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Meaning of digital effect in Songs From The Big Chair album?


gaiusparx

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Tears For Fears' Songs from the Big Chair 24/96 is now on HDTracks. There is a side note which stated "2014 Remaster - Original 1983 analog recording contains digital effects". The explaination:

 

Songs From The Big Chair was originally recorded on 1/2" analog tape in 1983 using a digital compressor that cut frequencies higher than 20hKz before being written to tape. This 2014 remaster was done by Andy Walter, at Abbey Road Studios from these same analog tapes which were transferred to digital at 96kHz/24-bit.

 

Does it mean the quality is not that good? Why the need to use digital compressor in music production?

 

Songs From The Big Chair | HDtracks

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Tears For Fears' Songs from the Big Chair 24/96 is now on HDTracks. There is a side note which stated "2014 Remaster - Original 1983 analog recording contains digital effects". The explaination:

 

 

 

Does it mean the quality is not that good? Why the need to use digital compressor in music production?

 

Songs From The Big Chair | HDtracks

 

Well if the original master tapes went through a digital compressor from those years it was probably 44.1 khz/16 bit. This means unlike the tape before it went through the digital process there will be nothing above 20khz (good analog tape would have had the response up into the mid 20khz range.

 

If they don't have the analog tapes previous to the master, then they don't have the chance to handle things better. Nevertheless, the 96/24 transfer should be of excellent fidelity to the master that was used. As that master passed through a 44/16 stage chances are getting the 44/24 or 44/16 version of it would sound as good as the tape could sound.

 

Now you still may be getting a master with different choices in EQ and other factors. So it may sound better than any previous version of this album. But it won't have frequency response or dynamic range of a real 96/24 recording because of the 44/16 bottleneck.

 

As for why they used a digital compressor you have to ask the people who did it. Such things were available back then, and in this case used.

 

It is good to see HD tracks doing this. In the past they issued as hirez material things clearly taken right from redbook CD. And it doesn't mean it won't sound good.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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