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. reb

    reb Money Beats Soul

    Location:
    Long Island
    Do you have any info on the Rumours gold cd. This was in shops about 5 years ago . Don't remember what label.
    Thanks
     
  2. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    There is some overlap in versions. My copy of Rumours has just the printed text, not the target design (it looks just like the current version) but it features the old mastering job without the treble boost and with the faded-in Gold Dust Woman. It was made in the US, btw.
     
    Former Lee Warmer likes this.
  3. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Reopened by special request.
     
  4. Former Lee Warmer

    Former Lee Warmer Emotional Rescue

    Location:
    NoBoCoMO
    I need to find a W German Rumours.
     
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    So, what have we learned in these 15 years?
     
  6. Evaluate Each Digital Re-Master Individually


    Thanks, Steve!

    :angel:
     
  7. Gaslight

    Gaslight Kokomo or My Ding-a-Ling : Shoulda been a poll

    Location:
    Northeast USA
    That you used to refer to yourself in the 3rd person?
     
    John B, Trbnado, andrewskyDE and 3 others like this.
  8. rockclassics

    rockclassics Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arkansas, USA
    80s CDs still sound better. :agree:
     
  9. Thievius

    Thievius Forum Resident

    Location:
    Moreno Valley, CA
    I like the old discs just because they're less futzed with. Unfortunately, I ignorantly bought a lot of remasters over the years thinking there'd be improvements, but nope, they're just louder to "bring out the clarity." Though there are some I'm happy with. The recent Pink Floyd and Zappa remasters sound great.
     
    mozz, Christopher B and Xabby like this.
  10. docwebb

    docwebb Forum Resident

    If I have an 80's CD, I never buy the remaster unless a) respected opinion is that it is a sonic improvement or b) there are neat bonus tracks I want.
    Well, I did buy the Beatles stereo remasters....it's the fault of this forum, the place was going crazy... :)
    But the mono remasters were good value....
     
    BeatlesBop and Musical Maxis like this.
  11. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Stick with vinyl.
     
    Goggen, Blackie, Old Rusty and 3 others like this.
  12. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    That nothing has changed except it's all worse.
     
    rock76, Lyle_JP, alduchaney and 5 others like this.
  13. Massproductions

    Massproductions Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    exactly! Steve makes complete sense to me. A nice warm sounding analog dub sure sounds better than a master tape that's been squashed to death! A good example would be the original Led Zepplin CDs, Foreigner, or Abba. Those were not made from the original masters, but they sound better than the later remasters that make your ears bleed. It's always best to get the original tape if you can, ( and steve looks high and low for them ) but if your only options are an earlier CD made from a dub tape, or a CD with the dynamics trashed, the dub tape is the lesser of two evils.
     
    rock76, hodgo, Dynamic Ranger and 3 others like this.
  14. Massproductions

    Massproductions Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    Vinyl is cut from tape copies, and new vinyl is often cut from the same squashed digital files used for CD or ITunes. It's the same playing field, just a different format.
     
    rock76, Dave, Robert C and 2 others like this.
  15. g.z.

    g.z. Forum Resident

    That this was probbaly the best thing ever printed on an older compact disc insert:

    "The music in this compact disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible,
    the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the compact disc can reveal limitations of the source tape."

    Truth in advertising.

    Also, I like the sound of a master tape ending on an older CD. That little click/blip. :agree:
    Sounds like you got the whole track and nothing but the track without it being fussed with.
    I miss that on newer CD masterings.
    (Is this called a rill? :confused:)

    I like the sound of older CDs. I glad that I didn't give
    away all of my older CDs away during the 'remastering' times. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  16. angelo73

    angelo73 ⬚⿻⬚⿻⬚

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Why is it less often the case with digital re-masters of modern Jazz recordings that were originally commited to tape between 1952-1970 being over-compressed as is so often the case with Pop, R&B, and Rock re-masters ? My general rule is, if it is Jazz go for the newest remastered version and if it is Pop, R&B, or Rock then usually it will be the early (pre-1996) digital transfer that I seek. There are obviously many exceptions, depending on multiple factors.
     
    Hermes likes this.
  17. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    Usually yes, but some recordings need heavy bottom and upper end reinforcement; the only case I take brickwalled over a weak original. The lesser of two evils.
     
    angelo73 likes this.
  18. Merrick

    Merrick The return of the Thin White Duke

    Location:
    Portland
    This thread made me think of a question for you, Steve:

    All else being equal (source [let’s assume the source hasn’t degrading], mastering moves, etc.) and the only difference between a 1988 CD release and a 2018 CD release was the equipment used to transfer it from tape to digital, would you expect the 2018 CD to sound better because of advances in D/A converters? Or were they sufficiently good in the 80s that we wouldn’t hear an audible difference now?
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Nothing could ever be equal, different gear, etc. but in your example, impossible as it is, I don't think you could hear a damn bit of difference between them.
     
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  20. Merrick

    Merrick The return of the Thin White Duke

    Location:
    Portland
    Yes, I know it was a pure hypothetical that could never actually come true, I guess the gist of it was just how much better are the A/D converters now than they were in the ‘80s, and it sounds like the answer is negligible. Thanks from someone clinging to many of his ‘80s CDs.
     
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    So many "experts" talk about how much better A/D's are now. I call, prove it, dudes! I’ve heard ‘em all. A tiny bit better but one turn of an EQ device in the wrong direction and forget it.
     
    Moshrom, McLover, ted209 and 19 others like this.
  22. Massproductions

    Massproductions Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    Pop music appeals to the younger crowd, to them, louder is better. And because they are so deaf by assaulting their eardrums on a daily basis with ear buds, they have no clue what sounds good.
     
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  23. LeBon Bush

    LeBon Bush Hound of Love

    Location:
    Austria
    Well, 15 years ago I was a vital 4-year old, so I've learned A LOT since then ;)

    Regarding CDs: I brought home a 1st german CD pressing of Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation yesterday, an analogue production released in 1989. I cranked the thing up and the title track was truly room-shattering - so much about complaints stating 80s CDS sound 'dull' (especially found on amazon...).

    Or take the early Dire Straits CDs - some of the best-sounding music I ever bought, they were so beautifully transferred onto the CD. Someone at Vertigo had clearly made his homework. I am always on the hunt for 80s CD issues, many are so cheap and SO good.
     
  24. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    Spot on!
     
  25. Musical Maxis

    Musical Maxis Has left the building.

    Location:
    WVa
    People keep on ah building brickwalls with our music? :confused:

    Question for you @Steve Hoffman
    The digitally brickwalled audio files sometimes used to press LPs have a 2-3dB difference when played back, why is that? Then there are some other DMM cut LPs that show no difference in the dynamics being squashed to death when played back? I've never understood what creates the fake peaks in the audio?
     

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