Restoration of gramophone records: new recording?

For some reason, I often find myself adding CD collections/compilations of old gramophone records. Two questions arose:

What constitutes a new recording in MB lingo?

Would the original gramophone record (were it entered in MB) and the modern CD share the recording, or would we enter two of them in some relation?

Do we see the process of preparing a digital copy from an old record as creating a new recoring (as re-mixing would do), or similar to mastering, which keeps the old recording?

One concrete case I have are these two

which, according to liner notes are taken from different copies of the same record. Merge or not?

Matrix numbers

The liner notes often mention the original matrix numbers. I’ve seen no structured way to save this information. I’m thinking about entering the original record as a stub release, containing not much more than the title, label, catalog number, and tracklist. Other suggestions?

The details, of course, depend on the resolution of my first question, above.


If nothing happened except transferring the audio to a different medium, it would still be the same recording. It’s often hard to be sure about that without listening to both recordings though. When in doubt, just leave it as two recordings. Merging later is a lot easier than splitting them.

Matrix numbers usually differ per pressing. If every matrix number resulted in a new release, we would have lots of releases with duplicate information. I just store matrix numbers in the annotation. Perhaps in the future we will be able to attach a list of existing matrix numbers to a release.

If you don’t have the track list of the original release, it’s better to enter the release without the track list. To do that you have to remove the medium in the release editor. The only drawback is that you can’t specify the medium type that way (though you can add it to the annotation of course). You can add all other information you do have to the release.


I’ve now gone ahead and added a trial balloon release for one recording:

I won’t do this for all records of the box set … at least not until there is sufficient consent (and my time budget allows). And if another alternative is preferred, I can fix up or outright delete this release. I just wanted to get one proposed solution out there.

They are definitely the same ‘recording’.
If you think of a recording in a literal term, as a piece of music being recorded, that recording stays the same no matter what medium you put it on. Some mediums might even change the sound of the recording, but the recording that was used stays the same.
MB has a very high tolerance for changes in recording sound - even recordings that are highly sped up or slowed down (that don’t sound at all like the original recording) are still considered the same recording (if I remember previous discussions correctly).
But like mf says, you might not know for sure that the recording is exactly the same without being able to listen to both releases.

This seems fine, BUT the edit notes aren’t really that clear that this is an incomplete release, where you got your information from etc, and there’s no annotation or anything of the sort either. I know that you’ve linked back to this forum post in the edit notes, but that’s not really enough to make it clear to someone browsing the database.
In brief, I think adding stubs or similar releases is fine, as long as you make it very clear to later users who will be interested in the stub, and might be able to improve on it as well.
The link to the PDF is good, but what if the link goes down? Let’s try store more related info in MB itself.

ps Thanks for doing this :slight_smile:


Official style guideline for recordings seems to answer to most of your questions: Style / Recording - MusicBrainz

When merging older vinyl recordings with CD recordings it’s good to remember that we store mono and stereo recordings separately.

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True, but I am reluctant to just appropriate somebody’s scans and upload them to CAA.

But! You’ve given me an idea: already has a copy of the linked PDF, and this is probably not going away easily. So I linked that from an annotation.

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Most of the scans that I have uploaded were from online second hand sites (Yahoo auctions, Priceminister, etc.) as I do not have time to pull my scanner out of that drawer, plug it and scan myself. :slight_smile:
I did this tedious procedure, though, for a small set of releases, where I wanted to justify a separate release as my edition was different than online found scans, for instance. Or was not found online at all and I really wanted it for some reason.

I do visually check that they match my CD in hands before upload.
Sometimes they even come from OHP or online stores where they almost always are concept arts instead of scans, but then I very carefully check that shape, framing, text style and placement, colours, etc. do match the edition in hands before upload.
That’s faster.


Sorry to come back to this after such a long time, I had a think about this, and in my opinion a scanner is already appropriating someone elses work - the copyright and artistic ownership remains with the album artist/s, illustrator/s and designer/s. They are simply collecting and displaying that data (although it takes a lot of work and effort in some cases).
I don’t think you should at all feel bad about using someone elses scans or photos in order to document a release as well as possible :slight_smile: