The bass is more pronounced on the new Black Tiger re-release. And yes the highs are much more natural and much more faithful to the original tapes.
One of the cool things that musicians & engineers love about mixing to 1/2 analog tape is the bump in the bass/midbass area & the way you can slam the level and still sound natural yet exciting. You can not do this with digital. You can limit and compress to bring up the level and make
it seem like it's cranking, but you have no dynamic range either, like the analog tape retains. Therefore you listen to a whole record digitally slammed and it wears out your ears. Not the same effect happens when it's done the way we did it.
So, of course, there is a natural bump coming off the master we used. In analyzing all the tunes we found very little eq needed to be applied to the mastered versions once we transferred it into digital. The bump we
would have naturally done was unnecessary. In fact a few cuts we actually brought the bass level down around 60hz because of the bump being a bit too pronounced. I think this was because of the age of the tapes, even though they were baked before we got them, to preserve the integrity of the formulation and decrease any chance of shedding.
My headstrong goal was not to do the modern traditional thing with these masters by digitally slamming the levels hard on the cd. That is way too overused nowadays and the bane of mastering engineers for over a decade.
I knew that Ken Lee was the perfect mastering guy to make it sound as close to the real thing yet make sure it was not too low in level. I didn't want another uselessly over equalized and compressed re-release touting it's superior 24 bit transfer that ends up tearing a whole in
We beat the Japanese releases by a mile to my ears. I am almost positive they didn't receive the actual masters when they did their version.
Probably a copy was used for their remaster, or even worse, an old digital tape, pre glass version (1630). Also we used one of the best analog to digital convertors and made copies at both 48k and 96k. This
way we have the 96k versions available when higher def CDs (SACD, DVD Audio, etc) are more readily available. Whatever ends up being the new standard, we'll be ready to go with even a more open and clear sounding
Dave Meniketti: I have all the info about where the masters & 24-track tapes are for all the Yesterday & Today and Y&T projects from London, A&M and Geffen. They are all on the Universal vault listings. However I have had no luck finding the 24-track masters for the 2 Yesterday & Today records, only the mixed masters. So there will probably never be a chance of getting the tracks & re-mixing these old records, they will forever be as they were mixed in the 70's.
One note to the audio geeks in the crowd. We'll be re-mastering these CD re-releases right off the 1/2" analog master tapes. So this should actually be a "real" remastered CD, as opposed to a digital remaster of a digital remaster of an analog master.
And of course, as mentioned, each CD will have a bonus never before heard track. Meanstreak will have a re-work of the first song we ever wrote as a band, with new vocal & guitar solo performances over the original basic tracks from the analog multi-track tapes of the Black Tiger sessions. Black Tiger's bonus track will also be from that same session & will also be an unreleased track that has new lyrics, vocals & guitar solo over the original Black Tiger session basic tracks.
Yes, as many have found out, sometimes re-masters aren't that great sounding, if not worse than one of the original discs. The reason is anywhere from simple to slightly convoluted, but usually simple. Many times the vaults don't have masters that are in good shape so they go with a bad digital copy that was made when the analog to digital converters were in the first stages & sounded like crap. Then they take that copy & make it worse by adding more digital EQ & compression, slamming the levels to get the hottest level as possible, thereby mostly making it unlistenable for more than a few tunes at a time. Of course you can still start with a good analog copy & mess that up by using bad outboard gear, converters, or just poor implementation of them by an overly aggressive engineer.
Then they package it real nicely, throw on some BS track & try to soak everyone yet one more time around. They do this all the time with the "classic" Sci-Fi movies. Who hasn't seen at least 5 reissued versions of Star Wars in the last 2 decades? Many times it's bullshit. Now I haven't had the opportunity to listen to these 1/2" tapes yet since I don't own a 1/2" machine, but the vault studio guys would have baked the tapes before they sent the copies to me, if they noticed the need so I'm assuming they are in good shape. I would have guessed they needed baking based on the time in the vault & the formula of the tape used at that time. Some formulas have held up a bit better than others over the years.
I'll know soon enough as I go to mastering on Tuesday & Wednesday. I'll be working with Ken Lee, who mastered my OTBS CD among others. He's got a way of being very conservative with the EQ & compression, so I probably won't have to make sure he doesn't slam the levels too much. That's not his style.
Yes, in mastering you add eq where applicable, compression to make it sound more exciting (usually making it have less dynamics) & maybe even a bit of editing if there was something requiring it. On rare occasions you can even add a little touch of effects (reverb, delay, etc). Then you see how everything sounds from one song to the next & adjust levels or compression accordingly. If it's a new project you always adjust the times between songs, do last minute decisions on sequencing the tunes correctly & adjust fade-ins & fade-outs. You can do this with any project but many times if it's a popular cd being re-mastered you don't want songs with different spacings than the original. IRWT & DFTC would be the next CDs on the list to re-release. If it's possible to re-mix DFTC I would love the opportunity because the mixes were all over the place. That would require getting copies of the multi-track which is completely possible. In fact we received the multi-track copies of the 2 bonus tracks just a few months ago from Universal.
From the Y&T/Meniketti email mewsletter:
Y&T's latest CD UnEarthed Vol. 2--coming to a store near you! We're happy to announce that US distribution of the CD begins this month. If you don't see it in your local record store, tell them to ask their distributors about it. This month, UnEarthed Vol. 2 will be released in Japan on Experience Records/Wood Bell, Inc. The European release of UnEarthed Vol. 2 is slated for April on Demolition Records.
~For More *Official* News and Announcements, sign up for the Email version of the Y&T/MENIKETTI Newsletter @ http://www.meniketti.com/guestlist.htm
Re-release deal is done
...after about a year of "us" finally going back & forth with Universal, we have reached a deal & will be re-releasing some of the Y&T catalog very soon. All will be with some sort of bonus track & will be re-mastered to reflect the latest technology in mastering. Expect the first few to come within a few months.
As far as releasing live versions of each CD, that's a novel idea, but maybe a project for next year as the DVD & a few other things need to get done this year first.
UnEarthed Vol 2 has arrived!
It's here & ready to be shipped. If you haven't already pre-ordered one, now's the time to get one of these. I have faith you will find it to be very cool! Now I'm off to help pack orders so we can get those pre-orders out asap! Some of you will be rocking with new tunes by the weekend!
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