Well, I’m no spring chicken either BUT I don’t let that stop me from enjoying music, making music, etc. If anything, I think that helps keep me feeling younger than I am although how the heck does anyone know how they’re supposed to “feel” ???
I’m the product of the “analog on magnetic tape with razor blades on the splice block” era. So all this digital stuff is a learning curve for me but I don’t mind that so much…just hope I can get some help on this interface question in the near future. I think I’d still be “jurassic” but the first time I listened to a CD, I think it was something by The Police waaaay back, just the lack of noise between tracks was startling…after having been used to either tape noise or vinyl noise. NO noise really reaches out and grabs you the first few times.
On the recording side of it, the editing of stuff in software - in this case Audacity - really got my attention. After so many cuts in mag tape having to be right the FIRST time, being able to try one and then UNDO if it isn’t right was also very cool; and then there’s the very “tightness” of the edit. You don’t have garbage artifacts like mis-aligned tape splices do, etc.
A big thing in my book is that you can also “bounce” stuff around from one digital place to another and not have it trashed by noise after just a couple of bounces. I was reminded of this recently when I picked up the Beatles “Past Masters” re-master set and was praying for something miraculous for “She Loves You”…and didn’t really get that something. A little research in Lewisohn’s book “The Beatles Recording Sessions” seems to be pretty clear that the original two-track recording tapes were probably discarded (barring anyone grabbing them out of the dumpster etc) once the mono mix had been done as this was standard practice up into some time in 1963, after which they were apparently saved more frequently. Still, a number of the re-masters state that they were made from “original stereo masters” as opposed to being from the multi-track session tapes. Heck, they might ALL say that - I don’t know what all was saved in a vault and what wasn’t. I’d think if they had the stuff AND it wasn’t badly deteriorated, going as far back to the most original material you can would yield the best product.
Anyhow, “She Loves You” apparently could only be re-done from a mono master and so the level of clarity and definition isn’t quite as good as other songs. Interesting point to me, and how I stumbled onto the comment from Lewisohn about the original 2-track probably having been discarded, is that when the Beatles did the two German versions they had a copy of the instrumental track(s) from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” made and take to Paris, France where they recorded these two songs at the Pathe Marconi studios (so he says) and so you hear effectively the same music behind the German singing. OTOH, with “Sie Liebt Dich” (She Loves You) they made a whole new recording, and I think Lewisohn’s point was that they HAD to because there was no original left to work with. In the several months between they clearly had time to improve their performance as I think “Sie Liebt Dich” sounds like a more “tight” performance and seems better to the ears for me - instruments seem better defined and easier to pick out. Too bad they didn’t do an English version as well while they were at it…
In general, most of these “re-master” discs to me are “headphone” CD’s - I doubt that most people would get that much more out of them through the average speaker setup than they would the previous CD releases. BUT, through the headphones most of what I have heard so far really has that WOW factor. Paul’s bass lines got a definite lift, as they used to just be a bunch of “mud”. Many of them on remaster are quite clear, and on early records there is somebody with a fret buzz that might be off Paul’s bass. I can hear stuff like picks hitting strings, drum sticks striking…which granted most listeners might not care so much about. Those of us who record, however, can appreciate stuff like that.
I had heard about what is alleged to be a “piano bench squeak” as that huge piano chord at the end of “A Day In The Life” fades out, and I think that’s exactly what it is. It’s weak in the right channel (if I don’t have my 'phones on backwards, anyway ) but sure sounds like it to me.
Other than funny little stuff like that, there is a certain added clarity on many songs and in the very finest ones, putting the headphones on is a virtual “drop in” to Abbey Road studios (or wherever) while the recordings were being done. It really does sound that “alive” - one of the best I have heard so far is “Hey Jude”. George gets a good showing on “Abbey Road”, both “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” are just wonderful.
Since I said I’m also a WHO fan (the wife turned me on to them some years ago moreso than I already was) I noted that there are variations on WHO CD’s - I think with “Tommy” and “Who’s Next” and probably others where one disc is OK but I think there were some “imports” (to us stateside anyway) which may have come off a Japanese label that are clearly superior, with “clearly” being a major point. Someone obviously went to some effort to get out a really good, clear and crisp product.
Anyhow taking that all back to the “bouncing” thing - there’s plenty of evidence from these two great bands that how recording, mixing and mastering are done makes a HUGE difference in the quality of the final product in the consumer’s hands…