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. andrewskyDE

    andrewskyDE Island Owner

    Zack Island
    I started to buy more 1980s mastered CDs since I'm in this forum. So, thanks guys. :righton:
  2. andrewskyDE

    andrewskyDE Island Owner

    Zack Island
    But that's lossy audio. Would've been great if there's a lossless option on iTunes.
    PTgraphics likes this.
  3. auralden

    auralden Forum Resident

    What a long trip my hi-fi journey has been - from buying chrome cassettes in the mid-80s to collecting DCC and Mofi gold-plated CDs, trying out SHM and Blu-Spec CDs and now searching for CDs from the 80s (yup, I skipped vinyl then cos I couldn't afford it and I still skip them today cos... I still can't afford it!). The ONE quality that I look for in a CD today that I value more than dynamic range and resolution is the ability to impart a holographic presentation of the performance. And the funny thing is that once I find the CD version of a recording that does this, it is also the version with the widest dynamic range. The resolution (the density of individual performers and instruments) however may not be the highest but with a bit of tweaking (changing tubes for example), I can bring up the resolution to a level where it is not distracting to me. For example, take Sonny Rollins' Way Out West - I have the Mofi silver (aluminium) CD and the Analogue Productions Gold CD mastered by Doug Sax (I don't have the Bernie Grundman one however). The latter had been my favourite until I found the first Japan pressing of the album albeit with a different cover called Way Out West Plus. Sure, it does not have the resolution of the Analogue Productions Gold CD, but it takes the crown for me! So... now I am hunting down on ebay and discogs, CDs from the 80s that are Targets, Black Triangles, etc.
    Front 242 Addict and Dave like this.
  4. George Cooke

    George Cooke Well unknown member

    Cumbria, UK
    Me too. Thanks.
  5. cbucki

    cbucki Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI
    Great thread.

    It's very relevant to my own experiences.

    I was one who believed the most-current remaster was the ONLY answer because I thought "louder was better".

    The gear I previously owned sure made it seem that way. I had a BAT integrated that is/was very laid-back in-nature. Therefore, a lot of good (or excellent) digital material seemed too quiet, or muffled. I foolishly sold MANY editions of product that would be coveted today in my current system. DCC product being one of the big follies; I would think the new remaster was "louder" and therefore "clearer", so off-they-went.

    I discovered this forum in the search for some new equipment this year. It has been an outstanding source of information for music releases and quality, as well as equipment. The music-types discussed are generally direct hits for me.

    Enter today, I have equipment that allows more of the quality of the music to come through in a better fashion than it previously had (MAC7200-Lector CDP7T-JBL4429). I find that music recommendations posted here are generally true when I compare some old vs. new in cases where I still have my "old". So far, I like everything as a unit. I kept all my 80's Beatles CDs out of sentimentality, and it's been interesting to do the comparisons.

    If I dwelled on how many actually superior versions of CDs I've discarded over the years, I'd be calling myself names for the next month.

    The good news is that I've found a great place to get some opinions prior to making any moves that depress. I was able to find some good old Clash product for nearly-nothing second-hand. Never would have happened without this forum.
    NorthNY Mark likes this.
  6. Gill-man

    Gill-man Forum Resident

    Unless it’s a rare release or obscure original CD (I.e Japan Black Triangles with Obi), original CDs can still be found dirt cheap. Just got to know where to look.
  7. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Yes. With obi, sounds better. :winkgrin:
  8. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident

    In your mind
    I love many 80's CDs including the Beatles! :hide:
  9. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    Whereas in the case of Amy Grant, pressed CDs of the 2007 remasters of the classic albums with loudness war practices being employed are much harder to find in used CD stores, etc. as opposed to the much better sounding 1980s CD issues.
  10. 007james

    007james Forum Resident

    Well, that's one of the great things about being older, I own a lot of original release cd's. I still remember "due to limitations from original tapes, you may hear some tape hiss" or something like that
  11. Dave S

    Dave S Forum Resident

    I think it's a statement of the obvious tbh. If you want the '87 Beatles CDs (excluding the Canadian ones with original mixes), then it's no problem as plenty were sold. If you want that '83 Abbey Road, then you might be in for a hard time. Not many were made.
    Dave likes this.
  12. mBen989

    mBen989 Forum Resident

    Scranton, PA
    Would you like a straight answer or a silly answer, Mr. Hoffman?
  13. M.Deutrom

    M.Deutrom Well-Known Member

    The arc of this whole thing has been quite incredible. I remember my astonishment realizing
    at the birth of the compact disc, that I actually held a virtual copy of a master in my hand.
    Before comprehensive mastering software and of course DAWs, this was essentially the case.
    At the present, the ability to tailor older recordings to contemporary trends is a temptation
    that record labels with big legacy acts appear unwilling to resist. That is their bread and butter,
    and they are in business. I've been appalled at many remasters, and also amazed at the improvement
    in some - it's incredible to have Karl Bohm's Tristan on a single blu-ray or Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan
    on SACD or remastered properly, straight from the masters sounding possibly better than they ever have.
    The listening public is oblivious to these highly niche products,
    and will remain quite content to stream at 96kps out of something that actually sounds worse than
    a 60's ballpark transistor radio.
    There are some extremely good disc players out there, and a spin of a well mastered 80's CD
    is still quite something....tape hiss, edits and everything the original masters contains.
    The veneer of the analog realm is truly magical.
    neruda and Lonevej like this.
  14. Audio Gent

    Audio Gent Member

    What i've learned is within a CD there can be variation from track to track. As an example, just picked up Narvel Felts, "Those Rockabilly Years". Released in Oct. 2015 with recordings going back to the early 60's. Some tracks sound quite good, others not so much. Good thing we have a skip button.
  15. Sax-son

    Sax-son Forum Resident

    Three Rivers, CA
    I love this thread! I started purchasing CD's in April of 1986. I was amazed about how clear and clean the sounded after listening to my Nakamichi cassette machine back in the day when we were striving for that quality from analog tapes. I purchased some of the early "Target" CDs as they are now know by and some of the early Polygram German Rolling Stones CDs that are still in my collection today. I love those although the selection is very limited.

    Like a lot of us, I got caught into the hype of the constant remastering programs that most of the record companies were constantly throwing as us. My moment of clarity came when I gave a listening test to a group of people that were at a party that I was giving and proceeded with a blind listening test that I gave featuring a Jimi Hendrix Experience, AYE CDs. The two issues that I played were an early Reprise version and a then recent Joe Gastwirt Sonic Solution No Noise System remaster. After playing selections from both CDs, the verdict was unanimous. Everyone preferred the original to the newly remastered version. That sent a signal to me that just because it had been remastered, that didn't necessarily make it sound better.

    In addition, I listen to my music a lot when driving my car. I found that some of the remasters were making me feel really "edgy". There was something about the compression that really affected my nerves. From that point further, I started picking up many of the original masters of early CDs(of those records that I really like). Not all of them are superior, but more than not, in my opinion. I prefer the sound of those before any remaster that I heard in later years. It's just my opinion and experience, but one I truly believe in. For the record, I never dumped any of the remastered CD's in my collection. I still have those as well.
    Muzmus likes this.
  16. Thievius

    Thievius Blue Öyster Cultist

    I think the average person actually thinks that louder is better (In comparisons) because the difference in loudness is so stark. It has more sound, right? More MUST mean better!
  17. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Greater Vancouver
    Older generally IS better Steve. :)
  18. mick_sh

    mick_sh Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

    Madrid, Spain
    Policeman: - Sir, neighbors are complaining about your music.
    - Why? Too loud?
    - No, low DR number.
  19. Lemon Curry

    Lemon Curry (A) Face In The Crowd

    Mahwah, NJ
    The main lesson for me, after spending a few years as a forum member, is this:

    Don't fall into the trap that newer is better, or that we only now have obtained the magic keys to unlock what music should sound like. The truth is those who came before were greater artists because of their tool limitations, and their work demands to be respected as reference, no less than a master's painting hanging in a museum. We must learn to put the new tools in their place, and re-learn the art of recording sound.
    Front 242 Addict likes this.
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Very misleading, just random bass ****, just ignore. You can't un-brickwall anything like that.
  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Eh, we are talking about a 1/4 db of resolution increase. Not enough to really matter to any consumer, sadly.
    tmtomh and thrivingonariff like this.
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    That orange greatest hits version is a total remix from the three-track. Don't be fooled, it's not the original stereo mix.
    g.z. likes this.
  23. Anton888

    Anton888 Well-Known Member


    Buy the 1987 "Abbey Road", it sounds quite similar.

    See: Best sounding Beatles "Abbey Road" on CD?
    rock76 and Mlle. Aurora like this.
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Why wouldn't it have the same resolution? Some folks think the Japan version is better than the AP Gold CD version. Don't be scared, make a true comparison. Forget the color of the disk!
  25. g.z.

    g.z. Forum Resident

    I didn't know that. Thanks SH.

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