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Loveless Remasters - thoughts?
Old 14th May 2012
  #1
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audiogeek's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Loveless Remasters - thoughts?

Hey folks, My Bloody Valentine has re-issued their entire back catalog... very psyched!

But as part of this push, they've issued not ONE but TWO remastered versions of their piece de resistance, Loveless.

I've done some reading on the releases, but it's kind of unclear what the differences are between the two. Best I can deduce, one is remastered from the 2-track reel, the other is from a DAT tape? But like I said, I'm not entirely sure I'm understanding that correctly.

Does anyone have the skinny on this? What exactly the difference is? Anyone have any impressions that they want to share?

Discuss.
Old 14th May 2012
  #2
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31 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Did you read Kevin's interview at Pitchfork a few weeks ago? I thought he got into this as much as one can at pop culture non gear/tech related audio site. Can't recall if it will lead you to your answer but it at least touches on it in his words and it was an interesting read .
Old 14th May 2012
  #3
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🎧 15 years
I've heard that's there's very little sonic difference between the DAT and tape re-masters.

Just last week I was listening to (the original) Loveless and thinking: "Man, this recording sucks." So I'll definitely be buying the remastered version.
Old 14th May 2012
  #4
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🎧 10 years
They're fine if you want to listen to your music at a maximum volume of 3.
Old 15th May 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blim ➑️
I've heard that's there's very little sonic difference between the DAT and tape re-masters.

Just last week I was listening to (the original) Loveless and thinking: "Man, this recording sucks." So I'll definitely be buying the remastered version.
If you think the sound of the 1991 CD version sucks, I wouldn't buy the remasters. The digital remaster (from the DAT) is a little louder than the 1991 release, while the analogue remaster has a fuller sound with more low end.

At the moment there's a lot of confusion about the two versions: Some people believe the discs have been mislabeled, so the disc marked "digital remaster" is actually the analogue remaster and vice versa.

What's worse is there's a glitch on one of the tracks ("What You Want", around 02:46) on CD 1, probably caused by a faulty master.

More info here.

I get that a lot of people think Loveless sounds bad, especially people in the AE world. I myself think it's brilliant.
Old 15th May 2012
  #6
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🎧 10 years
They remastered Isn't Anthing too, right? I'd be interested to hear that, though I suspect I'd be disappointed.

The original sounds perfect, to my mind. What makes it perfect is things being slightly "wrong" with the mix. I can't imagine how they could remaster it and "improve" anything without simultaneously screwing it up.

Why can't Kevin Shields just record another brilliant album instead of dicking around remastering stuff?!!
Old 15th May 2012
  #7
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🎧 15 years
So we have two new masters of this album, one taken from the original DAT tape and one from the 1/2 inch analogue master that was never used as Kevin Shields etc didn't like it compared to the DAT version he released originally.

The new DAT master is identical to the original '91 CD release. It is just a bit louder. The new analogue master sounds slightly less dynamic...snare peaks lopped off and the EQ is marginally different. I prefer the original DAT master as Kevin Shields does.

In all honesty..not worth buying.

Honestly, what took him years would've taken one of the guys in the mastering forum a couple of days.

The farce on the labelling..who could invent it? Not even the manufacturers can tell the difference between the versions..so now consumers are just confused..most don't know if they've even got the analogue version or two copies of the DAT version..
Old 15th May 2012 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by binarymilton ➑️
Why can't Kevin Shields just record another brilliant album instead of dicking around remastering stuff?!!
Apparently he's working on it.

Frankly I'd be more interested in another tour, at this point. Those live shows are pretty amazing.
Old 15th May 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by binarymilton ➑️
Why can't Kevin Shields just record another brilliant album instead of dicking around remastering stuff?!!
I'm pretty sure he just isn't capable. Too many years have passed, the time has gone..all their best material was written in a little 2 year window..88-90.

Once momentum is lost, it is so difficult to get it back.
Old 15th May 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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audiogeek's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Shadow ➑️
Apparently he's working on it.

...
Yay! 20 odd years after their last original material was released, I'm definitely interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Shadow ➑️
If you think the sound of the 1991 CD version sucks, I wouldn't buy the remasters. The digital remaster (from the DAT) is a little louder than the 1991 release, while the analogue remaster has a fuller sound with more low end.
That's cool... I'm among those who think Loveless sounds great, but maybe a little thin on the low end, so that's why I'm curious about the analog remaster. Sure, it's not for everyone, the same way a Van Gogh may not be fore everyone... but may arguably be the best at what it does.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Shadow ➑️
...What's worse is there's a glitch on one of the tracks ("What You Want", around 02:46) on CD 1, probably caused by a faulty master.

More info here.

I get that a lot of people think Loveless sounds bad, especially people in the AE world. I myself think it's brilliant.
Is CD 1 the one labeled 'analog' or 'digital' remaster?
Old 15th May 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogeek ➑️
That's cool... I'm among those who think Loveless sounds great, but maybe a little thin on the low end, so that's why I'm curious about the analog remaster. Sure, it's not for everyone, the same way a Van Gogh may not be fore everyone... but may arguably be the best at what it does.
I can hear the "errors" on Loveless from a traditional AE point of view, but I also realize that if everyone would only make records that live up to that point of view, record making would stop being an art form an become nothing more than a craft.

That's why I believe artists should more often record and produce themselves. The results may be considered inferior to what experienced audio pros have to offer, but at least 90% of today's records wouldn't sound the same... With all due respect to everyone in the industry, naturally.

But then again, most artists want their records to sound like everyone else's, so I guess it's a bit more complicated than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogeek ➑️
Is CD 1 the one labeled 'analog' or 'digital' remaster?
According to the artwork, CD1 is "mastered from the original [DAT] tape", while CD2 is "mastered from the original 1/2 inch analogue tapes".
Old 15th May 2012
  #12
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Whichever one is actually labeled Analog sounds a little more heavy in the bass department, and maybe a little less fatiguing in the high end. The digital one sounds exactly the same as the original.
Old 16th May 2012
  #13
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🎧 15 years
Is a 24 bit conversion off the analog tape available?
Old 19th May 2012
  #14
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🎧 10 years
[edit from pitchfork interview]

Pitchfork: People fetishize the sound of Loveless in its original form, so why did you even want to remaster it in the first place?

Kevin Shields: The technical reason why remastering is valuable is because, up to around the late 90s, there was this endpoint called zero, and you couldn't get louder than zero. Loveless has a very wide dynamic range-- there's no compression over the overall mixes. Because of that, it's a very quiet record; most of it is about four or five dB below zero while most modern records are about six or seven above zero. That's a huge difference in volume because every three dB is perceived as being twice as loud. But that's not too important because people should just turn it up if they want to hear Loveless loud. But there's this other side of it, because the processors in CD players and most digital playback systems operate at their best in the top three dB-- the player acts like all the stuff below that level isn't as important, so it won't process it as heavily.

So, of the two Loveless CDs that are coming out, one of them is exactly the same as the original, but everything's brought up to zero without crushing it with digital limiting, which essentially takes all the information and chops off the spiky bits-- transients-- that you don't hear as much as you perceive subconsciously. Those are the things that make you feel connected to the music. So something can be 10 dBs louder, but it somehow sounds slightly less involving. Each of those chopped-off peaks puts a little piece of distortion there instead, so the overall sound gets this hard, unpleasant kind of sheen, and you can't hear it as well. There is a tiny bit of digital limiting on one song on the Loveless reissue, but I'm not gonna say which one because it was a sacrificial lamb to get the rest of the album up a bit. And since the sound is brought back to zero, it means your CD player will be able to process it a bit better, so that it kind of sounds... "better" isn't the right word, it just feels different.


Pitchfork: What's the thinking behind releasing the analog remaster as well?

KS: The original Loveless was from a digital master because it was much closer to the picture I wanted, and, at the time, the analog one was slightly twisted-- the process of putting it onto tape widened the stereo image and made the top and bottom ends too loud, so the guitar placement wasn't correct. I wasn't happy with that and I didn't use the original half-inch analog tapes. But, this time around, I had the time to take the original analog tapes and fix all the things I didn't like, so all I left was essentially the benefits of the analog with none of the disadvantages.

When people hear the two new remasters, some can't hear the difference. But, for anyone who's slightly into it, I can promise that if you listen to the record from beginning to end, you're gonna have a completely different feeling with one version compared to the other. They're both good for different reasons; the digital one is slightly more like an inner head trip and the analog one is more physical, like you're conscious that some people did this.
Old 20th May 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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atma's Avatar
 
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Quote:
the processors in CD players and most digital playback systems operate at their best in the top three dB-- the player acts like all the stuff below that level isn't as important, so it won't process it as heavily.
can someone elaborate on this a little bit more?
Old 20th May 2012
  #16
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Bad Machinery's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Loveless isn't a very "hifi" record. But it sounds just like the band did, performing the record live--(not the least of which because recorded versions of the many of the more exotic sounds were played throughout MBV's live sets supporting the record.) I mean, the record's all mewing, power chords, and whale songs. I can't imagine a remaster could make it much better than the original.

We listened to that record, back in the day, because we liked that it sounded like that. What's the point in changing it now? To make it louder? Does anyone who likes this record care that it's not as loud as the latest Nickelback record?
Old 20th May 2012 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by atma ➑️
can someone elaborate on this a little bit more?
Tbh it seems like the kind of thing someone who didn't know what they were talking about would say. Sweeping generalisation at best.
Old 20th May 2012
  #18
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-Goldie ➑️
[edit from pitchfork interview]

Pitchfork: People fetishize the sound of Loveless in its original form, so why did you even want to remaster it in the first place?

Kevin Shields: The technical reason why remastering is valuable is because, up to around the late 90s, there was this endpoint called zero, and you couldn't get louder than zero. Loveless has a very wide dynamic range-- there's no compression over the overall mixes. Because of that, it's a very quiet record; most of it is about four or five dB below zero while most modern records are about six or seven above zero. That's a huge difference in volume because every three dB is perceived as being twice as loud. But that's not too important because people should just turn it up if they want to hear Loveless loud. But there's this other side of it, because the processors in CD players and most digital playback systems operate at their best in the top three dB-- the player acts like all the stuff below that level isn't as important, so it won't process it as heavily.

So, of the two Loveless CDs that are coming out, one of them is exactly the same as the original, but everything's brought up to zero without crushing it with digital limiting, which essentially takes all the information and chops off the spiky bits-- transients-- that you don't hear as much as you perceive subconsciously. Those are the things that make you feel connected to the music. So something can be 10 dBs louder, but it somehow sounds slightly less involving. Each of those chopped-off peaks puts a little piece of distortion there instead, so the overall sound gets this hard, unpleasant kind of sheen, and you can't hear it as well. There is a tiny bit of digital limiting on one song on the Loveless reissue, but I'm not gonna say which one because it was a sacrificial lamb to get the rest of the album up a bit. And since the sound is brought back to zero, it means your CD player will be able to process it a bit better, so that it kind of sounds... "better" isn't the right word, it just feels different.


Pitchfork: What's the thinking behind releasing the analog remaster as well?

KS: The original Loveless was from a digital master because it was much closer to the picture I wanted, and, at the time, the analog one was slightly twisted-- the process of putting it onto tape widened the stereo image and made the top and bottom ends too loud, so the guitar placement wasn't correct. I wasn't happy with that and I didn't use the original half-inch analog tapes. But, this time around, I had the time to take the original analog tapes and fix all the things I didn't like, so all I left was essentially the benefits of the analog with none of the disadvantages.

When people hear the two new remasters, some can't hear the difference. But, for anyone who's slightly into it, I can promise that if you listen to the record from beginning to end, you're gonna have a completely different feeling with one version compared to the other. They're both good for different reasons; the digital one is slightly more like an inner head trip and the analog one is more physical, like you're conscious that some people did this.
Coming from the Mastering world, this seems really misinformed and makes a fair few assumptions. I Kind of get the impression that he is referring to both dBfs and VU in the one sentence which doesn't make a lot of sense, but this would most likely be down to the editing of the interview.

None the less I love the album and will no doubt check out the new re-masters. I am guessing they have done two versions to prevent the backlash from the purists who always shoot down re-masters.
Old 30th May 2012
  #19
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🎧 10 years
Yes, this record is incredibly thin. Who decided that artistically that is incorrect? The record has an entirely original tone, not the recycled frequency and color spectrum of everything else out there. I personally think modern records with extended bass and hi end sound, 99.99% of the time, like complete rubbish. Loveless is one of the 5-10 most mind blowing recordings ever made. Listen to it with a vintage tube amp through a pair of quads and then tell me the low end needs adjustment.

The fact the Kevin Shields feels the need to make it louder says everything we need to know about the current state of mastering. Why do they even include volume adjusting on modern equipment?
Old 30th May 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-Goldie ➑️
[edit from pitchfork interview]

Pitchfork: People fetishize the sound of Loveless in its original form, so why did you even want to remaster it in the first place?

Kevin Shields: The technical reason why remastering is valuable is because, up to around the late 90s, there was this endpoint called zero, and you couldn't get louder than zero. Loveless has a very wide dynamic range-- there's no compression over the overall mixes. Because of that, it's a very quiet record; most of it is about four or five dB below zero while most modern records are about six or seven above zero.

I wonder how much of the loudness war is a result of people being so incredibly misinformed.
Old 30th May 2012
  #21
Registered User
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Shadow ➑️
If you think the sound of the 1991 CD version sucks, I wouldn't buy the remasters. The digital remaster (from the DAT) is a little louder than the 1991 release, while the analogue remaster has a fuller sound with more low end.

At the moment there's a lot of confusion about the two versions: Some people believe the discs have been mislabeled, so the disc marked "digital remaster" is actually the analogue remaster and vice versa.

What's worse is there's a glitch on one of the tracks ("What You Want", around 02:46) on CD 1, probably caused by a faulty master.

More info here.

I get that a lot of people think Loveless sounds bad, especially people in the AE world. I myself think it's brilliant.
As I've gone back and listened to it recently after becoming more involved with AE over the years I find it keeps it's quality. Even though I would never use it as a reference it has morphed, again, for me keeping its own special place.
Old 27th June 2012
  #22
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Osumosan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I might be interested to go into further analysis of the remasters, but indeed "Only Shallow" on CD2 nulls with the original version with 2dB of gain and still peaks at -2dB on the digital scale. CD1 is evidently the one from the analog tapes and there seem to be some phase issues.

Again, just from listening to track 1.

I don't feel like I got a good value from my purchase. (To put it diplomatically)
Old 27th June 2012
  #23
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🎧 15 years
After listening to "What You Want" (CD2 again nulls with the original) I find the new master - CD1 - almost as shrill less some transients and boosted in the 200-500Hz range which in the end suppresses the low end.
Old 12th February 2013
  #24
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
I finally purchased these remasters after getting the new MBV album. The people that just dismiss these remasters as being 'louder' should maybe get their hearing checked. Imaging and separation is far superior to the original masters.
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