This is my first ever review on Amazon.com. Although I purchase much of my music on Amazon, I acquired this box set from a local retailer which also happens to be an Amazon marketplace vendor. For clarification purposes, the set I acquired was distributed by Atlantic/Warner; there is no mention of the Rhino subsidiary on any of the packaging. The packaging indicates that the product was manufactured in Japan, and indeed, all of the CDs are in fact the (non-SHM) Japanese pressings. Each CD indicates a copyright date of 1994, suggesting that the source material for the CDs was likely the mid-1990s Jimmy Page remasters.
First, a few words about the packaging. It is spectacular, befitting the band and the music on the CDs. If only all CD reissues were packaged this nicely. The CDs are collectively housed in an elegant black cardboard box with the “LZ IV” symbols engraved on the binding, the front and the back, respectively. Each CD is housed in a mini-replica of the original UK album release (yes, “LZ III” has the spinning wheel), with two mini album sleeves, one paper and one cellophane. Additionally, there are alternate album covers for “LZ I” and for “In Through The Out Door (numerous extra covers)”, a nice bonus for the collector.
Of course, packaging is nice, but what about the music/sound? Obviously, if you a reading this, you know how fine the music is, particularly on the first six albums (“LZ I” through “Physical Graffiti”). I have now listened to “LZ I”, “LZ II” and “LZ III”. The sound quality is, in a word, outstanding and sometimes spectacular (and I am very picky about sound quality). (In fairness, I have not listened to these enough to properly gage the ear fatigue issue which sometimes plagues overly compressed CDs, but based on my initial listenings, I suspect that will not be an issue with these CDs). I did an A-B comparison of this “LZ I” with the mid-1990s (currently available) Jimmy Page remaster of the same, and the Japanese pressing was superior.
In sum, this set is an absolute must for any lover of LZ’s music who has the discretionary income to justify the purchase. I suppose some audiophiles will opt for the Japanese SHM version of this set (which I have not heard), but, as of this writing, that set is significantly more expensive. On the other hand, I suppose some will opt for the 1990s box set (US pressings of the Jimmy Page remasters), which is significantly cheaper, and would likely suit those who utilize MP3 players, or who are not particular about sound quality, just fine. This offering of (non-SHM) Japanese pressings is probably the best buy in terns of price/quality ratio. I doubt that any purchaser — ptovided they receive the set I obtained — would be disappointed. Highly recommended.