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 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 2:03 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Have to admit when I hear "remastered" I just think in generic terms- Supposed to sound better.

I mean I get the basic idea. Noise reduction, improved contrast and removal of noise artifacts, etc.
But I imagine there are all kinds of techniques used, and this depends on the source material.

I also surmise some "remastering" isn't always welcomed, as some become disgruntled over the addition of reverb or loudness of the high points. (clipping?) Which means "remastering" is as much a "creative" decision as it is a technical one.

How much of it is technical and how much of it is creative? Where should the lines be drawn?

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 2:36 PM   
 By:   The Projectionist   (Member)

Basically it means taking the master tapes of a recording and mastering them to a medium using the most current technology and finding a more modern and cleaner sound than the previous transfer. It also allows the engineer and record labels to provide their own take on the music and add their own signature sound, This may include remixing tracks, swapping tracks, adding reverb, bass, etc. Some people don't like such artistic liberties however, and just because something is remastered doesn't mean it sounds better than the original master.
Thats why a lot of people still prefer the original LPs over the later CD reissues of their favorite albums.

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 2:51 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

One remastering might be a painstaking, invaluable improvement to every aspect of the previous master, while another might be no more than lengthening the silences between tracks by 0.2 of a second.
As the term "Limited Edition" has lost some of its power as a selling tool recently, it seems the word "Remastered" has taken over as the enticement of choice in sales blurb.

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 3:00 PM   
 By:   sprocket   (Member)

deleted.

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 3:04 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

"Remastering" can mean anything, so long as they adjust the sound. That's all it means. The word is tossed around like so many promotional terms that are impossible to quantify ("Low fat!" "Natural!" "Available for a limited time!"). Some remastering clearly improves the sound, some seems negligible, some you may not like.

There are necessarily creative choices to be made -- no way around that. A lot of people will claim to know how a recording is "supposed to sound," but I rarely give much credence to their opinions. Every choice made during and after a recording -- size of the venue, distance of miking, "dryness" of the hall, etc. -- is a choice (unless it's simply a practical necessity). It just is. "Reverb" has become a dirty word somehow, but some recordings need some gentle reverb added. At least, in my opinion. See? It's all opinion.

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 3:37 PM   
 By:   bdm   (Member)

"See? It's all opinion."

Yes! Absolutely! It's all in the ear of the hearer - opinion. MY opinion over all of yours of course - my opinion RULES!!!

...What is my opinion by the way...?

wink

 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 3:41 PM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

Doesn't "re-mastering" simply mean this:

"We created a new master."

(As opposed to just pressing from a previous master.)

I don't think it necessarily presupposes anything about what was done in creating the new master.

Cheers


 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 3:42 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

The 're-' in 'remastering' needn't refer to a redo of a previous 'mastering' in the SAME format.

Often with OST tapes, the elements exist as several tracks 'mastered' originally for cinema surround in a theatre, with many channels and angles. For a stereo two-channel system these need distilled down to just the two, and of course there are choices to be made.

If an old recording is clipped (and many were, routinely) i.e. recorded or sampled or mixed too loudly for the parameters of the wave form to be undistorted (as though the waveform tops and bottoms were 'clipped' off by a pair of scissors), then marvellous things can emerge with a tiny amount of delay added to carry the broken peaks over the 'gaps'. Digital recordings are never 100% mono, so with old mono tapes a little spacial breadth can be added. Very dry old recordings need more bass sometimes for warmth.

FSM's people produce a very fine blend of sound, quite luxuriant like a carpet, but clear and alive. Rhino too are good at all this, and all the main labels.

With modern re-recordings some companies like a mike in every orifice, which enables total control over the mixing of the instruments. Others prefer a standard set of four or five mikes to create a concert venue sound. I like both.

I remember years ago seeing part of a TV drama about a contract hit-man who was detached and psychopathic about his killings. He said he could only listen to clear music, like brass, and other string music annoyed him. He liked the clarity and precision. He believed in nothing. I do confess, sometimes when I read stuff here about how such and such a recording is no good because it doesn't sound like a cat scratching across a chalkboard through a hangover, I do remember that. He was a fictional character, but you get to wonder sometimes.

The Chandos and Naxos and Varese 'Sea Hawk' recordings are all exquisite in terms of sound, but the absolutist stuff you hear here re preferences is mind-boggling at times.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 12, 2012 - 4:54 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

So what are the 'signature sound' of the individual labels?

For example, I hear Intrada likes to highlight instruments which would be otherwise buried in the original mix.


This is the creative decision that ruined their releases of Richard Band's GHOST WARRIOR and THE ALCHEMIST a few years back.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 8:01 AM   
 By:   Marlene   (Member)

Doesn't "re-mastering" simply mean this:

"We created a new master."

(As opposed to just pressing from a previous master.)

I don't think it necessarily presupposes anything about what was done in creating the new master.

Cheers


Yes, that´s exactly what remastering means. Nothing more, just a new master. Remastering in the strictest sense doesn´t have anything to do with improving the sound, remixing, correcting previous mistakes etc.


Sometimes these things are done out of a desire to actually improve upon the former release (or to preserve an already aging master) but sadly most of the time it happens just because people wouldn´t notice anything at all otherwise. You need to have a reason for people planning on purchasing something - and remastering seems like a codeword.

A positive example would be FSM´s expanded CD of Goldsmith´s "Twilight Zone: The Movie": that is one perfect remaster because it doesn´t change anything at all, just a new master supposedly done with latest technology. Compared to the older release there is only a slight improvement - exactly how it should be with a very well sounding score like that.

But that´s the exception... these days remastering means "making it as loud as possible", with mainstream releases at least. Additionally the engineer might apply some slight equalization to match the sound to present tastes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn´t.

From what I know it´s just a matter of taste... I for one like when a score release from the `60s or `70s is matched to fit present taste, which means getting rid of the 'engineered-for-vinyl-sound' - if it´s tastefully done without 'meeting-ipod-headphones-sound' or brickwall limiting.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 8:38 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)



From what I know it´s just a matter of taste... I for one like when a score release from the `60s or `70s is matched to fit present taste, which means getting rid of the 'engineered-for-vinyl-sound' - if it´s tastefully done without 'meeting-ipod-headphones-sound' or brickwall limiting.


Or without no-noising it to death. That is a real pet peeve of mine.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 9:15 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

Well most of the stuff we like is on analogue tape, so it needs to be remastered onto digital & doing that I suppose they can change the sound to what they think sounds the best, or what they think sounds the best, but then another decade another style. So a title gets re-released & the new licensees think they can do better, whether it is better or not is a matter of taste. The remastered Beatles albums have a lot more omph & I really prefer them to the old ones, but there are plenty of albums where I prefer the first try.

Remember the legend you used to get on CD's

AAD = CD made from the mixed analogue tapes
ADD = CD the original analogue tapes remixed in digital
DDD = Digital recording, digital all the way

 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 2:20 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Doesn't "re-mastering" simply mean this:

"We created a new master."

(As opposed to just pressing from a previous master.)

I don't think it necessarily presupposes anything about what was done in creating the new master.

Cheers


Yes, that´s exactly what remastering means. Nothing more, just a new master. Remastering in the strictest sense doesn´t have anything to do with improving the sound, remixing, correcting previous mistakes etc.



So there is a specific "definition" associated with the term "Remastering".
But it can also be used as a catch all phrase, for the entire process that brings a re-release to the market.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   Marlene   (Member)

Well most of the stuff we like is on analogue tape, so it needs to be remastered onto digital & doing that I suppose they can change the sound to what they think sounds the best, or what they think sounds the best, but then another decade another style. So a title gets re-released & the new licensees think they can do better, whether it is better or not is a matter of taste. The remastered Beatles albums have a lot more omph & I really prefer them to the old ones, but there are plenty of albums where I prefer the first try.

Remember the legend you used to get on CD's

AAD = CD made from the mixed analogue tapes
ADD = CD the original analogue tapes remixed in digital
DDD = Digital recording, digital all the way


Do not count me in wink I prefer pure digital recordings all the way. But then... LOTR: The Fellowship is an analogue recording and it sounds marvellous. So one should be careful when making assumptions about digital vs. analogue recording.

And the legend you quoted wasn´t necessarily true, in many cases it was AAD, ADD, DAD or DDD on just one CD, depending on the production.

So there is a specific "definition" associated with the term "Remastering".
But it can also be used as a catch all phrase, for the entire process that brings a re-release to the market.


IMO using it as a catchphrase is an abuse... kind of, but yes, that´s what it usually means.

 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 3:23 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

these days remastering means "making it as loud as possible", with mainstream releases at least. Additionally the engineer might apply some slight equalization to match the sound to present tastes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.





Yes, this is an odd thing. It happens all the time. I even wondered if it was a directive from some energy-conservation agency, so you didn't have to crank up the volume!

An example is Silva Screen's two issues of Moross' re-recorded 'The Big Country'. A waveform analysis shows that the first issue is quite low in volume. The second is so high they've actually over-run the sampling of the brass lines, and it's actually clipped, giving a kind of harsh feel to the brass. Now most people raved, 'Oh, it's so much better!' but in REAL terms, it was actually DISTORTED. The OST performance was clipped, so I think someone at Silva thought it would be a good idea to 'evoke' that.

And why would they do that? It's not ENTIRELY impossible that they got the idea from market research reading THESE HERE PAGES on this here site!


What one might worry about is whether that then means junking of the PREVIOUS masters, so preserving the inferior for posterity? With modern close-miking, there are so many elements to keep nowadays.

The new releases sound great on first impression, but it's a technique that really is a disfigurement. The classical music companies don't do this, and are generally lower in volume.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 3:40 PM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)



Do not count me in wink I prefer pure digital recordings all the way. But then... LOTR: The Fellowship is an analogue recording and it sounds marvellous. So one should be careful when making assumptions about digital vs. analogue recording.

And the legend you quoted wasn´t necessarily true, in many cases it was AAD, ADD, DAD or DDD on just one CD, depending on the production.



Yep, I've heard of DAD, but I've never seen it on a CD. The CD's used to have a guide in the back of the booklet telling you what the three meant, but didn't mention DAD, & I've looked at a few old CD's. About 99% of my favorite records were recorded in the analogue era, so I suppose I prefer analogue, but as long as it sounds good I don't care how it was recorded.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 5:28 PM   
 By:   jonathan_little   (Member)

Most often it seems to mean "we made it louder" or "we played the old tapes again through a new DA converter and then made it louder."

 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 5:55 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Yep, I've heard of DAD, but I've never seen it on a CD. The CD's used to have a guide in the back of the booklet telling you what the three meant, but didn't mention DAD, & I've looked at a few old CD's. About 99% of my favorite records were recorded in the analogue era, so I suppose I prefer analogue, but as long as it sounds good I don't care how it was recorded.


Although it doesn't use the DAD code, Silva Screen's re-recorded CD release of Carl Davis' 'World at War' was recorded digitally, then mixed down to analogue for an allegedly 'warmer' sound..

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 8:17 PM   
 By:   Marlene   (Member)

And why would they do that? It's not ENTIRELY impossible that they got the idea from market research reading THESE HERE PAGES on this here site!

[...] The new releases sound great on first impression, but it's a technique that really is a disfigurement. The classical music companies don't do this, and are generally lower in volume.


I don´t know the actual reasons for cranking up the volume that much. According to market research performed by the big majors higher volume leads to bigger sales (for supposedly numerous reasons having to do with how our ear perceives music), especially on the radio. Which isn´t true of course since 99% of all radio stations compress the dynamic themselves so that every track ends up having the same overall gain. I´m always puzzled at soundtrack labels doing this (Varese or Sony for example), it´s not like these releases end up as a 'hit' on the radio. And it obviously doesn´t help sales, here in Germany sales of scores have declined steadily for some years now. BTW, the most successful score of all times (Titanic) was dynamically compressed only slightly, not even the newest remaster is louder. But that was 15 years ago...

Smaller labels like Intrada or FSM continue to impress with pristine dynamics. And they are getting the contracts now, one of many reasons might be that they (hopefully) sell steadily because of intact dynamics.


Yep, I've heard of DAD, but I've never seen it on a CD. The CD's used to have a guide in the back of the booklet telling you what the three meant, but didn't mention DAD, & I've looked at a few old CD's. About 99% of my favorite records were recorded in the analogue era, so I suppose I prefer analogue, but as long as it sounds good I don't care how it was recorded.

You´re right, it´s rare. I mentionend it only because I bought "The Hunt for Red October" on Saturday. And on the back it says 'DAD'.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 13, 2012 - 10:59 PM   
 By:   Melvin Stephens   (Member)

I am the master....

 
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