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ELP- s/t Comparison: Early Cotillion v. Island UK

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  • ELP- s/t Comparison: Early Cotillion v. Island UK

    I had promised MEP years ago on another forum that I would make this comparison but....
    The topic came up recently in another thread, so I decided better late than never.

    The Cotillion is Specialty Records pressing that appears to have been mastered by George Piros, with the following deadwax-


    ST-CTN-702073-B AT G.P X
    ST-CTN-702074B AT-GP

    I used "Take a Pebble" at Ken Golden's suggestion (he has a wealth and depth of knowledge on "Prog").

    The Cotillion is a really good listen, the piano has weight and the bass is good.

    But, switching to the Island (a pink label, with 2u/1u inscriptions, thus an initial UK release), the difference is immediate and quite evident. More "in the room," far more apparent dynamics, more realistic cymbal splashes (from the tap of the stick to the shimmer to the decay) and overall, a richer, clearer sound. To these ears, it isn't even close.

    Now, recognizing that there is some record variabilty even among the same exact pressings, it is possible that I got a a really good UK copy and a mediocre US one. But, I don't think so. The Island is also pretty quiet- by this time, the pressings were being done at EMI, rather than Polydor or Orlake. For earlier pink labels, I tend to prefer the Polydor or Orlake pressings- they sound a little less "etched" but tend to be noisier than the EMIs. In this case, I'm not sure you have a choice, since I think Island had switched over to EMI by the time this record was first released. You can hear the difference on earlier pink labels, though, when you compare them to a slightly later remaster as a pink rim that was done at EMI.

    Just to complete the comparison--for this single track--I also had an early UK pink rim to hand which had the same lacquer info in the deadwax as the pink label. This copy isn't quite as nice as my pink label (it has some occasional ticks, though it hadn't undergone the excruciating cleaning process I usually do) but it sounds comparable to the pink label.
    Frankly, I'd just buy a pink label, since this is not one of the super expensive ones- I may have paid $20 dollars for it, plus shipping, several years ago. (Usually, you try and buy the pink rim when the original pink label gets into the multiple hundreds of dollars).

    I didn't have time to listen to the whole album for these comparisons, but may do that for a write-up on TheVinylPress when I have time.



  • #2
    I have this record, I think Take a Pebble is/was a demo cut dealers would also use (that's how I first heard it). I'll have to look at my copy its a US 1st press, the bass is warm and extended and its well recorded. I'm not a prog rock guy but the music is accessible and appeals to a wider audience.
    Linn Kilmax LP12 | B.M.C. MCCI Signature ULN | innous ZENMini | Kii Three

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
      I had promised MEP years ago on another forum that I would make this comparison but....
      The topic came up recently in another thread, so I decided better late than never.

      The Cotillion is Specialty Records pressing that appears to have been mastered by George Piros, with the following deadwax-


      ST-CTN-702073-B AT G.P X
      ST-CTN-702074B AT-GP

      I used "Take a Pebble" at Ken Golden's suggestion (he has a wealth and depth of knowledge on "Prog").

      The Cotillion is a really good listen, the piano has weight and the bass is good.

      But, switching to the Island (a pink label, with 2u/1u inscriptions, thus an initial UK release), the difference is immediate and quite evident. More "in the room," far more apparent dynamics, more realistic cymbal splashes (from the tap of the stick to the shimmer to the decay) and overall, a richer, clearer sound. To these ears, it isn't even close.

      Now, recognizing that there is some record variabilty even among the same exact pressings, it is possible that I got a a really good UK copy and a mediocre US one. But, I don't think so. The Island is also pretty quiet- by this time, the pressings were being done at EMI, rather than Polydor or Orlake. For earlier pink labels, I tend to prefer the Polydor or Orlake pressings- they sound a little less "etched" but tend to be noisier than the EMIs. In this case, I'm not sure you have a choice, since I think Island had switched over to EMI by the time this record was first released. You can hear the difference on earlier pink labels, though, when you compare them to a slightly later remaster as a pink rim that was done at EMI.

      Just to complete the comparison--for this single track--I also had an early UK pink rim to hand which had the same lacquer info in the deadwax as the pink label. This copy isn't quite as nice as my pink label (it has some occasional ticks, though it hadn't undergone the excruciating cleaning process I usually do) but it sounds comparable to the pink label.
      Frankly, I'd just buy a pink label, since this is not one of the super expensive ones- I may have paid $20 dollars for it, plus shipping, several years ago. (Usually, you try and buy the pink rim when the original pink label gets into the multiple hundreds of dollars).

      I didn't have time to listen to the whole album for these comparisons, but may do that for a write-up on TheVinylPress when I have time.

      Thanks for this Bill! I would be interested in a comparison of the bass at the end of Lucky Man.
      SP-10 MKII table with custom power supply designed and built by Peter Noerbaek with an SME 3012R with Dyna XV-1S cartridge, VPI Avenger table with rim drive and JMW -12-3D arrm with Lyra Etna SL cartridge, Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers with a pair of Def Tech Ref subs.

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      • #4
        NM copy Pink label UK pressing sold from US is $125.00.
        SP-10 MKII table with custom power supply designed and built by Peter Noerbaek with an SME 3012R with Dyna XV-1S cartridge, VPI Avenger table with rim drive and JMW -12-3D arrm with Lyra Etna SL cartridge, Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers with a pair of Def Tech Ref subs.

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        • lasercd
          lasercd commented
          Editing a comment
          Thats a ripoff. Earlier this month I picked up a NM UK pink Island for a friend at Princeton Record Exchange. Paid $18.00.

      • #5
        Originally posted by mep View Post

        Thanks for this Bill! I would be interested in a comparison of the bass at the end of Lucky Man.
        Happy to do, but subterranean bass is not the real strength of my system- though if it is on the recording, it will sound good. When I can, I will do a more detailed comparison. The prices of these records are always in a range--but this is not a particularly rare pink label and is not as desirable in the marketplace as others. Figure expedited Royal Mail shipping is 24 bucks to the States from the UK, maybe a little less right now with the devaluation of the UK pound. Apart from price, the big factor is obviously condition.

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        • #6
          Thanks Bill, I always look forward to your music articles and pressing comparisons!!!
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
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          -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

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          • #7
            I think mofi did this one on anadisq 200 in the 90's. I wonder how that one compares to the pink island.
            Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Shelter 501 Mark II Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, DIY Silver Interconnects

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            • #8
              While I have not done a direct A/B I am certain the pink Island would crush the MoFi. The MoFi was not taken from the original UK masters. If you listen, there is an obvious clue in the first 10 seconds.

              EDT: my apologies. I was thinking about Pictures At An Exhibition. Not sure if MoFi ever did the first album. I know they did Tarkus and Trilogy. The UK Island Tarkus stomped the MoFi.
              PROGRESSIVE SOUNDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
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              Rockport Aquila, Boulder 2010, Boulder 2008, Boulder 2060, Transparent Audio Reference XL, Nordost Quantum QBase8, TW Acustic AC Anniversary, TW Acustic Raven 10.5 arm, Lyra Atlas, Bricasti M1 Special Edition, SRA Scuttle3 rack + various SRA/Symposium stands

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              • JCOConnell
                JCOConnell commented
                Editing a comment
                My mistake,The Mofi I was thinking of was Trilogy not ELP

              • lasercd
                lasercd commented
                Editing a comment
                A UK Island pressing of Trilogy is extraordinary. A must own. This is probably ELP's best produced album.

            • #9
              what is wrong within the first 10 seconds of mofis ELP-pictures?
              Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Shelter 501 Mark II Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, DIY Silver Interconnects

              Comment


              • lasercd
                lasercd commented
                Editing a comment
                It fades out after Keith says "We're gonna give you Pictures At An Exhibition". The UK (I assume all European pressings actually) doesn't have the fade to silence. All applause. Most likely the Cotillion was cut from a safety. The MoFi was cut from this tape.

            • #10
              A bit off topic but...I picked up a Warner/Pioneer pressing of this LP recently (P-8033A). It was much better in all respects compared with my early Cotillion pressing. I was lucky enough to find a M/M cover/vinyl pressing and the bass on Lucky Man can shake the paint off your walls.
              Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof.
              https://www.edsstuff.org

              Analog: VPI Prime, 3 Belt Drive, Dual Pivot, ADS, Ortofon Windfeld Ti, Liberty B2B-1, Sky 30 Trans, Stereo Squares Dust Cover
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              Comment


              • JCOConnell
                JCOConnell commented
                Editing a comment
                aren't most Japanese rock pressings lacking in bass compared to other countries?

              • EdAInWestOC
                EdAInWestOC commented
                Editing a comment
                I own a number of Japanese pressings and I haven't found that generalization to be true. Some of the Japanese pressings are outstanding. For instance the CBS/Sony pressing of Pink Floyd - The Wall is one of the best. Some people consider it as the best. I don't know about that but I do know its as good as I've heard.

              • EdAInWestOC
                EdAInWestOC commented
                Editing a comment
                I don't doubt that the UK Island pressing is very good. This album doesn't rate very high on my must have list so the Japanese pressing is good enough until I happen to find one of the pink label LPs.

            • #11
              What is the original UK ELP S/T label? I see pink rim and saw a couple of pink label Islands. Are the pinks just reissues?
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
              -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
              -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #12
                For UK Island the pink label came first, followed by the pink rim (palm tree) label. For the first ELP album, a pink label indicates the original pressing. Bill Hart can speak with more authority on the sonic differences of a pink label vs pink rim.
                PROGRESSIVE SOUNDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
                www.lasercd.com
                www.lasersedgegroup.com

                Rockport Aquila, Boulder 2010, Boulder 2008, Boulder 2060, Transparent Audio Reference XL, Nordost Quantum QBase8, TW Acustic AC Anniversary, TW Acustic Raven 10.5 arm, Lyra Atlas, Bricasti M1 Special Edition, SRA Scuttle3 rack + various SRA/Symposium stands

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                • #13
                  Just for grins and giggles I'll add this observation that is off topic a bit, mainly because I am a big EL&P fan and their first album is so fantastic....
                  Any discussion of this album is of interest...

                  When listening to "Just Take A Pebble" you can hear tape hiss on CD and vinyl most notably in the low musical passage that has the water dripping, right?
                  Maybe it came off the deck that they recorded the water sound effects on???

                  Anyway, I just happen to have this album on 15ips 2 track tape from a proper copy of a studio tape. There is very low tape hiss in this passage on my tape, especially when compared to CD and Vinyl. I have always thought that was curious.

                  Also BTW, I must comment on the the fury of the music, the dynamics and bass, at the end of Knife's Edge.
                  It will shake my entire house at concert level, an absolute audio thrill ride as the music grinds down in a swirling vortex of acoustic power!
                  I suggest giving it a listen at concert level, in addition to Lucky Man that is.

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                    What is the original UK ELP S/T label? I see pink rim and saw a couple of pink label Islands. Are the pinks just reissues?
                    Myles- As you probably know, there were different "pink labels" starting with the pink background and orange and black 'bullseye', then the "blocked i" logo in black at 6'o clock on the label face, and finally, the pink background with the small white letter "i." The first ELP album came near the very end of the last iteration of the pink label (with white "i"). So, the early pressings would look like this: Click image for larger version

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