The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

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The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby LarryD » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:51 pm

Ok, so after all the talk about the Arena / The Visitor re-master, I thought it would be cool to start a post just on the concept of re-mastered discs alone, as I can see there is a good separation of those who do and those who don't .......

So the quick definition of a re-master is:

Remaster (also digital remastering and digitally remastered) refers to enhancing the quality of the sound or of the image, or both, of previously created recordings, either audiophonic, cinematic, or videographic.


In it's simplest form - yes. So now the question becomes, does a recording need a re-master ? And why is it being re-mastered ? Is the original recording bad ? Is it the record label like Claus said, to add more fans to the base ?

If you're a purist, then read no further, as I've had many discussions with folks about re-masters, who feel that they want the original recording and want it untouched forever..... but I consider myself a purist, in that - if I hear a disc with bad or no bass, or the vocals are too far back in the mix, or the guitars are too far back in the mix, etc etc -- then 20 years later someone comes along and corrects that, I'm all in. If something was missing, it has now been corrected.....or at least enhanced.

Now we can agree or disagree till the cows come home, which discs should and shouldn't be re-mastered....... and, for argument sake, should we include re-issues into the conversation as well ? They may not be re-mastered, but a disc like Threshold / Psychedelicatessan (my fav from the band) was re-issued and enhanced and it sounds completely bad ass without being re-mastered..... then along comes QR / Rage for Order, which you may think sounds awesome, and then you hear the re-master and you go "wow that is so awesome to hear " ...... and as we go through some discs, we can pick out what's good or not good about some of them -- but really, if you are against re-mastering period, what's the argument other than I want the original as it was recorded, right ?

These questions and more to be answered ........ but when I listen to discs like Rage for Order, Aquarius, some Kansas discs, and others of my favs that have been re-mastered, I say - how can one not like this ???? But it's all subjective - so chime in with your thoughts for or against re-masters, and let's throw some disc names out there in case anyone is looking for a re-master, or wants to know if the double purchase is worth the price .......

In my case - it's on a individual disc, of course, but sometimes it's necessary ........... I will start throwing some good ones out there, and some bad ones ........some of the better ones that come to mind are what I said originally, Arena / The Visitor, QR / Rage for Order, Haken / Aquarius, QR / Operation: Livecrime and many others........

What say ye ? Chime in here............

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Nos » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:17 pm

My take is that re-mastering is largely a sham. There's only so much you can do by pushing the volume a bit louder, or running a filter to boost a few frequencies. They might sound better in the sense they are louder or shinier like a new album, but that's usually at the expense of the original dynamics.

Now re-mixing is a different story. If they're taking the original tapes and starting from scratch, you can do amazing things with how far we've come. No amount of knob twisting will make "And Justice For All" have bass unless you start with the original tapes and mix the whole thing over again. You can ruin albums this way too, but at least re-mixes are more honestly trying to update and fix what might not have been good enough, while re-masters are often just about adding a layer of sheen that doesn't fix much.

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby LarryD » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:07 pm

while re-masters are often just about adding a layer of sheen that doesn't fix much
.

***Even though I'm all for good re-masters, I agree with all of your thoughts on the facts of the re-master and the difference between it and a re-mix ......I also agree with your cool description of a layer of sheen..... the small part I don't agree with is the part of it not fixing much ......factually speaking, yes it's not fixing what's already there..... but, it is fixing what wasn't there to begin with ..... such as, the vocals being back in a mix; the guitars being too far back in the mix; the keyboards, etc etc......... but as I listen to "The Visitor" re-master, and I hear all sorts of nuances that I'm assuming were there originally but couldn't heard, but I now can .... and that alone is worth the re-master. I don't think a band "adds" things to a re-master, I could be mistaken; I thought that was a re-issue where they add different patches of maybe original music they had recorded but didn't include it, or recorded some new material and added it to the original recording ......

In the end - if I can hear the vocals clearer, or I can hear those nuances I speak of, or anything that pleases the ear because of the re-master, I'm in .......I don't recall too many "bad" re-masters, but strangely Operation: Mindcrime comes to mind as I don't hear too much difference between the two except for more bass and more kick drum which were lacking originally .....I'm not sure that added a whole bunch to that recording, but I remember thinking that it wasn't much ...... Rage for Order on the other hand, was amazing in it's re-master........

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby GaetanL » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:09 pm

Last time I remember a remaster sounded really better than the original is Heaven's Cry – "Food For Thought Substitute" re-released by Prosthetic Records in 2013. But it is also remixed.

When only remastered, most of the time I crank up the volume of the original and they sound to me pretty much the same.

I already talked on this forum of my bad experiences with remastered CDs. On some occasions, they fail my quality control and are only good for trash... Most of the time they are ok.
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby GaetanL » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:20 pm

GaetanL wrote:Last time I remember a remaster sounded really better than the original is Heaven's Cry – "Food For Thought Substitute" re-released by Prosthetic Records in 2013. But it is also remixed.

First half of this album is truly excellent. I have just played it and it's still great prog metal after all these years....
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Sir Exar Kun » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:51 am

Personally, I am not a major audiophile so some of the issues others point out in a mix I really do not hear, or if I do it does not bother me to any major extent, so with albums like the aforementioned Aquarius or Visitor there is nothing in the original mix that makes me want to hear a "better" version. I know and love the original, and at no point in any of the dozens of times I've listened to either have I ever thought it sounded subpar..... There are other albums (Rage for Order, Nevermore's "Enemies of Reality", Brainstorm's "Memorial Roots") where as much as I may enjoy the disc, there are obvious major defects that detract from my enjoyment..... In those cases, as soon as a remaster/remix (I can't tell the difference!) became available I ordered it up.

In order for me to re-purchase an album, I need BONUS CONTENT. I want unreleased tracks, or cover tunes, or a bonus live disc.... Something I don't already have. Instrumental version of the original album, while certainly all the rage right now, do not count.

I am more open to new recordings of the original album, although they certainly are not necessary. When Theocracy re-did the self-titled album with actual drums instead of the drum programming, for example..... Secret Sphere tried (and slightly missed) with re-doing "A Time Never Come" with Luppi on vocals. These certainly don't all succeed, but they make for a unique experience.

Just my two cents, at any rate.....
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Sparky » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:20 am

As I've said elsewhere, Evergrey's Solitude, Dominance, and Tragedy re-master sounds great, compared to the original.
I'll be the judge of what's good and what isn't, thank you... ;)

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby LarryD » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:49 am

Sparky wrote:As I've said elsewhere, Evergrey's Solitude, Dominance, and Tragedy re-master sounds great, compared to the original.


***Definitely on my re-master to buy list ..... thanks for the reminder !!!!!

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby NK » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:50 pm

The problem with the original version of RFO was actually an administrative one. The programme that ended up on the original CD was in fact the vinyl master, not the CD master, so it ended up sounding thin and very low level compared to other CDs that were out. I still have my Sony PCM copy direct from Masterdisk the day it was mastered, and it sounds nothing like the original CD.

So, while I think it took far too long for EMI to correct the mistake, I'm certainly glad the remaster ended up happening.
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Esanssi » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:09 am

Nos wrote:My take is that re-mastering is largely a sham. There's only so much you can do by pushing the volume a bit louder, or running a filter to boost a few frequencies. They might sound better in the sense they are louder or shinier like a new album, but that's usually at the expense of the original dynamics.

Now re-mixing is a different story. If they're taking the original tapes and starting from scratch, you can do amazing things with how far we've come. No amount of knob twisting will make "And Justice For All" have bass unless you start with the original tapes and mix the whole thing over again. You can ruin albums this way too, but at least re-mixes are more honestly trying to update and fix what might not have been good enough, while re-masters are often just about adding a layer of sheen that doesn't fix much.


I agree with this 100 %. Most of the remasters are there just for marketing reasons and rarely add anything to the actual sound of the original album. There are, however, some exceptions like Fates Warning's Awaken the Guardian remaster (2005 Deluxe Edition) which improves the sound of the cymbals but retains the original, mystic soundscape of the album.

I bought Arena's The Visitor remaster just to support the band but find the remaster more or less unnecessary since there's nothing wrong with the sound of the original release.

I usually don't care about the bonus content since it's generally something that was left out for a reason and not worth a release. Plus they're usually just added to the end of the original album which is irritating. A good example of this are Alan Parsons Project's remasters which have loads of full of demos, outtakes and other useless stuff. An exception to this is "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" which has two different versions of the same album (different narration, remix etc.). Then again, the album also features demos etc. which could have been left out.
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Sparky » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:19 am

LarryD wrote:
Sparky wrote:As I've said elsewhere, Evergrey's Solitude, Dominance, and Tragedy re-master sounds great, compared to the original.


***Definitely on my re-master to buy list ..... thanks for the reminder !!!!!


Did you ever check this out? Curious as to what you think of it...

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Harvester » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:42 am

Sparky wrote:
LarryD wrote:
Sparky wrote:As I've said elsewhere, Evergrey's Solitude, Dominance, and Tragedy re-master sounds great, compared to the original.


***Definitely on my re-master to buy list ..... thanks for the reminder !!!!!


Did you ever check this out? Curious as to what you think of it...



Sorry to barge in, but I did buy both vinyls. They sounded like absolute ass in a cave. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I played SDT for Todd on my system to show him. Todd- agree?

I have no idea what the cds sound like.

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby LarryD » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:49 am

Sorry to barge in, but I did buy both vinyls. They sounded like absolute ass in a cave. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I played SDT for Todd on my system to show him. Todd- agree?

I have no idea what the cds sound like.


***Now I'm really curious to know what the re-mastered CD sounds like ....... I haven't gotten around to grabbing it yet, but now I'm hesitant. That is so weird........

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby ToddS » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:26 pm

Harvester wrote:
Sparky wrote:
LarryD wrote:
***Definitely on my re-master to buy list ..... thanks for the reminder !!!!!


Did you ever check this out? Curious as to what you think of it...



Sorry to barge in, but I did buy both vinyls. They sounded like absolute ass in a cave. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I played SDT for Todd on my system to show him. Todd- agree?

I have no idea what the cds sound like.


Yea it was terrible. So tiny sounding. All dynamics squashed. About as bad as it gets sadly.

If the cds sound like the vinyls, stay far away.
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby gazinwales » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:04 pm

I used to buy remasters and ditch the original pressing.
These days I always keep the original CD, as in many cases the remaster can be worse sounding.

The woefully bad one is Rush 'Hemispheres' the remastered CD sounds terrible, completely crushed with compression and no dynamic's at all.
That said the 2016 200g vinyl remaster sounds bloody amazing.

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Packgrog » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:41 am

Most remasters sound like ass, as they simply seem to add more compression to make everything sound "louder".

Steven Wilson's recent remasters have thankfully gone in the other direction. The 2017/2018 remasters of In Absentia and Deadwing are vastly superior to the originals. This is unusual, but also a conscious choice on his part.

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Rycher » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:05 pm

NK wrote:The problem with the original version of RFO was actually an administrative one. The programme that ended up on the original CD was in fact the vinyl master, not the CD master, so it ended up sounding thin and very low level compared to other CDs that were out. I still have my Sony PCM copy direct from Masterdisk the day it was mastered, and it sounds nothing like the original CD.

So, while I think it took far too long for EMI to correct the mistake, I'm certainly glad the remaster ended up happening.


Neil, could you expand on that? Does the RFO remaster have the originally released CD/vinyl mix, but with updated/remastered sound? Or did EMI truly replace the mix with the originally intended one from 1986?

I don't see EMI putting that much effort into it to actually release the proper mix, but thought I'd ask for clarification. Thanks!

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby ToddS » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:15 pm

Packgrog wrote:Most remasters sound like ass, as they simply seem to add more compression to make everything sound "louder".

Steven Wilson's recent remasters have thankfully gone in the other direction. The 2017/2018 remasters of In Absentia and Deadwing are vastly superior to the originals. This is unusual, but also a conscious choice on his part.


I didn’t realize there were remasters of these. Vastly superior? Wow the originals were quite good. I will have to check this out. I do have a DVD-A of IA.

Are there HD versions of these remasters?
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby LASERCD » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:46 pm

ToddS wrote:
Packgrog wrote:Most remasters sound like ass, as they simply seem to add more compression to make everything sound "louder".

Steven Wilson's recent remasters have thankfully gone in the other direction. The 2017/2018 remasters of In Absentia and Deadwing are vastly superior to the originals. This is unusual, but also a conscious choice on his part.


I didn’t realize there were remasters of these. Vastly superior? Wow the originals were quite good. I will have to check this out. I do have a DVD-A of IA.

Are there HD versions of these remasters?


Yes. Its called vinyl. Steven made a conscious decision to have the albums re-cut without all the compression that was used on the original vinyl release. I never understood all the huzzahs for the original vinyl edition. The compression was quite audible.

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Packgrog » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:12 am

I've digitized my copy of In Absentia, and it's vastly superior to any official digital versions that I've found. I don't recall a download card in the vinyl packaging for a digital version of the more dynamic remaster, so I guess it's vinyl only. But since so many people in these forums are so insistent that vinyl = junk, too fucking bad.

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Packgrog » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:22 am

Oh, and I don't know about more recent Queensryche remasters, but the 2000(?) remaster of Rage for Order was just another dynamically compressed ear bleeder with bonus tracks (similar problem with Cynic - Focus). Thus far, the original vinyl release is the best one available that I've heard. Certainly sounds better than the prior two albums. For Empire, just try to track down the DCC CD release, as that's a digital recording that isn't helped by a vinyl release at all, and I vaguely recall the DCC being slightly less sibilant than the original CD release.

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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby ToddS » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:39 pm

LASERCD wrote:
ToddS wrote:
Packgrog wrote:Most remasters sound like ass, as they simply seem to add more compression to make everything sound "louder".

Steven Wilson's recent remasters have thankfully gone in the other direction. The 2017/2018 remasters of In Absentia and Deadwing are vastly superior to the originals. This is unusual, but also a conscious choice on his part.


I didn’t realize there were remasters of these. Vastly superior? Wow the originals were quite good. I will have to check this out. I do have a DVD-A of IA.

Are there HD versions of these remasters?


Yes. Its called vinyl. Steven made a conscious decision to have the albums re-cut without all the compression that was used on the original vinyl release. I never understood all the huzzahs for the original vinyl edition. The compression was quite audible.


Ok so vinyl only. Well I’m not set up for vinyl. Though I’ve been considering getting back into it for a while.

Anyway a digital HD version done right could be quite satisfying for me.

Thanks for the info.
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby ToddS » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:42 pm

Packgrog wrote:I've digitized my copy of In Absentia, and it's vastly superior to any official digital versions that I've found. I don't recall a download card in the vinyl packaging for a digital version of the more dynamic remaster, so I guess it's vinyl only. But since so many people in these forums are so insistent that vinyl = junk, too fucking bad.


I don’t recall anyone on this forum talking junk about vinyl. A few members here are spinning vinyl.

By digitizing aren’t you compromising the sound?
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Re: The post about re-masters ....... good or bad ?

Postby Packgrog » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:56 pm

ToddS wrote:I don’t recall anyone on this forum talking junk about vinyl. A few members here are spinning vinyl.

Just wait. The detractors will show up to thread-crap soon enough.

ToddS wrote:By digitizing aren’t you compromising the sound?

Sure, but how much compromise depends on gear and processing. That can also be said about pure digital or pure analog, as evidenced by all of the awful-sounding official digital releases (especially most remasters) with distortion-inducing dynamic compression ("loudness").

So back to the original topic, most remasters suck. Sometimes they're great. It's definitely a crapshoot. It'd be easier to come up with a list of GOOD remasters than bad ones, as the list would be pretty short in the prog/metal world.


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