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Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Celebration) at HD Tracks


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Before my collection burnt in a house fire, I had the MFSL Gold edition. Sounded good but not as good, to my ears as the original 96/24 High Resolution download from HD Tracks.

 

I really like this album (a lot of sentimental value and memories tied up in it, and I guess for anyone who grew up in that time) for the songs as much as the engineering and production.

 

So has anyone purchased the 2014 remastered High Resolution download?

 

If so, is it sonically superior, as say The Beatles 2009 remasters were?

 

Any opinions or analysis appreciated.

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To my ears this one is ghastly. I compared it to a few others and they were all better. My preferences were the MFSL (a little murky but more evenly eqed), and the SHM-SACD (a flat clean transfer which could have used a bit of good mastering, but is a relief that it is free of bad mastering). For reference, the DVD-A (previous HDtracks version?) sounds big and clear, but is dynamically compressed and fatiguing. The 2003 SACD is too trebly for me.

 

But I'm sure many will have a completely different opinion.

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How many remasters of this album are there now? Look for the original MCA CD. I have an old MCA "Greatest Hits" CD with "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" on it and I've been told that these old MCA discs are the best mastering.

 

I am assuming there are at least two, the 2014 and a previous one (done in the mid 90s?) as "The Elton John Remasters" on the spine. I can't imagine that the original mastering done on the earliest releases of the record (and all MCA releases likes Whos Next) in the late 80s sound better, but I may be wrong.

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I can't imagine that the original mastering done on the earliest releases of the record (and all MCA releases likes Whos Next) in the late 80s sound better, but I may be wrong.

 

Actually Im finding this to be the case more and more. Remasters from 1995 to current, generally sound worse than ones done before that. Maybe the master tapes were in better shape earlier, maybe the temptation to use crappy digital tech and excessive dynamic range compression by interns, yielded worse results than a proper analog mastering straight into the ADC, by people who knew what they were doing.

 

Case in point, some of the earliest CD versions - the yellow spine VDJ CD series actually sound better than some of the new, expensive 24-192 remasters from HDtracks. Its jaw dropping how good some are in comparison.

 

I heard a few years back that the production master of GYBR was so damaged it was unusable. Maybe thats why the SHM-SACD sounds so good - it was from a 1st gen Jap master copy that has been stored carefully and now sounds better than the damaged tape it was copied from. So the only way forward is to make a new master from the multi tracks. And for this 2014 release they could have done that. It even sounds a little like a remix as the vocals (which often sound like they are through a small TV speaker) are mixed lower than the instruments around them. Or has it simply been heavily eqed so that the instruments become bigger than the midrange voice?

 

Have just added the MCA to my long term shopping list.

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Before my collection burnt in a house fire, I had the MFSL Gold edition. Sounded good but not as good, to my ears as the original 96/24 High Resolution download from HD Tracks.

 

If you like the original HDtracks release you can safely pass on the new one. I A/B'd them and they are very similar. I bought the new one hoping for more. One difference is the new one is louder and clips and the old one does not.

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Sigh.... that's progress for you.

 

Indeed, this is exactly what I feared. Thanks for all who replied, I definitely will pass. FYI, I have an iTunes .m4a of "Tumbleweed Connection" that seems to sound better (again subjectively to my ears) than the 96/24 of GYBR. Even factoring in different studios or engineers etc. the clarity (could it be compression?) is stark.

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One difference is the new one is louder and clips and the old one does not.

 

I wonder if the source for this new hide scam is actually the new BD-A of 'Goodbye'? Its one of the new 'Pure Audio' releases which are almost universally dynamically compressed with bad treble. Cam out almost the same week and are '40th Anniversary'. Sure has that bad Pure Audio sound...

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