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Digital remasters - do they sound better or ..?

Soniclife

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#21
Maybe we can look at them , iv not got the means to analyze them though. Be interesting to see direct comparisons between the original masters and these new expensive box sets.
I was about to listen to them, but they are not on spotify or tidal, and given the albums of hers I really like already sound great I'm not tempted, yet.
 

Cosmik

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#22
Just looking at a remastered track in Spotify's catalogue. It's Neil Young's I've Been Waiting For You. The screen shot shows the start of the remastered track (from the album Neil Young (Remastered)) followed (after the gap) by the same section of the original taken from a compilation.
1546442841190.png

To me, the remastered version is horrific and hurts my ears, while the original sounds beautiful - albeit with the effect of the vocal sitting above the instrumental mix with the bass panned fairly hard to the left. It doesn't sound like a modern mix, perhaps, but is rounded and warm. The remaster has the bass more in the middle and the vocal seemingly lower in the mix, perhaps with some zingy EQ and extra compression.

Goodness knows what horrific processes are involved in doing this. Had it been the other way round, I would have congratulated them, but for me the remaster sounds horrible.
 

Krunok

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#23
Iv been told it's often the bands wanting it to sound ‘killer’ that means we end up with shite.
Generally speaking that may be so but I refuse to believe that is the case with Pink Floyd as they always valued good sound quality.
 

Krunok

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#24
Enhancement is a subjective term, and although I can accept that something can be made to sound better (to some), it's not universally true. Whatever the digitisation was possible after baking has set the limit of what there is to work with. It cannot ever be better than that, as the tape has been destroyed in the one-off playing.
I'm familiar with the process of archiving, baking included.

When I said enhancement I was referring to a technical properties of the recording, primarilly hiss & noise removal, maybe equalisation of HF tones etc.

As to band-approved remasters, they can be just as cynical as the record company execs.
S.
Again, I refuse to believe that was the case with Pink Floyd! :)
 

Thomas savage

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#25
I'm familiar with the process of archiving, baking included.

When I said enhancement I was referring to a technical properties of the recording, primarilly hiss & noise removal, maybe equalisation of HF tones etc.



Again, I refuse to believe that was the case with Pink Floyd! :)
Those pink Floyd guys are probably deaf anyway..
 

Thomas savage

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#27


Don't judge them by that "metal" stuff you call music.. :p
Another brick in the wall ‘ filter ‘ . Hearing loss is a bitch , live music performance artists no matter how good they are will escape it.

They are about my dad’s age and he can’t hear schiit , he can barely master his way to the loo at night though he probably practices plenty.
 

Soniclife

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#28
Just looking at a remastered track in Spotify's catalogue. It's Neil Young's I've Been Waiting For You. The screen shot shows the start of the remastered track (from the album Neil Young (Remastered)) followed (after the gap) by the same section of the original taken from a compilation.
View attachment 19770
To me, the remastered version is horrific and hurts my ears, while the original sounds beautiful - albeit with the effect of the vocal sitting above the instrumental mix with the bass panned fairly hard to the left. It doesn't sound like a modern mix, perhaps, but is rounded and warm. The remaster has the bass more in the middle and the vocal seemingly lower in the mix, perhaps with some zingy EQ and extra compression.

Goodness knows what horrific processes are involved in doing this. Had it been the other way round, I would have congratulated them, but for me the remaster sounds horrible.
I wonder if how this mess came to be...

Inside the big speaker cabinet to the audience's right are 2 two-way Maryland Sound P.A. cabinets with 2 15s and a horn apiece. These cabinets have 2000 watts of biamped power, and gets turned excruciatingly loud. It just kills me to go out there-I just about get knocked over. And that's what Neils hearing. This produces the feedback, and if we didn't have that on, the sound wouldn't be the same. Neil doesn't wear ear protection, and he's had a problem with that recently. I doubt if we'll be seeing this again soon. Right now he's gone into total acoustic.
 

Krunok

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#29
They are about my dad’s age and he can’t hear schiit , he can barely master his way to the loo at night though he probably practices plenty.
Pay some respect to your old man. He may be old and boring now but if it wasn't for him you wouldn't be here making wise statements. :p
 

svart-hvitt

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#30
If a remaster is better or not is a matter of taste. Taste follows habit, fashion etc.

And we all know why fashion changes every six months, don’t we?
 

Cosmik

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#31
If a remaster is better or not is a matter of taste.
Maybe, but I would contend that there are some objective criteria that could be argued for. If the original master is derived by EQ'ing and compressing individual tracks at the mixing stage (preferably minimal processing unless really necessary or an artistic statement) and then mixed down to a composite, this is objectively better than attempting to do anything similar but with only the composite to work from.

I'm not sure if people see the fundamental difference: I want more hi-hat, so I turn up just the hi-hat, or I modify the EQ of just the hi-hat. Compare that to only having the composite to work from: I want more hi-hat so I modify the EQ of the whole track in the hope of just picking out more hi-hat, but inevitably I also pick up more sibilance on the vocal etc.

In one version the sources are independent, but in the other they are 'cross-contaminated'. I suspect many of these re-masters are the latter category - and not necessary.
 

Pluto

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#32
Be interesting to see direct comparisons between the original masters and these new expensive box sets.
I've done a quick bit of tweaking and I will say this much for the time being... it's interesting what you get when you make the new and the old have equivalent BS.1770 loudness i.e. by reducing the louder, not increasing the quieter.

Oh, one more thing. There is a general perception amongst audiopiles that ‘better’ mastering yields a higher Crest Factor i.e. extremity of peaks compared to the RMS level. Well, I've discovered at least one track on the remastered Kate Bush release that appears to have a Crest Factor slightly less than the original. All in all, the original CD releases of ‘Kick Inside’ & ‘Lionheart’ were mastered to a very good standard and, given that they were amongst the earlier CDs available to the public, rather tend to give a lie to accusations of poor quality often aimed at early A to D converters.
 

JJB70

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#33
This is an interesting topic. I think that is done well remastering can improve the SQ of recordings, I have a lot of historic classic recordings which have been sympathetically restored to remove noise and the results can be very good. and some digital remasters of classical recordings were very good. Unfortunately remastering has picked up a bad name as a result of many of the awful remasters of pop recordings either as part of the loudness war or in order to optimise recordings for BT speakers etc.
 

svart-hvitt

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#34
Maybe, but I would contend that there are some objective criteria that could be argued for. If the original master is derived by EQ'ing and compressing individual tracks at the mixing stage (preferably minimal processing unless really necessary or an artistic statement) and then mixed down to a composite, this is objectively better than attempting to do anything similar but with only the composite to work from.

I'm not sure if people see the fundamental difference: I want more hi-hat, so I turn up just the hi-hat, or I modify the EQ of just the hi-hat. Compare that to only having the composite to work from: I want more hi-hat so I modify the EQ of the whole track in the hope of just picking out more hi-hat, but inevitably I also pick up more sibilance on the vocal etc.

In one version the sources are independent, but in the other they are 'cross-contaminated'. I suspect many of these re-masters are the latter category - and not necessary.
I get your point but do we have data to sort out the percentage that are just “composites”, not tracks based?
 

RayDunzl

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#35

restorer-john

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#37
I avoid 'digitally remastered' anything, unless they were complete 'hang-the-expense' revisiting of the original master tapes where significant resources and skill were applied to restore historic recordings.

With CD, I always hunt out the original flat transfers and have done since day one, long before it became a thing.

Kate Bush and Dire Straits were mentioned earlier in the thread, her first Kick Inside CD release was excellent as were the early blue swirl and red swirl Polygram Dire Straights albums. The first release of Love over Gold for instance has tape audible hiss, the second release they killed the hiss- and the dynamics.

Best of the the Alan Parsons Project original Sanyo Japanese pressing is dynamically and level different to the exact same album released a year or so later pressed in the Disctronics plant. This was in the mid 80s too, so don't think the 'loudness' issue was confined to later years. Compare Michael Jackson's original 1982 35-8P-2 Off the Wall with all that came after and you will hear why remasters are evil.
 

Thomas savage

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#38
I avoid 'digitally remastered' anything, unless they were complete 'hang-the-expense' revisiting of the original master tapes where significant resources and skill were applied to restore historic recordings.

With CD, I always hunt out the original flat transfers and have done since day one, long before it became a thing.

Kate Bush and Dire Straits were mentioned earlier in the thread, her first Kick Inside CD release was excellent as were the early blue swirl and red swirl Polygram Dire Straights albums. The first release of Love over Gold for instance has tape audible hiss, the second release they killed the hiss- and the dynamics.

Best of the the Alan Parsons Project original Sanyo Japanese pressing is dynamically and level different to the exact same album released a year or so later pressed in the Disctronics plant. This was in the mid 80s too, so don't think the 'loudness' issue was confined to later years. Compare Michael Jackson's original 1982 35-8P-2 Off the Wall with all that came after and you will hear why remasters are evil.
Ah £800 ish maybe they will put that version on tidal lol.
 

restorer-john

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#39
Ah £800 ish maybe they will put that version on tidal
I picked up that MJ disc recently for $1 at a local op-shop. The early red-swirl Dire Straights are also all pretty good- you don't have to hunt down blue swirls. My early Kick Inside is a EMI pressed in West Germany I think. It's a full silvered one IIRC.
 

RayDunzl

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#40
I guess I can assume you may be about right.
Remastering doesn't imply (nor does it exclude) Remixing as a prior step.

My 99% guess is based on what I might consider to be the availability of all the bits and pieces that might go into a "final" mix that is ready for the mastering process.

Then there is the time involved. And the estimate of a minute or so spent on the million "remasters" at Tidal (not assuming parallel work streams 60 shops would raise it to an hour each, for example. just about enough time to sit down, get some coffee, look to see what you're working on, mount some tapes or files, answer the phone, and, oops, time's up!).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_mixing
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_mastering
 
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