Vinyl Record Guides: Repress vs Reissue vs Remaster

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When it comes to buying vinyl records there are different formats that can be considered (repress, reissue, remaster). These don’t normally affect the sound quality, but more so the rarity of the record itself. Collectors, fans, and enthusiasts will look for different editions of particular records to add to their collections.

Aside from the easy anniversary pressings, we’ll look at the more traditional phrases and explain what each of them means.


Repress vinyl records

A repress is an identical pressing of the original record produced from the same source/master recording.

For example, if you’re getting a repressed version of an album that originally came out in 2010 in 2020 it’s the same album, the same tracks, the same order, and occurred from the original master recording.

Repress and rerelease are usually the same thing a repress does indicate that the media in question is either an LP or a CD.

Things to remember:

  • Original source material
  • References should be made to the rerelease or repress of the album
  • Only LPs and CDs can be repressed

Reissue vinyl records

Reissued vinyl records are similar to the above, but they can have variants including the sourcing of new master recordings, packaging, and format.

In addition to the above, you may also receive/see additional changes such as bonus tracks, inserts, and posters along with the album artwork.

Reissues can come with plenty of special editions of albums. Things to remember:

  • Source material does not have to be identical to the original
  • CDs can be reissues of LPs, the term is platform independent
  • Album literature should state the release of the reissue
  • Bonus tracks, posters, books, and additional material may be added as part of the reissue package

Remastered vinyl records

This is one of the easier ones to understand. A remastered album simply means the sound has been reprocessed to enhance and improve the playback (our guide on half-speed mastering). This doesn’t always necessarily mean better sounds. The process is subjective to the mastering engineer who’ll have objectives based on what the artist, record label, or client wants to see with the remastered version.

Things to remember:

  • Source material does not have to be identical to the original
  • It will sound different from the original (though you may not notice)
  • Album literature will state it’s a remastered version
Elvis Presley Album Cover

Quick FAQs – Repress vs Reissue vs Remaster

What’s the difference between repress and reissue vinyl?

Repress is the same as the original, reissues can have bonus material

What is the difference between a reissue and a remaster?

The sound. Remastered will sound different to the original.

What do ‘RP’ and ‘RE’ mean on vinyl records?

  • ‘RP’ means Repress
  • ‘RE’ means Reissue

You may find these on the record sleeve to indicate the version/edition.

How to tell if a record is an original pressing?

The sleeve will tell you the edition of the record. Luckily online cataloging is a lot better now. You’ll be able to quite quickly match up your version to an original – Watch out for fake records.

Pre-1980s records will also not have barcodes on them. So if you’re looking at an early Beatles of Stones record and want to do a quick check, if you see a barcode unfortunately you’re not quids in.

Music enthusiast with a love for vinyl, gigs and festivals. Here to educate, review, discuss and share the love of music and vinyl records for the next generation.

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