Are remasters always better?

November 27, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

13 comments on “Are remasters always better?”

  1. Not all Mobile Fidelity were remastered to DSD. Most came from the original master analog recording.

    Its not a matter of opinion of whether it sounds better, worse or the same, just that the consumer knows what they are getting so they can make an informed choice.

    There are some analog purists who don’t want their analog recordings remastered from a master DSD because they believe pure analog sounds better and they have the right to full disclosure even if others don’t agree.

    I also agree with Paul that at some point the master tape deteriorates and should be preserved to DSD.

    It is what drives the price up of first pressing LP’s that are new or in mint condition and there are not that many high quality pure analog recordings left to go around.

    There needs to be steps to preserve analog in pure analog as well as DSD and fully disclose to the consumer what they are purchasing.

    If a consumer don’t want the DSD remaster they can opt for a pure analog remaster or pay out the ass for a vintage original first pressing in new or mint condition. But they need full disclosure. Its not for the manufacturer of recordings to hide that information because in their opinion DSD is the best way to preserve analog and sounds equal to pure analog preservation. It might very well sound as good to them but not to everyone, but its no longer analog even if its converted back to an LP or tape from a master DSD. It’s only pure analog if remastered from pure analog.

  2. In a word, ‘No’.

    Some remasters will give you greater detail but also more compression.
    Some will give you greater detail with virtually no extra compression &
    others are just a waste of time, money & energy.
    Ultimately the listener’s hearing (ears & brain) will tell them whether a
    remaster sounds better than the original, or not.
    Some compromises are tolerable, others, not so much.
    Like all things in home-audio music reproduction, it’s subjective.

  3. Interesting and valid question which Paul answered. Me too I listened sometimes to original and remastered music. There is some change between the two. Sometimes the sound is clearer, sometimes some instruments or the voice was enhanced. Whatever, it is a question of taste. If the remastered were the original issue, nobody would care since it were the original. My opinion is that the labels want to sell their “old” music over and over again and do it with remasters. Same happened and still happens with “best of” and then “very best of” and “very very best of” in various compilations. But there are also studios which want to preserve old analog tapes with great music and distribute it as DSD files. One I know is NativeDSD and the music sounds pretty good for me.

      1. Ha, don’t you just love these, different ways to say the same thing. How about
        ‘The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection’ by Faith No More.
        Yes, really. I think the only thing missing from that is ‘Volume 1’. 😉

  4. Great pints here!

    I enjoy several original “Half Speed Masters” from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab” on vinyl, and a few that were done on gold CD.
    I have a few arriving soon from Acoustic Sounds on SACD – curious to see how they do.

    At any rate, we enjoy a very multi-faceted hobby.

    1. Good afternoon John Joe and others!
      Ok, recording it in to DSD256 is grate.
      But if someone brought that task to my door for me to perform, this is how I would do it, just to stay true to the original sound.
      I would take that tape and run the sound of it threw a vacuum tube line stage preamp.
      And feed the output of that to an analog to digital converter.
      But if my analog to digital converter can output DSD in any diffrent sampel rates,, I would use them all.
      But again, that’s just me.
      PS. Speaking of DSD, does anyone on here know anything about DSD1024?
      I asked Paul about this on Saturday morning via email, but he never got back to me on that.

  5. Hi John. I did little internet research and found that NativeDSD offers few DSD 1024 music. Sorry Paul, I should probably better refer to Octave Records? DSD 1024 requires special music player software and also special DAC hardware. Whether it will work over USB, could not find out yet. Think of around 45 MHz which is above short wave radio. High frequency gear design is a different world than audio gear design, except wireless audio, DAC and its circuits around.

      1. Me too. For me DSD 1024 is too specialized and probably not really necessary except for recording studios. Better than really excellent enough (DSD 512) it may perhaps not sound better. Investment in new player software and DAC capable DSD 1024 seems not valuable to me.

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