Rhino Launches Audiophile Vinyl Line Featuring Albums From The Cars, Coltrane

Rhino Records brings out a quarterly series of limited edition vinyl releases aimed at appealing to LP-loving audiophiles, featuring vinyl cut directly from analog sources by one of the most respected names in the mastering industry, Kevin Gray. The first two releases in the Rhino High Fidelity series, both out today, are the Cars’ 1978 self-titled debut album and John Coltrane’s 1964 album Coltrane’s Sound.

It will not be a high-volume series: releases will be limited to 5,000 numbered copies, with only two new titles appearing each quarter. Each catalog album includes lacquers cut by Gray from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl with glossy, old-school-style ‘tip-on’ fold-out sleeves and additional printed inserts featuring modern essays or interviews.

The launch of the series represents an interest by some labels in releasing their own audiophile albums rather than licensing them to outside companies specializing in high quality vinyl. Making Gray the face of the series shows hardcore collectors that Rhino means business, even if the release will be slow and deliberate.

“It will be an honor to master this series,” Gray said in a statement. “There is so much variety to discover in the Rhino catalogue, from jazz to rock to R&B. Rhino has a very extensive catalog spanning five decades. The possibilities are incredible. I look forward to everything.”

Easton, the Cars’ guitarist, said of the group’s Rhino High Fidelity release, “It’s like being in their studios. It’s like listening to a studio playback… It just blew my mind.”

Easton spoke with Patrick Milligan, senior vice president of A&R at Gray and Rhino, at a private event Tuesday in downtown LA to open the series with press and other invited industry guests. After side 1 of “The Cars” was played loudly to those who attended the party at Common Wave, Easton joked that the group had often been told to rename their debut album Greatest Hits.

John Coltrane’s “Coltrane’s Sound”, part of the Rhino High Fidelity series

As supplementary material, the “Cars” release includes an interview with Easton about the equipment used on the album and producer Roy Thomas Baker’s tracking notes, while the Coltrane album includes an interview with famed producer Tom Dowd, who provided tracking – Engineer acted on the album ’64 release, along with printed material representing the master tapes.

Rhino said the company will unveil the next two albums in the high-fidelity franchise in the coming week.

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