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Official Review Carpenters Royal Philharmonic Review and Comments Thread

How would you rate Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?

  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕⁕ (Best)

    Votes: 30 35.7%
  • ⁕⁕⁕⁕

    Votes: 37 44.0%
  • ⁕⁕⁕ (Average)

    Votes: 14 16.7%
  • ⁕⁕

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • ⁕ (Worst)

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Did not listen to this album yet

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters
    84

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
While this is sad to see, at least I know I’m not the only one having issues with the vinyl. Take a look at the recent reviews from some Amazon customers on the black vinyl.


Most are saying avoid the vinyl, center punched too small. This review sound exactly like my experience.

“Although the pressings are heavy and look the part, they sound like the record plant was infiltrated by feral cats that laid on all of the pressings. I've never heard some many clicks, pops and gritty distortion on a newly opened record. I tried cleaning it 3 times on my wet-vac cleaner. No good. The clicks almost seem intentionally placed in the most quiet and delicate parts of the songs. Terrible pressing of a GREAT album. Buy the CD, not the vinyl
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Rick I think you need to give up and buy this from a record store. That way you can take it back, show them the defects and request a replacement. Some of the reviews in that link are quite scathing, and not just for the vinyl.

First off you have to know I have been a die-hard Carpenters fan since the Close To You album was released in 1970 (I was 11 at the time). I grew up listening to them. I know most of their songs virtually note by note. I have every nuance of Karen's vocal intonations in my brain. The music was, and continues to be, sublime. Karen had the voice of an angel, while Richard was truly a creative genius. Any "faults" in the original recordings are PART of those recordings, and apart from simple remastering, any touch-ups are really unnecessary in my opinion. If ONE NOTE is changed from the originals, I believe I will often immediately detect it. THAT is how ingrained this music is in my head.

Now, the thing you have to understand about Richard Carpenter is that, in addition to being a musical genius, he is also an obsessive-compulsive when it comes to his and Karen's music. He has been tweaking, remastering, re-arranging, re-orchestrating and re-recording the Carpenters oeuvre since the songs were originally released. He will continue to do so as long as there is a breath left in him. He can't help himself. It's just who he is. It doesn't mean the world NEEDS it, it's just what he is compelled to do. One can only imagine what he might have done had Karen lived and he had put more of his energies into NEW music, instead of constantly trying to improve upon perfection.

This all being said, this album is a huge miss for the die-hard Carpenters fan. So many wrong choices. So many mis-inserted notes. It's hard to know how to even cover it all. I'll just choose the one that was probably the biggest cause to wince on my part....the insertion of the trumpet in the epic musical outro of Goodbye To Love...….it's just.....words fail me: it's really THAT bad.

If you are a huge fan, I defy you to listen and NOT be horrified. All in all, he has taken the Carpenters sound into a whole other level of "elevator" music. (An area they were unfortunately starting to slip into with the later albums.) It's not terrible music, mind you, it's just all SO unnecessary! If you are not terribly familiar with the Carpenters sound, I suppose you will find this all pleasant enough. But for us life-long devotees, you are warned to stay away. I am so unnerved by it all that I don't even plan on keeping it in my collection of Carpenters CD's. I plan on donating it to the local library.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Well I don’t agree with those reviews above. But speaking of the vinyl it’s a mess.

I can’t buy the white vinyl in a store so I’m at Universal’s mercy. Amazon has already sent out a replacement on the black. I can’t just give up because I want it. Universal would never have got away with this back in the 70’s how can they produce this crap in 2019 and get away with it?
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
The white vinyl from Carpenters site and black vinyl from Amazon are both poor. Lots of pops, irregular labels and extremely poor inner sleeves, plus rough of sharp edges. It just shows Universal Music just doesn’t care about their product. It’s just a shame it’s at favorite groups expense. I’m just going to keep what I have. I probably will never play them again. The loud pops and distortion between tracks is enough to make me want to use for target practice. Expensive targets! Have any of our fans from Japan received their copies yet? Were they pressed in Japan or imported from another country? They usually have pristine vinyl there. They except and demand it. Please let us know. I would be willing to buy one more copy if it’s at least 90% clean. What a sham. Thank you.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Universal would never have got away with this back in the 70’s how can they produce this crap in 2019 and get away with it?
In the '70s there were HUGE issues with vinyl quality. Rolling Stone did several articles on it. The solution was, then as now: Complain until you get satisfaction. (Along with clicks'n'pops, the other big issue back then was warpage...at least they seem to have conquered THAT problem.)

The difference was then, there were record stores...you could swap out vinyl until you got one that was good. I had one guy go through five copies of Heart's Dog and Butterfly album until he found a satisfactory one. But, he was a perfectionist. He was a guy who would bring a record back if it had one stray click in the wrong spot. The other 98% of people would put up with little defects because they were what I liked to call "background listeners" who put on the record and just go about their life....as opposed to a person who sits down with a pair of headphones (or a fine sound system) and really absorbs the music. The 98% doesn't notice or care too much about little problems like the ones on these records. (After all, the records still play....right?)

The record companies have to strike a balance between quality control and profit. They COULD have very stringent quality control, but that's expensive, so they cut costs until they find the balance. They're going to put out a product that satisfies the 98%, and they'll deal with the complainers in the 2%. That's cheaper than going to huge lengths to please everybody. Why Universal continues to use a vinyl supplier that gives them a substandard product is a mystery, but I'd be willing to bet that they get very few complaints overall. And vinyl is a very small part of their overall business anyway.

The other thing is, not everyone is a perfectionist. Some people buy vinyl just to have it, or they don't obsess about the quality, they just think vinyl is cool. Bottom line, not enough people complain for Universal to go to the trouble/expense of finding a new supplier for their vinyl.

In the end it has nothing what-so-ever to do with artistic credibility, archival quality, "pleasing the customers" or any of that stuff. It is 100% about the money.

Here is a suggestion: You might contact Amazon's customer service. Ask them if they'll send you, say, 10 copies of the album and bill them to your credit card. You can open them up until you find a good one, then send the rest back (with the open ones marked 'defective') for credit. I don't know if they'd go to those kind of lengths to please a customer but if you get a sympathetic agent, you never know.
 
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Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
Have any of our fans from Japan received their copies yet? Were they pressed in Japan or imported from another country? They usually have pristine vinyl there. They except and demand it. Please let us know. I would be willing to buy one more copy if it’s at least 90% clean. What a sham. Thank you.
It looks like from CDJapan the vinyl is sold out says it was manufactured outside Japan so I’m assuming it’s a US pressing from the same defective plants. It doesn’t appear there will be a Japan pressing and that’s a shame.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Has anyone bought the LP in person and not online? I'm scared to buy it from HMV next week if it's going to have defects
At this point I’d say that it doesn’t matter where you buy it, all the copies are coming from the same plant in Sacramento or wherever in the US. Right now it might be best to compare the release to VHS releases in the 90’s where Universal is using a plant that is recording a 60 minute program on the cheapest T-20 VHS Tape in SLP with linear audio, versus a place that is recording to VHS in SP and using Hi-Fi audio on a T-60. The T-20 you would need to be using the remote a lot to adjust the tracking to get the “best picture”.
 

Donn

Member
I will ask again, since this is the review thread and not the shipping thread: is For All We Know sped up on the RPO. or is that just my imagination?
 

Graeme

Well-Known Member
Found my white vinyl RPO album waiting for me at work today. From what I've listened to so far (and from what I can remember) there are differences to the CD versions I have (UK and Japanese). It has the newer intro version of Yesterday Once More and the stereo piano at the beginning of Ticket To Ride. There's still the distortion in Masquerade (the "both afraid to say...." line) and during the choruses of INTBIL.

The biggest shock for me was the intro to For All We Know. This was my favourite reworking on the CD but now an oboe suddenly cuts into the guitar; not an improvement to my ears - I preferred the simpler guitar version on the CD. I've lost track of whether this had already changed on the latest downloads. I wasn't expecting it though!

I might be imagining it but the guitar solo in I Just Fall In Love Again sounds less muted than it does on the CD (so a big improvement for me as it's more like the original Passage version). Again, I don't know if this version appears on the latest downloads.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
If you're a technical, analyzer-type like me, you might find this an interesting diversion.

I decided to do some comparisons with the latest versions to the original CD versions, and did it this way:

Since I bought the black vinyl from Amazon, I was entitled to an Autorip - mp3's of the album's tracks. Rather than muck around with the actual vinyl, after verifying that the Autorip contained the latest versions, I began my comparisons.

First, I imported one of the old tracks into Audacity. Then I imported the same track from the Autorip to compare. I added a second set of stereo tracks to the CD version, and then copied the Autorip track onto that second set of stereo tracks. The two generally will line up pretty well, but I found that zooming in real closely to the actual samples, I was able to perfectly align the two so that they would play perfectly in synch.

After that, I used a tool in Audacity to invert the second set of stereo tracks. This flips the sound 180° from what it was, meaning that an "up" cycle was now a "down" cycle. And the theory here is that if the tracks were indeed identical, they would nearly totally cancel each other out when played at the same time.

Using this method, I could immediately identify any track that was exactly the same as the CD version. For instance, "Merry Christmas, Darling" as it appeared on the the CD album, is exactly the same as the one on LP - or Autorip in this case. Same with "Baby It's You", "Close To You", "Ticket To Ride", and "Goodbye To Love".

There were other tracks that never synced at all, so those are some kind of total remix, and there are those that have partial synchronization, like "I Just Fall In Love Again". The opening intro on that one got expanded by 13 seconds, but once the main track starts, you can totally sync them.

A few of these had a trace of reverb showing up in the attempted total cancellation. This would indicate that Richard either added a touch of reverb to one of the two tracks. I think he may have removed reverb from the initial CD track, making the new version a little dryer.

"Superstar" had an odd thing where one half might sync up OK, but the second was off a bit. Don't know what was going on there. "Rainy Days" was totally different too, indicating some tinkering. On "I Believe You", if you do this, you get to hear Karen sing both lines simultaneously on that second verse.

All in all, an interesting experiment if you're so inclined.
 
Honestly, I wasn't going to buy this one, but a friend loaned me his copy to listen to. I was very surprised to hear all the little extras. Karen's voice being more upfront was a special treat. I ended up pre-ordering the vinyl in late December but after so many delays I cancelled it. I figured I'd wait until I saw it actually on the marketplace. My sister got it for me. I kept it sealed as I purchased the CD while waiting on the vinyl. Wish Please Mr. Postman had been included on the vinyl, I LOVED the re-mix. Goes to show Richard still has a lot of creativity up his sleeve!
 
Two tracks I was never a huge fan of, but sound "better" to me here is "I Just Fall In Love Again" and "I Believe You". So these two new remixes sound so "new" to me. Love It!!!!
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
So now that it's all over....I was thinking what a missed opportunity they had when creating the album jacket for the limited edition white vinyl. It would have been a nice touch to have had an embossed Carpenters logo on the front cover (even the logo on the back at the top would have been cool) much like the original album jackets. I have the following original albums with embossed (raised) logos: Tan album, Horizon (back cover flap), The Singles 69-73, The Singles 69-73 Quad and the UK Gold Singles 74-78. All of these contain raised or embossed logos. I always found the original album jacket to be so special running your fingers across the album cover and feeling the embossed texture.

The RPO album jacket is the exact same style between the black vinyl and the white vinyl. The only promo to set apart the white vinyl was the visual outside sticker (front and back) which when unwrapped leaves the jacket looking exactly like the standard black vinyl jacket.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Thread Starter
Staff member
Moderator
Rick-An Ordinary Fool said:
So now that it's all over....I was thinking what a missed opportunity they had when creating the album jacket for the limited edition white vinyl.
^ I missed replying to this, but I agree that a bit of embossing would have been a classy touch on this recent vinyl.

Did the complete albums set have embossing where it originally was?
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
This was posted on the Carpenters Facebook page:

"I've just received a call from Bruce Resnikoff of Universal Music informing me that the Carpenters R.P.O. album has recently achieved 'Gold' status in the U.K. This means a lot to all of us and I want to express my gratitude to all at Universal/A&M for their efforts in making the album a success and to all of you around the world for your continuing support of Karen's and my music."
–Richard Carpenter, December 12, 2019
 

Portlander

Well-Known Member
Simon, my ALBUM count for the UK shows a total of (4) Platinum, (11) Gold and (3) Silver awards. SINGLES count shows a total of (3) Silver awards. In addition, the Carpenters also earned (2) Gold VIDEO awards in the UK. I did credit a Gold award for the "Carpenters with the RPO" instead of the listed Silver. Is it possible that the three Silver album awards finally went Gold in your country but that would still only come out 18 total?

Overall worldwide counts shows the Carpenters have earned a grand total of 15 Platinum, 32 Gold and 6 Silver records (albums and singles) to date which includes the US, UK, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands.
 
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Portlander

Well-Known Member
Found the 12th Gold record Simon. I missed "Live at the Palladium" which does give the Carpenters a UK grand total of 19 counting Platinum, Gold an Silver albums. So that gives them 33 Gold records worldwide.
 

Simon KC1950

Well-Known Member
Found the 12th Gold record Simon. I missed "Live at the Palladium" which does give the Carpenters a UK grand total of 19 counting Platinum, Gold an Silver albums. So that gives them 33 Gold records worldwide.

Here are all the certifications from the UK if anyone's interested:

Albums

-Carpenters - Platinum (300,000) (July 2013)

-Now & Then - Gold (£250,000) (January 1976)

- The Singles 1969 - 1973 - Platinum (£1,000,000) (August 1974)

- Horizon - Gold (£250,000) (June 1975)

- A Kind Of Hush - Gold (£250,000) (August 1976)

-Live At The Palladium - Gold (£300,000) (January 1977) & Gold (100,000) (June 1990)

-The Carpenters Collection - Silver (£150,000) (January 1977)

- Passage - Gold (£300,000) (March 1978)

- Singles 1974 - 1978 - Platinum (£1,000,000) (December 1978)

- Made In America - Silver (60,000) (June 1981)

- Voice of the Heart - Gold (100,000) (November 1983)

-Yesterday Once More - Platinum (300,000) (December 1984)

-Only Yesterday - 4x Platinum (1,200,000) (November 1993)

- Interpretations - Gold (100,000) (September 1994) & Silver (60,000) (July 2013)

- The Best of - Gold (100,000) (November 1997)

- Reflections - Silver (60,000) (July 2013)

- Love Songs - Gold (100,000) (March 1998)

- The Singles 1969 - 1981 - Gold (100,000) (2016)

- Gold - 4x Platinum (1,200,000) (July 2013)

-40/40 - Gold (100,000) (July 2013)

- The Ultimate Collection Gold (July 2013)

- The Nations Favourite Carpenters Songs - Silver (60,000) (August 2017)

- Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Gold (100,000) (December 2019)


Singles

-Yesterday Once More - Silver (250,000) (September 1973)

- Top of the World - Silver (250,000) (January 1974)

- Please Mr. Postman - Silver (250,000) (March 1975)

Videos

- Gold - Gold

-Interpretations - Gold


You can search them all here:
https://www.bpi.co.uk/brit-certified/
 
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