I've read a few on his site and they are interesting. There is a tread posted by the person who did the remastering/engineering. One statement he made seems to ring true. "You can't make everyone happy" From what I've read over there it's true.
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I know you can't make everyone happy but..... My opinion on the remasters: They sound a hell of a lot better than what we had, and it was about time!
As far as the Hoffman threads; some interesting info that I had not heard before.
I wouldn't call myself a HUGE fan but I like a lot of their stuff, later more than earlier
Yes, on this site they actually discuss music without hidden agendas to sell hardware
Perhaps that might be because Audiogon is primarily a website devoted to reviews and discussions about gear, share with others your setup, buying and selling of gear etc - all that hardly makes it a hidden agenda. It is the rasion d'etre for Audiogon.
True. Unfortunately, may of the "opinions" on hardware are self serving in nature. And many are disguised as being "expert" opinions.
Sad but it is the same (or much worse) with audio magazine reviews. This is why I prefer to buy audio equipment based on the User List rather than a review or a testimonial or even my own often all too short auditioning experiences. Sure I will audition stuff and keep trying to stay informed about the latest gear but the variables are so great that I prefer to just select what people I respect use => what is tried and true and has staying power in the market (measured in decades rather than seasonal product offerings). For example, if it is good enough for Pink Floyd then it'll probably be good enough for my tin ears...
Nevetheless Audiogon is a great way to share technical information and chat about our favorite subject. If you really find Audiogon is just self-serving opinions then why do you post here?
Let me put it another way - many people have answered your posts requesting for information - including myself. Kind of what hobbyists do _ guess - share ideas and advice. Surely it was not all self-serving opinions and a waste of your time? Or did some people contact you through email trying to push something on you or sell you something?
Well.....the Beatles remasters have been a source of endless discussion on Steve Hoffman's site.
A kind of consensus has formed but it depends upon how hard-line you want to be.
If its CD then the 87 issues bar the first 4 albums seem to be the way to go. The 2009 remasters are only interesting to the purists in the mono form.
Personally I feel that the recent 2014 US box is better than the 2009 effort. Sean Magee and co have an awful lot to answer for. Its hard to imagine how they could have done a worse job.
Giles Martins efforts are better but I'd always go with Steve's view that we want restoration but not retouching, remixing, screwing up, desecrating etc.
Historical integrity is worth preserving as far as is humanly possible.
Regarding vinyl it is felt that the 2014 mono vinyl release is the sane way to go if you want the best sound up til the White album. The 2012 stereo is best forgotten.
Again from a personal view I think that either of the 2 vinyl box sets, MFSL or the Blue Box BC-13 are better options. Both are difficult to get but worth seeking out. Then there's the madness of locating the original UK vinyl releases.
Don't go there, I beg you.
I'm a pretty regular participant on the Hoffman forum and The Beatles are an endless topic of discussion. I think there is some consensus:
the early tube cut copies are preferable to the later masterings- rather than try to sort through this thicket at some cost, I found a first series UK Blue Box that gave me a easy point of entry- many of these sets were bought as gifts or simply forgotten. There is nothing "special" about the pressings- they were simply pulled together from the commercial releases at the time. There is a website dedicated to the various boxes issued in different countries. My box was largely unplayed.
The relatively recent mono reissues are quite good, and a great way to listen to those vaunted mixes- I'm not set up with a dedicated mono playback system, but these records still sound great.
I bought a few of the earlier (82) Japanese mono pressings- I think the recent Mono set makes these unnecessary (except for completists).
The German Horzu -2 pressing of Die Beatles is a well-known anomaly that is worth owning- it is a basically a flat transfer of the two tracks without any added reverb or mixing. Everything is hard panned left or right, but hearing The Beatles "unvarnished" is pretty cool. Some folks find the spread annoying- at a minimum, it's a novelty, and a cool record to own.
I have a few other odds and ends I picked up over the years, one of the white vinyl White Albums (mine is a UK that I believe was made for export; the German white vinyl one is, I believe, a DMM).
You can go as deep as you want on any band or album. The Beatles are an obvious motherlode for those obsessed with the details. Though I like to sort through pressings to find the best sonic representation, I consider myself a piker when it comes to The Beatles pressings and as @cd318 said, that way may lie madness.
Generally, though, the Hoffman site is worthwhile, particularly some of the older threads and posts by certain members who have owned and compared a variety of pressings of modern pop, hard rock and psych. There is also a trading forum open to members who have reached a post threshold, and I've purchased a few desirable copies at reasonable prices there.
The problem with The Beatles music---whether on original Parlophone LPs (which I have), the recent mono LPs (which I also have), CDs (yup)---is that the recordings themselves are rather mediocre. George Martin was a fine producer, and EMI had great recording equipment, but The Beatles recordings are just not that good. Pick any format or pressing you want, the limiting factor is the recording itself.
Yep, there is a discussion (or several) on Hoffman, but this site is interesting- it looks like both the second and fourth issues, which share the -2 suffix in the matrix, have the same sonic attributes. (Discussion in the commentary)
jafant - well, since Neil Aspinall (the keeper of the flame) died in 2008 Apple have changed course and have been milking the cash cow. Very successfully too.
The high res definitive digital versions will be along anytime soon, give or take a decade. If the tapes can hold on until then. In the meantime one remix follows another.
I wonder if Elvis fans have this authenticity problem? Is this just a Beatles thing?
The stereo tracks on the cd 1+, released in 2015, are remixed. The first 3 tracks are mono and not remixed.
I don’t see the problem with remixing. If you want the original mixes they are available. If you want to hear a different mix, why not? The same mixes will sound different played on different systems, won’t they? Most people probably wouldn’t like the sound of the playback system that was used to mix the tracks originally. It wasn’t designed for enjoyment.
For me it's more to do with the artists original intention and periodic authenticity. 1950s recordings should sound like 1950s recordings and not like whatever the current musical fashion is.
Every work of art is a product of it's own time.
In any case we should be offered at least one definitive version of every recording before the remix dollar chase begins. If there was money in it I'm sure someone would offer a remixed Sphinx, or remix of The Starry Night, or how about remixing Duck Soup?
It is a difficult subject and the only certain thing is that you cannot please everyone.
I agree with you cd318 that the original mix should be available and it will be as long as there are cd players around. But if Paul or Ringo (most likely Paul) say, you know, we could make those tunes sound better now, lets have a go at it and see if we like the result, and they do like the result, why not?
I would like to see the Great Pyramid with its white limestone outer casing and golden peak and the Parthenon with gleaming white marble and brightly painted colors. Van Gogh and Joni Mitchell painted a number of self portraits throughout their lives and I'm glad that they did.
I haven't heard a Beatles remix or remaster yet that didn't sound better than the original. I think if they could have made those Sgt. Pepper and Yellow Submarine tracks have that kind of vividness and freshness the first time they would have done so. They just didn't have the technology. So far, more is gained than lost IMO.
I have never liked the mixes on the original Beatles albums, in which the vocals are too high in level in relation to the instruments. George Martin produced them as a Pop group, not a Rock 'n' Roll band. The vocals don't "sit" in the over-all sound, they "ride" above it. Ringo didn't like it either; upon hearing the mix of the first album, he asked "Where's me kick?".