Digitally remastered vinyl
I recently came across the lastest Pink Floyd album (a best of), on vinyl. I noticed, however, that it stated it was "digitally remastered".
Doesn't that defeat the purpose of buying something on vinyl? I though the point of vinyl was to get music in it's original form, untouched by the digitisation process (I don't want to start a digital versus analog debate, but if I did want something digitally remastered, I'd buy it on CD, it'll be cheaper).
Any comments on the matter? Has everyone thrown away the master tapes, or did the marketing dept. just think digitally remastered will still work on an analog format?
You're on the right track.
The album You're refering to is probably made a couple of years ago. Back then marketing-people liked to claim, that any digitilation of music generally would improve the quality, since the technicians were able to remove scratches and common analog noise.
Marketing-people are rarely hi-fi enthusiasts like us. They are paied to focus on sales and market-shares, NOT High-Fidelety. Therefor they tried to give the costumers the impression, that 'digital remastering' equals improved quality.
Mind You, that in @ 99% of the households, music is listened to on low to midprice equipment, and on these hi-fi systems, digital remastering may have been an improvement.
Many households didn't even have a CD player back then, so this was a way for marketing to sell the 'better quality'-LP's, preparing those' unfortunate for the CD-era.
Some are quite good... Japanese Import Digitally-Remastered Mastersounds are awesome.
it depends on whether the record was recorded for vinyl or for CD.
If it was recorded for vinyl, even a digital recording can sound darned good. If it was aimed at CD and the LP was sold as a marketing side effect, the "digital" vinyl sounds like crap. The standard case, BTW.
Exceptions exist, but in general, not only digital remasterings are to be avoided, any pressing later than the original 1st pressing is thinned stuff, only the 1st analog pressing is the pure dope. Get your hands on 1st pressings :)
Can you give me some clues how to identify first pressings? Serial numbers, batch numbers, or some other method of identification. I am primarily collect jazz, classical, and old pop.
I am always picking up LP's at yard sales, flea markets, second hand shop, wherever, so any clues or resources would be helpful.
Surf, Sun & Sound
Surf, Sun & Sound,
this is big question.
Yes, i can supply you with data how 2 spot 1st pressings, but it will take me some time to put things together.
You may understand i cannot spool out anything i know about vinyls, many things i consider important will possibly be evident, many other things i instinctively consider evident are exactly the items you may want to learn :)
As a 1st hint: lay your hands on a copy of Goldmine's Price Guide to Collectible Jazz Albums 1949-1969 (Krause Publications).
As a 2nd hint search the we for labelograpies. I have to go thru my link list.
3rd, get a copy of the RCA bible written by Jonathan Valin.
Codes on the deadwax, the stamper, tell about the pressing location , the batch number of the used son/pressing form. This is not well known for all labels but it seems to be common knowledge for Mercury, RCA Victor, Decca UK (here known as the Buckingham code). Have to dig it out myself again, days when i could report form memory are long gone.
but i have books and own notes. a bit patience please ... :)
Probably i will put label pixes on my own website as soon as i have them; 1st i will have to get a digital camera myself.
Before i forget it, do not search for audiophile stuff as 1st prioritiy, search for music warming your heart. So do i, i always did. Admitted, knowing the pressing helps a lot in dickering :)
To be fair, a high bit (96K/24 Bit) digital source will sound much better as the start of a vinyl mastering job than a 44.1 CD-quality digital master (which will soiund like a CD, AT BEST.)
Case in point: Shuggie Otis "Inspiration Information" was remastered to LP from the digital production copies, says Luaka Bop, but it sounds so damn good it has got to be higher bit rate digital.
Best of all is analog mastering from an analogue master tape but you already know that, that's why you are in this new forum!
"it depends on whether the record was recorded for vinyl or for CD. If it was recorded for vinyl, even a digital recording can sound darned good. If it was aimed at CD and the LP was sold as a marketing side effect, the "digital" vinyl sounds like crap. The standard case, BTW."
Okay Bernhard, I'll make you work harder for this one.
Why should a digital master developed for vinyl be any different than one developed for CD? I understand that digital recordings often make it onto vinyl as an afterthought and with little care, hence crappy sound. But, I would think the the only difference would be at the analog transcription level, i.e., cutting the masterwax. I cannot think why a digital master would be any different for vinyl that CD. Why do you say this?
because vinyl is an inherently flawed medium with boosted bass and (nonlinearly) attenuated treble and the recording engineer knows this well. He aims at having the final product sound right. So he does an intuitive pre-compensation to counteract the inherent flaws, he chooses the right µphone, the right count of them, the positioning of them, additional supporter mikes. Out comes a record just sounding right in the ideal case.
Now let's take this master tape and transfer it to CD, unedited, uneditable at 1st glance. Because the recording engineer did not simply use a certain EQ, he chose means to colorate, to fine-tune sonic balance.
But CD has not those flaws vinyl has. So we listen to the recording engineer's unremovable vinyl pre-compensation where nothing is to compensate. Unpleasant in best case. :(
I do not know a single top-notch stereo recording from the late 50ies anf early 60ies where the CD re-issue sounds right, natural, plausible as far as tone colours are concerned. People like Robert Fine, Leslie Chase, Lewis Layton, Kenneth Wilkinson did marvelous jobs using an incredibly low count of µphones, nevertheless they sonically did what today is called "while balancing" with a digital camera. What a carefully caressingly working remastering engineer of today can do is to re-colour the recording so that it sounds acceptable on CD. And sometimes he succeeds. Even succeeds in preserving the original's ambience and athmosphere.
Example: Beethoven, 3rd & 5th sympony, Erich Kleiber cond.Concertgebouw Orch.Amsterdam, around 1954, mono recording. Get that CD !!!
But if you intend to visit me and talk me out of the original vinyl, better phone your widow before. :)
With the over-bright, yellowish or whitish re-issues of RCA shaded dogs, Mercury Living Presence however you can chase me. Every audio fellow bringing his CDs to crusade me and getting confronted with my vinyl 1stpressings agreed so far that dynamics and soundstaging was impressive (not necessarily natural) but tonal balance of the CD was unbearable in comparison to the vinyl.
Thanks for the reply Bernhard. I had not considered the implications for a final mixdown to vinyl. 'Preciate it.
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