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. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    I'ld be interested in knowing what version you have of Peter Gabriels work in the '80's. I can't seem to find a better sounding version of "Big Time". I have this version and it's unlistenable on all three of my listening devices. Try, just try cranking that up on your headphones. It's worse in my car.

  2. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I am glad you are enjoying the Sony CD of the Archies.
    Mbe likes this.
  3. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    These by-products are what the average person likes about "remasters." I even have noticed comments about people who like the "cleaned up" sound of many remasters sourced from tape when that is a result of noise reduction.
    Musicisthebest and ispace like this.
  4. Which one is this? The two I have are pretty loud. They're from Repertoire label.
  5. eric777

    eric777 Astral Projectionist

    Is this really true? I rave over deeper bass and extra detail ;however, I never thought of this as being a by-product of compression. I have heard many CDs with excellent bass and detail that were not loud at all. In fact, I have heard remasters that were less compressed then the original cd that also included extra bass and detail. As an example, the record label “Earache” has remastered many albums from their older catalogue. They are referred to as “full dynamic range editions”. They are quieter and have extra bass and detail.

    Is it possible that on some louder remasters, the listener assumes added detail and bass even though it’s just louder?
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  6. eric777

    eric777 Astral Projectionist

    Another reason they may complain could be due to the DAC in their device. On some phones and tablets, quieter music is harder to hear due to the volume on their device.

    I don’t know. I’m guessing. :righton:
  7. sound chaser

    sound chaser Forum Resident

    North East UK.
    Sorry to intrude, up to “So” I have the UK/Euro (Target, where applicable) originals which are perfectly acceptable but I prefer the US Geffen for “So”. Go figure, as they say :)
    c-eling likes this.
  8. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Toulouse, France
    You're correct in that this is not always attributable to compression. They are not inherently a "by-product of compressed music". It is a false assumption.

    Brickwalling can often mask details and frequency extension.
    eric777 likes this.
  9. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    I only can speak for myself... many old CDs suck, as many new CDs suck!

    I prefer mostly LPs (rips) over old CDs! A Hard Rock or Metal CD with dynamic range of DR 17 is crap! Same for Metal with DR 6 or 7.

    The use of new A/D converters or SACDs is not the point. The improvements are tiny, most important is the mastering with the best eq possible. Full dynamic range or a flat transfer doesn’t guarantee great sound. That is the job of a great mastering engineer, when he adjusts the knobs.......
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  10. Musicisthebest

    Musicisthebest Forum Resident

    Manchester, UK
    I probably didn't express myself as well as I could have done. I enjoy deeper bass & extra detail but not when it comes at the price of extra compression.

    For example: consider a piece of music with 2 instruments playing, a loud one & a quiet one. By adding compression the difference in sound levels between the quiet one & the loud one decreases so it's easier to hear the quiet instrument. Some people then think there's extra detail as "I've never that so clearly" referring to the quiet instrument, but this has been achieved by destroying the difference in volume between the 2 instruments.

    The fi in hi-fi refers to fidelity, ie faithfulness in reproduction, not fi as in sci-fi, ie fiction.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  11. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    All that ADD means is the session was recorded on analog tape, but the final stereo mixing and mastering was done in the digital realm.

    Here's a great example to illustrate the difference between AAD and ADD:

    Capitol of Canada famously issued the Beatles' "Help" and "Rubber Soul" on CD using the 1965 mixes, which were of course done in analog (because that's all that they had in 1965). Those CDs are AAD (analog recording, analog mixing, digital mastering).

    The CDs issued elsewhere in the world contained new stereo mixes prepared by George Martin in 1987, and done in the digital realm. In other words, he transferred the 4-track analog session tapes to digital, and then did mixes on a computer from the files. Those CDs are ADD (analog recording, digital mixing, digital mastering).
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  12. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

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  13. c-eling

    c-eling I never dreamed another way.

    US Geffen used a few different mastering's for Gabriel's So, depending on who manufactured it.
    For Big Time, the least offender I have is from the UK Big Time cd single. It's the only one I've found with zero clipping (peaks hitting 0), still harsh but for the format the best I've come across.
    The US 7 inch 45 is probably the best bet and my favorite.
  14. Claus

    Claus Senior Member

    Listen to triangle and trombone. You can't record both instruments without compression.... it's a pain to listen triangle and trombone with full dynamic range. Even in concert.... they manipulate the loudness during the playing.
  15. Joy-of-radio

    Joy-of-radio Forum Resident

    Skowhegan, ME
    Generally speaking, I find older compact discs, those made in the 80s through the early 90s, to sound far more detailed and engaging in those produced after that. The two biggest problems I find with modern CDs in general is that they tend to be to bass-heavy or otherwise EQd poorly such that much of the delicate detail in the mid range is often distorted and eclipsed. It seems that the trend in audio is to make it sound thick. At the end of the day, it’s all completely subjective, but I prize my vintage compact disc collection and purposely seek out what I believe are the best masterings. For the record, pun intended, I do not especially like the sound of phonograph records. More often than not, I perceive graininess and often times sibilance when listening to records played on even the very Best systems. Some people favor that sound along with rumble and surface noise, and I certainly don’t begrudge them for that. In the end, I encourage everyone to go with what they like the best! :)
  16. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    Sorry to persist but does the "Big Time" YouTube video I posted as an example generally have the same timbre and texture in highs and bass that you prefer as acceptable?

    I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to labels and country of origin as the basis for your preferences in sound quality.
  17. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    I've come across quite a few quiet sounding original masters issued on CD that defy Loudness Wars. They're around the normal -21dbRMS volume level. Listening on my MacMini and Sony headphones with the volume slider in the middle for comfortable volume level across a wide range of musical styles from classical to hard rock for me to hear more detail I have to max out the volume slider on quite a few of these "quiet" sounding masterings. And even then on some classical music it's not enough. I then go to listen on my vintage '72 Sansui receiver and two way speakers to hear more of what was recorded.

    Bass was always lacking in a lot of these old masterings so I don't know the source for your comment about phone speakers and mono speakers having lots of bass, but then that class of devices aren't known for listening for detail and dynamics.

    The audio mastering industry needs to decide what flat is suppose to sound like. I can assure you in it's current iteration dynamics is quite lacking. And I define dynamics when I can hear the difference between different timbres of different stringed instruments playing in unison or in harmony as a chorus. And I want to hear the difference between a bass pluck vs a kick drum hit even when played in unison (bass doubling) in hard rock.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
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  18. Front 242 Addict

    Front 242 Addict Forum Resident

    Tel Aviv ,Israel

    When too much compression and extreme EQ changes are added to the original
    master then the original master loses all his advantages and I will prefer the old cd master with the more natural sound . In cases when the original master gets a respectful treatment with tasteful care then we can get a good sound for the remastered cd.
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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