Led Zeppelin I-IV 2014 remasters considered the best?

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

  1. nikosvault

    nikosvault Forum Resident

    LZ3 and Presence are preferable. And mostly because the original and 94 remasters were awful.

    That's it.
  2. acdc7369

    acdc7369 Forum Resident

    Yes, I messed around with the parametric EQ a bit today on a Classic Records needledrop of Misty Mountain Hop and it came out sounding like this.
    tmtomh likes this.
  3. Fender Relic

    Fender Relic Forum Resident

    I'm a III fan but haven't heard them all.
  4. CowboyBill

    CowboyBill Forum Resident

    I'm a Diament guy, but the recent III vinyl is very good.
  5. Prophetzong

    Prophetzong Forum Resident

    Central VA
    Heard most of the Zep III’s on vinyl and CD. The 2014 Davis remaster on vinyl is great.
    tmtomh likes this.
  6. Phasecorrect

    Phasecorrect Forum Resident

    Very frustrating for such an iconic lp. I have learned to live with it. I just turn my sub up ....hahaaa
  7. Timbo21

    Timbo21 Forum Resident

    Having been a Zep fan as a teenager when I was teenager 38 odd years ago I gave these a try, the 96/24 files. They are enjoyable. I previously had a career as a mastering engineer and cutting vinyl. I know John Davis' work who did these too. I have since bought some of the Classic Records vinyl versions cut by Bernie Grundman.

    I am still happy to listen to these hi res files, but there are a couple of shortcomings generally.

    1) John Davis has said he widened the stereo image on these. When I was mastering I liked doing it on modern stuff. Since the guitar's are often panned hard left/right you get more guitar (I'm sure Jimmy was happy), but a tad less drums and voice in relation.
    2) They lack a bit of bottom mid oomph which would give the drums and voice a bit more body
    3) John Davis said they didn't playback with Dolby because they didn't feel it sounded right, and then digitally reduced the top. I understand this. The old Dolby A racks were hard to line up and could differ, so if it was encoded with a set, it would be by far best to play back with the same cards. Of course umpteen years later that's not a possibility. The problem is I think some of the brashness I hear is down to not decoding with Dolby A. Additionally, much of the body to the drums and slight compression effect may be part of what gave the drums that bit of extra oomph
  8. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Very interesting information, and really appreciate your perspective as a mastering engineer - thanks! :righton:

    Not to be pedantic, but I think as far as widening the stereo image, Davis has only said he did that on Gallow's Pole on Zep III, at Page's request. It's certainly possible he did it on other tracks too, but as far as I know this was not something done throughout the catalogue with the Davis remasters.

    Similarly, I believe Davis has said they preferred the sound of some of the Dolby A tapes played back without Dolby A decoding. So again, I'm not sure all the tapes had Dolby A, and even if they did, Davis gave the impression that some of them were digitized with Dolby A decoding, while others were not.
  9. Timbo21

    Timbo21 Forum Resident


    If I had to bet I think most didn't have the Dolby.

    Led Zep IV sounds a bit funny to me stereo wise. There is M/S processing in mastering that has become very popular post 90's. Most mastering engineers use it these days. It doesn't necessarily widen the stereo image, although it can. It will open up the stereo information by processing the side information separately to the middle. It can help give a bigger stereo image, but I'm not sure I like it on older stuff.
    dkurtis, Crispy Rob and tmtomh like this.
  10. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    manassas va 20109

    I wonder what version of Dolby A units they were playing with and what he really meant by that. ... there were quite a few variations to the Dolby A cards with some guys modding 301's to do 2:1 compression on just the top end.
    The Dolby A Trick - AudioThing

    You just pulled out the other cards. Later frames had cards with all the bands on one card.

    There's an old forum topic with some opinions about this :
    How to decode Dolby "A"?

    I'm thinking a lot of confusion exists concerning the old Dolby A units and how some engineers used them...
    tmtomh likes this.
  11. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Britain, Europe
    They may indeed be the best widely available versions, but I don't think they are revelatory. You won't hear a night and day difference from the 1990 remasters.
    DK Pete likes this.
  12. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    manassas va 20109

    Yea when I was going thru all the Zep stuff about a year ago I really didn't discern a lot of difference besides typical changes in crest factor and slight eq variations.
    Siegmund likes this.
  13. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    The biggest difference to my ears is on II...even with all the distortion on the actual tracks, they sound cleaner and beefier than on any other version. III is in second place. I don't hear that much difference in I or IV. I was hoping for a stronger lower end on IV but it's still not there.
    violetvinyl and tmtomh like this.
  14. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    manassas va 20109
    Forgive me tmtomh and others that've already heard it....

    If you want to hear a big diff in LZ II - at least one song - take a listen to these:


    Direct links:
    Compared to the 2014 remasters-

    Vid with VU meters of my mix:

    I did change it a bit since I posted that last year - just got rid of more noise and tweaked it a bit.

    Finally put it up on a site:
    Remix of WLL

    I went thru all of the various II's I could find - the 2014 thing was an improvement. Looks a lot different thru all the analysis crap I use.

    But I still would love to see someone carefully remix their catalog. It can be done - at least I think so after doing one tune.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  15. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    I'll double check but I think I've heard these before and yes, was quite impressed. I could never understand why they allowed all that level distortion to go through on II...what's even crazier is the amount of people who don't even hear it! Over the decades it *has* become part of the powerful 'charm' of the album but it can get bothersome as well. Those crash cymbal at the final section of WLL are quite bad...and yet, like I said, many don't hear it (or just don't care about it). I'm not sure which LZ album I'd want remixed if I had to choose just one. It would be between II and IV, though. II for the distortion and IV for the lack of low end.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
    tmtomh likes this.
  16. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    manassas va 20109
    That'd be fun to mix IV ... if I recall Andy Johns wasn't real thrilled with how that turned out. - that and "... got a bit weird... " during the remix at Island after trying it at Sunset:
    MelodicRock.com Interviews: Andy Johns
    ... bout halfway down that webpage

    Sunset mix:

    There's an interesting plug in from Voxengo LF Max Punch. Might bring some lows to the existing Island official mix ...
  17. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Socially distant; like Sand in the Vaseline

    I think the recent remasters are a bit light on the bass. But I still play then more than the other releases.
    tmtomh likes this.
  18. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    When it comes to Zep IV, the original mix definitely is a bit bass-shy, and something about the mix seems to make it resistant to fixing the bass simply by EQ'ing it up - seems to reduce the clarity. I would guess that the only real cure for the sonic issues with that album would be a fresh new mix, one that would faithfully reproduce the mixing moves of the original, but with a little bump up in the volume of the kick drum and a little thickening of the isolated bass guitar track. I'm a rank amateur though, so that's just a guess.
    Diablo Griffin and superstar19 like this.
  19. Timbo21

    Timbo21 Forum Resident

    Well said.

    It's easy to listen to a finished product and wonder why they didn't bump the bass, etc, but sometimes it just doesn't work, or just isn't there to boost.

    I recently bought a 200g Led Zep IV Classic Records BG cut and I really love it. Someone like Grundman is really as good as it gets as a mastering engineer. Bob Ludwig was great at Sterling and Masterdisk, but I didn't like the sound of his stuff when he opened up his own place in Maine, plus he dropped vinyl. Engineers sound does change when they move studio, and it's often been for the worse.
    tmtomh likes this.
  20. ajawamnet

    ajawamnet Forum Resident

    manassas va 20109
    Aren't we all just rank amateurs?

    One of the problems with Levee is the phase... see this vid:


    this is from the Mothership release... the vid shows a lissajous of the left and right channels.

    Page always went for some strange imaging... add to that the stairway mic'ing of the drums at Headley Grange and you get some funky phasey stuff going on. One of the reasons just EQ'ing results in less than ideal results.

    So here's another vid showing the Voxengo LF max effect


    The music starts about 20 seconds in to give you time to read the text that tries to explain what's going on with me setting and bypassing the effect. You'll see my mouse moving around to the various parts of the screen. Note the spectragram on the bottom left of the vid as the bass is added by the LF Max effect...

    As the darker blue cursor hits the various transitions of the light blue effect bypass automation envelope you'll hear the diff and see the results in the spectragram

    It starts with the effect bypassed and the first time it kicks on is the second Boom cha of the drums.

    The Voxengo elephant is a just a simple peak limiter set to minimum - just enough to keep the track from clipping as the LF max kicks in...

    So the LF max is not an EQ - it actually synthesizes low end using various algorithms - a while ago he mentioned a lot of it was written in X64 assembly... aleksey is an incredible coder

    About the LF max from the developer
    Bass Enhancer and Exciter Plugin [VST, AU, AAX] - LF Max Punch | Voxengo :
    "LF Max Punch plugin dynamically emphasizes selected bass frequency band, applies a smooth saturation over it, and produces additional sub-harmonic content, with the ability to blend it with the original bass band sound. Optional compression can then be applied to the resulting low-frequency sound. LF Max Punch first splits the broad-band signal into low- and high-frequency bands and then applies the aforementioned effects to the lower band only."

    And yea - LZ's catalog really needs some loving remixing in my opinion...
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
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  21. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    My 2014s have plenty of solid bottom end. I like them very much.
    tmtomh likes this.
  22. Jimmy Mac

    Jimmy Mac Zooropa... better by design

    I know this is gonna be blasphemous around here but dare I say that when I listened to it today, that it sounded so much more bassier, more bombastic then my Hot Mix RL does???

    Damn thing shook the house!!!
    tmtomh likes this.
  23. douglas mcclenaghan

    douglas mcclenaghan Forum Resident

    Jimmy Page is one of the greatest record producers of all time. If it's OK with him it's OK with me.
    ACK!, tmtomh and Timbo21 like this.
  24. Slowpaw

    Slowpaw Active Member

    devon uk
    I have a set of the 2014 vinyl remasters and they sound very good indeed compared to the originals and they have the added bonus of the outtakes and live concert discs with them, very good value to buy. I also heard a few of the Quiex versions as well, very good but definitely not at the inflated prices they're going for atm! Better off getting the UK original pressings as there are still many on the used market, and still sound excellent.
    tmtomh likes this.
  25. Timbo21

    Timbo21 Forum Resident

    I'm not a fan of going back and remixing old material.

    Invariably the remixer loses the original vibe. Part of what I love about Led Zep is at's all from that time. I don't want a remixer to use any modern bass enhancer, or digital reverb. I just want a great copy capturing the original sound, warts and all.

    I really didn't enjoy Tony Visconti's remix of David Bowie's "David Live" album. My vinyl I bought about 37 years ago, and it really rocks. Tony Visconti's hi-res just doesn't do it for me. I have a different opinion when it comes to 5.1 surround mixes, and have really enjoyed DSOTM, AVALON and a few others.

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