Thumbs sadly down on new Joy Division remasters...
Apr 2, 2008 at 2:01 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11


Hangin' with the monkeys.
Member of the Trade: Lawton Audio
Jun 22, 2001

What a drag!

Here we have by far the best digital technology currently available to man, far better than anyone else has ever had at their disposal to use in order to remaster ancient analog tape. We have a right to expect that any new "remastered" release of older material will automatically sound "better" than anything that came before.

All well and good and logical. Except for one factor-- it seems "modern" listeners with crappy equipment, defective ears, and no clue whatsoever about what makes good sound vs. bad are now in charge of deciding what record companies put out as new product. "Louder" is automatially "better" it seems.

On the plus side, these new remasters are as crisp and clean as you would like, and none of that abominable "no-noise" that strips away tape hiss (and lots of musical info, too) has been used.

But compare these remasters to the 1997 remasters of the same material contained on Heart and Soul box set. Yes, even the '97 versions are slightly louder than they should be, but nowhere near as loud as the 2007 remasters. By contrast, they breathe. Dynamics are more crucial to these recordings than 90% of any pop music you will hear. Martin Hannett was a genius producer/mixer, and you are missing a lot of what he adds when you throw out the mix and make everything as loud as everything else.

IMO, if you are looking for the best digital versions of the Joy Division catalog on CD, you have to go back and buy the Heart & Soul box set. Slightly louder than it should be, but it uses the superior technology of 1997 to transfer those tapes compared to what was available in 1985 when they were originally transferred.

Your choices are:

1. Original digital transfers created back in the Stone Ages of digital by dudes who were paid to knock 'em out cheap and fast. Full dynamics retained, though, and usually flat EQ (i.e no EQ) applied.

2. 1997 remasters. Some compression added, but care taken during transfer and mastering using modern equipment.

3. Current Deluxe Ed. remasters. Best equipment used to poor result. Not the loudest CDs on the block, but for recordings that rely so heavily on atmosphere and dynamics, they leave a lot to be desired.
Apr 2, 2008 at 3:26 AM Post #3 of 11
I have all the old pressings on Factory from the U.K. as well as the unremastered U.S. CDs of all of their available output - I have tons of boots on casette as well. Not sure if I should bother with anything new...

Too bad really, I thought Steve Hoffman was supposed to be doing the latest 180g releases on Rhino. Has anyone heard these, and compared them to the CDs or to the earlier pressings on vinyl?
Apr 2, 2008 at 9:26 AM Post #5 of 11
Why do record companies do this? It just doesn't make any sense - louder might sell more records but if noone will hear them before they buy what's the point?

And isn't there a way that they can master mp3 versions and CD versions differently?
Apr 2, 2008 at 10:16 AM Post #6 of 11

Originally Posted by bowling-name /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I thought Steve Hoffman was supposed to be doing the latest 180g releases on Rhino. Has anyone heard these, and compared them to the CDs or to the earlier pressings on vinyl?

Steve did not get the mastering job, a shame really
However, compared to the original UK pressings, they
aren't too bad at all (vinylly speaking).
Apr 7, 2008 at 12:16 AM Post #7 of 11
Thanks for the heads up. I've nearly given up on finding a respectable remaster these days.. the only ones remaining in my collection are by Rush from '97 and Iron Maiden from '98 and even those I'm not particularly crazy about.
May 25, 2008 at 6:22 PM Post #11 of 11
Not to steer this in a different direction but I have struggled with Joy division for the past 10 years. They are right up my alley in terms of musical genre and I know they are acclaimed albums but I just cannot get into them. I have gone back to them time and time again. Is it just me, or do they take a LONG time to grow. I have Closer, and Unknown Pleasures.

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