Are you happy with the sound quality of the Peter Gabriel remasters?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Over the weekend, I picked up a free Peter Gabriel remasters sampler disc at a record store I frequent. It's a nice sampler that includes "Shock the Monkey", "Solsbury Hill" (live), "Sledgehammer", and "Steam", to name a few tracks. Thus far, I only have the remastered version of So, so the sampler disc is great for me. In listening to the disc, I am disappointed with the sound quality overall. Now, I must say that it was late when I was listening, so I did not compare my original Gabriel CDs to the sampler. A few comments:
    "Shock the Monkey": It doesn't sound bad, but it's just sort of there. It's somewhat two-dimensional. Maybe I am just expecting too much.
    "Sledgehammer": Peter Gabriel's voice is harsh in some spots. The sound is punchy with great drive, but it sounds "digital". At the end of the song, when Gabriel sings, "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you", with the percussion crashing, the sound is very compressed. I noticed the same issues on the remastered So CD. Is this the by-product of an early digital recording (1985)?
    "Steam": The recording is disappointing for the same reasons as "Sledgehammer". It sounds thin and edgy and somewhat lifeless.
    Again, I have not compared this sampler disc to my original Peter Gabriel CDs yet. Perhaps the remasters represent a marked improvement. However, I was disappointed with the sound quality of the sampler disc overall. Anyone out there have issues with the Peter Gabriel remasters?
    So, where are those Peter Gabriel SACDs and DVD-Audio discs? [​IMG]
     
  2. Joe Casey

    Joe Casey Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,
    I wouldn't say the remasters are 'leaps and bounds' better than the originals, but they are definitely better. Most noticeable to me is less muddiness (i.e. more clarity) in the bass, and better depth in the soundstage. The highs are still a little sizzly on some tracks, but again, better than the originals. I can't wait for the hi-rez versions (which will give me a sum total of 4 versions of each album: vinyl, CD original, CD remaster, and hi-rez [​IMG] ).
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I have the vinyl for the 1st 4. Why buy the CDs? [​IMG]
    Keith, I would be curious when you do compare to the orig CDs...
     
  4. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thanks, everyone. I will have to compare the original and remastered versions of So. Maybe I am just expecting too much. We are talking about CDs here after all. [​IMG] Also, So is an early digital recording. It's amazing how my ears have grown so accustomed to SACD and DVD-Audio. [​IMG]
     
  6. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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  7. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    They do seem to be compressed, but not nearly as badly as some other recent reissues. (It's a matter of having less dynamic range, rather than *no* dynamic range.) The added clarity is worth it, IMHO, at least for the first three albums. The older CDs, especially of the first album, were very muddy.

    For the newer (Security and later) stuff, it's more of a compromise, though. I haven't heard Security or Us, but So seems to have that "blaring" quality of recent compressed remasters, while the original is somewhat easier to listen to. Again, though, it's not nearly as bad as other stuff coming out. (And I always thought the levels on the original Security CD were actually too low -- you had to really crank it to get any life out of it.)

    Of course, when the SACDs and DVD-As come out, hopefully they'll have added clarity *and* full dynamic range!

    Ryan
     
  8. Michael St. Clair

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  9. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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  10. Michael St. Clair

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    I was going to pick up the 'Shaking the Tree' remaster cheap at Best Buy this week, but now I'm afraid. [​IMG]
     
  11. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I should buy these but I never buy remasters.
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Ryan said:
     
  13. Michael St. Clair

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    By my memory, the majority of big-label pop/rock albums were still analog in 1985. Of course, Peter was already recording digitally 3 years earlier.
    I'd say around 1987 the scale was starting to tip.
    Of course, this is all from my memory and it could be bunk. Memory is a funny thing.
    Frankly, I'll take a good analog master over 80's-era digital recordings any day. Most of those old digital recordings were far from state-of-the art, and they aren't going to benefit very much from SACD and DVD-A (due to the limits of their original resolution, typically 16/48).
    I think several big artists went back to analog for a few more years after dabbling with it in the 80s. And I think that's one of the reasons the SPARS code disappeared; because artists and producers knew they could do better than 'DDD' but that the consumers wouldn't understand that.
    I once heard, but have no idea if it is true, that back then Rykodisc secretly used to bounce every digital master to analog and back, to warm up the sound a bit. So even their digitally recorded discs were not DDD, but DDaD. And of course some critics used to rave about how great these 'pure' digital recordings were. [​IMG]
     
  14. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Michael said:

     
  15. Michael St. Clair

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    Anbody do an A/B comparison of the 'Birdy' discs?
     
  16. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    FWIW, I feel the improvement of the remastered CDs were most strongly felt with the older albums, particularly the first three. The best thing about So is that the tracks are in a different order, and I like the new one better- In Your Eyes feels better at the end.
     
  17. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mike, I have wondered why the track sequence was changed for the remastered version of So. Is this the order of the original LP?
     
  18. Michael St. Clair

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    This is my speculation, but I'll wager money I'm right.
    The idea for So would have been to move 'In Your Eyes' to the beginning of the LP side 2 so that it could get maximum sound quality (you get better sound at the outside of the record). He would have wanted that song to finish the album, but he wouldn't accept the sound quality it would get on the inner grooves.
    Then the CD duplicated the LP sequence for consistency.
    The new remastered release restores order of what the LP would have had with unlimited storage and consistent sound quality.
    Also remember that 'This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds)' was a bonus track on the original CD; fitting it on the LP would have degraded sound quality even more.
     
  19. Ryan Spaight

    Ryan Spaight Supporting Actor

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    Michael,

    That's the story I heard in an interview I read somewhere with either Peter or someone working on the remasters at Real World. Peter wanted at the end, but it sounded lousy on the inner grooves.

    Ryan
     
  20. Michael St. Clair

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    Ryan,

    Many savvy artists and producers sequenced vinyl for sound quality, which in many cases was an artistic compromise.

    Frank Zappa insisted on no more than 18 minutes per side maximum. If the album was 50 minutes, he'd make it a double album!

    I've got some single albums that are an hour long and sound like pure crap.
     

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