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From The Top Boxset

TimeWarp

Member
Thread Starter
I am curious about the two different issues of the "From The Top" boxset. Other than the packaging itself, I believe the difference between the two sets would be "Ava Maria", which was mastered at the incorrect speed for the first issue of the boxset (the square box). Does anyone have both versions of the set? Would be interested in your opinions of the two sets! They seem to sell at comparable prices.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I am curious about the two different issues of the "From The Top" boxset. Other than the packaging itself, I believe the difference between the two sets would be "Ava Maria", which was mastered at the incorrect speed for the first issue of the boxset (the square box). Does anyone have both versions of the set? Would be interested in your opinions of the two sets! They seem to sell at comparable prices.
Thank you for clarifying that the square box is the first issue! I had totally forgotten that I had bought myself a used square box version (for $25 + tax), and had no idea there were mastering differences between this set and what I assume is the second issue?

Could someone share what the second issue looks like? All I see online are people who post covers of "From the Top" that look squished. I can share pictures of mine (the first issue, square set) if the forum wants. When I first saw it, I thought, "I didn't know that this compilation was released on vinyl." Then I opened it and facepalmed, because it's not on vinyl!
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Could someone share what the second issue looks like? All I see online are people who post covers of "From the Top" that look squished.

It looks squished because it is - it’s approximately half the width of the 12x12 set, but as tall, with the lettering on the front compressed horizontally as a result. The inside features two discs on the left, one on top of the other, same on the right. I only ever got the 12x12 version otherwise I’d have gladly posted photos for you. Maybe another member has this second issue.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
It looks squished because it is - it’s approximately half the width of the 12x12 set, but as tall, with the lettering on the front compressed horizontally as a result. The inside features two discs on the left, one on top of the other, same on the right. I only ever got the 12x12 version otherwise I’d have gladly posted photos for you. Maybe another member has this second issue.
Here I was, thinking it was packaged the same way as "The Essential Collection." Would love to see what it looks like!

Does anyone know which release is more common? Also reviving the topic of -- is there a sonic difference? ReplayGain on my first issue version looks really nice. Not much dynamic range compression. (In the range of -1 to -2 dB, on average; in comparison, many modern CDs have dynamic range compression of -4 to -6 dB, which sounds awful.)
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Here I was, thinking it was packaged the same way as "The Essential Collection." Would love to see what it looks like!
Here’s are two eBay examples of the “Longbox” version with photos of the inside:


 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Here’s are two eBay examples of the “Longbox” version with photos of the inside:


Oh, fascinating. Thank you for sharing, Stephen! I wonder when A&M switched to the "longbox" version, and I wonder if the masters are different.

On a related but separate note, "The Essential Collection" is nice, but I can hear that the tracks are considerably louder than "From the Top." So I'm glad that I have "From the Top" ripped to my hard drive now in lossless format.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
The 12x12 was the first edition, with the smaller box released later. I’m glad I bought it the day it was released. I also have the 12x12 British box set, which was reissued in a smaller version as well, later on. Probably less costly to produce, and stores easier on a shelf. The 12x12 has to go in with my vinyl records. It doesn’t fit in a cd rack.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Not sure about From the Top 2 (longbox), but I'm listening to the 1980 medley on the square box. Compared to "Essential Collection," this version is much quieter (and thus more dynamic) with quite a bit of "head room" between the sound peaks and the true digital noise ceiling. Very pleasant to listen to. Also, the reverb is much different from the "Essential Collection" version. All around, I like this "From the Top" version better than "Essential Collection."
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
The 12x12 was the first edition, with the smaller box released later. I’m glad I bought it the day it was released. I also have the 12x12 British box set, which was reissued in a smaller version as well later on. Probably less costly to produce, and stores easier on a shelf. The 12x12 has to go in with my vinyl records. It doesn’t fit in a cd rack.
Same! That's where I found my 12" box!
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Oh, fascinating. Thank you for sharing, Stephen! I wonder when A&M switched to the "longbox" version, and I wonder if the masters are different.

On a related but separate note, "The Essential Collection" is nice, but I can hear that the tracks are considerably louder than "From the Top." So I'm glad that I have "From the Top" ripped to my hard drive now in lossless format.
I have both the original and longbox sets of "From The Top", and the CDs themselves are identical (same mastering).
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Just listened to "Good Friends Are For Keeps." "From the Top" has much less reverb than "Essential Collection."
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Here are my original thoughts and memories of first finding this set unexpectedly in shop window in 1991. I still get chills now thinking back on just how excited I was at the time.

*****

Seeing From The Top in a record store window in 1991 made me stop in my tracks. This LP sized box with the illustrious huge logo on the front...what could it be? I went into the store to enquire about it, expecting to find a vinyl LP box set. When the store assistant opened it and I saw 4 CD jewel cases neatly nestled in a green sponge inner layer, I was mesmerised. Add to that the LP sized booklet and the magical list of tracks, many of which I'd never heard of, made this a spur of the moment buy for me. I cradled my purchase all the way home on the train, willing the train driver to get to my stop quicker as it meant hearing the songs sooner
:laugh:


I got home, placed the first disc in the stereo CD tray, put on my headphones and lay down and closed my eyes. Although I had one eye firmly on disc 4 and its mysterious new solo tracks (a giveaway due to the "1979" date), I patiently listened from disc 1 all the way through in chronological order, savouring the Carpenters' musical evolution. Pure heaven. While I listened, I surveyed the embossed cover and realised the set title was made up of words picked out from three songs:

All You Get From Love Is A Love Song
Let Me Be The One
Top Of The World


What I also spotted was a song called "As Time Goes By", but alas, no song on the tracklist by that name. What I learned later is that the Karen/Ella Medley was slated for inclusion but deleted due to disagreement with Ella's estate over it's inclusion.

I never did buy the Essential Collection, mainly because I had all the rarities I wanted on “From The Topor via other collections. The biggest crime on From The Top was how short discs 3 and 4 were and the biggest crime on the Essential Collection was that it missed off My Body Keeps Changing My Mind and Still Crazy After All These Years. After the sheer hunger I felt for more solo tracks after hearing Lovelines, I bought the 1991 box set literally for those two tracks alone.

 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
While I listened, I surveyed the embossed cover and realised the set title was made up of words picked out from three songs:

All You Get From Love Is A Love Song
Let Me Be The One
Top Of The World
I feel like a dolt for not having noticed this before you posted this!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I am curious about the two different issues of the "From The Top" boxset. Other than the packaging itself, I believe the difference between the two sets would be "Ava Maria", which was mastered at the incorrect speed for the first issue of the boxset (the square box). Does anyone have both versions of the set? Would be interested in your opinions of the two sets! They seem to sell at comparable prices.
Also confirming that Ave Maria is sped up. I've never heard this before! :shock:
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Also confirming that Ave Maria is sped up. I've never heard this before! :shock:

It stood out to me a mile the first time I heard it. Karen sounded like a chipmunk, it’s pretty bad. Goodness knows how it got through for such a milestone release.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
It stood out to me a mile the first time I heard it. Karen sounded like a chipmunk, it was pretty bad.
yeah! I couldn't finish listening to it... I guess I had never made it that far on "From the Top" because I was more so playing "Canta" and "Goodnight" and the other goodies that couldn't be found on other albums...
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Just listened to "Good Friends Are For Keeps." "From the Top" has much less reverb than "Essential Collection."
I think you're being fooled by the louder mastering on ESSENTIAL COLLECTION. When they're level matched, the two are identical enough to cancel each other out.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I think you're being fooled by the louder mastering on ESSENTIAL COLLECTION. When they're level matched, the two are identical enough to cancel each other out.
I'll have to pull the "Essential Collection" CDs out of my collection and re-rip them. Will try to tinker in Adobe Audition :)

Edit: Oh, never mind -- I bought "Essential Collection" on Qobuz. Will tinker now :D
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I just tinkered with the song on the two sets. They really are bit identical, except for the louder mastering. They're even the exact same speed.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I just tinkered with the song on the two sets. They really are bit identical, except for the louder mastering. They're even the exact same speed.
I now suspect what happened was I'm being misled because I'm at work and listening to the audio through my computer speakers rather than a decent pair of headphones!

But, like you said, the "Essential Collection" mastering is way louder...
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Also confirming that Ave Maria is sped up. I've never heard this before! :shock:
Okay, I pulled out both sets of "From The Top", and yes, "Ave Maria" on the original 12X12 set sounds like a Chipmunks recording! On the later longbox version, the pitch is corrected.

How did the sped up version get past Richard in the first place? An even more disturbing question, how did I not remember that this difference existed between the sets? Getting older, I suppose! :laugh:
 
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