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Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:17 am
by Rubellan
ABOATES wrote:The original releases were "bassless" because that is how the album sounded and was recorded. They were not bassless at all of course, everything is well balanced. The emphasis on extreme bass and compression was not yet a common practice. If the reissues "add bass" I won't touch them. In my opinion, "remastered" should simply be flat transfers. The purpose is not to make the original recordings sound "different" or "better:. The purpose is to use today's modern technology to accurately portray what was on the master tapes. if bass oomph was not on the original, it should not be added. I can think of two horrid examples off the top of my head that soured me greatly on "remasters"...OMD Dazzle Ships remaster was unlistenable...that album is supposed to be a quaint, charming early synth experimental record but the remster added this huge bloated loud kick drum to it that completely ruined the mix. The The remasters...Dusk in particular was so brickwalled that it actually has distortion in parts. I am of the mindset these days that 98% of the time, the original release be it vinyl or CD sounds the best. On rare occasions to modern engineers get it right.


I disagree. The purpose of "Remastering" is to bring the best out, though that rarely happens these days. I'm a firm believer in giving an appropriate bass boost to thin, hollow sounding tracks. But it's tricky to get it right and you don't want it to sound boomy or thuddy. I've done these enhancement with most things I remaster, and in some cases it really brings out the life in a rather thin sounding song. I thought Dazzle Ships sounded quite nice. Telegraph is one of my favorite songs but it never had any bass, and desperately needed it. Many years ago, I had a remaster rejected because I removed technical glitches (static and distortions). The artist thought they added charm and wanted them in, so they stayed. I disagreed completely.

I was reading on the Steve Hoffman forum a question someone had asked him. They wanted to know if he masters things to sound good to him or what he thinks may sound good to others. He said he masters for his own ears. I agree. I've worked on songs that are originally little more than midrange with no bottom end. I will re-EQ it to give life to what sounded unfinished.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:20 am
by RevUp64
^ Like

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:12 am
by ABOATES
Rubellan wrote:
ABOATES wrote:The original releases were "bassless" because that is how the album sounded and was recorded. They were not bassless at all of course, everything is well balanced. The emphasis on extreme bass and compression was not yet a common practice. If the reissues "add bass" I won't touch them. In my opinion, "remastered" should simply be flat transfers. The purpose is not to make the original recordings sound "different" or "better:. The purpose is to use today's modern technology to accurately portray what was on the master tapes. if bass oomph was not on the original, it should not be added. I can think of two horrid examples off the top of my head that soured me greatly on "remasters"...OMD Dazzle Ships remaster was unlistenable...that album is supposed to be a quaint, charming early synth experimental record but the remster added this huge bloated loud kick drum to it that completely ruined the mix. The The remasters...Dusk in particular was so brickwalled that it actually has distortion in parts. I am of the mindset these days that 98% of the time, the original release be it vinyl or CD sounds the best. On rare occasions to modern engineers get it right.


I disagree. The purpose of "Remastering" is to bring the best out, though that rarely happens these days. I'm a firm believer in giving an appropriate bass boost to thin, hollow sounding tracks. But it's tricky to get it right and you don't want it to sound boomy or thuddy. I've done these enhancement with most things I remaster, and in some cases it really brings out the life in a rather thin sounding song. I thought Dazzle Ships sounded quite nice. Telegraph is one of my favorite songs but it never had any bass, and desperately needed it. Many years ago, I had a remaster rejected because I removed technical glitches (static and distortions). The artist thought they added charm and wanted them in, so they stayed. I disagreed completely.

I was reading on the Steve Hoffman forum a question someone had asked him. They wanted to know if he masters things to sound good to him or what he thinks may sound good to others. He said he masters for his own ears. I agree. I've worked on songs that are originally little more than midrange with no bottom end. I will re-EQ it to give life to what sounded unfinished.


I understand where you are coming from...it certainly sounds like you have more experience w the process than I do. I agree that it is "tricky" as you say.... of course, if the artist is happy w it, fair enough... In terms of what I purchase and listen to though, I find that 85% of the time, I prefer the original release in whichever format it was on. I listed The The as what I thought was a particularly egregious example of making the album too loud to the point where i could hear digital glitches at times. The original CD of Dusk sounds great as it is...

Two modern bands that come to mind in terms of brickwalling are The National and St. Vincent. Love both bands...esp. St. Vincent, but I find her last two records to be too loud, too bassy, and cluttered...still listen, but the mastering level kind've forces me to turn it down. On the flip side, a couple of recent albums (in similar genres) that I think were mixed well are The Crane Wife by The Decemberists and Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:45 am
by dlgladwin
Has anyone received these yet? How is the sound? Not brickwalled?

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:38 am
by RevUp64
I haven't received mine yet. They're shipping from the UK, so I'm figuring it will take at least 2 weeks.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:55 pm
by Sean
Impatiently waiting for my copies to come. Mail has been slow these days.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:49 pm
by omar
Mine despatched today from the UK via Amazon. I'm here in the US , waiting patiently.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:31 am
by moni
My copy of Flaunt the Imperfection was sent out 2 days before the other two yet i received the other two yesterday and still no sign of Flaunt. Only listened to Difficult Shapes so far but i can tell you that the glitch that was on Performing Seals is still there :x

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:40 am
by omar
was that glitch on the original. Maybe a mastering defect?

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:07 am
by moni
omar wrote:was that glitch on the original. Maybe a mastering defect?

The glitch is on Performing Seals is at the 1 minute and 48 sec mark and i read somewhere it's the same on the original vinyl as well. There is a few mistakes on Flaunt The Imperfection the first being You Did Cut Me (edit) which is printed on the cover is in fact a live version also for the 7 inch mix of Animalistic they have somewhow managed to leave a bit of (A Day At The Zoo Mix) at the end of it. Apart from that the sound is good and they come in digipacks.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:33 am
by ABOATES
sound any different than the original CD?

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:44 am
by humanracer
Shame these aren't available digitally.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:48 pm
by digitalbix
Just picked up all three sets and can report the sound quality is very good overall, not brickwalled and not from Vinyl or Mp3 sources.
Nice to have the 12" versions and BBC sessions on CD.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:16 pm
by humanracer
Finally China Crisis first three albums, Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms, the follow up from 1983 Working With Fire and Steel and 1985’s Flaunt The Imperfection have been remastered and released in deluxe editions.

The bonus tracks are well chosen. The live sessions are interesting because, in my view, CC sounded better in smaller venues. The band usually also give the tracks a different arrangement to that of the studio versions. The demos sound as good as the album tracks. The demo entitled Jon and Van does what it says on the tin: it is pretty much an attempt at making a Jon and Vangelis sounding track. It's Never Too Late is one of the best CCs songs and it's baffling why it wasn't even released as a b-side.

One of the best aspects of the remasters is the booklets. Each one features an interview with the band about the era in question and a discussion of the main album tracks. I enjoyed reading about the groups influences which included Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Talking Heads and Chic. The band are also quite frank about the people they worked with, even going as a far as to say a particular former member could not play. I was also shocked to read from Daly that his vocals were recorded while he was "under the influence". The band are very proud of their work and this comes through in the interviews. Normally groups tend to be cautious about reappraising their old work or become overly critical but CC have pretty much only good things to say about all of it. They view their first 3 albums as a "trilogy" and that all later albums were a homage to them.

Sound wise, the mastering is acceptable. The dynamic range of Shapes is 12 while the other two are 11. The dynamic range of the recent Duran Duran and a-ha masters, which I found particularly harsh, were 8. 8 is borderline bad in terms of dynamic range. The original CC albums had a DR of 15. The songs are louder which makes them punchier. Normally I don't like this because the originals are punchy enough without need to further compress the sound. However I have always found China Crisis slightly underwhelming on disc so some of the tracks do sound better to my ears. Having said that, with Flaunt, I do find myself going back to the original. If you listen to Black Man Ray on the remaster and then the original, the latter wins hands down.

The albums claim to have been remastered from master tapes.

Re: China Crisis Re-Issues

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:14 pm
by ABOATES
Thank you very much for the comprehensive review. Wonderfully written!