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.