CD Remix & Remastering

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by charles white, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    I have a question to all members of the Forum. Does it matter to you, as a listener, if the CD selection has been re-mastered
    or re-mixed from its original form? I ask this question because I was watching The Screensavers on TechTV and they had a segment with Eddy Kramer, Jimi Hendrix's producer. He was in the process of remixing a Jimi Hendrix song(taken from the original 2-track quarter-inch analog master tape and the song was Crosstown Traffic). I recommend everyone to watch it if you can. Anyway, the tape was played through a old Neve multi channel mixer for its "fat, analog sound" and processed through
    external sound processors(looked like tube-based Manley Labs units) and finally "compressed" with a external compressor(couldn't see the brand name or model number). The final step was transferring this remix to a digital audio workstation for mastering. I, for one, was shocked with the amount of "tweaking" Kramer used in the song. While I listened to the final product on my TV speakers, it was hard to judge the changes he made but he was proud of his work. What was wrong with the original version of the song?
     
  2. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    I've always wanted to see Eddie Kramer at work, so thanks for pointing out the web site. That was fun to watch!

    Obviously he wasn't trying to do an actual remaster to be issued publicly, but was playing to the cameras some of the basic steps involved in mastering to digital.

    The original tape is likely not "wrong", but there usually is a slight loss of high frequencies in older analog tapes and this could be brought back somewhat throught application of EQ but at the expense of hearing the noise a bit more. The other touches, such as dynamic compression, were just to make the song sound more energetic or 'thicker'. He actually complained (as I do) about the way that today's pop music is 'slammed' to be so loud, however dynamic compression has been used in classic rock and is part of the sound listeners have come to expect.

    As for the 5.1 remix of Hendrix's Isle of Wight performace, that process would use the original multitrack tapes. That would be a cool concert DVD to have. I wonder if it's out...

    -JNS
     
  3. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  4. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    Let me re-phrase the original question: Do you want on the CD
    a) an untouched, unmolested copy of the original 2-track stereo master tape? or b) re-mixed and/or re-edited edition of that master tape?
     
  5. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    Which is preferable, the original stereo mix or a remixed stereo mix? That depends. Mixes like the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" would be very difficult to pull off properly (due to their use of tape loop sound effects on-the-fly during mixdown). Even their producer George Martin has commented that it would be very difficult to get right.

    On the other hand, Simon and Garfunkel's latest CD remasters were actually remixed from the multitrack tapes (I believe this was because the original 2-track stereo mixdown tapes were physically damaged through overuse), and the remixed stereo far surpasses the earlier CD issues.

    Remixing can take two approaches: either try to match the original mix as close as possible, or try to re-position instruments, change levels, add effects or otherwise "modernize" the sound. I strongly believe in the former approach for stereo remixing. 5.1 remixes are another story since there are no original 5.1 to live up to anyway.

    -JNS
     
  6. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I used to blindly buy remastered discs and get rid of the old ones. Now, I try to listen for the differences. Maybe more important when CDs 1st came out, and a lot of them used RIAA lp equalized curve masters, instead of from the original master tapes.

    1995 Who Live at Leeds -> new 2 disc Deluxe edition: I couldn't hear any meaningful difference
    original Judas Priest versions of Rocka Rolla and Sad Wings of Destiny -> new Snapper Music (!) remasters: new versions sound better balanced, more dynamic, with a more open top end
    Black Sabbath remastered Live at Last -> disc one of Past Lives: I thought I heard some differences, but it had more to do with song to song level differences than any improvement in each track

    Just a few recent (for me!) examples....
     

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