I doubt it is a lot better. Look for a remastered version, it will probably sound better.
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Rumor had it last winter that U2 was going to remaster their first six albums for release this year. I haven't seen any of these yet or heard if they are indeed coming. To my knowledge, the Original Master Recording is the only remaster done of this album to date. It's a pity the cd audio isn't up to snuff because the vinyl version I have sounds quite wonderful.
U2 sound quality has always been a little deficient. A deliberate "edge" sound to their music and poorly defined bass makes a great sound in a pub or in the car but less so on an audiophile system. Most of it has a real "garage" rough sound to it - I believe this is all intentional. Some albums are better than other - the long time Daniel Lanois collaboration is mainly responsible for this...Daniel is well respected for an amospheric or gritty sound ( rather than polished ) - he does Bob Dylan stuff too.
There is very little you can do, like the Stones - there is a roughness in the sound that U2 puts out (although the Stones did have an interlude in well recorded sound with Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You) I think Rattle & Hum is U2 at their peak.
If you prefer great sound in rock/pop then you must choose other artists (who deeply care about sound quality) and their sound engineers....Mark Knopfler/Chuck Ainlay for example. Tom Petty ( a sound fanatic). INXS (crazy about sound quality). Trevor Horn is probably the most famous engineer for his polished sound (remember Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Duran Duran Rio, Buggles Video Killed the radio Star, Grace Jones ,Seal, Simple Minds etc...all that highly polished stuff from the 80's). Alan Parsons is another famous engineer ( Pink Floyd ). An then there is Steely Dan....
Not to belabor the point, but you get the idea....IMHO Bono doesn't like being upstaged by anything or anyone ( including his backing band ) ...this may explain the U2 sound quality - nothing distracts from Bono!!!
Shardone makes some good points but I have to disagree with the theory of seeking out and listening to music based on what is recorded well. I mean if this was the norm, we would all be listening to Dire Straights, Patricia Barbara, and god knows who else all the time. I cannot think of anything more lame or painful.
Sometimes you just have to meet the music halfway as it is not recorded perfectly. I mean I would love to see the U2 stuff re-mastered as well but change my musical tastes because it may sound thin due to age, come on.. Music is paramount, not the recording quality.
Greetings.Absolutely the best mix of this classic is the Jap.pressing.I'm worried I'll wear mine out soon!Just a side note so I can gloat a little,April 4th 1987, Sun Devil Stadium,Tempe Az.O.M.F.G.I WILL NEVER forget that concert,the first time I saw BB King live!Oh man when that video chopper droped down in the middle of the stadium,hovering about 1oo' over our heads,rotating [email protected]#*ing UNREAL!!!
Sometimes you just have to meet the music halfway as it is not recorded perfectly.
However, it can be helpful to pay attention to the guys behind the console in the studio. For example, Doug Sax made some remasters of Aersomith's first three albums (SACD came out first but they are also now available in a CD box set) These remasters are sonically far superior to the older stuff. Check out "Sweet Emotion"...you will be amazed at the sonic improvements. I have both so a direct comparison can be made.
Furthermore, Bob Ludwig has remastered the Rolling Stones, "Hot Rocks" is the name of the compilation, again this is far superior to previous Stones material. Check out "Hony Tonk Woman"....a really good remaster. (Audible distortion is still there but it wouldn't be the Stones otherwise...but the sound is much improved)
Chuck Ainlay has done great work on all of Mark Knopfler's stuff....but Mark Knopfler is only ONE of about fifty top recording artists that Chuck Ainlay has worked for.
Telarc is a label that is pretty reliable in the Classical genre - Michael Bishop and co.
These are just a few examples of how it can be helpful to invest time in getting to know who is good at recording and mastering music. It can also help to research what equipment these people use to hear what they are mix/re-mastering.
Ludwig at Gateway uses Eggleston's for example. Whilst the others that I mentioned use ATC.
Of course you select music based on your tastes....but you can often find better recordings of certain material. Frankly I own many different versions of the same material by different artists/orchestras....I expect many others do too...so it may be wise to seek out the best source material!