Peter Gabriel - Best Digital Masterings?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by tlake6659, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. danielbravo

    danielbravo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Caracas. DC
    Hello everyone. I know there is a discussion about So 25th anniversary edition, but I would like to know opinions about the audio quality of this version. The audio is somewhat compressed in this edition, at least comparing with the remaster of 2002 and the original release of 1986. I really like this particular edition for the concert "Live In Athens 1987" and the packaging is quite attractive. But I really like the original release of 1986
     
  2. Time Is On My Side

    Time Is On My Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    I had the old 1986 CD and didn't think it was bad at all.
     
  3. Say It Right

    Say It Right Not for the Hearing Impaired

    Location:
    Niagara Falls
    PG's catalog was totally in need of proper remastering treatment...and got it! Can't speak to the 25th Anniversary edition of So, because there was no motivation to replace the '02. That would've been an admission that something was amiss with the previous remaster. The Athens concert can be acquired on Blu Ray. It's terrific. However, surround never seems to be fully utilized with mostly just reverb or crowd noise from the rear. My only regret is not getting the SACD's, but the redbook CD's from the '02 were handled with the proper care.
     
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  4. The_Windmill

    The_Windmill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    There was an admission. Sort of. The previous remaster had been pumped in some frequency range, to make it sound more updated. With the anniversary ed. they decided to stay more faithful to the original EQ. (I seem to remember) I read an interview when it came out that contained this statement, but I can't remember who was speaking, if PG or someone elese working on he project.
    (I know, I know, link or it didn't happen... Don't quote me on this ;) BUT... surely someone here has compared them and can support or deny this differences)
     
  5. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    They indeed went back to the original mastering engineer for So 25th Ann., to get a mastering 'closer to the original but with the updated technology', or words to that effect (this was in the "press release" of the 25th Ann.), implying the 2002 remaster took a different approach (although apparently PG also supervised it and got it how he wanted it to sound)...

    I compared both at the time of the 25th's release and much prefered the SACD, IIRC. Also, the 2012 CD was much more compressed than the 2012 Hi-Res download.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  6. mikaal

    mikaal Sociopathic Nice Guy

    I'll do it. They compressed the 02's and there's a loss of detail resulting. Possibly Birdy comes out ok but I have also owned the original cds of "Security" and "Passion" plus the remasters and my ears say they've cranked the lower freqencies of both.
    Edit: sorry to threadcrap as you're talking about So and all I have of that is the tracks on 16 Golden Greats.
     
  7. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Location:
    Toulouse, France
    Security sounds better on the Target CD, but the Passion SACD sounds glorious. Then again I didn't compare it directly to the original CD.
     
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  8. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

    I bought the 2002 remaster of So when it was released and at first it sounded like a nice upgrade. Then I bought new amplifiers and the 2002 sounded kind of boomy. Then I bought a new CD-player and the 1986 CD definitely became the best sounding one. I never bothered with newer remasters because the only seem to become more and more compressed.

    PS. I few years ago Peter and Bowers & Wilkins gave me a Society Of Music present, a 24bit live recording of Red Rain. It was DR6. It really made me question if any of them knew what they were doing.
     
  9. Solace

    Solace Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium
    Agree with the comment about Bowers & Wilkens Society of Sound but the mastering of the Live in Athens set was pretty compressed anyway (same as for the DVD/Blu-ray). The Hi-Res version of So that was sold exclusively through them is still my favourite though (higher DR than the 2012 CD).
     
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  10. The_Windmill

    The_Windmill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    DR values for the 25th Ann. CD are awful. 06 07 10 07 09 06 08 10 07 . What??

    The Hi-Res downloads values submitted to the database are similar or almost identical to the 2002 remaster:

    2002: 09 10 11 09 11 09 09 12 09
    2012: 09 10 11 10 11 09 10 12 10 [Bowers & Wilkins 24/48 download]
    2016: 09 10 11 09 12 09 09 12 09 (96/24 Bit Download with 2016 Vinyl)

    I know DR values don't tell the whole story, but I find it a curious coincidence.
    Like if there are reference standard values now, even if EQ differs.
    Is the 2016 one sort-of getting back to the standard remaster's mastering?
    Are they mastered from the same digital transfer (already compressed? - Yes, unlikely, but I just wonder)

    Both are relatively far from the average old CD (different tracklist and all): a healthier 14 12 12 12 13 11 12 11 11
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  11. Limopard

    Limopard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leipzig, Germany
    The 2016 download that comes with the vinyl sounds closer (almost identical) to the 2002 remaster than to the 2012 one. Anyway, a bargain for merely 13 EUR.
    Now a Shaking The Tree double vinyl would be nice.
     
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  12. lrpm

    lrpm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Barcelona, Spain
    I have got the US Geffen Plays Live in two separate cd cases. EAC peaks are different from posted for the european edition:

    GEFFEN 4012 (Made in U.S.A.)
    CD1: matrix DIDX-0011374 6
    91.4 % 79.3 % 87.4 % 75.0 % 93.4 % 77.9 % 80.9 % 77.6 %
    CD2: matrix DIDX-0011375 3
    96.0 % 84.2 % 85.4 % 94.6 % 88.4 % 94.1 % 75.8 % 77.9 %

    I would like to know whether it would be an upgrade buying the european edition. I have seen a fatboy of it in a shop byhere
     
  13. mdm08033

    mdm08033 Forum Resident

    I believe that the double CD edition of Plays Live has the same mastering in all territories. My personal copy is a Geffen USA but with CDs made in West Germany by PDO. It sounds fine to my ears. I own the blue faced Virgin, but never listen to it as the double LP playlist is ingrained on my memory.

    Happy listening, Michael
     
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  14. c-eling

    c-eling Somehow I See There Are Ships In Her Eyes...

    I still need to track down a US Mike. Besides the old cassette, I only have the Japan Mini x2 2008, nice full sound but somewhat fatiguing in the SQ department
     
  15. lrpm

    lrpm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Barcelona, Spain
    Well, the numbers shown below indicate different masterings for european and US cds. Your Geffen, since manufactured in WG, probably shares mastering with the european one
    I copy numbers for mine:

    GEFFEN 4012 (Made in U.S.A.)
    CD1: matrix DIDX-0011374 6
    91.4 % 79.3 % 87.4 % 75.0 % 93.4 % 77.9 % 80.9 % 77.6 %
    CD2: matrix DIDX-0011375 3
    96.0 % 84.2 % 85.4 % 94.6 % 88.4 % 94.1 % 75.8 % 77.9 %

    So masterings are different but, which one is better?
     
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  16. c-eling

    c-eling Somehow I See There Are Ships In Her Eyes...

    Could just be a level shift. Tell us how you think it sounds?
     
  17. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    That's impossible to answer unless someone has heard both.

    The contrast with the European numbers is quite striking.
     
  18. The_Windmill

    The_Windmill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    I can't confirm it now but by memory the WG and the UK discs were different, brighter EQ the latter, more analogue-but-muffled the former. Possibly the same digital source retouched.
     
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  19. mdm08033

    mdm08033 Forum Resident

    Thank you for the correction.
     
  20. The_Windmill

    The_Windmill Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    In fact, I have the feeling that if we dig hard enough we could find a funny mess about this one, mastering wise. just a hunch ;D
     
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  21. lrpm

    lrpm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Barcelona, Spain
    Exactly, that striking difference indicates that it is not a simple level shift (compare for instance the first 3 tracks of cd-1).

    Regarding the sound, I have no other version to compare. In any case I feel it lacks definition, in particular the PG voice, it is like he being far from the mic. But most probably it is a consequence of the 80's live production and of the mixing, and not of the mastering. On the other hand the sound is not bright, which is a good thing.

    I could post some samples later, in case someone would be willing to compare
     
  22. lrpm

    lrpm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Barcelona, Spain
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  23. Thievius

    Thievius Forum Resident

    Location:
    Moreno Valley, CA
    I was not a fan of the 25th Anniversary "So" disc. Got rid of it and have stuck with the old '86 which I've always liked. All the others I have are the 2002 remasters, most of which I like. (They're actually 2010 reissues but same masters.) Peter Gabriel 1 - 3 and Security all sound decent. "Us" isn't terrible, but it doesn't sound as good as the other remasters to me. I think that has to do with the way the album was recorded though, its always sounded bright to me.

    By the way I'm not claiming sny of these are the best, just commenting on the ones I'm familiar with.
     
  24. c-eling

    c-eling Somehow I See There Are Ships In Her Eyes...

    Thanks, I enjoyed it. Found a set on the bay for cheap, hopefully have it next week :)
    I'll do some comparisons to the Japan 2008 remaster when I get it
     
  25. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canton, NY, USA
    (Warning: very lengthy post with descriptive comparisons). This thread prompted me to do a mini shoot-out of some of the PG albums for which I have multiple versions. For background, two nights ago I was considering whether to get the current vinyl reissues for some of the albums or splurge on the OOP Classic reissues, so I listened to some needledrops I happened to have of some of those Classics. Two of the three were very impressive, but I wanted to compare them to the CDs in my collection as well. To save time, and to compare with relatively fresh ears, I limited my initial comparisons today to one track each. While I've had most of these CDs for many years, it's been a while since I've been in the mood for PG, so this was actually the first time I've listened to them over full speakers, which was quite the revelation. Beyond that, several of my results were very surprising.

    First, I compared three versions of Security, using the first track, "Rhythm of the Heat." I have the West German target I bought back in the mid-80s, the 2002 remaster, and a needledrop of the Classic Records vinyl reissue. For what it's worth, going into the shoot-out I was not expecting huge differences among the versions, and was expecting the winner to be either the target or the needledrop. I was wrong on both counts. I began with the target CD, Rather quickly I felt slightly disappointed. In the quiet sections, I felt like I was hearing a certain hard, grainy quality that's hard to describe. Weirdly, it was something I always used to hear in this particular CD going back to the 80s when I was listening through headphones on the very first Discman portable CD player. Usually going back to those older CDs with a full-fledged system is a revelation, but this sounded (tonally and texturally) as I remember it from back then. I kept wondering whether my mind was playing tricks on me. Then, the big drumming climax began, and I was shocked at how bad it sounded compared to my recollection of the needledrop from two nights ago, when that section completely blew me away. On the target CD, the drums still occupied the wide soundstage, but they seemed smeared together into a big glop, with no depth or detail. I thought maybe this was just a limitation of the recording, and perhaps I was remembering the previous listening session as better than it really was.

    Next, I listened to the same track on the 2002 remaster. During the quiet parts, I definitely did not notice the strange graininess I heard on the target. It seemed like a pretty well-balanced, clean presentation. Then the drumming began--OMG!!! THIS was how I remembered it from the previous session, with each and every percussive thwack clearly delineated in space. I also noticed it gradually increasing in volume, and each new percussive addition stood out from the overall background. When it finished, my jaw was on the floor--what a powerful climax!

    Next, I tried the needledrop of the Classic reissue I'd heard two nights before. During the quiet parts, it sounded similar to the 2002 remaster, and maybe even a bit more precisely detailed during the rhythmic whispering sections in the middle. When the drum climax came, though, it was a bit disappointing--not nearly as smeary and indistinct as on the target, but also not as powerful and clear as on the remaster. For this track, the 2002 remaster was the winner, with the needledrop a relatively close second and the target a distant third.

    Next up, I did the same thing with Melt, using "Intruder" as my test track. On this, I only had the 2002 remaster and a Classic Records needledrop from the same source as the one for Security. I did have an older European V/C of the German language version of the album, so I thought I'd include that in the shootout, despite it being a different mix. Starting with the 2002 remaster, I noticed that it had a very vivid tonal balance. By vivid I mean it seemed very colorful, possibly slightly too much so--right on the border between a pleasantly tubey glow and an annoying upper midrange glare. It was impressive, but not quite as impressive as I remembered the needledrop being from two nights ago. It seemed ever so slightly less dynamic, and just a bit too brightly colored. It wasn't bad in the way that the target CD of Security was, but I had the sense that it could be better. Since this thread's consensus was that the V/C of this album was the best, I turned to the V/C Ein Deutsches Album. Boy, was it ever different, and not just due to the language and mix differences. The tonal balance was at the opposite end of the spectrum from the remaster. There was no hint of glare (or glow, for that matter). Everything was crisp and clear, but lacked any hint of tonal richness. Clinical might be the best description, but not in the sense of an overly etched treble--more in the sense of a somewhat lean midrange. The marimbas, for example, felt especially underwhelming, coming across as clever but emotionally uninvolving stereo trickery.

    I then put on the needledrop of the Classic Records reissue, expecting to repeat the experience of Security, where it would essentially be a slightly less clear and vivid version of the remaster. Instead, my jaw quickly hit the floor again--this needledrop sounded stunning. It seemed to have some of the upper midrange lushness of the remaster, but it was counterbalanced by a more prominent lower midrange that made everything feel rich and holographically present in the room. When the marimbas started, it felt like a different recording, as they came to life and felt almost as viscerally exciting as the climactic drumming of "Rhythm of the Heat." This was the clear winner.

    Finally, I also gave a listen to the 2002 remaster of So (my only official digital copy), just to compare it to my memory of listening to two different needledrops of the album two nights ago. Weirdly, the needledrop from the same source as the other two Classic Records drops was practically unlistenable, with extreme sibilance distortion (especially on "Sledgehammer"). I downloaded these needledrops in 2008 or 09. and in this case I didn't note which vinyl version this was. It did end with "Excellent Birds" and "In Your Eyes," which I think suggests it must also be the Classic Records reissue, but boy did it sound different from the others. The second needledrop was of the original UK vinyl, and sounded far better, with no obvious sibilance. It did sound a bit clinical at times--I find all the cymbals in tracks like "Red Rain" and "That Voice Again" give the songs a somewhat annoyingly tinny quality, but I'm not sure any mastering could do much about that. That said, "Mercy Street" sounded absolutely gorgeous, and I was entranced.

    So today, I put in the 2002 remaster, expecting it to be a clear winner. It was not. As others have posted, it seems to try to compensate for the somewhat thin sound of (at least) the UK vinyl by adding bass and lower midrange, but definitely crosses the line of overcompensation. Not only do the rubbery basslines sound sludgy, but the vocals sound (literally) congested at times (which kind of works well with Kate Bush's guest vocal, but not with Peter). The whole thing sounded compressed and thick. "Mercy Street" wasn't so bad, but it didn't entrance me as it had with the UK vinyl needledrop. Halfway through "Big Time" I had to turn it off--there was just no point in going further.

    A few tentative conclusions and questions: Given my equipment and sonic preferences, from the limited sources I had at hand, it looks like the 2002 remaster is a winner for Security, OK but not great for Melt, and not good at all for So. I'm definitely interested in hearing the Classic Records vinyl pressing of Melt, as even the needledrop sounded stunning (though as with any needledrop, the characteristics of someone else's equipment are necessarily playing an unknowable role in the sound I'm hearing). Either my system or my ears are very, very different from those of Plan B (and a few others upthread), who recommend the West German target CD of Security--I would recommend people stay away from it at all costs (unless the first track is unrepresentative of the mastering as a whole, which is possible). The big questions I have left are whether the V/C CDs would be better than any of the sources I have. Does anyone else have the V/C German version of Melt, and could comment on whether its sonics are typical of other V/C masterings? If so, that would possibly save me the effort of tracking them sown, as that CD didn't sound especially impressive on my system.

    A final question--does anyone know whether the current vinyl reissues sound similar to the 2002 remasters? I assume they do because they seem to be coming from the same team, but I don't know whether they may have made significant changes.

    Thanks to all who read through this!
     
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