Beatles remasters?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by BobRogers, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Have any of you bought them? Heard them in a good environment? Read any reviews that you trust?

    At the very least I'm going to buy Abbey Road. It's one of my first choices as a reference album when buying equipment and evaluating sonic environments/ sound checks, etc. Not really sure I'll get much more. It's depressing how little critical listening I do for pleasure these days.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm with you on Abbey Road. There's a lot of hype on how well they have been remastered but to be honest, when ever I hear the word digitally remastered, I wonder, hm...

    Its cool to see the old stuff coming back. I hope it has an influence on the music coming out this next decade. I'm so sick of the prefab sound.
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Old stuff is only coming back because the current stuff is entirely out of ideas. Half of it these days is remixes of 80s hits.
    Or as you said, prefab crowd-pleasers that last about a month.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Come on. Any church sound guy knows that a "reused" 70's rocker or '80's power ballad can work as a contemporary Christian song for years. There are lots of successful CC songwriters who wake up every morning and think, "what Elton John song will I "adapt" today." And I get to play them every Sunday in front of hundreds of people - for far more than the bar bands made on Saturday night. And I'm done in time to watch the NFL games. Some prayers are answered.
  5. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    i agree with code...i cant remember the last time i heard a new song that made me go "wow!"...
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I tried to purchase the $199.00 boxed set from Best Buys last night but was told they were allocated 1 box per store and that it was sold the first thing on 9-9-09. They also said there was a 7 to 8 week waiting period for them to get more in stock. Sounds like a marketing ploy to me. Anyone else tried to buy the set?
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Admittedly I dunno half of the 80s stuff, I was referring more to remixes which I listen to. My parents then hear it and say "that sounds like...".

    But yeah, BobRogers, I always hear from the band of how one guy (Graham Kendrick was mentioned) seems to fire out songs by the dozen.
    "Come get your breakfast!" "Sure, just finishing off this verse."

    Wonder if that's how T-Pain does it. Wake up, autotuned alarm clock. Then write another song or six to make with prefab beats.
    :O They didn't put autotune on these Beatles songs, did they?
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Amazon is saying 2-4 weeks for the mono boxed set. They seem to be trying to pitch it as a "collectors" item - talking about it as a "limited edition." Yeah. Sure. Never print any more. Cross our hearts and hope to die. My guess is that in a few years they will release the mono disks individually. They will probably be able to hold out from the need to sell song by song longer than most.

    I ordered Abbey Road Stereo Remaster. I'll A/B the new disk and the old down in the studio and my living room next week and let you know what I think.
  9. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Physical CDs are becoming a niche market.

    Their only hope to market these is for the die-hards who want everything Beatle.

    Limited, remaster, Deluxe, etc.
  10. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'm happy to see the Beatles ouvre still alive and well; kickin' it, even.

    As for the marketing, yep; between the Beatles Rock Band and the Box sets being released all at once, it's marketing brilliance. Or something like that. :roll:

    In reading so much about these two projects, I feel like I've been able to glean enough bits here and there in all the articles I've seen to make me intriqued enough to consider a purchase. At least the "Stereo" set. (Not sure I want or care about the mono set, however) New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wired, and four or five other mags have written enough about the remastering to make me very interested in making my own A/B comparisons.

    Funny, though, I don't have as many Beatles CDs as I THOUGHT I had anyway, so it's not like I'm being forced to buy the same thing twice. I know all about bad 1980's era mastering (esp from pre-vinyl EQ'd tapes and so on), that I'm not at all suprrised that they'd want to take another pass at the remastering process. Most of my 80's mastered Beatles CDs are just "OK", I've never been THAT impressed with them anyway.

    Another factor is how they're handling the "loundess" wars, and making these new discs compete (sonically) with so much bad stuff out there already. As I suspected, a few interviews with the guys working on the project hinted at some "Very careful, judicious" limiting here and there. (Good idea, and in the right hands, it probably accounts for the "Fuller, wamer sound" of the new CDs that everyone seems to be raving about.)

    My guess is between the better A/D converters and tranfser process in general, better dithering, and some loving, careful DSP done to the tracks, we may be in for a treat this time around.

    I'd LOVE to know what software was used, as well. Anyone know?
  11. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    it's definitely some more money for the jackson family!
  12. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I bought the 2 disk set "Past Masters" It was on sale for $20.00 at Wal-Mart. It is part of this whole remastering and reissuing that was released on 9-9-09.

    The engineer's at EMI did a very nice job. There was still some of the original distortion but they seemed to get most of it to sound really really good. It supposedly took over 3 years to do the whole project and it really sounds like it. The songs are much clearer and you have the feeling you are in the recording studio with them.

    I decided to get the "Past Masters" before I decided to get the whole stereo box set. I am glad I did. It confirms my wanting the whole stereo box se t but I think I will wait until it comes down in price which it probably will around the holidays.

    What the press is saying is all true. (for a change)
  13. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    This is good news, Tom!

    Do you by any chance have any of the 'original' CD reissued tracks from the 80's to A/B these? I plan to put a version of each on the timeline in Samp/Sequoia and toggle between them. Of course, since they were recorded and played on analog machines there may even be some slight time shifts from the previous 80's remaster to this version. The average 3 minute tune may or may not have a sustantial difference, but anyone who's ever made an analog transfer to digital knows what I'm talking about.

    Even so, the Abbey Road machines are probably pretty well calibrated, I suspect. Like Tom, as soon as I can afford it, I'll get my own copy to compare.
  14. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    The new Abbey Road stereo master was waiting for me when I got home from work. I just pulled it up on Pro Tools is a session with the 80's master. I've only listened to a couple of songs and the boss called me to do some things before dinner, so I'll throw out a few quick comments.

    First, the new master is louder. No obvious limiting - maybe a touch here and there, but the dynamic range of each song has been pretty well preserved. Given what we are used to with modern mixes it's kind of shocking to see how much headroom was left in the old masters.

    Because of that and because some of the fadeouts are different length it is going to take some work to do a serious A/B evaluation. For consumers just trying to do a CD to CD comparison the new mixes are going to sound much louder and hence better even if there were not any real improvement.

    Just twisting the overall monitor volume to get the same perceived volume the new master sounds noticeably better to me. Easy to hear the increased clarity in the bass and kick. (God I love that kick sound. Gotta work on mine.)

    After dinner I think the boss and I will go down and listen to it without trying to do any A/B. A glass of brown liquor may be involved. Looking forward to it.
  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Very nice. After listening to the new masters through, I pulled the channel down 4.2 dB and I thought it was pretty well balanced with the 80's masters. Definitely should be more scientific about this if you are doing a good A/B, but it was enough to form some reasonable impressions. (Makes me suspicious of some of the reviews. Did they really compare the disks by flipping between songs that were 4 dB different?)

    Bottom line is that there were several things that were distinctly better on the new disks - more clarity in the bass, some vocals and guitar parts that popped a bit more - and there were no parts where I thought the 80's masters were superior. From their perspective it is definitely worth the effort. The new mix is what they want to be selling down the road. No reason for a casual fan to replace an old CD with this one unless they do a lot of critical listening, but a definite marginal improvement.
  16. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I had read an article several months ago and had forgotten that all this was due to take place on 09/09/09 ...or a day later being the one after 9/0/9.....(snik...I cant resist that)

    Anyway....I was under the impression that they went back to the multi-track masters to do this....but now I'm not so sure...Any info????
  17. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    probably a little of this, and a little of that. There were no multitrack masters per se for any of the early stuff. I think Sgt. Pepper was still done on 4 track, and bounced around like crazy? I THINK maybe the white album was the first 8 track recording, but again, I'm not sure.

    I heard they did some work from whatever they had for the Anthology stuff, but this stuff, I don't know. I suspect they went to whatever "pre-vinyl" master they had for each, and did some very careful transfers to digital at higher res, and with better converters than what they had in the 80s. At least that's what I heard.

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