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 Japanese MiniLP format pt.1

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:31 pm    Japanese MiniLP format pt.1 Reply with quoteBack to top

The Japanese Mini LP aka Paper Sleeve celebrated 15 years in September.
For many years, LP covers brought us unforgettable artwork at times combined with very intricate sleeve designs.

The CD brought us post manufacturing noise free sound, high dynamics, etc but the smaller cover meant less detail and more simplistic designs.

In 1991 special US packages (Santana-Lotus, ELP, etc) were released for the Japanese market, resembling the LP cardboard concept with great success.
In the rest of the world, record companies used the concept in it's most basic form to package CD singles, leading eventually to the DigiPack design.

The Japanese releases are identical replicas of the LP's, gate fold or special designs, including extra detail such as lyrics sheets, posters, cards, paper & mini plastic sleeves protection for the discs, and other related memorabilia.

Combined with the classic OBI strip and packaged in clear resealable sleeves, it has become a classic no other package can match.

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ech3
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:48 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

The Beatles recent mono box set is like this. The packaging is superb. The album covers even say "side 1, side 2".

The CDs are in paper sleeves and caution you to "always keep your stylus clean".

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:49 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I love these cd's. Some can be expensive though but can be a great investment as they can increase in value.
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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:21 pm    Mini LP is 15 years old Reply with quoteBack to top

Over years, albums have seen several reissues, sometimes gaining detail sometimes loosing some.
eg: Led Zeppelin 3 1997 issue had the center stud for the spinning cardboard disc, a detail omitted in the 2001 and 2008 Zoso Box releases with the cardboard disc simply stuck inside the cover.
Next came boxed sets, some by record labels, but most by Disk Union which tended to pick one album's artwork and wrap it around a stiff cardboard box.
The DU boxes are exclusive to their own shops in Japan, sometimes including T-Shirts, extra promo 's, even toy replicas of some cover item.
Box designs vary from simple 1 piece side slip cases to 2 piece complete box, origami style front openings with intricate cutouts and even larger boxes housing several smaller slip case box sets.
Releases could be by major labels as well as small ones, for EM most notable ones would be Arcangelo, Captain Trip, Belle Antique & WHD Entertainment, obtaining rights for Japanese market only in ltd. numbers.
This is a packaging summary, next will be sound quality, fakes, and box sets in the Cover art section, once I figure out the best way to photograph some.

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:25 am    Japanese MiniLP's CD's- Do they sound better? Reply with quoteBack to top

Reissues center mostly around better sound due to new technology & better masters.
So far they look pretty, can they sound better?
2 main areas of "improvements":
Remaster: using better gear (A/D's. etc) than the the originals were made on, such as 24Bit K2 HD. It should be audible, but extra "tweaks" (EQ, Comp) tend to mask the initial gain.
Manufacturing:presenting the playback laser with more readable data = less error correction.
1- Blu-Spec, the CD master is made with a blu ray laser, claiming more detail & better data pits shape, this is similar to 1/2 speed LP master.
2- HQCD/SHMCD use super transparent plastic, it is clearer and scratch resistant.
Logical & quantified on top lab gear, but our ears haven't evolved in 1000's of years, more/less error correction is not that audible.
If the same digital master is used, the CD's sound the same.

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:14 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

These new technologies try to squeeze more out of the now "limited" CD format, sounds a bit like Dolby & DBX for tapes... Rolling Eyes
Only if mp3 would not have killed SACD/DVD-A...

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:40 am    Japanese MiniLP CD's Can they sound worse? Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes they can sound worse, but not because of the new technologies used.
In sourcing the "best masters" available, things can still go wrong all the way to the product on the shelf.

I have 2 such examples:

Aphrodite's Child-666
the MiniLP CD release was ruined by a lunatic, gross distortion on several tracks, high peaks clipping like someone pushed a fader into +3db.
The first ever CD release of 666 came from Japan years ago, as standard jewel case, and, the sound is perfect.

Anthony Philips-Slow waves, soft stars
New Cover, bad master, the first 4 tracks "acquired" a constant "buzz" around 100Hz, this is not present on the original Audion release.

Extreme care is taken more on marketing aspects than content.

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:39 am    Japanese MiniLP CD's Fakes Reply with quoteBack to top

Inevitably, anything successful gets copied/pirated.
Jap MiniLP's & Disk Union promo boxes fakes sold mainly on eBay & are rare today due to awareness and serious eBay crackdowns.
A fake listing is unlikely to be described as Japanese, I saw some which even stated they were not Japanese, just cardboard sleeve MiniLP CD's.
Quality varied from home made to manufactured CD's, mainly of Russian/Chinese origin, & impossible to identify until you had one.
The bar code/cat# around the center hole was a common giveaway, while the paper, texture, printing could be immaculate.
I only have one Russian fake: Barclay James Harvest Eyes Of The Universe, it was not released as MiniLPin Japan but completes the box sets nicely.

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:05 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Expensive annoyances are also caused by misleading descriptions or repackaged items for the Japanese market.
Examples:
Klaus Schulze, some 15 post X albums & DVD's all German SPV issues are sealed with OBI strips & new cat #, legally repackaged by the Belle Antique label.
The Arcangelo label did the same with some Ashra MG ART German albums. I learned the hard way...
Then the big labels, Vangelis' Blade Runner 3CD set, it was the European release repackaged as above for local market.
Collecting can be an expensive activity even with 5-10% losses.

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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:36 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Started posting some examples in the Cover Art section
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:30 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

The Zappa collection was beautifully done...
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phaedra2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:25 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
The Zappa collection was beautifully done...

True, a 50+ Zappa CD set, massive.
Anthony Philips 24 CD set another biggie, but I am not enough into their music to get them.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:17 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« phaedra2008 » wrote:
Quote:
The Zappa collection was beautifully done...

True, a 50+ Zappa CD set, massive.
Anthony Philips 24 CD set another biggie, but I am not enough into their music to get them.


i got all the FZ stuff first time around on his own label. The artwork was not quite the same, but i could not bring myself to undertake that catalogue for a second time... he is currently on release 85 iirc - and that comes out...about now-ish!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:21 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

If i had the money i would love to release 12"x12" reproductions of my cd covers along with the actual cd, on sturdy quality card, i miss the buzz of "album art fetishism"
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