SDEtv / David Bowie: A New Career in a New Town / unboxing video

Watch the unboxing video

Out today is A New Career In A New Town a new David Bowie box set released by Parlophone that covers the period 1977-1982. It’s available on vinyl and CD. SDE has unboxed the CD version and you can watch the video below…


13LP Box Set:

84 Page hardback book

Low (remastered) (1LP)
(remastered) (1LP)
“Heroes” E.P. 
(remastered) (12” Single)*
(remastered) (2LP Yellow Vinyl) *
Stage (2017) 
(remastered)  (3LP)
(remastered) (1LP)
(Tony Visconti 2017 Mix) (1LP)*
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
Re:Call 3 
(non-album singles, single versions and b-sides) (remastered) (2LP)*

* Exclusive to ‘A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)’

11 CD Box Set:

128 Page hardback book

Low (remastered) (1CD)
(remastered) (1CD)
“Heroes” E.P. 
(remastered) (CD EP)*
(remastered) (2CD)*
Stage (2017) 
(remastered) (2CD)
(remastered) (1CD)
(Tony Visconti 2017 Mix) (1CD)*
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) 

Re:Call 3 (non-album singles, single versions and b-sides) (remastered) (1CD)*

* Exclusive to ‘A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)’

Detailed CD & Vinyl Tracklistings (showing Vinyl side breaks)



Released on RCA PL 12030 (U.K.) / CPL1-2030 (U.S.) on 14thJanuary, 1977.

Side 1
1. Speed Of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. What In The World
4. Sound And Vision
5. Always Crashing In The Same Car
6. Be My Wife
7. A New Career In A New Town

Side 2
1. Warszawa
2. Art Decade
3. Weeping Wall
4. Subterraneans


Released on RCA PL 12522 (U.K.) / AFL1-2522 (U.S.) on 14th October, 1977.

Side 1
1. Beauty And The Beast
2. Joe The Lion
3. “Heroes”
4. Sons Of The Silent Age
5. Blackout

Side 2
1. V-2 Schneider
2. Sense Of Doubt
3. Moss Garden
4. Neuköln
5. The Secret Life Of Arabia

Side 1
1. “Heroes”/”Helden” (German album version)
2. “Helden” (German single version)

Side 2
1. “Heroes”/”Héros” (French album version)
2. “Héros” (French single version)

STAGE (Original)

Released on RCA PL 02913 (U.K.) / CPL2-2913 (U.S.) on 8thSeptember, 1978.

Side 1
1. Hang On To Yourself
2. Ziggy Stardust
3. Five Years
4. Soul Love
5. Star

Side 2
1. Station To Station
2. Fame
3. TVC 15

Side 3
1. Warszawa
2. Speed Of Life
3. Art Decade
4. Sense Of Doubt
5. Breaking Glass

Side 4
1. “Heroes”
2. What In The World
3. Blackout
4. Beauty And The Beast

STAGE (2017)
Side 1
1. Warszawa
2. “Heroes”
3. What In The World

Side 2
1. Be My Wife
2. The Jean Genie *
3. Blackout
4. Sense Of Doubt

Side 3
1. Speed Of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. Beauty And The Beast
4. Fame

Side 4
1. Five Years
2. Soul Love
3. Star
4. Hang On To Yourself
5. Ziggy Stardust
6. Suffragette City *

Side 5
1. Art Decade
2. Alabama Song
3. Station To Station

Side 6
1. Stay
2. TVC 15

* Previously unreleased


Released on RCA PL 13254 (U.K.) / APL1-3254 (U.S.) on 18th May, 1979.

LODGER (2017 Tony Visconti mix)
Side 1
1. Fantastic Voyage
2. African Night Flight
3. Move On
4. Yassassin (Turkish for: Long Live)
5. Red Sails

Side 2
1. D.J.
2. Look Back In Anger
3. Boys Keep Swinging
4. Repetition
5. Red Money


Released on RCA BOWLP 2 (PL 13647) (U.K.) / AQL1-3647 (U.S.) on 12th September, 1980.

Side 1
1. It’s No Game (Part 1)
2. Up The Hill Backwards
3. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
4. Ashes To Ashes
5. Fashion

Side 2
1. Teenage Wildlife
2. Scream Like A Baby
3. Kingdom Come
4. Because You’re Young
5. It’s No Game (Part 2)

Side 1
1. “Heroes” (single version)
2. Beauty And The Beast (extended version)
3. Breaking Glass (Australian single version)
4. Yassassin (single version)
5. D.J. (single version)

Side 2
1. Alabama Song
2. Space Oddity (1979 version)
3. Ashes To Ashes (single version)
4. Fashion (single version)
5. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (single version)

Side 3
1. Crystal Japan
2. Under Pressure (single version) – Queen and David Bowie
3. Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (soundtrack album version)
4. Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy * – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
* mono

Side 4
Bertolt Brecht’s Baal
1. Baal’s Hymn
2. Remembering Marie A.
3. Ballad Of The Adventurers
4. The Drowned Girl
5. The Dirty Song

The running order for Re:Call 3 CD differs from the vinyl version

1. “Heroes” (single version)
2. Beauty And The Beast (extended version)
3. Breaking Glass (Australian single version)
4. Yassassin (single version)
5. D.J. (single version)
6. Alabama Song
7. Space Oddity (1979 version)
8. Ashes To Ashes (single version)
9. Fashion (single version)
10.Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (single version)
11.Crystal Japan
12.Under Pressure (single version) – Queen and David Bowie

Bertolt Brecht’s Baal
13.Baal’s Hymn
14.Remembering Marie A.
15.Ballad Of The Adventurers
16.The Drowned Girl
17.The Dirty Song
18.Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (soundtrack album version)

19.Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy * – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
* mono


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[…] Ashes’ (which would be the next single). Both tracks were included on Re:Call 3 in the 2017 A New Career In A New Town box […]


Thanks Paul for another superb, detailed review. I was glad to have the chance to watch your video before receiving my copies. The visual aspect of all Bowie’s albums and creativity is an amazing, essential part of the whole experience to me. So, needless to say I really enjoyed your presentation.

I also want to thank and congratulate the design team (Mark and Gavin?) in charge of scanning the original artworks for doing such a brilliant job. The high quality and degree of precision are simply remarkable. The choice of fonts, paper stocks and finishes used on the newer artworks (“Heroes EP”, “RE:CALL 3”…) as well as the old ones indeed, is an absolute feast for the eyes. I also like how they replicated the bright yellow vinyl and original sticker on “Stage” (1978). Really nice touch!

However, I unfortunately would have to agree about some of the album covers being somewhat darker (especially noticeable when compared to the originals).

My copies (on vinyl and CD) of both versions of “Stage” (2017 & 1978 replica) look a little bit dark and kind of yellowish. The bright fluorescent lights now look way too dimmed. The white lettering (‘David Bowie Stage’) on my copy of the original 1978 RCA front cover was almost matching the backdrop’s white lights.

And the same seems to apply also to my copies of “Low”, with Bowie’s skin color being overly yellow, and the outstanding iconic orange background looking much darker…then again, not matching the bright lettering (‘David Bowie Low’), which kind of looks like a neon sign now against the darker background ;-)

For some reason, it just seems to me like there’s an overall higher percentage of black ink used for the printing of some of the new album covers, or it might just be an issue with only a small batch of copies, I honestly don’t know.

One thing I do know though is that “Low” is an absolute masterpiece. Both the audio portion and the striking visuals (graphics, the timeless, powerful cover shot) will never cease to amaze.

And so, even though the artwork is unfortunately not as bright as it used to be (I just hope it will be fixed before they release the stand-alone versions next year), I also have to thankfully add that I was totally thrilled and impressed to see the original Pantone colors – the electric bright orange and the yellow – being faithfully used here to recreate the original pressing. This 40th anniversary edition deserved nothing less than a royal treatment, and the use of both Pantone colors, as well as the reproduction of the fan club leaflet and track-listing sticker is awesome.

Everything else…“Lodger”, “Scary Monsters”, the book, the unseen photographs and essays are all simply stunning. Many thanks!

Phillip Anderson

Well my copy of Stage definately looks ” yellowish” as it’s on yellow vinyl. All official ( bought at HMV store Baker St London on release day).
ps, A great review of a great review..

[…] A New Career In A New Town 1977-1982 is out now. You can watch the SDEtv unboxing video of the CD box here. […]

Nigel D Day

People on the Steve Hoffman forums are saying contact Rhino (?????). I can’t recall seeing Rhinos name on anything in the short time I had the box.

Wayne Klein

In the U.S. Rhino now owns Parlophone. Not sure if they own the titles in the U.K. That’s why folks are saying to contact Rhino–that arm of Warner handles the box.


Thanks for the comments everyone, I spoke to Amazon (I never use anyone else anymore) who offered 20% refund on the cd boxset and 23% on the vinyl. The biggest difficulty was explaining the difference between cd and vinyl to the young lady on the phone! Hopefully Parlophone provide replacements as many other record companies have done with defective sets in the past. I’ve a funny feeling they won’t though.

Auntie Sabrina

Under UK laws the seller is responsible regarding the sale of faulty goods. You also have some rights to a refund via your bank/building society if you paid with a debut/credit card. As regards being able to identify corrected discs, any replacement could have a -2 suffix added to the numbers toward the centre of the CD playing side (the matrix number).


Interesting that everybody is contacting Amazon (or other sellers) because of the error. I just sent Parlophone an e-mail and I hope they will answer. If they do, I will share the answer.

Celtic Bob

What email do you have? I couldn’t find one. I contacted Warner to no reply.


Do you have a link / address to email Parlophone? It was next step for me too. Everyone on here should do the same and hopeful that if retailers like Amazon and HMV stop selling the product, something will be done.


I Paid £177 pre-order and have just had a £65 partial refund from Amazon, so £112 isn’t too bad for the Vinyl box set.

Me: How much would a partial refund be?

Rjara: The partial refund would be 65 GBP.

Me: ok thank you, that will be acceptable

Rjara: I’ve requested a partial refund of 65 GBP. Please allow your bank between 5-7 business days to process it. When the refund is completed, we’ll send you an e-mail letting you know the date, amount and payment details. You can view completed refunds in Your Orders, https://www.amazon.co.uk/your-orders , by selecting “Order Details”.

Can I be of any further assistance?

Me: Have a nice day :-)


Presuming that Parlophone will issue a new ” corrected” BOX , how can we be sure we will buy a corrected one ?

this second edition should be well identified in the internet market to avoid any bad surprise

will Parlophone have the honesty to do that?


After talking to Amazon, i got a partial 15% refund , the should vover the price fopr the future single reissues of Heroes !!


Following up on the reports I’ve read here today, I also spoke with Amazon about the variety of glitches, especially the one on “Heroes”. After declining the Amazon US CS rep’s offer of a replacement box – because, the problem is on all of the sets, I explained, she proffered a 22% (almost exactly $22.00) refund credit to my credit card. That for me means a total cost with tax included of around $99.00 for the CD box. Thanks to all the comments and guidance from the other readers here, and of course to Paul always for this excellent resource that is SDE.


A couple of seconds fade on one track and people are complaining that it doesn’t just spoil the track but it spoils the complete album and the complete box set! A big over-reaction. As is proven time and time again, remasters are always a gamble. They shouldn’t be, but they are. Fear not, you’ll have the chance to buy it all over again when they re-re-remaster it and put it inside a different cardboard box for the 50th anniversary celebratory super duper deluxe £250 box set. Maybe it’s time to err, Move On folks and check out some different music instead of buying the same music over and over again. P.S. I did LOL at the “if you look at the WAV file” comment. Look? Try using your ears instead!

Ben Williams

Think you might be on the wrong site if you don’t like buying the same music over and over again lol ;-)

I think what people are ticked off about is the fact that for a premium, expensive box set, these sort of annoying issues shouldn’t be present, especially given the amount of promo this box has been given.

David Harold

Amazon.co.uk confirmed to me they are investigating it. They first offered me a return and refund but when I said I would prefer replacement discs they told me that wasn’t possible and gave me a £35.55 refund, which was 20% of my order price (vinyl).


I have all the Ryko versions and don’t plan to shell out on the new box set, but I would also be curious to read an analysis of the new ‘Lodger’ mix!

Wayne Klein

The issues I had with the Ryko discs was the use of noise reduction when it really wasn’t necessary. Other than that, the bass isn’t as well defined on some discs but they are a step up from the horrible horrible brickwalling on Low, the Heroes goof up, drop outs and tape flutter on Lodger.

Really, Ray Staff has done a crappy job here–these weren’t carefully remastered and restored. They were done in a slap dash fashion.


I pre-ordered the CD box set from Amazon at £99.99 and received in on 28/09 with the same posted price of £99.99.
Tonight I went on live chat and explained that I had issues with Low, Heroes and the two Lodger issues, which I do.
I was immediately offered 15% (£14.99) . I persisted and explained that it seemed disproportionate as 4 of the 11 CDs seemed to be defective (36%), which corresponds to £36.36. I was then immediately offered a one-time exception of a discount of 37% (£36.99). Needless to say I accepted and am happy having paid £63.00 for the set.
Clearly it pays to be persistent (and to keep it polite and professional).

Philip S

Looks like my pre-ordered vinyl box set is about to wing its way to me from Amazon as they’ve just extracted the cash from my credit card. I’ll give it a few spins before I decide how noticeable any defects are and what I want to do about them.

Out of (financial) interest, how did everyone go about contacting Amazon to get their partial refund? I’m struggling to find a chat option.


Just google “amazon live chat uk”.


That bad


I bought the vinyl and when I rang them they offered me £40.89 refunded and the autorip of the full box set.bargain .I must admit I played heroes 3 times a on Sunday and didn’t even notice anything wrong until it was pointed out and I still don’t think it’s that bab .but I guess it shouldn’t of had any problems

Paul Chapman

as a high-res customer I’m surprised that none of the re-call discs have been included, anybody know why?


Glad I held off now on ordering this, the reviews are horrendous and one can only hope parlaphone address the issues and go public with either a resolution or basically say all is well, having listened to the drop in heroes it is horrendous, even in Spotify you hear it clearly

Kevin from Edinburgh

Hi William-M (and others in this thread, perhaps)

The reviews are, as you say, horrendous, but without wishing to dismiss others’ views, I can’t help but feel that this has grown out of all proportion. Each hour brings an online assessment of the set that seems hell-bent on being more indignant and more damning than the last. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a total affront to sound quality, and that those responsible should be put in the stocks and ridiculed in public.

I too heard, and then notified Amazon, about the volume drop on ‘Heroes’, which is something that does spoil ones enjoyment of that track, and arguably the album, such is the jarring effect on the listener. Someone has messed up…..it happens. Hopefully, they will repress this disc.

As for the rest, Low sounds terrific to my ears, and I think the remix of Lodger is a marked improvement on the original. Scary Monsters also sounded fine to me. It is true that, to some extent, what we hear is system-dependent, so I’ll be open and say that I listen via Harbeth loudspeakers; speakers that are more than up to snuff when it comes to resolving sounds and the various strands and textures therein.

I’m not saying that my speakers, my hearing, or my views are better than anyone else’s, but am offering this up in the interest of balance and perspective.

To anyone still waiting for their’s to arrive, I hope you enjoy the set – obvious flaw excepted – when it does so.

Steve W

I got the cd boxset at £90 and only received it this afternoon so haven’t had the chance to open it. Now I’m dreading it. :(

Steve W

UPDATE: Following opening it & listening I have spoken to Amazon via livechat & all they are offering (to me) is a full refund but a promise that it will be resolved & that I should contact them ‘in a couple of days’ if I want a replacement.

I suspect it may take longer than a couple of days….

Dean T

My refund has just been confirmed… im playing stage right now ,the yellow vinyl is quiet and well pressed ..if the rest of the set is like this then I’m a very happy chap. No need to return this fabulous set . Hats of to Amazon who are taking a fair hit on this whole affaire.
I’m off now to just chill and enjoy something I have waited all year for ,I hope there are others diong the same.

Paul English

Got a 20% refund – £18.50 or so. It’ll do. Hopefully Parlophone issue corrected discs.

Dean T

Well I just contacted Amazon about the drop out on the Heroes track and was offered a 20percent discount on my vinyl set(£35) . Makes the set a bit of a bargain really and in all truth I think most of this is a bit of a knee jerk reaction, it just does not sound that bad to me ,as for the bass on the low lp.. well I think people are just hearing a much cleaned up and more detailed remaster .Its like the noise floor has been lowered or something and it’s all come as a bit of a sock to some of us . I’m playing side 2 of low right now …sounds great to me


They are almost brickwalled if you look at a wav file of the albums (some people would say they are brickwalled, but there are definitely worse examples). That’s got nothing at all to do with cleaning them up. What happens is they compress them so much that everything in the mix is right up in your face so that you get a false impression of detail – in reality it’s just a lack of depth. And everybody had said side 2 of Low works ok compared to side 1, but that’s because the tracks are very different to side 1 – all they have done is lazily used a blanket approach to the mastering so that certain songs work within the context of what they’ve done and other’s don’t. It’s similar to how film studios seem to have a terrible time of colour correcting blu ray films – one scene looks incredible! but, oooh that next scene looks so dark? why can one scene look so fantastic and another so terrible? . . . because they just used one quick fix approach to the film rather than spending time going through it scene by scene.

That’s why some albums and tracks sound good and others not so good, and it’s also why things like the volume drop on Heroes goes unnoticed – they just don’t want to mastering each track seperately to match the original sound on the original albums – it’s all done with broad brush-strokes, and it’s all done very quickly.

By comparison if you look how they mastered the Beatles mono vinyl box set, it was always going to end up coming out well, because their methods meant there would never be a different outcome.

Paul English

Heroes (volume change), Neuköln (buzz), original mix Red Sails (start messed with), African Night Flight (tape flutter/tape wear)…


Extra dialogue on Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy.
Helden 7″ sounds like it was recorded through the Berlin wall not next to it.
A blanket gets thrown over the full length Heros as the splice into the French version takes place.
Other errors remastered Lodger that i’ve picked up on first listen:
– African Night Flight 1:28 “…fly like a mad thing” (this alone deserves a replacement disc)
– Red Sails 0:58 “…red sails”

And just the whole sound in general.
Speed Of Life RCA Germany dynamic range 13.3
Speed Of Life 2017 dynamic range 8.8

That difference is clearly audible, you don’t need software to discover it.
Again, i’d say compare these to non-tampered-with releases to get a genuine appreciation of how these records can sound.
These remasters are one way, and if that’s preferred in a Pepsi challenge then nobody can say that’s wrong.
But if this is the only copy in a record collection, I personally believe that collection is missing a better listening experience, certainly one without errors.

Daniel Wylie

I got offered a full refund if I send it back. I’ve accepted and will wait to see if Parlophone corrects any faults before I buy it again.

Murray Robbins

I followed up my chat with Amazon yesterday having been offered either a full refund on return of the box or a replacement box and return label.

I mentioned the fact that partial refunds had been offered to other Amazon customers up to £26.99 and that I would be happy to accept that figure. They agreed almost instantly.

Anyone going down this route should be aware that this is the “going rate”. I would suggest that if you were offered a lower amount you now get straight back to them.

Hopefully the market clout that Amazon have and the fact they have withdrawn the box may force Parlophone to address the issue and sort out new discs.

The only downside is if these aren’t made available separately.

Phil Wilson

I think the main one is the Heroes title track volume fade, which seems to be a genuine error, the high levels of bass on Low I presume are part of the mix, rather than an error? I think some have complained of hiss on Scary Monsters and ‘tape flutter’ on Lodger (original mix)

Celtic Bob

Amazon CA are pulling it to investigate.
They offered no refund or discount if I keep it. They said if not satisfied, return it.

Wayne Klein

The original Lodger mix has some issues with (from memory) tape flutter and drop outs which easily could have been repaired by Ray Staff in the digital domain.

Low is a brickwalled mess and needs to be remastered. I can’t imagine the original master sounds like this.

Heroes–the volume drop is VERY noticeable and spoils the song.

All in all this has been the worst of the reissues so far. Why they wouldn’t be consistent when it comes to the mastering is beyond me and the QC sucks for the audio (the most important part).

This reminds me of the awful mastering of the Aladdin Sane which was inexcusable (it was just the anniversary remastering) re: Low.

There is no excuse for this shoddy work in this day and age.


I really don’t understand why some customers get a 10% refund when others get a 20% refund on the same box set… :'(


If you pre-ordered it was £90, if you bought it on release it was (is) £100. So both refunds bring it down to £80. I guess that’s their policy.

Mark Hagen

I think it’s based on 3 things – how much you paid for the set, how many CDs/albums you think there are in it and how many CDs you have a problem with…

So I paid £99.99 for it, in my head it’s a 9 album box & I only complained about “Heroes” – £13.50 refund…

If I’d described it as an 11 CD box I think I would have got less, and if I’d complained about more than one CD I would have got more.

Don’t know where the tipping point is though, ie how many CDs you have to complain about before it becomes a return only item…


Hi, I just received a £26.99 refund on the CD box set so it’s ended up costing £70. Happy with that. The Heroes error should not have happened though and needs to be corrected.


i have cancelled my pre -order but can we expect this problems to be fixed in the future or the box will remain like this ?

Ronja S.

I contacted Amazon via chat today and they agreed to give me little compensation for the matter. I was given 10% of the full price as refund to make me feel better.
Im receiving my orders of the cd and vinyl-boxset soon, so I have to examine each carefully and then inform them if I need anything else. The cd:s in the boxset will be most likely pristine and correct but with the vinyl-boxset have really examine each album carefully. Even test them on the turntable to see if they are warped. This is just common practice especially nowadays, when it’s just sometimes very common to find somewhat inferior vinyl-issue at hand. Luckily, I haven’t encountered too many problems through the years.
Now, I think it’s possible that Parlophone will somehow acknowledge this large problem and they should provide new pressings to all the people who bought these sets. And I would not prefer to wait for some individual releases which for the time being aren’t even yet 1005 fully confirmed to be released.
Too bad that they did this sort of thing with quality control..

Celtic Bob

I have emailed my contact at the label and asked if they will be correcting the “Heroes” issue. I will report back here if they reply on it.
As a writer on a music webzine, when we receive an album to review either on CD, LP or digitally we listen to it all the way through (or are supposed to). That is why if I only get a ‘Stream’ of an album I just comment on the music and not the quality. Recently I was fortunate to receive the Kreator and Celtic Frost reissue LP’s to review. I sat down listened to every song on every album so my reviews would cover music, sound and packaging.
Look forward to the next video Paul.

Auntie Sabrina

So some people got a £15 partial refund and others closer to £20 then? So much for fairness…


And for anyone lamenting the missing Ryko bonus tracks, this page (if the links work) http://bit.ly/2fJiLd0 from Nicholas Pegg’s updated book puts a nail in the coffin of I Pray Ole being from the Lodger sessions, ruled out by Tony Visconti himself, as he also did with All Saints from Low http://bit.ly/2yCQ3OL and to some extent Abdulmajid which he describes as a “heavily remixed, worked on 90s creation.” http://bit.ly/2xMjEWF.

Phil Wilson

Amazon have taken the CD version off sale (they no longer sell it directly, only 3rd party sellers), but the vinyl version is still up there.


Vinyl gone, too…..

Nigel D Day

The CDs have gone from Amazon now. There’s just third party sellers with copies. Vinyl still there though and that has the same faults.


Just to let everyone know, Amazon.co.uk seem to have pulled the CD version of the box set, and can only be bought from other sellers. There may be light at the end of the tunnel

David Simon

I’ve just had a “chat” with Amazon. I noticed the volume decrease during Heroes, but the other issues have passed me by, although I’ve only listened to the first three discs. I’ve been given a 15% refund, but I’m really hoping for a replacement disc. The Amazon responder did suggest the the set would be going off sale due to the issues, but it doesn’t seem to have happened yet.


Out of interest have received a 20 per cent refund from Amazon in recognition of the Heroes issue.

Daniel Wylie

The real problem is that these albums have been messed with one too many times now. The mastering from album to album over all three box sets is so varied. Partly because no two albums sound exactly the same but also due to lack of real care. Some suffer from being brick walled, others are mastered well. Brick walling a master destroys the dynamics. If you want music to be loud, turn the volume up on your amp. Most mastering engineers I know, are now abandoning the “loud” wars and thank goodness for that.


Will be interested to hear your thoughts Paul.
One thing I forgot to say: sometimes it’s not a case of one is definitively ‘better’ but rather it depends on what sound you are after at that particular time.


I respect the views of people who are unhappy with this set. I now have a replacement after receiving a box with 2 original Lodger mixes. Yes the Heroes error is very unfortunate, but I’m not unhappy overall with the mastering. I need time to decide which versions will be my ‘go to’ copies but don’t see this as the disaster some people are describing. What’s the point of talking about the RCA CDs when they are totally out of most people’s price range. As for the Rykos, they’re ok but for me were always a bit flat. Maybe that means I have undiscriminating ears but that’s what I hear. Sometimes it feels like the music gets lost amongst the complaints. In the end there are so many variables when it comes to judging mastering, it’s a bit like cooking a meal and expecting the same reaction from ten people who eat it:)


I can send you a flac rip of the German RCA if you’d like. Compare Red Money on the remastered 2017 and the Ryko and you can hear why the Rykos are not preferred by some. The 2017 remaster sounds much closer to the original 1979 vinyl (albeit with way too much bass) and the Ryko is much more sparkly and artificial sounding. The German RCA captures the original vinyl sound and feel very well.

Ultimately it comes down to taste, but the Ryko is not a faithful reproduction of the RCA vinyl as a quick comparison to the 2017 shows. The Ryko may be preferred but it’s not what Bowie released. Red Money is also a great track to use as a comparison for the 2017 remix which (to my ears) is horrible.

Taste is one thing but there is one objective measure which is dynamic range. It’s an undeniable fact that the greater the dynamic range the better. Compression reduces the range and is what makes modern sounding music less airy. Taste aside, the loudness wars are killing music.

DR measurements for each below – fairly obvious to see the pattern:

RCA Germany: 14
Ryko: 12
2017 remaster: 10
2017 remix: 9

Adjust each of those tracks to the same volume and it’s much easier to start hearing the deficiency of the overly compressed 2017 versions.

Nigel D Day

I’ve packed mine up to send back. Not interested in spending so much money on broken product. Such a shame. Will keep an eye out to see if Parlophone “fix” the issues otherwise I’m going back to my Japanese paper sleeve CDs.

Murray Robbins

Dear SDE Community,

I have “lurked” for a while and love the site. Thanks Paul.

Regarding the Bowie NCIANT CD box set I went on a live chat with Amazon. I asked them regarding their level of awareness of the commonly reported fault(s) and asked regarding their stance with Parlophone. In the end I was offered a replacement set which no doubt will be as per the first one I received. What operator (Anjali) told me though is that if one reports the second item they send as faulty, in the same way the set is likely to be pulled form listing on Amazon pending investigation. I was not offered a partial refund as an earlier poster was, but I’m guessing all the live chat operators may be briefed as to their response to this issue.
Let’s get the ball in their court!

Therefore I suggest that folk who ordered through amazon enter into a chat, order a new set and put it to them big time. Amazon have the clout to get Parlophone to redress the issue and if there sales are hit may well get us the reproduced correct discs well want. .

Anjali also confirmed that all purchases have a one year warranty so it is a good idea, certainly nothing to lose to get in early and register your dissatisfaction. You can get an email copy of your live sent to you and they are all logged so god for ongoing evidence.

Hope this helps!


Murray Robbins

Sorry about the typos everybody but it was a long conversation with Amazon!


Hi to all – after reading comments I got onto Amazon promptly. Being in far off New Zealand my copy (pre-ordered is still in transit). After a long negotiation Amazon gave me a full refund and even said not to worry about returning the faulty set when it eventually turns up. Stick to your guns (but be polite)) and dont take no for an answer or a refund of delivery costs (their first offer to me). Shocking that Parlophone would sent out product with so many issues. Hope this helps.


Interesting that various reviews of the set (by Boston Globe etc) on the net don’t mention any sound glitches. Is it confined to a certain batch produced separately from review copies? Surely reviewers would have noticed the sound issues?


People reviewing these records just seem to essentially be restating their reputation. Parroting the same old cliches and making the same old errors and not actually listening to these discs.
Yes these records are important, yes Visconti introduced the drum sound that shaped the 80s, yes it was bold of Bowie to do what he did in the face of punk, his growing sales in the US etc. Yes the box is pretty and isn’t it clever that they have produced small versions of the fan club flyers.

But all of this is old news and irrelevant. Most of these discs have been remastered so compare them to other masterings so purchasers can decide whether to buy or not based on literally the only thing that matters, the quality of the sound. But these fawning sycophants can’t bring themselves to say “you know what, these don’t sound great because they are mastered way too loud, are overly compressed and lose a lot of the dynamic range available on earlier pressings. Buy if you like nice packaging but don’t care too much about the music quality.”

I think a lot of people hear music but don’t listen. There is a passive acceptance of the damage being done by record companies terrified to back out of the loudness wars. I just tinkered with a rip of the Heroes album from this set and matched the volumes to the RCA cd and played it to my 70 year old dad who does not like Bowie and has never heard the album or knew anything about loudness. He said one sounded like noise compared to the other. No need to say which that was.

I suggest anyone that has bought this set does something similar if they can access an RCA or even Ryko copy and compare the sound of the songs set to the same volume. The more these sets are purchased, the more license is gives the record companies to keep feeding us this junk with no respect for the music and no QA.

Randy Metro

Do you think these reviewers really sat down and listened to each & every CD/vinyl all the way through? I can only get through 1 or 2 CDs max per day to give any real thought to what I am hearing sound wise, lyrics, and music. Perhaps they cherry picked songs to listen to for fidelity and that was it. It would be “nice” if you were right about it being a case of one bad batch.


Thanks Paul, for a fab unboxing of the new Bowie Box Set. Packaging-wise if the labels are gonna insist on using cardboard mini-LP sleeves to house CD’s vs. jewel cases or digi-paks then, this is the way to go with the plastic inner sleeves to protect the discs from scratches and/or scuffs from the manufacturing plant onward and the paper sleeve replicas are very nice too ! Very nice box. I hope the sound quality across the board is great as well ?


Amazon were supposed to deliver my vinyl yesterday but it became “undeliverable” as it was damaged in transit !!! Had to reorder and was not going to get it until Friday, now it’s coming on Tuesday, frustrating.

Mark Porter

Amazon have given me a partial refund because I mentioned the Heroes sound dropout.
Hopefully when the standalone discs are out in Feb they will be fixed and I can repurchase.
Anyone getting these from Amazon ? Contact them and they will sort out . They are always helpful in my experience .

Rob P

Hi Mark, my vinyl set is due to be delivered tomorrow by Amazon and the Heroes glitch has somewhat taken the shine off the whole thing – I’d been deliberating for months whether th buy this set. How did you go about contacting Amazon? Was it email or webchat?


How much of a partial refund?