Are the Jethro Tull remasters better than the Gold discs?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Aaron E. Smith, May 28, 2003.

  1. Aaron E. Smith

    Aaron E. Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I've noticed that Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull has issued remastered versions of approximately the first half of the Tull catalog. Has anyone listend to these? Are they generally better or worse than the Gold editions of said albums.

    As far as I can tell, the reissues are as follows:
    This Was
    Stand Up
    Benefit
    Passion Play
    WarChild
    Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die
    Songs from the Wood

    Have I missed any? Let me know what you think. I've got quite a few of the gold discs, but I'd sell them to purchase the remasters.

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. Aaron E. Smith

    Aaron E. Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Am I the lone Tull-fan here?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Aaron, I didn't realise that there were more gold discs than just Aqualung. I can't offer a comparison because I've never heard the gold ones, but the new remasters are pretty sweet.
     
  4. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Well, damned if I know. I've got two gold discs, "Aqualung" and "Original Masters", and they sound so good I've never even considered replacing them.

    And considering the present state of pop/rock remasters, the limiting and compression that ruins nearly every new CD that comes out, I'd be inclined to think that most of them are probably a great deal worse than the original issues of the CDs (much less the DCC golds and MFSL golds). There are exceptions, of course. The latest Grateful Dead remasters are certainly improvements, as are the Joni Mitchell HDCD remasters... though these latter ones don't sound as good to me as the DCC golds of "Blue" and "Court and Spark".

    But I'd like to know too...
     
  5. Aaron E. Smith

    Aaron E. Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the replies! Yes, there are quite a few Tull Gold discs. If memory serves, there is: Stand Up, Aqualung, Passion Play, War Child, Thick as a Brick, and Songs from the Wood. There might be more, but I'm not able to recall at the moment. Also, I forget which of the 'gold-issuing houses' did which or all of the discs.

    That's disappointing to hear that recent reissues are generally weak. You'd think with years of experience and new technologies they'd be able to eek out some improvements!

    Anyone else want to chime in on the gold vs. remasters.

    BTW, I picked up the WarChild remaster and I plan to compare it to the original CD in the next week or so. I don't have the gold disc, so I'm not sure how good that one would be.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  7. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Yes, as I hope I made clear, I haven't heard these, and am only speculating and warning folks never to presume the superiority of new remaster these days. The tendency of late is for CD remasters of pop/rock to sound worse than previous issues, so I generally take a wait-and-see approach. Sad that it's come to this, but that's the state of things today.
     
  8. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    I have the remastered Aqualung...the one with the 15 minute Ian Anderson interview. Sounds pretty lifeless, like someone put a heavy blanket over my speakers. Way too much noise reduction.
     
  9. Aaron E. Smith

    Aaron E. Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Is that the one with the sleeve over the CD case? If so, I have that one too and I agree; it really lacks something. I think, however, that the original Aqualung masters are in bad shape and it might be very difficult to get something better. Has anyone tried the Aqualung gold disc versus the remaster?
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  11. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    To be honest, any remaster of "Broadsword And The Beast" would be an improvement. That is probably one of the worst CDs in my collection, and part of the reason why I haven't upgraded my vinel collection to CD yet...

    Jason
     
  12. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

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    I find that remasters of the last 10 years (of most artists) are better in some tracks and worse in other tracks.

    THis is because most albums have a mix of tracks of different styles.

    I find this to be specifically true in the case of the remaster of Jethro Tull's "Benefit" album versus the original CD release.
     
  13. Aaron E. Smith

    Aaron E. Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all of the input. I've gone ahead and bought three of the remasters: This Was, Too Old to Rock'n'Roll, and WarChild. As soon as I can I'll sit down and start comparing the original discs with the remasters and I'll write up some reviews. I've always wanted to do some review stuff and have everyone listen to my opinions!! [​IMG]
     
  14. TerryW

    TerryW Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's some Tull history:

    This Was (remaster released '02)
    Stand Up (remaster released '02)(Mobile Fidelity Gold Disc)
    Benefit (remaster released '02)
    Aqualung ("remaster"- not part of current ones) (DCC Gold Disc- only one from master tapes)
    Living in the Past (MFSL Gold Disc- 2-cd's)
    Thick as a Brick (MFSL Gold Disc)("remaster"- with newspaper)
    A Passion Play (MFSL Gold Disc)(remaster released '03)
    Warchild (MFSL Gold Disc)(remaster released '02)
    Minstrel in the Gallery (remaster released '02)
    Too Old to Rock and Roll; Too Young to Die (remaster released '02)
    Songs from the Wood (MFSL Gold Disc)(remaster released '03)
    Heavy Horses (remaster released '03)
    Original Masters (DCC Gold Disc)

    Generally the MFSL Gold Discs are okay but nothing special sound-wise because they weren't really remastered simply put on Gold platters. However, the DCC Gold Disc of Aqualung is brilliant because it was mastered by Steve Hoffman (a genius) from the original tapes for the first time ever. Period. Steve never does an album without using the originals. All other cd's used production masters and sound awful. I'm not sure what will be used when it comes out under the current reissues. They are supervised by Ian so it should sound at least as good but I would seek out the DCC Gold Disc ASAP.
     
  15. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    Terry... good outline and description... by and large, I agree with your assessments... of the 02 remasters, I have Benefit and Minstrel -- the resolution is good, but they're a little flat and 2-dimensional to my ears... but I don't remember the vinyl ever being particularly great.


    That's disappointing to hear... where does that info come from?... in any event, I'd give the MFSL's a little higher grade than you did... maybe just a touch soft in resolution, but overall worth having.

    And yes, the DCC Aqualung is as good as that release ever sounded... the prior remaster was awful -- ultra-thin.

    However, if you can find it, there is an MFSL vinyl Aqualung that must be heard to be believed... purists may not like it, as it's clearly a re-mix (I think - there is no documentation) as well as a remaster... the bass is well up in the mix, overall much more presence and depth... a living, breathing beast.

    Otherwise, I think you can only get so much out of early Tull tapes.
     
  16. Ken Stuart

    Ken Stuart Second Unit

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  17. Jon Sheedy

    Jon Sheedy Stunt Coordinator

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    Damn....didn't know that PP, SFTW, and HH remasters had been released!! Picked up the last three and have been waiting for the next round (especially Heavy Horses!)...slipped under my radar somehow. I'll be picking 'em up Saturday.

    Thanks for the clue, Terry! [​IMG]

    JOn
     
  18. Aaron E. Smith

    Aaron E. Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I feel like I have to disagree with Terry's assessment of the Gold Discs as well. While I can't speak definitively, I can say that the 'gold' versions of Passion Play and Living in the Past sounded much better to my ears--over the original CD pressings--and I don't think this has much of anything to do with using a thin layer of gold instead of aluminum.... About the other Gold pressings I'm entirely ignorant, perhaps those aren't quite so good.
     
  19. TerryW

    TerryW Stunt Coordinator

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    The few gold discs that I have from MFSL sound good but not fantastic like the few I have from DCC which are clearly properly remastered by Steve.

    I can't say for sure here if any or all of MF's discs were remastered or simply mastered to a gold platter but I remember reading, probably in the Ice Newsletter (which is the only mag I read from 1987 until a couple of years ago regarding cd's), that they weren't. I'll try to find the article about this and post it.

    Update: I've gone through all the issues from April 1987 to July 1990 so far and I've found a few things. Mobile Fidelity put out a 1/2-speed mastered vinyl version of Aqualung in the seventies which many people said blew away any cd they heard. The Reason: the original masters were still in good shape and Ian Anderson personally handed them over until they were done then took them back. He wouldn't let them keep the tapes. Since then the masters have deteriorated badly. MFSL was set to do an Ultradisc Gold Disc of Aqualung as one of their first titles but after they heard it they couldn't do anything with it. That's promising to hear about their standards but it begs the question: what did Steve Hoffman use when he did the DCC Gold Disc? The same tapes or some new found tapes?
     
  20. gregD

    gregD Second Unit

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    Terry... thanks for doing the homework... I'd like to believe that quality remastering is a given for all MFSL releases, until proven otherwise... even if this isn't the case for the Tulls, they still sound sweet.

    And yeah, that MFSL vinyl version of Aqualung is the one I've got... again, no documentation, but I gotta wonder if that isn't a remix as well as a remaster... no other release -- including the original vinyl -- sounds anything like that one, with its clear, pronounced bass and overall full, rich 3-D presence... if that's what is actually on the master tapes, then very few of us will have ever really heard Aqualung as intended... at which point one wonders what the other master tapes sound like.
     

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