I think it may very well depend.
Usually I find both. For instance, I just searched for "Little Earthquakes" by Tori Amos and found both.
Usually I find both. For instance, I just searched for "Little Earthquakes" by Tori Amos and found both.
This is because Tidal gets the music from the record labels. The only version of this music now sold through retail and online outlets are the remastered copies, as they are the labels excuse for selling you the same recorded music again. It's only natural the label would want to provide Tidal with the latest remaster, as many people these days will use streaming services to determine which music they actually want to own, and are more likely to buy whatever version they played on the streaming service.
I don’t mean to derail your thread but I am curious as to why you prefer original masterings. I primarily listen to Classical and usually the remasters are far superior to the originals (which in the fifties through mid seventies were primarily mastered to be played on AM Radio), but pop is a different kettle of fish.
For the music I favor, I frequently see multiples of the albums and many times it's not obvious to me what their differences are unless the M sign or "remastered" etc. This I wish Tidal would change so it's very clear what are the differences between the albums. I think sometimes they're just duplicates that got into the library. Qobuz was the same way.
I'm a relatively new subscriber to Tidal and am somewhat surprised about the vastly different sound quality between albums whether original or remastered. Some albums sound great even though playback says "normal" and others listed as " hi fi " sound poor by comparison. Other albums are obviously mono and one in particular ( Marion McPartland plays Bernstein ) sounds as if it was vinyl as clicks, plops and even stylus noise are very evident. Tidal and Spotify do not seem consistent but maybe Qobuz, when available in Australia could be the answer to better overall sound.
To answer the above post - I haven’t any experience with classical remasters. I would guess that they are the best of the class of remasters given their discriminating audience. What I have heard is that the rock albums I listen to from the 70s and 80s are not as good that have been remastered. I have many of these on cd and the remaster is a different take on the original. Often as others have quipped in - less open, less real, more compressed.
To me, what I would wish for is that all versions of an album are available. And I think it is a travesty that a remastered version takes the place of the original.
Storage is cheap. Why does Tidal not offer all versions? I guess not too many people care, but I do.
I noticed that Tidal offers remastered versions almost exclusively in the rock, pop genres. Sometimes an original release will show up in a search alongside a remaster.
I love that Qobuz very often has both the original issue and a remastered version. They also include the release date on the cover art. If an album in the library has been remastered, the date is included. This is good info since some albums have been remastered several times. The only flaw in streaming these albums is the volume difference of the playback. Remasters are louder with heavier bass. Thanks, Loudness Wars.
I prefer original rock releases due to the low amount of mastering compression. Of course, some albums were poorly recorded and needed to be tweaked.
With regard to classical releases, modern recordings are generally not remastered. They are already of high quality sound. Some record labels have issued hybrid versions containing a CD layer plus a SACD layer.
Many Deutsch Gramophone CDs from the early days of digital were remastered due to their terrible recording and mastering techniques.
This includes almost all the Karajan releases on DG. The word is he liked to be in charge of his productions.
Some are better and some are worse. Often the remastered version or original cd has been mastered with a compressed sound with lower bass and higher mids and treble. I suppose this is partly done to get a different sound that they can say has improved (false) clarity over the original.
Recently started to acquire vinyls again just to be able to listen to old favourites as they should sound.
The Clash - London Calling, Lowell George - Thank's I'll eat it here, Supertramp - Crime of the century. Lou Reed - Rock 'n roll animal just four great examples.
Not all old vinyls are great though. Queen first sound as bad (distorted) on vinyl as on cd. It's a lottery.
My experience from newer recordings are so far that they seem more to be a direct copy of the cd. Same mastering. Same good or bad sound.
I tried streaming with both Tidal and Qobuz. My objection
was -They very often did not have rights to the one (best)
album I was interested in.
From a business perspective I know these companies want to
make an impression with how many artists they offer and apparently
one way is by not obtaining the rights to the best stuff they can lower
the acquisition cost. My theory anyway.
The fact that my service was down more often than up and the forum
you are referred to when customer service is required is a multi day
process made me decide to cancel and wait for the big boys to do hi-res.
Then sign up with a professionally run organization. Amazon???
IMHO, Tidal wants to present the latest and "greatest" music available. They have bragging rights to the largest library and most famous artists in music.
So perhaps that means remastered releases are "the best." We were all fooled by this crap the industry sold us. That is until we heard the wave of remasters competing to see who was loudest.
I was taken by the newly remastered CDs.
Tidal takes a feed from the music companies. This feed will contain the entire live (ie not deleted) digital catalogue. When a remastered album is released the record label generally deletes the pre-existing version of the album. So at the point at which a streaming service sets up and takes its initial feed from the music companies they will be supplied the latest master. If a streaming service had already been delivered the older master they will continue to have it on their service if a new remaster is delivered. It is then up to the streaming service whether they continue to hold this on their service.
It is generally not possible for a streaming service to access a digital master that existed before they existed but was superseded prior to the streaming service being created. That is because, as I said at the top, a record label will not deliver deleted products as they are not part of the live catalogue.
With regard to @mahler123's point re classical. Remastered classical music sounds better as the music that is remastered in the classical domain is generally older pre 1970s repertoire which can be cleaned up and improved whilst not changing the compression or dynamic range. @mahler123 also enquirer why it could be a bad thing to be remastered: unlike classical, pop/rock music is remastered with more 'loudness', more compression and a reduced dynamic range. This is to help the music sound comparable with modern production techniques and to sound better in the noisy environment of earbuds and car stereos. Many audiophiles consider this a backward step in sound quality, hence they seek out earlier editions of the master recording. For CDs this is often the original master tape transfer from the 1980s.
That's great info, @duckworp. So, even though Qobuz has less titles, they give the listener more freedom of choice by having different versions available. Maybe that's the European model?
Tidal has chosen to take only the latest releases. That's why some albums disappear from the catalogue. Maybe the payout to the artists are greater with the remasters; eg, renegotiated contracts.
Thank you for the responses. Duckworp’s response was eye opening. Tidal, it seems, is subject to the recording industry and their presently constructed libraries. So maybe I am laying the blame in the wrong place.
I guess I will continue to construct my hard drive library.
The take home message is - don’t rely on tidal as an archival source. The same with the record labels. Maybe you guys should hold on to those old cds and records.
Low rider—another frequently recorded Conductor that was a control freak was George Szell. Most of his recordings sound great in digital because the remastering engineers undid all the dial tweaks that Szell forced upon the original engineers. The best case in point is his Schumann Symphony cycle. The vinyl is unlistenable, IMO.
Bernstein’s Columbia recordings sound so much better in digital. His Mahler Seventh sounds like it was recorded in a broom closet on the original plan.
That's an interesting factoid about Szell; he's up there in my top 3 favorites. His remastered CDs do sound very good. The Schumann cycle is one that I missed, will look for it.
And yes, Lenny's Columbia recordings are wonderful, thankfully we have some very good remasters to listen to. They were done in the late 90s under Sony's ownership.
The ultimate in remastering a classical cycle has to be the 2008 Mahler box set, early 1960s performances.
The take home message is - don’t rely on tidal as an archival source. The same with the record labels. Maybe you guys should hold on to those old cds and records.@marklindemann
Exactly right. It also explains why the early CD editions of albums command a premium price on discogs.com.
Worth noting also are the digital audiophile remasters on labels such as MOFI (MFSL) and Audio Fidelity: the record labels rarely (if ever) grant streaming rights to the licensing agreement. Hence they will not appear on Tidal.
Compared Rod Stewart three first solo albums on vinyl (digitalised) to the Tidal versions yesterday (not labelled as remastered, but sure they are). What can I say. The original raw, powerful and dynamic, the cd transfer not bad sounding but plain boring. Rods voice enhanced, instruments lowered, dynamics compressed. Same on different reissues of these songs. We're not talking subtile differences here. Shame on you media industry.
I have a similar gripe re: Tidal. There are so many "re-recordings" of songs and they are not the same. Old doo wop songs are a prime example. As to why some titles disappear, I'd like to know the reason for that too. I complained to Tidal and wondered why some titles that I had added to my playlist disappeared after a short time. The answer I got was something about the rights expiring. Not sure I understand that, but it's frustrating to find some titles and versions of songs you like, then they're removed. I have noticed that sometimes there are different albums with the same songs on them and you can go to another album collection and re-download the song, but not always. It seems that's why you're paying them: to provide a service.
(BTW, if you're a veteran Tidal does offer a nice discount)
pop/rock music is remastered with more ’loudness’, more compression and a reduced dynamic range. This is to help the music sound comparable with modern production techniques and to sound better in the noisy environment of earbuds and car stereos. Many audiophiles consider this a backward step in sound quality
It is, there is no "quite time" between the loud passages for the brain to breath, it just a wall of relentless sound at the same level. (talk about listeners fatigue)
A classic is Adele’s 21 she’s got a great voice but that album is so compressed I took it back for a refund.
http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/84804 red is compression, green is no compression.
All compression is good for is the car to over-ride the background road noise, and for ear buds so you don’t blow them up or your ears on the louder dynamic passages. No sounds in life are compressed, why do it to the music we love?
Isn’t remastered sound better? MQA is also a remastered format, sound much better than original.
Have a look at my post 12 posts up from here. I explain in detail why remastered is not generally better for audiophile listening, apart from with older classical recordings. There are exceptions of course, but as a general rule a non-remastered album will sound better on a high-end system.
MQA is not remastering. MQA is a type of file compression (And confusingly this is completely different from "audio compression" which is the compression that causes remastering to often sound poorer on good hifi). MQA file compression is similar in principle to FLAC or MP3 file compression, but just a more complex form that a group of people, but by no means all people, think helps improve sound quality.