its a title by title experiment. the two titles you've named, have both been improved greatly.
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The discs of the 80's were generally the worst (with some exceptions). Current discs in many cases are just as bad and so much of the engineering work down now days on popular music is mixed as much for MP3 performance as it is for full resolution and full frequency. This obviously is not good.
Additionally, most of todays mixes are much louder than older discs as this has too become part of the modern mixing schemes.
Jaybo is 100% correct in that it really needs to be considered on a title by title basis. Dark Side of the Moon for example has something like 8 different versions out (including SACD/DVD-A/HDCD/Redbook). I would only consider adding or replacing based on careful reviews and generally only for the music you enjoy the most. Personally, if I am too replace a Redbook with a Redbook, I want to see that it has been re-mastered versus just a new release of the same mix.
The newer Rio CD release is extremely good (sounds like I remember the Vinyl did). The Aerosmith Gold three CD box of their first three albums mastered by Doug Sax is awesome (it was originally done for SACD and is now available on CD). The Bob Ludwig remasters of the early Stones stuff is also very good. Some of the new releases of very old stuff is actaully tremendous - like how they fixed Ray Charles vocals and overdubbed with the current Count Basie band - the sound is awesome. Count Basie's Breakfast and BBQ Dance for example. Or Louis Prima's 2 disc Lounge swing album (I forget the name) is a nice addition to the collection.
Whilst rock and pop heads towards loudness and noise - there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
Generally speaking, I've found the newer releases sound better if they've been re-mastered. It seems to me cd started sounding better somewhere around the late 90's, early 2000's.
The best example of how cd sound has improved is Fleetwood Mac's, "25 Years, The Chain" box set, a remastered anthology, 1992 release date. For years I thought this was amongst the best sounding cds in my collection. Now it sounds rather flat and uninvolving compared to more recent re-masters by various artists. Most of my older cds have either been sold or relegated to storage.
Everyone is right , it's a disk by disk matter. They CAN make them better if they wish. The remastered disks of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and Glen Gould's recording of Bach variations are much better than the original pressings. Harmonia Mundi has a very good track record if you are a classical fan.
In general...I would say the remastering process has improved immensely...however there are always some exceptions to the rule...the 4ad stuff from the early 90s...still sounds very impressive...so much that i havent pursued any upgrades...that being said...the Police,Ac/dc, and Stones remasters are...all in the last 5yrs or so...are excellent...DSOTM sacd is stellar....
Stanwal: "Glen Gould's recording of Bach variations are much better than the original pressings"
Hallelujah. Hey, I am about as analog as a guy can be, and I listen to about 97% vinyl these days. But all Gould's material, not just the Bach, has deeper body and a more spacious soundstage. Those 70's pressings are just awful.