If you have been a regular reader of my site, you know that without the Steve Hoffman Forums I would be lost in the sea of mostly crummy remaster jobs permanently released all around the globe. If you also happen to be a regular on those forums, you probably also know that there are various camps frequenting the site, including a large group of hardliners that basically damn everything that isn’t a flat transfer, and I can understand them, especially if they have invested heavily into extremely expensive gear which reveals each and every fault of a recording. But even if you have just a decent and maybe only a mediocre stereo setup like I do, you can’t help but notice that record labels seem to have overstepped an invisible (but clearly audible) line: Too much is just too loud, too maximized, too compressed and too darn harsh. There’s no other expression for it but to say that a large number of releases and reissues just suck. Continue Reading →
When the age of the remastered CD dawned, I immediately jumped to attention and started replacing some of my favourite CDs with the new versions, no questions asked. You know, the ones with all those stickers attached to them announcing that what you once had sucked and what you now bought offered superior sound (usually, with some bit number attached as a sales argument), new liner notes, orginal track sequence, alternate tracks, studio chatter and unreleased material, original artwork and whatnot.
What they don’t tell you is that many of those CDs you just sold via eBay, at your local second hand thrift shop or elsewhere, those that you thought had to be inferior because they were from the 80s or 90s, actually sound a lot better than the new remasters. As surprising as that sounds, it is also something a majority of listeners hasn’t realized yet, having been brought up on ultra-compressed radio and Internet streams. Continue Reading →