good remastering without brickwalling? Quality of the bonus tracks? How is the book?

Do you know if the download will be full resolution, FLAC instead of MP3?
 

mattB2

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I'd love to hear any comments you have on the box... good remastering without brickwalling? Quality of the bonus tracks? How is the book?

Do you know if the download will be full resolution, FLAC instead of MP3?
I covered the sound in my previous post (No. 3 above). It's generally excellent - nice open sound and remarkably consistent over the years. Even the live stuff is usually of good sound quality (the performance is a bit of a given with Richard Thompson). I had some reservations about a couple of the opening tracks on SunnyVista as there is a quite dense sound but (according to the analysis somebody put up on the DR database) even these have a DR of 11 - it's been a long time since I've seen a box set with DR numbers mostly in the 12 to 15 range. The packaging is excellent and the book looks good although I haven't had a chance to go through it in detail.

If you've seen the 8 CD box set from Bobbie Gentry this is very similar in size and quality all round. I haven't heard back from Universal yet so I can't confirm what format they are using for the download.

This is my bargain of the year so far.
 

scooob

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I covered the sound in my previous post (No. 3 above). It's generally excellent - nice open sound and remarkably consistent over the years. Even the live stuff is usually of good sound quality (the performance is a bit of a given with Richard Thompson). I had some reservations about a couple of the opening tracks on SunnyVista as there is a quite dense sound but (according to the analysis somebody put up on the DR database) even these have a DR of 11 - it's been a long time since I've seen a box set with DR numbers mostly in the 12 to 15 range. The packaging is excellent and the book looks good although I haven't had a chance to go through it in detail.

If you've seen the 8 CD box set from Bobbie Gentry this is very similar in size and quality all round. I haven't heard back from Universal yet so I can't confirm what format they are using for the download.

This is my bargain of the year so far.
Thanks! Sorry to have asked you to repeat yourself; I should have recalled your previous post. Even more excited now to get this.

Wow, those DR numbers are quite a surprise... may the pendulum keep swinging back toward more dynamic masterings!
 

Juggsnelson

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Received mine a few days ago. The book, mastering, and bonus tracks are all excellent. I stacked my discs together and did notice some spacing between a few of them, so it seems I did not avoid warped discs. I have played the entire set both through my Pioneer universal player and through my Xbox without any issues. I don't rip discs so I can't comment on that.
 

scooob

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Has anyone ever tried doing something to flatten a warped disc? This video suggests pouring boiling water over the disc while it's on a perfectly flat surface, and many of the comments on the video attest to it working for those who tried it. I might try this if I get warped CDs in the Hard Luck Stories box, since I can get replacement discs if it doesn't work.
 

scooob

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I covered the sound in my previous post (No. 3 above). It's generally excellent - nice open sound and remarkably consistent over the years. Even the live stuff is usually of good sound quality (the performance is a bit of a given with Richard Thompson). I had some reservations about a couple of the opening tracks on SunnyVista as there is a quite dense sound but (according to the analysis somebody put up on the DR database) even these have a DR of 11 - it's been a long time since I've seen a box set with DR numbers mostly in the 12 to 15 range. The packaging is excellent and the book looks good although I haven't had a chance to go through it in detail.

If you've seen the 8 CD box set from Bobbie Gentry this is very similar in size and quality all round. I haven't heard back from Universal yet so I can't confirm what format they are using for the download.

This is my bargain of the year so far.
I received my set today from Amazon UK. Most, if not all of the CDs are warped, visibly so, when looked at edge-wise or placed on a flat surface. I've tried playing three of them so far. My Oppo 95 is able to handle them, but my computer drive chokes on the last few songs of each disc. I want to be able to rip them to put on my iPhone.

I just sent my email to Universal to request the download code and replacement discs. @mattB2, have they responded to you yet? If so, did you get the downloads, and are they full resolution?

I'm going to try the boiling water trick that I mentioned in my previous post, starting with the first disc. I'll report back with the results, in case anyone's considering trying it also.

The box design and contents are very nice. But I wonder if the cardboard disc holders are responsible for the warping. The discs go in slots, two-high, so that they are overlapping each other. Downward pressure on that, say from the hardcover book, might be causing them to bend. When I get replacement discs, or if my water trick flattens out the ones I have, I'll find another way to store them.
 

scooob

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I'm going to try the boiling water trick that I mentioned in my previous post, starting with the first disc. I'll report back with the results, in case anyone's considering trying it also.
Well, the boiling water thing seemed to help somewhat, but some of the discs still couldn't be fully read by my computer drive. It may be because the surface I had the CDs on when pouring the water on, a plastic cutting board, may not be perfectly flat. I think it's still worth a try, if you have warped discs that won't fully play. The water doesn't cause any damage to the discs at all, as far as I can tell, and it did flatten out some of the discs enough that my drive could rip all the songs from them.

Luckily, I also have an external Blu-ray drive, which as it turns out is more tolerant, and so far that has been able to rip the discs that the other drive still choked on.
 

mattB2

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I received my set today from Amazon UK. Most, if not all of the CDs are warped, visibly so, when looked at edge-wise or placed on a flat surface. I've tried playing three of them so far. My Oppo 95 is able to handle them, but my computer drive chokes on the last few songs of each disc. I want to be able to rip them to put on my iPhone.

I just sent my email to Universal to request the download code and replacement discs. @mattB2, have they responded to you yet? If so, did you get the downloads, and are they full resolution?

I'm going to try the boiling water trick that I mentioned in my previous post, starting with the first disc. I'll report back with the results, in case anyone's considering trying it also.

The box design and contents are very nice. But I wonder if the cardboard disc holders are responsible for the warping. The discs go in slots, two-high, so that they are overlapping each other. Downward pressure on that, say from the hardcover book, might be causing them to bend. When I get replacement discs, or if my water trick flattens out the ones I have, I'll find another way to store them.
No response as yet not even an acknowledgement - very frustrating.
 

rusinurbe

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Mine all play fine so I have not bothered to check the warp thing, but I did request the downloads just because it gives me a back up.

I do think the slots in card board packaging has probably contributed to this, if they have to go down this route they should be recesses rather than slits.
 

scooob

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Well, the boiling water thing seemed to help somewhat, but some of the discs still couldn't be fully read by my computer drive. It may be because the surface I had the CDs on when pouring the water on, a plastic cutting board, may not be perfectly flat. I think it's still worth a try, if you have warped discs that won't fully play. The water doesn't cause any damage to the discs at all, as far as I can tell, and it did flatten out some of the discs enough that my drive could rip all the songs from them.
"Waterboarding" update: I had one CD, disc 6, that was still getting read errors on the last two songs. This morning, I did the boiling water thing again on this disc, and it worked - I was able to rip the last two songs without errors. The key seems to be pouring enough water on the disc, for around 10 seconds or more. Also, it works better if you do the discs individually. I tried to do four at once last night, and they floated around on the board when I did that and probably didn't get enough water over each one.

Bottom line: if you buy this set and some of the CDs won't play and/or rip for you, or you have other discs with issues due to warping, I recommend the boiling water treatment. I'll link again to the YouTube video that turned me on to this method:

 
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