Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > The Best Remasters, track by track

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rhyeking user not visiting Queenzone.com
rhyeking
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Posted: 16 Jun 10, 12:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In light of the recent discussions around the quality of the different remasters that have been issued, I've been tinkering with my collection, trying to find the The Best versions of each album track. The recent Singles Collections appear to have the best sounding, properly balanced, not too loud, not too soft range.

I invite Expert opinions and Average Joe opinions. And I know some people out there don't have every single release and remaster made available over the years,so maybe this will help some fans know where to look.

For those who are curious, here is a list of the various masters and remasters issued since 1991:

1991 Hollywood Records (US) (Queen to The Miracle)
1991 Original Album Master = Innuendo
1994 Digital Master Series (UK) (Queen to Innuendo)
1995 Original Album Master = Made In Heaven
1998 Crown Jewels LP Reproductions (US) (Queen to The Game)
2001 Japanese LP Reproductions (Japan) (Queen to Made In Heaven)
2005 30th Anniversay Remaster = A Night At The Opera
2008 Original album Master = The Cosmos Rocks
2008 Singles Collection 1 (New Remastered tracks)
2009 Absolute Greatest (New Remastered tracks)
2009 Singles Collection 2 (New Remastered tracks)
2010 Singles Collection 3 (New Remastered tracks)

Let's start at the beginning:

Queen (the debut album)
01) Keep Yourself Alive (2008 Singles Collection Remaster)
02) Doing All Right (1991 Hollywood Records Remaster)
03) Great King Rat (1991 HR)
04) My Fairy King (1991 HR)
06) Liar (1991 HR)
07) The Night Comes Down (1991 HR)
08) Modern Times Rock and Roll (1991 HR)
09) Son And Daughter (2008 SC)
10) Seven Seas Of Rhye...(1991 HR)
bonus tracks
11) Mad The Swine (1991 HR)
12) Keep Yourself Alive (Long Lost Re-Take) (1998 Crown Jewels Promo Sampler)

Because there was only the "Keep Yourself Alive" single which has seen any re-issuing (Oh, poor "Liar." you're so neglected, robbing us of a newly remastered "Doing All Right")

Compare that to The Miracle album:

01) Party (1991 HR)
02) Khashoggi's ship (1991 HR)
03) The Miracle (1991 HR)
04) Want It All (2001 JLP)
05) Breakthru (2010 SC)
06) The Invisible Man (2010 SC)
07) Rain Must Fall (1991 HR)
08) Scandal (2010 SC)
09) My Baby Does Me (1991 HR)
10) Was It All Worth It (1991 HR)
bonus tracks
11) Hang On In There (2010 SC)
12) Chinese Torture (1991 HR)
13) Stealin' (2010 SC)
14) Hijack My Heart (2010 SC)
15) My Life Has Been Saved (2010 SC)  

Shall we tackle the rest?

JacquesDaniels user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 06:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not sure I agree with everything right there. Specifically, "My Fairy King" from the 1991 HR version. Might be just my disc, but there's a weird glitch right at the end of the song, where the sound goes weird for a few seconds and comes back to "normal" a bit after the last crash cymbal hit from Rog. Sadly, I only got a "Fame" re-release of the vinyl as an option to listen to, which I still prefer, because it sounds alright all the way. But I've heard the 1994 Parlophone/EMI remaster, and it's worse overall than the 1991 HR version, except for that glitch on my copy. Again, might be just my copy, I dunno. Does anyone else have this glitch?

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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 07:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My preferred version of the debut album is from the Crown Jewels set (1998 remasters, also by Peter Mew at Abbey Road, interestingly) and there's no drop-out glitch at the end of My Fairy King on it...


Joseph A. Silvey
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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 10:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not sure what you mean by "drop out glitch." After the last cymbal crash, at about 3:52, the guitar note is left to die out, there's a moment of near silence, then the guitar and piano have little coda to finish the song.

After Roger hits a pair of cymbals for the last time (his timing on one is a bit off), I can hear his drumstick tap together faintly.  

That's all I'm hearing at the end of the song.

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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 11:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What would everybody think the best Remaster from "Yeah" (12th track in MIH) be?
There are obvious differences, as I'm sure most of us have noticed.

The 2001 remaster is highly compressed to the point that the "h" is barely audible!

(I'm sure someone will do a frequence analysis of the track after reading this post) :P

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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 18:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I uploaded the Fairy clip to Mediafire, though I don't know if it works - never used Mediafire before. Here's the link which it gave me anyway:

http://www.mediafire.com/?mhbngyczgyy

The glitch is about 4 seconds long there, you should hear it rather clearly. My vinyl sounds much clearer.

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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 19:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Okay, maybe I'm thick. I like to think I'm not, but we're all human...

What am I hearing that is the glitch? There's the crescendo (the frantic building up) topped with two cymbal crashes and Brian's guitar carrying a over, over a slight pause, then the guitar and piano come back in.

If you could upload the "correct" version, a clip WITHOUT the glitch, I'd have something to compare it to. I don't have my record player available to listen to the vinyl version and I don't own the later remasters of this album.

I REALLY am dying to hear what you're hearing! Help a brother out.

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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 19:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

JacquesDaniels wrote: I uploaded the Fairy clip to Mediafire, though I don't know if it works - never used Mediafire before. Here's the link which it gave me anyway:

http://www.mediafire.com/?mhbngyczgyy

The glitch is about 4 seconds long there, you should hear it rather clearly. My vinyl sounds much clearer.
  i don't hear any dropout, glitch, or mastering error of any kind on this clip...  seems to me that this is just the very loose way the recording ended...


Joseph A. Silvey
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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 19:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I agree with Joe. It sounds fine to me. The clip posted sounds the same as the version I have on my Hollywood Records 1991 CD, both are as I described.

This reminds of a time a friend of mine said someone told him the doorslam after "Goodbye, Ma!" in "Loser In The End" was a glitch. I was like, "It sounds like a door slamming shut, as if the son is leaving home." He was like, "That's what I thought, too!"

For the record, it IS a door slamming sound, NOT a glitch.

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Posted: 17 Jun 10, 22:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Speaking of Queen II, here's my look at it..

I do have the 2001 Japanese remasters from the LP reproduction and it's what mostly gets used.

This brings me to a point unique to the first few albums. The segued tracks, which make up a good portion of each side. Different remasters place the tracks' seperations pints at, well, different points. This was quite noticable between the Hollywood Records and Japanese LP Reproduction remasters.

01) Procession (2001 JLP)
02) Father To Son (2001 JLP)
03) White Queen (2001 JLP)*
04) Some Day One Day (2001 JLP)
05) Loser In The End (2001 JLP)
06) Ogre Battle (2001 JLP)
07) The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke (2001 JLP)
08) Nevermore (2001 JLP)
09) The March Of The Black Queen (2001 JLP)
10) Funny How Love Is (2001 JLP)
11) The Seven Seas Of Rhye (2008 SC)
bonus track
12) See What A Fool I've Been (2008 SC)

Again, not much wiggle room.

* I'd love to use the 2008 Singles Collection remaster of "White Queen" but unless I get into serious cutting and pasting to maintain the proper seguing between tracks, it sounds choppy to include it as it's missing part of the segue, being mixed as a stand-alone track.

Doing two albums a post, just to keep things moving, here's Sheer Heart Attack:

01) Brighton Rock (1998 CJ)
02) Killer Queen (2008 SC)
03) Tenement Funster (1998 CJ)*
04) Flick Of The Wrist (1998 CJ)*
05) Lily Of The Valley (1998 CJ)*
06) Now I'm Here (2008 SC)
07) In The Lap Of The Gods (1998 CJ)
08) Stone Cold Crazy (1998 CJ)
09) Dear Friends (1998 CJ)
10) Misfire (1998 CJ)
11) Bring Back That Leroy Brown (1998 CJ)
12) She Makes Me (1998 CJ)
13) In The Lap  Of The Gods...Revisited (1998 CJ)

* Same issue as with Queen II, the segues are lost with the Single Versions, despite the superior remastering done for the Singles Collection. Oh well.

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 00:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

if anyone wants to secretly email me the 2010 breakthru singles collection remaster, my email address is zackbrown1@cox.net

please?

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 00:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyking - what is CJ ???

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 00:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Oh, sorry...

1998 CJ = 1998 Crown Jewels boxed set remasters.

The first post lists the different series of remasters issued since 1991. I tried to abbreviate them for easy descriptions.

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 00:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking wrote:

Oh, sorry...

1998 CJ = 1998 Crown Jewels boxed set remasters.

The first post lists the different series of remasters issued since 1991. I tried to abbreviate them for easy descriptions.


Thanks. I always thought that they simply used the Abbey Road remasters, good (?) to know that they remastered it again

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 02:20 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sorry, can't send the other version quite yet, I'll be away for the whole weekend so I'll get back on the subject on Sunday. It's just that, to me, those 4 seconds in the clip go a bit tinny or something very strange, because the crash cymbal sort of "clicks" back into it's ordinary sound midway through it's final hit, like some part of the original master tape was a bit too worn, I dunno. I'll send the other clip on Sunday.

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 04:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I didn't even know that they'd been remastered for the Crown Jewels set in 1998, but what kind of remastering did they get?
Saying it's an LP remaster would suggest someone took the original vinyl and just cleaned it up to de-hiss and de-crackle it.... ;)

It REALLY IS about time all the albums were redone PROPERLY from the original tapes and re-released on CD as the final, once and for all, definitive versions.
I just hope they don't piss about and take 3 or 4 years to release them all like they have with the new Vinyl sets.
I also hope these would be considered "extras" to the release schedule, otherwise we'll be getting another few years of nothing new.....

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 09:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

brians wig wrote: I didn't even know that they'd been remastered for the Crown Jewels set in 1998, but what kind of remastering did they get?
Saying it's an LP remaster would suggest someone took the original vinyl and just cleaned it up to de-hiss and de-crackle it.... ;)

It REALLY IS about time all the albums were redone PROPERLY from the original tapes and re-released on CD as the final, once and for all, definitive versions.
I just hope they don't piss about and take 3 or 4 years to release them all like they have with the new Vinyl sets.
I also hope these would be considered "extras" to the release schedule, otherwise we'll be getting another few years of nothing new.....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Crown Jewels booklet says all tracks were 24-bit remastered by Peter Mew at Abbey Road studios, for the 1998 CJ release.  As far as I know, these versions were not utilized again anywhere else. 

Now, the VINYL remasters are different - not because they de-clicked and cleaned up the audio from a vinyl source.  It still begins with the original master sourced audio, but what is done to the audio (EQing, compression & limiting) is dfferent, taking into consideration it will be copied to vinyl. 

There's actually a lot of debate as to whether that's even necessary.  I've heard vinyl that sounded much different than the same music on CD (better), and i've heard vinyl that sounded exactly like the cd (playing over some pops & clicks).  There's no scientific proof that the dynamic range is better or broader with vinyl.  neither one is capable of an EXACT duplication of the master, and vinyl has further limitations because of how the stylus tracks the grooves imperfectly.

for me, the point is - if remasters are done well, the resulting audio should sound great on a CD or a vinyl record, and the Singles Collections are certainly that...


Joseph A. Silvey
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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 12:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

1991 Hollywood Records Remaster Series (US)

Kevin Metcalf, at Town House Studios:
Sheer Heart Attack, A Day At The Races, News Of The World, Hot Space

Stephen Marcussen, at Precision Mastering:
A Night At The Opera, Flash Gordon

Eddy Screyer, at Future Disc Systems:
Queen, Queen II, Jazz, Live Killers, The Game, The Works, A Kind Of Magic, The Miracle

1994 Digital Master Series (UK)
Honestly, I don't much about this Series, other than the following:

- Queen through Innuendo were issued
- These remasters were used on all the Parlophone Made In Heaven B-sides, including the Fat Bottomed Girls "glitch" version. Can anyone tell me if the 1994 DMS Jazz album has this glitch also?
- These Remasters were used for Queen Rocks, which also has this glitch on "FBG".
- According to the Queen Rocks sleeve notes, it's mastering was done by Kevin Metcalf, but it's unclear if he did the entire catalogue or just this collection.

1998 Crown Jewels LP Reproduction CDs (Boxed Set) (US)

- Queen through The Game
- Remastered by Peter Mew, at Abbey Road Studios
- Curiously, "Keep Yourself Alive (Long Lost Re-Take)" was remastered at this point as well, appearing as the first track on the Crown Jewels Promo Sampler CD. It sounds only ever-so-slightly better than the 1991 HR remaster, but not by much.

2001 Queen Digital Remasters Series(Japan)/2004 Japanese LP Reproduction CD (Japan)

Sorry, in my previous posts my brain froze and I sort of melded these releases together, probably because they do use the same Remasters. Also, this is where things get interesting, as we learn:

- Queen through Made In Heaven
- this new batch was also done by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios
- These tracks were used for Greatest Hits: 'We Will Rock You" Edition (US)
- Peter Mew also remastered the various Single Versions and Live Versions which appear on that collection.

2008 Absolute Greatest collection

It's not a series, just the  collection, but it does feature an exclusive set of remastered tracks, by Bob Ludwig.

2008,2009,2010 Singles Collections (Volumes 1 to 3)

Yeah, I'm grouping them together for ease of posting. You'll see why:

- Peter Mew did these collections as well, seemingly now being Queen Productions "go to" guy at Abbey Road.

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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 12:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

great summation of info, Rhye...    so could it be that Peter Mew's remasters for the CJ set in 1998 were utilized as-is for the 2001 Japan remasters (obviously only for Queen through The Game)?

also, not to jump the gun, but i've heard many opinions that the best sounding Innuendo tracks are the 1991 HR edition.  I have the 2001 Japan remaster, but i got rid of my HR version.  Pretty sure I did an A/B comparison test (I usually do before I sell off a previous edition to replace with a remaster) and must have decided the JP was better...  opinions, thoughts? 

if i have to wait 'til we get there in sequence, i shall (arms crossed, looking around, tapping foot...)


Joseph A. Silvey
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Posted: 18 Jun 10, 13:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

When I was compiling the details of the various remaster series, it was the first time I really examined who the different people were and when they did the job. It crossed my mind that Peter Mew might have re-used the 1998 CJ remasters for the 2001 and 2004 re-issues, but that doesn't appear to be the case, despite the same guy doing it (Peter Mew) at the same location (Abbey Road). From what promotional material I found online, advertising each new release, it was repeated throughout, to paraphrase: "newly remastered by Peter Mew in 2001 at Abbey Road Studio"

It COULD be that this is one piece of wrong information repeated over and over. Or not.

Out of curiousity, I did an A/B test, comparing the 1998 Killer Queen (from Sheer Heart Attack CJ remaster) to the 2001 Killer Queen (from the Japan Digital Remaster Series "Greatest Hits 1"). Funny enough, I could hear no difference.

Then I did an A/B (B/C?) test with the 2004 Killer Queen (from the Greatest Hits: WWRY Ed.).

All three sound pretty much the same.

This could tell us something...or it could tell us nothing. Just because the track was remastered a second time doesn't mean he'd achieve a different result.

However, I also compared the 2008 Singles Collection remaster to the rest and found a warmer, but just as clear, sound, which to my ear is the best remaster of the song so far.

What did I learn from this? Not much. As I said, he could have achieved the same result repeatedly before something in his technique, metaphoric ear, or the technology changed, allowing for a better result.

Also, comparing one track does not a valid sample pool make.