They were worth it when they were $20 while in print. Not sure I would pay the crazy prices they're asking now. But for the most part I'd say I'm really happy with the gold cd purchases I made. I have roughly 1/2 of MFSL and DCC gold releases and most of the Sony Mastersound gold CDs from about 10 years ago.
The MFSL LP also sounded funny, as if it was mastered too bright as well, so I think it is more this particular release, rather than gold CDs in general.
My opinion is that some of the gold CDs are well worth it. However, there are some that are definitely not worth it. I would say most are worth the extra cost.
(But as Meisterkleef says "not sure I would pay the crazy prices" either!)
My two cents worth anyway.
I have the particular CD you refer to. I've probably heard it as many times as you. I can't say that was my experience. I enjoyed the added resolution. And as my equipment has improved over the years, the differences became more pronounced.
Overall, I've been pleased with the gold cd's I've bought. But I paid closer to 30 than 20. Wish I knew where Meisterkleef shopped.
I don't think you should lay the blame entirely on the fact that it's a gold CD. While I think that in general the gold CDs do seem to have a touch more resolution vs. standard CDs, remember that Mobile Fidelity does not necessarily try to duplicate the original record when they do their re-issues. I recall reading that on one of the Steely Dan albums (Gaucho, I believe) Mofi discovered a lot more bass on one of the tracks than was on the commercial recording, so they kept it in; apparently, the artists had intentionally kept the extra bass out of the mix because they felt it sounded better. So it's quite possible that a lot of what you're hearing, while perhaps from the master tape, had gotten EQ'd out when the original final production record was released.
I've enjoyed PF Metal, Dark Side; Sting, Nothing Like the sun; Steely Dan, Box set; some "miles", "Sonny rollins" and others.
The only remastered disk that I found to be "too honest" was the Sonny
Rollins "Plus 4" as in SACD mode it shows the tape saturation/distortion
clearly. I may have about 50 "golds" and I've found all of them to be an
improvement. The above member's above comments are very very valid,
if the remastering lab is not sticking to the origional tonal balance
you may not like
them equally to the origional. It's artistry not science in some cases.
I notice that the gold medals given out at the olympics are actually MFSL CDs. Athletes sacrifice their entire lives just to have the opportunity to compete for one of these. How selfish can you be to not want to pay a couple of hundred bucks for something so symbolic of the human spirit and then question the sound quality as well?
I had something like that happen to me.
I bought the RUSH-Signals MFSL Gold CD,
AND in the song: The Weapon,
the second chorus IS MISSING!
"And the things that we fear" Line was gone!
It`s in the Original version that came out shortly after
CD`S came out in 84-85.
It`s in the new RE-Mastered series.
Why that line was left out, I don`t know.
IT WAS throwing me off EVERYTIME that I played
my drums along with the CD.
My original version, which was the 3rd.
CD that I ever bought, had a scratch on it,
SO, I bought the Gold CD.
Not to my liking, I sold that CD, and got the
RE-Mastered one in 1999. I Guess they went off a DIFFERENT Master Tape? MAYBE, that`s what happened
with your S.D. cd.
There is only one "master" tape, hence the name MASTER!!
Not all labels record off the original master. The term is sometimes applied loosely.
I like all my MFSL and DCC gold CDs. Maybe the gear is the problem?? I use all Mac tubes w/ Vandersteen speakers.
Thanks for all the input folks! It's always interesting to read other's impressions and interpretations. I tend to fall in line with Kurt Tank's thoughts.
Rcprice, your comments were quite revealing as well. As a former artist, I don't know that I agree with MoFi's practice of "altering" the mix, thus changing the "art" as the artist wanted us to hear it. I didn't know they did that, I thought they were just cleaning up the sound, so to speak.
Having said that, my 200gram LP of REM's first album is one of the most beautiful sounding (and great song crafting!) albums I own.
For the record, my system is:
CDP: MF A5
Amp: MF a308r
Pre: Pass Labs X-1
Speakers: Spendor S9
Interconnects & Cables: Analysis Plus Oval 9's
There are actually several tapes referred to by the major record companies as masters. Frequently, so called "safety masters" are sent to other countries to produce product. The reason is that the original masters are the record companies greatest asset and they guard them fiercely. This is one reson that product from the country of origin frequently sounds better than product from other regions.
I always thought the MFSL gold CDs were hit or miss, some sounded excellent while others so-so. I'm not exactly sure what they did (in terms of processing) other than transfer to gold CDs. In almost all cases the DCCs seemed to better their aluminum brethren. Most or at least many of these were remastered by Steve Hoffman and sound excellent. I've never thought that the mere act of producing a gold CD enhanced sonics that much if at all. For me, it's the remastering that makes the most significant difference. While the gold seemed to project the image of a premium product, in reality the added value lay elsewhere. In other words it was a marketing ploy. XRCDs are also a premium product. How many more they would have sold if they were gold I don't know.
I have the same AJA cd as well as an origal pressing on vinyl. The cd is nuetral throughout the high end, maybe a bit on the warm side. The bass is as good as almost anything from 1977. Overall it is a good (3 out of 5) transfer as far as I am concerned. I suspect your system is to blame. There are many reasons why your system might make a good recording sound (listening fatigue) bad.
the only nasty Gold Cd i ever had was Blind Faith.
but that could have been the master as well.
I agree, XRCD is very nice.
I thought Creams "Goodbye" sounded pretty nasty too. Tgyeti: I've owned several "Aja" CDs including the gold. So far the best I've heard is the standard Japanese issue with obi. This is not the mini LP version. The first time I heard it I was inpressed. If you're interested I can supply CD #.
This thread prompted me to break out Supertramps gold "Crime of the Century" cd and give it a whirl. I had not taken it out of it's case in five years or more. Always thought it sucked and most likely was the reason I quit purchasing gold cd's figuring they were nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
Sounds pretty darn good on my current stereo.
I've got a few more gold cd's that have not seen the light of day in years. Gonna have some fun checking them out.