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Who's Next Remaster (1 Viewer)

KeithH

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Lin, there is a thread running on Steve Hoffman's web site (music board on www.stevehoffman.tv) about this release, and the reviews look positive overall. I am skeptical because Jon Astley remastered this one, and he is known for using compression and "no-noise", which just squashes the music. That said, I have been reading that Astley used the original master tapes for this release, and it has been said that he did not overdo it with compression and no-noising.

I would be interested to hear how the Deluxe Edition stands up to the early MCA pressing that were mastered by Steve Hoffman. Steve's mix is outstanding. If you are interested in tracking down Hoffman's version, here is what to look for:

* An early Japanese or US MCA pressing (no bonus tracks, not a gold CD) with a code number of DIDX-152 on the packaging, and a running time of about 43:25. The running time is important. If it's 43:25 plus or minus a few seconds, it's Hoffman's version. If it's around 43:15, it's not Hoffman's version. Note that of the older versions of Who's Next, only the first Japanese pressing and an early US pressing use Hoffman's mix. There are early Japanese and US pressing that do not use Hoffman's mix. The MFSL and MCA gold discs and the current MCA remaster do not use Hoffman's mix either.

* The current Canadian pressing of Who's Next uses Hoffman's mix. It is available from www.hmv.com out of Canada for a mere $6.57 USD.

I received the Canadian pressing from hmv.com last week, and it is great. Granted, I do not have any other version of Who's Next for comparison, but I am in no hurry to buy any other version. The Hoffman version is great. It's incredibly clean.

If anyone compares the Deluxe Edition to Hoffman's version, please post your thoughts!

Finally, I have heard nothing about the Deluxe Edition being released on SACD.
 

Dan B

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Sep 17, 1999
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I'm planning on picking it up this afternoon...I'll try to compare it to "Hoffman's Next" ;) & the crappy '95 remaster later today.

White Fang has positive impressions of it on his website here.
 

Dan Lassiter

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Jan 18, 2000
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Dan Lassiter
I picked up the new Deluxe Edition of Who's Next today and I really love it.

Firstly, while I think the Steve Hoffman mastered version is very good, the new version is a bit better to my ears. I don't think Astley went crazy with the new one. It doesn't sound maximized and very little noise reduction was used.

And I think that this really is the first time the original master tape has been used. What convinced me is a side-by-side comparison of Roger Daltrey's final scream on "Won't Get Fooled Again." I A-B'd four previous CD version, including Hoffman's Canadian version with the new one. All previous versions have an annoying crackling during the scream and the new version is crystal clear. This leads me to believe that all other CD's were made from a copy of the master that was recorded too hot and overloaded during the scream.

I know a lot of folks are unhappy with Astley's work on Who CDs, but his one seems to have been done right.

I recommend all fans of the band and this great CD check out the new edition. If only for the complete Record Plant recordings from Who's Next sessions and for the Young Vic live stuff. A number of those songs are appearing live for the first time on the disc.
 

Ryan Spaight

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Jun 30, 1997
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I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this set.

Asley went light on the NR this time out -- it's most noticeable on the intros and in places like the synth break in WGFA, but overall it's not a big problem.

I checked a track or two out briefly in Cool Edit, and it is maximized/limited somewhat, but not hideously so. It certainly doesn't sound objectionable to my ears.

I still think the Hoffman version is most "honest" (no NR, no squished dynamics at all), but this is a strong #2.

However, the bonus material is great, which tips the balance. If you only want to own one copy of Who's Next, make it this one. (If you can afford an extra ten bucks to get the Canadian Hoffman CD and are a sound quality fanatic, grab that one too.)

Who fans should run, not walk to grab this.

And I think that this really is the first time the original master tape has been used. What convinced me is a side-by-side comparison of Roger Daltrey's final scream on "Won't Get Fooled Again." I A-B'd four previous CD version, including Hoffman's Canadian version with the new one. All previous versions have an annoying crackling during the scream and the new version is crystal clear. This leads me to believe that all other CD's were made from a copy of the master that was recorded too hot and overloaded during the scream.
Judging from the pictures of the tape boxes, the tapes used for this set (from the Mastering Lab in LA) are exactly the same as the ones Hoffman used. The likely explanation for the difference in the scream is that Astley applied NR to decrackle it.

The version of WGFA on My Generation: The Very Best Of The Who is a remix from the multitracks, and also features a "clean" scream. The consensus opinion among Who nerds is that the distortion on the scream appeared during the original mixing.

Ryan
 

LarryDavenport

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Nov 15, 1999
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I also really like the Deluxe Edition, especially disc two (Live at the Vic) and the Record Plant recordings which includes studio chatter between songs. For those of you who still have the 95 remaster, keep it because at least two of the bonus tracks are not on the new version.
 

Dan B

Screenwriter
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Sep 17, 1999
Messages
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I've listened to both discs & I'm happy...especially with the bonus tracks. I'm not at all convinced that the original tracks sound better overall than the Hoffman version...they seem to have less high frequencies - although I haven't compared them back to back yet.

The Record Plant/Young Vic stuff is great & the D.E. is worthy of purchase for those alone.
 

Michael_T

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 25, 2001
Messages
460
The running time is important. If it's 43:25 plus or minus a few seconds, it's Hoffman's version. If it's around 43:15, it's not Hoffman's version.
Keith,
I have multiple copies of Who's Next, one being the Canadian MCA version. My Canadian version, which I got about 6 months ago (after seeing much talk about it on the Hoffman site), clocks in at 43:19. If the current Canadian version is mastered by Steve Hoffman - how come it is only 43:19 and not 43:25?

The reason I picked up the Canadian version is because I wanted to be sure I had the Hoffman version in my collection - seeing how I traded away an early US CD pressing of this album when I used to think that "newer is better" after I got the first re-master of "Who's Next".

Now I am confused about this more than ever.

Regardless, I now have another version of "Who's Next" as I picked up the Deluxe Edition this week.
 

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