Headcoat

A tale of two recordings

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I'm a big Grateful Dead fan. Todays listening threw up a puzzling preference. 

On vinyl I have the box set of Portland Coliseum 19/05/1974. On a CD I burnt from a download off archive.org, I have an old FM recording from 05/12/1971. 

Usually I have no preference between vinyl or CD. It all depends on the recording.

Here, we have an unmastered old school FM recording versus a remastered vinyl special release.

I love the FM CD download. It's got lots of radio buzzing, channel imbalances but it rocks. I tap the beat and sing along. 

The vinyl remastered, I cringe. Everything is clear, instruments separated and audible.Yet, Garcia's guitar screeches, I don't sing or drum along. 

One is clinical and analytical and one somewhat muffled but musical. One I can hear almost every note but don't enjoy, the other is full of faults but I love.

I'd hazard a guess one measured well and one didn't.

What gives? Or am I just more deaf than I thought...

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6 hours ago, Headcoat said:

I'm a big Grateful Dead fan. Todays listening threw up a puzzling preference. 

On vinyl I have the box set of Portland Coliseum 19/05/1974. On a CD I burnt from a download off archive.org, I have an old FM recording from 05/12/1971. 

Usually I have no preference between vinyl or CD. It all depends on the recording.

Here, we have an unmastered old school FM recording versus a remastered vinyl special release.

I love the FM CD download. It's got lots of radio buzzing, channel imbalances but it rocks. I tap the beat and sing along. 

The vinyl remastered, I cringe. Everything is clear, instruments separated and audible.Yet, Garcia's guitar screeches, I don't sing or drum along. 

One is clinical and analytical and one somewhat muffled but musical. One I can hear almost every note but don't enjoy, the other is full of faults but I love.

I'd hazard a guess one measured well and one didn't.

What gives? Or am I just more deaf than I thought...

Remastering doesn't always mean better..its a bit like your favourite meal from the supermarket..then they realised they can make more money by replacing say the prawns for carrots! And then calling it 'new recipe' grrr...so im guessing your remastered grateful dead is a few carrots short of a prawn..

🤣

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Posted (edited)

The "worst recording" I have is Michele Shocked: The Texas Campfire Tapes.

Every time I play it though it always make me smile. Great atmosphere, with distortion, trucks rolling past and crickets chirping.

Paul - Rotterdam

Edited by zekezebra
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34 minutes ago, zekezebra said:

The worst recording I have is Michele Shocked: The Texas Campfire Tapes.

Every time I play it though it always make me smile. Great atmosphere, with distortion, trucks rolling past and crickets chirping.

Paul - Rotterdam

Got that on vinyl and love it too. I think it's a fantastic recording!

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I have a lp by the quincy Jones big band..its a sort of hifi supertest record..fingers down chalkboard! No bass all treble...i have a direct cut lp by buddy rich which isnt much better!

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Just now, Nearly bewildered said:

I have a lp by the quincy Jones big band..its a sort of hifi supertest record..fingers down chalkboard! No bass all treble...i have a direct cut lp by buddy rich which isnt much better!

However i have few decca wideband recordings and they are superb..have some narrow band too and gold label mono recordings by decca..so good..i have a mono gold label of erich kleibers beethovens fifth..the best recording of it in my opinion..( yes i have the toscanni version) the kleiber is perfect! 

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1 hour ago, Headcoat said:

Got that on vinyl and love it too. I think it's a fantastic recording!

Yes - I too love the recording, warts and all. Done on a Walkman I believe.

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Super Wammer

Remasters are very hit and miss - it depends on what they have to work with and the overall condition of the tapes (do they have the original multitrack tapes or are they just remastering from a Stereo Master?)  then there is the person doing the remastering - you have the likes of Steve WIlson and George and Giles Martin who understand the soul of the music and just try to make it sound better rather than just tinkering lol and then there are those (usually band members of the original band) that just mess it all up IMO
 

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Super Wammer
18 hours ago, Headcoat said:

I'm a big Grateful Dead fan. Todays listening threw up a puzzling preference. 

On vinyl I have the box set of Portland Coliseum 19/05/1974. On a CD I burnt from a download off archive.org, I have an old FM recording from 05/12/1971. 

Usually I have no preference between vinyl or CD. It all depends on the recording.

Here, we have an unmastered old school FM recording versus a remastered vinyl special release.

I love the FM CD download. It's got lots of radio buzzing, channel imbalances but it rocks. I tap the beat and sing along. 

The vinyl remastered, I cringe. Everything is clear, instruments separated and audible.Yet, Garcia's guitar screeches, I don't sing or drum along. 

One is clinical and analytical and one somewhat muffled but musical. One I can hear almost every note but don't enjoy, the other is full of faults but I love.

I'd hazard a guess one measured well and one didn't.

What gives? Or am I just more deaf than I thought...

I bought Jeff Lynn’s Recently reworked and record ELO album as he wanted everything perfectly recorded as he hated the original recordings.  I hate his new album.  It lost all of its magic and so am not surprised by your findings!!

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I've had a few remasters of not great recordings, that just end up sounding very fake and sterile. Perhaps some of the problem is the publisher wants a remaster to sell, but the original mastering engineer did everything you reasonably could to begin with. 

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It’s so variable. The first remaster Of Elvis Costello’s “ Get Happy” had a top end that stunned wildlife, but the second attempt was spot on. I find that the firstREM album has cleaned up a treat too- hell, that was soft and murky originally

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9 hours ago, mr neds said:

I think they were just a better band in 1971 :sofa:

Some would say they were, some would would say not and many would say they simply changed style a little. Worth adding I have many other recordings from over the years of theres and don't always prefer any specific year - mastering and recording often influence my preference. Meanwhile, I just demoed the Quad z2's, amongst the choice of music was a 1990 live Grateful Dead gig - it sounded fantastic through the Quads - the music was full, smooth, detailed and hung in the air. 

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3 hours ago, uzzy said:

Remasters are very hit and miss - it depends on what they have to work with and the overall condition of the tapes (do they have the original multitrack tapes or are they just remastering from a Stereo Master?)  then there is the person doing the remastering - you have the likes of Steve WIlson and George and Giles Martin who understand the soul of the music and just try to make it sound better rather than just tinkering lol and then there are those (usually band members of the original band) that just mess it all up IMO
 

Think this particular recording was digitally remastered and then back to analogue. There's a number of songs off it on a compilation of the tour on Qobuz and Spotify, I'll have ti take a listen to the streaming digital version.

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