Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by shokhead, Nov 18, 2006.
My bad... I thought it was out on vinyl. I think I confused it with The BBC Sessions.
Ok. I haven't heard the BBC Sessions on vinyl but I've read that they're kind of bright but still better sounding than the CDs.
So it sounds like the best sounding of any LZ would be vinyl or org cds. Boy,i'm glad i saw them live,70&71@LA Forum and 72@LB Arena
You're very fortunate. Seeing them in those years must have been magical!
I looked at HTWWW with goldwave and it is not compressed/redlined at all.
The DVD-A is good if you have full sized speakers with good bass extension otherwise you need to have bass-management on your reciever because they didn't really mix in a sub channel. For listening to Page the DVD-A is quite remarkable. However for the full package with Bonzo included you need the CD. I have both depending on my mood. It is amazing to here how detail is brought out with the DVD-A, but the drums being low in the mix sort of kills things. I have all Zeppelin releases and every known SBD, I highly recommend the HTWWW CD and consider it their best album.
Also recommend to buy the DVD and extract the PCM layer with DVD audio extractor or similiar, it makes an excellent CD spanning their live career.
The CD is not bad, but the DVD-A is notorious for too much maximizing. I tried re-recording it from analog outputs of my DVD-Audio player to see if this would help, but even with the gainr reduced, the whole thing was flat across the top with the peaks all squashed to hell. I'm hoping the upcoming Song Remains the Same remaster doesn't suffer the same fate.
I have a Jimmy Page theory. I think he doesn't care for the CD format, he didn't like the first issues and we all know how the remasters came out. So he gets Kevin Shirley to do HTWWW on DVDA, well that turned out bad so I don't think he will release any new Zep material till he finds a good format that will sell. It wasn't too long after the HTWWW DVDA debacle that he OK'd the 45rpm vinyl set. Mabey someone needs to introduce him to Steve?
YES!!!! Zeppelin remasters with Steve's skills would be devastating!
Actually if Classic Records would just release some of their 192 DVD-Audios of the Zeppelin studio albums, and maybe some redbooks of the Classic masterings then everybody would be happy.
Re: Led Zeppelin
What does this mean?
Re: Led Zeppelin
I remember the time when some found cd's to sound horrible in general and there was a huge debate about digital sound (mid 80's).
Most of them changed their minds when the technology to trensfer proper improved (remasters, etc.) or got used to the cd-sound.
Now it seem a new generation of simular-minded folks find remastered cd's horrible and first generation cd's superior (the thing they have in commong seem to be that they prefer vinyls).
Maybe I'm wrong but i find this interesting and a bit funny, but of course I respect all views, anything else would be quite unnatural to me.
Anyhow, I think a simular thing might happen regarding remasterd cd's contra first generation cd's in a couple of years, but that's just my guess, of course.
I question how many actually changed their minds. You're right, transfer technology, etc. improved, but at the same time the loudness war began and noise reduction hardware/software became available. These have been overused to the point where when I see the word "remaster" I generally won't buy a title because that word usually means that the sound has been mangled in an attempt to make it sound "modern." Cymbals no longer sound like cymbals, reverb no longer sounds natural, everything sounds like, as Bob Dylan put it, the test pattern on TV, loud and numbing. Many people assume that "remaster" means going back to the original source tapes and using up-to-date technology to make sure the end customer gets a "perfect" copy of the source tape. This is utter rubbish. The technology used for redbook CDs is obsolete by about 20 years and is extremely low resolution when compared to a good analog recording, which has virtually infinite resolution.
Good remasters do exist, but they are few and far between. Steve Hoffman's works are some of the very few I'd consider good. As for Zeppelin, I agree with many others on this forum, the original CDs mastered by Barry Diament and Joe Sidore are the best choice on CD. They sound more natural and dynamic with fewer overloads. After listening to only the remasters for 15 years I was lulled into believing Zeppelin was badly recorded. I believed the marketing hype about "digitally remastered." When I took the time to seek out the original CDs, I realized this wasn't so. When I bought the Classic Records vinyl copies I realized just how well they were recorded!
Great post Steve! You speak the truth...
I agree it's a good written post but I don't agree and it's not "my" truth, with all respecta and by that I leave this debate for now with the conclusion that everything is subjective.
Re: Led Zeppelin
I respect your opinion, and to be honest, I am quite happy that not everybody prefers the old CD's over remastered ones. If this was the case, it would almost be impossible to find anything decent on the used market.
I think the original debate about CD's sounding cold and thin and digital can also strongly attributed to the playback technology (CD players) of that time. CD playback has imporved siginificantly since 20 years ago, and there are now CD players available with a smoother and more analog sound (if that is what somebody likes).
Still today, CD's don't sound as analog as vinyl does, but I still like CD's a lot because vinyl also comes with many compromises (i.e. surface noise, wear, pops and clicks, inner groove distortion). If I would go back to vinyl, I would only buy the best available condition and would make a high-resolution needle drop recording so that I don't have to play my vinyl over and over again (I think this is what quite a few people are doing).
I know that in many cases, the best vinyl pressing does sound better than the best available CD version, but I am willing to live with that.
Steve, great post! Thanks.
Re: Led Zeppelin
I share your opinions about most, but not everytthing, of what you right in your respectfull and well written post.
I'm really fond of the versions on the 4-CD box set (light brown "crop circles" graphic) from fifteen or so years ago - although they are the same remasterings that comprise the contemporary CDs, somehow they vibe a bit better to me. Go figure!
I find that interesting - guess there's a certain amount of psycology in everything. Would be interesting if you did a blindtest.
Roland, have you tried any remastered Led zeppelin on your new apollo rega???................it'd be interesting to know if the apollo can "smooth "the upper midrange of these cd's.........
Well, the Rega Apollo makes CD's sound more analog and a little smoother, but the difference to a "regular" decent CD player is not "that" huge. The difference between original and remastered Led Zep CD's is much bigger.
I haven't tried the Led Zep remasters on the Rega, but I am not going back to the remasters since I clearly prefer the original CD's, by far.
My search for the best CD version nowadays goes something like this:
1. I try to find the best basic mastering of each title I like by comparing the various CD versions. For a very rough analysis, I can even use a high quality mp3 file to see if I like the sound of the CD in general. This way, in many cases I can sort out whether I like a new remastering. In case of Led Zeppelin, I already decided for me at this step that I prefer the original CD's over the remasters (I did listen to the original CD's though, not mp3 files).
2. I just don't like compression, so I try to find CD versions w/o compression added. Already a slight amount of compression bothers me and is a big draw-back. I can tolerate a very slight amount of compression, but in many cases I will prefer an uncompressed mastering. Once you "learned" to hear compression, it is like a pest and it is the very first thing I notice when I listen to a CD. (I guess this is not really a step, but for me, compression is a big issue)
3. Once it boils down to maybe two or three CD versions (usually non-remastered from different labels/countries), I need at least a good CD-R copy to compare which mastering I like better. The original CD version is better to have than a CD-R copy. This step will get me to the point which basic mastering I prefer. Depending on how much I like the album, I might stop at this step or continue with step 4. Example: my preferred mastering of Pink Floyd - The Wall is the original Harvest mastering.
4. I will start to compare different pressings of the same basic mastering (same basic mastering to me is either digitally identical or only a difference in overall level, i.e. files cancel out after adjustment of level). Example: Pink Floyd - The Wall. We have CD's from Japan, WG and UK/Holland. These all come from the same basic mastering, but there are some differences between them (level was changed, Japanese is probably the original version). Another example: MFSL UD vs. UDII. They are digitally identical but can sound slightly different. To some people, step 4 might be considered not relevant.
For this step 4, it is very helpful to have a very good CD player to hear the minor nuances between pressings.
I guess I went slightly off-topic, but I just thought that I had to explain myself a little bit why I won't get back to the Zep remasters.
I agree on your aproach very thorough which is fine...... I just asked beacuse I heard Rega's ( planet and now apollo) can improve the sound of not so well mastered cd's at least to make them more tolerable.......but anyway if something is compressed or suffers from excessive noise reduction , nothing can be done...........
I prefer not compressed cd's they tend to fatigue me after some time of listening , and that's what happened to me with Led zeppelin remasters........
Actually the 4-cd box set and its 2-cd follow-up (1993) are not nearly as bad as some of the post 2000 CDs. Although the same sources remastered by George Marino are used, someone somewhere along the line decided to boost these a bit. I bought the mini-LP replica CDs last year and was quite surprised when I ripped and compared tracks from Physical Graffiti with their counterparts on the crop circle box sets. on average, they were about 3db louder with quite a few peaks chopped off by limiting. By contrast, Barry Diament's original mastering of Physical Graffiti sounds gorgeous. Kashmir for example is much cleaner. On the remasters, it sounds poorly recorded with no bass reponse and lots of "near distortion" on the peaks (meaning it's not quite distorted but it sounds strained). On the 80's CD version, it sounds much smoother and more dynamic plus there's more bass. I also hear more detail and definition on the Diament CDs with more clearly defined soundstages.
My theory on the remasters is that Marino was given a better set of master tapes than Diament/Sidore, but he tried re-EQing, noise reduction and general futzing with the sound and the result might have sounded ok in the studio on good monitoring equipment but it was beyond the capacity of redbook CD. all you have to do is take a song like the Rain Song and listen to how the soundstage is reduced in the intro of the remaster, and how the guitar sounds processed by too much noise-reduction. As I've written in another post, the opening guitar in Stairway to Heaven is another good indicator. On the original Sidore mastering, the guitar is on the left with the natural room ambience reinforcing it on the right and giving it a sense of space. On the remaster, compression has boosted the ambience to the point where it sounds like added synthetic reverb. One no longer gets a sense of the guitar's acoustic space. Also, listen to the drums at the end of the middle solo part of Over the Hills and Far Away just before they move back into the main song. On the remaster, the room reverb sounds gated almost Phil Collins like. On the Diament master, they sound much more natural.
I could go on and on. Clearly the Zeppelin remasters are not as bad as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nickelback, etc. releases with zero dynamic range, but they're definitely not what the master tapes sound like.
I've also read some advice from an audio pro who suggests recording the analog output from a really good DAC as a way of helping with overly maximized CDs. This helps a bit. I have a reasonable sounding Yamaha universal player and I've tried this. It helps a bit but the waveforms still don't have the natural dynamics of a real recording. They're not a perfect flattop but they're chopped quite a bit.
Again, I fall into the let's be fair mode.
The "crop circles" box is fine, I've played it to death, but most of the listening to Zep by me is usually in a car, different cars, different systems.
Original "Houses Of The Holy" is good on a good system, it is the best CD transfer of LZ, period.
Thanks for bringing this up... that part of the song, on any version, has always bugged me. It's as though it is a completely different drum recording from that point on. The drum tone changes drastically, and you don't need the Marino version to hear it. Anybody else notice this?
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