Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Japanese Import Remastered vs. regular cd

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Through the eons... user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 08 Sep 09, 22:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm very sure that this has been hugely discussed, but it will take me forever to research it.
The question: Why are those darn remastered cds so expensive, and is there a big difference in sound quality compared to the regular cds, and can they be played on regular cd players or computer cd drives?
Appreciate your input.
Thanks!


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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 10:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Amazon claims that the remastered edition is strictly limited. (They say that only 5.000 copies of each album are available for Germany.)

I don't know about the quality, but the limitation will be an explanation for the high pricing.

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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 10:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

One thing I forgot:

And they say that the CDs are running on all regular CD players.

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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 11:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Which pressing do you call 'the regular'? You mean the first, 80's EMI pressings? Hollywood Records remasters? The 'Digital Remasters collection' remasters?
And which of the many Japanese remasters are you referring to? The cardsleeves from few years ago? The jewel case remasters from some years earlier?

Compared to the first EMI pressings - ALL remasters sound better. 
In case of the cardsleeve remasters though, it differs very much from album to album. Some sound fabulous (QII, SHA), some sound horrible (Innuendo). Well, not in audio quality - the quality is fine on all- , but in the sence of the actual mix of the music. Some of those releases are very UNfaithfull to the original (vinyl) releases. 

About prices: in general things from Japan are expensive because they are things from Japan. Even in Japan itsself, things from Japan are expensive. That's why they put extra tracks on them most of the time. To persuede their own people to buy their own product and not the cheaper imports. 

The cardsleeve remasters were not expensive. But they were intended for the non-Japanese market and probably not even manufactured in Japan. 
At the time of release in German shops they were piled up to the roof and you could buy all titles for 12.99 euro at first and 6.99 euro's a month later.

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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 14:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Jjeroen wrote:

At the time of release in German shops they were piled up to the roof and you could buy all titles for 12.99 euro at first and 6.99 euro's a month later.




Queenonline seem to jack their prices up, pretty much everything on the site is expensive.  But I haven't seen any of the remastered ones for sale anywhere.  Although, in fairness the cd shops near me are fairly pathetic, theyr'e tiny.  But I was in a huge one recently and they also had very little Queen, although they had one of the 'old' Magic cds for E16.99 (or maybe it was more, can't remember.  Maybe TCR was E16.99 and Magic was E18.99).  At least i think it was an old one, didn't look like the Japanese ones on the website, and didn't say it was.  I'd love to get them, but its a lot of money.




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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 16:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/search/artist/000000000004471/?pagenum=2

Through the eons... user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 20:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote


Thank you very much for your responses. I asked the question because I was browsing through the Best Buy website and found the following and was curious as to what the difference was.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=13837002&st=queen&lp=73&type=product&cp=1&id=1363209


http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=2661694&st=queen&lp=31&type=product&cp=1&id=116380


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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 20:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yup, must be that time again. The short version? The 1994 remasters of Queen are arguably the best available. Although, the 2001 remasters (japanese card versions) are kind of good, as mentioned above, they are flawed. The first few albums up until Hot Space seem to be ok. But after that, it all falls down with the above mentioned "unfaithful" sounding albums. In fact, I think I remember that even the earlier albums were a bit hit and miss. Hmm...

It's hard to explain without getting into the nitty gritty here. As I said, this is the short version!! If you want real detail on 2-3 releases, search the forum for my old 2007 reviews. I went into detail about what I heard. I'm an audio engineer and really wanted to sit down and A/B the 1994 cd's with the 2001 Japanese ones. Something I did because this question was always popping up on the forums here.

Here's a post I found to get you started -[url=http://www.queenzone.com:80/forums/999554/which-album-editions-are-the-best.aspx] http://www.queenzone.com/forums/999554/which-album-editions-are-the-best.aspx[/url>] - Sheer Heart Attack

Hopefully this helps!
Adam.

EDIT: A little note of unhappiness from moi. I guess the forum has changed the amount of words you can have on here because both my reviews get cut off! The SHA album at She Makes Me and the NOTW album at Get Down Make Love! I do have the NOTW review somewhere...but I didn't save the SHA album review I did. God damn...


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Posted: 09 Sep 09, 22:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks Adam. Spoken from the horse's mouth.....a sound engineer. Doesn't get any better than this.

Will do more research over the weekend when there's more free time.


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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 01:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Through the eons... wrote:


Thank you very much for your responses. I asked the question because I was browsing through the Best Buy website and found the following and was curious as to what the difference was.





http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=13837002&st=queen&lp=73&type=product&cp=1&id=1363209




http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=2661694&st=queen&lp=31&type=product&cp=1&id=116380



47 USD ? What a rip-off !

Get it here : http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/product/detail/1903543 for 2600 yen (according to google it's cca 28 USD).

BTW Made In Heaven is one of the albums which sound worse on these remasters






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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 01:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Adam Baboolal wrote:

Yup, must be that time again. The short version? The 1994 remasters of Queen are arguably the best available. Although, the 2001 remasters (japanese card versions) are kind of good, as mentioned above, they are flawed. The first few albums up until Hot Space seem to be ok. But after that, it all falls down with the above mentioned "unfaithful" sounding albums. In fact, I think I remember that even the earlier albums were a bit hit and miss. Hmm...

It's hard to explain without getting into the nitty gritty here. As I said, this is the short version!! If you want real detail on 2-3 releases, search the forum for my old 2007 reviews. I went into detail about what I heard. I'm an audio engineer and really wanted to sit down and A/B the 1994 cd's with the 2001 Japanese ones. Something I did because this question was always popping up on the forums here.

Here's a post I found to get you started - http://www.queenzone.com/forums/999554/which-album-editions-are-the-best.aspx>

Hopefully this helps!
Adam.

EDIT: A little note of unhappiness from moi. I guess the forum has changed the amount of words you can have on here because both my reviews get cut off! The SHA album at She Makes Me and the NOTW album at Get Down Make Love! I do have the NOTW review somewhere...but I didn't save the SHA album review I did. God damn...


Wow, you REALLY like the Abbey Road remasters ? I consider many of them garbage, but OK.
And THANK YOU very much for the thread, I've been searching for it for a long time !






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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 08:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My personal preference is for the Japanese re-masters - I've only ever had one issue wit the mix on the discs in that "Queen" sounds overly harsh - for example, the cymbals on "Liar" are WAAAY to bright.  Having said that though, they have been like this on ALL other versions of the album I've ever heard so......

The packaging is absolutely delightful and much more enticing than the standard '91 re-issues, to the extent that I threw all the '91 releases in the bin once I'd completed the Jap set.


Benn
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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 08:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hey Pittrek.

Yes, the 1993/4 ones are top for me. I've heard the 1980's ones were pretty blah. And the 1998 ones had extra compression and noise reduction added. They didn't seem that great, but not that bad tbh. And as mentioned before, the 2001/4 versions are quite frankly...awful. If you have a decent hifi and speaker setup, i.e. separates. You'll have a good platform for hearing things that I talk of in those old reviews.

Now, this isn't to say that someone isn't gonna like the newer ones over the old. Not at all. But technically speaking, I'm appalled by all the newest ones in comparison to how the music was presented. It's like they went in and changed things so much that you might think it's a different mix altogether. Pretty shocking and damned right sacrilege.

Now, that's all I know about cd versions-wise. If you know of better remasters that I haven't listed, I'm all ears! I would love to find out that along with the 2005 NATO disc remaster, they did the rest. My dream come true. To actually have someone with real mastering experience (NOT JSS), would be very important.

Adam.

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Posted: 10 Sep 09, 08:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Benn, you say that the cymbals on Liar are harsh? I don't hear that at all on my 93/4 re. Sure, they're not the best quality drum recordings. Poor Roger. :( I'm quite puzzled by this as I read my old reviews and I seem to mention a lot of e-ss-y sounds being accentuated on the 2001/4 remasters. I haven't sat with the 2001/4 version of Queen, but I could actually do a review if need be. I'm actually curious to hear what you mean now. *listens*

Just had a quick listen and they don't really sound that different. They show off a lot more of the distorted sound, but not smoother or less harsh. In fact, after a 2nd A/B, I actually think the 2001/4 re seems to be slightly more 'harsh'. It's definitely pushed forward more.

Adam.


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Posted: 11 Sep 09, 10:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi Adam,

You know what, I think the *problem* with the Queen catalogue, in terms of sound, is that they actually weren't RECORDED all that well.  For example, when you compare early Who recordings against early Beatles recordings, you have a band who were cracking musicians against a band who were average at best (Who / Beatles).  When you listen to them, you have a band that sounds great almost all of the time against a band that get's caught properly only twice or three times throughout their career (Beatles / The Who).

Queen, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack sound absolutely terrible in comparison to ANATO, ADATR and NOTW - then, they get to Jazz and it's back to bad times again.  All down to good old RTB IMHO.


Benn
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Posted: 12 Sep 09, 17:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You are absolutely right, Benn. I remember hearing my brother say the same thing about the early Queen stuff. And as we know from some documentary (I forget which), Brian mentions how they wanted a room-y sound, but were told it could be added afterwards with reverb. And of course, it didn't work.

So yeah, it's true. Queen didn't get the best treatment at the start. But they got more as they progressed and worked hard to move onward. And ain't we glad they got there? :)

Adam.


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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 10:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The interesting thing would be to set someone up in the job of engineering and producing a new set of remasters who has absolutely no connection to the band other than the love of the music and giving them access to the master tapes.

I just wonder whether the quality of the raw recording is there on tape to actually enable a DEFINITIVE remastering of the catalogue once and for all.  I.E. can the harshness of the cymbals on "Liar" be brought down to render it listenable at volume?

My feeling is that, simply. it was all recorded badly because, in all honesty, why would so many re-masters and re-issues contain all the familiar bad points.

Unless, of course, the recording quality WAS good, but the ORIGINAL mastering SO bad that subsequent re-masters and re-issues have DELIBERATELY been sub-standard in order that the original production team were not overly embarassed..........?


Benn
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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 11:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Benn wrote:

The interesting thing would be to set someone up in the job of engineering and producing a new set of remasters who has absolutely no connection to the band other than the love of the music and giving them access to the master tapes.

The whole back catalogue needs re-mixing from the multitracks - not just remastered! And by someone who really knows what they're doing, not Justin "jack of all trades, master of none" Shirely Smith or the drummer from the Cross who's been kept on the pay roll.







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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 11:44 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

F* JSS . Why are all drums on the live recording he remixed sounding WORSE than on bootleg versions of the same songs ? They should really hire the man who remastered ANATO for the 30th anniversary, give him all master tapes and LEAVE HIM.


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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 13:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not sure it all needs re-mixing.  In fairness, who is anyone else to *mess* with what the artists originally wanted everyone to hear in the manner they wanted them to hear it?  Unless, of course, the remaining members of Queen had issues with the original mixes themselves - in which case, it's still an unbalanced view as one of the band is dead.

And, if done, it absolutely HAS to be taken away from anyone with a vested interest in it.  Someone coming at it from a completely new and fresh perspective who has no preconceptions about how Queen should sound.  I.E. a professional engineer / producer, NOT a Queen-related lackey.


Benn