Beatles forums > Remasters

The remasters are horrible

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qwertyuio:
The remasters are horrible, more hard panning than the old CDs and higher volume (meaning less quality)

Sir John Johns:
I bought the mono box - I don't hear any panning  ha2ha

dcowboys107:
I just read this review on Amazon a few minutes ago. What do you think about it?  Defend or pick apart this argument.


--- Quote ---The 2009 remaster is not worth buying unless:

* You don't own the same album already on CD.
* You are an audiophile who is willing to pay big bucks for small improvements.
* You like collecting stuff and want the cardboard and booklets that come with the new version.

Everyone who is saying there is a dramatic audible difference between this release and the previous CD is wrong. I'm not saying their opinion differs from mine, I'm saying they're wrong. That's a strong statement, and I'll try to back it up without getting too geeky.

The Beatles remasters are a little louder than the 1987 CD releases. Music sounds better as it's turned up a little louder (up to the point where it starts to annoy the listener). Most people don't have a way to exactly volume-level the two releases to compare them. That's why they think the new ones are so much improved, when they're only slightly improved.

<geek mode on>

Conventional wisdom is that most people cannot detect a loudness change of less than 3 decibels. That's not quite right--most people cannot detect a volume change of less than 3dB AS A VOLUME CHANGE. They can hear the difference but they think it's something other than a difference in loudness. They think they're hearing more detail, better bass, etc.--and they are, because you can hear everything better when it's louder, and you'll like it better (up to that annoyance point).

When you go to an audio store to buy speakers, the salesman typically has a vested interest (commission) in steering you toward a particular speaker. The unscrupulous ones will set things up so their pet speakers are 1 to 2 decibels louder than the others. They don't push it too far, or people will detect that it's a loudness difference and ask to turn up the other speakers that the salesman wants to steer you away from.

The differences between the old and new recordings are not large, and the new recordings certainly haven't been ruined by being made a little hotter. You can easily measure the volume differences by ripping the albums to your computer with a program that can compute replaygain values. The differences on most of the Beatles tracks are....less than 3 dB. See where I'm going with this? The new recordings are louder, but not enough louder for many people to perceive the difference as a loudness difference.

For example, the 1987 version of Come Together from Abbey Road has a track replaygain value of -2.88. The remaster is -3.93, or 1.05 dB louder. (In the replaygain scale, things get louder as the negative numbers get bigger. Many horribly limited modern pop recordings have replaygain values of -8 or worse. Uncompressed audiophile classical recordings typically have replaygain values near zero or even a dB or two above zero.)

I ripped the new Beatles remaster to FLAC lossless format, storing replaygain values, and compared the new recording to my 1987 CD copy through a Logitech Squeezebox with Smart Gain enabled. This means I was able to listen to the new and old recordings at the same volume level. I also played them against each other with volume leveling off, and done this way it's easy to see why most people prefer the new release.

<geek mode off>

When volume-matched, the difference between the old CDs and the new remasters is audible AND minimal. And occasional. The most obvious difference is a slightly less restricted lower end.

We're owed better than this for all this money and hype. At the least, we should have gotten something as good as the Yellow Submarine remixes. Nobody who has heard Eleanor Rigby from that remix will ever confuse it with the original or prefer the original. Love and the Yellow Submarine remix and Let It Be Naked and the damn XBox game prove that the people who own the original tapes can do better and they know it.

They're milking us. Are you a cow?
--- End quote ---

Bobber:
I already suspected I was crazy.

peterbell1:
I'm no audio geek - but I agree with the reviewer's point at the top of his review ...

...
"The 2009 remaster is not worth buying unless:

* You don't own the same album already on CD.
* You are an audiophile who is willing to pay big bucks for small improvements.
* You like collecting stuff and want the cardboard and booklets that come with the new version."
...

I have listened to the new remasters but won't be buying them. I think that EMI are expecting us to pay a lot of money for what is a relatively small improvement (compared to what COULD and SHOULD have been done).

I have shelled out hundreds, probably thousands, of pounds over the years on official albums, singles, CDs, cassettes, etc, so EMI has done pretty well out of me.
I now own the Purple Chick Deluxe sets and they will do me until the catalogue is remixed.
And if I want to look at album artwork I will look at the original vinyl copies - not a CD-sized reproduction.

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