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ELO Classic Albums Box Set

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I got this for a friend of mine this Christmas and we listened to a bit of it the other day. It has excellent remastering. Back in the day, I had import and half speed mastered LPs of some of this stuff, and it sounded good. But ELO's goofy "throw it all into the mix and phase shift it all around" philosophy tended to make for thick, muddled mixes. I suspect a lot of that had to do with technology. All of those layers probably necessitated bounce downs joining tracks to keep it all going at once. This set says that it involves not only remastering, but remixing, and it shows. Thankfully, they didn't try to "fix" their goofy creative choices, they just cleared up the cloudiness of the mix. Most importantly, they maintained the period style heavily compressed, band pass EQ vocals. The Stones made the mistake of "correcting" that on some of their remixes and it was a huge mistake. Also, the dynamic range is better than I ever heard on LP. Some of the pseudo-classical crescendos actually approach the scale of classical music.

 

Revisiting this after thirty years was fun. I can pick out all of Jeff Lynne's vocal jokes now... He does impressions of both John and Paul, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and even Bob Dylan. Back in the day, I liked ELO, but I thought they were Beatles/cartoony compared to the serious approach most other prog rock bands took. Now, I find the serious stuff insufferably pompous and ignorant, and ELO seems a lot more clever and fun. Live and learn.

post #2 of 8

I don't mean to hijack your thread away from ELO. It's good to hear the re-releases sound good and I agree with your assessment of ELO vs. most other prog rock.

 

I was wondering, can you be more specific about the Stones remixes you found lacking? I see a lot of Stones remasters from 2009 for sale on http://www.rollingstones.com in FLAC and MP3 or on iTunes, but I'm not sure if these are the versions you are talking about. Perhaps you are talking about some remixed LPs or the Stones stuff on HD Tracks or something else?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
The clearest example is Street Fighting Man from the SACD. It is much cleaner sounding, but they've completely remixed it without using the original compression and EQ on the vocals or the vintage wire reverbs. It sounds a lot wimpier and less gritty. For those who grew up with this music, it sounds like a remake of the song, not the original. The Beatles have always been smart enough to leave well enough alone (With the exception of Rubber Soul and Let it Be).
post #4 of 8

Okay, thanks. I currently have the 88/24 FLAC version of 'Beggars Banquet' from HD Tracks. I haven't heard the SACD. I have the old LP too, but it's in storage and I don't have access to it to compare. Apparently the HD Tracks remaster is from 2005. I'm not sure how it compares to the SACD.

 

When I downloaded 'Beggars Banquet' from HD Tracks, there is a brief but obvious flaw in "Stray Cat Blues" where one channel fades out and comes back. I thought maybe my download got corrupted, so I contacted customer service. They helped me out and let me download it again, but the flaw remains. I figure maybe when they went back to the master tape, that portion of the tape is damaged. Who knows... 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
2005 woud be about the time of the SACDs.
post #6 of 8

I found some pretty interesting stuff about the old Stones catalog:

 

http://lukpac.org/stereostones/stones-cd-faq.txt

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
It may be something I am more sensative to than most. I grew up with the Stones LPs. I know every inch of the music. To someone who only knows it from the CD era, it may not make as much of a difference to them. But in the LP era, there were singles mixes and LP mixes. Those were often quite different. For instance "High Tides" is all singles mixes... Heavilly compressed for AM radio, very harsh sounding. That isn't the best from an audiophile standpoint, but the Stones were never about great sound. They were about raw, in your face sound.

Some of the SACDs are remastered and a few are remixed. The remastered ones are fine. they didn't change anything. The remixed ones sound much better, but there were certain aspects of the engineering on the original mixes that were vital to the raw sound of the Stones. One was the EQ on Jagger's voice. It has a narrow band of midrange that made it sound a little like a megaphone. Some of the SACD tracks have a fuller sounding vocal that loses a lot of the energy and makes him sound more like the older Jagger. Also, in the day, the Stones used tape slaps and wire reverbs that have a distinct distorted and sometimes jangly sound. In some of the SACD tracks, those analogue reverbs have been replaced by digital equivalents that sound very different.

The same is true of the Led Zeppelin catalog. If you hear it on LP, the sound is much more forward and midrange heavy. Widening the stereo spread, cleaning up dstortion and deepening the fullness of the EQ makes the music sound "cleaner", but it's a creative choice that is quite dfferent from the choices made by the original engneers back in the 60s and 70s. If you're used to the raw energy of the original mixes, it sounds wimpy and soft.

I won't get into the can of worms regarding The Beatles' "Let It Be" album, but suffice it to say that none of the releases of that album, whether vinyl or digital bears any resemblence to the record that The Beatles actually cut. The only way to hear that is on a bootleg called "Peter Sellers' Get Back Acetate". Night and day on that one.
Edited by bigshot - 12/31/12 at 1:27pm
post #8 of 8

It's kind of a mish-mash for me, because I was too young to buy Stones albums until I bought 'Hot Rocks,' which of course was a double-LP greatest hits collection of earlier stuff, in '73. After that, in the mid-'70s, I bought the LPs going back to 'Beggars Banquet' and going forward. So I only had the LPs from '68 forward plus 'Hot Rocks.' I never had any of the original records from '67 or earlier and only heard that stuff on re-releases.

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