Photo montage showcasing a vintage vinyl record on the left and a digital audio workstation on the right.

The term "remastered" often captures the attention and imagination of audiophiles and casual listeners alike. The promise of a cleaner, richer, and more detailed sound experience is compelling. However, remastering is a complex process that can either enhance or deteriorate the quality of an audio track. It's essential to understand what remastering entails and how to sift through the good, the bad, and the ugly of remastered versions.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Remasters

The Process of Remastering

Remastering involves taking original audio tapes and transferring them to a digital format. The process can correct errors, improve sound quality, and sometimes even add new elements. However, these improvements are not guaranteed; the end result is contingent on the skill and intent of the engineers.

The Loudness War

One of the most contentious issues surrounding remasters is the so-called "loudness war." This refers to the tendency of producers to compress the dynamic range of a track to make it as loud as possible, sacrificing audio quality for volume. This can be especially jarring for audiophiles who have high-end equipment capable of capturing a wide dynamic range.

The "Sacriligious" Alterations

Beyond the loudness war, some remasters take the liberty of altering the original tracks in ways that many consider disrespectful to the original work. The use of auto-tune on classic vocal performances or changing the instrumentation are examples of these kinds of alterations.

Vintage Pressings and Audiophile Labels

The Allure of Original Pressings

For those cautious of the possible pitfalls in remastered versions, vintage pressings—especially from periods like the early '80s—are highly prized. These pressings were often made with a greater dynamic range and are generally considered to offer a more authentic listening experience.

Specialty Audiophile Labels

Companies like MoFi (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab) specialize in high-quality remastering that respects the original audio. They often use the original master tapes and employ meticulous care in the remastering process, making them a preferred choice for audiophiles.

The Role of Equipment

The equipment used for playback can significantly affect how a remastered track sounds. Higher-end equipment can make a poor remaster sound decent, or a good remaster sound extraordinary. For example, using a quality DAC and network streamer like the Eversolo DMP-A6 can dramatically improve your listening experience.


In the intricate world of audio remastering, not all remasters are created equal. For audiophiles and discerning listeners, the key is to sift through the multitude of options to find those that respect and enhance the essence of the original recording. Whether you find solace in vintage pressings or place your trust in reputable audiophile labels, understanding the nuances of remastering can help you make informed choices that elevate your auditory experience.

Dynamic RangeAudio EngineeringDACAudio RemasteringRemasteringLoudness War



If you have an account, login to post a comment.