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What exactly is so horrible with the '99 remasters of Bowie's catalogue.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by OldSoul, Sep 5, 2013.

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  1. glenecho

    glenecho Forum Resident

    Here is some spectrum analysis:

    Ziggy Stardust - Japan RCA vs. Ryko vs. 1999 vs. original UK vinyl: For this comparison it is very important to note that I am using the Japanese RCA CD (PCD1-4702) as the baseline. That means that all of the graphs you see before you are what you would have to do to get the RCA to sound like the "target" media. So when you see the RYKO...imagine that is what you would have to do to get the RCA CD to be EQed like the RYKO. I'm sorry I don't have a US RCA of this title but the Japanese is the copy I've got. It's a baseline and that's all we need.

    Another important note: These spectrums were analyzed by taking an average across the entire CD. This is not just one song or two...this is an average. Because of this, it is not always refective of what you might hear in one particular song. For instance, even though may show that it has more treble than another, it doesn't mean that "Moonage Daydream", for example, will automatically have more. I can do analysis on a song by song basis but I think it's better to start by giving a nice big average for starters

    Ryko vs. Japan RCA
    [​IMG]
    1999 Remaster vs. Japan RCA
    [​IMG]
    Original UK Vinyl Needledrop (well known ripper that uses a VPI Scoutmaster...you do the math) vs. Japan RCA
    [​IMG]

    So what does this all mean? I don't know...that's for YOU to decide. I'm not commenting in any way shape or form on which is better. I'm just providing the data.
     
    warewolf95, Dino, jfeldt and 2 others like this.
  2. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    some samples...

    "Heroes" RCA Japan for US vs RCA Germany:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/24721385/Heroes RCA JPN for US vs Germany.flac
    "Heroes" Ryko vs Ryko Au20 vs EMI '99:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/24721385/Heroes Ryko vs Ryko Au20 vs EMI'99.flac

    Rebel Rebel RCA Japan for US vs RCA Germany vs RCA Germany ChangesOneBowie:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u...US vs Germany vs Germany ChangesOneBowie.flac
    Rebel Rebel EMI '90 vs Ryko Au20 ChangesBowie vs EMI '99:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/24721385/Rebel Rebel EMI'90 vs Ryko Au20 vs EMI'99.flac
     
    OldSoul and drasil like this.
  3. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    two points here... the UK vinyl uses a different master tape than any digital version which all use the US master as their source. secondly the PCD1-4702 is the Japan for US CD. the original Japan for Japan (RPCD-11) uses the same master, the later R32P-1037 does not.
     
    Dino likes this.
  4. glenecho

    glenecho Forum Resident

    Thanks for that. While I'm a Bowie fan I'm not an expert on all these different versions. Good points.
     
    warewolf95 likes this.
  5. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Doesn't the most recent Ziggy CD remaster use the UK master tape? The vinyl reissue certainly did.
     
  6. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    no, it didn't. the original UK tape appears to have been lost. it contains the loud mix of Starman and Suffragette City without the drop-out. UK LPs up to and including the 1984 picture disc used this tape. no digital issue has used it. Ken Scott has no recollection of the loud mix of Starman being made, so it's understandable the most commonly used tape is referred to as "the master" (MFSL used the same non-UK master).

    to clarify, i'm only using the terms "UK" and "US" loosely based on what tapes were originally used in these markets. the "UK" version was also used for French and Italian issues of the Ziggy LP, but the rest of the world got the "US" version.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
    Dino and Plan9 like this.
  7. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Quite literally the first I've heard that the latest, acclaimed vinyl remaster wasn't from the UK tape. Fascinating.
     
  8. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    see above added statement (i was adding it as you were posting). i'm sure both tapes originated from the UK. the version with the loud mix of Starman may well be a dub of the other, but the drop-out in Suffragette City (which has been patched on the new vinyl) suggests otherwise. i expect they were prepared independently from the multis, but it's all guesswork.
     
    Dino and Ben Adams like this.
  9. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Cheers, I appreciate the science. :)
     
  10. drasil

    drasil Former Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    thanks for these. I know based on your comments in the past that this was definitely not your intention, but you've convinced me to keep an eye out for affordable (?) au20s.

    also a great illustration of why I strongly dislike the '99 EMIs. that EQ is too much--it's almost like listening to a different mix.
     
  11. OldSoul

    OldSoul Shattered Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    Thanks for the samples, karmaman! The JPN for US and '99 versions of "Heroes" sounded best to me. The JPN obviously sounded more analogue, while the '99 sounded a bit more digital, but the Rykos just sounded completely hollow. The '99 kind of sounded like a louder version of the RCA. That's fine with me.
    Rebel Rebel was interesting. It seems like with each generation, the guitar lost a bit of its echo, until the '99 had practically no echo. However, it seems like this has always just been a bit wonky of a recording. Another interesting find; I forgot that I actually have the 30th anniversary version of Diamond Dogs, and the channels, at least on Rebel Rebel, are flipped. :realmad: The JPN for US turned out to be my favourite for this one, though it still sounds a bit odd.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  12. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    ha ha, well it's all down to what works for you. certainly wouldn't want to send people hunting for RCAs if they genuinely prefer the '99s or other options. the Au20s are my least favourite masters of all, but there are plenty of admirers including some fellow board members. they are usually overpriced so you might want to look for drill-holed copies and/or those without obis and numbered certificates.
     
    Dino likes this.
  13. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    the RCA JPN for US had to be boosted quite a bit to get it to the level of the German disc. for me, the JPN for US is too thin sounding, i much prefer the fuller and warmer RCA Germany.
    for this one the RCA JPN for US betters the RCA Germany but i think the ChangesOneBowie Germany edition wins overall. is it possible that your ears are hoping for the version you heard in the '70s? often overlooked, but the original single is a different mix to the LP version, and has not appeared on CD to date. as for the flipped channels... one of us needs to check their wiring as the 30th anniversary disc one is a clone of the standard EMI '99 single disc. Rebel Rebel's intro should be biased to the left channel.
     
    Dino likes this.
  14. OldSoul

    OldSoul Shattered Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    Never mind about the flipping. It seems a ripping error was the cause. I'd suspected that before. I think it's only with this album and Sticky Fingers.
     
  15. OldSoul

    OldSoul Shattered Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I thought the German compilation version sounded horrible. Oh well. As for hoping for a '70s sound, I was born in the '90s, so I wasn't biased.
     
  16. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    OK, it was just that you said it had always sounded wrong so perhaps you were missing something based on what you'd heard in the past.

    Oh, and thanks for making me feel really old! (born in the '60s)
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  17. OldSoul

    OldSoul Shattered Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    Oh, I was just saying that based off of the samples.
     
  18. kaztor

    kaztor Music is the Best

    As a response to the title I'd say the only thing you need to do is doing a back-to-back comparison with other versions, although I always thought something was off with the sound. Especially the bass seems to suffer from Mew's peculiar approach.

    "Heroes", already an album with a deliberately harsh sound, is rendered unlistenable, imho.

    As for cd's, depending on our wishes and your wallet, the RCA's and 1990-EMI's are the way to go, although some good individual research is necessary.
    The Deluxe for Space Oddity is great (ironically enough it's done by Mew) and as far as I know the ones for the debut and STS get positive responses.
     
  19. vonwegen

    vonwegen Forum Resident

    Try these tweaks with the 1990 EMI discs.

    I really like the results, especially with Station To Station and Lodger, both of which now sound much better than my UK RCA vinyl, which sounds flabby on those.

    Not sure which forum member posted this, but all thanks to him!

    I also strongly recommend the 2012 40th Anniversary reissue of The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy… on vinyl/DVD. It's the HD television version of this classic album.
     
    botley likes this.
  20. EasterEverywhere

    EasterEverywhere Forum Resident

    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Is there any place either on SHTV or elsewhere on the web,where a total noob can learn how to interpret DR waveforms like this?:confused:
     
  21. vinylman

    vinylman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds, U.K.
    For what it's worth (don't have much Bowie stuff, but what I do have I LOVE), I have the Ryko 'Ziggy Stardust' and the EMI '90 'Hunky Dory' and 'Aladdin Sane' CDs and I'm really happy with those. Vinyl-wise, it's the original UK 'Ziggy', 'Aladdin Sane' and the Ryko 'Sound+Vision' box and I'm really happy with all of them. The more the catalogue is remastered and reissued, the happier I am with what I have. Just like the Stones.
     
  22. drbryant

    drbryant Senior Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    You have a very soft/warm system (although I don't know your cartridge). The overall effect of all those tubes may be to help tame some of the highs on the Ryko vinyl (I don't have the CD's). On a more "neutral" system, the Ryko vinyl can sound like it's being played through an older stereo receiver with the treble dialed to "10", and the older RCA CD has a more natural timbre. At the end of the day, it's EQ preference and system dependent, in my view.
     
  23. dartira

    dartira rise and shine like a far out superstar

    This is my experience as well, and yes, it's all down to personal preferences. But the treble tilt on the Rykos is too much for me. The Zappa Rykos are better in this regard, IMO.
     
  24. The Good Guy

    The Good Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    The 1999 CDs sound rubbish.
     
  25. thatguy1976

    thatguy1976 Forum Resident

    I personally prefer the 1999 CD's to the Ryko's. I wish I could hear the old RCA's but they sell for way too much these days.
     
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