When was the golden era of CD Mastering?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Alécio Costa - Brazil, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Based on the over compressed CDs being released nowadays, when was the golden era of CD Mastering?

    I remember nice CDs like Tears For Fears "Sowing the Seeds of Love" and "Elemental" and Rush´s "Power Windows" sounding pretty nice and not overly compressed.

    So would it be before 1997? I myself enjoy 1990-1996.
    Below, an old article comparing CDs...

    Nice week

    (Dead Link Removed)
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    When there were not the level wars that are going on today.

    There is still some stuff that is well produced and well mastered being done today that is not slammed but it is getting harder and harder to find good examples.

    I would say in the 80s to early 90s to answer your question about good quality CDs. I was able to hear some early experiments with digital in the very late 70s thanks to knowing some very well placed people in the audio world who had access to some of the earliest CD players. There was one stereo retail store near hear that I think had the first CD player in the states. The results, for the time, were impressive. Now if I would go back and listen to those same CDs I would probably not feel the same way.

  3. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    CDs on late 70´s? Are you sure?
    I can remember CDs being released after 1983 and so...
  4. noit

    noit Guest

    The Golden Era is yet to come. Behold as we embark on the voyage. The winds at our back and the sun in our eyes we lords are surrounded by ecstasy.
  5. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    just north of NYC
    Home Page:

    I think that's a tough question to answer. In the earlier days of the CD, the tapes used were not always the first generation "Masters" (and were analog vinyl cutting copies in some cases), the converters were not as good, the EQ tools were not as developed. But the level wars of today had yet to surface.

    In the late '80s- early '90s things were getting better as far as master selection & at least some quality digital recording and mastering tools had been developed.

    Now we have great tools to work with, digital recording has begun to approach the best analog of the past and I'm really psyched about some of the reissues being put out of older material (Stones, Dylan, Who, Byrds and many others). New recordings can
    be tailored to almost any style or texture. But we have these level wars to deal with.

    So I must agree with noit & hope the best is yet to come, if the market will allow it.

  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    I'm sure back in the day, just as many records were ruined by mastering as they are now. I think there are good records coming out now and those will be remembered just as we remember good records then. We'll forget all the other stuff. I think there are really some good sounding CD's being cut now, and there are some really bad sounding ones two, it's just the bad are standing out and we know what to listen for and the techniques used to do it. I remembered certain CD's back in the eighties as sounding really good, until I put them on now and realize that they don't really sound good at all.
  7. TeeME

    TeeME Guest

    Mastering engineers cannot forget focus of continuity of the arts from the 50's-present. Doing this totally upsets the entire balance.

    What used to sound good should still sound good or your focus, calibration or tastes have changed disproportionally.

    I go back to the recordings that "ah-ha" did in the 80's and they sound simply as sweet today as they did long ago. I also listen to the balance obtained in the 50's that even the "golden ears" claim as some of the finest recordings that stand the test of time and they sound great as well. Even "bobby sue" on the original 45RPM is very well balanced as well as most of the "motown" works.

    My reference recordings through the 50's-todays live productions are not that far off. WHAT IS..is the Modern mastering engineer and all the modern loudspeakers that lie constantly to them.

    Manufactures of loudspeakers are dense and do not realise the reference was long established and try to "build in" a better sound for todays art and this is a huge mistake. They are making more bass heavy, more smooth, more dynamically uncalibrated and more unbalanced speakers to give rise to the bottom and top to compensate for the old bass and treble boost that was done by consumers in the old days, thus runing the dynamic balance.

    When modern monitors have a 14dB boost at 50hZ, then you will not translate to the lab standards of yesteryear.

    So SG. Peppers sounds like $*^t?

    No, it is balanced. Most others sound like $*^t, especially the new stuff.

    I find that if focus as a mastering engineer with the entire gambit of balanced recordings are not abided by, then the art reaches a paridigm that is totally out of calibration for the art itself.

    I guess if this crap called noise that is being done today with all this bass and compression is the "?new state of the art" then count me OUT.

    I will go on recording live jazz and playing it back for the musicians and they will continue to agree it sounds "just like it should" to me and them and this also works on most of the finer recordings I own today from others as well.

    Get a level set of loudspeakers, not consumer and listen to what it really sounds like. Do this with the speakers at least 3 feet from any boundry. Take them outside on poles if that is what it taKes. Take back the original balance and use it to be balanced

    It just keeps getting more and more ^#$%ed up as we speak.

    No wonder I am an appreciated independant.
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    go here for the history line of the Compact disc RME RPM

  9. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    hey, but the average consumer was just able to pick the CDs around 1983!. I remember watching an old movie called AIRPORT, when a stewardess picks a video laser and plays it for the passengers and hey I guess that was 1976 (!!).

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