Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Highest Quality Collection of Queen?

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Typhoon859 user not visiting
Be Gentle, I'm a newbie: 12 posts
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Posted: 22 Nov 10, 01:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So I've been coming across many versions of Queen albums and basically, what I started looking for is the highest quality version of each song that could possibly be available.  What I know for the most part is that there are of course the original digital releases of the albums on CD, then I know that Greatest Hits albums I & II have been remastered in The Platinum Collection, there are the Japan remastered albums by Toshiba-EMI, and finally I know that the DTS released albums also have the songs in stereo PCM which have also been reworked a bit.  I'm sure there are more releases than these though.   

Anyway, my questions is, out of what has been released, which did the best job at mastering?  For example, compared to the original, the albums remastered in Japan (for the most part) have a bit of a clearer sound in general and the bass is noticeably louder/more defined.  The thing is, I am sure a much better job can be done as many of the small little hitches here and there still exist in the fullest.  For instance, in Queen II, March of the Black Queen still has those popping clicks throughout parts of the song.  I have yet to find a version where the has been cleaned up.  It's fairly noticeable and easy to fix at that...  Throughout the first few albums, many parts with distortion from symbol crashes or instances with loud falsetto like in Ogre Battle aren't really cleaned up.  Due to albums like Greatest Hits or just random releases limited to something specific, I'm also sure that the entire Queen discography released by just one particular group or another couldn't possibly have the highest quality version of each song.  So guys and gals, any suggestions? :D  Considering all the talk about this before, maybe a list has already been compiled?

smilebrian user not visiting

Bohemian: 103 posts
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Posted: 22 Nov 10, 05:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This is a very difficult list to compile properly. I haven't ever heard of anyone with an exhaustive list of all releases to compare them properly. It's pointless just comparing the Hollywood 91, EMI 94 and Japan 01/04 as all these releases are fairly rubbish. The Japanese sound good at first, but the more you listen the more you realise Pete Mew has EQ'd the hell out of them. 

Further, you need pristine copies of first press vinyl to use as a half decent reference points. Collecting decent early press vinyl is very difficult in itself. Some sound ordinary, and the odd one sounds fantastic. Overall, good quality vinyl beats even the best CD's as the naturalness of instrumentation and dynamic range murders digital. Of the remastered vinyl I've heard, A Day at the Races Millennium Edition sounds magnificent. A Night at the Opera centenary edition is nice, better than the half speed mastered 30th anniversary to my ears (although virtually all of these were warped). Unfortunately I haven't heard the DCC ANATO or the MFSL versions of The Game, ADATR or ANATO. 

As for CD, there is far more crap then decent releases. To do a proper comparo you'd need someone with the full suite of first release CD's along with the DCC ANATO and the MFSL NOTW, ANATO, ADATR and The Game. I have the ANATO Bob Ludwig 2005 release which is very good, but I don't have the DCC/MFSL to compare with (but my vinyl is far preferable). Add to all this, The Game, News of the World and Greatest Hits Target CD's from West Germany which receive very favourable reviews and you start to see why a proper comparison of the quality versions is very difficult!!!

I have the MFSL News of the World which is the best digital version of this album that I've heard. The Game from MFSL is also the best version I've heard, but not as involving as the News of the World release. Possibly this was down to the original production or maybe I just can't get past that lovely 70's sound!

One day I hope to have the complete list but I'm several years and lots of dollars away. I think it's too much to expect Universal to do a proper job and make the various back copies redundant, but I can keep hoping.

Soundfreak user not visiting

Bohemian: 378 posts
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Posted: 22 Nov 10, 06:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As long as most cds are coming from the same mastertape/copy with always the same limitations and even - see Queen 2 - clicks and noises, it doesn't really matter, whether it's a Japanese pressing or the third remaster from whomever.
Everyone has a different stereo system at home so in the end it's up to you, if you like more bass or treble. 
Instead of buying several copies of the same album it's much easier to get an own soundprogramm for restoring and mastering, so that you can make the album sound the way you like it. 

The only real differences can be found in few alternate mixes like maybe the "Unter Pressure"- version, that appeared on Hollywood, which is a different mix even lacking some vocals. So there you hear a difference in sound. Or the ANATO or Game- Remixes and the ones for the Video DVDs. 

Apart from this it will be interesting to find out, if the coming Universal versions will be further useless remasters or faithfull remixes from the original multitracks. That would be the only option of interest.