Remasters: which are the good ones?

I have had mixed luck with CD remasters; could others post their experiences with various ones? Some are great, some overly compressed, others just terrible.

Opinions appreciated as I consider which albums to repurchase (some for the 3rd time, starting with vinyl...)

PS: I suggest this thread be (roughly) limited to rock/R&B/soul type stuff.

My experiences:

Good / Worth getting the remasters:
- Bob Marley remasters (excellent!)
- Steely Dan (Gaucho, CD layer off hybrid SACD; Aja CD remaster OK)
- Grateful Dead (HDCD, but I refer to the "regular" CD playback of these. All very nice but Terrapin Station, where I don't appreciate some of the mix changes, though sound quality is good)

- Fleetwood Mac (Fleetwood Mac)

- Baron von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun (terrible)
- Jefferson Airplane remasters
Bob Marley remasters (excellent!)

This is off topic but if anyone is on the hunt for Bob Marley then get Rebelution "Courage to Grow" - great sound and great reggae with a modern energetic twist.

As for masters - check out Doug Sax at Artists direct - he generally does not overcompress albums although like everyone today he does use some mild compression in mastering.

For example the Aerosmith Collection - it has better sound than previous releases.
The problem is that many of these re-masters are not done for audiophiles. They are made to sound better in the car or on portable devices. In a high resolution system, they sound worse.
I agree with Shadorne on the Aerosmith. I was never a fan but I think the remaster on Toys in the Attic is sterling.

As you tastes are more classic rock, I can recommend the extended live set for The Who's "Live at Leeds", Jimi Hendrix's "First Rays of the New Rising Sun", and the Jamaican sessions of Bob Marley's "Catch a Fire". The 25th Aniversary Clash remaster of "London Calling" has better bass extension. Bob Dylan's "Slow Train" and "Street Legal" sound remarkably better--the originals are a pale comparison.
I have enjoyed the remastered version of Frampton Comes Alive and Who's Next. Both sound much better than the original CD releases. But then, they should sound better, right? The originals were released in the first days of CD when everything sounded like crap.

I have the remasters of most of the Steely Dan stuff and some remastered Supertramp. They are also better than the originals.

The remaster of Bob Marley's "Live!" is also very good....


I agree with Sugarbrie, but there are many that sound very good. These are some pop & folk rock that I have noticed:

Almost any that are done as HDCD, even on a regular cdp.
The James Gang - the 1st 3
Van Morrison
Bob Dylan - Greatest Vol I II III
Steve Miller Band - Complete Greatest Hits
Moody Blues - OK, but wide soundstage
Spirit - 12 Dreams
Joni Mitchell
The Elton John remasters of his earlier work (and best, by far) are excellent. Especially the SACDs which blow away the originals - even the vinyl.
The 25th Aniversary Clash remaster of "London Calling" has better bass extension.

I'll have to get that - thanks for the heads up - I always felt London Calling was a tad bass anemic.

BTW - there was nothing anemic about my 45 RPM 12" "Rock the Casbah" - I bought this as soon as it was released in 1982. I was just in total awe of that sound. I totally wore out the groove on that one. I remember my GF and dorm room mates would role their eyes as this blasted out onto the street and hallways for weeks on end.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Dire Straits Warner Remaster series.
The Cure's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kisse Me.
The voice is outstanding.
Depressed Mode's Music for the Masses is awesome from start to end.
On the poor side, the Mission UKs carved in sand sounds
The Led Zep and Van Halen remasters aren't too good IME. Boosted highs.

I was a roadie out of college for the Clash in 1982 and 1983. Really nice people to be with and work for. I have all the original vinyl of every single and album. I love the single version of "Magnificent Seven."
Have to 2nd what Wireless 200 said, Zep and Van Halen are for the most part, disappointing. Who's Next is outstanding. Rush and Boston are pretty good.
The cynical part of me says it just a money making exercise from the record companies.
Michael Jackson has brought out a 25th anniversary of the album 'Thriller'. Is he short of cash?
Many thanks all for the good suggestions!

Reubent and Bongofury-

Are you referring to the Who's "deluxe editions" (2001 MCA) versions of Live at Leeds & Who's Next, or to earlier ones? Amazon reviews leave it unclear which are the good ones... my 1996 Quadrophenia CD(s) are sonically a bummer, so I'm hoping you mean the more recent releases. Are both LAL and Who's Next equally good (in sound quality)?

As a separate note, someone (maybe not this thread) recommended the RCA Living Stereo classical stuff... I second that for at least the Heifetz- the SACD Hybrids are cheap and amazingly good sound quality.
I have the 95 MCA Whos Next and think it is a good, If not great remaster.
Anyone heard any of the 2007 Stones cd's from Japan? Saw some at the Electric Fetus (MPLS). They are expensive, wondering if they are worth it ($30 +)?
Nas and Ludimagis,

The 95 MCA version is also the one I own. I agree that it is good, if not great. Way better than the 1984 original CD I also own.....

The Who titles from 1995 are excellent. Go no further. Happy Listening!
2nd note;

Rod Stewart- catalog
Van Halen  - catalog
To name a quick few...

Bob Dylan "The Original Mono Recordings"
Jefferson Airplane "Surrealistic Pillow" MFSL/45rpm/mono
John Denver "Back Home Again" Speakers Corner
Jason Molina "Songs: Ohia:  Didn't It Rain"

All of the remasters by BGO Records are outstanding.