Can Anyone Answer This Question About Vinyl?

An email from Chris from Ottawa arrived today.

Is there is any way to tell/know if a particular vinyl release  is sourced from the CD masters or the actual original masters? I have one album (a New Order bootleg EP) that was most likely just a CD pressed on vinyl. But I’m wondering more about 1) new album releases, 2) official label re-issues and 3) other re-issues (such as the label Music on Vinyl, which puts a lot of stuff out on vinyl that’s out of print or was never issued).

First, it’s no surprise that a bootleg was pressed from a CD copy. “Quality control” and “bootlegs” are two things that don’t go well together. And as far as I know, most new vinyl–the 180-and-200-gram versions–are sourced and remastered from the original masters. But I could be wrong.

Anyone want to weigh in on this?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Can Anyone Answer This Question About Vinyl?

  • March 10, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I would also like to know this answer. For example I believe anything on Music On Vinyl is from a CD source, but I could be wrong.

  • March 10, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Unfortunately there are no easy answers, as it’s a case by case basis. Certain labels are known for using the analog masters, but other than that, there is not an easy way to tell by looking at the record.

    The best way would be to visit the Steve Hoffman forums. They are a wealth of information, and you’ll be sure to find someone on that forum who knows.

  • March 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Thanks for turning me onto Music on Vinyl Shane. Took a look at their website and they state the following: “We use the best audio available to cut our records. We receive and use different kinds of masters: analogue tapes, original metal parts, lacquers cut from analogue tapes and high res digital files 192/96khz/24 bit. Music On Vinyl does not use CD’s as masters.”

    If you think it’s basically a bootleg off a CD, is that because the quality is poor? Because they say they are using original studio anolog sources then they are not re-mastering the music in digital format. There is a lot of dynamic range that just isn’t there on those old non-master’d sources, that is common on most digital recordings these days.

  • March 10, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    In this day and age, the safest bet is to assume a digital master is used for all new vinyl releases unless they are playing up an all-analogue mastering as a selling point.


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