Thursday, September 5, 2013

EMI Family Labelography and Pressings, Part 1

This post has several purposes.  The first is to catalog the various emi pressings for the various sub-labels including SAX, SCX, SBO, PSAX, ASD, PSAD, CFP, SXLP, SXDW, HQS, CSD, ESD, SLS and SAN.  The second goal is to come up with abbreviated names that are easy to type and read so the various pressings may be discussed in the reviews on this site.  Finally, we hope this will serve as a guide for collectors when purchasing LP's based on label descriptions.

First up will be the ASD labels which will form the backbone for our naming of the other smaller sub-labels.

ASD:



Gold and Cream
aka White Gold

Releases:
ASD 251 - ASD 575
SLS 758 -  SLS 767 (opera box sets of ASD)

Years:
1958 - 1964

Engineering:
All tube recording and mastering chain

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Gold"



Semi-Circle
aka Black and Red

Releases:
ASD 251 - ASD 575, SLS 758 - SLS 767 (reissues)
ASD 576 - ASD 2477
SLS 768 - SLS 780

Years:
1964 - 1969

Engineering:
Likely hybrid tube/transistor quickly transitioning to transistor mastering chain.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Semi"



Color Postage Stamp
aka Color Stamp, 1st dog in stamp label
(image with dog looks like a postage stamp)

Releases:
ASD 251 - ASD 2477, SLS 758 - SLS 780 (reissues)
ASD 2488 - ASD 2806
SLS 781 - SLS 817

Years:
1969 - 1972

Engineering:
Discrete transistor mastering chain.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Color"

Black and White Postage Stamp
aka Black and White, 2nd dog in stamp label
Note: the black and white name comes from the black and white image in the stamp and also note the white ring around the outside

Releases:
ASD 251 - ASD 2806 (reissues)
ASD 2807 - ASD 3814
no SLS XXX (see other labels, SAN, CSD)
SLS 5001-5189

Years:  1972 - 1980

Engineering:
Integrated circuits start appearing in mastering chain.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Ring"  (a unique name from our site, but the presence of the ring on many of the EMI labels has telling sonic consequences, referred to as Ring pressings as a group)

Color Postage Stamp With Ring
aka 3rd dog in stamp label
(color stamp has white ring around label)

Releases:
ASD 251 - ASD 3814 (reissues)
ASD 3815 - ASD 4097
SLS reissues
SLS 5195 - SLS 5231

Years:
1980 - 1981

Engineering:
Intergrated circuits prevail in mastering chain.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Color Ring"

Large Dog
aka Big Dog

Releases:
ASD 251 - ASD 4097 (reissues)
ASD 4098 - ASD 4344
SLS reissues
SLS 5195 - SLS 5231

Years:
1981 - 1983 (later for reissues)

Engineering:
Intergrated circuits prevail in mastering chain. Lowest noise floor.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Dog"

Comments Thus Far:
We eventually will get into the whole SLS and SAN label craziness at the end.  The Dog and Color Ring pressings are used on many labels and will show up again in discussion below.  I show SLS with the ASD pressings above because most of them have individual ASD numbers for each record label. It gets better when SAN stuff is rereleased under SLS with the SAN numbers on the individual records.

Concert Classics:

The only complex wrinkle with the Concert Classics are the early covers.  The label stays the same, but some of the early, early SXLP have different covers from the slightly later ones (no idea if this makes a sonic difference at this point).

Chevrons
aka blue label with chevrons

Releases:
SXLP 20003-20112
SXLP 30002-30156

Years:
1967 - 1972

Engineering:
Often date from golden age SAX and ASD recording range (most are reissues of this material, but some are unreleased material).  20000 series have a very tube like character.  30000 Chevrons are discrete transistor.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Chevron"


Blue with Ring
aka blue label with ring

Releases:
SXLP 20003 - 20112 (reissues)
SXLP 30002 - 30156 (reissues)
SXLP 30157 - 30428

Years:
1972 - 1980

Engineering:
Integrated circuits start appearing in mastering chain.  Similar to Black and White dog and other Ring pressings.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Ring"  (same as ASD)


Color Postage Stamp With Ring
aka 3rd dog in stamp label
(color stamp has white ring around label)

Releases:
SXLP 20003 - 20112 (reissues)
SXLP 30002 - 30428 (reissues)
SXLP 30436 - 30526

Years:
1980 - 1981

Engineering:
Intergrated circuits prevail in mastering chain.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Color Ring" (same label as ASD at this time)


Large Dog
aka Big Dog

Releases:
SXLP 20003 - 20112 (reissues)
SXLP 30002 - 30526 (reissues)
SXLP 30529 and up

Years:
1981 - 1983 (later for reissues)

Engineering:
Intergrated circuits prevail in mastering chain. Lowest noise floor.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Dog" (same label as ASD at this time)


Regal:
For a time Regal put out some classical.  These actually predate even the Concert Classic SXLP 20000 series.  Regal was mainly a pop label and the covers show it.

Regal:

Regal

Releases:
SREG 1000s (various)
SREG 2000s (various)

Years:
1965 - 1967

Engineering:
Often date from golden age SAX and ASD recording range (most are reissues of this material).  Have a very tube like character.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Regal"



Classics for Pleasure:

Classics for Pleasure are also fairly simple.  Note how many of the label changes occur at the same time on the various sub-labels.  With later pressings this becomes obvious as almost all labels use the color ring and big dog labels.

Classics for Pleasure:

Black and White Box

Releases:
CFP 101 - 176
CFP 40001 - 40019

Years:  1970 - 1972

Engineering:
Often date from golden age SAX and ASD recording range (most are reissues of this material, but some are unreleased material). Discrete transistor.

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Box"

CFP Scroll

Releases:
CFP 101 - 176 (reissues)
CFP 40001 - 40019 (reissues)
CFP 40020 - and up

Years:  1972 - 1980

Engineering:
Often date from golden age SAX and ASD recording range (most are reissues of this material, but some are unreleased material). Integrated circuits start appearing in mastering chain. 

Miles To Mozart Acronym:
"Scroll"


Summary So Far:

The Classic for Pleasure does not revert to the ASD style labels later on or perhaps was replaced by the ESD Greensleeves.

We've covered the major reissue labels to this point.  Unfortunately, there are many more labels and some of them cursedly complex.  Part 2 to come, later.

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this excellent, well researched resource! The quality of the different EMI pressings has been a point of interest among collectors for some time, and understanding the chronology as well as the characteristics of each pressing can give us some insight into the sound qualities of each pressing. I for one would find it useful to determine which pressing sounds the best for a particular ASD record (e.g. are later issues of Beecham recordings sonically superior to his first pressing Golds?), though I suspect that different people may have different answers.

    Looking forward to reading Part 2!

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  2. Hello
    What is the best sound for Kogan tchaikovsky, brahms and beethoven concertos: Classics for pleasure/HMV concert series or Testament records reissues?
    Thanks
    Best regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well ERC reissues are probably the best, but most expensive.

      Just went Koganing on youtube and they have recording of CFP 40083 which is listenable (I'm upmixing stereo to Atmos system):
      https://youtu.be/1ZxOH2qDqlc

      https://youtu.be/iOl_3MIcJZI
      Tchaikovsky above in stereo sounds promising

      https://youtu.be/d2xYsk2jH6A
      Not emi, but decent stereo

      I've seen ebay listings with entire recordings of vintage LPs. Just ways to see if something is worth going after.

      I've not been overwhelmed by Testament, but the price is excellent:
      https://testament.co.uk/lp?p=1

      The three recordings you ask about are very, very expensive so don't think even aqlam has had the originals. I've got a world record club of Lalo: Symphonie Espagnol Kogan and I'd not be too happy if I paid $7500 for the original, for $50 with the exact same pressing numbers, i.e. the same basically, I'd rate the world record club pressing a must buy for those who want a taste of Kogan's EMI table scraps.

      Maybe some day someone will do these right at a reasonable price as the ERC pressings at over $500 each seem to be going up in price.

      Please let us know what you get and what you think.

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    2. Kogan's Espagnole mentioned above:
      https://youtu.be/Q7-ZiMcLQU0

      Time Life Records lol, but rather good.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for your question, and thanks, Meles, for your reply. The only Kogan SAX I have owned is the Tchaikovsky as a red semi-circle 2nd pressing, which I bought online from the UK about 15 years ago. I have always been very pleased with it and have not needed to "upgrade" to the blue/silver 1st pressing, which would be more challenging to afford. If you can find any of the red semi-circle pressings for not to expensive of a price, they are nice.

      I have the CFP of the Kogan Beethoven, and it has respectable sound. I've not heard the original for comparison, but frankly, I would never pay $10,000 for any record. The enjoyment to price ratio is far higher for a CFP, in my humble opinion.

      I have the Testament Kogan Brahms. It's decent and a nice filler for another super expensive recording. The cover art is nearly the same except that it says EMI in red rather than Columbia.

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  3. Thanks for all your answers.

    I'd be more keen on CFP/Classic series than Testament.

    So concerning sound:

    Brahms: HMV calssic series or Testament?
    Beethoven: CFP or Testament?
    Tchaikovsky: CFP or Testament?

    I have a Beethoven with Ferras WRC pressing that is nice sounding but when I bought a french Trianon pressing, the sound was much better (not as open but more warmth).

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    Replies
    1. Wow. I've not heard a French pressing of EMI of any note. The nice thing I'm seeing with the handful of WRC I've acquired is they do often have the original EMI UK stamper numbers. I've never seen this before, but they do appear to be reusing the EMI stampers and not remastering in any way.

      So your Ferras WRC not being a reissue means it was pressed in 1966, discogs has no date for French Trianon pressing. Amazon review of CD states "Malcolm Sargent and the Royal Philharmonic join for the 1959 Beethoven VC" so I suspect Trianon pressings existed by 1960 and those would be valves through and through so no surprise the sound was good.

      I'd almost forgotten about Testament and now you've got me going as I do think I have one of their pressings...
      SAX2304 MOZART Violin Concerto No.3 in G, K.216
      PROKOFIEV Violin Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.63

      I recognize the cover for this, but seem to have it misplaced it... you're causing a Smaug incident as I look for this treasure....wow, well I found my last missing treasure (Spain, Reiner classic reissue), but not this one. It may be I knew someone who owned it and had played it a few times. I've not seen the LP in a long time. All I can say is I did not buy more so perhaps Testament is not the most musical of reissues. Amazing as when Testament first reissued this in the US EMI was not on the radar in the audio mags as a great sounding label. I'd totally forgotten about that LP as not an EMI collector. $830 or so for the original the last time I tried to price that title.

      Interestingly was just with a minor collector of sorts tonight who told me of sale of some Hi-Q titles at the Elusive Disc online dealer for less than half price. The Hi-Q's are pressed by EMI and generally are rather interesting sounding DMM pressings, direct metal masters. Testament is done by EMI, but is their regular pressing option.

      Let me know how your CFP of the Kogan Tchaik goes. If you don't quite like the tone then maybe the newer EMI pressing (Testament) would be worth trying for direct comparison.

      Just had a brief impromptu comparison of La Clemencic Consort's Harmonia Mundi LP ces Anciennes de Hongrie. I've got the DMM German pressings and got to hear the French pressing for the first time tonight. The French one was excellent. The DMM had better bass and dmm clarity to the medieval string sounds. The French sounded much more real and musical for the upper tones to the strings. In a hurry, but we'll be comparing again and may have another title or two. Both great and yet amazingly different (this was on $20K plus Basis/Lyra Skala turntable rig, part of the Quadophile's ever evolving rig.) Brief listening to Barbirolli, Sibelius 4 on Hi-Q also promising.

      Delete
  4. I ordered a CFP "scroll" of Kogan's Tchaikovsky concerto. I keep you informed.
    Ben

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ben are you more of a violin specialist in your collecting? I find Kogan collectors rather interesting in theory; you're the first one. And this is simply from the fascination with the insane prices these LPs fetch. Aqlam and I've mused before on the subject. Are these strictly audiophiles driving the price as who else would insist on an original copy. The originals are rare so that accounts for a lot of the price. I know music collectors who spend a fortune on equipment etc., but are very performance driven in their LP collection and don't thrive on getting the best copy of an LP and certainly don't crave vintage classical. A Chinese guy no less running tube equipment who frustrates me in ways given his connections to China, but total lack of interest in early EMI despite the Asian market driving the prices sky high. Yongrok Lee who hosts SAX site we link to was just commenting here and yet we have no answers on what drives these well healed collectors.

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  5. I recently discovered Kogan. I'm not a collector. I buy Lps for the music not for the value of the Lp. But I care for great sounding pressing.

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  6. Reason enough. I basically buy for best sound quality. Don't become a collector who gets more music than they'll ever listen to more than a few times. I have collector instincts and its akin to an addiction.

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