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  1. #1

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    Default Just listened to the Audio Fidelity master of YES 90125

    Let me start off by saying YUK! I do not like this master. I went into listening to it with no pre-conceptions. I came out of listening to it with the feeling that there was a veil that was put over my audio system. I think it was because the high end and midrange were severely limited, it seemed to me. On the outer cover of the CD it says and I quote "The original dynamic range of this recording was not maximized, brickwalled, limited or compressed in any way during remastering." I would agree with this statement that the dynamics were not compressed during the remastering. But, Steve Hoffman definately did not align the tape heads (or something similar) to cause the midrange and high end of this recording to be severely limited. I thought there was a problem with one of my components when "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" started. It may be their "proprietary analog to digital converter which reinforces the resolution of the original masters adding a 'true breath of life' to the music" that made this master sound the way it does. Whatever it was that cut out the midrange and high end, it destroyed the sound.

    After I finished listening to the rest of the album, I went and got my West German first pressing of this CD and put "Hearts" on to do an A/B test of the song. Needless to say, the West German first pressing was much better than the remastered Audio Fidelity CD. The veil had been lifted and the audio sounded better. Although, the high end was a tad harsh, but at least it had a high end.:D Anyway, if you were thinking about buying the Audio Fidelity version of YES's 90125 don't bother. Instead look for the West German first pressing of the CD as the mastering is much better than the Audio Fidelity CD. I hope not all the Audio Fidelity CDs are this badly mastered, I will have to listen to the next Audio Fidelity CD I buy before I actually buy it. I would suggest you do the same.

    Greg
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  2. #2

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    I would contact AF. They've had a bunch of quality control problems based on some of what I have read (of course everything on the internet is true!). MoFi recently sent out replacement discs for one of its remasters due to quality problems.
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  3. #3

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    I am not sure it is actually a quality control problem as far as disc manufacturing goes. I think it is a mastering problem, from what I can tell anyway.

    Out of curiosity, what was the Mofi disc(s) title(s) that had replacement discs sent out? I am interested in hearing more.

    Greg

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    Very surprising. Hoffman's stuff is usually very good. I have two vinyl versions of 90125 that both sound outstanding. I also have a cd version made in Canada that sounds great as well. Could be a manufacturing glitch.
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  5. #5

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    It was one of the Little Feat CD's. Dixie Chicken.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fongolio View Post
    Very surprising. Hoffman's stuff is usually very good. I have two vinyl versions of 90125 that both sound outstanding. I also have a cd version made in Canada that sounds great as well. Could be a manufacturing glitch.
    Yeah, I like the DCC Hoffman mastering of Cream's "Wheels of Fire" CD. I think it sounds good. That was a different A/D converter though and certainly a different tape deck used to master the analog tape. This mastering of 90125 is horrible though. If it is a manufacturing problem, I will see if they will issue me another copy.

    Greg

  7. #7

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    While I haven't purchased YES 90125 (because I don't like them, no offense Greg), I have purchased a lot of other recent AF releases. You might say that they are SH's answer to the loudness wars. He does a flat transfer from the original master tape. Basically, you are hearing it just like you would from the master.

    It could be that you are not use to hearing a CD without all the wiz-bang stuff added. Give it another listen with the volume cranked, see if it grows on you.

    BTW, the manufacturing problems have pretty much been limited to clicks from a bad digital file. Both AF and MoFi have been very good about replacing anything defective.
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  8. #8

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    Jesse,

    No offense taken about YES. They are probably my favorite band, but I realise they are not for everyone. I still hope you can appreciate the mastery of instrumentation and writing abilities they hold (although the earlier stuff i.e pre-1980's is the best). Anyway back on topic.

    If this is the way the the master tape sounds, it must have degraded over the past 28 years as it does not sound good at all. The West German first pressing sounds better and when they did the first pressings, I think they pretty much mastered the audio directly like the AF supposedly was. I don't think they manipulated it too much. It is most apparent with the West German pressing of the untitled fourth album by Led Zeppelin. This master is totally different than any other master there is, and is still the best as far as track spacing and completeness of the tracks although I realise the remasters sound better, but they are not as complete as the West German pressing. Plus, there is less manipulation of the sound when compared to the George Marino/Page remasters. It is the analog tape put onto CD basically.

    That is basically what the West German pressing of 90125 is, but the master tapes must have been in much better shape than they are now. The vocals sound muffled and subdued, and the drums sound the same. The master doesn't sound like it's just the analog tape mastered onto CD, but that there is something wrong with the mastering (i.e. tape deck, A/D conversion, or degraded master tape) that has caused the problem. I usually prefer an non-tweaked master Jesse (i.e. NOT like the new Genesis remasters in the boxed set which are much too loud), but I feel there is something wrong here with this one.

    That said, I will give it another shot. I did the A/B comarison at about the same volume level, but I will increase the volume to see if that helps. I'll let you know.

    Greg
    Last edited by headrott; 05-07-2010 at 04:00 AM.

  9. #9

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    In a way I understand what you are saying about the sound coming off as muffled and subdued. When I put in the recent AF release of Machine Head with the volume knob at about the 9 o'clock position, which is usually where I start, I found that I had to crank it to about noon to get it pumping. However, I didn't give it much thought as I have other, non-SH mastered CD's that need to be cranked.
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    Realize that a recording that has not had the dynamic range compressed WILL sound low until the high impact stuff comes into play. Perhaps that can explain some of the differences, perhaps not.

    When I put on the SACD of the 1812 Overture, it is incredibly low at the beginning, but if you've cranked it for that, WATCH OUT when the cannons hit~
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  11. #11

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    So, I went over to the SH forum to see what folks there had to say and oddly enough, I couldn't find any discussion on the new YES release.
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  12. #12

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    Hmmm, it would have been interesting to read what other people are saying about the Hoffman remaster. I wonder if there is a discussion about it on the Yesfans site. I will look there and see.

    Greg

  13. #13

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    Absolutely nothing about it at Yesfans either. I don't know if anyone else has heard this CD?

    Greg

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    Greg, Just looked at AF's site and they do not show it available for purchase at this time. They usually do that when there is a problem with the release. I'd suggest you call them, talk to Heather.
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  15. #15

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    Thanks Jesse for the lead. I will give them a call on tuesday and see what they say about it.

    Greg

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    You better hang on to that disc, it may be a collectors item. What's the number on the back of the slipcase?
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  17. #17

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    It's number 2741. Yeah, some of these discs end up selling for rediculous amounts of money don't they.

    Greg

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    I just listened to this CD again and I can notice a definate hum in the background of every song. It sounds almost like a transformer hum (to me). The original 90125 CD (the one pictured above at the beginning of the thread) definately does not have this hum. It has something to do with the re-mastering of the album or the pressing of it onto the CD. I wonder if it is a "bad" component when they mastered the tape to a digital format, and this is what is causing the horrible fidelity of this CD? It seems like it would make sense to me. Anyone else own this CD and can give a listen?

    Greg

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    Ya know, that disc never did "sound" great. Kinda thin to my recollection. Bummer about the remaster.

  20. #20

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    I bet that West German target CD came from a EQ'ed dup master. I have a 1st gen Made in USA CD and the following remaster by Bill Inglot. The difference between the two were minor with the remaster being louder. 90125 was never a sonic masterpiece in any respect.

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    Hmmm....now that I have the West German "target" CD and the DCC 24K gold version, it's time for the big shoot-out....

  22. #22

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    Please let me know what you think Danny. The West German 1st pressing sounds better to me than the Audio Fidelity CD, with the exception of the smoothness of the audio. The Audio Fidelity has that definite hum in the background too. Let me know if you hear it.

    Greg

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