Led Zeppelin I-IV 2014 remasters considered the best?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Plissken99, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. David del Toro

    David del Toro Forum Resident

    According to the Dynamic Range Database the vinyl pressings of the John Davis remasters have higher DR scores than the digital counterparts, would this mean that the vinyl includes the transfers without the peak limiting? Anybody have the vinyl and CDs to compare?
     
  2. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    DR is not really a valid measurement tool when dealing with vinyl because there are so too many variables in the playback chain that affect dynamics. Cartridge, stylus, phono stage, tonearm, compliance matching of cartridhe with tonearm, etc., etc.

    I recall when the last Rush studio album, Clockwork Angels, was released, I measured the DR of my vinyl rip and found that it was actually higher than my vinyl rip of a Bob Ludwig Mastered Moving Pictures from 1981! Yet Clockwork Angels sounded heavily compressed in comparison.

    Even preparation for vinyl cutting such as high-pass filtering (or for example rumble filters in phono stages) can affect DR. In fact, you can easily raise the DR value of a digital file by 2-3 points simply by applying a minimum-phase high-pass filter at 20Hz. The track may not sound any different but the DR will be raised and a look at the waveform will make you think it's no longer peak limited (in fact you have to reduce the level to bring the peaks below 0dBFS).
     
  3. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    So if I sell my 1993 "Complete Studio Recordings" box set and put the money into some 2014 Deluxe Remasters I won't regret it? I also have the 1980s Barry CDs. If I understand the general consensus correctly, the Barry CDs + the 2014 Deluxes will be sure to yield the best possible masterings, right?
     
    Use_Your_Koala likes this.
  4. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Oh, and someone told me the channels are reversed compared to the 1993 Box Set...is that true?
     
  5. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    It's a question of taste and what sounds best to you. Some people actually like heavy limiting without actually knowing what it is. That said, whatever you do, keep your Diaments!
     
    Nightbreed likes this.
  6. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upper Midwest, USA
    Well the Diaments are collectibles and probably should not be sold. But day to day its the current hi res remasters for me.
     
    Nightbreed and tmtomh like this.
  7. xj32

    xj32 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oak Creek, WI
    Me too!
     
  8. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Yeah, I have no intention of ditching the Diaments. A friend lent me his Zeppelin III 2014 Remaster earlier today and while some limiting seems to be used, I don't know if I'd call it "heavy". Admittedly, I am not an authority on the subject. The DR values seem rather low on the 2014s (8s and 9s a plenty, although the average is around 10), leading one to assume that heavy limiting and compression were applied, but they are more quiet and dynamic than they look on paper. I can really crank this disc and is doesn't distort either. Most of my discs with DR values of 8 or 9 start distorting pretty early on in the volume taper.

    I have compared wave forms for "Immigrant Song" between the 1993 and 2014 remasters and both waves look pretty decent to me. I wouldn't say there's any evidence of "heavy limiting" but what the hell do I know. I didn't bother comparing to the Diaments since I have no intention of getting rid of them (I know they are tiny waves though lol).

    1993 Zeppelin III Remaster:


    [​IMG]

    2014 Zeppelin III Remaster:

    [​IMG]

    Now, when I think of "heavy peak limiting" I think of something like this (Nazareth Razmanaz Remaster....no Zeppelin CD has even been this limited/compressed):

    [​IMG]
     
  9. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    While plenty of peaks and valley's the 94 Marino's have some severe clipping (peaks over zero)
    Which I'll take any day over that dog-log Nazareth above :laugh:
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  10. glennzo

    glennzo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London
    Anyone who puts out product with peaks over digital zero shouldn't be behind the console!
    I have the Marino collection as well, the 2014 editions will be the goto release for me.
     
    Nightbreed and c-eling like this.
  11. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Yeah, I noticed that too. I think that's where some mild limiting in the 2014 remasters actually works to their advantage. Kinda ironic actually, since most of the people complaining about the limiting/compression of the 2014s are making it sound like they clip, when actually it's the older remasters that do.

    One thing I've noticed is due to the mild limiting, the 2014s aren't *quite* as dynamic as say the Barry Diaments, but it's not enough of a difference to have any negative effect on the listening experience.
     
    Diablo Griffin, johnny q and c-eling like this.
  12. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I need to revisit the 2014's NB, it's been a few years. I don't remember anything offensive about them offhand :)
     
    Nightbreed likes this.
  13. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    I've decided to sell the 1993 box set and get the 2014s (keeping the Diaments though). Heck, if nothing more than for the extra tracks, they're awesome! But the 2014s do sound superior over the '93 Marino's IMHO.

    Speaking of the clipping in the Marinos that you mentioned, I now notice it even more than before. I never looked at the waves before, but always thought there was some clipping. There's a loud clipped cymbal crash in Living Loving Maid on Zep II, for example, that just drives me up the wall now but it sounds very smooth on the Diaments and 2014s. The choice for me is clear...the 1993 set has gotta go! :wave:;)
     
    c-eling likes this.
  14. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Most folks here think that most of the 2014/15 Davis masterings sound better than most of the 1990s Marino masterings. I stress most - for example, in a blind comparison done here, folks chose the Marino Zep IV over the Davis (and over the '80s Sidore CD too). And there are a few folks who have been very vocal about preferring the Marinos over both the Davis and Diament masterings, but they are clearly in the minority (no disrespect intended - just stating the facts as I understand them).

    But if there's a general forum consensus - and there appears to be - it definitely favors the decision you made to sell your Marino collection and get the Davises. (And of course the forum consensus also heavily favors holding on to your Diaments!) However, if you come across the Marino Zep IV and Coda CDs cheap in the used bins, you might want to re-add those to your collection.

    Drilling down to specific albums, my best understanding of the forum consensus is as follows:
    • Zep I: Strong consensus in favor of the Diament
    • Zep II: Sharply divided opinions on Diament vs Davis
    • Zep III: Sharply divided opinions on Diament vs Davis
    • Zep IV: As noted above, forum favors the Marino
    • Houses: Strong consensus in favor of the Diament
    • Physical Graffiti: Seems to be a majority who favor the Diament, although doesn't seem to be as strong/clear of a consensus as Zep I and Houses, and the Davis seems well-regarded by many too
    • Presence: Consensus appears to favor the Davis
    • In Through the Out Door: Does not appear to be a clear consensus
    • Coda: Does not appear to be a clear consensus (although I think a number of folks prefer the Marino)
    In the perhaps futile hope of avoiding angry replies, I stress that the above is my good-faith perception of what the forum in general seems to think as of 2018. I am not mixing in my personal preferences and claiming that's the consensus. For example, I greatly prefer the Davis Zep II, III, and In Through the Out Door over the Diaments, but I know the forum is divided on those.

    On the issue of clipping on the Marinos, one has to keep in mind that there are at least three different variants of the Marino mastering: the 1990 Box Set (Crop Circles); the 1993 Definitive Collection/1994 individual album CDs; and the mid-2000s Rhino/Japan box set. Each later version upped the levels compared to the earlier ones. So the 1990 Box Set has little or no clipping, while the 1993/94 CDs have some clipping; and the 2000s set is markedly compressed. But the 1990 and 1993/94 Marino CDs are not significantly compressed or clipped.

    In the case of the Davises, what counts as "heavy" limiting vs "mild" limiting is subjective to a degree. However, with the exception of the song "Custard Pie," my view is that the Davises do not have heavy limiting, The waveforms are not buzzcut; there's no audible distortion (at least as far as I can recall) from digital clipping or excessive limiting; and despite what some will claim, the dynamics are not significantly reduced across the board. Some tracks absolutely have some reduced dynamics, but others do not, IMHO.
     
  15. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Nice breakdown Matt thanks :cheers:
     
    hi_watt and tmtomh like this.
  16. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    From just using my ears, the latest remasters do seem to have limiting/compression - not a lot by today's standards, like you mentioned, but used nevertheless (like with the Beatles stereo remasters on cd). You can hear it on the cymbals; they don't ''breathe'' as much. Listen to the faux endings in the Immigrant Song. In previous versions the ending always catches you by surprise. In the remaster, each cymbal hit overlaps into the next start because they don't decay naturally, and robs you of that element of surprise. (I have an obsession with the ending on that song :nyah:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    Nightbreed likes this.
  17. douglas mcclenaghan

    douglas mcclenaghan Forum Resident

    The Nazareth track looks constipated.
     
    Diablo Griffin and Nightbreed like this.
  18. bobcat

    bobcat Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Excellent!

    This is going into my "keep file".

    Many thanks.
     
    Nightbreed and tmtomh like this.
  19. violetvinyl

    violetvinyl Forum Resident

    Like the singer sounds... :hide:
     
    douglas mcclenaghan likes this.
  20. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks very much for this articulate breakdown! I also found your old posts in this thread helpful yesterday as I was doing the shootout for Zep III; your opinions matched what I was hearing.

    I'll be sure to keep an eye out for standalone Marino copies of Zep IV and Coda....this time I think I'll try the 1990 versions with no clipping. And now that you mention the overall preference for Marino's IV, I can certainly understand that. I've always liked the sound of that particular disc; I think the boosted mid-range actually compliments the tracks well and is probably the best EQ choice for that record (the guitars in "Rock and Roll" sound especially good with that flavor of EQ).

    As far as remasters go in general, I'm usually OK with some reduced dynamics here and there. For my favorite old analog recordings I like to have 2 versions of each album (one original, unaltered and a louder remaster). The originals I listen to late at night with good headphones and the remasters I listen to in the car and use with my mp3 player. Now the remasters can't be too loud or compressed, or else I won't like sound in any environment. What's cool about the 2014 (and even the 1993s to some extent) is they are loud enough to qualify for sonically powerful alternatives but also dynamic enough to be great for critical listening.

    As a quick side note regarding the Diaments, if any versions should be amplified it's those discs. I'm sure that's sacrilege to some, but I'm talking about it being mildly and tastefully done (not like the 2008 "Definitive" edition). With the exception of Zep I those discs are just too quiet, at least for my tastes. I'm sure with the right system (with amps) they can be cranked really loud but my setup just doesn't get them loud enough. That's pretty much my only complaint with those, and it's not really a complaint. I've been toying around with the idea of making copies of my Diament rips to amplify via Audacity...not much, and certainly not to the point of clipping, but I really want to hear what those discs can do when they're really cranked. :D
     
    tmtomh likes this.
  21. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Those are fair points, I have to say I definitely agree. I guess even more mild limiting comes at a bit of a cost. I still think the 2014s are some of the best remasters I've ever heard (overall), but holding onto the Diaments is essential IMO because of the reason you mentioned.
     
    Mr_Vinyl and tmtomh like this.
  22. xj32

    xj32 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oak Creek, WI
    What is interesting about the Davis’ and throws some people for a loop here on the forums is that yes dynamics are reduced in places, but not through the usual means.

    It is my understanding that very few of the masters were captured as a full reel pass. In other words some of the tapes needed to be captured in a section by section basis.

    They were then reassembled in the digital world, and as far as limiting, compression and equalization were concerned much of this was done on a piece by piece, section by section basis. So a single drum hit for instance that Page deemed too loud might have been limited or drawn down to better seat it in the music.

    All of this was done song by song as per Page’s desires of how he wanted things to sound.

    For these reasons it’s not easy to say the albums are compressed or limited in the way most albums are done where a song is played start to finish through a limiter or mastering chain.

    For me I love the precision and care that went into these masters and that is why I prefer them. I am especially fond of the Remaster of Zep I where for the first time in their history Davis left the full low end of Bonham’s kick come trough from the master tapes.
     
  23. Nightbreed

    Nightbreed Up The Irons!

    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    This is very insightful and interesting! Thanks for the details, I knew none of this. :tiphat:

    [​IMG]
     
    rockclassics and tmtomh like this.
  24. Downsampled

    Downsampled Formerly PlusMinus

    Am I correct to think there is not yet any single package of all the new Davis masterings (on disc, e.g. CD)?
     
    tmtomh likes this.
  25. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Correct.
     

Share This Page