« on: September 22, 2014, 01:02:23 AM »
I have to admit I've been suckered into the whole remaster craze where when a band or artist remasters their whole catalog, I immediately buy them and replace my originals. I've since learned to be more cautious these days as some of these remastering jobs are really horrible and do more harm than good. I have found myself going back to music stores and buying back all my originals because the remasters were so bad. Below is a list of remaster series I have found extremely disappointing, with my reasons why:
RUSH ("The Rush Remasters")--these were issued in 1997 and whoever did them effectively took out the warm bass harmonics of the music. It is sad that all these Rush fans buying the box sets think they have the definitive editions of these albums when in reality they have total garbage repackaged. Apparently I'm not alone in this opinion based on the Rush forums I've perused.
COCTEAU TWINS (remastered by Robin Guthrie). Very disappointing that Guthrie ruined his own music. He cranked up the volume and sucked the warmth right out of the music. Luckily the original 4AD UK cd's are easy to find because most fans sold their originals for the "upgrades."
DEAD CAN DANCE (remastered by various). Same as above, basically. To me these were too loud and the bass harmonics were compromised. Not nearly as bad as the Cocteau Twins hatchet job. I only have the original 4AD UK discs now in my collection.
OTHER 4AD LABEL BANDS LIKE CLAN OF XYMOX, THIS MORTAL COIL, ETC. --John Dent of Loud Mastering did a real hatchet job on the first Clan of Xymox CD and the followup Medusa. One of the worst remastering jobs I ever heard. This Mortal Coil I think didn't need an upgrade and I think the originals are still perfect. I can't tell much difference with the recent remasters.
DAVID SYLVIAN. Again I found these too loud and the subtle bass harmonics missing. Secrets of the Beehive was especially bad, way too loud for such an intimate vocal album. The only ones that benefited from remasters were Brilliant Trees (which always sounded muffled) and Alchemy.
Here are some series I thought were good:
BRIAN ENO. Really subtle and tasteful job on these. An improvement over perfection, if that's possible.
THE CHURCH. If you go back and play this band's original CD's from the 80's, boy did their music not transfer well to CD. They sounded like total crap compared to the awesome remasters, which took away the tinny sound and muted volume.
SLOWDIVE. Although one of my favorite bands, I always thought their studio recordings were pretty lackluster compared to their live performances, and the CD's sounded, fidelity-wise, slightly better than awful. Great remasters I thought on these. So much more listenable.
They call it "loudness wars" these days. I don't think the issue is just cranking up the volume, but robbing the original recordings of what made them special. Also, I think it's interesting that Amazon advertises certain albums as "original recording remastered" when they WEREN'T remastered, just reissued. Best example I can think of is the Klaus Schulze reissues. On the KS website it states these were not remastered.