Are there any GOOD Dylan SACD remasters?

Wow, I've bought a few SACD only and HYBRID Bob Dylan remasters, and unfortunately all but Blood On The Tracks has been a let down? Is it that the engineers doing the remaster think they need to make it clearer, and therefore add top end? To me, it would seem you would just issue the same recording, same mix, same levels, on the new medium WITHOUT SCREWING WITH IT?? Isn't getting it in SACD going to give us better sound anyway?

Am I alone in this? Correct me if I'm wrong, the original master tape offers sonic's obscured by conventional CD technology. So an SACD allows us to hear the original master tape more closely to it's actual sound. Where in this process does it say that some rookie comes in and tries to make it sound better?

Jesus! Bob is in his 60's, and even if he was present on the remaster that wouldn't make me happy. All I want is more of what was originally recorded, offered naturally by SACD. It was a good recording to start with, and Bob can't hear as well as he did 25 years ago!

Yeah, some of my favorite later Dylan needs some help, Time Out Of Mind sounds like Bob is singing through a meggaphone frequently, extremely nasal vocals, and not even well recorded to begin with in my opinion. No remaster is gonna solve this. So how does the SACD HYBRID sound? Tom
I tend to agree Tom, many of the songs soung unnaturally altered & Blood is the best I've heard all the way through. Half the tracks on Nashville Skyline are good and a couple from Blond on Blond. I actually prefer the remastered Greatest Hits disc's.
Correct me if I'm wrong, the original master tape offers sonic's obscured by conventional CD technology.

OK, you're wrong. The "problem" isn't CD technology; the "problem" is they're using a different master, and you don't like that master as much as the old one. Oher people like the new versions better. To each his own.
From what reference recording of yours are they a letdown? I am curious because I think the SACD re-issues are, for the most part, very good. If your reference recordings are original vinyl pressings, then the SACD probably is a letdown. I didn't have many Dylan LPs at all, so I was replacing CD issues of his catalog, and the SACDs are vastly superior to the CDs of the same material.
I think all of them are good in comparison to the original CD's however I'm a music fan not an Audiophile.

As for the startling news that Dylan sounds nasal-really?
Here's my original thoughts on the series.
I have nothing to compare them to, and really never paid much attention to him - his peak was somewhat before my music-loving youth. But I really enjoy the SACD versions, especially getting them for six bucks from BMG, and marvel at what an incredible string of albums he put out back in the day.
Bought the 15 disc set and find it very good. I feel some of the older releases were not as good as the newer, but that is to be expected. Maybe the BluRay audio format (if/when) will be better but the master tapes can only deliver so much resolution.
I don't think the masters are different although they've probably been eq'd again.

This thread just shows how subjective audio quality is.
Thanks for the replies. So far I have Blond On Blond, great in parts, Blood On The Tracks excellent, Highway 61 OK, Bringing It All not impressed. And my comment of nasal, I was being kind, so nasal through a meggaphone on Time Out Of Mind, sounds so bad on cd compared to vinyl. I'm not even sure it has been SACD'd, but I thought I would ask on here to see if it is even worth buying any more Dlan titles. Sounds pretty mixed so far. It states on the cd's that they have been remastered from the original master tapes, which I would think would entail more than just re-EQing, possibly not? I would also guess the latest noise reduction was also applied.

And that may be my problem with these, I don't know. But when Robert Fripp remastered the Crimson stuff, he killed them with noise reduction. Fortunately the later remasters in the digi-paks saved the day for me (note this is pre SACD days). The Dylan is different, Fripp killed all the top end, the Dylan remasters seem thin for lack of a better word (except BOTT for the most part).

So far the best I've heard on SACD is track 12, Tin Pan Alley in the bonus tracks on SRV's Texas Flood. Every instrument has air and space, imaging is perfect with lots of depth.

In the non-SACD department, a gem of a recording I've recently discovered is The Best of Canned Heat on EMI Manhattan CDP 7 48377.2 from various sources, all but two tracks are excellent recordings. And the 24 bit remaster of Johnny Winter's Progressive Blues Experiment is also great, big improvement over the original killer lp too. Tom
My point was somebody mentioned different master tapes might have been used-which I doubt.

As for Dylan on SACD the last two remasters his debut and TTTAAC weren't done in SACD only plain Redbook.
I think we've very probably seen the last of Dylan on SACD.
All the discs that were done on SACD are mentioned in my review-TOOM wasn't done.
My point about Dylan being nasal was you were kinda stating the obvious I was surprised you never threw in he was good with words.
I'd recommend adding Nashville Skyline, Oh Mercy, and Planet Waves to your collection of SACDs. These are the 3 that I like most in the SACD format.

Pabelson I think you'll find you are wrong.

Plenty of discs sound different due how to they've been remastered.
Nick Drake's remaster series sound completely different due to how they've been mixed but the source tapes are the same.
Does every version of Dark Side Of The Moon sound the same?
Nope but the source material is the same.

If Dylan had these albums done using different masters then the Dylan community would have exploded in excitement.

None of these discs have used anything other than the original master tapes.

You suggesting Bob recorded every album multiple times?
It's plain daft what you are saying.
Ben: Beore you call people daft, you might want to check your facts. Source tapes are NOT masters. Masters are what you make out of source tapes.

There's also nothing daft about the idea that there would be more than one source tape (or set of source tapes, if you're using multitrack recording). Those are called 'takes," and they're quite common. I've heard a few remasters where I'm pretty sure they were using at least parts of different takes than the original release.
Pableson my understanding is that out of the source tapes (alternative takes and the individual tracks etc.)the artist decides what is going on the album and this set is worked on (usually to an incredible extent)and stored as the master tapes.
Clearly the rest of the source material is usually kept as well.

The master is the definitive tape as it is the album as was released.The deinitive version if you like.

Now sometimes artists do release alternative takes and very often these appear on remasters as extra's.
Dylan's soundtrack to NDH has many alternative takes which sound completely different musically and lyrically.
Of course alternative takes very close to the released version will exist too.

I do believe it is very easy to make recordings sound quite different depending on what is done during the remastering process however the key point is that the same tape is used.

Nick Drake's Pink Moon is a very sparse album ( very few instruments) and yet it sounds very different from the original CD release because the mix has been changed.
These changes could easily be mistaken as alternative versions but they are not.

Now I shouldn't have called you daft and I apologise for that however I still think you are wrong.

I don't believe any of these Dylan albums have anything different on them from the original releases.
Indeed Dylan always used the studio in a hit and run fashion and seldom recorded any song the same twice over.

Your theory has merit anyone can easily see what some artists/producers might want to tweak things.However I believe this type of remastering is very rare.

It shouldn't be too difficult to give examples of this on the Dylan series.
Can you or others show obvious examples?

Indeed I cannot think of a single remastered album that uses the process you mention and not state it clearly in the notes or cover.
Your theory has merit anyone can easily see what some artists/producers might want to tweak things.However I believe this type of remastering is very rare.

Rare? That's what remastering IS. It's going back to the original tapes (NOT the original master) and creating a new, different master. Why is that so hard to understand?
Now you are just playing with words or terminology.

I repeat remastering is the technique of going back to the original "master" or call it source tape if you like and using the latest technology to "improve" it.
Obviously you've changed it it in some fashion and I concede on some remasters they either eq again or in extreme cases remix-when they remix they usually make it clear because usually people want the classic album as was but with the improvements and clarity that the new technology brings.
Sometimes they change techincal mistakes like on Miles Davis KOB where they've played with the tape speeds.

Remastering however simply does not involve cutting and pasting takes or individual tracks which is what you describe.

It's not difficult to understand unless I misunderstand you.

Now why can't you pick out track x,y or z to prove your theory?
You name me one Dylan track that is different from the original released version in the way that you describe.

I suggest you are hearing differences based on what I describe not the cut and paste you describe.
I'm not "playing" with terminology. I'm trying to get you to use terminology correctly. When they RE-master a recording, they do not go back to the MASTER. They make a new master. That's what remastering means. To say that remastering uses the same master, as you did before, is nonsensical.

As long as you keep calling the original studio tapes "masters," you will get this wrong.

And there is no reason why remastering has to involve only the specific takes used in the original master (or any master, since by this time there are probably several). Probably isn't common, but it's certainly not unheard of. I'm not saying it was done in the case of the Dylan remasters, BTW.

Also, virtually all remastering involves remixing. If you aren't going to do that, there's almost no point.
Do they just pick any source tape then?

Can we agree there was at the time of the recording there was a "master" tape?
Can we agree that however generations on that intial recording is used as the source material?

In short if you want to get into a terminology debate what do you call the original source tape except the "master" tape?
Hence the term remastering-they've remastered the original master.

You are also changing your argument on what material is used saying, now it is uncommon.

You state above very very clearly there are using a different master-surely you meant they made a different master?
As this is the terminology you are so accurate about.

I would also be very surprised if the original source/master tape isn't always used for obvious reasons.

Also out of interest name me any 5 recent releases that have been remixed as part of the remastering process.
Any 5.
Can we agree there was at the time of the recording there was a "master" tape?

No. You simply don't understand modern recording technique.

Also out of interest name me any 5 recent releases that have been remixed as part of the remastering process.

How many Dylan SACDs are 5.1? Those, for starters. Then all the others. Again, remastering generally consists of taking the original tracks (multiple, and never called masters), and remixing them into a new master.
Clearly making a disc multi-channel involves remixing I didn't think I had to qualify that.

You are still playing with words and to be frank it's silly-the common terminology is to refer to the original tapes that produced the released version of an album is the master tapes.
I suppose I'm just making that up?

In your world remasters would simply be known as New Masters and marketed as such.
Maybe you can start a campaign to keep dumbo's like me better informed.

This is a debate about semantics on one level-I use the term "master" you prefer source-let's agree there is an original tape of the recording and leave it at that.

However where you are fundamentally wrong is your cut and paste theory and that by some miracle there are all kinds of source tapes lying about that are used in the remastering process.
99.9% of all remasters use the original "source" or "master" tape which was the takes and mixes that the artist and producer decided should go on the album.

I most cases the remastering process is done to clean up the tapes and stay true to the original artistic statement.
As I concur above there can be changes which can lead to quite different sounding recordings from the SAME source (I give in)tape.

I get the impression you allude otherwise.
I use the term "master" you prefer source-let's agree there is an original tape of the recording and leave it at that.

No. There isn't A tape. There are multiple tapes, multiple tracks, and multiple takes. Remember, for the vast majority of records made in the last 40 years, there was no original performance. Records are made in pieces, with a rhythm track here, and a lead vocal track there. Nobody in the business calls these "masters." (I'll agree that many uninformed consumers do, but that reflects their misconceptions about recording generally.)

The job of mastering largely involves taking all these parts and deciding which channel or channels they should go in and how loud they should be in each channel. That's called mixing. Every master is mixed (at least in the pop music world).

Remastering involves going back to those original tapes and remixing them in a different way. That's why EVERY remaster is remixed--practically by definition. Remastering is not just about "cleaning up the tapes and preserving everything else." It's about making a different master. Sometimes that master sounds very close to the original release, and sometimes not.
As usual you ignore the parts of my post you can't really answer but anyway............

Each piece(vocal,guitar track etc.) that makes up any record has an original performance on it.
Most recorded performances have assembled these pieces very carefully.
This assembling plays a major part in how well the music works on an artistic level.

Remastering obviously just ignores these facts in your world of semantics.

Oh and I just pulled out my Doors The Complete Studio Recordings box set and guess what it says?

"Remastered from the original analog 2 track MASTERS to 96khz 24 bit digital by Bruce Botnick and Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering"

Oh and the Miles Davis Complete Jack Johnson box set "from the original 8-track 1" analog MASTERS"

So nobody in the business uses the terms "Masters"?
Oh dear.

More tellingly on the recent Springsteen Born To Run set.

Springsteen thanks Bob Clearmount for the mixing-this is the reference to the DVD video sound.
He then thanks Bob Ludwig for the great mastering on the actual album itself.
He doesn't thank Ludwig for the mixing nor does he even mention it.
Mmmm I wonder why?
A point to you on the use of of the term master, at least in material meant for consumers' eyes.

That said, please note the problem here: The term "master" is now being used for two very different things:

1) the final--fully mixed, EQd, and otherwise processed--tape used to make the disk.

2) Some earlier generation of tapes, either the original studio tapes or some processed and/or partially mixed descendent of them.

That creates all kinds of confusion, as our discussion here demonstrates. Remastering certainly does not involve #1 above, and I suspect that it usually involves some generation before the final mixdown--which means, of necessity, that it involves remixing. There are loads of obvious examples of this: the CD version of Layla, Let It Be Naked, etc. Perhaps the most common (positive) comment about a remastering is that it brings out or highlights or isolates a particular instrument or voice. That's most likely been accomplished by remixing.

Final thought: The information on remastering that's included on most CDs is very sketchy. You really can't assume anything about what they don't say.
Just a point on the use of the term masters?
That seems to me be a massive point of your stance completely blown away.

Another quote from Springsteen that totally puts his Ludwig quote in context (that's the quote where he thanks him for the mastering without mentioning remixing on the BTR reissue).
This one is from his Tracks box set.

Special Thanks to Jon Landau for his insights.His suggestion to remix these tracks from their original masters greatly enhanced their sound.

There's a clear difference between that and the statement he makes on BTR.

There in that one statement above he states clearly the difference between remastering and remixing and how it is tackled fundamentally differently.
That might be sketchy to you but compared to your arguments it does have some actual back up and real life experience.

Not unless you can state differently?
It seems Pabelson you've been remixing your own arguments so much your master tapes have been erased hence the silence.

I'll finish off this debate with some quotes including Bob Ludwig-please note how that question is asked.
You'd be surprised the constant references to Master tapes in any search of the remastering technique.

From the Abbey Road Studio website.

REMASTERING. At its simplest, Abbey Road's Remastering Engineers are responsible for removing imperfections on master tapes or other source recordings, anything from a 78 disc to a digital file. Using state of the art technology combined with a wealth of experience they aim to present recordings in the best possible light enabling the recording to speak to future generations.

From Peter Gabriel's website:

We have been working on the sound; the second album, which was the one that sounded the worst for me, we've opened up a bit and Tony's stretched the stereo. It doesn't transform the music obviously, but if you're listening there are some differences. So I think it's more for people who get into the detail of it or have got a good system at home that want to optimise the music."
As Richard Chappell (Peter's Music Engineer, who also worked on the re-masters) explained, due to the increased sampling range of the new digital formats there is an audibly noticeable increase in clarity and definition especially at the bass end of tracks. This is a quality that Richard and Peter agree the listener may be able to hear most noticeably on the re-mastered US and PG 2.

From a Music Tap interview with Bob Ludwig.

MusicTAP: Do you typically get involved with surround or stereo remixing, or do you focus on the mastering?

Bob Ludwig: I have mastered over 100 surround sound projects. The only mixing I do is on special occasions like Patsy Klein or re-balancing stems, I once mixed a Mariah Carey vocal, but all that is rare, I have plenty to do with just mastering!
To really find out what went into the Dylan SACDs you should contact the people involved and ask them:

Producer Steve Berkowitz, mastering engineers Greg Calbi and Darcy Proper, mixers Phil Ramone and Elliot Scheiner, and tape researchers Didier Deutch, Matt Kelly, and Debbie Smith

Here's an interview with Steve Berkowitz on how the Dylan project evolved.
I think the key comment on remastering series comes from this quote.

However, we had a commitment to go back wherever possible to the original ‘finished mix’ tapes, which we have and which we did.

Reading the interview thay had problems with JWH and BIABH but you can see their intent seems similar to everything else I've read about remastering.

Thanks for that Onhwy61
Haven't read the Berkowitz interview yet, but I see a lot more mixing going on than you do. "Stretching the stereo"? That would necessitate remixing-- something like changing the weight of instruments in each channel. That 8-track "master" of Miles Davis? Takes some mixing to get it down to two. You've conceded that any multichannel release has to be remixed. Do you really think they just used the old master for the stereo layer?
OK, the Dylan remasters weren't remixed? Then explain this one:

We first heard a recent run-of-the-mill LP pressing followed by the original CD. Then, I played for him the new stereo mix.

It's at the bottom of this page.
Pabelson with all due respect you still keep playing with semantics.

You are the guy who said there is no such thing as a Master tape yet the industry experts constantly refer to them.
I think your credibility is sunk after that.

Ludwig's quote about the fundamental difference between mixing and mastering tells you all you need to know.

As for your last question I think that's been answered with my original quote where they 100% express a commitment to sticking to the original mix and master tapes.
Yes where they could they stuck as closely as they could to the original master for the stereo layer.
It's that simple.
They didn't just use it as it was, that's just stupid.

I do agree with you that remasters can sound very like original recordings or in some cases quite different.

Our fundamental difference of opinion seems to be semantics on how the sound is changed.
I think remixing and remastering are two different things and clearly you don't.
If as in the quote from the Dylan series interview you want to define every remaster as being remixed then fine.

Guess what it doesn't really matter.

Or if you want to sort out the semantics explain the difference between remixing and remastering.
That appears to be the key question.
Well, all the Dylans were remixed in the course of being remastered. The Miles Davis Jack Johnson you mentioned was remixed. Sounds like that Peter Gabriel was remixed, too. I dunno, Ben, I keep seeing remasters that were remixed, and I'm gonna stick with the view that remixing is a very common part of remastering.
Pableson you have nearly stumbled upon the fundamental truth you believe.

All remasters are remixed.

By your definitions there cannot be remastering without remixing.
Which in my opinion is terminology problem because remixing is seen as something different.
I think the Ludwig comment above proves that.

Can you name a single remaster that hasn't been remixed?
This will be funny.
Whilst we await a reply from Pabelson on the crux of his stance-should be very interesting.

I stumbled upon a very very detailed analysis of some of the Dylan set.

For those who don't want to read the whole thing despite what Pableson says the author here believes only 2 of the 4 Dylan albums he talks about are remixed.
These were only remixed because in those 2 instances the original finished mixes couldn't be found/used.

Since these are older albums and Blonde On Blonde has a notorious reputation (when first released it came out in all kinds of different mixes worldwide)it is logical to conclude from Sony/Columbia's mission statement(only remixed because the original mix couldn't be used) on the remastering that only 2 of the 15 Dylan albums were remixed.
Even if we throw in a few others for the sake of argument that is still daming evidence on Pableson's statement that ALL the Dylan albums were remixed.

For the record I have all 15 of the SACD hybrids.

If you go down the page of this link there is a lot of detail on the SACD releases.
Mayne it's just me but I find it incredible that someone enters into a debate and refuses to clarify their stance and dismisses other opinions without some evidence to back it up.

I take it Pableson your silence means you've gave up on this debate?
One of my favorite Dylan SACDs is the Mobile Fidelity version of "John Wesley Harding". I have all the Dylan hybrid CD/SACDs but JWH is my favorite.