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 LP era).
   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

All non-Au20 CDs use the "Old Masters" boxed-set digital master, which has a slight layer of digital reverb added to the album. The Au20 CD reverts to the original, dry vinyl presentation. Some stock 1995 Ryko discs actually use the Au20 master, but finding one can be problematic.

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Unclear, but it appears as if the gold disc (or something reasonably equivalent) is the way to go. [completist's guide]

What We Need: How do the non-Au20 Ryko 1995 discs compare to the older discs?


  • 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 label)
  • 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 1987)
  • 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 CD))
  • 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) 
  • [unreleased quadraphonic version (Warner Brothers BS4-2879 (CD4 format) and L9B-2879 (Q8 format), according to Mark Anderson's Surround Sound Discography)]

Test Pressing

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.

Original Vinyl

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 company".

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:


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 [LOGO]
*********** (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 [Logo]
(C) 1975 DiscReet Records Inc.
Also available on MusiCassette DIS 459207(J)
Distributed by WEA Musik GmbH. A Warner Communications Company. Made in Germany

The Old Masters Vinyl

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);
  • LALA;
  • Ahmet;
  • Dogess;
  • KNARF (uview);
  • DWEEZIL (Auriga Ra6b 46m145d47 6');
  • Gorgo;
  • DIVA;
  • RDNZL;
  • HONKULES (Galaxy);
  • Unit.

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.

Original 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 Au20 discs.

1995 CD
"1998 CD"

Official Ryko statement: "New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork. Sounds brighter than first Rykodisc CD." [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).

From JWB:

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 1998.)

In May 2000, Cal Schenkel had been in touch with Ryko, I think, and had this to report:

Nobody seems to know anything about the Au20 swap, SO DON'T EVER MENTION IT AGAIN!


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-2005-UPDATE: Ryko USA has apparently been importing the overstock of these releases to sell as domestic "special editions," causing the speculators who paid top dollar for the entire collection to hari-kari themselves. This includes some of the discs that, as of August 2005, were pretty hard to find ("Money" and others).

Audiophile Au20 Gold CD

Ryko issued One Size Fits All and Apostrophe ('), in "limited" (numbered) editions, as expensive audiophile gold CDs - the discs used gold instead of aluminium. You may want to argue that gold itself would not make a compact disc sound that much better, but both discs were made from improved master tapes and sound much better (on good equipment). The gold may be mostly a gimmick to warrant the higer price necessitated by the major time and effort spent to prepare an extremely good master.

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 workstation.

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 Au20 CD.

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 numbers)

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?


  • 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 versions?

Additional Informants

  • Victor Dubiler
  • Gonšalo
  • Mexpressings
  • Steve Jones
  • Ryan Davenport

home - vinyl vs CDs - weirdo discography - bootlegs - misc - hot lynx - e-mail us at zappa dot patio at gmail dot com 2006-04-22 19:02

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