Led Zeppelin I-IV 2014 remasters considered the best?

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

  1. bherbert

    bherbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Africa
  2. yeah some of them are. but its actually common to a number of vinyl pressings as well...
     
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  3. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    What a mess.
     
  4. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    Whatever the DR numbers on whatever CD version of IV, I've still to come across a digital mastering of that album that sounds genuinely great... but the tracks off that album on the 1990 and 1993 box sets still sound the best to me, but the 'Definitive Collection' is no slouch either. I was disappointed with the 2014 Davis remaster, it has to be said... hello bass, where are you (if Jonesy wasn't such a laid-back cat, he'd be pissed :D)???

    When it comes to IV, it's AAA vinyl for the win... accept no substitutes!!!
     
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  5. Don't know about other pressings, but the Classic Records version is definitely reminiscent of the droids you're looking for. That one really cooks!
     
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  6. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    The Classic Records Zep IV is excellent.
     
  7. ACK!

    ACK! Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    [QUOTE="The Hermit, post: 20327812, member: 59200"
    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?
    [/QUOTE]

    SHM release of the Diament mastering? So the original 1976 LP mix was reinstated?
     
  8. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    Yeah, but I don't feel like mortgaging my house to get it (also I don't live in a house, so there's that as well!)...

    Y'all are not making this easy for me, are ya? My vinyl copy of IV is a UK release from the late 1980's, it has the odd crackle but mint condition and sounds really good overall... and in glorious AAA to boot!

    It was released in the 2000's in (textured) mini-LP vinyl replica sleeve along with the rest of the catalog... SHM really does sound better, in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  9. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Sorry about that! :)

    But there are a number of very good-sounding Zep IV vinyl pressings, and I don't necessarily feel that the Classic is head and shoulders above them all. I'm sure your mint AAA UK release sounds great!
     
  10. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort worth tx
    So......I spun my 2003 Led Zeppelin IV Japanese mini lp replica cd (shm) last night. I know it's the exact same mastering as the 94 Marino (or at least I'm pretty sure it is), but there is something about it that put over the top of my standard US 90's copy. I'm not exactly sure what the difference in sound is attributed.....the extra sheen on the disc, the obi, the extremely cool packaging, the Japanese writing, or maybe it's just all in my head. What a great listen with headphones (Grado) late in the evening. :righton:
     
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  11. JustGotPaid

    JustGotPaid Forum Resident

    Diament cd's sound great for I and II. (still have to get III) I have the 2014 cd for IV and I feel it's unlistenable. It sounds so bad I take it out after 30 seconds.
     
  12. RK2249

    RK2249 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Jersey
    For what it's worth I've never had an issue with the original Sidore mastered CD of LZIV. I not only find it to be quite crankable but quite clear without an abundance of hiss... just my two cents. the only one I've compared it to though is the original box set remasters and as I mentioned before I found that one to be quite unlistenable for long periods of time.
     
  13. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    The packaging on that set really is the gold standard - it's one of the few CDs or CD sets I've ever purchased primarily for the packaging.

    I do wonder, since that Zep IV (and presumably the entire set) is identical to the 1994 CD but level-boosted by 0.6dB, if the slight volume increase is part of what makes it sound different - a volume difference that small makes it almost impossible to level-match the two sources precisely, but at the same time a level difference of 0.6dB can make a difference to human hearing perception. Just a thought.
     
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  14. Dr. Funk

    Dr. Funk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fort worth tx
    You are probably right............it is interesting how something so minuscule can make a perceived difference. Have you personally compared your Led Zeppelin SHM discs to your standard discs? If so, do you hear a difference?
     
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  15. RK2249

    RK2249 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Jersey
    0.6 dB is extremely small. 3 dB is equivalent to twice the sound power level (not the same thing as twice as loud), and is noticeable. 6-10db increase (depending on frequency) is perceived as about twice as loud. 0.6 should be almost unnoticeable. Just clarifying.
     
  16. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Yes, that's all true. At the same time, studies have shown that volume differences as small as 0.2dB can make a difference in people's expressed preferences in A/B comparisons, even if the listeners are not consciously aware of the volume difference. It's a finding I would not have expected - and honestly one that I wish were not true, since it makes listening comparisons more difficult. But as far as I know, it is the case.
     
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  17. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Alas, I didn't have the luck or budget to get the SHM ones. The set I have is the otherwise identical, non-SHM version. I haven't listened to it in some time, but my to-do list for this week includes A/B'ing the Zep IV CD from that set with the 1994 Zep IV CD.
     
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  18. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Don't worry about having the non-SHM version. It's the same 1's and 0's (and I still think one has to have a CD player with a pretty lousy error correction circuit if you can hear the difference between SHM and non-SHM anyway!). I also find the Marino LZIV to be probably the one Marino-mastered LZ CD I think is well done. I also think the Davis LZIV is the weakest of the newest versions. I believe it's partially more of a tape issue. The cymbals towards the end of Stairway sound like there's some tape wear happening.

    As for vinyl, I've been through quite a few versions and still own 3 or 4 Canadian versions, a UK Porky, the Classic 200g and the Davis. The Classic is very nice, but mainly because it has the EQ required to make these tapes shine (as our host once mentioned on here when asked about the original Sidore/Diament CDs). However, I've always felt the Classic LZIV is a bit bass shy (That's partly the Marino version EQ standard. Back when I compared the EQs of LZII and III in the Mastered for iTunes thread, I noted that the Marino's were bass shy with a brittle midrange boost. The Davis IV on vinyl has better deep bass than the Classic but the EQ doesn't give it quite the upper midrange clarity of the Classic and the highs also suffer from the tape wear issue I mentioned above.

    Speaking of comparisons, I recently needledropped the Davis LZII and my RL LZII. As was the case when I compared the Davis-mastered for iTunes LZII to a pbthal needledrop of an RL, the EQ is close, with the RL sounding just a tad brighter in spots. In fact, given that I was using the exact same chain for my newest needledrop comparison, it's more valid than the Mastered for iTunes<>pbthal comparison.

    Anyway, back to lurk mode.
     
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  19. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Great post!

    Over the past few years I've come to the conclusion - admittedly based on listening comparisons rather than any concrete knowledge of the master tapes - that Zep IV was just recorded, mixed, and originally mastered without a ton of bass (or at least without a ton of mid and upper bass). The Classic is nice and detailed, but I agree it sounds a bit bass-shy - but then the album, particularly Black Dog and Levee, always have sounded a bit bass-shy to me, and the only masterings (vinyl, and my own and other fans' EQ attempts) that have more bass heft also end up sounding bad in other ways and just... wrong. I think it's why Zep IV doesn't have a truly excellent digital mastering - and at least IMHO, also precious few vinyl pressings that I'd call excellent either. There's something about the way it was original mixed that just seems to have certain sonic tradeoffs.
     
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  20. Somerset Scholar

    Somerset Scholar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bath
    I have the 1st Japanese CD of Led Zeppelin IV with the gold obi strip. Sounds friggin' awesome.
    Diament CD's for the others. So crankable. 2014 not so crankable and really a band like LZ needs to be cranked right up!
     
  21. Teufelzkerl

    Teufelzkerl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Overall I am still pleased with the high-res 2014 of IV. You can clearly hear the improved digital conversion over the Sidore and more awful Marino cd. But that's about it.

    If I had serious criminal energy though I might try to steal the original master tapes and send them anonymously to Mr. Steven Wilson.

    Give. Me. Your. Remixed. Aqualung. Edition. Pleeeeaaase!
     
  22. RK2249

    RK2249 Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Jersey
    Interesting...I wasn't aware of that. Highly unexpected. Thanks!
     
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  23. acdc7369

    acdc7369 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm surprised this doesn't come up more often. Every mastering I've ever heard of Led Zeppelin IV is bass shy. I don't know why every time it gets remastered, they always fail to put enough bass on it.
     
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  24. Maybe because they can't put in what was never there. I guess a remix would be required.
     
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  25. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Yes - having heard so many versions of this album, including all the digital remasterings and so many vinyl masterings (UK, US, Classic, etc), it seems clear that overall there's not a ton of bass in the original mix, and in particular there seems to be a lack of tight, impactful lower-to-mid bass, I would guess in the 50-80Hz region.

    I've also heard vinyl rips, and my own attempted EQ jobs, that increase the bass, which is easy to do (on purpose or by accident), but the overall effect is not great. I think one would have to do some very careful, very precise work with a parametric EQ, on a song-by-song basis or maybe even a song-section by song-section basis, to thicken up the bass and increase its tightness and impact, without turning the whole thing into a mushy mess.

    With "Rock and Roll," for example, there's actually a good amount of bass on that track. But there's a very muddy quality to it that in my experience has proven very resistant to all attempts to clear/tighten it up.

    Likewise, with "Levee," the famous opening drum section is great, but curiously lacking in bass-drum impact. I presume that's because of how it was mic'd, and also because too much bass impact and presence would work against the hyper-ambient sound they were going for by doing distant mic'ing in that stairwell. Again, it's a simple matter to dial in some EQ to thicken up that initial bit - but if you leave that EQ in place for the whole track, it sounds like a bloated mudfest.

    My guess is that not only would it need a remix, but one might first need to re-EQ some of the individual tracks before mixing, in order to cure the sonic ills of this album. Even then, I'm not convinced that the better sound wouldn't be counter-balanced by a loss of some of the magic feel Page and Johns got with that album. IMHO part of Page's genius as a producer is about his nose for the right feel/vibe - "Whole Lotta Love" is technically a trainwreck in some ways, but I've yet to hear a modern remix from the leaked multis that fully captures the menace and excitement of the original, official mix.
     

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