Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade?

Posted by: medic8r

Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 06:54 AM

I'm wondering about such CDs as the Rush Remasters series, and I see that the Dire Straits CDs have been remastered.

I already have almost all of the Rush catalog on CD. Now that I'm in the Axiom fold, I'm wondering if I would really be able to tell a difference between the old versions I have and the newly remastered ones.

Anyone done an A/B test on these?
Posted by: ratpack

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 07:24 AM

Why don't you buy one or two and have your own A/B test?
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 08:33 AM

I probably will once the basement HT is completed (that's where the Axioms will go).

I figure that for the older Rush recordings, the capacity for upgrade is pretty good. However, they've been recording everything digitally since 1985, so I'm not so sure that, for example, the "Power Windows" remaster will be that noteworthy. It already is one of the best-recorded CDs that I have!

I also see that the Beatles' catalog is up for remaster soon.
Posted by: Robert_W

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 12:09 PM

Hemispheres is my all time favorite album. In fact it was the first music to grace my new system. The remastered version of the older stuff is fairly significant. When I put the two Hemisphere discs side by side there's no comparrison. The remastered is well worth it. But as has been said the newer CD's not as much. They can only do as good as the source material. Presto comes to mind. Great album, terrible engineering. As is with their newest CD's. Vapor Trails Sucks.

BTW, if you haven't got the R-30 DVD yet, it is great. Highly recommended!
Posted by: sonicfox

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 12:18 PM

I've found older cds from the 70's and 80's have been worth it...more detail, less "tinny", and a bit more bass. However, anything in the 90's and forward, I get suspicious. Sometimes I wonder if all they do is throw on extra tracks, then call it a "remaster".
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 12:29 PM

Thanks for the words on Hemispheres, also one of my favorite Rush albums. It was the first one I owned, back on LP. I'll definitely have to go for it with the Rush CDs from the 1970s.
Posted by: LT61

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 12:59 PM

Yes, you will hear a difference with "re-masters".
The best ones, stay true to the original mix....with more care taken during the 24 bit mastering.
Some, get the re-mixed, re-master treatment, with the eq flat, and other "tamperings".

If only, ALL cds originally had the complete # of 1's and 0's
none of the re-masters, sacd, etc. would be needed to try and make up for it.
Posted by: Rapmon

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 10:41 PM

There is a better sound to the 2112 cd. My old one had some scratches and started to skip so I had to get a new one. As I need to, I will replace all with the remasters. And Vapor Trails doesn't suck. One of their best in my opinion. Whats also great about Rush is how different each recording is which results in their longevity.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 10:59 PM

Rapmon, I believe he was referring to the engineering of the Vapor Trails CD. If it's anything like the engineering on Test for Echo then it does, indeed, suck.
Posted by: Rapmon

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 11:07 PM

O.K. I guess I don't understand how a recording can be great but the engineering suck. What should I be listening for? How much better could VT have been? I assumed that the way the songs sounded is what they were going for. Maybe not.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 11:14 PM

Moving Pictures is one of my favorites.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 11:17 PM

Here's an article about it. You may not want to read it, though, lest your enjoyment of the album go down.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/30/06 11:25 PM

Very interesting read, thanks Ken....
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/31/06 12:40 AM

Stupid engineers ruin Rush CD! Now Hulk angry! Hulk smash puny humans!!! On side note, Hulk wonder why Hulk's clothes all destroyed 'cept Hulk's purple pants.

... and, we're back. Wow, Ken, great article. I'm learning so much here on the boards, what between the educational videos that Peter posts about spinal laxity and the engineering papers that you post.

I hope that Alex Lifeson didn't fall into the louder is better trap as he helped remaster the 3 concert DVDs that re-release in two weeks. He's not previouisly been that involved in their engineering/sound AFAIK. Usually Geddy's the one who is interested in that stuff.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/31/06 01:24 AM

Hulk always wear same underwear! Simpler that way! Now Hulk smash questioning Hulk!

That's got to be about the only engineering paper I've ever posted... probably always will be. I think I got bogged down in the middle of it, but it was interesting!
Posted by: DOUBTINGTHOMAS29

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/31/06 03:16 AM

Here are some interesting articles:

What Happened To Dynamic Range?

Loudness War
Posted by: Rapmon

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/31/06 08:56 AM

That is a good article. I could definetly hear the overbearing loudness on some of the songs, but I must have fallen victem to this as many new CDS are recorded this way so I thought it was acceptable. I didn't like the CD at first, but after seeing them perform it live, I got to like it. I just hope they remaster VT and record their next CD at proper levels of loudness.
Posted by: LightninJoe

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/31/06 09:34 AM

The original Rolling Stones CD pressings were almost painful to listen to on my setup. I bought my wife a couple of remastered versions (because I wanted to hear if they were better) and I found the difference to be huge. Since then we have replaced all of the first CD pressings of the Stones, Led Zeppelin, and various other discs. The Led Zep first pressings were dreadful as well. The first pressings of the Beatles' albums fared much better. It seems that waiting a few years before doing the transfers helped quite a bit as opposed to rushing them out ASAP. Maturing technology and whatnot.
Posted by: Robert_W

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/31/06 01:36 PM

Yup, over bearing, too loud, distorted etc. That's what I meant by VT sucks. Though not my favorite Rush album by any means it would be a lot better if one could actually hear it properly. I think perspective on Rush albums depends on age too. I go back a ways. I've seen them live 30 + times now as of the VT tour going all the way back to 2112. Everything up to Counterparts was awesome. Since then....Eh.

BTW, Alex Lifeson and Son were the driving force behind the R-30 DVD engineering and it sounds great. So hopefully they have learned there leason and this new Rush Replay DVD collection will be as good. However they do have to work with the original material. No matter I already have it ordered from Amazon!
Posted by: Rapmon

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 05/31/06 08:23 PM

Thanks for setting me strait Robert. I guess I didn't want to admit it, but the VT CD is almost unlistenable. Probably more than almost. I listened to it today and had to turn it off after the third song. It's too bad, because the songs are great. Is that some thing that can be fixed if they remaster it?
Posted by: DOUBTINGTHOMAS29

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 06/01/06 12:49 PM

Quote:

Thanks for setting me strait Robert. I guess I didn't want to admit it, but the VT CD is almost unlistenable. Probably more than almost. I listened to it today and had to turn it off after the third song. It's too bad, because the songs are great. Is that some thing that can be fixed if they remaster it?




I still prefer original cd's to most remastered cd's based on the amount of compression alone. As someone mentioned, the Rolling Stones remastered cd's are an exception. They did a really good job with those. More often than not, they remaster them for the worse. Take the Van Halen remasters for example. Maybe the worst example I've heard. If you don't believe me, listen to the original cd and then play the remaster. You can barely hear Alex Van Halen's cymbals the music is so compressed. Because many older cd's don't sound particularly good and the remasters often sound worse I decided to give vinyl a try and I'm very glad I did. It takes a bit of money to get everything right, but I only pay $2.00-$3.00 per album.
Posted by: LightninJoe

Re: Are "remastered" CDs worth an upgrade? - 06/01/06 01:14 PM

Indeed. I've found that some mastering engineers tend to overcompress. Don't know why. On the other hand, the remastered Pink Floyd CD's benefit from having a fresh master to replicate from. The clarity of the new master is very apparent but the sound isn't compressed.