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Half speed remastered albums - are they worth it?

6and8

Well-known member
Jan 20, 2014
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10,545
I was looking for a copy of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Cosmo's Factory. Found a 180gm copy on sale for £11.99. But there's a half-speed remastered version at twice the price coming out soon. Having never heard a half-speed remastered album I'm wondering if it's worth the wait, and the money. Aside from this particular album, are half-speed remasters appreciably better sounding?
 

daytona600

Well-known member
Oct 5, 2012
237
114
18,970
Yes - if ( AAA ) analogue source tape / mastered in analogue / analogue cutting head delay
Decca used this method in the 1950s & Mobile fidelity in the 1970s to present for better sound quality
Modern half speed masters like 99.9% of all records are from a digital file not a Tape with the cutting lathe run at half speed-

GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ is a proprietary cutting system built and designed by legendary design genius Tim De Paravicini, with consultation from one of MFSL’s founding fathers – Stan Ricker, an audio engineer responsible for many of MFSL’s most heralded past releases.

The GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system is comprised of a Studer™ tape machine with customized reproduction electronics* and handcrafted cutting amps that drive an Ortofon cutting head on a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe. (*It is worth noting that independent studies have confirmed that the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system can unveil sonic information all the way up to 122kHz!)

First and foremost, we only utilize first generation original master recordings as source material for our releases. We then play back master tapes at half speed enabling the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system to fully extract the master’s sonic information. Our lacquers are then plated in a specialized process that protects transients in the musical signal.
 

Al ears

Moderator
If that half speed remastered is either Mobile Fidelity or Analogue Productions then yes I would pay the extra.
Some of the best recorded and quietest vinyl I have ever heard.
However, I would add that benefits can depend on your playback system.
Just because it's on 180gm vinyl doesn't mean it's any good....
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
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770
I was looking for a copy of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Cosmo's Factory. Found a 180gm copy on sale for £11.99. But there's a half-speed remastered version at twice the price coming out soon. Having never heard a half-speed remastered album I'm wondering if it's worth the wait, and the money. Aside from this particular album, are half-speed remasters appreciably better sounding?
I have a couple of half speed albums. They have a sticker that tells me they sound better , so they must.
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
208
770
If that half speed remastered is either Mobile Fidelity or Analogue Productions then yes I would pay the extra.
Some of the best recorded and quietest vinyl I have ever heard.
However, I would add that benefits can depend on your playback system.
Just because it's on 180gm vinyl doesn't mean it's any good....
Word, 180gr means nothing. It sure feels reassuring but it is meaningless as a precursor to sound quality. Records are so variable in quality sound , I don't give a fig what experts say. I have been buying records since 1977. Generally c.d is honestly the best physical format. Hi res is just that very format presented as a stream. Yeah,yeah, yeah you bitrate bunnies go ahead with your number crunching guff all you want. It's like rice krispies all snap crackle and pop half the time with records , cd is coco pops , quiet and always lovely.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
246
86
18,870
Word, 180gr means nothing. It sure feels reassuring but it is meaningless as a precursor to sound quality. Records are so variable in quality sound , I don't give a fig what experts say. I have been buying records since 1977. Generally c.d is honestly the best physical format. Hi res is just that very format presented as a stream. Yeah,yeah, yeah you bitrate bunnies go ahead with your number crunching guff all you want. It's like rice krispies all snap crackle and pop half the time with records , cd is coco pops , quiet and always lovely.
Yep, CDs are unbeatable for sound quality when done right. In fact there's never been a better time to collect them. That doesn't mean I will ever ditch my LPs though.
 
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6and8

Well-known member
Jan 20, 2014
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Thanks, but I didn't want to get into an analogue vs digital debate. For me listening to vinyl is a total experience that goes beyond whether or not there's an occasional crackle or pop. I'm not seeking perfection, if I were at a concert and someone in the audience coughed during a quiet passage it wouldn't ruin the performance for me. I've been listening to and collecting vinyl since the early 60s, I started out with a handful of 45s and a Dansette record player. Compared to my set up today it was a crude sound but still really pleasurable. Clarity, detail and absence of surface noise isn't always a priority for me. I have a lot of old albums, both mono and stereo, picked up in charity shops and record fairs that have seen better days but the music in the grooves still sounds great to my ears. I do listen to CDs as well, I have about 2000, and a decent CD player, and I occasionally stream, but I prefer the vinyl experience. I asked the question about half-speed masters because I've never heard one and was trying to understand what was different about them. Thanks for all the comments, it's been really useful.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Thanks, but I didn't want to get into an analogue vs digital debate. For me listening to vinyl is a total experience that goes beyond whether or not there's an occasional crackle or pop. I'm not seeking perfection, if I were at a concert and someone in the audience coughed during a quiet passage it wouldn't ruin the performance for me. I've been listening to and collecting vinyl since the early 60s, I started out with a handful of 45s and a Dansette record player. Compared to my set up today it was a crude sound but still really pleasurable. Clarity, detail and absence of surface noise isn't always a priority for me. I have a lot of old albums, both mono and stereo, picked up in charity shops and record fairs that have seen better days but the music in the grooves still sounds great to my ears. I do listen to CDs as well, I have about 2000, and a decent CD player, and I occasionally stream, but I prefer the vinyl experience. I asked the question about half-speed masters because I've never heard one and was trying to understand what was different about them. Thanks for all the comments, it's been really useful.
You and I are pretty much the same from what you say. Perfectly aware of the inadequacies of the format in some respects but still rating what it can produce at it's best.
I don't stream currently but download digital mainly to place on my digital music player for when I work away from home.
I would suggest, if you haven't heard a half speed master or even a one-step recording to spend the money and actually get one of an LP you are familiar with. There are going to be naysayers for every format so it's a question you simply have to answer for yourself.
 
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myrrhman

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2020
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Worth noting if your vinyl playback chain can reproduce such frequencies......and you're a bat (y)
Only some bats in fact, peak frequency for echolocation for most species is 25 - 60 kHz, at least in UK, lesser horseshoe bats go up to 120 kHz but the rest probably couldn't appreciate the full value of MoFi recordings any more than we can
 
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myrrhman

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2020
37
22
45
Some very different opinions here...for me I won't mourn the end of CDs (and for sure, those who love the format can pick up some real bargains now) - I can't escape the feeling we were sold a pup with CDs, they were spreading jam on them on Tomorrow's World, rinsing it off in water then playing them - for those of us plagued with scratches and pops and warped records on our woefully inadequate Strathearn decks, this was music to our ears. The reality was somewhat more fragile.
I've just completed the process of ripping my CDs to an SSD drive, plugged into my Mac Mini, and relegated them to a box in the attic. Streaming Tidal Hifi is great, and allows me both to revisit old albums I'd lost along the way, and discover new music and genres I never thought I'd get into - and sorry, but I do think 24bit vs 16bit is qualitatively different on the ears, the dynamic range is irrelevant (unless you're a bat) but a higher bitrate to my ears sounds more 'analogue' and less fatiguing to listen to. But nothing beats cueing up the tonearm on a rotating 12 inch lump of plastic, and settling back on the sofa to listen - except perhaps crate-digging in an independent record store and choosing music on what you happen to find and like the look of, rather than what has been suggested by an algorithm to complement your listening habits.
Word, 180gr means nothing. It sure feels reassuring but it is meaningless as a precursor to sound quality. Records are so variable in quality sound , I don't give a fig what experts say. I have been buying records since 1977. Generally c.d is honestly the best physical format. Hi res is just that very format presented as a stream. Yeah,yeah, yeah you bitrate bunnies go ahead with your number crunching guff all you want. It's like rice krispies all snap crackle and pop half the time with records , cd is coco pops , quiet and always lovely.
Thanks, but I didn't want to get into an analogue vs digital debate. For me listening to vinyl is a total experience that goes beyond whether or not there's an occasional crackle or pop. I'm not seeking perfection, if I were at a concert and someone in the audience coughed during a quiet passage it wouldn't ruin the performance for me. I've been listening to and collecting vinyl since the early 60s, I started out with a handful of 45s and a Dansette record player. Compared to my set up today it was a crude sound but still really pleasurable. Clarity, detail and absence of surface noise isn't always a priority for me. I have a lot of old albums, both mono and stereo, picked up in charity shops and record fairs that have seen better days but the music in the grooves still sounds great to my ears. I do listen to CDs as well, I have about 2000, and a decent CD player, and I occasionally stream, but I prefer the vinyl experience. I asked the question about half-speed masters because I've never heard one and was trying to understand what was different about them. Thanks for all the comments, it's been really useful.
 
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record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
50
16
10,545
I wouldn't pay over the odds for Half Speed Mastered and I'd ca'canny with MOFI releases of recent years too. Some iffy QC and at the prices they go for, that's scandalous. Also, and this is a pain to my mind, several of these are coming out as 45RPM double albums that you need to turn over after a couple of songs. Ruins the flow of the album for me.

Mastering remains the most important factor and some of those remain on CD (eg Genesis Trick of the Tail Japan for US, or Canadian Atco, forget the 2007 remix, awful).

Shop around. I picked up Simple Minds New Gold Dream Abbey Road Half-Speed Mastered for £7.99 new a few months ago.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Some I would, and have, pay out for.
Depends a lot on the quality of the end product.
Personally I don't mind flipping LPs, it's the sound quality rather than flow of an album that does it for me.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
50
16
10,545
Some I would, and have, pay out for.
Depends a lot on the quality of the end product.
Personally I don't mind flipping LPs, it's the sound quality rather than flow of an album that does it for me.
Sure. Your mileage varies. But I can't imagine getting up after two tracks of a concept album. That's where the fixation gets in the way.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Sure. Your mileage varies. But I can't imagine getting up after two tracks of a concept album. That's where the fixation gets in the way.
Sure. Your mileage varies. But I can't imagine getting up after two tracks of a concept album. That's where the fixation gets in the way.
Concept albums I can understand the issue. Don't think I would buy a 45rpm of them for the reason you state.
 

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