Smooth-Edged Jewel Cases in Your CD Collection

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
I threw away The Doobie Brothers 1979 "Minute By Minute" (either West Germany or Japan CD from the long box which I got in late 1986) because the beginning of "Open Your Eyes" had a tape problem BUT the rest of that sounds great including the instrumental "Steamer Lane Breakdown"!! Too bad I threw that CD away. Got the remaster (which also has "Livin' On The Fault Line" (from 1977) on Edsel label (2 albums on 2 CD's).
Ooooh, "Minute by Minute" is a good album! I will consider doing research on that one, thank you for the recommendation!

Today I just got a smooth-edged pressing of Paul McCartney & Wings, Venus and Mars (catalog no. Columbia CK 36801). The CD looks like it has a black line on the data side actually... not too happy about that. Hoping that it can rip without any errors/skips in XLD.

Here's my flat scan of the album cover:

Dv0P6PS.png
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Dropping more pretty pennies, but I struck a deal with a Japanese CD dealer to buy the Alfa Records "Feels So Good" disc (cat. no. 38XB-5). I'm hoping that one sounds really nice after de-emphasis. We shall see. :)
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
I've always been pretty happy with the hits packages for Chuck Mangione. For years I made do with the purple CLASSICS VOL. 6. Then I figured out that the edited single versions of most of those same songs were on an import A&M GOLD SERIES disc and bought that.

There are times I want the full-blown songs and other times when a single edit works perfectly. Both of these discs sound pretty good to me. (And with Chuck's penchant for long songs, just these two discs give me fully half of the FEELS SO GOOD album!).
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Ooooh, "Minute by Minute" is a good album! I will consider doing research on that one, thank you for the recommendation!

Today I just got a smooth-edged pressing of Paul McCartney & Wings, Venus and Mars (catalog no. Columbia CK 36801). The CD looks like it has a black line on the data side actually... not too happy about that. Hoping that it can rip without any errors/skips in XLD.

Here's my flat scan of the album cover:

Dv0P6PS.png
On that cover you can see Columbia’s way of telling 80’s buyers that it’s a digitally mastered analog recording, rather than the AAD/ADD/DDD/DAD that other labels used.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
But Tom, do you or anyone else know what the upside down triangle on 80s and 90s Columbia product means? It appeared on CDs, on only Side One of LPs, and on only Side One of cassettes. This question has stumped record fans for decades now.

1627074724071.png
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
But Tom, do you or anyone else know what the upside down triangle on 80s and 90s Columbia product means? It appeared on CDs, on only Side One of LPs, and on only Side One of cassettes.
Side 1 of the CD, of course. Since you can't play the second side. 😁 (The only double-sided discs were those disaster DualDisc releases, and some DVDs over the years.)

I've always been pretty happy with the hits packages for Chuck Mangione.
Feels So Good and Give It All You Got on vinyl for me. With that and a couple of early albums, that's the only Chuckles I need. I think I have the Classics CD but like the others it was a sonic turd, with the poorly edited "Feels So Good" the highlight.

There isn't a single release out there that corrects his flat high notes, though...
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
But Tom, do you or anyone else know what the upside down triangle on 80s and 90s Columbia product means? It appeared on CDs, on only Side One of LPs, and on only Side One of cassettes. This question has stumped record fans for decades now.

View attachment 6832
I’ve got a couple theories.

1. It’s a graphic designer’s mark. Whoever designed the generic Columbia records CD , LP and cassette labels could not be identified because they were maybe under an exclusive contract with another company and could not be publicly identified. Kind of like Prince’s logo. That or Columbia hired a college student/intern but didn’t pay the student anything but agreed to put the student’s mark on all albums that used the generic labels. I just checked my CD’s, the earliest CD I’ve got with it is Springsteen’s “Born In The USA”—-but I bought the CD around 2010 at a Walmart and the actual disc says “Made In Canada”. So I don’t think it’s a pressing plant identification mark. The latest is Michael Bolton’s “The One Thing” from 1993 which uses Columbia’s red label—-it’s also on Bolton’s 1990 “Timeless” that used the red label.

2. They were trying to show people how to load the CD, LP, cassette properly into a specific slot loading CD/LP player and cassette player—-line the arrows like so.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
The Columbia version of Wings "Venus And Mars" did NOT sound that great which I saw from a book (which they gave it a 3 out of 10 for sound quality).
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
The Columbia version of Wings "Venus And Mars" did NOT sound that great which I saw from a book (which they gave it a 3 out of 10 for sound quality).
It sounds like a flat transfer to me. Venus and Mars is a very loud album to begin with.

cDJDPbd.png
7PhXnBd.png

Looking at the spectrogram, you can see that side one is one long tape transfer and side two is another long tape transfer. You can still hear the tape hiss, which maybe some people don't like, but I prefer having this type of transfer over transfers where noise reduction is applied too liberally.

Honestly, even though Venus and Mars is loud, at least with the Columbia CD I feel like I can really turn up the volume and not get any sonic distortion. Lots of "room" around the music.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Here's the 1993 McCartney Collection release, for comparison. (Keep in mind that the last three songs on this spectrogram are bonus tracks that were not present on the Columbia CD.)

padZKLA.png

You can see that whoever mastered this disc took out a lot of the "air" around the audio (the tape noise).
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Not smooth-edged, but recently I received my Black Triangle copy of Abbey Road. It cost a very pretty penny, but I'm glad I have it. :)

Here's a scan of my cover:

ZcaOCFi.png
 
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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
But Tom, do you or anyone else know what the upside down triangle on 80s and 90s Columbia product means? It appeared on CDs, on only Side One of LPs, and on only Side One of cassettes. This question has stumped record fans for decades now.

View attachment 6832
I was going to post a link to Steve Hoffman forums, but then I saw there's like 64 pages of threads and still no consensus. Oy.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Added Chuck Mangione's Feels So Good (38XB-5) and Herb Alpert's Rise (38XB-6) to my collection. Both have the original smooth-edged case. CDs are in gorgeous, tip-top shape.

Feels So Good has never sounded so good on CD.

QH0s7cR.png


The top is the Alfa disc after SoX de-emphasis. The bottom is the Denon (1st Japan for U.S.) CD, catalog no. CD-3219. Both are from ca. 1984, to my knowledge. No comparison in sonic fidelity—Alfa wins. There is so much room around the music. You can turn it up and your ears will be quite comfy. The reverb sounds natural, not like how sometimes the reverb sounds "smushed" with the excessive peak limiting.

Here is Rise, after de-emphasis:

e9COjPE.png


Haven't listened to it yet, but I can see already that the title track is much more dynamic than the Qobuz high-resolution remaster I purchased. Very excited to hear it!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Now listening to "Rise," since this is the song I know best on the whole album. Like how I said the reverb on "Feels So Good" doesn't sound "smushed" (i.e. bang then maybe a half-second delay before the reverb hits), "Rise" does not sound "smushed" either. The drums are punchy and the reverb envelops it nicely—no delay or "smushed" sound.

These Alfa discs really are something else. Highly recommend that you all buy one if you see one floating around out there. I got these for about $40 each. A pretty penny, but the sound is unparalleled.
 
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