||FORGET MATRIX NUMBERS
||Yes, some "1995 CD" runs used the Au20 remaster,
and the Zappa Patio tried to offer advise on how to tell the old from the
new by looking at - not listening to - the discs.
The advice focussed on "matrix numbers", the
little numbers around the rim of the hole in the disc (so known since the
But soon, people started mailing in exceptions to every
rule about these matrix numbers. It has now reached a point where the only
method we can recommend is listening to the discs, and so we have removed
all references to matrix numbers from the page.
One Size Fits All
What to Get: The 2012 CD.
Summary: The 2012 CD matches the original vinyl. After that,
it gets complicated. All other CDs seem to use a slightly different master
source with a different mix of at least one track (San Ber'dino). The Au20 is
dry; all other non-Au20 CDs use the "Old Masters" version of the album with additional reverb.
Some later copies of the 1995 Rykodisc reissue (a fair number, apparently) were
pressed using the Au20 audio.
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: A 2012 CD (or the vinyl) and the Au20 CD
(or one of the "stealth" Au20 CDs). [completist's
- Test pressing (Kendun Recorders) [this is not an issue]
- Original vinyl (DiscReet DS 2216 in the US, K 59207 in the
UK, June 25 1975)
- Cassettes (DiscReet M-5D-2216, 459207, D416-74216)
- 8-track (DiscReet M-8D-2216)
- German vinyl (WEA DiscReet 59207-Z)
- French vinyl (DiscReet DIS59207, gatefold sleeve)
- Portuguese vinyl (DiscReet LP-S-65-5)
- Greek vinyl (Warner Brothers 59207 - coloured-WB-on-a-shield-on-a-tan/yellow-background-with-thin-horizontal-lines
- Japanese vinyl (DiscReet P-10045D, no gatefold cover; white-label promo
also reported (with obi))
- Mexican Vinyl: Es un Tama˝o Para Todos (Gamma GWEA5174)
- Argentine vinyl: Una Medida Adecuada a Todo (MusicHall 50-14.183)
- Brazilian vinyl
- The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR 9999-6, December
- Original CD (Ryko RCD10095 in the US (imported into Australia
by Festival Records and re-stickered Ryko D40735), 1988 or January 1989; Zappa Records
CDZAP11 in the UK, January 1989; VACK 5035 in Japan; JPCD 9715928 DORA in Russia (picture
- Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA11)
- 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10521, May 2 1995; VACK 5106 in Japan,
renumbered 5241 in 1998; also in a BMG Record Club version (1088046))
- 1995 cassette (Ryko RAC 10521; VACK 5106 in Japan)
- Audiophile Au20 gold CD (Ryko RCD 80521, July 2 1996, VACK 5286 in Japan)
- Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1220,
October 24 2001)
- 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR 3853 August 28, 2012)
- [unreleased quadraphonic version (Warner Brothers BS4-2879 (CD4 format)
and L9B-2879 (Q8 format), according to Mark Anderson's Surround
From Andrew Fignar Jr:
I noticed I have a test pressing of One Size Fits All with a Kendun
Recorders cover. The vinyl label is Kendun Recorders. It says Frank Zappa and the Mothers
of Invention, it has a song list. That's how I know it was One Size Fits All.
No title. The color cover says for artist only, and other authorized personnel
with a white strip to write on that has Artist: "Mothers", producer
"Frank" in quotation marks is hand written.
There seems to have been a problem with the original (American, I think) vinyl release,
as many copies were defective. Quoth a Michael "RDNZL":
... anyone know how many bad copies of One Size Fits All, with
the skip in "Inca Roads", went out to stores?
When I returned my first pur***se it took me 7 tries to find one that didn't skip.
Although 2 copies only skipped occasionally.
From Dan Watkins:
The timing for "Inca Roads" was printed incorrectly on the back cover of the
vinyl. It was accidentally given the running time of "Florentine Pogen" which is
05:23. The running time was accurately printed as 08:45 on the label. The timing was
corrected on the back of the 1995 CD, but I haven't gotten a chance
to see the original CD.
Some Crazy Detail Discussion
MOOK23: OK, I was recently delighted to pick up a decent vinyl copy of One
Size Fits All. I've never owned this one before and a few things struck
me, maybe you could help. Firstly, this is a Canadian pressing so what I want
to know is whether or not the differences I see here are due to that or
something else. The first track on the back has the time incorrectly listed.
BOSSK (R): I think that was a mistake on all vinyl copies: "Inca
Roads" got the "Florentine Pogen" time - see above.
MOOK23: Secondly, there is something that is painted over (what I mean to
say is, there was clearly something written but before the album jacket was
printed, it was "whited out" with paint the same colour as the
background) in the very bottom right corner of the right inside panel just
after "all rights reserved" and "A warner communication
JONEVAN: Instead of paint, mine says "Made in U.S.A.".
L RON HOOVER: I have one of the original releases of this title and the
lower-right corner as described reads as follows:
PRODUCED BY FRANK ZAPPA
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
DiscReet Records Inc. 5831 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, Cal. 90028
Manufactured by Warner Bros. Records Inc., A Warner Communication Company
Made in U.S.A.1975 DiscReet Records Inc.
BIL HANSEN, PENANG, MALAYSIA: My copy, an Australian one (it has "For
Australia and New Zealand, Boosey Hawkes Publishing" above the line
"PRODUCED BY FRANK ZAPPA") has:
DiscReet Records Inc., 5831 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Cal. 90028
Manufactured by Warner Bros. Records Inc., A Warner Communications Company
*********** (C) 1975 DiscReet Records Inc.
where "**********" is something painted over with what Mike
Nesmith's mother invented, such that the (C) is under the Y of "by Warner
KRISTIAN KIER: I don't think this is of interest here, I only have the German
copy, and nothing seems to be whited out ... but what the egg:
Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved
DiscReet Records Inc.. 5831 Sunset Blvd.. Hollywood, Cal. 90028
Manufactured by Warner Bros. Records Inc.. A Warner Communications Company
(C) 1975 DiscReet Records Inc.
Also available on MusiCassette DIS 459207(J)
Distributed by WEA Musik GmbH. A Warner Communications Company. Made in
The Old Masters Vinyl
The debut of the alternate mix of San Berd'ino and possibly other cuts. See
the entry for the "Original CD" for details.
From the Mike Keneally:
Ben [Watson, author of The
Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play] is upset that new star names have been added
and he can't read them [on the original CD]; the new
names were added for the vinyl album's re-release as part of the Old
Masters Box Three collection (still available) and are extremely legible there.
The new stars are:
- PUMPKIN (818);
- KNARF (uview);
- DWEEZIL (Auriga Ra6b 46m145d47 6');
- HONKULES (Galaxy);
Dave G. notes:
The slightly boosted treble on the Old Masters LP reveals some added
digital reverb (the same digital reverb on the stock discs). Seems as if FZ
just reused the digital transfer for the CD.
From Vladimir Sovetov (original maintainer):
No one ever reported anything horrible. So let's suppose that OSFA is OSFA in either of
its incarnations. Really Chump Hare Rama ain't no good to try remixing :-)))
From Ben Watson (in The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play):
... the names of the stars, for example, are not legible on the CD booklet (even
though, frustratingly, new star names have been added. History occludes the very material
that promises to give imagination a break. Like the politics of Lenin, though, this
material is too good to sacrifice on the altar of the democracy of available product.
(The star names were legible, though, on the Old Masters
version, and on the 1995 CD.)
Dave G. reiterates:
...the big difference between the Au20 and aluminum editions rests in
the digital reverb Frank added to the Old Masters digital master, which was in
turn used for subsequent reissues. The standard CDs have a slightly "airier"
sound; dig, for example, the sound of the "S" in Napoleon's first "She was the
daughter" on "Florentine Pogen." This reverb doesn't exist on the vinyl or the
In 2017, it was belateldy discovered by intrepid listener Mike Espinoza that at least one track,
San Ber'dino, was an
alternate mix. On the non-Old Masters vinyl and 2012 versions of San
Ber'dino, a prominent guitar line in the line channeling following the "real
good dealo" portion is prominent in the mix; on all non-2012 CDs and
the Old Masters vinyl, it's mixed almost out. He reports:
As best as I can tell, [on the vinyl version and 2012], it sounds like an acoustic guitar that is way buried on the other CDs is brought up to the front. It resembles
none of the previous CD versions.
Well, I'll be. I never heard that little phrase . . . . Interestingly, it appears this is present on the original vinyl (clip from YouTube below). So perhaps the Au20 was not as faithful to the original vinyl mix as we had been led to believe.
Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork. Sounds brighter than first Rykodisc CD
[Ed: Really?]." [full statement]
In addition to the new star names from the Old Masters
issue, "(3834)Zappafrank" was now also added (a real asteroid named
after Zappa). Otherwise, reports are that this matches the original, Rykodisc
CD. (See also above re. the alternative mix.)
Audiophile Au20 Gold CD
Ryko issued One Size Fits All and Apostrophe
('), in "limited" (numbered) editions, as expensive audiophile gold CDs.
Unlike the regular CD, this returned to the original analog master, revealing
better sound and a noticeable lack of digital reverb. This contains the
alternate mix of San Ber'dino, albeit sans [Ed. see what we did there?]
From Pieter van Vollenhoven:
The Au20 CD was mastered from the original dolby A master tapes. Playback was through a
specially enhanced Ampex ATR-102 using audio cards by J. Musgrave and courtesy of the
Complex [?] recording studios. No equalization, compression, limiting or any
other "enhancement" of any kind was added during the transfer.
The analog-to-digital conversion was done through a dB technologies AD122 converter in
the 20-bit mode, directly to the hard disk of the Sonic Solutions digital mastering
Once edited in the final form the program was transferred through the Sony
super-bitmapping process integrated into the sonic system. This noise-shaping process
allows the music to be captured in 16 bits while maintaining the optional signal to noise
equivalent of 20 bits. This superbitmapped master was then used in the production of the
From Michael Nickel:
Has anybody noticed that the cover of the two Au20 gold versions have exact
the same booklets as the regular Ryko versions? (Take a look at the booklet
Au20 Audio Error?
BICE: I was listening to the Au20 version of One Size Fits All at work
today, and I noticed this weird buzzing noise in the background at one point. I
stupidly left the CD at work so I can't confirm this, but I think it was about
01:35 or so into "Po-Jama People", and lasted for five to ten seconds.
I compared it against the original (pre-re-release)
disc, and that one didn't have this noise.
ED FLINN: Yes, I've got the same thing, from about 01:34 to 01:40. It sounds
fine if I disable the anti-skip, though.
RICKY BLACK: On my regular copy I notice that noise
too, I was wondering what the fuck it was ...
BICE: I finally got around to trying this and ... I'll be damned. The
buzzing noise goes away if I turn off the anti-skip feature. Anyone have
any ideas on how that could possibly happen?
"1998" CD: Au20 Discs Masquerading as Regular Ryko Reissues?
There are two versions of the 1995 CD! Ryko switched to using their Au20 masters for the regular
CD issues of Apostrophe (') and One Size Fits
All at some point. That means that NEWER copies of the regular 1995
CDs are actually the Au20 CDs, but without the gold coating!
The Au20 masters are just like the original vinyl
masters, and they're different from the original CD masters. In the case of Apostrophe
('), the differences are quite noticeable (with songs edited and remixed),
but in the case of One Size Fits All, the differences lie in sound
quality only. In both cases, the Au20 master is simply a
better master than the original CD master, whatever the reason.
(Note that we don't know that the "1998" CD was really released in
In May 2000, Cal Schenkel had been in touch with Ryko, I think, and had this
Nobody seems to know anything about the Au20 swap, SO DON'T EVER MENTION
Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)
Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000
copies each) of Zappa CDs in
paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this
series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and
"bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold
covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on
the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a
different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had
"proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold"
cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.
We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US
Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors
items, not new remastered editions.
Late-2012-update: It appears as if the Japanese may be warming up the
mini-LP ovens for a new batch based on the 2012 UMe remasters. We'll let you
know if this happens.
2012 UMe CD
Mastered by Bob Ludwig from the original analog master. Like the Au20 CD (questionable
as of 2017),
this uses the original analog tapes, meaning that it lacks the digital reverb
found on all of the post-Old Masters versions. Opinions between this version and
the Au20 are pretty split; most people will apparently be satisfied with either.
- Any details on cassette versions?
- Any details on 8-track versions?
- Any regional peculiarities?
- Any more points to make about the Old Masters version?
- Any more release dates?
- How does the regular Ryko 1995 release sound in comparison to earlier
- Victor Dubiler
- Steve Jones
- Ryan Davenport