Remasters of originals

September 23, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

11 comments on “Remasters of originals”

  1. Hi Paul, this is Peter Bongers, also from Rotterdam. Agree that it’s not ok to record music with crappy stuff or methodes, it’s an insult to the musicians. But I would prefer a great artist and or performance in a mediocre sound quality to a mediocre artist and or performance on a top notch recording. Music over soundquality. In other words: I would prefer Billy Holiday on a kitchen radio over a middle of the road jazz singer on the FR30’s. Just my two cents…

    1. I agree Peter – musicianship is the priority, which of course becomes enhanced by a good recording & a revealing sound system. We’re lucky nowadays to have PS Audio and other labels paying attention to the recording process, but I wouldn’t trade any awful recordings of Enrico Caruso or Charlie Bird for an excellent recording of a mediocre artist.

  2. I am sure that a professionally performed remastering applying all digital tools/plug-ins available today can vastly improve the sound quality/stereo (!) quality of old analog recordings. The core problem of stereo recording is that stereo microphones aren’t ears. The latter allow us in combination with the trained brain processor to precisely locate any sound source. And that is a core goal of stereo: localization of voices and instruments in a 3D- sound reality. And thus no stereo (!) recording sounds live lacking these localization cues. However does good music require stereo? Obviously not for solo singers or solo instruments. But what solution is best for huge orchestras or choirs? Or an opera recording? I like the idea of having a dedicated microphone for each instrument/voice however it should be guaranteed that there is no bleeding from one instrument’s sound wave into the microphone of the next instrument. (“Keith don’t go” on the album “Acoustic live” is a horrible example where the guitar stretches from the left to the right loudspeaker – obviously the microphones captured the sounds from the guitar, the voice and the guitar-amp driven loudspeaker. ) Then a mixing of all single mono instruments added by room effects can give some spectacular stereo images. Or takes dummy head recordings which however mandatorily requires individual HRTF-filtering. Todays multi-mic arrays full of “bleeding” microphones seem to be a cheap recording solution but full of unwanted and annoying artefacts. Heavy mixing efforts are required to mask the unwanted effects.

  3. When I hear recordings of reportedly ‘classic performances’ by some of the past’s great artists, I usually come away feeling unsatisfied. It’s as if the essence of the ‘greatness’ was somehow lost with the recording technology used at the time. The feeling increases as I hear recordings prior to the use of 33-1/3 rpm, ‘microgroove’ technology. Back to the time of 78 rpm and wax cylinder recordings. Some people rave about some of these great performances but I’m left unsatisfied. Perhaps you need some formal training in the musical arts in order to appreciate it? Something I don’t have. 🙁

    I find that I’m more emotionally engaged by even ‘average’ musical artistry when it’s recorded using more recent technology, applied by skilled professionals and captures more of the sensory information pervading the moment of performance. At least I agree with you Paul in that respect. 🙂

  4. When I buy a great recording of music that I’m not in love with it’s only to showcase the capabilities of my system. Almost all of the recorded music that I love is adequate for my hi end system. There are a few bad recordings of great bands out there but it’s hard to believe popular bands like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, or the Rolling Stones just a few examples didn’t have state of the art recording equipment for that time period. Bad or average bands are more likely to record on poor equipment or use average recording engineers. Moreover it’s not just the quality of the equipment but rather the techniques used by the recording engineer which is more an art than a science. I would rather listen to a recording from the late 60’s and 70’s done extremely well by the recording engineer than one done average by a recording engineer using the state of the art equipment. Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin recordings come to mind done very artistically.

    1. Bob Ludwig’s remasters of The Rolling Stones ’70s albums are all brilliant & the
      PFR remasters of Pink Floyd’s stuff is better than the MoFi Ultradisc II remasters.
      Jimmy Page had a hand in remastering all the Led Zeppelin stuff & I prefer listening to them
      than the originals because there’s a lot more detail in the music & without compression.

      1. Page is a genius and an electronics engineer himself. He invented some of the technology that created some exotic sounds, example what you hear on whole lotta love. He uses that box device that appears to have some kind of antenna protruding from it live in concert creating sounds with his hands. He developed that himself. One of the best guitarists of all-time too.

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