SH Spotlight Compact Disc mastering: 1980's vs. "newly remastered"--Steve's thoughts in 2003 and 2018

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Mar 13, 2003.

  1. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Greater Vancouver
    Fair enough. We all aren't listening in the same environment with the exact same equipment. I must admit I'm very surprised that H&H seems grating but I suppose it's possible to get a dud pressing. It's my favorite mastering for H&H. :cheers:
  2. bluenote

    bluenote Forum Resident

    I really think it's a case by case basis. I can think of some catalogue remasterings that are way better than the 80s disks:

    - Kiss
    - Simon and Garfunkel
    - Bob Dylan
    - Elvis Costello
    - CCR
    - Neil Young
    - Beatles (for the most part)
    - AC/DC (yes, I think the 2003 remasterings are better then the 80s, much more punch. drums sound amazing on the remasters!!)
    - Pink Floyd
    - Black Sabbath (just comparing to the original 80s Warner disks)

    However, some 80s cds still sound better to me than the remasters that came later, such as:

    - Iron Maiden
    - Supertramp
    - The Band
    - David Bowie
    - Boston

    Just my 2 cents!
  3. Sax-son

    Sax-son Forum Resident

    Three Rivers, CA
    I think we all learned that lesson to some extent by taking the bait. Fortunate for me, I was too lazy to discard my old original CD's and I still kept them.
  4. Sax-son

    Sax-son Forum Resident

    Three Rivers, CA
    Yeah buddy!
  5. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    United States
    But, I wouldn't be so hard on those who were sucked into that "Newly Remastered From The Original Tapes" sicker. I think the vast majority of us fell for it back in the 90s. And, it didn't always mean the CDs were heavily brickwalled. Many times, better source tapes were indeed used. But, the trend toward edging up the levels and goosing the EQ a bit did start to creep in as the converters improved.

    The labels digitized their vaults in the 90s, and prepared masters from those transfers. It's just easier and cheaper for a label to use the latest and greatest prepared master for the hi-rez versions, especially since they are what the consumer is used to, and because many of those new remasters are part of an artist switching record labels, such as when AC/DC moved to Sony.

    Regarding The Archies: they actually made it to HDTracks???????? Amazing! But, since they sound so bad, someone should contact Ron Dante, who owns the tapes, and see if he cares enough to do something about it.

    A couple of The Archies online offerings sound decent, but I did my own vinyl transfers of the original albums.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
    mozz likes this.
  6. BZync

    BZync Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    The reason why CDs from the 80's sound better is because we used a green magic marker around their edges. :hide:
    InStepWithTheStars, TimB, rod and 5 others like this.
  7. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    I haven't received it yet. It's probably being bruised and battered in Media Mail. When I get it though, I'll review it here. I have several "Archies" CDs including both of the RKO releases. While I'm not convinced that they were sourced from original masters, I think they sound quite decent. According to the liners, there was a third "Archies" release planned, but I don't think it came to fruition. I also like the self titled release that Repertoire issued in the mini LP sleeve.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
    bumbletort likes this.
  8. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    Oh, believe me! I was one of those who was tricked a few times. The last straw was when REV-OLA released the 1967 classic "Present Tense" by "Sagittarius". I hadn't heard the album before, but I just knew something was very wrong! Thankfully I discovered that there was another edition in print oddly enough. It was issued by "Sundazed" and the sonic differences between was stunning! The REV-OLA version sounded highly compressed and its EQ too bass heavy. The SUNDAZED version is much quieter and has pleasant dynamics for a pop album from that era. Eventually I stumbled across the SH forums, which has been a lifesaver for me! Thanks guys!
    supermd, mozz, AlmanacZinger and 2 others like this.
  9. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    I knew a fellow who really believed that! Admittedly I tried it, but heard no difference.
    Spaceboy and Grant like this.
  10. AxeD

    AxeD Forum Resident

    Many thanks Steve for this thread! For me the forum (after I have joined in 2009) was really an eye opener. Eventually I have learnt, understood,
    why listening to (moddern, many) CDs wasn't as much fun as listening to my old vinyl records was. Since joining the forum I have literally acquired thousands of old/used CDs/vinyl records - thanks for sharpening my perception :)))
  11. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery Picture Member

    Nowadays they make the whole CD green colored. This is the way the 2014 re-issued CARPENTERS SINGLES 1969-1973 (SACD and Platinum SHM-SACD) appeared. Sounds great. Must be the magic of green.

    WMTC, cwitt1980 and Joy-of-radio like this.
  12. jeddy

    jeddy Forum Resident

    I've got a number of these platinum discs and theydo sound fabulous!
    For the most part much better tape sources and mastering care put into them.
    Former Lee Warmer likes this.
  13. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    I got my SONY Archies CD yesterday, and yes, it has the best sound of any Archies material I’ve heard. It’s a pity it only has ten tracks, but they’re all very good. The AMAZON seller described the CD as being in “FLAWLESS” condition, which I didn’t expect. Sure enough it’s EX with minor scratches. Still worthy of a place in my collection and I paid about $11 for it. I’m happy! :)
  14. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict "I'll drink the moonlight from your hands"

    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    czeskleba said:
    if I may paraphrase: "A copy tape mastered without a lot of digital processing sounds better than an original master tape mastered with a lot of digital processing."
    I totally agree.
    An original master tape is not superior if he gets
    excessive compression ,excessive loudness and drastic boost of Eq
    marcb, ispace and Joy-of-radio like this.
  15. CoryS

    CoryS Forum Resident

    It's a sad commentary on the mostly unfulfilled potential of the CD format.

    Remember the commonly stated "this disc may present limitations of the source material" disclaimer on all those 80s CDs?
    That was meant to imply that the medium was so revealing that the difference beteeen source tapes would be noticeable and significant. Sad that any such attempts at obtaining better sources for subsequent remasters is usually undone by additional and unnecessary digital compression.
    Mr D, supermd, tin ears and 7 others like this.
  16. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict "I'll drink the moonlight from your hands"

    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    I love older cds, I bought so many , I love that I can raise the volume and enjoy from the power and the beauty of the music without the unpleasant feeling when you listen to some remastered cds that are too loud . when I was a teen I bought lots of remastered cds because there were easy to find and they were supposed to sound better , with some of them Although I loved the music it accompanied with some strange feeling, I didn't want to listen to them again , I couldn't understand why because I loved the music but during the listening there was unpleasant feeling that I couldn't explain ,
    Then I started to wonder if the remastered cds are really better like so many people say?

    I bought some older cds of the same titles and suddenly I enjoyed so much from the music, it was like a relief, no unpleasant feeling of loudness or drastic EQ boost.

    I arrived to the forum more than 5 years ago when I was curious to find opinions about other compression of my beloved titles between original cds vs remastered cds. I was glad to find here an Ocean of knowledge from people who have so much passion to music and to good sound.

    There are some remastered cds that I like but mostly the original cds ( 80-95) are my favorite
    for my beloved music titles.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
    mozz, JeffreyB, Tom Fediuk and 6 others like this.
  17. g.z.

    g.z. Forum Resident

    :thumbsup: Righteous post. I hear you talkin'. :tiphat:
  18. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict "I'll drink the moonlight from your hands"

    Tel Aviv ,Israel
    Thanks g.z. :)
    g.z. likes this.
  19. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    I took that disclaimer to mean that though the noise floor of the compact disc format is undetectable, the noise floor (hiss/rumble/crackle) and other limitations of the original analog source tape may be revealed. I remember the excitement of getting compact discs with a DDD designation knowing that the sound would be clean with no distracting analog noise, and classical music never sounded better. I knew I'd never buy another phonograph record if a compact disc edition of the same title was available.
  20. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    United States
    I took the disclaimer to mean that you'd hear the tape hiss, which I usually did. I also took it to mean that I would hear tape saturation.
  21. DPM

    DPM Forum Resident

    This is why I hunted down the original Metal Blade CDs and ditched the remastered versions. Yikes! What a travesty those were.
  22. mahanusafa02

    mahanusafa02 Forum Resident

    Whoa! Very cool...what is this particular CD you're talking about here?
  23. mahanusafa02

    mahanusafa02 Forum Resident

    I didn't see any information on this at the A&M Corner, Harry, and I don't have the Foursider that indeed where the stereo remix of "Tijuana Taxi" SH was referring to can be found, and if so, how does it differ from the original stereo mix?

    EDIT: For that matter, I wonder if the mix on the ochre label Foursider LPs is the same as that on the silver label Foursider reissue LPs...and if other songs were remixed as well for that comp...
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  24. easyge

    easyge Forum Resident

    Sioux Falls, SD
    Concerning Starz if you are talking about the Ryko remasters I agree. I compared them to my Metal Blade versions and the MB originals sounded much better. I think the Ryko's had bonus tracks if I recall.
    DPM likes this.
  25. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk "You say you'll change the constitution"

    Gilbert Arizona
    Since joining this forum in 2003 I spent a lot of years comparing and chasing various masterings of music I love. In terms of older catalog titles I have essentially those I want. For myself I made many, many A-B comparisons of remasters with original issue CDs and I opted for the original issue in all but two cases that I preferred a remaster. Once exception is the 2009 Beatles remasters which I bought across the board without comparison. In all of those cases (several hundred) that I opted for the original it was a mix of the originals being far superior, somewhat preferable and really a toss up in terms of the sound quality I heard. Now whenever I am looking to add an older title to my library I skip the process and go straight for the original issue CD. I am also a fan of audiophile releases and there are mastering engineers that I trust (such as Steve) and audiophile labels who I trust and if they issue a title I'm interested in I will add it to my catalog and replace the original I may already have. Again I do not go through the comparison process anymore. The last consideration for me is that I have a general rule of thumb that if I own an audiophile version of an album and another version is issued, say as a SACD versus an older Gold CD I stay with the version I have save for two occasions where I just couldn't overcome my curiosity and in those cases I could have stayed with what I had.

    One caveat to all this is I am older and my hearing is simply not what it once was and I accept that and my system while much more modest than what I use to have it still provides a lot of enjoyment but may not be as revealing as the more expensive systems I have owned in the past. Bottom line I learned a lot, spent a lot and the journey was a blast of discovery and musical enjoyment.

Share This Page