The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Why are remasters so hit and miss? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 25th May 2014
  #31
Lives for gear
 
Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I'm more of the opinion that if more detail/information can be extracted from the original master tapes, with higher quality tape machines and DACs than have been used before, then we should do it!
Old 25th May 2014
  #32
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Babaluma View Post
I'm more of the opinion that if more detail/information can be extracted from the original master tapes, with higher quality tape machines and DACs than have been used before, then we should do it!
I'm all for that! Nothing wrong with a better flat transfer.

I just don't see any need for so-called modernization of material released over 20 years ago. If I wanted an up-front, forward presentation, I'd put on something by Owl City or Imagine Dragons.
Old 29th May 2014
  #33
Lives for gear
 
lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Well, after all that, let me mention that the Capitol series of Lounge Music compilation CDs didn't exactly bring forth the wonderful Fifties Capitol sound, but they are delicious. Maybe the best re-dos ever.

That, despite my love for original vinyl, I could take. The Doo Wop Box 2 is just bad. Bad bad bad. Ugly sound. Bad.
Old 31st May 2014
  #34
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
I'm all for that! Nothing wrong with a better flat transfer.

I just don't see any need for so-called modernization of material released over 20 years ago. If I wanted an up-front, forward presentation, I'd put on something by Owl City or Imagine Dragons.
Flat makes no sense with a lot of old tapes. You're assuming some guys in the 50s or 60s or 70s made the PERFECT master once ... not true. They were often scrambling around in an office to get it done on time, or whatever. Cutting totally flat has never worked for me with the best mixes. And that's 2014's best mixers.

There is a middle ground where classic records can sound modern but not ****ty. Just like modern records can sound classic and not overly harsh, bright or thin.
Old 31st May 2014
  #35
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Flat makes no sense with a lot of old tapes. You're assuming some guys in the 50s or 60s or 70s made the PERFECT master once ... not true. They were often scrambling around in an office to get it done on time, or whatever. Cutting totally flat has never worked for me with the best mixes. And that's 2014's best mixers.

There is a middle ground where classic records can sound modern but not ****ty. Just like modern records can sound classic and not overly harsh, bright or thin.
I can understand that. As long as modernizing doesn't mean limiting all the transients into that characteristic 'picket-fence' waveform all too characteristic of many remasters.

Corrective - vs hyped - EQ is alright too.
Old 2nd June 2014
  #36
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Dempsey View Post
It can if it's from a better quality source than the previous issue (eg the original master tapes previously not found or made available) and/or via improved conversion (ADC, SRC). Processing in remastering is still secondary to the above, and still at the approval of the artist/producer.

Just two prominent examples: Peter Gabriel's "So" was remastered a second time from his original tapes to be more true to them (less EQ'd) than the previous CD remaster.

I have the newer remaster, and don't think i ever heard the first one mentioned here. But I also have the ORIGINAL CD release. While the EQ on the remaster may be better, they could not unfortunately resist making it louder , and therefore edgier by comparison.

Case in point , "Sledgehammer" - from beginning to end it has a slowly rising volume (i mean the max peaks, not just the RMS value due to more complexity in the mix) . Like they started off with the master volume knob down a bit and gradually raised it as the song went along (but without inducing any brickwall limiting). The new remaster starts off punchier , but by the end its, well, (unpleasantly) sledgehammered.

For my own amateur purposes I prefer the results I get by simply using some UAD Manley Massive Passive on the original.

In some respects I prefer the original vinyl even more, but it has a strong sibilance which detracts.
Old 2nd June 2014
  #37
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_free69 View Post
I have the newer remaster, and don't think i ever heard the first one mentioned here. But I also have the ORIGINAL CD release. While the EQ on the remaster may be better, they could not unfortunately resist making it louder , and therefore edgier by comparison.

Case in point , "Sledgehammer" - from beginning to end it has a slowly rising volume (i mean the max peaks, not just the RMS value due to more complexity in the mix) . Like they started off with the master volume knob down a bit and gradually raised it as the song went along (but without inducing any brickwall limiting). The new remaster starts off punchier , but by the end its, well, (unpleasantly) sledgehammered.

For my own amateur purposes I prefer the results I get by simply using some UAD Manley Massive Passive on the original.

In some respects I prefer the original vinyl even more, but it has a strong sibilance which detracts.

Excellent analysis of that Peter Gabriel track! More ammo to what I've been saying: Don't mess with what's already been done!!

You wanna correct the speed? Fine. Just don't speed it up a lot in order to fit 20 tracks on some compilation.

Wanna re-eq? Do what's necessary, and resist the temptation to smiley-face the thing.

Reduce noise - up to a point? Correct left-right balance? All for that.

Create a new high rez master from original source? Awesome!!!

Dynamic processing(compression, limiting) & makeup-gain?...
Get outa my face with that crap!
Old 8th September 2014
  #38
Gear Head
 

We hope to transfer as much information as we can from the tapes, as accurately as possible, with minimum noise, including distortion, wow and flutter. Our approach to the analog stages was informed by a comment made by our DSP guy, who's not an audio cat... If it's not signal, it's noise.

Our fairly recent Springsteen transfers were very successful - scrupulously flat to a degree perhaps obsessive, but that's what it takes. Our NAB/AES curve is closer to the ideal spec than other tape playback preamps, and a specially made fringing compensated LF ref tape guarantees a bona fide 30Hz flat...and the electronics go two octaves below that and are wideband and clean. That counts. The distortion reduction that was an unexpected benefit of the flutter eradication opens up the sound dramatically reminiscent of the console output, pre-tape. That can't be done in post.

All this in the aggregate provides is a superior flat transfer than was ever available, but we push the case that the biggest difference to be heard these days is when a highly precise state of the art playback is digitized. Then Dave Collins, or Dave Glasser or Bob Ludwig (all fans/advocates) can do their essential thing, correcting for non-flat monitor systems, leveling, etc.

Press-play on an A80 or ATR102 is no longer the ideal, and no matter how it's remastered the result can't work around the 40 year old design of those machines.
The 2014 Springsteen and 2013 Grateful Dead remasters were well done by Ludwig and Glasser, and both cases very light-handed in approach, in fact closer to "leaving it alone" than previously . They both credit the difference to the flat transfer process - which is technically more modern while hewing closer to the standard with less "noise" of any kind. More "flat" if you will.

Bob had transferred those tapes himself since the 80s and was surprised as hell - and his technique is impeccable, it's just that there have been strides made in getting more off tape than was possible in 1975 when the predominant machines were designed and built.
Start with the best source. Then master it.

Jamie Howarth
Plangent Processes



Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
Flat makes no sense with a lot of old tapes. You're assuming some guys in the 50s or 60s or 70s made the PERFECT master once ... not true. They were often scrambling around in an office to get it done on time, or whatever. Cutting totally flat has never worked for me with the best mixes. And that's 2014's best mixers.

There is a middle ground where classic records can sound modern but not ****ty. Just like modern records can sound classic and not overly harsh, bright or thin.
Old 9th September 2014
  #39
Lives for gear
 
dcollins's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiehowarth View Post
Our fairly recent Springsteen transfers were very successful - scrupulously flat to a degree perhaps obsessive, but that's what it takes. Our NAB/AES curve is closer to the ideal spec than other tape playback preamps, and a specially made fringing compensated LF ref tape guarantees a bona fide 30Hz flat...and the electronics go two octaves below that and are wideband and clean. That counts. The distortion reduction that was an unexpected benefit of the flutter eradication opens up the sound dramatically reminiscent of the console output, pre-tape. That can't be done in post.
No, there isn’t an EQ that can do what the flutter-removal is doing - that’s for sure.

When you played me “Born to Run” it was pretty revealing. I had never been a fan of that mix, too much ruckus/roar in the background - can’t hear into it - glock seems out of place. But in your transfer everything suddenly makes sense! And it’s a brilliant mix, I think. One you get it all in sonic focus.


DC
Old 10th September 2014
  #40
Lives for gear
 

Thanks for adding an elevating contribution to this thread.


Anyone interested should head over to Plangent Processes and read about it.
Old 11th September 2014
  #41
Lives for gear
Simply put, some engineers have better taste than others
Old 11th September 2014
  #42
Lives for gear
 
Nonlinear's Avatar
 

I have always suspected that the reason many remasters become crushed and damaged is because the "remastering" MEs didn't start with the raw mixes - they probably started with finished masters that had already been compressed, limited, etc.

I am convinced that "compilation CDs" in the '80s may have initiated the loudness wars. They "remastered" what was already mastered; EQing and squashing the life out of widely varying tracks in an attempt to make a cohesive album.
Old 11th September 2014
  #43
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
I have always suspected that the reason many remasters become crushed and damaged is because the "remastering" MEs didn't start with the raw mixes - they probably started with finished masters that had already been compressed, limited, etc.

I am convinced that "compilation CDs" in the '80s may have initiated the loudness wars. They "remastered" what was already mastered; EQing and squashing the life out of widely varying tracks in an attempt to make a cohesive album.

Most remastering *is* done to existing two-channel masters. That's why they're called remasters - not remixes, which is what you'd be doing with as you stated raw mixes.

The dynamic crushing and makeup gain steps can be done at any stage - mix, stems, or two ch. It doesn't matter.


Remastering consists of taking an existing two-ch master, transfering it to 24bit, performing minor corrections to EQ, speed, channel balance as necessary, but NO dynamics processing. This is exactly what Barry Diament did for Bob Marley "Legend" on Tuff Gong label(bit depth might have been 20bit at that time).
Old 11th September 2014
  #44
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retinal View Post
Simply put, some engineers have better taste than others

Simply put, some engineers have tougher demands placed on them by clients than do others.
Old 11th September 2014
  #45
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Simply put, some engineers have tougher demands placed on them by clients than do others.
Sometime good, sometime detrimental to sound. but don't forget there is a reason for everything.
Old 11th September 2014
  #46
181483
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Most remastering *is* done to existing two-channel masters. That's why they're called remasters - not remixes, which is what you'd be doing with as you stated raw mixes.

The dynamic crushing and makeup gain steps can be done at any stage - mix, stems, or two ch. It doesn't matter.


Remastering consists of taking an existing two-ch master, transfering it to 24bit, performing minor corrections to EQ, speed, channel balance as necessary, but NO dynamics processing. This is exactly what Barry Diament did for Bob Marley "Legend" on Tuff Gong label(bit depth might have been 20bit at that time).
I would hope most remasters are done using the original 2-channel mixdowns and not existing masters? Especially since 20-year old CD masters (for example) are probably unreliable not to mention having dither already applied.
Old 11th September 2014
  #47
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixtree Audio View Post
I would hope most remasters are done using the original 2-channel mixdowns and not existing masters? Especially since 20-year old CD masters (for example) are probably unreliable not to mention having dither already applied.
In what ways might they be unreliable?

Also, the public has likely not heard the mixdown, so remastering from the master means using a source closest to what the public is used to.

Of course the primary reason for remasters is to sell more of what folks already own, which might explain the "hit or miss" concerns of the OP. It's really about the money, and less about sound quality.
Old 11th September 2014
  #48
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Simply put, some engineers have tougher demands placed on them by clients than do others.
You do realize that one doesn't negate the other right? Good
Old 11th September 2014
  #49
Deleted User
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Also, the public has likely not heard the mixdown, so remastering from the master means using a source closest to what the public is used to.
No. You couldn't be more wrong or misguided. You always start from the best unadulterated source possible, not from a few generations down the line littered with someone else's decisions. You are hamstrung before you even begin doing it any other way. Once the best transfer is complete you constantly compare to a known release using that as a guide in your decision making.

Quote:
Of course the primary reason for remasters is to sell more of what folks already own, which might explain the "hit or miss" concerns of the OP. It's really about the money, and less about sound quality.
The latest Beatles Mono releases on vinyl prove you wrong yet again. A textbook example of listening to your audience and basing the decision making on that. For all intents and purposes they admitted their crucial mistakes, involved the right people who are educated, talented and with a proven track record and then actually put the hours in in order to correct their earlier blunder. From early reports, listeners should be very happy.
Old 11th September 2014
  #50
181483
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
In what ways might they be unreliable?

Also, the public has likely not heard the mixdown, so remastering from the master means using a source closest to what the public is used to.

Of course the primary reason for remasters is to sell more of what folks already own, which might explain the "hit or miss" concerns of the OP. It's really about the money, and less about sound quality.
I mean unreliable in that an ancient CD-R or PMCD may be corrupted or even dead due to shelf life; or be completely obsolete (say 75 years from now) when the only working CD players are in a glass case at the MOMA.

I don't want to believe you when you say the primary reason for remastering is for monetary reasons alone, but in this day and age it would't surprise me. But...since downloadable digital albums are quickly becoming the norm isn't it kind of necessary to remaster? How is anyone going to buy obsolete formats? Even the CD is begging for its death rattle. Money cannot be the primary reason at that point. And the general public does not want to bother doing their own transfers and would rather just re-buy (or steal for that matter) so they can be modern and on-the-go like all of their peers. Personally, I do not buy lossy music because it is not worth it to me. I do buy new vinyl and have to say there are some stellar sounding vinyls coming out. I am waiting for a superior digital lossless album format to come to fruition, both for new releases and re-releases to replace mp3 and AAC albums. It's about time.

What the industry needs is a set of standards, aesthetically and technically, that work well and are beneficial to the consumer, like the film and broadcast industries have. No more hit and miss. Then everything that was crushed to death can be un-remastered all over again.
Old 11th September 2014
  #51
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retinal View Post
You do realize that one doesn't negate the other right? Good
Clarify?
Old 11th September 2014
  #52
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
They've been brick walling stuff since at least 1992, which is when the first Waves L1 hardware limiter came out, I believe (could be wrong, anyone know the exact date/year?)
Apogee UV1000 (NOVA) was out years before the Waves box.
Old 11th September 2014
  #53
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_free69 View Post
I have the newer remaster, and don't think i ever heard the first one mentioned here. But I also have the ORIGINAL CD release. While the EQ on the remaster may be better, they could not unfortunately resist making it louder , and therefore edgier by comparison.

Case in point , "Sledgehammer" - from beginning to end it has a slowly rising volume (i mean the max peaks, not just the RMS value due to more complexity in the mix) . Like they started off with the master volume knob down a bit and gradually raised it as the song went along (but without inducing any brickwall limiting). The new remaster starts off punchier , but by the end its, well, (unpleasantly) sledgehammered.

For my own amateur purposes I prefer the results I get by simply using some UAD Manley Massive Passive on the original.

In some respects I prefer the original vinyl even more, but it has a strong sibilance which detracts.
"So" was perfect.
Old 11th September 2014
  #54
Lives for gear
 
Nonlinear's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Most remastering *is* done to existing two-channel masters. That's why they're called remasters - not remixes, which is what you'd be doing with as you stated raw mixes.
If the remastering engineer doesn't know the difference then you just proved my point. By "raw mixes" I mean the finished mix BEFORE mastering. That is what a remaster should be made from - not another finished master.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Remastering consists of taking an existing two-ch master, transfering it to 24bit, performing minor corrections to EQ, speed, channel balance as necessary, but NO dynamics processing. This is exactly what Barry Diament did for Bob Marley "Legend" on Tuff Gong label(bit depth might have been 20bit at that time).
That may be what Barry Diament did but it's not what everyone else necessarily does.

I suspect many compilation CDs have been created by taking finished masters - maybe even ripped from multiple CDs - applying EQ, compression and limiting to make them all "fit" together in a homogeneous "album". That's a lot easier and faster (i.e., "cheap") way to make a CD vs. obtaining the original mixes and carefully remastering each of those.
Old 11th September 2014
  #55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixtree Audio View Post
I am waiting for a superior digital lossless album format to come to fruition, both for new releases and re-releases to replace mp3 and AAC albums. It's about time.

What the industry needs is a set of standards, aesthetically and technically, that work well and are beneficial to the consumer, like the film and broadcast industries have. No more hit and miss. Then everything that was crushed to death can be un-remastered all over again.

It's called FLAC. "the people's" de-factor standard, it's just that commercial players aren't interested.

However, look around the notorious torrent and rapidshare scene, they greatly support high res- digital audio. And they did since the beginning. It's ridiculous to see that 12 year old file-sharers seems to respect music and metadata integrity much more than the labels, distributors and shops do. So if you want truly HQ vinyl transfers and lossless data of popular music, go "illegal", you have no alternative. Underground, electronic music labels and shops have been supporting FLAC since a decade. Bandcamp also offers everything you need. Bandcamp IS the new distribution standard if you ask me.

An important issue IMHO is a lack of mass PR towards the end-user. Often, he's simply too stupid to find out about and accept new "standards". At least if not backed by a multi-million-dollar TV PR campaign. The more time passes, the more I am happy to have the choice and not be dependent on these hilariously dumb music business structures ("dumb" in the true sense).

Last edited by FabienTDR; 11th September 2014 at 07:28 PM.. Reason: typos
Old 11th September 2014
  #56
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonlinear View Post
If the remastering engineer doesn't know the difference then you just proved my point. By "raw mixes" I mean the finished mix BEFORE mastering. That is what a remaster should be made from - not another finished master.


That may be what Barry Diament did but it's not what everyone else necessarily does.

I suspect many compilation CDs have been created by taking finished masters - maybe even ripped from multiple CDs - applying EQ, compression and limiting to make them all "fit" together in a homogeneous "album". That's a lot easier and faster (i.e., "cheap") way to make a CD vs. obtaining the original mixes and carefully remastering each of those.
The only problem with remastering from raw is that, unless notes exist from the original session, the compression/limiting applied might be excessive.
It's a chance I'm unwilling to take, and so I avoid remasters on that principle.


As far as what Diament did vs what everyone else does, maybe it's time to start reviewing what he did.
Old 12th September 2014
  #57
Lives for gear
 
Adam Dempsey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theknob View Post
"So" was perfect.
Remastering Peter Gabriel’s So | Society of Sound
Old 12th September 2014
  #58
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_K_Man View Post
Most remastering is done to existing two-channel masters. That's why they're called remasters - not remixes, which is what you'd be doing with as you stated raw mixes.

The dynamic crushing and makeup gain steps can be done at any stage - mix, stems, or two ch. It doesn't matter.

Remastering consists of taking an existing two-ch master, transfering it to 24bit, performing minor corrections to EQ, speed, channel balance as necessary, but NO dynamics processing.
This is not true, by far.

Art
Old 12th September 2014
  #59
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtSta View Post
This is not true, by far.

Art

Then what is, according to you?
Old 12th September 2014
  #60
Lives for gear
 
Conundra's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
...Bandcamp also offers everything you need. Bandcamp IS the new distribution standard if you ask me.
I totally agree with this. In my opinion Bandcamp is the single most important and valuable thing to happen to Independent labels and musicians since the web started.

They give the artist complete control and their "last 10%" payment collection model is absolutely brilliant.

We use it for our Label's digital content and merchandise and it's been a transparent and powerful system to work with. The preview quality and access to streaming for users far surpasses the kind of quality that is being put up with on beatport and youtube etc too.

Cheers

Conundra
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump