Like many of you, I used to be skeptical of remastering projects – particularly in heavy music. But a number of spectacular projects recently have completely overturned my outlook on them – including the Led Zeppelin catalogue, Lamb of God’s As the Palaces Burn, Colin Marston’s work on the Atheist catalogue, and others.
A number of factors have changed the remastering game. Among them certainly include the re-ignited interest in high-quality audio (vinyl “resurgence,” high fidelity players like Pono, etc), but the changing ability and adaptability of digital and analog recording technologies have also influenced this. Check out Tape Op’s must-read interview with mastering giant Bob Ludwig from last month’s issue to learn more about the tech side of this.
So I’m excited about the Maiden remasters – I own their catalogue from the original CD masters, and they sound OK, but I’ve also acquired a few nicely-maintained release vinyl copies of some of their older records, and those sound great. The previous CD masters are 44.1/ 16bit, while the new ones will be mastered at 24 bit, and done as “lossless” files, keeping in mind the adaptable potential for future formats.
We’re hearing a bit more about this project, which will include a Mastered for iTunes release, according to Maiden bassist/gear dad Steve Harris:
The Mastering For iTunes procedure allows the listener to experience the music as close as possible to the way the artist intended it to be heard. So, of course, I was very keen for the MAIDEN albums to be mastered in this way. The records have been available digitally before, when this medium first became a platform for music distribution, but that was mastered with CDs in mind. The iTunes process involves a different approach and it’s great to finally deliver the music to our fans in as close to a pure and accurate sound as we could possibly achieve. For example, as most people know, I was never really happy with the sound on the first MAIDEN album, but listening to it now, the guitars are louder, the drums more substantial and the overall tone is so very much improved, in my opinion. Tony Newton and Ade Emsley, who worked closely with me on the project, did a terrific job recapturing everything from the original masters, and together we’ve re- mastered them all digitally and I’m really happy with the results.
Maiden has also revealed a really great behind-the-scenes video on the process, featuring engineers Tony Newton and Ade Emsley talking about cool mastering shit like baking tape in ovens. Check it out below: