Saturday, January 19, 2013

Original vs Remastered CD

I have compared a few remastered CD's to the original 1980's releases.

I have found that on most occasions, the original CD's sound so much better than the remasters.

I will list a few reasons why I think this is so:

1) Take any 1970's album. - When the album was first recorded, it was mixed in a way that was the best that could be achieved, and probably done by a competent and (now) famous engineer / producer. - It is not required to repaint the Mona Lisa in more contemporary style.

2) A 1985 CD was pressed only 10 years after a 1975 recording - the tape was fresh and in good condition.

3) A 1990's or 2000's remaster is using a tape which is 20-30 years old. Tape does not get better like a fine wine - it gets worse! The hiss is worse on an older tape, and extra digital noise reduction needs to be applied to remasters of older recordings. Digital noise reduction can be very good, but generally I can still hear if it has been applied to a recording.

4) Sometimes modern engineering attempts to present the sound in a modern way. Sometimes this is done  by compressing the bass guitars and bass drums, and making them louder in the mix. Boo!

5)Sometimes (more often than not) a remaster will have clipped (brickwalled) audio, reducing the dynamic range of the recording. = epic fail

If this article has been of interest you may be interested in my article on CD masters vs Vinyl masters

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