CD remastering (was Preservation of Correspondence - And Media)

Zane H. Healy healyzh at
Wed Feb 7 15:26:08 CST 2007

> The reason early CDs sounded so bad was they often started with the
> Master mixdown tapes from the LP, which had a lot of bad juju done
> to them due to the limitations of the vinyl medium.
> That's why so much work has been put into remastering from original
> multitracks, when possible.
> The problem is people EXPECT the music to sound like what they heard
> on vinyl. Getting the remix to sound 'right' is tough to do.

What can be really interesting is playing a CD and an LP done at the same
time.  In one example I have, I can hear things on the LP (parts of the
song), that simply aren't on the CD.  OTOH, production qualities were so low
in the 80's for LP's that the CD's vs LP's of the same album will often
sound better.

These days I listen almost exclusively to vinyl.  While this leaves out
certain artists (unless I break down and buy the CD), there is still a
significant amount of new music released on LP's, and unlike the 80's, they
are typically on high quality vinyl.

>  > Pretty much all of
>  > this is mainstream, anyway, so the record companies do the
>  > conversions.
> This won't happen, as people have said, for stuff out of the mainstream.
> When it's done, it is often from vinyl, since the original tapes have
> been lost.

Some companies do excellent transfers, take a look at the Bear Family CD's. 
Of course you pay a premium for their quality.  Others are horrible.  I'm
still looking for a Near Mint copy of an Album (actually any copy) on vinyl
that has one of my favorite songs on it.  While I have the CD, it's obvious
that it was made from a beat up LP that wasn't cleaned prior to copying.

> .. getting this back to preservation, at least we work (mostly) with
> digital saturation recording.

Personally, right now I'm working with 78's.  Getting those to sound right
can be a very interesting experience do to all of the different equalization
curves that were used.  Once you start to get it right, it is surprising how
good they can sound.  Though there is still quite a bit of surface noise on
most.  Removing the surface noise, along with the pops and clicks, without
distorting the audio can be interesting, and definitely takes practice.

High-end computers along with specialized software have been used in this
area for a long enough period that it's even more or less on-topic.


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