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 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 3:03 AM   
 By:   BigMacGyver2000   (Member)

Only recently i became aware of the anthology box set and that it features a lot of material from all 3 scores in better sound quality than all subsequent complete releases.

Now I have some questions about this:

1. How can it be that there are such big differences in the sound quality? One would expect that for later (re-)releases, especially when they contain the same music, the quality should be at least as good as the previous release instead of being inferior. What's the reason for why my rca 2-CD set of return of the jedi sounds worse than the material from that much older 4-CD box set? Was the master deteriorated? What's the story?

2. Does everything of the 4-CD box set sound better or is there actually some material that's inferior to later releases?

3. Has anybody ever attempted to create his own cut of unreleased material from the 2-CD sets plus better sounding material from the 4-CD box set and if so, what are your experiences?

Thanks for your help and sorry if this has been discussed before, but the search engine is a pain when you are trying to find a certain topic.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 3:14 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

1. How can it be that there are such big differences in the sound quality? One would expect that for later (re-)releases, especially when they contain the same music, the quality should be at least as good as the previous release instead of being inferior. What's the reason for why my rca 2-CD set of return of the jedi sounds worse than the material from that much older 4-CD box set? Was the master deteriorated? What's the story?

I don't know.

2. Does everything of the 4-CD box set sound better or is there actually some material that's inferior to later releases?

No, I think NEW HOPE sounds better on the 2CD sets than the Anthology. But JEDI, in particular, sounds much better in the box version.

3. Has anybody ever attempted to create his own cut of unreleased material from the 2-CD sets plus better sounding material from the 4-CD box set and if so, what are your experiences?

No, never tried that, nor will I.

I actually never play the 2CD sets and haven't even bothered transferring them to my computer. I only play the Anthology CD's as they are - to me - the ultimate presentations of these scores. I think I may just as well sell the 2CD sets.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 3:26 AM   
 By:   juhana   (Member)


1. How can it be that there are such big differences in the sound quality? One would expect that for later (re-)releases, especially when they contain the same music, the quality should be at least as good as the previous release instead of being inferior. What's the reason for why my rca 2-CD set of return of the jedi sounds worse than the material from that much older 4-CD box set? Was the master deteriorated? What's the story?


I'm not sure about 'Jedi', but I know that in 'Empire' there was this person named Risner (or something like that) who was responsible for mixing the RCA edition. As far as I recall, he didn't have experience in mixing orchestral music, so he really messed up in the job; If you listen, the RCA/Sony edition has a much more "narrow" mix than the anthology (and bad mixing can make it seem like the sound quality is worse).

As for reasons to the bad sound in Jedi, what I've heard is just rumours, but I'm told that the device used to transfer the tapes wasn't calibrated correctly. Not being an expert in these matters, I have no idea what all this means (If it's even true).

These scores really deserve to be re-released. If the reasons stated above are true, it should be possible to make them sound much better.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 9:06 AM   
 By:   Conrad   (Member)

There's a pretty good and informed analysis/discussion about this on pages 15–20 of this long article: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Lot/9045/starwars.pdf.
It's an interesting read, and includes sonograms comparing the two CD presentations that seem to illustrate the difference in sound quality (certainly frequency response). Of course, the possible reasons suggested for it are, as I think the author freely admits, speculative.

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 9:15 AM   
 By:   Perky_Norm   (Member)

"One would expect that for later (re-)releases, especially when they contain the same music, the quality should be at least as good as the previous release instead of being inferior."

That's actually VERY rarely the case. Quite often remastered means 'fiddled with'... and changed. Basically you don't want to tamper with the original master tapes if it can be avoided. And yet - for example - people insist on getting rid of all tape hiss, which unfortunately usually results in the 'life' being sucked from the recording too. Jedi 2-CD is a prime example of this. It just sounds lifeless and without any sparkle to the sound, compared to the superb Anthology version. The heads may well have also been mis-aligned on the playback machine too, or the wrong Dolby setting was used etc.

Remastering really is an art form and too few people know how to do it properly (exceptions being FSM of course!). Remixing the multi-tracks also brings mixed results (again, the guy who did the 2-CD versions obviously didn't have a CLUE how to mix an orchestra. All sounds narrow and 'in your face' instead of panoramic as it should) unless the engineer knows what they're doing, and has a good ear.

Many recordings are also 'brick walled' these days, which means the loudest and softest passages of music are 'squished' so the music all sounds like it's at a similar volume level, and plays back better in car stereos, or iPods in noisey environments. Thankfully this doesn't seem to happen to film soundtrack releases as much as more mainstream Pop/Rock etc.

If you're into the technical side of things the Steve Hoffman forums are a great place to hang out, but it's really just for Rock/folk/pop rather than soundtracks. However:

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=149426&highlight=star+wars

What I wouldn't give for a Superman blue-box type release, using exactly the same team, for the Star Wars soundtracks. As this is 2009 a high-res release would really be the way forward too. Ahhh dream on....... :/

Cheers!

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 9:52 AM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

Didn't Mike Matessino work on the RCA 2-disc editions, or did he just do the notes? I can never remember.

Mike! I'm sure you don't mind having to answer these questions time and time again....

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 10:11 AM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

Didn't Mike Matessino work on the RCA 2-disc editions, or did he just do the notes? I can never remember.

Mike! I'm sure you don't mind having to answer these questions time and time again....


Yes he was, but as I recall there was a time crunch to get these in stores to accompany the release of the Special Edition versions of the films. I do remember that Return of the Jedi was delayed longer than the others for some reason.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 10:28 AM   
 By:   Ian J.   (Member)

Bearing in mind that at some point in the future a blu-ray release of the six films is likely (when have you known George to pass up a revenue earning opportunity?) then the sound mix will almost certainly need to be re-done for the HD audio. At that point it would certainly make sense to do a hi-def version of the soundtracks (on SACD for my choice) or an isolated score track (very unlikely). If it could be a well mastered, well mixed, well documented, etc, etc definitive SACD set then I'd be happy smile

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 11:05 AM   
 By:   PeterRandall   (Member)

An SACD version would be incredible - but too much to hope for!

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 11:10 AM   
 By:   Trent B.   (Member)

In my opinion Risner should never have been allowed to remix anything for Empire. He did a pretty horrible job on it.

Also if you have the skill and the time to do it, you can re-edit all the Original Trilogy scores using the Anthology material where ever you can. That's what I did and it sounds better even for ROTJ. Grant some bits for ROTJ you can tell where it goes into from the Special Edition but not by much.

I am hoping when ever we get the Saga set on Blu-Ray that we'll get proper remastered versions of the Original Trilogy scores and the complete intended versions of the Prequel scores.

I highly doubt we'll get SACD versions of the Original Trilogy scores...not everyone has an SACD player (like myself).

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 11:26 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Me personally, I can't tell much difference between the two. I'm just a regular listener, not an audiophile. I loved the Anthology when I first got it in 1993 or 1994 (whatever year it came out), but the RCA two-discs were everything I've ever wanted in a Star Wars soundtrack release (lack of the lost ROTJ source cues aside), and I've enjoyed them ever since. I still have my Anthology, but haven't listened to it since the two-disc editions came out and have kept it mostly for collector's sake.

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 12:28 PM   
 By:   Gunnar   (Member)

I only play the Anthology CD's as they are - to me - the ultimate presentations of these scores. I think I may just as well sell the 2CD sets.

Thor, just out of interest: Do you listen also to the fourth disc that has tracks that didn't fit on the individual films' CDs? Does it fit your tastes in terms of listening experiences?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 12:37 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I only play the Anthology CD's as they are - to me - the ultimate presentations of these scores. I think I may just as well sell the 2CD sets.

Thor, just out of interest: Do you listen also to the fourth disc that has tracks that didn't fit on the individual films' CDs? Does it fit your tastes in terms of listening experiences?


No, not really. It's more a "leftover bin" with no discernable musical organization. I think I've played it a handful times in the 14 years I've had it, the last time probably 10 years ago.

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 12:41 PM   
 By:   Gunnar   (Member)

No, not really. It's more a "leftover bin" with no discernable musical organization. I think I've played it a handful times in the 14 years I've had it, the last time probably 10 years ago.

Guessed so. Matches my sentiments about the fourth disc.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

I highly doubt we'll get SACD versions of the Original Trilogy scores...not everyone has an SACD player (like myself).

Statements such as that are exactly why -- people are so ignorant about the format, it never caught on as well as it could have. You can play most SACDs in a normal CD player too, as the large majority of them are hybrids.


But Sony seems to have given up on SACD, even though they created the format. It's still going relatively strong in independant classical releases, but that's about it.

Sony's lazy, and will probably just keep the 1997 masters out there as the in print versions for a while longer yet. Maybe if a new hard opy format actually catches on for real, we'll get a real definitve presentation with better sound....but not any time in the next few years.

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 1:03 PM   
 By:   Perky_Norm   (Member)

We have had a 'near SACD quality' 24-bit/48 kHz release of some of the Star Wars music, on the free DVD 'The Music of Star Wars' that came with the Episode III soundtrack. I ripped it from the disc and now play it through my main Hi-Fi and it sounds stunning.

There's also music in surround too, though not sure if this is dolby digital or the same high quality 24/48 as the 2-channel...

The quality of the Return of the Jedi tracks on this DVD is FAR better than that on the 2-CD, so perhaps the recordings have already been transferred to high res..... Of course it could be a crafty 'up-conversion' (or from the same master as the 2-CD but before they started getting rid of hiss etc) but it really doesn't sound like it to my ears. Wish they'd release the whole lot without any damned sound effects or snippets of dialogue over the top.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   the_end   (Member)

wow, that's one heck of a read. thanks for sharing.

There's a pretty good and informed analysis/discussion about this on pages 15–20 of this long article: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Lot/9045/starwars.pdf.

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 4:51 PM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

I still cannot believe that people fail to hear the differences between the Arista Jedi and the RCA Jedi. Clean out yo' ears, foo'!

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 5:34 PM   
 By:   Perky_Norm   (Member)

I still cannot believe that people fail to hear the differences between the Arista Jedi and the RCA Jedi. Clean out yo' ears, foo'!

...or get a better stereo razz

 
 Posted:   Oct 7, 2009 - 9:57 PM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

Seriously. It's night and day.

 
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