18-disc set remastered from original master tapes and pressed on 180gm vinyl; limited edition ‘Queen by Rega’ turntable featuring band logo launched simultaneously
On the way in September is a complete collection of Queen’s 15 studio albums, restored, remastered and pressed on 180g vinyl – and to celebrate the event there’s a limited edition Queen by Rega turntable, complete with Freddie Mercury’s band logo on the platter.
Released on 25th September, Queen: The Studio Collection is the result of a five-year project involving researching the original tapes to find the best versions of the tracks under the supervision of Queen’s production team.
Leading engineers were then asked to master sample tracks and – after double blind listening – celebrated (and Grammy-winning) engineer Bob Ludwig was chosen to re-master the whole project.
Due to the condition of the original tapes, new 24bit/96kHz masters were made, enabling speed errors, clicks and drop-outs to be corrected, and from these lacquers were made by Miles Showell of Abbey Road, cutting at half speed using a Neumann VMS lathe.
Pressed by German plant Optimal, the albums use 180gm coloured vinyl echoing the main colour of each album’s artwork. But this was done only after special coloured vinyl was developed, and tested against normal black vinyl to ensure the coloured material wasn’t in any way degrading the sound quality.
The 18-disc format allows the full running times of Queen’s last two albums, Innuendo and Made In Heaven, to be accommodated, as these were originally programmed for the longer running times available on CD. Each of these album gets its own two-disc set, while Queen II, originally released with ‘Side White’ and ‘Side Black’, comes on two appropriately coloured discs with a custom etching on the reverse of each.
As well as the £285 box-set, which will come with a 108-page hardback book, individual albums will be released on black vinyl.
The Queen by Rega turntable is in gloss black, with the band logo – designed by Freddie Mercury – on the platter, and a ‘Queen by Rega’ logo on the front right corner of the plinth.
Selling for around £350, and in a limited edition, it uses the handbuilt RB101 tonearm plus a new low noise/vibration 24V motor, and comes fitted with the Rega Carbon Cartridge, with the company’s Bias 2 available as an option.
To mark the launch, the Universal Music website will each week publish the story of one of the 15 albums: the first installment, covering the band’s eponymous début album, is online now.
Written by Andrew Everard