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 →
It’s become a standard method of irritating all the members on your average music forums and a way of getting April Fools’ Day in early: Mentioning, announcing or just bringing up new Beatles remasters in a subclause is guaranteed to illicit a reaction, be it mild or venomous.
The problem is simple. Aside from a compilation of #1 hits and a bunch of single remasters and the odd boxed set, the Beatles back catalog has been lying dormant far too long. What is completely missing is a concerted effort of remastering some of the best music of the 20th century (actually, any century). 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 →
If this isn’t the most daunting task ever, I don’t know what is. In 2009, Motown will celebrate its Golden Anniversary and by that time, all 12 projected volumes of “The Complete Motown Singles” are supposed to be available for those unable to track down the more than 800 seven-inch records or more than 16,000 recordings those 800 platters add up to. These stunning limited boxed sets (5000 non-numbered copies) will also certainly save you some space, and the remastering adds the final sonic touch to what is one of the most impressive back catalogs of the recording industry. It could be ALL yours if you have the cash. Continue Reading →
One of the best online resources for people interested not only in music but also pristine sound are the Steve Hoffman forums. If you ever spent days, weeks or months looking for some obscure tune, members here will likely find it for you in an instant. If you want to find out which edition to buy of a CD, it has most likely been discussed here or will be if you post a new thread. If you’d like to find out what’s happening in the audiophile circles, you’ve come to the right place. Continue Reading →