Led Zepplin Mothership vs. hi-res vs. newest

Time to get in on the LZ remasters but so many versions

Anybody compare these?

Mothership on vinyl
Hi-Res downloads from HD Tracks
newest reissues of LZ 1-3 in Deluxe and Super Deluxe versions

i have all the remaster, plus the SMH Cd complete set. Mothership is not bad but the new remaster are better,plus you get the extra out take which are not bad . The new remaster sound just a little better than the SHM Cd set, with a couple of songs at a tie. If your are a Zep fan then i would get the new remaster i have not heard any of the Hi Rez down loads.
Enjoy Pete
I bought the reissues of the first 3. I haven't had time to really do a good comparison, but the seem to sound better than the 1994 remasters. To be honest, I thought the 1994 versions were terrible, so just about anything should sound better. Mothership is OK, but I have it on CD. Any time a recording goes through some type of digital process and is not 100% analog, to me it just sounds like better digital, so I won't get it on vinyl. Either way, though, Mothership is worth buying.
I have Mothership on CD and I don't think the sound could possibly be better. I have the new 2014 version of Led Zeppelin II here for comparison but haven't gotten around to it quite yet.
There are several threads here, and elsewhere, regarding the 2014 vinyl
releases. I think that Mothership on vinyl was mastered by the same guy
that did the 2014 releases on vinyl, but a lower rez digital transfer was the
basis for Mothership. (Mothership, as I recall, is sort of a 'best of,' at least
on vinyl and may not have all tracks you want).
The new vinyl (2014) is pretty good if you are only casually into Zep- the
pressings are quiet, and they aren't the kind of sterile, flat sounding digital
to vinyl sound that I think of as worst of the breed. But, if you are interested
in better sound for Zep on vinyl, there are myriad possibilities, most of them
older pressings. The Piros remasters done in the mid 70's are very good,
and don't command crazy prices. The trick, of course, is condition, and
that's where a lot of people are going to be satisfied with a fresh record
rather than hunting for old vinyl that was probably put through some serious
There are, of course, many far more expensive, collectible pressings of
these albums, but that's another story. (FWIW, i have quite a few different
pressings of Zep, and one of the best- of Zep 1- is a particular Piros
remaster from the mid-70's which holds its own- and in some ways betters-
many of the more collectible, expensive ones).
I can't comment on the hi-rez digital formats, cause I don't use them.
At bottom, I personally don't consider any of the Zep catalog to be
'audiophile' quality sound, so it really is about finding the best sound given
the limitations of the original recordings.
Good luck.
I respect and am astounded by Whart's knowledge of the Zeppelin catalog. There are other threads regarding this topic and I agree that Mothership was probably a lower rez digital master.

I have the remasters of LZ I, II, III on vinyl and am very pleased with the results. But you can't take circa 1970 recordings and turn them into audiophile quality. I appreciate the fact that the remasters are mixed similarly to the original recordings; by that I mean less compression was used than most digital remasters these days. There is depth to the recording, "air" around the instruments and plenty of bass slam from Bonham's drums. Some of the flaws of the original tapes were left in the remix which is better than overprocessing to remove them.

In comparison, the Mothership record is a more technical achievement. There is no tape hiss and Plant's voice is cleaner, but to my ears it sounds digital and is a less enjoyable listen than the new remasters.
Thanks, Low. I am hardly an expert, and what I do is no secret- I research the various pressings, and listen to them. In the case of Zep, along with a number of other bands from that era, I decided to seek out the best sounding pressings, which meant having quite a few (I never bought the Classic 'roadcase' of Zep at the time, but have a few of the 45 cuts that were released separately, late in the game for Classic). The sonic differences are readily apparent, but different 'flavors' might exist for different people, based on their ears and systems. FWIW, it was John Davis who did the 2014 vinyl releases of LZ 1-III, and is credited as the (re) mastering engineer for Mothership. But Stan Ricker (who did the old MoFi vinyl) is credited as mastering the vinyl release of Mothership. As best I can tell, Ricker worked from the files that Davis created. Appreciate the kind words.
Bill Hart
Whart, that's useful info. Part of my interest in this hobby is keeping a log of engineers and producers for rock bands 1960s thru 80s. Never felt the need to keep track of the mastering engineer, but nowadays the digital mastering is what determines the sound of the release. (even though it may be very different than the final mix).

I know I know, I need to get a life.
I can only talk about the CD versions but Mothership is pretty heavily compressed.

I think the new issues are the best digital available-in my system the downloads are a tad better than the CD.
Really amazing how different the responses are about Mothership's sound quality. Personally, I think it sounds sterile and generally is the worst sounding Led Zep remaster of them all. Nearly unlistenable to my ears. As to vinyl recordings being ruined by having ben subjected to some degree of digital processing or sourcing, that's not been my experience at all. The "Led Zeppelin" remaster 6 lp box set (Atlantic 7 82144-1) sounds very fine to my ears, much better than Mothership. I've not heard any of the latest releases. I've got good clean copies of the originals and the Classic vinyl releases, so I'm not in any hurry to buy the catalog yet again.
I suspect the wide differences in opinion with respect to Mothership is a reflection of the wide differences in system performance. Just saying.
I think it's how people react to compression.....I'll be the first to admit you can be seduced by volume and my take is that even a moderately expensive system if you are not atuned to compression it really probably only affects you subconsciously....or you might get irked when you can't find a happy listening level-it's too quiet then it's too loud.

I'd argue if your system isn't reasonably high end then compression might not bother you that much.

However if you have potent amp/speaker matching or a big system it can be unbearable-it really sticks out.

Mothership has a DR rating of about 6/7 and the new remasters 9/10 which mean more dynamic range and less compression.
Well, I think it's worth considering that dynamic range is certainly not the only audiophile parameter of interest. Dynamic range is not the only game in town. There is also frequency response, bass performance, clarity and resolution, transparency, and so forth. In fact some of the most notable recordings in terms of wide dynamic range such as Brothers in Arms and Bop til you Drop and Peter Gabriel's Security are off the charts dynamic range wise but virtually unlistenable due to ye olde distortion and digital glare.
Geoffkait, point well taken. But what I find unacceptable is the remastering of CDs that have already been compressed. Unless it is indicated that the original sources are being used, either analogue or digital, record labels are remastering on the cheap by using an existing digital master as the source.

Their sole purpose is to make the audio levels of each instrument more even, resulting in a louder recording with little dynamic range.
IMO, these digital masters didn't even need to be remastered, and only the Ipod users welcome it.
Yes there may be other aspects on other discs but we are talking about Mothership specifically.

That disc is heavily compressed.
From what I've read on ofher forums, Mothership was remastered from existing files that were already compressed, thus the poor dynamic range that's very noticeable in the lack of bass slam. LZ was a band well known for their heavy rhythm section which Mothership lacks.

In the LZ 1, 2, 3 remasters, the heavy compression doesn't exist. There is air around each musician.
I just played some songs from the Mothership CD and then the same songs from the HiRez download.
I would say that the Mothership CD has a slightly hotter treble.
If I would have to choose one over the other, I would take the HiRez. It has a better overall finished sound.

Overall though, both versions sound similar and are the best these recordings have been able to sound.
Ozzy- with due respect, do you mean 'that you've heard'? Or are you limiting your conclusion that these are 'the best' strictly to digital format (both master and playback)? My conclusions are limited entirely to vinyl, so I'm not trying to cross swords on your position, but the early records (and some of the Classics) sound vastly better than the 2014 vinyl, FWIW.
Whart, The only other comparison I have is the 1994 CD releases, the boxed set cd set where the songs were all jumbled and the original LP's in which I haven't played for 30 years and that was on inferior equipment.

I guess based on any digital recorded version that I have heard, the HiRez and Mothership are the best versions thus far.
10-4, affirmative, OK, thanks :)