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remastering Rush CDs
Bartholomew MacG...
post Sep 29 2012, 13:50
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Here's something from an interview with the guy who remastered most of the Rush CDs:

James: What was your overall approach to the catalog remaster?

Andy: I wanted to do as little as possible so that the masters could truly speak for themselves. Being recorded in the vinyl era, they were optimized for that medium. People like more bottom end these days — and with earbuds and laptops as the primary playback monitors, it is understandable. I tried to nudge them in a warmer, thicker direction, but not cloud the guitars or the legendary Neil Peart snare.

James: What was the condition of the masters?

Andy: Handling analog masters that are over 30 years old makes people nervous. (Laughs.) I cleaned the tape heads after every song to make sure tape shedding hadn’t even started. Indeed, some tapes didn’t sound as good as others — after all, they’ve been sitting on a shelf for however many years. In some cases the 192 kHz digital master tape copies from the Rush archive sounded better. I think those transfers would have been made about seven years ago.

James: Were you surprised by anything you found?

Andy: Some of the albums weren’t as thin toppy as I thought the were going to be. And for some I had a better source than the 1997 remasters. Some are brighter and clearer. Grace Under Pressure I tried for three days to make the tape transfer that I did sound as good as the existing CD. I figured that with the kind of care I put into the transfer — and having the original source — it would be a no-brainer; that this would be better than what’s been out there. But it just wasn’t the case: the tape didn’t age well. It had lost lots of clarity. So I ended up using the 192 kHz transfer.

The master for the first album [Rush] was a surprise — there was no shedding off the tape at all. There was still lots of top left. I imagine it had been baked before, and stored well afterwards.






So, it sounds like the original analog tape was degraded, so he used a 192 kHz digital source instead. But what would have happened if he just used a regular CD of the type that you can order from amazon? Would there have been any disadvantage?
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splice
post Sep 30 2012, 02:58
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QUOTE (Bartholomew MacGruber @ Sep 29 2012, 04:50) *
... So, it sounds like the original analog tape was degraded, so he used a 192 kHz digital source instead. But what would have happened if he just used a regular CD of the type that you can order from amazon? Would there have been any disadvantage?


Assuming he wanted to actually remaster it (make changes to the dynamics and EQ), the 24/192 source would be much better than the CD. The CD would contain the mastering choices made by the original mastering engineer when transferring to CD, whereas the 24/192 source would be more faithful to the original tape and be a better starting point for the remaster. Also, whenever you make changes to a digital source, you are limited by the resolution of the original. Every processing step adds a small amount of noise and distortion. A higher resolution source allows for more processing before deterioration becomes audible.


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Kohlrabi
post Sep 30 2012, 10:23
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QUOTE (splice @ Sep 30 2012, 03:58) *
The CD would contain the mastering choices made by the original mastering engineer when transferring to CD, whereas the 24/192 source would be more faithful to the original tape and be a better starting point for the remaster.
The funny thing is, that since this is Andy from Masterdisk, the remasters are all but faithful to the original. They're of course mastered "hot" (brickwalled, DRC) and have clipping distortions. I'm not sure if I am allowed to upload short samples to the Upload forum, but I strongly suggest to stick to the 1997 remasters.

This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: Sep 30 2012, 10:30


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