Five years in the making, the Queen Studio Collection is a must have for serious Queen fans and vinyl collectors. It consists of all 15 studio albums, presented as 18 audiophile LPs on coloured vinyl and packaged in a box set with a 108 page hardback book.
The Studio Collection LPs were half-speed mastered at Abbey Road Studios, and pressed on 180 gram heavyweight coloured vinyl at Optimal Media in Germany, one of the world’s leading audiophile vinyl manufacturers.
Since 2010 Queen’s production team has worked extensively on all stages of the process:
The first step was the tape research; locating and confirming the correct versions and best sources for all tracks. Under Pressure and 5 other tracks on the ‘Innuendo’ album were improved hugely after the discovery of better sources.
To ensure optimum mastering quality, the Queen team asked a number of world-renowned mastering engineers to deliver their best efforts on the same three songs; after double-blind comparison tests, Bob Ludwig’s work was a clear winner, and he was asked to master the entire catalogue for this project.
Ludwig is probably the best-known mastering engineer in the world. His skills, combined with a perfect acoustic environment and the some of the world’s finest analogue and digital equipment at Gateway Mastering in Portland, USA, allow him to produce matchless quality in the final result.
The original plan was to master everything straight from the analogue mix tapes, where available. But in fact most of those tapes, having suffered from the effects of time, were in need of some restoration.
The problems encountered included speed errors, missing audio, newly developing clicks and other unwanted noise. So the decision was made to create new super-high quality digital masters, using 24 bit samples and a sampling rate of 96 kHz. All the restoration was then performed in the digital domain, and the vinyl was cut from these perfected files.
All restoration was carried out with the lightest of touches, with a profound respect for the originals, and the resulting masters are undoubtedly the finest ever.
Of course, with the vinyl process, everything depends on the final stage – the physical cut – one continuous modulated spiral groove on each side, carrying all the sound information which will eventually reach our ears.
For this process, there was only one man in the frame: Miles Showell at famed Abbey Road Studios, London, has perfected the technique of cutting at half speed.
Showell runs the source file and the cutting lathe at 50% of the normal speed, which means double the accuracy in the cutting of the groove, resulting in superior reproduction of the music via the stylus in your record player.
Showell uses a beautifully maintained Neumann VMS80 lathe boasting cutter-head amplifiers fitted with custom designed RIAA filters. These filters have been optimised for the very cleanest sound.
He started by cutting the albums onto acetate discs to check the process for every track, and only after he’d fixed any sibilance or other vinyl-specific problems did he cut the lacquers to be sent to the manufacturing plant.
Queen Studio Collection Price & Availability
The recommended retail price for the Studio Collection is $799, but we will be selling it at the special price of just $779.
It will be available from September 25, 2015. Find out more about the Queen Studio Collection here >>
We have 5 sets on order (two pre-sold already) from a total of only 20 sets coming to Australia, so if you want to get your hands on this very special collector’s item you’ll need to be quick - contact us today on (07) 3552 7000 to pre-order.
Queen By Rega – limited edition turntable
To coincide with the Studio Collection release, Queen commissioned Rega to produce a limited edition turntable, and Queen by Rega is the result.