Good morning and welcome back to the blog at the end of another week. If you’re in England I hope you’re keeping dry, in the NE of the States and Canada keeping warm and if nearby keeping cool. We’re so global eh? A bit of a quiet week in terms of news relating to The Clash which is good because I haven’t really had much time to write but there are a few things on the horizon for next week and beyond.
I wanted to share the results of the small survey I conducted about your ownership of the Sound System box set that I had posted a while back and also share a little news on the box set. As for me you may remember that pricing precluded me from getting it and Sony never bloody came through (sigh…) so I saved $115 and just purchased the remastered studio albums as a box and skipped the dog tags and posters. I’ve got to say I’m more than happy with that decision now.
As for the audio remastering I think it’s mostly bloody excellent but you do need a good stereo setup to truly appreciate the differences. When I listen via my really good receiver and speakers I hear so much that is new to my ears but on a smaller stereo like the one away from my office the differences are far less pronounced. On headphones too there is a major difference, on a very good pair you’ll see (hear) the benefit and value whilst on a pair of ear-buds I don’t think it’s probably worth your while. On the other hand if you’ve fallen into the rut of just listening to music on .mp3 files over the last five or ten years it’s going to sound stellar no matter what but then again so will any of your old existing vinyl or CDs.
What I will say is that the first two albums especially get a lot more warmth and depth to the point where it almost sounds more like the original vinyl rather than the previous compact discs. In terms of hearing more than ever before I think Sandinista! and Combat Rock benefit the most, London Calling on certain tracks and the debut also, whereas ‘Rope is still so full of sound that it almost begs to be unmastered if there was such a term, I find that album the hardest to note any major changes which in a way is a compliment to the original work by Sandy Pearlman when you think about it.
The 5 album box then comes highly recommended and provides extremely good value – currently retailing in the US at only $33 or in the UK at £26 (both prices based on Amazon). At your traditional record shop, if you’re lucky enough to have one, they will most likely be looking for another 15-20% on top of that.
Back to Sound System then and if you perhaps haven’t purchased it I would suggest making sure you read the remarkable review by Kris Needs here on the blog to see what you’re missing. As for the poll I asked simply if you had bought it yet or planned to with the results below:
What’s apparent is that Sony still have a good number of hardcore fans of The Clash still to reach and pricing might be the way to accomplish that. On Facebook recently I’ve seen three people post that HMV shops in the UK had the box set retailing at just £50 which is just over half of the normal price charged when it was released. I’ve no idea why that would be the case nor how many shops were offering the same but of course it’ll be snapped up quickly at that price. As with all box sets after a period of time they either end up as a collector’s item forcing the price higher and higher or in the bargain racks and online liquidators if too many were manufactured but it’s too early to see what the future holds for Sound System. Sony/Legacy do offer those special ‘limited edition’ online only sales and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it cropping up on there once original supplies to retailers have dried up.
At present the online pricing hasn’t changed very much with ebay auctions (US) seeing it sell around $145 and Amazon holding at about $155-$160 although today they have two ‘used’ listings with one as low as $114 with the only issue appearing to be that the shrink-wrap is missing. In the UK £94 seems to remain the accepted price. If you’ve seen any great prices online no matter which country please share it with readers who I’m certain would love to save a few coins.
Right then, off to work for me but thanks as ever for reading. Much more over the weekend I’m sure.