Why do I keep torturing myself with remasters?


I am really beginning to believe these 180 remasters are mixed for a 500.00 system.It seems every one I buy it's either super bright,or has an ass load of bass in all the wrong places.The Bowie i have the soundstage is all wacked out .I have a decent setup but i can't imagine how much more obvious it must be on a serious setup.I can say the Yes fragile I got lately (cut fromt he original tapes) sounds pretty good ,Zeppelin In thru the outdoor Yikes! so bright waste of 25.00 again..... 
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128oleschool
oleschool - you are not alone. You are commenting regarding vinyl but many of the remastered, reissued CDs seem too bright to me. They are just unpleasant to listen to (Hendrix - Axis Bold as Love; Todd Rundgren - A Wizard a True Star come to mind).  I’ve started looking for original year of issue for the CD. Sometimes those aren’t as loud (loudness being another "bone of contention") but that’s what the volume knob is for. Sonically, these seem have a better overall sound though maybe giving up something in detail or instrument separation. 
They're all mastered for today's systems. I like those mastered for vintage Pioneers and Sansuis.
Right. I stopped buying ANY remasters, LPs or CDs, with exception of some Japanese CDs.
In most all cases, the original, in the original format, from country of origin, is best sounding!
Which Bowie?
For LPs, got to discogs.com or wikipedia, find the original record company, get an original copy of the LP from the country of the original record company.  Look for the lowest matrix number in the deadwax, i.e. 1A.  If you find a stamp or writing of the original mastering facility in the deadwax, that is even better.  For example, Sterling, Masterdisk, TML (The Mastering Lab), Kendun, Precision, GP (George Piros), Van Gelder, RL (Robert Ludwig).  Forget reissues including the dreadful half-speeds.
I gave up on reissues years ago.

Ive mentioned a similar outcome several times on AA-accentuated bass(compared to a period press) that just sounds LESS realistic IMO.

I think the marketing-"original tape" "whoever"mastering is simply another way into your wallet.
The only good thing about a reissue is getting something essentially impossible to find in the used bins in decent condition for cheap.

This phoenomena affects ALL R&R. Yes,Jeff Beck,Robin Trower,Pink Floyd and others a waste of my money.I am partial to the Beatles mono releases, only because an original is essentially unobtanium$$

Im more satisfied with a few stitches listening to a period release.
Jazz reissues from the 80's(not all) is a genre I've had good luck with.

Since my tastes lean toward pre 80's R&R, I avoid albums with a barcode. An easy way to ensure you're not getting a 2nd, 3rd....
press of something. Even "greatest hits" are lousy-avoid if possible!
I love the Beatles stereo re-masters.  And although I grew up with the original mixes I wish they had re-mixed the ones where the original multi-track tapes survived.  The re-mixed Yellow Submarine is amazing--the music really comes alive.  Maybe in another ten years they'll finally re-mix and try to squeeze a few more bucks out of us.
whart ,
 Bowie  ...The man who sold the world, it sounds like bowie is twenty feet back in a tube .I'm replacing so many albums due to my fire and most of these 180 gram purchases are suckin! I had hundreds and hundreds  of jap pressings,triples of most stuff all purchesed in the 70-90s .Problem is I just don't live close to any good stores up in nor cal.I keep buying used and am disapointed in the abuse people put on there lp.At 17yrs old (87') we were way into lps we cleaned everything on a 16.5 vrp sleeve with a cover,onto the denon dp47 103 d.Yeh we were ahead of the curve due to the cool older sibling influence.Anyway I have taken to many chances on these 180grm "audiophile !" recordings lol .

Tablejockey ...
The yes fragile i have is pretty good honestly..
Genesis Wind and wuthering ..pretty good 
Genesis The trick of the tail ...c+
Grateful Dead  american beauty pretty good 
( although i hear the 45 is great) most of the others sound like they were mixed for my car or some sh*t like that...

oleschool- i found an early japanese pressing that sounds good. The early UK one is big money, and the US one - my understanding is, it's more about the cover. I can check my deadwax on the pressing I like if you want. It wasn't that costly compared to the early UK. 
whart 
sure man ...
Ole- it is this one: https://www.discogs.com/David-Bowie-The-Man-Who-Sold-The-World/release/5806133

I have not compared all the notable pressings, but this one punches, is not murky or strident. It is crank-able. I don’t think the one listed for $60 US is badly priced, since it is probably worth more if it had the OBI.
Oleschool-
I took a chance with Yes CTTE, and was rewarded with the necessary noise free/black background for the complexities of side 1. The disappointment was that punched up bass that compared to an original,sounds unnatural. This album has a great deal of ambience,which the reissue does okay with.

With "Fragile," "Long Distance Runaround" has an enormous amount of Squire’s bass throughout the track. Can’t imagine it sounding any different from typical reissues (unless you have tone controls on your preamp!) That album is still easy to find in my neighborhood record store. CCTE however, most copies are a mess, but I’ve been lucky to find an almost MINT copy.

"I get up, I get down..." Almost a religious experience when the volume knob is at 12:00 o’clock. The illusion of hearing the pipe organ in a damp cave, along with Anderson’s buildup of the verse is hypnotic.

Sidenote: I had every Yes album in 78, as the 80’s progressed, I gave all my records away for that new shiny disc. I WAS DUPED!!! The last decade has been spent buying the albums I tossed!



I haven't heard one Beatles remaster worth spit. They're all wrong. I mean really, one needs to remaster the Beatles? They didn't know what they were doing? I always prefer the originals, first pressings if possible. Hey, today I bought (no Joke) 56 first pressings for one dollar each (garage sale a few doors down)  Included was a third pressing Beatles Abbey Road with her majesty on the cover and label, and a first pressing emobossed numbered white album. I about passed out when I seen it. They are all good ++ condition. =) today I'm really happy. 

Forget the remasters, that is NOT what the artist intended for you to hear. They are all soaked in reverb, massive unnatural bass and highs and piercing mids. I stopped buying them a few years back and give away the ones I have when the opportunity presents itself. 

Norman
Norman- have you heard the old Horzu Die Beatles -2? It is a hoot, very spare, hard panned left and right, no additional effects. 
I don't have original Parlophones to compare, but I thought the mono box on vinyl was good. 
Norm,
US early stereo originals and even UK ones very poorly mastered often with voice and bass on one side and the rest is on the other side. Early Mono Beatles are good.

I haven't heard one Beatles remaster worth spit. They're all wrong. I mean really, one needs to remaster the Beatles? They didn't know what they were doing? I always prefer the originals, first pressings if possible.
Are you talking about Parlophone first pressings or Capitol first pressings, because many Capitol Beatles first pressings *were* remasters, with hard left-right panning and added reverb. I have the EMI/Parlophone Beatles in Mono LP collection and they're quite a revelation over the Capitol "stereo" ones I grew up on. I better connect with the Beatles' artistry on the mono reissues.

To the OP: there are evidently a lot of crap reissues, and one thing that doesn't help is when they're digitally remastered.

However, some reissues you can pretty much take to the bank because they are meticulously all-analog. Examples include Analogue Productions, Speakers Corner, and ORG. They're worth the money. Every Analogue Production pressing I have is an absolute treasure.


I've had luck with a number of new vinyl reissues and I am very glad they have been released.

Judging from the data on the Unofficial Dynamic Range Database the term "remastered" can be translated to mean "overly compressed."
No Geoff,
Much simpler.
No need for term remaster -- too loud and heavy.
Re-issued Re-used Re-cycled, Copies or even darn counterfeit -- those are right and definite terms. I remember Beatles counterfeits that sounded actually good... Well today's ones I guess different.

I tend toward original pressings --whatever that means re country, place of mastering, pressing, etc, at least as a reference point. But, some of these are extremely pricey, 4 figures sometimes. A good remaster serves a purpose. If you listen to pop, sometimes these can actually improve on the "original." RLJ's Pirates was an early digital recording on vinyl- it is an ear bleeder. The MoFi makes it tolerable. A friend asked me about an ORG Blood Sweat and Tears- I compared with an original US Columbia 2 eye and the ORG was richer and less strident. Some records, like the original Vertigos, or more obscure prog- the reissues generally suck, but the originals are nutty money. So, you either bite that bullet or go searching. And a lot of these records are hard to find in a really high quality state of play. I get lucky or break even on quality v condition most of the time, but there is a place for remasters. The issue then becomes which one. And sometimes the original record is just not a great recording. That's where I'll have a lot of copies- each has strengths and weaknesses--and typically, these are older pressings made at different times, not always current remasters. 
LIke I have said before I have a pretty decent setup,and it seems to me these albums are made to be played on systems lacking bass and in general poor performance and by no means an audiophile set up .I have not had good luck,often very bass heavy compressed or just weird "tunnel like "as if there trying to create a false sense of soundstage for a cheap bose set up or something .Maybe I should hook it up to my kitchen setup lol. I am listening to the 180 Genesis Nursey Cryme right now.remixed by Genesis and Nick Davis.I do like it it sounds digitized though,pinpoint quiet which was in no way anything Genesis lol the highs are not ripping my drivers out  .But i will offer it a b- for what is came from.Although it sounds very cdish ( did i invent a word there lol)
raymonda 
What reissues?
FWIW - exception to the (my) rule, maybe...

Don't want to sully you vinyl purists but just ordered The James Gang June 2000 remastered CDs of Yer Album and Thirds (already had Rides Again).  Bill Szymczyk supposedly involved with the remastering.  These versions on Spotify sounded pretty darn good with headphones so went ahead and ordered them.  $5.00 each with 2 day Amazon Prime delivery. Nice detail and separation.  Bass especially on Yer Album is well recorded.  Neither sounds hot or shrill.     
ghosthouse
I have Cambridge transport and a Bel Canto dac, I listen to both although i do lean towards vinyl .
Hey oleschool...you'll have to forgive me indulging an occasional need to get in a little "jab".  Wasn't necessarily targeting you.  Which Bel Canto?  Post your system sometime.  I do enjoy seeing the gear people are running.  It can help give a context for their comments.  I'm probably more like 90% digital and 10% vinyl.  Have you tried ripping any CDs to hard drive and playing through your DAC?  A nice improvement in SQ; a more relaxed, smoother sound (and not due to hi end roll off I don't believe).  
  

ghost- you can listen to the James Gang on 8 track player and it’s all good. Those albums with Joe W. were great- I play them as often as I play anything. They rock.
"you can listen to the James Gang on 8 track player and it's all good."  Let's not get crazy now!  :-)

Glad you are a fan, whart.  What surprises me is how good the sonics are on that first album.  On the other hand, listened to JW's Barnstorm (not a remaster but uncertain what "CD issue" it was) and the sonics were kind of painful.  Good dynamics, not compressed but "loud" vocals had an edge to them and that's from CD ripped to hard drive.  



Analogue Productions & Speakers Corner are quality reissues.  other wise, stick to originals or at the very least, reissues by the same company that pressed the original (though that is a bit risky).  Sometimes you have no choice on hard to find original from the 50s or 60s, let alone trying to find some in Near Mint condition.
Thats was the point, remasters was to make them brighter; louder and powerful to the extend of over exaggeration..
Try Japanese remasters or stick to the priginal !
Oleschool,
I too have had terrible luck with remasters, SHM-SACDs, and almost everything MoFi.  They are all soft, EQ'd, compressed, based up, etc. very disappointed in the difficulty of finding "the right" as in best, version of an album.  Argh!  At least it's Friday.  :-)

Check some Fremer articles on Analog Planet that address this issue. He calls out labels that only do all-analog remaster/represses and some of the charlatans. 
http://www.analogplanet.com/content/reissue-labels-avoid-and-some-best-proceed-caution#gHK6bJ684z2Bo...

The best ones I'm getting these days are the 200g ones from Analogue Productions. All my Speakers Corner LPs are great too, including solo cello, large scale orchestra, Count Basie, Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, and my ORGs are great too. 

Maybe I'm lucky or the higher number of reissues of pop and rock results in a larger number of bad ones.
I find the best sounding LP's are from the 50's/60's....RCA, DG, Capital, Mercury, etc.  
I whole heartedly agree with the above comments. I had to learn this myself in 2000 when I went back to analog in a big way - never junked my vinyl - just slowed down buying it.

All those low priced old pressings were stocking the shelves in record stores and I went for the "better" remaster.

Sorry to hear on your fire, I also have an extensive Japanese and original UK pressing vinyl collection from the late seventies so Your lost must have been huge

i buy some great reissues on jazz and very few in the pop/rock medium. They sound compressed, closed in, cymbal decay unnatural. Many have digital "enhancements". Who are these engineers putting out this crap.

you can slowly accumulate this via online - - still some giving away "batches for a few bucks" offers or go quality over quantity.  a good recording machine goes a long way

perhaps the occasional weekend trip up to Portland or down to Frisco will help fill the coffers.

there are some good remasters and you will hear about them here on SH. Be wary though, plenty of cheerleader people toting a crap sandwich release


I’ve been positively impressed by every recent MoFi reissue relative to good original pressings (Grateful Dead, Dylan, Miles Davis). Also Analog Productions(The Doors, Miles Davis mono box), and Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, and Pink Floyd archive series. The 45RPM ones can be spectacular. Other reissues have been hit or miss. SQ can be fine but is often hobbled by pressing defects(I like the Faces/Small Faces box except for one horrible white pock like acne on my favorite Ronnie Lane song.) With respect to comments above, is there a difference of opinion regarding reissues vs. remasters?
dgarretson: I think you'll be hard-pressed to make any meaningful distinctions without very specific information about the particular copies involved. A "reissue" could mean a remaster, but leaving that aside, it also includes different lacquers, pressing plants, vinyl formulations, apart from different source material -tape copies- depending on the country of origin and the country of pressing. And country of origin- band or mastering? I have records with precisely the same information in the deadwax that I know are earlier and sound better than later copies (within the same year) but that is not always the case. At the extreme, this takes you down the path of copy to copy variations, but without going that far into the weeds, is a certain lacquer number better than another even though cut at the same time- which leads to pressing plant variations. I know of no holistic way to do this on a general rule basis. There are "known" good cuts for specific rock records that are pretty easy to find with a search where there is some consensus on the sound. Otherwise, you are left with doing it yourself or relying on reviews. One last example in this vein- the early Sabbath on UK Vertigo is not only entirely different than the US pressings, but even when the same metal parts were used for later pressings when Sabbath changed labels from Vertigo to WWA, the WWAs- while bargains and "good" don't have the same immediacy as the Vertigos. On the other hand, my Neil Young "After the Gold Rush" is an RE-1. As I understand it, that's a re-cut, but it is a very early copy and usually the one I prefer. I could go on, but you get the point.....
Bitches Brew by Miles Davis reissue from Mo-Fi is no good. I have original American 2 eye Columbia and original Japanese. You can't compare. Besides, vinyl itself looks like it's hundred years old.
Comparing original American and Japanese, Japanese is quieter and more refined, American is somewhat more raw. Overall dynamics is about equal. I like them both, they just sound a little different.

I can only speak about CD or SACD- I tend to not buy the remasters.

I will suggest that both the Van Halen remasters and Rod Stewart remasters are very good on CD. For SACD, the recent batch of Mobile Fidelity (MoFi) are having very good/positive reviews.

I was born in 1960, so I was buying records when I was a kid. The whole industry has changed so much over time! I had 45s just to hear your favorites; gave you the essence of the song. The "HiFi" industry was growing and getting better too. Quality control was very much a problem then? Mastering, Pressing, Virgin/recyle vinyl all of that was very subjective? I loved Japanese imports starting about 1980. I loved the Original Master MFSL pressing mid to late 70s. I love the Brand new Beatles Mono "Remaster" same as New "Pet Sounds" 200 gram stereo. IMHO; Early on, I believe that the original mix was to have LP records sound good. When CDs came out they were "Remastered" for CDs to sound good?? Now you have two schools of "Remastering". Different tools, different ears and different accountants are all involved with "Remastering" now? I try everything and make my own evaluations. I have spent a lot of time, effort and money in finding THE record I want to keep for my personal collection. Forums like this are helpful. There just seems to be no set standard to insure you get a record that is truly great? That has always been the Record seeking problem; in my quest for vinyl bliss in the sweet spot on my couch.
Two best remasters on cd that I heard were original MFSL 'Inner Mounting Flame' by Mahavishnu Orchestra and JVC XRCD Getz/Gilberto. I am sure there are many more especially Japanese. That MFSL is in fact the most analog-like sounding cd I ever heard, actually better in most aspects than original American LP pressed on recycled vinyl. If they could manage one recording, most or all recordings could be managed as well. And I am quite certain there are still people in the know who know how to do it. But almost everything is mass-market now, often even so-called high end. Who wants to go extra mile let alone two? 
Bill: Is your after the Gold Rush an Artisan? Have been looking but I've never seen one in my travels here in Canada but do have a friend with an Artisan copy and it really does sound fabulous and quite a bit better than other early/earlier pressings which I've heard. 
hdm- yep, the RE-1 is an Artisan, the RE-2 looks like a Winchester. The labels are a bit different too--no Warner in a bubble on the inner rim of the label circumference writing of the RE-1, which also has the words 'STEREO' in block print at 6 o' clock on the label. (I have several different records from Reprise from this era with the STEREO marking as described that all sound really good, never checked to see if that is because they are all Artisans- i think that style label was only used briefly). The RE-1 is punchier sounding than the RE-2. 
"Why do I keep torturing myself with remasters?"

You support every cause  :)

Thanks Bill. I will keep my eye out for one. 

(I'm blakep over at the Hoffman forum ;)  )
One thing to mention a Vacuum tube such as Transcendance  Masterpiece 300B preamp 
Makes all vinyl and cds eound better incredible value,
Also For digital Schiit Audio Their top of the Line for $2400,
If that is too much thier $1300 Multibit  Gungnir dac which I just had upgraded 
Is Incredibly good. Cds you thought you  knew are  more listenable better on every level it took  them 2 years to develop the  Analog devises Ladder dac chip sets . Mike Moffett ,no one puts out better digital unless you have big $$ bucks.
2 solid tips that are Guaranteed winners.
I enjoy the input from everyone,although i am really trying to replace an irreplacable collection.I bought 90% of my jap pressings brand new and i mean hundred and hundred and hundreds and huuuundreds or german pressings ..Some of the early originals masters I had  Rush permanant waves was one i liked .The bulk of my collection aside form jazz was progressive rock.These albums are 30-75 plus bks used on discdogs etc.I am just growing tired of ordering a used lp paying to ship it and be disapointed again and again .I am crushing my nitty gritty lol.So I have been buying 180 g feel nice lol but almost not all are sh&tty.As for cd i had probly 5-7ooo all smoke damaged the smoke litterally rolled around in the holes of the jewel leaving a rezin much like my old pipe in high school lol.I tried everything i mean everything .Believe it or not bong cleaner minus the salt worked best.but 75% are just wasted .lps were in another room they were evaporated probly 2000. I,m sure i lost over 125k in music.Insurance would not cover it because i did not have any pics or documents. The equipment was wasted cj, maggies 3a , sunfires linn lp12 ,nakamichi reel luxman etc etc lol..or cry ...I am just trying to slowly get the bad taste out of my mouth 8yrs later and try to rebuild some of my collection again..Thanks to all

ole- I feel bad, reading what happened to you, what a nightmare. Here's a thought, and don't take this the wrong way. I don't know how old you are, but trying to replace these things at this point may just be a bitter process- used record buying is all over the lot and you are carrying some baggage. I don't know what your system is--sorry, I didn't check your profile here if you have one-- but if that were to happen to me- god forbid, I'm not sure I'd try and replace it at this point in my life. I'd get up on some good digital front end/computer based audio, and just sit back and pull (legal) streams and downloads- yeah, I'm sure they have mastering issues too, but I suspect that a lot of improvement has gone into digital, not only on the playback side, but on the production side. I say this as somebody with rooms fill with records and no digital player in my main system, but this is eventually where it is headed, except for us luddites, diehards and hair shirt audio geeks. I guess my point is not to carry this cross, because it isn't going to make you happier. And the key, to me, is to enjoy this stuff. Otherwise, why bother? I've gone through periods where I put everything on ice- had no time or energy to deal w/ it. Cut yourself a break. And good luck. 

bill hart
whart \
 thanks i'm ok its been awhile lol...I do have a dig front end cambridge trans and bel canto .I also have probly . 1/2 gi in a hardrive but its a far cry from spinning vinyl on my vpi ... also i havnt updated my dang profile i should someday lol and maybe take a pic its pretty decent imo ..after reading about gon members 150k systems it not in that league though
Oleschool, you have our support.
Here is a wild idea. If you can afford it why don't you make a short trip to Japan to get some of the Japanese pressings that you lost? Couple of hundreds of your favourite albums in NM condition might be waiting for you over there. Japan is also an interesting country to visit, I heard.
The majority of reissues these days are sourced from digital or CD where compression rules. You mentioned the remastered Bowie from tape was good. I think you have your answer. This is Michael Fremer's plaint as most companies refuse to indicate the source for the remaster and has urged (pestered) them to do so.

Additionally, most remasters attenuate the bass to appeal to current tastes and also, in the mind of the engineers, correct what was originally minimized due to playback limitations. Most record players couldn't handle strident bass reproduction 50's through 70's as the cartridges available had difficulty in tracking the record. Modern carts can handle it but, I do agree with you that it perhaps is boosted too much in some instances It comes off as tubby, not clean. 

My problem with most remasters is the high incidence of warpage. Very few have not shown signs of this affliction. Some companies are certainly better than others - QRP comes to mind.

Generally, I seek out original pressings as a rule or new remasters that boast as being mastered from the original tapes.