- Audio CD (May 17, 2011)
- Number of Discs: 10
- Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
- Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
- Label: Hollywood Records
- ASIN: B004SBB0LU
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,274 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Queen 40, Volume 1 Box set, Original recording remastered
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Exclusive to Amazon Customers: Queen's first five studio albums remastered in deluxe reissue editions with rare bonus material all in one collectible box with a 24 panel Poster for the ultimate Queen fan.
Albums included in the box:
Sheer Heart Attack
A Night At the Opera
A Day At the Races
Queen's 40th anniversary is now upon us, and the band plans to pull out all the stops to celebrate this historic occasion. This yearlong event will be marked by a series of releases, re-releases, special limited-edition items and events around the world. As the centerpiece in the 40th anniversary celebration, Queen's studio catalog is being reissued in a series of deluxe editions. Every note is being tweaked, every piece of artwork is being cleaned, freshened up and resourced, wherever necessary, with the legendary Bob Ludwig doing the remastering, working from the original source material.
Each studio album will be released in a new two-CD edition, the first containing the updated, remastered original LP, the second disc packed with rarities--and we don't use the term lightly. Some of these gems have never before seen the light of day, even in crappy bootleg form. To cite a particularly fascinating example, five first-album demos recorded at London's De Lane Lea Studios in December 1971 were pulled from the only existing copy on the planet--an acetate from May's personal archives. Not even his bandmates had a copy. And now they can be yours in this fan centric box set only available at Amazon.
From the Artist
"A huge amount of work has already been put in behind the scenes to unleash a completely newly mastered set of the original Queen LPs and CDs," Brian May noted. "I know our fans will appreciate the attention to detail, bringing the early albums closer than ever to the magic of the vinyl originals, but with the benefit of up-to-the-minute quality technology."
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Top Customer Reviews
After reading one review, I was a little concerned about the audio compression. So, I compared several songs throughout this box set with their '91 counterparts through audacity. The "Loudness" of the 2011 releases have been raised, but not as much as I would have expected. There appears to be plenty of dynamic range left with these releases. The sound quality is impeccable and have never sounded any better on a U.S. release.
Unfortunately, I feel that the bonus E.P.'s are lacking. There is so much unreleased material that could have been used to fill out the rest of these discs. For this reason, and the fact that the albums were not released in surround sound, I did not give this set 5 stars.
It's obvious the band & the label have gone all out on this edition of these classic Queen albums. The audio is crisp and deep - the quiet passages are actually QUIET instead of being filled with hiss and digital noise like on the original EMI imports. More to their credit, they didn't mess with the mixes, song lengths, or do any of the other shenanigans that bands/labes often do when they do this kind of comprehensive update of their back catalog.
Each album comes with a second disc of extras - this is where the real gold is once you get used to how phenomenal these new remastered albums sound. "Queen" includes the ORIGINAL Queen demo songs - all of which made the first album (one of them more so that you ever imagined); it's very interesting to hear the subtle differences between the first demo of "Keep Yourself Alive" and the vast change made between the demo of "Jesus" and the final album version (it's easily sped up 10 bpm or more).
The other albums' extra discs contain gems culled from BBC sessions and concerts throughout Queen's halcyon days in the 1970s & 80s. One of the definite highlights is the a capella version of the operatic section in their hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" - no auto-tuning here, and the vocal abilities of Freddie, Brian & Roger shine right through. John gets his own spotlight, too, with a stripped-down version of "You're My Best Friend" that highlights his musical skills.
All in all, if you're still listening to very old Queen cd's, this is the set to upgrade to. Simply amazing audio quality.
Ten years ago, I opted for the Queen catalog in Japan mini-sleeves, which I believe had Japan-dedicated remasters. I never heard any of the artifacting in the Toshiba discs that Mr. Fleming speaks of in the European releases. So, please remember as you are reading this, I do not have the domestic Hollywood or European releases, only the Japan discs: If you do not own those, you will probably not reach the same conclusions as I did.
On the heels of those recent, terrible Rolling Stones "remasters", Universal has applied the same odious loudness compression method to another high profile catalog: Queen. If you're not familiar with term, the technical explanation is the application of an increasingly high ratio of compression to the dynamic range of a particular recording, and then increasing the gain of the recording, until the peaks have reached maximum.
In layman's terms: There are no longer any quiet or loud passages in the recording, EVERYTHING is at the same volume. Go to Wikipedia and search "loudness wars". In that article, there is also a link to an excellent You Tube audio/video demonstration.
Basically, the ubiquity of the iPod is the culprit in this plague: When music is played back thru earbuds in any environment with ambient noise present, by having the volume artificially jacked across the entire music spectrum, you can hear the content more clearly.
When you listen to these new Queen editions in a home system, however, it's just a sheer wall of high volume sound; there is no dynamic range remaining. The vocals, instrumentation and orchestrations are all now in competition, rather than being in harmony, with each other, and the overall volume of each album is much louder than the previous versions. There is also a noticeable loss of clarity in the cymbals on the 2011 releases; they sound much sharper on the Japan discs.
All of this adds up to a real heartbreaker, because a lot of the bonus material is excellent, and Queen fans have been waiting for a long time for this kind of look under the hood.
There was also no reason to split the bonus material to a 2nd disc on any of these releases, other than to charge a higher price for each title. None of these albums with their respective bonus material approach the full capacity of a CD. There was even room on each album disc to include not only the new bonus material, but also the bonus tracks from the earlier editions. So, especially with the addition of a 2nd CD in each set, making each title more expensive, Universal's choice not to do so borders on the egregious.
NOVEMBER 2011 UPDATE: Amazon has lowered the price on this set by nearly half. I was already regretting buying this set; now I'm just downright pissed, since it's "an Amazon Exclusive". As for the next three boxes (#2 is already out as of this writing), you might not want to buy them until they've also been discounted!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Queen is a solid debut with the opening brilliance of keep yourself alive and all good tracks following.Read more