A continuation of this thread: http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=271015 ------------------------------------------ 'Twas the night before the night before Christmas and all through the house, Bruce Springsteen was playing, disturbing my spouse. So I apologize for not getting back to you in the old threads but shopping and work and kids and barfing all came up (heh, pun) at the same time and I was sidetracked but tonight, I spent an hour & 1/2 listening to all three original CBS & Columbia masterings of BORN TO RUN. I listened very intently, on my best system (I will list the gear if you wish) and here are my conclusions. Take them as JUST MY OPINION. Some of you won't like what I have to say, some of you will scratch your head but at least you will have it in writing. First of all, let's be real clear here. I have MASTERING NUMBER ONE: CBS Made In Japan 35DP-21. I have MASTERING NUMBER TWO: CBS Made In USA Digital Audio Disc Corp. DIDP 50021. Upside down triangle on right side of label. I have MASTERING NUMBER THREE: Columbia Made In USA GMU 1A CK33 795 10. Forgive if I got a number wrong, it's late and I'm squinting more than usual tonight. However, if we agree that these are the three, let's move on, this won't take long. If you have these three versions you too can try this at home. Just keep in mind the following: No, you cannot remix the album. It is what it is. Accept that and move on. I don't want to hear about what a crappy mix it is, why did they do it this way, and so on. I don't care. It's been like this since most of you were born. GET OVER IT. If you want to do my test at home, be sure you make all versions the same in volume level. Do not deceive yourself. Make sure they match exactly. If you do this at home, IGNORE THE ARTWORK, THE BOOKLET and TRAY CARD. I don't care where it sez it was made, the paper and the actual disk don't always match. So, like all boring anal collectors (in other words, us), go by matrix number on the disk and the teeny tiny writing on the disk. I care about Bruce. I care about his voice. I do not care about the drums. They will never sound good on this album. Don't blame me, I didn't record it or mix it. I would never hire the people who did but that's not important now. The one thing the original technicians did well was capture Bruce's voice. Let's concentrate on the opening song, THUNDER ROAD and also TENTH AVENUE FREEZE OUT and you pretty much have the critique in a nutshell. Worst news: The "Mastering #3" pretty much bites for me. I have no use for it. Bruce doesn't sound like a real person. He sounds like a jacked up recording of a real person. Poof, illusion of life gone in the first 10 seconds of the song. Therefore Mastering #3 is eliminated as a contender. So, between the MADE IN JAPAN Mastering #1 and the MADE IN USA Mastering #2.. The winner is: MASTERING #2, MADE IN USA. DIDP 50021 No question about it. This version has the magic, such as it is. Bruce's voice sounds the best on this version. Don't tell me about the guitar, don't care, the sax, don't care, drums, don't care. Bruce's voice is the only true test here, the only instrument that is essentially unprocessed. This one wins. You will notice that his voice quality changes throughout the album. This is normal for a recording like this. If he sounds the same to you on every song, your gear is lying to you. Now, I like MADE IN JAPAN, MASTERING #1. It's fine but it has a slight midrange suck-out that makes the top too toppy. I feel that the crucial change here was the A/D converter. On the MASTERING #2 DIDP 50021, the A/D converter is much better and picks up the crucial midband in a more involving, lifelike way. Thiis is an essential difference between Mastering #1 and #2 which will become more apparent as your equipment improves. So, Mastering #2 is my go-to version, Mastering #1 is the second. Does this help you? You can probably find these for a few bucks everywhere. Make sure you avoid the jacked up COLUMBIA MASTERING #3. Why bother with it when MASTERING NUMBER 2 (or even NUMBER 1) is out there for not much money? If you don't like the sound on some songs, use your bass/treble controls to muck with it. But you don't want a treble boost built in to the disk, you can't get rid of it when you upgrade your system. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post! If you agree with me, feel free to post. If you don't agree with me, feel free to post. It's all to help you find the best sounding version of this quirky sounding (but classic) album. I do not like the Gold "Mastersound" CD version, don't bother me about it. Have a great Christmas weekend!