ABBA / Arrival: half-speed mastered 45RPM 2LP vinyl and other goodies

2LP, box set and picture discs

ABBA‘s fourth studio album, 1976’s Arrival, is 40 this year, and so Polar Music (via Universal) are issuing a 45 RPM half-speed mastered double vinyl edition to celebrate, along with some other goodies: a seven-inch box set and some picture discs!

It may not be their best album (that’s The Visitors) but Arrival boasts both the iconic ‘helicopter’ cover and some of ABBA’s biggest and best-known hits, Dancing Queen, Knowing Me, Knowing You, and Money, Money, Money.

seven-inch box set features the four singles in coloured vinyl pressings

The seven-inch box set of Arrival features those three singles plus Fernando, even though the latter wasn’t on the album anywhere except Australia and New Zealand (it was confined to 1975’s Greatest Hits in most territories). As can be seen above, these are coloured vinyl pressings. Additionally, all four singles will be available separately as seven-inch picture discs.

The double vinyl 45RPM half-speed mastered edition will feature new liner notes written by Swedish journalist Jan Gradvall, who has conducted a brand new interview with Michael B Tretow, ABBA’s producer and ‘fifth member’.

The 2LP is widely available, although the box and seven-inch singles – for now – are only pre-orderable via Universal’s uDiscoverMusic store. All formats will be issued on 7 October 2016.



Arrival / half-speed mastered 45RPM 2LP vinyl






Arrival / Coloured vinyl box set









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The 2016 half-speed Arrival 2LP re-release contains a download voucher… what you get is all ten album tracks in the MP3 format, 320 kbps).

Looking at their DR (Dynamic Range) it seems the download contains just the same versions as on box set Complete Studio Recordings from 2005 (meaning rather brick-walled sound with a DR range from 7-9). Those versions were also used on the Arrival Deluxe edition from 2006 and its re-release in 2014.

Quite disappointing ABBA/Universal didn’t include a copy of the new 2016 remaster as a download. Besides that, it’s about time they start offering flac/lossless files with a download voucher!


Well I just picked up the half speed master from Amazon for the pricely sum of £14.99 (still in stock at that price if anyone fancies it).
By far the nicest sounding version of this album I’ve ever heard. “My Love My Life”, “That’s Me”, “Why Did It Have To Be Me” and “Tiger” are just superb when played as loud as I can get away with!


The 7″ Box Set is very nice. As I don’t own this album it would be a great opportunity. But if I order this on the sound of vinyl or udiscovermusic the shipment to Germany is 15!!!! Euro… Sorry guys….

Louis Jones

As a long time ABBA fan, I feel the milking is getting ridiculous now

Chris Veitch

I am sure this will be an attractive offer to many. Personally I would have liked to see this released in surround sound either on sacd, which I much prefer, or BluRay audio. This would have been very different and worth buying, as it would be a totally new, high quality sound listening experience, which would be well worth buying.


the 2LP is now 53 pounds on amazon. Are they freaking kidding us or what?
I gave in and ordered the little box cause I don’t wanna miss it, and will wait for a cheap-mailing fees site to list the picture discs

By the way Paul, Visitors is not their best album.


I would like to know the edition size for each item. Apart from Michel stating above that the box set is limited to 2000 copies I haven’t been able to establish how limited, if at all, these issues are. Can you tell us Paul?
When the Voulez Vous 12″ blue vinyl was released as limited edition for Record Store Day in 2012 there were different numbers given for the edition size depending where you looked. I continue to suspect that the edition was larger than it was supposed to have been and it was interesting to see that the record was available from Universal months after Record Store Day yet the disc was only supposed to be available to purchase on the day.
As for the half mastered speed LP… I don’t really care. I feel that unless you have a high spec record player etc the discernible difference on a basic/medium system will not be mind blowing. Seems like another reason to inflate the price.
As a lifelong ABBA fan even I am feeling that loyal fans are starting to be treated like mugs. We really are being milked because Universal records is confident that the die hard fan will pay good money for a poor lot i.e. a mere variation of the same old same old. Not that long ago I would have jumped immediately at the opportunity to buy these items but now I am undecided and am in no rush to buy. That must speak volumes.
It is disconcerting to read that it may be the case that Bjorn and Benny are happy to block some new material for their loyal fans but not to block them being taken for granted and treated like mugs. The logical conclusion of such a stance is that we can forget about something new in the musical sense in the future but anticipate what is fast becoming a tedious variation of everything that we already possess. Clearly it is all about the “Money money money” for the record company. It is starting to leave a bad taste. I feel that we loyal fans deserve a lot better.


Some items seem to have (temporarily?) sold out already at the Museum Shop. Only the half-speed mastered LP and the Dancing Queen picture disc are still listed there. However, all items are still available at the uDiscover Music Store.


Paul, love your site- check in every day to see what’s coming up.

Yes, you are so right, The Visitors, ABBA’s last studio album, was and still is their best.

Fabian Diaz

Well, more of the same, over and over again, vinyl Lp, singles, again??? box set of Arrival singles, all is a shame, I wait another CD/DVD with another and different spacial TV o performances from European TV, and maybe the full version of “Dancing Queen”, but nothing Interesting or new, A real penalty so much waiting for nothing, another year dissipated.
When all is said and done…

John Moon

Personally, I’d have preferred it if they’d made the 7 inches in the ‘singles box’ as picture discs instead of coloured vinyl. I’ve spent a fortune on ABBA products over the years and never complained but this definitely feels like milking it to me – having to buy the 7 inches twice if you’d like the box and picture discs.


A missed opportunity (as usual). At the very least they could have spread the original album over three sides and used side four for the non album A and B sides. You know, do something a little different, at least.

Or would adding those tracks – which have been reissued numerous times already – contravene the artist’s wishes of ‘no bonus material’?

Jos Dingemans

Arrival is brilliant…true…but these releases are, to me, a complete waste of money and another opportunity missed to release something REALLY new. There are demoversions of all tracks in the vaults, undoubtedly, so why release the same tracks again in a new package?

Billy Dojcak

Most of the time Universal does great with their reissues.

John B

You are right! They should at least put “Fernando” in!


Nothing to do with the above but don’t know where else to put it.
I see the graham parker box which was at amazon.de at 26 euro
then all orders were canceled has resurfaced at 28 euro on the same site
Iwas interested in this and was mildly aggrieved when .de cancelled it .
There may be others here in the same boat.Paul please feel free to post this where applicable.Thanks


Thanks for this news, Andrew R.

I snapped up the offer again, finger crossed it goes through this time!

Steve Thorpe

Hi – it’s been mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road as he is the half-speed mastering expert in the UK. The process enables the cutting lathe to run at half-speed (obviously the masters do the same) which places less stress on the cutting head. It also gives it twice as long to cut the groove in the lacquer, and at lower frequencies, so when the vinyl is played back it has enhanced depth, presence and a genuinely better reproduction of the source tapes. Check out some of the videos on Abbey Road’s website which outline how this process works.


Thanks for that – nice work


There is no consensus whether half speed mastering sounds better by the experts. Steve Hoffman for example doesn’t use that method as you are not cutting in real time and can’t monitor the cut properly and make EQ adjustments.

However its a fact something cut at 45 on 12″ will always sound better, as in simple terms the music has more groove length per second.

But don’t confuse the two things above. A real blind test would be between half speed mastering and normal on the same format using the same tapes and engineer.


I had high hopes for the 40th anniversary releases of this iconic album but this is disappointing. I anticipated an updated CD/DVD combo, with improved remastering and additional audio/dvd content. Maybe an audiophile pressing of the album on SACD. As it is, there is no CD option at all. Apparently, Björn and Benny don’t want anything else to be released, other than the original album.

I ordered the vinyl singles box since it looks like a nice collectors item. It’s limited to 2.000 copies and they’ve used an alternate picture for its cover. But when I compare it to the Frida box set last year, the latter had much more to offer: a hand-signed print of the album cover, the CD/DVD in a 7-inch fold-out cover, a large booklet and a 7- inch single of the album’s biggest hit “I Know There’s Something Going On”.
Either way, I won’t be playing the vinyl singles since I don’t have a (decent) record player. I never understood this newfound fascination with vinyl anyway, other than the artwork which looks much better in a large format.

Still in doubt whether to get the 45RPM re-release of the album. It would only be as a collectors item as well. Listening to it would not be a very convenient experience anyway, having to turn over the record after 2 or 3 songs. A lof of effort considering it’s an album clocking in at just over 30 minutes.


How many more times are the record company going to milk the ABBA back catalogue? There must be loads of versions of this fantastic album out there, but how many more do we really need? (ABBA Gold, by the way, must be the most re-released album on the planet!)

No, the only thing that would entice me now into buying any ABBA product would be a comprehensive supply of studio demo/recording outtakes from their entire career. There must surely be loads in the vaults.


There’s some interesting stuff about half speed mastering over on the Hoffman site. Here’s an interesting snippet:

…half-speed mastering was invented for RCA’s CD4 Quadradisc LP pressings in the early 1970s, when they had to figure out a way to get the 30kHz subcarrier frequency into the grooves. By reducing the cutting speed in half, they could easily get 15kHz in there with no problem. Somebody discovered that there were advantages to making regular stereo LPs this way, too…

If you want to read more: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/half-speed-mastering-what-and-why.196243/

Billy Dojcak

I have a lot of these records. Not sure why the grooves seem squashed. There is a lot of dead wax. That is why cd-4 are quieter, but the quad sounds great.


Not being an ABBA fan, I thought for a split second you meant ABBA had covered XTC’s iconic Helicopter song on Arrival and I’d missed it all these years. And then I realised – duh – you were merely referring to the album cover.


It was alleged that there was going to be a “40th Anniversary”deluxe edition cd/dvd (apparently they did one 40th anniversary for their album abba). There has been a reissue on 29 July 2016 of the 2006, 30th anniversary).

I say allege because my work colleague, who is a member of some abba fan club, and in their newsletter it mentioned the items of coloured vinyl, but it did mention 40th anniversary edition of the album deluxe. I can’t remember anything more, because when he mentioned it, my mind went into, not another abba reissue, and wondered off onto other things.

Rik Skyline

‘Half speed mastered’ – What does that mean ? Does it actually make a difference to sound quality on playback ? It can’t possibly be the case or surely everything would be ‘half speed mastered’. But correct me if I’m wrong, I know nothing of this. It just sounds like a marketing trick.

Rob Puricelli

Half speed mastered albums definitely do sound better, simply by virtue of the fact that a 45rpm groove is longer and mastering them at half speed means the cutter has more time to cut in the full dynamic range.

This really isn’t some poncey audiofool bullshit. I’ll happily do blind A/B tests on all the Peter Gabriel stuff and it is immediately noticeable :-)

Nigel Wraith

In general 45RPM VINYL will always yield superior audio playbact performance even when ‘NORMAL SPEED’ 45 RPM… 1/2 SPEED 45 RPM makes this superiority even greater…

Billy Dojcak

During the 80s I bought loads of 12″. UK 45 rpm always sounded better compared to the same US 33 1/3 release. Also have some 45rpm classical releases that sound great.

Nigel Wraith

Rik, listen to Rob and Paul… To add to what they say the process produces MORE INFORMATION in the record grooves, this coupled with the 45RPM FASTER SPEED playback = LOWER NOISE FLOOR + MORE ACCURATE AUDIO + SUPERIOR DYNAMIC RANGE… And so YES it really does make a difference to sound quality… Wherein, 180GRAM – 200GRAM HEAVIER WEIGHT does NOT make a difference in any regard whatsoever, but PICTURE DISCS are lower quality due to the thin extra layer onto which the picture is printed overlaying the solid vinyl material… So that’s ALL the FACTS and MYTHS relating to VINYL :-D

Billy Dojcak

Nigel, that is virtually what I told someone on FB.


yes it makes a difference.
it makes things sound worse
especially at the bass end unless you eq the heck out of it like those awful early mofi records.
then you end up with a smiley faced caricature of the music.

Daniel ( from Berlin )

Urghh!!! I’m so bored about those endless ABBA releases without any interesting alternative / unreleased audio material. Please let a higher power end these dump money milking machine.


The singles box set looks pretty nice and realistically priced at £30 (if you take into account the cost today of a 7 inch). More interestingly, there is an Abba Monopoly game!!!

Yani P

Is that a maybe then Ivan? :)


This is a Joke if you compared it to Beach Boys, Queen or Fleetwood mac (to name some) deluxe editions. NOT BUYING. NOT WORTH IT. What the hell means “Coloured vinyls”. Why not a real chewed gum version of the album?( sadly, sure some fans would buy it). This is quite dishonest towards fans who had followed them all their lives. Guys, Do not bother to buy it. Make a point here. Better nothing than this joke


Nice releases but I feel ABBA have been maxed out on vinyl recently. How about a career spanning box set on blu ray audio? Just something a little different.

Jim Galvin

Blu-Ray Audio set would be amazing.

Karbon Kev 63

Briliant album imo, one of my faves from Abba, good to see some LE releases but would have been nice to see the 2 xLP on coloured!


Michael B Tretow was ABBA’s engineer :-)

Tim Barton

The singles box looks very nice!

Lee Taylor

$60 U.S.? None for me, thanks.

Friso Pas

I’m also very interested in the mastering process. Which source material, who’s going to cut it, etc.

Chris Squires

Oh dear, this would have been a 25 quid cert if it had been a bit more like Venus and Mars. These mid 70s albums were only, what, half an hour? 37 minutes? Across 4 sides?…. B-sides, demos, live…turn 10 tracks into a 20 track 33rpm double and I would have been there. I can see what they are doing, a la Gabriel / Fleetwood Mac, but it isn’t for me this time out. Well, maybe if it were on deal alert at £20 or less.


Another opportunity lost for adding some of the many still unreleased Abba songs / demos that we’d all love to hear, rather than offering us the 40th opportunity to buy the same old versions on the same old album.


What masters will be used for the half-speed album?
If it’s the same shitty ones from the remastered cd’s
then it’s a definite NO for me.


why even bother half -speed remastering ?
a stupid audiophool idea that reduces sound quality

John Hirst

Having the Abba vinyl box I don’t feel the need to get another copy of Arrival, but those singles look very tempting.