Sound Quality

Serious discussion about the band known as QUEEN.

Sound Quality

Postby Jimi » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:16 pm

I'm curious to get the views of folks re the sound quality of the Queen catalogue in any of the formats.
As I'm a bit of an audiophile ( that's not illegal by the way) there has been debates raging for years about various releases and their relative quality.
For me the best releases are the original pressings (UK) on vinyl with German pressings a close second.
On a related point its interesting that Queen do not feature prominently in forums of great recordings considering the perception of such high quality production (allegedly)
Whether its that the music is somewhat 'busy' that detracts from it I don't know but having said that they wouldn't be in my top 20 and i've been a fan for 40 years.
Anyway for me the 3 best 'recorded' albums they made are SHA ,NOTW and the The Game.
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby Eli » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:31 pm

I would posit that the original CD releases, which came out gradually in the 80s, have the best sound quality, since they were generally straight transfers from the master tapes. All the subsequent CD releases have had, as far as I know, at least some dynamic range compression (and at times a lot of compression) after-the-fact.
Vinyl *can* be high-fidelity, but CD outshines vinyl in nearly every circumstance when it comes to frequency reproduction (and consistency thereof throughout the "side"), dynamic range (because of the noise floor), bass decentering possibilities (because there's no elliptical EQ needed), and lack of clicks/pops/hiss. And anyway, vinyl eventually wears out (diamond/ceramic stylus) whereas CDs don't (optical reading).
 
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby Jimi » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:35 am

I don't recall the 80's cd's being particularly earth shattering so maybe i'll revisit them ; unless we are talking about the DDD editions of AKOM etc. The Queen 2 release was poor. I may have a bad copy of course as I do have an Argentinan print cd of Innuendo that's truly awful so anything's possible
The analogue to digital transfer early examples seemed thin and listless. Much the same as the Led Zeppelin sets around that time.
I agree that the editions since have been tampered with regardless of what they 'claim' with the Studio Collection and offer nothing to my ears superior.
We'll agree to disagree on the relative scientific merits of the formats. That's a wider discussion but your points are interesting.
 
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby Wild/Wind » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:45 am

SHA, ANATO, THE GAME, HOT SPACE mack did great job, very pioneer for its time. The music is another topic. Some songs from AKOM like AKOM, Princes of the universe and Made in heaven 1995
 
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby Kes » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:56 am

I believe the techniques used on moving the 2011 remasters onto vinyl, involved digitally filtering out as much of the hiss as possible, and then playing that file over a studio based top end system, and recording that sound in an analogue environment. Then using that analogue tape as a cutting master.

All the late 2000's Parlophone vinyls that were original analogue recordings, according to Justin Smith, didn't go digital at ANY part of the process.
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby Kes » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:04 pm

As regards which pressings I prefer, from the original vinyl issues, I've got a soft spot for the German dynamic pressing of the first album, I guess circa 1975 or so, as the early German ones were cut at constant pitch, and don't sound as good. UK pressings of Queen II through to ADATR. With Jazz, I guess pretty much any that used the Sterling pressing plates cut by George Marino, apparently with Roy Baker in attendence. The German pressing of NOTW. Allen Zentz masters of The Game, so US or UK ones. As regards the later albums, I must admit I DO think putting the last two on double vinyls has improved the sound quality immensely.

Out of the recent Studio Collection vinyls, I DO find it a bit weird that their longest album up to about The Miracle, ie Jazz, has probably the biggest area of dead wax (in other words, cut quieter and tighter) out of the lot of them.
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby Jimi » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:08 am

very interesting observations. I must check them out.
I do agree that putting the double albums into the box set has improved them. I also think Jazz benefits in the box set as there is less sibilance than before. I have a Japanese Elektra Queen 1 that is just stunning. Must be 200 gram vinyl and is 30 years old. Plays beautifully. Very open.

I'm going to a music lounge event evening next month that is Queen dedicated.
Looking forward to see what the real top end equipment makes of it all.
I'll report back on that
 
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby TheHero » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:09 pm

I listened to Fun In Space on Spotify (probably remaster ?) and discovered what must have been a *failure in the mastertape in the song My Country I & II at 5:20. My guess is that it probably happened when they transferred the song from the old master tapes to digital form (CD).


I compared it to my first press 1981 vinyl, but that one was perfect, no problems with the audio there. :)


I wonder if the failure can be found on the first CD, and maybe also on the new Omnivore record and the new Omnivore CD ? I don't know, but maybe someone can check this out ?


So far, 1-0 to the first press vinyl when it comes to perfection :)


*(The failure sounds like when you play an old stereo cassette that is worn out). It only last for a couple if seconds, sounding a bit shaky.
 
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby QueenVault » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:53 pm

Based on vinyl speed comparisons, findings seem to indicate that of the two existing remasters of Fun In Space, the 1996 CD is the more faithful reproduction of the original vinyl. The 2013 remaster varies in speed from track to track and overall does not stay true to the 1981 release. Both remasters experience minor fluctuations to varying degrees within each track, the cause of which may be damage/stretching to the master tape. The speed fluctuations/drift in and of themselves are not serious drawbacks to the listening experience and are so slight as to be unnoticeable outside direct comparison with the original 1981 vinyl, the exception being the 2013 remaster of "My Country I & II", whose fluctuations are very pronounced. In terms of overall speed, the 1996 remaster is virtually identical to the original vinyl and would be my suggestion as the choice for listeners.
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby TheHero » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:13 am

QueenVault wrote:Based on vinyl speed comparisons, findings seem to indicate that of the two existing remasters of Fun In Space, the 1996 CD is the more faithful reproduction of the original vinyl. The 2013 remaster varies in speed from track to track and overall does not stay true to the 1981 release. Both remasters experience minor fluctuations to varying degrees within each track, the cause of which may be damage/stretching to the master tape. The speed fluctuations/drift in and of themselves are not serious drawbacks to the listening experience and are so slight as to be unnoticeable outside direct comparison with the original 1981 vinyl, the exception being the 2013 remaster of "My Country I & II", whose fluctuations are very pronounced. In terms of overall speed, the 1996 remaster is virtually identical to the original vinyl and would be my suggestion as the choice for listeners.



Thanks for the information! :)

The only 2 versions I have; the original 1981 vinyl record and the 1996 CD.
 
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby cmsdrums » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:31 am

As an additional thought/comment, outside the technical ways in which the music is reproduced onto various media and even outside the quality of the song writing, but it frustrates me that Queen are often excluded from most 'serious' debates about pioneers in recorded music.

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and ABBA are often cited, but purely for musical and technical innovation and the SOUND of their 70s records, Queen pretty much beat the lot (whilst accepting that The Beatles 'started it all'). Listen to any Queen album from Sheer Heart Attack onwards and it could pretty much have been recorded yesterday, with open drums, crisp tight bass etc...whereas their contemporaries (whether that be The Eagles, ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Billy Joel etc,etc) mostly all sonically sound dated, stale and clearly of their time (cardboard box drums, dated ideas and arrangements). (again, I reiterate I am taking about the sound and the thinking behind it, not the songwriting).

The band, along with Mike Stone and Roy Thomas Baker, should be lauded far more than they are for their studio prowess.
 
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Re: Sound Quality

Postby nickguy1 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:43 am

cmsdrums wrote:As an additional thought/comment, outside the technical ways in which the music is reproduced onto various media and even outside the quality of the song writing, but it frustrates me that Queen are often excluded from most 'serious' debates about pioneers in recorded music.

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and ABBA are often cited, but purely for musical and technical innovation and the SOUND of their 70s records, Queen pretty much beat the lot (whilst accepting that The Beatles 'started it all'). Listen to any Queen album from Sheer Heart Attack onwards and it could pretty much have been recorded yesterday, with open drums, crisp tight bass etc...whereas their contemporaries (whether that be The Eagles, ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Billy Joel etc,etc) mostly all sonically sound dated, stale and clearly of their time (cardboard box drums, dated ideas and arrangements). (again, I reiterate I am taking about the sound and the thinking behind it, not the songwriting).

The band, along with Mike Stone and Roy Thomas Baker, should be lauded far more than they are for their studio prowess.


Queen albums always sound so fresh
 
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