Great collection of the German records.
J. L. | 12/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, if you're really looking for a "bargain" price, please don't shop here. Go to the official kraftwerk site; they have both versions AT THE SAME PRICE (some 100 euros, I think) and they come with a nifty t-shirt.
Now, for the boxset itself; as you probably know, the sound quality of these records is excellent, being Trans-Europa Express, Die Mensch-Maschine and Techno Pop the most benefited of the remastering process. All the other records, however sound equally great, but their sound was already very good to begin with (I'm talking about Computerwelt, The Mix and Tour De France; Computerliebe still has that speed-tune glitch at the fade out, but it's less noticeable now). Radio-Aktivität got some new stereo treatment which may take a while to get into, but it does sound really impressive, specially in a home system. Most sound artifacts remain for some of the songs, like the little skip in Europa Endlos.
And Autobahn? You may ask; It's defeinitely the best digital version you can get IMHO, but it's not without its share of flaws, the most important of all is the evident saturation in the right channel (the 1985 master had the exact same issue, so I'm guessing there was no way it could be repaired). Anyway, that original 1985 CD issue came from an abysmal master, so the 2009 version sounds definitely better; not at the standard of the other 7 CDs, but very good nonetheless. Der Katalog has by far the best versions you can get of these classic works. And I doubt they could be done better.
You might have seen some negative reviews of this, so you might want to try one of the individual CDs first; know this: all the discs are noise-reduction heavy, with evident stereo and equalization corrections, so if that's not your ideal of a remaster, you might be disappointed. But for a Kling Klang record, they are truly impressive. Some of the tracks have a different equalization that the rest of their album companions. EDIT: While that was originally my first impression, the equalization discrepancies are only apparent but not real and you can notice that when you get to contrast low and high frequencies on the same song. Do it and you'll understand the purpose of Neonlicht being "different". If you treble boost the song, the synth line around the half will sound too trebley (and it will hurt your ears), despite the bassline and percusion sounding "OK". So, I have to take back my initial assertion about the EQ and have to say: these records do sound crisp and clear, with pounding bass frequencies and crystal clear mid and treble frequencies. They are by far the BEST versions you'll ever get of these seminal albums.
My only real complaint is that Tour De France Étape 1 now has a little skipping glitch at around the 3:24 mark, a sound artifact that was not present in the original Tour De France Soundtracks album, but it's barely noticeable. What I don't understand is how such a thing appeared in a digital re-master of a digital record (!) - by the way, the Tour De France re-master does sound different from the original 2003 issue; which one sounds better is just a matter of personal preference - this one sounds a little fuzzier but the equalization is way better.
These are all my observations regarding sound quality; they are not that noticeable or important, but knowing how much audiophiles might be interested in this package, I felt I needed to point this out.
The presentation is great; I'm asuming it's the same package type The catalogue has (only in German, of course), so the reviews for the English Version might also apply for this one. It all comes in a very classy, sturdy and stylish cardboard box and etc. Check the English reviews for a more detailed description of this.
And now for the "bad" news:
You might already know this but the following is NOT included in the boxset:
-The Kraftwerk, Kraftwerk 2 and Ralf Und Florian Albums (I could care less about these albums, but I thought you should know).
-The Tour De France and Expo2000 singles (altough a remake of the Tour De France song does appear in the 2003 album included in the box).
-The original version of Der Telefon Anruf from the Electric Cafe album (that's right; the original 8-minute cut is actually repleced with the single version and House Phone is just a remix/b-side making for the missing 4 or so minutes of the original Telefon song).
-For all their beauty and magnificence, not all the LP-sized booklets include the album's lyrics; Die Mensch-Maschine, Techno Pop and The Mix (the lyrics for Radio-Aktivität are different from the 1975 version and you might want to read what Dentaku is saying, also), for instance.
Anyway; I loved the package, but I'm really biased towards Kraftwerk and I would rate it with a 5. Enjoy."