• Hello and Welcome to HiFiVision.com - an online community for the home entertainment and tech enthusiasts!

    If you would like to ask a question, participate in a discussion and view attachments please Register yourself.

Reason for masters being transferred digitally for new reissues?

Subscibe to HiFiMART Newsletter

peace_sells

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
532
Points
63
Location
Bangalore/Kawasaki
I see a lot of people complaining (at various forums over the internet) about the fact that masters are being transferred digitally for new reissues of old classic albums. The argument generally made is that if the transfer was done digitally, then what's the point of playing it on vinyl?

I was just reading the release details of the new half-speed master reissue of Cream's Disraeli Gears at Abbey Road Studios. Here are some quotes from the release page:

4.What was the source for this record?

Digital transfers made from the original MONO masters (with edits) from Atlantic Studios NYC, 1967 - transfers were made at Sterling Sound, NYC, in 2013 This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known analogue tape in existence. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for the loudness war and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.

5.Why could it not be cut all analogue?

The biggest variable when cutting from tape is the replay machine. Every individual roller in the tapes path will have a direct effect on the quality of the audio emanating from the machine. In addition to this, there is the issue of the sub 30Hz low-frequency roll off on an advance head disc-cutting tape machine which in effect will come into play at 60 Hz when running at half speed. In addition to this, there are also some unpredictable frequency anomalies in the 35-38 Hz region with analogue tape that will double up at half speed. These are all problems if you want to hear as originally intended the lowest register of the bass end on a recording. There is also the lesser potential problem of tape weave that effectively increases at lower speeds and leads to less high frequency stability and the possibility of minor azimuth errors. Even if these problems could be overcome, the source tapes for this album are held in an archive in America. The days of shipping precious analogue masters over the Atlantic are long gone. Even if Universal were to break their internal no overseas shipping rule, it would be close to impossible to get insurance cover for the tapes. Also analogue tape becomes degraded with each pass over the replay heads. These tapes are getting old and it is no longer considered good practise to play and play and play precious old original masters for fear of wearing them out. I can completely understand the reasons for the concerns that some people have when cutting classic albums from digital sources. Historically, there have been some horrible digital transfers used as a vinyl cutting source. This has absolutely not been the case with this series. Micro-management of the audio and attention to detail has been the order of the day.


You can read the rest here:

The Abbey Road Store

Does this explanation/excuse for not being able to make analogue transfer, make sense? Does it really matter (sound quality wise) if the transfer is done digitally at such high resolution, or in an analogue way? Because I have listened to some of these digitally transferred master vinyl reissues..and some of them sound really amazing (Pink Floyd's Wall reissue is a perfect example).
 
Last edited:

thomacho

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
165
Points
43
Location
Thodupuzha
I totally agree with this post where the digital transfer is taken care of with minimal compression etc, the resulting reissues sound incredible as is the case with many LPs unlike some mediocre digital transfer of some Indian LPs , the hits of Yesudas being an example which is sad and total waste of money!.

Sent from my Micromax A350 using Tapatalk
 

kartick

Active Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
517
Points
43
Location
Delhi
I have tried out the John Martyn's incredible 'Solid Air' album and Free's 'Fire and Water' from Abbey Road's half speed remaster series. Both these LPs sound quite amazing. There is a touch of cold/digital feel to it but I don't have the original pressings to compare those against. But resolution/dynamic range is impeccable.

With Amazon's brilliant online discounts, the decision to go in for these 2 purchases became easier. Solid Air is one heck of an album. Folks can try it first on digital medium as well. It is a keeper.
 
Top