Jazzmoose

Old Masters

18 posts in this topic

I often see people on this board talk about a remastering being old, or preferring to wait for a new mastering. Why? What does it matter? Isn't the real issue how well the job was done rather than how old it is? I can understand this being an issue back in the analog days, but what difference does it make now? I must be missing a key point in the manufacture of recordings, so please clue me in!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been advances in digital audio technology since the 80s. You have probably heard that the sound of many of the early CD releases in the 80s were accused of 'harshness'. You have a point that how well the job was done matters more than when it was done. However, if a remastering was done in, say, the mid 80s, there are all chances you could get a better result if it was done today, given that the master tapes haven't aged too much. Besides, many remastering jobs in the beginning of the CD era were, according to some speculations, put together in a haste to get CDs out fast, without too much care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't the real issue how well the job was done rather than how old it is?

True...but in the case of many recordings (and particularly the first cd reissues of some of the more important recordings) the existing issues leave much to be desired. So if I know that Columbia (Sony), for instance is planning a reissue of vintage material, and I know that I like the sound of recent Columbia issues, I tend to wait for the new issue. Same with John R.T. Davies, or Malcolm Addey, and a number of other sound restoration experts. If I know an issue from them is forthcoming, I'll probably wait for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the quality of the mastering is most important, but early digital masterings could sound harsh and edgy, which makes it even more of tragedy that alot of recent jazz re-issues seem so compressed and manipulated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Post your question at Steve Hofman's site and he'll set you straight. Then read this article on the pains a company went through to remaster Blue Note mono recordings, that bettered all previous efforts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, got it; I'd forgotten (thankfully!) about those mid80s "first round" CDs.

Wolff, I'd be afraid to ask anything at that site! He might try to sell me a coat rack, and then all hell would break loose! ;)

Edited by Jazzmoose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hanging out at Hoffman's site has been an interesting experience for me. I think they're onto something about some of the older remasterings. I especially agree that some of the newer highly compressed CDs do cause listening fatigue. From what I've gleaned on his site, around '94 or '95 were the peak years for remastering, before the trend of making everything louder began. It's interesting when you look at the audio curves of CDs from then vs. new ones. On the older ones, the levels are peaks and valleys, but on some of the newer ones, the levels are maxed out.

I also like his site because it's saved me money. They got me to stop automatically upgrading when there was a remastering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also like his site because it's saved me money. They got me to stop automatically upgrading when there was a remastering.

Shoot, being a cheapskate accomplished the same thing for me...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the links wolff!

I've always been skeptical of remastering. It's not that a good job can't be done. We know it can. But it reminds me of colorizing old movies and the old "re-channeled for stereo". A corporate employee thinks he can improve on the original. On the whole, I would prefer to hear the original as is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also like his site because it's saved me money. They got me to stop automatically upgrading when there was a remastering.

Shoot, being a cheapskate accomplished the same thing for me...

Moose,

You're much smarter than this cat! :lol:

I find being broke has really cut my amount of CD purchases.

I wish I could be a cheapskate by choice, but now it's forced on me. :P

This parody of the title to the movie, Dr. Strangelove explains my situation.

"RVG Editions or: How I learned to stop upgrading and dig the McMastered."

:lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I try not to buy new remasterings of old albums. I've found them to sound no better (sometimes different) than the old cds, and sometimes, worse! Undoubtedly, they are compressing a lot of the sound which happens to be the fashion these days. Sometimes, I suppose the master tape has also deteriorated due to a variety of reasons.

For example, the latest 2 disk set of Mingus' Tijuana Moods actually sounds worse than the late 1980s cd version. Furthermore, the extra disk of music is also not worth listening to, unless you happen to be an academic. If Mingus were still alive, he would probably have ripped RCA apart for putting it out.

Ironically, I now try to locate the vinyl versions of old jazz albums. You may not find exactly what you want at a reasonable price, but there's plenty out there to keep you busy and entertained. Nowadays, I only buy new music on cd. Even then I've found that the sound has deteriorated (probably due to compression or copy protection) compared to stuff put out, say, 5-10 years ago.

Rgds

Hock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tip on the Mingus, Hockman! :tup

I have the eighties single disc and I had been thinking of the expanded version. There's enough stuff I don't have that I can spend the money on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about the remastering, AfricaBrass, but I'll definitely second hockman's opinion of the second disc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is shocking that the new improved masterings of jazz titles are worse that the "orginal" cds. the remaster for Miles In the Sky" is awful compared to the orginal cd. They even reversed the channels.

some of McMaster's orginal masterings like Inner Urge sound really great.

As for vinyl remasterings of vintage jazz lps... forgetaboutit. :wacko:

Edited by jazzhound

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding 'Song For My Father', I've got an old NYC mono vinyl copy that I'll cross-check against the RVG CD. I'll try to squeeze this in over the weekend, maybe also check out the 'Jody Grind' Liberty LP against the CD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found that most of the RVG's I own, sound pretty good, there are a few dissapointments in titles like "A Blowin Session" and "Speak No Evil", but I think that most of the ones I have (around 30 or so) sound good. Also most of my RVG's are my first time owning the music contained on those CD's. I generally think that sometimes remasterings are perceived to be better these days b/c they are louder, usually caused by the compression, but some, I think like most of the recent Miles Columbia reissues sound fantastic, older Columbia discs just sound bad in comparison, very "digital", harsh in the high end and cold. Though I think the current '92 issue of "My Funny Valentine/Four and More" sounds pretty good. I remember getting the CTI reissue last year of Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar", huge difference compared to the original CD reissue. The original was tinny, they added fake reverb, etc...... Stanley sounded like he was hooked up to a MIDI device, it was pretty bad. There are examples too, of recent remasterings that add to the recording rather than hinder it, for example "Lyle Mays", from 1986, the recent '98 remastering just adds a little warmth to an already excellently engineered (and produced) album, no unnecessary treble, bass, etc, kind of reminded me of a Japanese remaster in some ways. Like a few others have said , I'm in the camp of those that wait for a title to appear remastered if one is scheduled on the map.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I've gleaned on his site, around '94 or '95 were the peak years for remastering, before the trend of making everything louder began.

Ah yes, the Golden Age of CDs! I guess the CDers have to have their own myths, just like the vinyl lovers. Human nature to believe that things were better THEN- but not now. Don't think I buy that.

OTOH, the phrase "24 bit" seems to have unjustifiable talismanic power over buyers. In a blind test, I suspect most could not tell the difference between 24 bit and non-24 bit versions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OTOH, the phrase "24 bit" seems to have unjustifiable talismanic power over buyers. In a blind test, I suspect most could not tell the difference between 24 bit and non-24 bit versions.

IMHO, 24 bits definition is used to apply EQ , reverb or other effects.It is supposed to produce a smoother result, allowing for smaller changes in values.

But in the end, a red book CD always sounds 16 bits and it can sound very good... :w

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.