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Definitive editions of albums


Jacob M.
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I have been thinking about this general idea for a while. As someone who collects music I want the best version of the album available. Sometimes figuring that out can be a challenge. There are so many variables that can effect this. As a personal preference I would prefer to have a disc based release. The basic CD seems to be the format of choice for most releases. There have been other/better formats since the CD, but nothing has ever really taken off. So the default is CD, especially for the more niche releases a community like this might be after. The Mr. Big- Lean Into It 30 year anniversary announcement has left me a bit puzzled. They are releasing it on MQA-CD and SACD. MQA-CD, while an interesting idea, seems like an answer to a question nobody asked. Why are they releasing on SACD? Isn't that format dead and hasn't it been dead for a while? No Blu-ray Audio release? It's beginning to look like that format is dead. Quite the sad end as well since it could have been the "definitive" format. Even just this release I can't figure out which version to get. Which version of the CD will have better sound? Will I even be able to see the benefit of this better sound unless I have special equipment? Which version will have more extras?

One of the more confusing releases I have stumbled onto is Cats In Boots- Kicked & Klawed. There are 3 separate re-releases that I know of. Demon Doll, Rock Candy, and Bad Reputation. The Demon Doll release has a bonus track, but has it been remastered? Rock Candy has been re-mastered, but no bonus tracks, unless you get the Japanese version. Bad Reputation has many bonus tracks, but has it been remastered? Trying to figure it out makes my head hurt. Thankfully I still have the original. I will just stick with that. Then there is the issue of a band like Shark Island. I bought the latest release right after it came out. Was it even a year later the band released a "better" version of the album. I still find myself really irritated by that.

Bad remasters is a whole other thing. Looking at you Megadeth. Dave Mustaine nearly ruined Countdown To Extinction. I need to get the original release and avoid other Megadeth remasters.

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  • My Little Pony

Interesting topic. I don't think I even know what MQA-CD and SACD are. How do they compare to SH-MCD?

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I remember I got so obsessed with this concept myself for a little while. I had to replace my old battered copy of Animals by Pink Floyd and for some reason I decided I wanted to find the best version possible (by sound quality). What a rabbit hole that was! I ended up on these forms by Steve Hoffman or something where they debate this endlessly. Turns out remasters aren't all they are cracked up to be, and some earlier pressings may be superior, or not haha. Sometimes it is to do with whether they use the original source tapes. To cut a long story short I got a West German pressing and I know it is good  but is it really that much better than a more recent remaster? Doubt you could notice if you weren't an audiophile. 

I also look for bonus tracks but I hate it when they are Demos. I'd rather no bonuses than Demo tracks. B-Sides yes, demo and live tracks no.

I have the Rock Candy version of Cats N Boots and the sound is great to my ears.

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Regarding the Mr Big I would guess those MQA-CD and SACD type releases are tailored to their Asian market as I bet Mr Big have a much more substantial fan base their than in Amerka.

As for all the reissues v remaster v ??? that is a sticky wicket for certain. 

Seb Bach posted a video recently where he was listening to the latest re-iss/remaster of Slave to the Grind and he was comparing it to the old vinyl he had and the new issue was really compressed and tiny and they made no reference to where the source of the remaster came from so again it was suspect and sounded so.

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On 7/14/2021 at 3:03 PM, KarpetRydOFunk said:

Interesting topic. I don't think I even know what MQA-CD and SACD are. How do they compare to SH-MCD?

MQA-CD is a relatively new format that uses some type of compression technology. You need a special piece of hardware that can uncompress the data in order to get the better sound. Otherwise it sounds like a regular CD. Much like HDCD that proceeded all of this. You needed hardware with a special chip to read the files properly. I don't know the specifics of SACD. I think it's a higher capacity disc. It competed with DVD Audio to be the successor to CDs. Neither format really took off.  SH-MCD appears to be the same file as a regular CD. The quality of the materials in the disc is supposed to be better. Theoretically giving you better sound. There's also something called Blu-Spec and XRCD. There might even be others that I am missing. How all of this compares to each other I have no idea. It's a confusing mess.

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  • My Little Pony
15 hours ago, Jacob M. said:

MQA-CD is a relatively new format that uses some type of compression technology. You need a special piece of hardware that can uncompress the data in order to get the better sound. Otherwise it sounds like a regular CD. Much like HDCD that proceeded all of this. You needed hardware with a special chip to read the files properly. I don't know the specifics of SACD. I think it's a higher capacity disc. It competed with DVD Audio to be the successor to CDs. Neither format really took off.  SH-MCD appears to be the same file as a regular CD. The quality of the materials in the disc is supposed to be better. Theoretically giving you better sound. There's also something called Blu-Spec and XRCD. There might even be others that I am missing. How all of this compares to each other I have no idea. It's a confusing mess.

It's unfortunate all these advances in the technology came about after the format was already dead. 

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On 7/14/2021 at 3:57 PM, auslander said:

I also look for bonus tracks but I hate it when they are Demos. I'd rather no bonuses than Demo tracks. B-Sides yes, demo and live tracks no.

I have the Rock Candy version of Cats N Boots and the sound is great to my ears.


I have mixed feelings on the idea of bonus tracks. I agree that B-Sides are the priority. Demos can be good. Live tracks can also be nice. Sometimes artists tack on bonus tracks that really add nothing to the release. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is Vinnie Vincent Invasion- All Systems go. Why even throw those last two tracks on there? Sometimes demos can be better than some of the songs that ended up on the actual album. And sometimes the live tracks are songs that were never properly recorded. As long as the quality is okay I am happy to listen.

I'm not a huge fan of Cats N Boots. If I were to choose a version I would get the Bad Reputation version for the bonus tracks. That applies to most releases.
 

On 7/14/2021 at 9:44 PM, martinsane said:

Regarding the Mr Big I would guess those MQA-CD and SACD type releases are tailored to their Asian market as I bet Mr Big have a much more substantial fan base their than in Amerka.

As for all the reissues v remaster v ??? that is a sticky wicket for certain. 

Seb Bach posted a video recently where he was listening to the latest re-iss/remaster of Slave to the Grind and he was comparing it to the old vinyl he had and the new issue was really compressed and tiny and they made no reference to where the source of the remaster came from so again it was suspect and sounded so.


I recently acquired the original release of Mr. Big so getting the remaster is not a priority at all.

It really is confusing. Too often re-releases aren't just that. Improved sound should be the #1 thing. If they can't do that then leave alone if it was good to begin with. There are remixes of albums that aren't properly labeled. You see the complaints in customer reviews. There are albums that have been completely re-recorded. I believe that sometimes people aren't aware they are buying that. Sometimes they take out parts of a song. Apparently Vinnie Vincent Invasion- All Systems Go took out parts of Love Kills and Breakout. Or take out entire songs like XX Badboy- Fire In The Hole on Demon Doll Records.

Has there been a remaster of Slave To The Grind? I did a search and couldn't find anything. I did find that the first Skid Row release had been remastered and the band was not happy about it.

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The other thing about this is I find is that whatever was the first version of the album I heard, whether it was the remaster or the original release, that is the one I prefer as my ears are familiar with it. 😆 like an old pair of jeans.

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17 minutes ago, Jacob M. said:


I have mixed feelings on the idea of bonus tracks. I agree that B-Sides are the priority. Demos can be good. Live tracks can also be nice. Sometimes artists tack on bonus tracks that really add nothing to the release. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is Vinnie Vincent Invasion- All Systems go. Why even throw those last two tracks on there? Sometimes demos can be better than some of the songs that ended up on the actual album. And sometimes the live tracks are songs that were never properly recorded. As long as the quality is okay I am happy to listen.

I'm not a huge fan of Cats N Boots. If I were to choose a version I would get the Bad Reputation version for the bonus tracks. That applies to most releases.
 


I recently acquired the original release of Mr. Big so getting the remaster is not a priority at all.

It really is confusing. Too often re-releases aren't just that. Improved sound should be the #1 thing. If they can't do that then leave alone if it was good to begin with. There are remixes of albums that aren't properly labeled. You see the complaints in customer reviews. There are albums that have been completely re-recorded. I believe that sometimes people aren't aware they are buying that. Sometimes they take out parts of a song. Apparently Vinnie Vincent Invasion- All Systems Go took out parts of Love Kills and Breakout. Or take out entire songs like XX Badboy- Fire In The Hole on Demon Doll Records.

Has there been a remaster of Slave To The Grind? I did a search and couldn't find anything. I did find that the first Skid Row release had been remastered and the band was not happy about it.

Yes but it was a vinyl edition I beleive.

Here is the video Seb mad. Its interesting, the quality of the "remaster" is really bad and Seb does a good job of detailing the discrepancies and it plays into your question Jacob.

 

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