Star Wars - The Ultimate Vinyl Collection
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Vinyl, January 8, 2016
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The most acclaimed and enduring film music in Hollywood history, the original soundtracks of Star Wars Episodes I - VI, are now issued by Sony Classical in a new box set, Star Wars: The Ultimate Vinyl Collection. All composed by John Williams, the legendary five-time Oscar®-winning composer, this unique collector set is being released just as the latest chapter in the saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters. This is the first time all six Star Wars original soundtracks have been available on vinyl in one complete box set.
Star Wars: The Ultimate Vinyl Collection includes each of the six film soundtracks from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace to Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in deluxe gatefold sleeves faithfully replicating the original artwork. Audio was transferred from the original LP masters using the highest resolution (up to 192kHz/24bit) and pressed with heavy 180gram vinyl. The six soundtrack set (on 11 LPs) is presented in a black, soft-touch laminated slipcase with an embossed, hot silver foil Star Wars logo and includes a digital download card for one complete box set (all six soundtracks).
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 12.86 x 12.5 x 2.29 inches; 8.69 Pounds
- Manufacturer : SONY MASTERWORKS
- Original Release Date : 2016
- Run time : 6 hours and 54 minutes
- Date First Available : September 25, 2015
- Label : SONY MASTERWORKS
- ASIN : B015NOT9AY
- Number of discs : 11
- Best Sellers Rank: #116,410 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Here is a TL:DR review:
The “Ultimate Soundtrack Collection” contains the same CD releases that have been available for years. It includes the 1997/2004 CD recordings of the original trilogy, which are not re-mastered, but are expanded greatly in terms of length and having more cues than the original release. The prequel CDs are exactly the same as the separate CDs you can buy. The outer packaging is great, but the CDs come in flimsy, possibly scratchy cardboard sleeves.
The “Ultimate Digital Collection” is digital and contains *re-mastered* recordings of the shorter original RCA vinyl releases. The sound quality is excellent. It comes in high quality, lossless FLAC format, but is unfortunately not available through honest means anymore. You can hear these re-masters if you look up Episodes IV, V, or VI on Amazon music, but you will of course get it in MP3 format instead of in FLAC format.
The “Ultimate Vinyl Collection” is on vinyl record, containing the same re-masters as the Digital Collection. The packaging for IV, V, and VI is modeled to be the same as the 1977-83 releases, and is gorgeous. The prequel packaging looks pretty lame, though. The sound quality is excellent, and the collection can be found for an acceptable price if you do enough looking.
Here is a much lengthier review:
- The CD version is called “Star Wars: The Ultimate Soundtrack Collection,” and features all six original saga soundtracks. The first three movies are contained on one CD each, as per their *original* releases; that means that this set does not contain the “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – The Ultimate Edition,” an expanded score released in 2000 which contained more cues from that movie. You do, however, get expanded editions of episodes IV-VI, which are the same exact recordings released in the 1997, 2004, and 2007 CD releases.
The top reviewer is upset that episodes IV-VI are not re-mastered from their 1997 releases. He prefers the re-mastered recordings released in the Ultimate Vinyl and Ultimate Digital collection releases. While those releases sound great, they do not contain nearly as much musical material as the CD masters on this collection. The cues in this CD version are very different compared to the Digital/Vinyl arrangements. And I find myself therefore alternating between the two because I like them each for different reasons.
There are nine total CDs of music, one CD of interviews with John Williams and Harrison Ford, and one fullscreen DVD of Ian McDiarmid talking about the soundtracks with footage and music cut in.
The packaging for the CD collection is a sturdy, aesthetically pleasing outer box. The inner CDs, however, do not come in jewel cases or any sort of sturdy plastic – they are each in cardboard sleeves. While I enjoy that they made the sleeves for the Original Trilogy into gatefolds using the artwork from the vinyl releases, I find the sleeves to be flimsy, and worry about scratching my CDs.
- The Digital Download version is called “Star Wars: The Ultimate Digital Collection.” This release contains the original RCA recordings of the original trilogy, which means they are cut the exact same way as the original vinyl records. However, the recordings have been lovingly re-mastered for this release. The Digital Download is in a high-quality lossless format, and also includes the prequel soundtrack recordings (prequel soundtracks on here are the same as the CD versions). The audio quality is excellent. However, since these are not the expanded cues that are released on the original trilogy CDs, I prefer to have both available as a big John Williams and Star Wars fan.
Disney seems inexplicably to have pulled the lossless (FLAC) digital downloads off the market, so there is no honest way to get these recordings (I count myself very lucky to have gotten them in time). However, Amazon offers these recordings in MP3 format - simply look up any of the original trilogy movie soundtracks on Amazon music, and you will be able to listen to or download them in a lossy format.
- The Vinyl Record release is called “Star Wars: The Ultimate Vinyl Collection”. These are the exact same re-masters as the Digital Collection listed above. I bought this product for 100 dollars (that number includes the tax and shipping) on ThinkGeek, so be aware that you can get a decent enough deal if you look hard enough or wait. I already owned the Original Trilogy soundtracks on vinyl, but wanted pristine records, and also the opportunity to get the prequels on vinyl.
The original trilogy records use the exact same artwork, inserts, and labeling as my original records from the trilogy. It even included the poster that came with A New Hope: something that had been lost by the previous owner of my original one! The only difference that I can see is that the cardboard has a more matte finish in this release than the slightly shinier original ones I have. However, these are very faithful, lovingly done original trilogy gatefolds.
The prequel trilogy gatefolds are a different story. The fronts of each sleeve look fine, featuring the original theatrical posters. The backs of each of them, however, use the original CD artwork, which looks gaudy on such a large product. They don’t even seem to have gotten higher resolution pictures, so the backs are blurry! These prequel records each come in a smaller cardboard sleeve inside of their gatefold. The sleeves for II and III are mildly acceptable, but the sleeves for Episode I are horrible. It’s as if they didn’t even hire a graphic designer to make the prequel record packaging look good.
The records sound excellent, however, and the box that holds all of the individual soundtracks is beautiful and useful. The Vinyl Edition is worth it for having the Prequels on Vinyl, and is ESEPCIALLY worth it if you do not already own the original trilogy on Vinyl yet.
The packaging and presentation come with a minimalist black slipcover featuring the Star Wars logo with chrome silver lettering. Inside each film is presented with their original album jacket and artwork on the front and back covers. It's important to note that they all have a matte finish when compared to the original glossy album covers which make them quite distinguishable from their original album releases. They include "reproductions" of the original liner notes, insert booklets, dust jacket sleeves and even a reproduction album poster that was included with the original 1977 Episode IV LP but the quality is very fuzzy compared to the image resolution on their vintage counterparts. I'm not sure why they couldn't reproduce the original images at a higher quality resolution which is somewhat disappointing but still neat that they included it. The Empire Strikes Back includes a reproduction booklet glued into the gatefold which I did not want to risk removing and damaging. Again, the images are are somewhat fuzzy compared to the original album photos like they are "photocopies" of the original album materials.
I'd say if you already own the original vinyl releases, you don't really need to get this set unless you just want to have all of the music from the first six films on vinyl and in mint condition being the major benefit here. It also includes a code for free digital downloads of all 6 albums in lossy MP3 format if you want them but if you are getting this for the vinyl experience like I did, it's kind of superfluous (yes it's in the box on a small card so make sure you remove all of the albums because it should be in there along with an introduction insert by the maestro himself, John Williams).
The audio quality of all six albums sounds absolutely magnificent on vinyl and I prefer listening to them on vinyl as opposed to the CD or digital releases. It took me about 7 and a half hours to listen to all 6 albums which were pop and scratch free and sounded incredible on my turntable. It was like listening to the albums that I literally wore out as a kid growing up in the seventies and eighties again for the very first time and I couldn't be happier to have them all back on vinyl again in pristine condition for the pure virgin vinyl needledrop experience. That alone made this a must-have purchase for me.
I am writing this review about 20 minutes past receiving the package, and I can say what hasn't been scuffed severely on the sides is great. The records are in perfect condition, so I will be glossing over those.
The artwork and extras within the folder are beautiful, and I don't see much wear on those papers; HOWEVER, the condition of the box and the folders themselves have the look of a returned item or one lost within the depths of the facility it was stored in.
I am not saying they are the worst condition, but they do appear noticeably worn. If you are purchasing this from the United States, I would be aware that the photos provided may reflect how yours will arrive. Whether it's through the mishandling at the facility, or through our often careless shipping network, the wear may just be the price for shipping overseas and for the lower price. Especially for the steal of a price I paid for them.
I can't say I'm happy with how it arrived, but I will keep the collection unless I update this with the review of the vinyls' qualities.
Top reviews from other countries
John William's music is fantastic! These soundtrack albums immerse you in the Star Wars universe - and they're a thrill to listen to. The audio quality is superb. As such, I recommend this box set to any fan of the saga. The reproduction of the original artwork is nice. Overall, I'm impressed by this product.
My only gripe is that, in reproducing the vinyl covers, the track listings reflect the LP's - which, of course, had two sides to each disc. But CD's possess only one side ... and, in consequence, the track listings are no longer accurate. As such, you have to work out the tracks for yourself. But other than this minor fault, this item is a joy to own.
I paid under £20 for this (new), as a German import (with the language printed in English). At that price, it's a bargain.
We bought this set a good while ago now for £72 when on offer and I have been meaning to write a quick review for a long time. I was shocked today to see that the price has shot up for this set as it is now OOP. A shame that, as I'm sure there are many fans who would appreciate the soundtracks on vinyl; a much better listening experience than on CD or streaming.
As my son is still pretty young and doesn't really appreciate how delicate vinyl is I insist on getting these in and out of the sleeves and placing them on the turntable. We often sit in the dining room - my music room in effect - and play these in the evenings nice and loud. Despite the issues others seem to have, I thought the transfers on these new vinyl issues were wonderful, full and warm sound, crisp with no hiss or distortion.
The sleeves are replicas of the originals - lucky enough to own the original trilogy on vinyl - and are complete with the inserts, etc.
It's nice to have Episodes I - III on vinyl. Although the music probably isn't up to the quality of those original films, there are still some stunning pieces of music; Duel Of The Fates is a particular favourite.
The albums sit nicely in the rubberised box, but are quite tight, so a little care is needed when getting them out. We also bought the Harry Potter vinyl box and I have to say this is the much better of the two, more info and the HP set is on picture disc, which is never ideal.
A stunning set and well worth the money if you can get it at a reasonable price. Hopefully this will be due for a re-release, so more people out there can enjoy the delights of these soundtracks on vinyl.
Anyway, Episode 1 to 6 the original George Lucas movies and their soundtracks are included here and that's all that matter.