Why is most everything remastered?

It's becoming more and more difficult to find what sound signature was originally meant by the artist. I have examples that sound terrible after remastering. I understand why it has to be this way, If and only it improves the original, if not... leave it alone!


Great question - I used to think along the same lines.  There are legal reasons, however. It's a method for artists to get the ownership of their work back - if it is remastered, it counts as an original copyright.  Otherwise all the music belongs to the record companies. 


this from your post is why I make my remarks about RIAA:

" the tapes used for the cutting were very often a copy with bass rolled of so the phono carts of the time could track it. New vinyl masters don’t require that since cartridges are better today"

that's just wrong, it was about 'long play'

I don't have a lot of re-masters or re-mixes (mostly Beatles) but I haven't heard one yet that I didn't like.  I'm sure there are some out there.

I much prefer the Beatles in stereo.  I know the stories about the mono vs. stereo mixes.  For me, listening to something in mono when I could be hearing it in stereo is like watching a movie with one eye closed.  YMMV.

i have a "remastering" of a 1957 recording, "a lovely afternoon" that sounds to my ears like it came off of a somewhat worn LP specimen copy. a disappointment considering that the original stereo master tape still exists somewhere [MCA studios?] in SoCal. OTOH, recent long-belated remasterings/reissues of selections from the stereo mix of the Phil Spector Christmas Album, are sonic revelations compared to the original mono release. 

Remastering is done for three reasons.

  • The first is to boost the highs to make them irritating.
  • The second is to compress out all the dynamics to get a modern sound.
  • The third is to sell more CDs. NEW! IMPROVED! BUY NOW!