Led Zeppelin I-IV 2014 remasters considered the best?

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

  1. Hatchet Jack

    Hatchet Jack Forum Resident

    That's it, that's what i meant, a distortion, thanks! It sounds like when you play something very loud on a small low quality speaker. The poor thing just can't handle it, so the sound comes out very distorted. That's the problem i'm having with my '84 Atlantic CD, but mainly on some parts of "The Ocean".
    tmtomh likes this.
  2. RealOG

    RealOG New Member

    Which digital version of each album do you prefer?
    Ive read a lot of pages and couldnt find your list.
    Thank you
  3. Chooke

    Chooke Forum Resident

    Perth, Australia
    Read @tmtomh post (#640) on the previous page.
    tmtomh likes this.
  4. Hatchet Jack

    Hatchet Jack Forum Resident

    Still on the subject: does Led Zeppelin III has some distortion problems too?
  5. Hatchet Jack

    Hatchet Jack Forum Resident

    Could you please tell me which releases correspond to the Diament, to the Davis, to the Marino and to the Sidore? I'm not that initiated on the subject. Cheers.
  6. Downsampled

    Downsampled Formerly PlusMinus

    Diament mastered all the original albums for CD except IV, which was mastered by Sidore. The catalog-wide remaster in 1990 was Marino. The latest catalog-wide remaster is Davis.
    Hatchet Jack and HiFi Guy 008 like this.
  7. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Forum Resident

    Fort worth tx
    Some of my $.02 when it comes to my favorites....

    Diament (80's)
    Led Zeppelin I
    Led Zeppelin II
    Houses Of The Holy

    Marino (90's)
    Led Zeppelin IV

    Davis (2014/15)
    Led Zeppelin III
    Physical Graffiti
    In Through The Out Door

    Joe Sidore mastered the original 80's cd of Led Zeppelin IV..........it's pretty common knowledge that he had a dub to work with.......it has it's issues but I prefer it over the Davis.
    tmtomh likes this.
  8. Downsampled

    Downsampled Formerly PlusMinus

    I am probably repeating upthread discussion, but I recall many prefer the original IV (Sidore) because the Marino faded the end of "Stairway to Heaven" too early. Does the Davis mastering fix this?
  9. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Sure! The original 1980s CDs are the Diaments - mastered by Barry Diament (except Zep IV, mastered by Joe Sidore). These are in jewel cases, and generally have plain silver disc faces with black printing and a red ring around the edge of the disc face (except for some versions of Zep IV and Houses, which are "target" CDs). Also, the spines of the cases generally are white/off-white with black or dark grey/blue printing.

    The 1990s CDs are the Marinos - remastered from fresh digital transfers of the analogue tapes by George Marino, under the supervision of Jimmy Page. These also are in jewel cases, but the spines generally use the same color theme of the album cover (except Zep III, which uses white print on a black spine). Also, the backs of these all say something to the effect of "digitally remastered from the original master tapes by Jimmy Page and George Marino at Sterling Sound." The discs themselves mimic the old Atlantic US green and orange label, for Zep I through Houses; and a large Swan Song logo, in color, for Physical Graffiti through Coda.

    The 2014/2015 reissues are the Davises - remastered from fresh, high-res digital transfers of the analogue tapes by John Davis, again under the supervision of Jimmy Page. These do not come in jewel cases, but rather in paperboard slipcases.
  10. Chooke

    Chooke Forum Resident

    Perth, Australia
    Just to add to that, the 2014/15 Davis reissues are also available as hi res downloads.

    Personally, I can't hear any blind, level matched differences between the hi res and the CDs, but some may prefer the convenience of the downloads.
    tmtomh likes this.
  11. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    The original CD of IV was a (famous) hiss fest. Not in a good way.
  12. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    If you wanna study different opinions about different CD editions of an artists catalogue until you go insane, go to a LZ thread about the subject on the SH Forum.
    ACK! and tmtomh like this.
  13. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    The level of hiss on the original CD is not significantly different from the later releases.
  14. Also: Feel the distorted vocals on "Levee".
    abzach likes this.
  15. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    The distortion that's on the recording?
    tmtomh and S. P. Honeybunch like this.
  16. Maybe. I just recall there's a harshness there that wasn't on the vinyl or the subsequent Marino remaster.
    abzach likes this.
  17. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    In my humble opinion, the 2008 'Definitive Collection' box set is the best-sounding Zeppelin CD's to date... I think they're essentially a remaster of the 1990's Marino remasters but without the brittleness of the '94 individual remastered album releases, and sound more analog-like (don't ask me what was done, I only know what I hear!) to me. Are they a little louder than previous versions? Probably, and people mistake that for added clarity - although there is that - but I know compressed/clipped/brickwalled when I hear it, and I don't hear it in those albums... is peak-limited the same as compressed and/or clipped?

    Whilst the Davis remasters sound very, very good overall with genuine added clarity, they sound too deep in overall tonality (again, in my opinion), whereas the 2008 set sounds more balanced overall to my ears.

    Plus the mini-LP vinyl replica packaging is still the absolute gold standard and puts all other Zeppelin reissues to shame for just sheer quality.

    P.S. I swapped out the 2007 TSRTS included on that box set for the SHM release of the original 1976 version's Diament mastering... plus the recent reissue sounds a lot better than the 2007 release, so if I want to listen to the remastered/remixed/expanded version of that album, it's last year's re-release for the win!!!

    But with Zeppelin masterings - digital and/or vinyl - if you have ten different people, you'll get twelve different opinions on what sounds best, right?
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  18. Hatchet Jack

    Hatchet Jack Forum Resident

    My '87 Atlantic SD 19128-2 of "Led Zeppelin III" sounds too distorted, specially on the "Celebration Day" vocals. Is there a better version that corrects this problem, and also the distortion problem on "The Ocean" from "Houses of the Holy"? Much obliged.
  19. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    I get the feeling you just don't like the sound of the recordings.
  20. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Thanks for this info and your listening impressions!

    I just checked the DR database for Led Zeppelin IV, comparing the DR readings (which include peak levels) for the 1994 Marino CD, and the 2008 "Definitive Collection" version.

    The 2008 Definitive Collection's DR numbers are all 0.6dB louder than the 1994 CD's - except of course where the '94 CD had peaks that were 0.0/overs, in which case the 2008 is of course also at 0.0/over.

    The result is that 5 of the tracks have identical DR numbers between the two versions, while the other 3 tracks rate 1dB lower in DR on the 2008 compared to the 1994 (because the 0.6dB boost combined with the lack of headroom from the already-clipped peaks results in a slightly lower DR).

    It is possible that the 2008s were a subtle remastering of the 1994 Marinos - but based on these DR readings I would tend to doubt it - if there was some remastering work rather than just a level boost, then there probably would not be such a consistent 0.6dB level difference on every track - the level differences would vary at least somewhat, particularly since the album has electric and acoustic tracks, and heavy/loud and quieter/more delicate tracks - meaning that something like a change in EQ on the album would not result in a uniform level boost like we see with these DR numbers.

    In any event, it makes me more positive about the 2008 Definitive Collection (which I own because it has great artwork and I got a very nice deal from a member here some time ago) - it's not as boosted compared to the '94 Marino as I thought it was.

    That said, my go-to digital Zep IV remains a version I assembled from the Marino masters on the Crop Circles box and Box Set 2, since they have no clipping.
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  21. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    I don't know about LZ III, but the distortion on The Ocean is there also on the 94 remaster but NOT on the new Davies remaster.
    Hatchet Jack likes this.
  22. Hatchet Jack

    Hatchet Jack Forum Resident

    That's what i'm talking about, the vocals on some tracks from the original 80's CDs have a lot of distortion, like on "When the Levee Breaks", specially on that part when Plant screams "Don't it make you feel bad [...]" until "If you don't know about Chicago [...]", also on "Celebration Day", "The Ocean" and some others. They're the only versions i have, so that's why i'm wondering about the level of distortion on the newer remasters.
    Dudley Morris likes this.
  23. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Here are the actual DR numbers for all three versions of the Marino mastering of Led Zeppelin IV on CD:
    1. The Zep IV tracks from the 1990 Boxed Set aka Crop Circles - except for Four Sticks, which was on the 1993 Boxed Set 2
    2. The 1994 Led Zeppelin IV CD - the first Marino mastering released in the form of the original album
    3. The 2008 Definitive Collection of Mini-LPs CD box
    I've chosen this album simply because it's the best-sounding of the Marino masterings. I imagine the results would be similar for all the other albums too.

    The Album DR - the average of the individual track DR ratings - is DR10 for for all three versions. But with each progressive version, the RMS got increased, with the result that several individual tracks gradually lost a little bit of dynamic range because of clipped peaks. Interestingly, the larger volume increase came from the box sets to the 1994 CD - approximately a 1.3dB increase. From the 1994 CD to the 2008 CD, the increase is only 0.6dB.

    What's also apparent is that some remastering was done between the box set versions and the 1994 CD: the 1994 CD was not simply level-boosted. Some compression seems to have been applied. For example, The Battle of Evermore's RMS (average) level was boosted about 0.4dB on the 1994 CD, but its peak level is actually about 0.5dB lower. So it either had some mild compression applied, or it was re-EQ'd somewhat. Ditto for Going to California - its RMS and peak levels actually are both lower on the 1994 CD, but compared to the boxed set version, the difference between the peak and RMS is about 1dB less, just like with Battle of Evermore.

    (For Going to California, I am guessing the volume was lowered on the '94 CD in order to restore the desired relative loudness level of that track with the rest of the album. By contrast, on the boxed set version, this track was probably volume-leveled with the Zep III acoustic tracks that are adjacent to it in the running order.)

    Throughout all three versions, four of the tracks retain the same DR rating: Battle of Evermore, Misty Mountain Hop, Four Sticks, and Going to California. And only one of these - Misty Mountain Hop - has any clipping on any version (the 2008). So it is likely that these four tracks actually sound pretty much the same across all versions - although again, the boxed set versions probably sound slightly different than the 1994 and 2008 CDs, since some mastering alteration seems to have been done there. The only tracks with a DR drop of more than 1dB from the boxed sets to the 2008 CD are Black Dog and Rock and Roll.

    Subjectively, the boxed set tracks are a little more laid-back and open-sounding, while the 1994 and 2008 tracks are a little more muscular. I can imagine that given one's system, ears, and mood, the boxed set versions could sound a bit thin and brittle by comparison; or the 1994/2008 could sound a bit forward and closed-in by comparison. YMMV.

    Led Zeppelin IV: Marino mastering, from Crop Circles Box and Boxed Set 2
    (Four Sticks from Boxed Set 2; all others from Crop Circles)
    DR11 0.00 dB -13.91 dB 4:55 Black Dog
    DR10 0.00 dB -13.03 dB 3:41 Rock and Roll
    DR10 -2.40 dB -16.32 dB 5:51 The Battle of Evermore
    DR12 -0.14 dB -16.72 dB 8:00 Stairway to Heaven
    DR9 -0.92 dB -12.92 dB 4:39 Misty Mountain Hop
    DR10 -0.07 dB -12.03 dB 2-07 Four Sticks.wav
    DR10 -3.14 dB -17.08 dB 3:32 Going to California
    DR10 -0.66 dB -13.17 dB 7:07 When the Levee Breaks

    Led Zeppelin IV: Marino mastering, 1994 CD
    DR10 over -12.51 dB Black Dog
    DR10 over -11.11 dB Rock And Roll
    DR10 -2.95 dB -15.89 dB The Battle Of Evermore
    DR11 -0.04 dB -15.45 dB Stairway To Heaven
    DR9 -0.00 dB -10.69 dB Misty Mountain Hop
    DR10 -0.01 dB -11.80 dB Four Sticks
    DR10 -4.96 dB -18.03 dB Going To California
    DR10 over -11.50 dB When The Levee Breaks

    Led Zeppelin IV: Marino mastering, 2008 "Definitive Collection" mini-LP CD
    DR9 over -11.92 dB 1 Black Dog
    DR9 over -10.51 dB 2 Rock And Roll
    DR10 -2.32 dB -15.29 dB 3 The Battle Of Evermore
    DR11 over -14.85 dB 4 Stairway To Heaven
    DR9 over -10.10 dB 5 Misty Mountain Hop
    DR10 -0.00 dB -11.20 dB 6 Four Sticks
    DR10 -4.43 dB -17.43 dB 7 Going To California
    DR9 over -10.90 dB 8 When The Levee Breaks
  24. I used to swear by the Diaments then upgraded to the Davis 24-96 and I now find many of the tracks from the 1990's box set the best. For me its a song by song basis, for example the best sounding digital version of SIBLY by a mile is the Marino masterings. Jimmy's guitar and Roberts voice is front and center where it should be. The Davis and Diament have too much ambience at the expense of the intimacy of the track. I will echo others sentiment that Davis knocked Presence out of the park. this is how the album SHOULD sound!
    tmtomh likes this.
  25. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    ... but wasn't the channels on the Marion remasters reversed?? I thought I read that somewhere on this forum?

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