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Club vs Retail CDs

In a number of physical media collecting circles there seems to be a disdain for CDs issued by record clubs as being inferior.  IMHO opinion, digital is digital and I did not think this was possible.  But I had been buying CDs from thrift stores recently and ended up with 2 copies of "Singles - 45's and Under" by Squeeze.  One was the retail copy, and the other was a record store copy.

Both had a catalog number of CD 3338 and both looked identical in terms of jewel case design, artwork and printing on the CD itself.  The club edition was missing the barcode on the back and had some text printed on the CD that it was a BMG club edition.

I ripped both CDs using whipper and then compared the logs.  The logs showed different checksums for both CDs and for each individual tracks.

The log showed this for the BMG Club Edition:

Code: [Select]
Log created by: whipper 0.9.0 (internal logger)
Log creation date: 2020-07-13T14:37:08Z

Ripping phase information:
  Drive: HL-DT-STDVDRAM SP80NB80  (revision RC00)
  Extraction engine: cdparanoia III 10.2 libcdio 2.1.0 x86_64-pc-linux-gnu
  Defeat audio cache: true
  Read offset correction: 6
  Overread into lead-out: false
  Gap detection: cdrdao 1.2.4
  CD-R detected: false

CD metadata:
  Release:
    Artist: Squeeze
    Title: "Singles: 45's and Under"
  CDDB Disc ID: 940a3d0c
  MusicBrainz Disc ID: jtRYczhUTR_9dgFcFDTDz8edCDQ-
  MusicBrainz lookup URL: https://musicbrainz.org/cdtoc/attach?toc=1+12+196795+150+12790+26635+41028+55150+74360+87620+105730+124658+136000+153928+181513&tracks=12&id=jtRYczhUTR_9dgFcFDTDz8edCDQ-
  MusicBrainz Release URL: https://musicbrainz.org/release/d841a668-b640-4f40-9b10-6cff9c8357cb

TOC:
  1:
    Start: 00:00:00
    Length: 02:48:40
    Start sector: 0
    End sector: 12639

  2:
    Start: 02:48:40
    Length: 03:04:45
    Start sector: 12640
    End sector: 26484

  3:
    Start: 05:53:10
    Length: 03:11:68
    Start sector: 26485
    End sector: 40877

  4:
    Start: 09:05:03
    Length: 03:08:22
    Start sector: 40878
    End sector: 54999

  5:
    Start: 12:13:25
    Length: 04:16:10
    Start sector: 55000
    End sector: 74209

  6:
    Start: 16:29:35
    Length: 02:56:60
    Start sector: 74210
    End sector: 87469

  7:
    Start: 19:26:20
    Length: 04:01:35
    Start sector: 87470
    End sector: 105579

  8:
    Start: 23:27:55
    Length: 04:12:28
    Start sector: 105580
    End sector: 124507

  9:
    Start: 27:40:08
    Length: 02:31:17
    Start sector: 124508
    End sector: 135849

  10:
    Start: 30:11:25
    Length: 03:59:03
    Start sector: 135850
    End sector: 153777

  11:
    Start: 34:10:28
    Length: 06:07:60
    Start sector: 153778
    End sector: 181362

  12:
    Start: 40:18:13
    Length: 03:23:57
    Start sector: 181363
    End sector: 196644

Tracks:
  1:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/01. Squeeze - Take Me, I'm Yours.flac
    Peak level: 0.950867
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 1.9 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 39B94FC5
    Copy CRC: 39B94FC5
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: 985D7AF5
      Remote CRC: 985D7AF5
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: 37681A0A
      Remote CRC: 37681A0A
    Status: Copy OK

  2:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/02. Squeeze - Goodbye Girl.flac
    Peak level: 0.964508
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.0 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: A61756C9
    Copy CRC: A61756C9
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: FA8E994E
      Remote CRC: FA8E994E
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 12
      Local CRC: C66DCC2D
      Remote CRC: C66DCC2D
    Status: Copy OK

  3:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/03. Squeeze - Cool for Cats.flac
    Peak level: 0.95462
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.1 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 7A04C6A0
    Copy CRC: 7A04C6A0
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: 2B14DD5E
      Remote CRC: 2B14DD5E
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: 4961674C
      Remote CRC: 4961674C
    Status: Copy OK

  4:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/04. Squeeze - Up the Junction.flac
    Peak level: 0.875397
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.4 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 8180D89A
    Copy CRC: 8180D89A
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: 1411D0FF
      Remote CRC: 1411D0FF
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: B7E2ABF1
      Remote CRC: B7E2ABF1
    Status: Copy OK

  5:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/05. Squeeze - Slap and Tickle.flac
    Peak level: 0.936005
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.5 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: '64244E33'
    Copy CRC: '64244E33'
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: EE375A39
      Remote CRC: EE375A39
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: 3309A703
      Remote CRC: 3309A703
    Status: Copy OK

  6:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/06. Squeeze - Another Nail in My Heart.flac
    Peak level: 0.986603
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.5 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 8301FF51
    Copy CRC: 8301FF51
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 7
      Local CRC: AAC5AE9E
      Remote CRC: AAC5AE9E
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: 6D5DC0CF
      Remote CRC: 6D5DC0CF
    Status: Copy OK

  7:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/07. Squeeze - Pulling Mussels (From the Shell).flac
    Pre-gap length: 00:00:65
    Peak level: 0.932312
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.7 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: C6CA4E4C
    Copy CRC: C6CA4E4C
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: 0E3303CD
      Remote CRC: 0E3303CD
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: 12DE0515
      Remote CRC: 12DE0515
    Status: Copy OK

  8:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/08. Squeeze - If I Didn't Love You.flac
    Pre-gap length: 00:03:25
    Peak level: 0.975098
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.0 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: C1AB3459
    Copy CRC: C1AB3459
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: A2F3E95D
      Remote CRC: A2F3E95D
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: 01D79911
      Remote CRC: 01D79911
    Status: Copy OK

  9:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/09. Squeeze - Is That Love.flac
    Pre-gap length: 00:01:55
    Peak level: 0.941681
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.0 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 71F379E6
    Copy CRC: 71F379E6
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: DE76FFC5
      Remote CRC: DE76FFC5
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 10
      Local CRC: B91E6280
      Remote CRC: B91E6280
    Status: Copy OK

  10:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/10. Squeeze - Tempted.flac
    Peak level: 0.973541
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.1 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 55F8A1CA
    Copy CRC: 55F8A1CA
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: 5326B87A
      Remote CRC: 5326B87A
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: D59811E1
      Remote CRC: D59811E1
    Status: Copy OK

  11:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/11. Squeeze - Black Coffee in Bed.flac
    Peak level: 0.946136
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.3 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 9699735F
    Copy CRC: 9699735F
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: 1215A1B3
      Remote CRC: 1215A1B3
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: D8DB460F
      Remote CRC: D8DB460F
    Status: Copy OK

  12:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/12. Squeeze - Annie Get Your Gun.flac
    Peak level: 0.942078
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.5 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 793A6167
    Copy CRC: 793A6167
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 8
      Local CRC: 82A6B5DF
      Remote CRC: 82A6B5DF
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 11
      Local CRC: 1AF02522
      Remote CRC: 1AF02522
    Status: Copy OK

Conclusive status report:
  AccurateRip summary: All tracks accurately ripped
  Health Status: No errors occurred
  EOF: End of status report

SHA-256 hash: 087676AA52512681E1EEC319A5D54DB1C4D8C7A4424C71F05B71BE71C8CCAC49

The log for the retail copy showed this:

Code: [Select]
Log created by: whipper 0.9.0 (internal logger)
Log creation date: 2020-07-13T13:54:36Z

Ripping phase information:
  Drive: HL-DT-STDVDRAM SP80NB80  (revision RC00)
  Extraction engine: cdparanoia III 10.2 libcdio 2.1.0 x86_64-pc-linux-gnu
  Defeat audio cache: true
  Read offset correction: 6
  Overread into lead-out: false
  Gap detection: cdrdao 1.2.4
  CD-R detected: false

CD metadata:
  Release:
    Artist: Squeeze
    Title: "Singles: 45's and Under"
  CDDB Disc ID: 940a3e0c
  MusicBrainz Disc ID: .uCdWntgyUfayAk_OA8UiG_JhVI-
  MusicBrainz lookup URL: https://musicbrainz.org/cdtoc/attach?toc=1+12+196807+150+12795+26640+41032+55150+74365+87632+105742+124670+136005+153927+181517&tracks=12&id=.uCdWntgyUfayAk_OA8UiG_JhVI-
  MusicBrainz Release URL: https://musicbrainz.org/release/d841a668-b640-4f40-9b10-6cff9c8357cb

TOC:
  1:
    Start: 00:00:00
    Length: 02:48:45
    Start sector: 0
    End sector: 12644

  2:
    Start: 02:48:45
    Length: 03:04:45
    Start sector: 12645
    End sector: 26489

  3:
    Start: 05:53:15
    Length: 03:11:67
    Start sector: 26490
    End sector: 40881

  4:
    Start: 09:05:07
    Length: 03:08:18
    Start sector: 40882
    End sector: 54999

  5:
    Start: 12:13:25
    Length: 04:16:15
    Start sector: 55000
    End sector: 74214

  6:
    Start: 16:29:40
    Length: 02:56:67
    Start sector: 74215
    End sector: 87481

  7:
    Start: 19:26:32
    Length: 04:01:35
    Start sector: 87482
    End sector: 105591

  8:
    Start: 23:27:67
    Length: 04:12:28
    Start sector: 105592
    End sector: 124519

  9:
    Start: 27:40:20
    Length: 02:31:10
    Start sector: 124520
    End sector: 135854

  10:
    Start: 30:11:30
    Length: 03:58:72
    Start sector: 135855
    End sector: 153776

  11:
    Start: 34:10:27
    Length: 06:07:65
    Start sector: 153777
    End sector: 181366

  12:
    Start: 40:18:17
    Length: 03:23:65
    Start sector: 181367
    End sector: 196656

Tracks:
  1:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/01. Squeeze - Take Me, I'm Yours.flac
    Peak level: 0.935242
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.1 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: FF92F46F
    Copy CRC: FF92F46F
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 45
      Local CRC: 0B8268AF
      Remote CRC: 0B8268AF
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 60
      Local CRC: '60630037'
      Remote CRC: '60630037'
    Status: Copy OK

  2:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/02. Squeeze - Goodbye Girl.flac
    Peak level: 0.911987
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.2 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: BBEC4F30
    Copy CRC: BBEC4F30
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 45
      Local CRC: '71074220'
      Remote CRC: '71074220'
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 60
      Local CRC: 43BC20F8
      Remote CRC: 43BC20F8
    Status: Copy OK

  3:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/03. Squeeze - Cool for Cats.flac
    Peak level: 0.933228
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.3 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: D149E205
    Copy CRC: D149E205
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 45
      Local CRC: D5FE7289
      Remote CRC: D5FE7289
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 61
      Local CRC: 3A0CB11B
      Remote CRC: 3A0CB11B
    Status: Copy OK

  4:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/04. Squeeze - Up the Junction.flac
    Peak level: 0.889832
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.6 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: A5881747
    Copy CRC: A5881747
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 45
      Local CRC: C441D284
      Remote CRC: C441D284
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 61
      Local CRC: EADBB37A
      Remote CRC: EADBB37A
    Status: Copy OK

  5:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/05. Squeeze - Slap and Tickle.flac
    Peak level: 0.911987
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.7 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 1284A5BF
    Copy CRC: 1284A5BF
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 46
      Local CRC: 428758A8
      Remote CRC: 428758A8
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 61
      Local CRC: 7AA7DA8F
      Remote CRC: 7AA7DA8F
    Status: Copy OK

  6:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/06. Squeeze - Another Nail in My Heart.flac
    Peak level: 0.955017
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.7 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: DA39D112
    Copy CRC: DA39D112
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 46
      Local CRC: 370FFABA
      Remote CRC: 370FFABA
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 60
      Local CRC: 2155058E
      Remote CRC: 2155058E
    Status: Copy OK

  7:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/07. Squeeze - Pulling Mussels (From the Shell).flac
    Pre-gap length: 00:00:65
    Peak level: 0.911987
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 2.9 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 18C19302
    Copy CRC: 18C19302
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 46
      Local CRC: CE73088A
      Remote CRC: CE73088A
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 61
      Local CRC: 7C7D8B35
      Remote CRC: 7C7D8B35
    Status: Copy OK

  8:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/08. Squeeze - If I Didn't Love You.flac
    Pre-gap length: 00:03:25
    Peak level: 0.933228
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.2 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 5A45344E
    Copy CRC: 5A45344E
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 45
      Local CRC: 04FA7544
      Remote CRC: 04FA7544
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 61
      Local CRC: 869EFF41
      Remote CRC: 869EFF41
    Status: Copy OK

  9:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/09. Squeeze - Is That Love.flac
    Pre-gap length: 00:01:55
    Peak level: 0.933228
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.2 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: B54DFC69
    Copy CRC: B54DFC69
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 46
      Local CRC: 9D9AEEE5
      Remote CRC: 9D9AEEE5
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 61
      Local CRC: 8DB54A93
      Remote CRC: 8DB54A93
    Status: Copy OK

  10:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/10. Squeeze - Tempted.flac
    Peak level: 0.933228
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.3 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: EF3AFCB6
    Copy CRC: EF3AFCB6
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 46
      Local CRC: 2D40FB71
      Remote CRC: 2D40FB71
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 62
      Local CRC: E092BD5F
      Remote CRC: E092BD5F
    Status: Copy OK

  11:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/11. Squeeze - Black Coffee in Bed.flac
    Peak level: 0.930603
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.5 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: C3BE071B
    Copy CRC: C3BE071B
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 46
      Local CRC: A074CF48
      Remote CRC: A074CF48
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 62
      Local CRC: 00864660
      Remote CRC: 00864660
    Status: Copy OK

  12:
    Filename: ./compilation/Squeeze - Singles - 45's and Under/12. Squeeze - Annie Get Your Gun.flac
    Peak level: 0.919464
    Pre-emphasis:
    Extraction speed: 3.8 X
    Extraction quality: 100.00 %
    Test CRC: 75B3343F
    Copy CRC: 75B3343F
    AccurateRip v1:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 45
      Local CRC: BB5F8CF0
      Remote CRC: BB5F8CF0
    AccurateRip v2:
      Result: Found, exact match
      Confidence: 60
      Local CRC: '37658799'
      Remote CRC: '37658799'
    Status: Copy OK

Conclusive status report:
  AccurateRip summary: All tracks accurately ripped
  Health Status: No errors occurred
  EOF: End of status report

SHA-256 hash: 3318FBA64B56F9D10CA61249ECAD83305259AB2C2A96ABD119C32E6D7E2E2AB5

I also did an SHA256SUM of track 1 and got different values.

For the Club release I got: c5e865cd99cfd90cf52f384bb7e2cf2db5bb60e126d154012ddb65af7bf7feed

For the Retail release I got: bca6343c769f41199543da4011c57abfb2b1dfa3f12274fe42cfa73b44633454

Now obviously, the only thing that matters is the sound.  Do the two CDs sound the same on a blind test?   I haven't gotten that far yet.  Something to tinker with after work.

But I have a few questions.  Why would the checksums be different?

If the exact same digital files are used, but different glass masters are produced, one for retail and one for club, would they checksum differently?  Would a repress checksum differently from an original pressing?

Just trying to explain the math here.


Re: Club vs Retail CDs

Reply #2
I noticed that about 5 minutes ago.  The difference is in hundreths of a second though.  I wonder if that kind of deviation would show up just from making a new glass master, or if that's indicative of a different digital master being used to create the glass master.

Re: Club vs Retail CDs

Reply #3
fbuser was quicker.
Quote
Why would the checksums be different?
TOCs are different (different start/end/length of tracks, club CD is 12 sectors overall shorter than the retail CD)
Pressing offsets are likely different. (different offset = different checksum).
korth


Re: Club vs Retail CDs

Reply #5
So, the same CD can have multiple Disc IDs.  That's interesting.  I had always assumed a different Disc ID would indicate a remaster or some other variation.

Re: Club vs Retail CDs

Reply #6
Well we are relying on the good intentions and competence of the people who contributed... *shudder*

Re: Club vs Retail CDs

Reply #7
Most people who contribute are probably using Picard to tag their music and and use the upload DiscID option.  I think if you're geeky enough to use MisucBrainz over freedb, you'd have a half decently clue about Disc IDs.

Then again, I have been using MusicBrainz for years to tag my music and I didn't know there were multiple Disc IDs for the same release.  So, it's quite possible people don't know.

There'a also always "that guy" that downloaded 128K MP3s in the early 2000s and made a CD out of them, and then made a DiscID out of that mess.

Re: Club vs Retail CDs

Reply #8
I've never noticed a difference in audio quality between CDs from BMG or similar vs retail discs.  Usually, just the lack of a barcode, or sometimes, silly things like a disc that contains dozens of silent tracks before a "hidden" track vs the last track having a ton of silence before the hidden track. (Possibly just a later pressing)

Re: Club vs Retail CDs

Reply #9
My general belief is that digital is digital.  There is no reason for a club CD to sound different from a retail copy.

But as you do Internet searches on the topic, you come across posts on the infamous Steve Hoffman Music forums.  According to Mr. Hoffman, in the early days of CD, a lot of record clubs were given CDs as masters to use to make more CDs.  Well, since you couldn't copy a CD back in the 80s, the only way I could think of of Columbia House making a glass master was to play it and record it onto analog tape and then back to digital and then to a glass master.

Now I know Columbia House pressed their own CDs back in the 90s, but thinking back at this logically, there is no way that Columbia House pressed their own CDs back in the 80s.  There was a very limited number of CD pressing plants back in the 80s.  I remember the mid-to-late 80s CD shortages in record stores.  In 1984 the US had ONE pressing plant.  There is no way that Columbia House was not having CDs pressed from the same plant that produced retail CDs using the same glass master.

And by the time the 90s rolled around, it was possible to copy digital masters and send them to a record club.  And even if they pressed their own glass masters, they still probably used the same digital masters as the retail copy.  So, even though they checksum differently, they should sound identical.

Packaging seems to be another matter, though.  I have 2 copies of Thriller by Michael Jackson.  One is retail Epic copy, and the other is a Columbia Record Club Edition.



The left is the club copy.  The right is the retail copy.  In person, the right looks much better.  When you're giving 8 CDs away for a penny, you have to make a price point.  And when you have your own manufacturing plant, you'll do whatever you can to save a penny.

 
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