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  1. #1

    Default Best Sounding Remaster?

    which versions of all the ozzy era albums are the best sounding ones?

  2. #2
    8bit Fighter's Avatar
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    It's kind of a trick question: it depends on the ears. There are the Castle Releases, The Black Box, and the recent Re-releases with Demos from Black Sabbath to Master Of Reality. For me, I picked the Black Box, if at all for value and getting the first eight in one swoop.
    "Even with so much bad blood between us... It's funny... Now that I'm actually face to face with him again... The hatred is gone. All I feel is a deep sense of longing. And pity. Did Zero really hate me? Or... Did he fear me?" - Big Boss

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    Black Box is a pretty ideal collection. But I haven't listened to the Deluxe editions. I'm just not ready to buy them AGAIN. But really, you can't go wrong with Black Box at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hipster doofus View Post
    Black Box is a pretty ideal collection. But I haven't listened to the Deluxe editions. I'm just not ready to buy them AGAIN. But really, you can't go wrong with Black Box at all.

    I've heard that black box, from an audiophile perspective, is badly compressed and not the way to go. im not talking about value per dollar or how easy it is to get a hold of. im merely interested in it from a true audio freak perspective. the best sounding versions/remasters of all ozzy era albums

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    Quote Originally Posted by larshanson View Post
    I've heard that black box, from an audiophile perspective, is badly compressed and not the way to go. im not talking about value per dollar or how easy it is to get a hold of. im merely interested in it from a true audio freak perspective. the best sounding versions/remasters of all ozzy era albums
    The Black Box sounds great to me. As far as compression goes... I've never heard any issues. My brother who isn't much of a music fan always talks about compression and data loss but you know what, I think it's all kind of just psyching yourself out more than anything. I can tell you what notes are being played but I can't tell the difference as far as compression and such. Just my 2 cents.

  6. #6

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    The Black Box sounds great to me, though some people on the web complain about the compression. The package of the Black Box is sweet and comes with a DVD and a very nice book. It also includes Evil Woman which was never officially released in USA previously.

    Soon I will be ordering the first the 3 albums remasters on Amazon UK (as Joe says they are about 50% cheaper this way than getting them on the Amazon US site) not so much for the remasters themselves but for all the bonus stuff, but I will see for myself the difference in sound by ear.

    The other 5 albums are remastered but no extra stuff. I wish they had gotten the same treatment.
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    I still think that the 'Black Box' CD's have the best sound quality.

  8. #8

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    Whilst the booklets with the lyrics have mistakes in virtually every song on the Castle Remasters (Bar Master of Reality and Born Again, which both had the original issued lp's lyrics re-printed) they have great pictures from each albums time-frame as well as any artwork that the original lp's had. And they are jewel case - which neither the Black Box or the Deluxe editions are. And of course - they sound great!

  9. #9
    hipster doofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larshanson View Post
    I've heard that black box, from an audiophile perspective, is badly compressed and not the way to go.
    Eh, everyone's a critic. Someone is always going to find something wrong. As a whole, Black Box is an incredible buy, for both value and sound quality. Sabbath albums, the earlier ones in particular, have never had the greatest sound quality but for me, they've come a long, long way. They're louder and much more clear while still maintaining their original integrity. I know a lot of people would agree.

    Nevertheless, I'm not a huge audio buff but I would imagine you can only take it so far without completely compromising the original spirit of the recordings. Either way, good luck in your hunting.
    ***Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of other internet people, the internet police or the internet in general. It is to be assumed that all sentences are automatically followed by "IMO, BUDDY" as to not offend other internet people and start an internet fight.

  10. #10

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    "I think it's all kind of just psyching yourself out more than anything. I can tell you what notes are being played but I can't tell the difference as far as compression and such. Just my 2 cents."

    Here's the difference.
    CD from the Black Box is full blast volume at 2.
    CD from Gates of Hell, or original CD releases, you have to put the volume up to say 5, for it to be "full blast"

    I have the Black Box, the book is phenomenal, and I would get it just for that.

    I've also got some of the vinyl remasters;
    S/T, MOR, Vol 4, Sabotage,

    the S/T album is excellent, Master of Reality is AWESOME, best version I've heard,
    Difference on analog vinyl is you need to turn the amp up to 8+ to get the full blast, and its wide, deep, warm. and a completely different experience.

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    Black Box is great.

    I hate audiophiles.

    That is all.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Butt View Post
    Black Box is great.

    I hate audiophiles.

    That is all.
    Quit talking out of your ass, butt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malchik View Post
    Quit talking out of your ass, butt.
    The ass contains untold wisdom.

  14. #14

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    All I know is, the 2009 remaster of Sabotage sounds awesome, compared to the "black coffins 2 disc best of". At least the songs that are on that compiltion, of course.

  15. #15

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    Who has heard 2009 or 2010 Sanctuary remasters? Comparison against black box and Castle version, please.

    Louder isn't better. Better is the one when you can follow individual instruments precisely and still they integrate well together into musical flow.

    Paranoid 2010 Sanctuary remaster w/o any bonus tracks sounds very good and natural.
    Last edited by alspe; 03-14-2011 at 03:23 PM.

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    I will go with the Black Box. The sound is great to me. Especially Never Say Die. When i bought it on cassette 17 years ago, NSD sounded like a bootleg to me but with the remaster on the Black Box i can hear all the instruments clearly .They dont all sound blended together.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by larshanson View Post
    which versions of all the ozzy era albums are the best sounding ones?
    I have the Castle Remasters, the Black Box and the Sanctuary Remasters. They all sound different and great.

    I loved the Castle remasters when I first got them, but they had some dropouts like the start of Fairies Wear Boots.

    Then when I got the Black Box, the discs had that super sonic enhancement and sounded good too, but too loud and compressed to my ears.

    Now I got the deluxe editions of the first 3 albums and the other 5 remasters, also live at last 2010 remaster. They are my favourite version now. In my opinion they sound more natural.
    Last edited by Mauricio; 03-14-2011 at 06:30 PM.

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    It seems everything released today is released for the earbud generation. I too am guilty of listening to a lot of my music on an iPod and through earbuds, or with the iPod through the car stereo. In these instances, a slightly compressed mix sounds best. I would call the "Deluxe Editions" slightly compressed. They are louder than the original CD's put out in the 80s, but not as loud as Black Box.

    Black Box is a nice set, but anymore I do not listen to them, as they are just plain too loud (compressed). I will listen to them while mowing the lawn or snow blowing, as they are so loud, it is easier to drown out the noise from the machines.

    When listening to a Hi-Fi system, IMO the older the CD, the better. The original WB and Castle releases sound great on my stereo, and the Black Box CD's have way to much compression. Like was stated above, you barely have to turn up the volume to be a full blast, and then everything gets all mashed together and muddy sounding. Some of it can be fixed with an EQ, but same can be said for CD's that were mastered using traditional mixing.

    The problem I have with compression is that all of the instruments are right there in your face, and there is no quiet. There is quiet in music. The are crescendos and decrescendos. With the amount of compression (or loudness wars) that is done these days, it is just ALL RIGHT THERE!! IT'S LIKE READING A FORUM POST IN ALL CAPS. IT'S ANNOYING!!!

    I just picked up the David "Rock" Feinstein CD. Great music, but it is so compressed and loud, that you hear static and clipping at even the lowest volumes. Very disappointing.

    Here is a nice visual of what I am trying to say:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ
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    Strangely enough the volume of a cd has never really been something I've noticed. I'm in control of the volume knob, if its too loud I turn it down. Too quiet, I turn it up. Never found anything that I can't crank to ear shattering levels or anything that can't be turned so low as you can't hear it over traffic.

    I don't really get the big deal about volume. Maybe its just me.
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  20. #20

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    Get the latest ones, they are the best in all aspects.
    If you already own another, don't bother.

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    That was the great thing about vinal, for those who grew up on it, the sound was superior to CDs, there was "space" in the music that created a warm sound, like you were sitting there in the studio. It takes a producer like a Rick Ruben who aprreciates that space and minimal affects to get what sounds like a record from the 60's or 70's. It's much more than just turning a volume switch up or down. I also find compression annoying, too "in your face" sounding. But that's what the digital age brought us. Technalogy isn't always a step forward.

    If Sabbath were ever to record again, I hope it's Rick Ruben who they get to produce it. I didn't particlarly care for the production of TDYK, compared to the 3 Dio years tracks, which to my ears sound so much better produced, more crisp sounding.
    Last edited by Wicked Cricket; 03-15-2011 at 08:39 AM.

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    Never heard the black box stuff but the new remasters out over here (the deluxe and non-deluxe rest of) is absolutley awesome. If comparing the Dio stuff is anything to go by then these remasters are warmer and more full than the ones on the Rules of Hell and i've heard that the same is true when comparing against Black Box.

    These are far better than the original castle remasters that i've owned for a few years.

    As regarding CD's being too loud it can definetley happen. I've never been able to listen to Oasis' What's the Story... album as it's just so compressed and loud it is pish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked Cricket View Post
    That was the great thing about vinal, for those who grew up on it, the sound was superior to CDs, there was "space" in the music that created a warm sound, like you were sitting there in the studio. It takes a producer like a Rick Ruben who aprreciates that space and minimal affects to get what sounds like a record from the 60's or 70's. It's much more than just turning a volume switch up or down. I also find compression annoying, too "in your face" sounding. But that's what the digital age brought us. Technalogy isn't always a step forward.

    If Sabbath were ever to record again, I hope it's Rick Ruben who they get to produce it. I didn't particlarly care for the production of TDYK, compared to the 3 Dio years tracks, which to my ears sound so much better produced, more crisp sounding.
    You're kidding, right? Rick Rubin is probably one of the worst offenders of overzealous use of compression around. Take a listen to "Death Magnetic" or "Californication" again. LOUD!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MH1986 View Post
    Strangely enough the volume of a cd has never really been something I've noticed. I'm in control of the volume knob, if its too loud I turn it down. Too quiet, I turn it up. Never found anything that I can't crank to ear shattering levels or anything that can't be turned so low as you can't hear it over traffic.

    I don't really get the big deal about volume. Maybe its just me.
    When I say loud, I'm not talking about volume. For us old dudes, there was a knob or button on our old Hi-Fi receivers. It was labeled "Loudness" Nothing to do with volume, but we could manually compress our music with this.

    Today we are not given that choice. The producers are compressing it at production time, and it makes everything right there and in your face. No space, like Wicked Cricket said. Everyone has their own opinions and tastes, and I get that, but take a listen to Metallica Death Magnetic, then listen to the Guitar Hero III version and compare. The CD release sounds so full of static and the music is clipped, it is awful to listen to. The GHIII version is the same music, but not anywhere near as compressed. THe below video is OK, but listening through computer speakers still does not show the true comparison. Where you really notice the difference is through a good quality system and a good set of speakers.

    http://mastering-media.blogspot.com/...omparison.html
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  25. #25

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    As far as "too loud" goes, I don't mind if music is mastered such that the sound ceiling is just higher, as long as there is no clipping and the dynamics are still there. Stuff I've read seems to hint that this is how the "loudness wars" have been handled in the UK, which is fine. The problem is in North America, where things are compressed so much that there are no more dynamics and loudness is the ultimate goal, to the point of sacrificing sound quality and allowing clipping. (See: Death Magnetic as the perfect example) So it is no surprise to me to hear that people are preferring the "deluxe" Black Sabbath remasters (UK) to the "Black Box" ones (USA).
    A funny thing is that I've heard the "loudness wars" may be coming to an end due to more music players being manufactured with "loudness levelers", essentially putting the compression on the player instead of in the music itself. The word is that the recording companies are going to focus more on sound quality again instead of loudness, expecting the "loudness playing field" to be levelled by modern mp3/aac/whatever-players and CD players. Doesn't bother me, as long as I am given the option to turn the compression OFF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffStuff View Post
    You're kidding, right? Rick Rubin is probably one of the worst offenders of overzealous use of compression around. Take a listen to "Death Magnetic" or "Californication" again. LOUD!!
    I can't really say if Ruben is a compression freak, but I like the way he brings artists back to their original "simplistic" for lack of a better term, sound and approach. I'm talking the Johnny Cash records he produced which were some of Cash's best, at the tail end of his career, and recently with Kid Rock, Neil Dimond's latest, to name a few. Question, I was under the impression the record companies (i.e. sound mastering) was done not by the producers, but by mixing engineers? Are the record producers responsible for the compression?

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by MH1986 View Post
    Strangely enough the volume of a cd has never really been something I've noticed. I'm in control of the volume knob, if its too loud I turn it down. Too quiet, I turn it up. Never found anything that I can't crank to ear shattering levels or anything that can't be turned so low as you can't hear it over traffic.

    I don't really get the big deal about volume. Maybe its just me.
    Can't you understand the idea of youtube-link that H&H linked above your post?

    "Loud"/loudness means average sound pressure of music. Good sound may have quite low average volume level but high peak levels, like impact of drums or other instruments (horns in jazz for example). If sound is compressed, all instruments plays on top at their full, there is no silence between peaks (impact of drum skin). You can't hear heart of drummer or rhythm of music that good. You can hear (notice) it if have heard same song many many times but if you are listening a song for first time, it is much more easy to hear WHAT players are doing (in studio or on stage) if sound is not compressed to the limit. Though, some compressing suits in rock and heavy music.
    Compression is fine when listening in car or with bad headphones in traffic (what one should avoid). Still, it would be better that compression could be done by user at home, not mixer.

    Also, one should notice that poor audio cadgets (mainly speakers) can't reproduce much peaks of sound pressure. You can't properly hear or feel hit of drums and "snap" of drum skin if you listen with your laptop or speaker sized of your palm.
    Last edited by alspe; 03-17-2011 at 02:05 AM.

  28. #28

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    First they mastered the CDs "too loud" but now the pendulum has swung too much in the other direction as far as public opinion goes. There is, or was, definitely a reason for the "loud" mastering and it is a good one - it sounds better on about 99,9% of the electronics used by people. Now, there are of course exceptions like Death Magnetic but over all - the new cult of "dynamics" is not good for most listeners either.
    There is a good middle way here, use it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked Cricket View Post
    I can't really say if Ruben is a compression freak, but I like the way he brings artists back to their original "simplistic" for lack of a better term, sound and approach. I'm talking the Johnny Cash records he produced which were some of Cash's best, at the tail end of his career, and recently with Kid Rock, Neil Dimond's latest, to name a few. Question, I was under the impression the record companies (i.e. sound mastering) was done not by the producers, but by mixing engineers? Are the record producers responsible for the compression?
    True that the engineer handles the final mastering for the record company, but it's the producer who's ultimately in charge of the sound laid down beforehand. In Death Magnetic's case, the engineer was stuck with an already too-loud product.

    From Wikipedia:
    "The album has been criticized for having compromised sound quality, due to an overly compressed dynamic range, during a process called peak limiting leading to audible clipping and distortion.[67] Sean Michaels of The Guardian explains that "the sound issues are a result of the 'loudness war' – an ongoing industry effort to make recordings as loud as possible".[68] A Rolling Stone article states that Rick Rubin was "overseeing mixes in Los Angeles while the band is in Europe, headlining shows" and only communicated with him by conference calls.[69] Fans have noted that these sonic problems are not present in the Guitar Hero version of the album, where the tracks are present separately because of the game mechanics and the tracks were sent to the game publishers before the process was made.[70][71] MusicRadar and Rolling Stone attribute a quote to the album's mastering engineer Ted Jensen in which he claims that "mixes were already brick-walled before they arrived" for mastering[72][73] and cite a petition from fans to remix or remaster the album. The petition has gained over 21,000 votes as of November 26, 2009.[74]"

    The point being, I understand Rubin is the go-to-guy to get a band or artist back to their roots, like he did with Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond -- and Metallica. But he's not the guy I want twisting the nobs if Black Sabbath makes a new record.
    Last edited by HuffStuff; 03-16-2011 at 11:03 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffStuff View Post
    True that the engineer handles the final mastering for the record company, but it's the producer who's ultimately in charge of the sound laid down beforehand. In Death Magnetic's case, the engineer was stuck with an already too-loud product.

    From Wikipedia:
    "The album has been criticized for having compromised sound quality, due to an overly compressed dynamic range, during a process called peak limiting leading to audible clipping and distortion.[67] Sean Michaels of The Guardian explains that "the sound issues are a result of the 'loudness war' – an ongoing industry effort to make recordings as loud as possible".[68] A Rolling Stone article states that Rick Rubin was "overseeing mixes in Los Angeles while the band is in Europe, headlining shows" and only communicated with him by conference calls.[69] Fans have noted that these sonic problems are not present in the Guitar Hero version of the album, where the tracks are present separately because of the game mechanics and the tracks were sent to the game publishers before the process was made.[70][71] MusicRadar and Rolling Stone attribute a quote to the album's mastering engineer Ted Jensen in which he claims that "mixes were already brick-walled before they arrived" for mastering[72][73] and cite a petition from fans to remix or remaster the album. The petition has gained over 21,000 votes as of November 26, 2009.[74]"

    The point being, I understand Rubin is the go-to-guy to get a band or artist back to their roots, like he did with Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond -- and Metallica. But he's not the guy I want twisting the nobs if Black Sabbath makes a new record.
    Interesting, appreciate the feedback. Any personal preferance in a producer?
    Last edited by Wicked Cricket; 03-16-2011 at 09:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked Cricket View Post
    Interesting, appreciate the feedback. Any personal preferance in a producer?
    That's probably the subject of another thread. Anything released by a major label today will probably be too loud, although -- like others have mentioned -- I think the trend is going the other way. I would, however, like whoever does the production to keep with more of a '70s "simpler," more basic aesthetic, like you alluded to. Maybe something like this, the new release from Sweden's Ghost.

    http://www.allmusic.com/album/opus-e...2109268/review

    I'm not sure who produced it, though, I'll have to check the liner notes when I get home.

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffStuff View Post
    That's probably the subject of another thread. Anything released by a major label today will probably be too loud, although -- like others have mentioned -- I think the trend is going the other way. I would, however, like whoever does the production to keep with more of a '70s "simpler," more basic aesthetic, like you alluded to. Maybe something like this, the new release from Sweden's Ghost.

    http://www.allmusic.com/album/opus-e...2109268/review

    I'm not sure who produced it, though, I'll have to check the liner notes when I get home.
    A good album but with a very thin 80-ties retro style on the production. It's like a Mercyful Fate demotape. Works but only once.

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    96 Castle remasters for Master Of Reality and Vol. 4 sound amazing. They added a little bit highs but IMO those albums were in need for that.

    What do you think about Santuary 2009 remasters of Technical Ecstasy and Never Say Die? I think they are quite heavily compressed and I'm dissapointed because they were also made by Andy Pierce. TE is also too bright to my ears. The original Warner Bros. TE (CD) sound great and dynamic.

    Btw, have anybody noticed that Santuary 2009 remaster of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath has channels reversed when compared to original WB from late-80's or 96 Castle?

  34. #34

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    I have all the Castle remasters. Its hard to pick one. Of the Sanctuary remasters with the bonus disk it would have to be Master of Reality. Just for the song Weevil Woman 71.
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  35. #35

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    Black Box Warner remaster of Iron Man from Paranoid on top.

    Sanctuary remaster of Iron Man from Paranoid on bottom.

    If you want to duplicate this on your own grab Audacity and rip the same track from a Sanctuary remaster and a Warner remaster.

    The problem with dynamic range compression isn't that it 'just sounds different'. It's a recent trick labels are using to increase the perceived volume of a song. Warner/Rhino are *really* bad about doing this with their rock/metal stuff.

    Trouble is it results in loss of the original dynamics. Loss of data. It leaves the consumer with an inaccurate recording.

    A video with a visual explanation of what it actually does.
    Last edited by phanboy_iv; 04-21-2011 at 01:17 AM.

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    ^That Rhino one looks really bad. You can see it even from that waveform. RMS amplitude (light blue) is quite high and peaks (blue) are over. That kind of wave sounds loud, flat, raw and it may even have distortion. Record companies are killing the live and soul of music. Many albums are so loud that they are unpleasent to listen even with low listening volumes. Death Magnetic for example sounds much better in Guitar Hero game than in CD or in digital file (MP3) that you can buy and download.

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    The Black Box set is terrible for audio and the storage of the discs is lame. The Sanctuary/Universal remasters are fantastic both from a sonic presentation and visual with the new liner notes and the photos and such. And of course, the bonus tracks.
    I'd stay far away from the Black Box. As for Rules Of Hell it's decent but the sound on the Sanctuary/Universal again blows this away. Andy Pearce always does a stellar job when it comes to remasters for Universal (also see Rainbow, Bow Wow (Japanese Metal greats), ELP, Wishbone Ash, etc. for his work).

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    Quote Originally Posted by chudbeagle View Post
    I'd stay far away from the Black Box. As for Rules Of Hell it's decent but the sound on the Sanctuary/Universal again blows this away. Andy Pearce always does a stellar job when it comes to remasters for Universal (also see Rainbow, Bow Wow (Japanese Metal greats), ELP, Wishbone Ash, etc. for his work).
    I think those new Rainbow Deluxe Editions sound bad, bass and treble are too boosted. TE and NSD remasters are also bad, very loud, but maybe that's not his fault. Maybe someone increased the levels after his remastering work.

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    I don't mind compression too much, as long it's not as high as DM or BB, the compression level of my Rhino MR and Dehumanzer and the latest TE and NSD seem to sound really good in my car system and on my head phones which is where I listen to music 99% of the time. I care more about the music on the disk. Plus I don't have much choice in Australia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masza View Post
    I think those new Rainbow Deluxe Editions sound bad, bass and treble are too boosted. TE and NSD remasters are also bad, very loud, but maybe that's not his fault. Maybe someone increased the levels after his remastering work.
    Huh? There's no bass at all on Rising. The only prominent bass is on the alternate mix on the album and that's the way it was originally recorded/mixed. I STILL have to turn Rising up because the levels are so low. I do not find this remaster to sound bad in the least IMO.
    Down To Earth is a bit louder but not much.
    We all hear things different I guess.
    As for the TE and NSD remasters-the original masters are too loud-those albums, especially TE have never sounded proper and have way too much treble and brightness. Pearce id the best he could on those. I still like them.

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