1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

Non-Remastered CDs

Discussion in 'Music' started by luckybaer, Apr 23, 2010.
2
Next
 
Last
  1. luckybaer
    Is there any source or online vendor specializing in non-remastered versions of CDs?

    At the very least, I'd like to find a vendor that clearly specifies remastered vs. non-remastered.

    As most of you know, the difference between the original cd and some of the remasterings is big. New remasters are louder, and are often clipped.

    I'm probably out of luck on new releases - my guess is that unless it is someone like Donald Fagen, most of them are cut LOUDLY.

    BTW, I'm a rock/pop kinda listener - elvis costello, xtc, megadeth, nick lowe, dire straits, etc.

    CDs only, please. Or, high-quality digital downloads.
     
  2. Vkamicht
    Amazon is actually a good place to check. It tends to list most releases of a CD (as long as someone has added it) and the date listed in bold on the search results is the CD release date, not the album release date. The key is to look for 1990 because as far as I know (read this somewhere...) it wont display any dates lower than that. So if you look for an album name and find a '1990' CD, it will be a pressing from 1990 or earlier, which is in almost (but not all) cases a pre-remaster CD. Then hopefully you can pick it up new or used from sellers at a very cheap price. I've found lots of awesome old CDs on Amazon for $3 or less. Be sure to check with the seller to confirm the CD version if you want to be extra cautious.

    If you can't find it on Amazon.com, check other variations i.e. Amazon.co.uk, amazon.co.jp, etc. They actually have different results in some cases.
     
  3. non-entity
    In my opinion, non-remastered CDs are not ALWAYS better. Sometimes there's obviously a big advantage because older releases are not as compressed as modern discs, but people should keep in mind that the CD wasn't as good as today around the time it came out. Of course one has to distinguish between analogue and digital recording, but whatever is the case: converters weren't as good as today. What about noise-shaping and dithering? My background is not technical, but I guess it is safe to say that -- back then -- these silver discs weren't as sophisticated as today.

    For example, I think that the new Beatles remasters are great. It really depends... Some remasters are magnificent, while others are just unbearable. I've got the "25th Anniversary Edition" of "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, and it really is just WAY too loud. I guess one can say that the more commercial the object is, the higher is the probability that there's clipping in it.

    I do it this way: if I can put my hands on a newer remaster that is not a victim of this loudness cr*p, I take it. Knowing that it was transferred from tape with a lot of care and modern converters feels good.
     
  4. Ham Sandwich
    Discogs and Rate Your Music are two sources to check to find out the different releases for an album and which releases got a remastering treatment. Both sites rely on user submitted data. Both sites can have incomplete and inaccurate info. But better than nothing.

    At Discogs a "RM" means remaster and "RE" is reissue. A reissue is not a remaster. If an album has multiple different masterings they don't do a good job of listing what particular mastering was used. But better than nothing.
     
  5. luckybaer
    Quote:

    In my opinion, non-remastered CDs are not ALWAYS better.



    True. My remastered King Crimson CDs are done very well. What spurred my interest is the 3 loud and relatively hot XTC digital downloads I got from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. Last week, I spent some time trying to find non-remastered versions to see if they were less loud yet with plenty of dynamic range.

    I went to amazon.com and eBay, but there usually wasn't anything I felt 100% definitive to indicate a non-remastered edition (outside of some of the expensive imports and special discs). I contacted the seller in both cases and asked about the whole remastering thing.

    One who knew about the loudness war knew exactly why I was asking and gave me an answer. The other wasn't quite as up-to-speed on the loudness war, but told me that nowhere on the disc or inserts did it say "remastered." We shall see.
     
  6. luckybaer
    From what I've seen, the older versions, like many have told me, are not always great sounding. However, the ones I have that may not be great are still more tolerable than the horrible solid wall of sound (seen via Audacity, etc.) on some newer CDs and some remasters. Through speakers, the wall of sound crapola isn't too bad, but for me, it is completely miserable through headphones - especially cans like my DT880. Those things can find flaws in nicely mastered works. You can only imagine how revealing they are and how awful they make clipped and highly compressed stuff sound.
     
  7. audiofil
    I think this is a naive and nostalgic concept as everything old is better than the new. We'd still be painting cave walls if the world was guided by such thoughts.
    ...................
    Sorry I had to say it as I see it way to often. No pun intended.

    Back to the topic:
    As a general rule the newer remasters are better than the old (digital) masters. Otherwise they wouldn't have created them in the first place.
    The first wave of CD masters (up till' early 90's) were particularly bad (Pink Floyd, Beatles, AC/DC etc were notorious for it).

    But there are certainly lots of exceptions to the rule, when labels push new remastered releases to round the profits.
    Many are EQ-ed, compressed, clipped to sound best for radio or boomboxes. Do your homework and you can avoid that.

    Or rarer cases the original mastering was done by talented engineers like Bob Ludwig, Bob Katz, Bob Olhson, Doug Sax, etc, but it these cases you'd rarely find a remaster.

    My advice is to look for proper remasters of the albums you like.
    MFSL, Sony Mastersound and Rhino are just of few of the big names in the high end remastering arena.

    PS: Compare, if you can, Megadeth - "Symphony of destruction" - original CD with MFSL remaster.
     
  8. luckybaer
    I guess the tone of my message was tainted by my feelings (bummed out!) at the time. I realize that not all remasters are poorly done. I've just come across many that are disappointing. I should have asked if there was a list or DB of well-mastered CDs - old, new, original, whatever.

    How about newer stuff? I guess I'm out of luck unless I find a special version or I buy vinyl?
     
  9. audiofil
    Well, we're in a much better position now to choose than we were few years ago.

    Now we've got the possibility to listen to samples before purchasing and decide on spot if the engineers did a good job or not.
     
  10. scytheavatar
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by luckybaer /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    True. My remastered King Crimson CDs are done very well. What spurred my interest is the 3 loud and relatively hot XTC digital downloads I got from Amazon a couple of weeks ago. Last week, I spent some time trying to find non-remastered versions to see if they were less loud yet with plenty of dynamic range.

    I went to amazon.com and eBay, but there usually wasn't anything I felt 100% definitive to indicate a non-remastered edition (outside of some of the expensive imports and special discs). I contacted the seller in both cases and asked about the whole remastering thing.

    One who knew about the loudness war knew exactly why I was asking and gave me an answer. The other wasn't quite as up-to-speed on the loudness war, but told me that nowhere on the disc or inserts did it say "remastered." We shall see.




    Amazon.com always gives the year of release of the CD, and the publisher of the CDs, you can go to Discogos or Rateyourmusic to see if that CD is remastered or not. What albums were you looking for? Be warned that a lot of older issues are not that easy to find and are often significantly more expensive than the reissues.
     
  11. jinp6301
    I know of one.

    Flaming Lips - Soft Bulletin - the DVD version has a demastered version iirc
     
  12. NecroNeo
    I would also be interested in a db of discs - let's call them Audiophile Approved for acronymic purposes - that have been mastered well.
     
  13. Vkamicht
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by non-entity /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    In my opinion, non-remastered CDs are not ALWAYS better. Sometimes there's obviously a big advantage because older releases are not as compressed as modern discs, but people should keep in mind that the CD wasn't as good as today around the time it came out. Of course one has to distinguish between analogue and digital recording, but whatever is the case: converters weren't as good as today. What about noise-shaping and dithering? My background is not technical, but I guess it is safe to say that -- back then -- these silver discs weren't as sophisticated as today.

    For example, I think that the new Beatles remasters are great. It really depends... Some remasters are magnificent, while others are just unbearable. I've got the "25th Anniversary Edition" of "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, and it really is just WAY too loud. I guess one can say that the more commercial the object is, the higher is the probability that there's clipping in it.

    I do it this way: if I can put my hands on a newer remaster that is not a victim of this loudness cr*p, I take it. Knowing that it was transferred from tape with a lot of care and modern converters feels good.




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by audiofil /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    As a general rule the newer remasters are better than the old (digital) masters. Otherwise they wouldn't have created them in the first place.
    The first wave of CD masters (up till' early 90's) were particularly bad (Pink Floyd, Beatles, AC/DC etc were notorious for it).





    I would say in maybe 100 albums, I can find only 1 or 2 that sound better in remastered form. That's on a good day. I will stand by these numbers with great fervor. And here's my reasoning...

    When most people say "non-remastered" they are talking about one CD: the one they found in their local CD shop in the late 80s/early 90s when the CD was first pressed. This means that it is localized to your own country. In other words, if you live in the US, you'd be talking about the US "first pressing"/"non-remaster" version of a particualr CD, i.e. The Beatles.

    Fact is, there are non-remastered Beatles CDs out there that don't suck. You just couldn't find them anywhere in the US. The Japanese "black triangle" CDs are a good example. Pink Floyd, despite what audiofil said above, has some AMAZING sounding audiophile quality discs that were pressed in the late 80s. The Japanese "black face harvest" version of Wish You Were Here is one of the best discs I have ever heard. You can hear what a high quality recording really sounds like there.

    Man, people complain about head-fi being a burden on your wallet and probably bad for your brain too with all this thinking and talking about sound quality and how to achieve the best... but head over to the stevehoffman.tv forums and get into a discussion about which CD pressing of an album is the best and your head will hurt even more. And some of these CDs hailed as the best version of a particular album are not even close to cheap or easy to obtain. But if you're interested in "the best", you gotta do what you gotta do.

    About the mastering process and A/D converters...

    I honestly don't think modern day techniques really matter as far as sound quality goes. The mind set of mastering is completely different. Nothing is a flat tape transfer anymore (ignoring audiophile labels for a second..) and everything is mastered to be "caught up" with current day trends. We obviously know this means louder, but EQ is affected as well, as nobody really listens on flat speakers. So these things must be taken into account.

    I have been, for a few months now, seeking out the best mastered versions of all of my albums that date prior to 2000 or so. I do all of my comparisons in foobar with replaygain so volume has NO advantage whatsoever. And in nearly every case either one of two things happens: the original sounds better, or I have trouble distinguishing them. I actually had a CD from 1995 that was 'remastered' some time in the 2000s and there was NO difference except LOUDER. That was it. Nothing else.

    Another thing: aside from volume levels across the board, one thing I consistently find when I get original CD pressings is that volume levels across songs are different as well. A song that is supposed to be quiet, will be quiet. On a 2009 remaster, well, I just don't find anything quiet period...

    But hey, YMMV. [​IMG]
     
  14. thornygravy
    Seems like nowadays they are remastering albums that have nothing wrong with them and don't need to be remastered. The word 'Remaster' has become like a brand or marketing scheme. If they tweak a few thing, up the db and slap a "REMASTERED" sticker on it, people go crazy.

    There are some crapper sounding albums that when are remastered, sound magnificent.
     
  15. necropimp
    yeah too often "remastered" means they took the existing master and just tweaked the eq or boosted the volume (or both)
     
2
Next
 
Last

Share This Page