Tell Me :  Talk
Talk about your favorite band. 

Previous page Next page First page IORR home

For information about how to use this forum please check out forum help and policies.

Goto Page: 1234Next
Current Page: 1 of 4
"Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Chacho ()
Date: February 28, 2014 17:50

I am in the process of re-recording my MP3 collection from my vinyl, cassette, and CD collections, in a higher bitrate. Currently I am working on The Rolling Stones and in particualar "Exile On Main Street". I own the original vinyl album purchased on the date of release in the USA in 1972. In addition I have the 1994 re-mastered CD version, and the 2010 remastered Deluxe CD version. I have just ordered from eBay the 1987 CD version (CGK-40489).

What I am trying to research is the history of the re-mastering of "Exile on Main Street". So far from what I can find there are only 4. (I am talking about the USA history, excluding obscure releases such as from Japan or whatever)

1. The 1972 Vinyl Record version
2. The 1987 CD version
3. The 1994 CD version
4. The 2010 Deluxe CD version

There is very little information available on this subject.

Could anyone in the know here elaborate on this subject. Did I skip any mastering versions in my list above? What are peoples opinions of the different versions? Etc, Etc...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2014-02-28 17:56 by Chacho.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: February 28, 2014 18:15

There's another version:

5. The 2011 DSD transfer

Done at the FX Copyroom in London by Mick McKenna and Richard Whittaker. This version was used for e.g. the SHM-SACD and apparently the Blu-ray Audio.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: dcba ()
Date: February 28, 2014 18:28

Quote
Chacho
I am in the process of re-recording my MP3 collection from my vinyl, cassette, and CD collections, in a higher bitrate.

Dump the mp3 format altogether and enter the 21st century = go FLAC! thumbs up



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2014-02-28 18:28 by dcba.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: drbryant ()
Date: February 28, 2014 19:21

Quote
Irix
There's another version:

5. The 2011 DSD transfer

Done at the FX Copyroom in London by Mick McKenna and Richard Whittaker. This version was used for e.g. the SHM-SACD and apparently the Blu-ray Audio.

I'm not sure about the blu-ray audio. I thought that was the 2010 deluxe CD version (and I avoided it for that reason). Can someone confirm? The FX Copyroom DSD transfer is also used on the "Platinum CD" available in Japan.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: February 28, 2014 20:00




(Thanks to Rockman, [www.iorr.org] )



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2014-02-28 21:50 by Irix.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: drbryant ()
Date: February 28, 2014 21:23

Quote
Irix
Quote
drbryant
I'm not sure about the blu-ray audio.

You can test it by yourself -> PM. smiling smiley

Thank you for the PM. Are you saying that the two versions are the same? If so, I believe you.

I think you sent me some files? Unfortunately, with the Stones and Clapton concerts, I am far behind at work, and don't have time to listen to test the files myself (it is now 4:23 a.m. here in Tokyo, and I am still at the Office!). I am planning to go to Macau, so I may not be able to test them until after March 10.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: February 28, 2014 22:25

Quote
Chacho

What I am trying to research is the history of the re-mastering of "Exile on Main Street".

From [www.discogs.com] :

The 1986 CD version: Greg Calbi digital mastering for CBS/Columbia
The 1994 CD version: Bob Ludwig digital re-mastering for Virgin
The 2010 CD version: Stephen Marcussen / Stewart Whitmore mastering for Universal Music Group (UMG)
The 2011 DSD version: flat transferred from UK original analogue master tapes by Mick McKenna and Richard Whittaker at FX Copyroom, London

Maybe Google helps for more details about the advantages / disadvantages of each mastering.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2014-02-28 22:55 by Irix.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Whale ()
Date: February 28, 2014 22:56

Somebody here said they tested them and that the jap 2011 sacd is the exact same as the bluray audio. Don't remember who it was.
As it is considerably cheaper I got that one and refrained from the japanese ones that are 50 eur or so a piece if you want the stuff sent to europe.
I have the Grrrr bluray also.
And I ordered the Let it Bleed bluray.

So what are they like?
It all depends on the stereo too and I don't have a great big audiophile stereo. The sound is as good as the weakest link in the DAC chip - amplifier - speakers chain.
That said it's reasonable, it's likely clearer, but I'm really not sure I could pick the cd from the bluray in a double blind test.
I also torrented the jap sacd of beggars banquet and when I played that through the same set-up ( my bluray player has a usb port too ) I found it was really better than the cd.
With EOMS though it's harder to tell as the mix has a muddy feel to it. On purpose the sound isn't as crisp and clear as BB.

The cover says nothing like is stated on the jap sacd. So you really don't know what mastering was used. It puzzles me as to why universal just can't tell us.
It has often puzzled me why RS packages never seem to get it right ( another one: why is the EOMS blues not contained in the deluxe edition ? )

My copy contain vouchers for a download of the album too . With the Grrr bluray you don't get this.

I haven't tried the download, but that download would make it easier to compare with the jap shm-sacd.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: kowalski ()
Date: February 28, 2014 23:08

The Exile Blu-ray is made from the 2011 DSD transfer. They have same sound and same waveform.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: kish_stoned ()
Date: February 28, 2014 23:08

the best cd version is the VIRGIN master,do not go for CBS the sound on sweet virgina drops very badly,good luck

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: kowalski ()
Date: February 28, 2014 23:13

Quote
kish_stoned
the best cd version is the VIRGIN master,do not go for CBS the sound on sweet virgina drops very badly,good luck

But on another hand the CBS one has the most natural sound and has full dynamic range preserved. In comparison the Virgin sounds muffled.

This said the best version on CD is the SHM-CD from last year - made from the 2011 flat transfer.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Date: March 1, 2014 01:48

What about the vinyl mastering for the Deluxe release?

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: kowalski ()
Date: March 1, 2014 02:20

Quote
DandelionPowderman
What about the vinyl mastering for the Deluxe release?

From what I read they used the 2009/2010 Universal remaster.

"Exile for the i.Pod generation" : [www.analogplanet.com]

"This new re-mastering sounded compacted, spatially flattened, deliberately dynamically compressed and shockingly bass-shy. The horns that are supposed to cut through with a mean edge on “Rocks Off” were limp, Charlie’s signature snare sound was soft.
I mean it really sucks on a stereo but probably will sound swell on an iPod played back with cheap earbuds.
The mastering gamesmanship does produce the sensation of more detail and greater transparency but it's sham detail and sham transparency. This production has had it's balls cut off."

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Chacho ()
Date: March 1, 2014 06:24

Quote
dcba
Quote
Chacho
I am in the process of re-recording my MP3 collection from my vinyl, cassette, and CD collections, in a higher bitrate.

Dump the mp3 format altogether and enter the 21st century = go FLAC! thumbs up

I have tested my ears. I cannot tell the differnce between Flac and MP3 at 192 kbps. So I am sticking with MP3. Also...I would not have the space needed for 491 albums if I did Flac.

As the human ear ages, it does not hear like it did at 25. I am 63.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Nellcote1971 ()
Date: January 9, 2024 09:07

Been a long time...

What about the EMI releases, e.g. UK 79 CUN-1 or even Germany in 77. Did they feature new mastering? At least they didn't use Artisan plates anymore (although they did in the US until 78 iirc)

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: January 9, 2024 10:23

The German "Electrola" release sounds like it may be a remaster..it certainly has a sound of it's own.

The best modern vinyl I suspect is the Miles Showell master from the 2011 flat transfer, for the boxed set .
I guess that one is also used for the post box half speed master release, which I haven't heard

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Nellcote1971 ()
Date: January 9, 2024 10:36

Yes a lot of people rave about the flat transfer (haven't heard it YET).

What I don't get... I've read numerous posts (here and at the Hoffman forum) that indicate that the original master was lost and that famously Bob Ludwig had to purchase a mint Monarch copy for his 1994 mastering (source: Don Was) but I've found nothing about the resurfacing of that master.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: January 9, 2024 10:51

First generation copies of the theoriginal master tape can also be great sources...and, as often not, were used to master vinyl back in the day.

I'm happy to be corrected but I think it was likely an early generation copy which was used for the 2011 flat digital transfer.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: January 9, 2024 12:13

Quote
Nellcote1971
Yes a lot of people rave about the flat transfer (haven't heard it YET).

What I don't get... I've read numerous posts (here and at the Hoffman forum) that indicate that the original master was lost and that famously Bob Ludwig had to purchase a mint Monarch copy for his 1994 mastering (source: Don Was) but I've found nothing about the resurfacing of that master.


If that's the implication...I very much doubt that Bob Ludwig mastered anything from an LP record!

...though he may have sought out a good original analogue pressing as a listening reference, which all good and caring engineers would do.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2024-01-09 15:23 by Spud.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Nellcote1971 ()
Date: January 9, 2024 12:36

Yeah I know what you mean... I'm not very familiar with the whole mastering process.
Here's the Don Was story from Goldmine magazine:

"The Stones had just signed to Virgin Records and “Voodoo Lounge” was gonna be their first record for the label. But Virgin was gonna reissue the catalog at the same time. They chose “Exile On Main Street” and “Sticky Fingers” to be the first two to be remastered. So we sent it to Bob Ludwig — this was back in 1993. Ludwig did what he was asked to do and mastered it to sound like 1993. But it didn’t sound anything like how we remembered “Sticky Fingers” or “Exile.” We put it on and it was hi-fi but it was not right. So we did a lot of research and went out and bought every incarnation of those albums and every one was incredibly different. We thought there must be EQ-ed production masters but no one could find any production masters for either of those records. But I’ll tell you, the non-EQ-ed master tapes don’t sound anything like the records we know. Suddenly we’re sitting there thinking, what do we match it to? It was mysterious. No one knew where to turn.

Finally, there was an ad in Goldmine magazine. Someone had virgin vinyl copies of the original pressings still in the shrink wrap of “Exile” and “Sticky Fingers.” So without tipping our hand we answered the ad. It was someone who was living out in Ventura or something like that. They drove in and came to my house not knowing that Mick and Keith were there. (laughs) The guy was smart enough not to charge ‘em (laughs) but asked them to autograph another dozen Stones albums, which they did. So we opened up the shrink wrap and put it on and there it was. So we sent it up to Ludwig and went, “Just copy this over, man” because this is how it was supposed to be. But Bob had too much pride to do that and I’m glad he did because we saved a generation and he matched the sound and feel of them. That was a really significant lesson. Don’t editorialize on something that’s great. How ******’ dare you! (laughs) You think you’re gonna improve on this? (laughs)."

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: RobberBride ()
Date: January 9, 2024 14:16

For those interested in the provenance of the different EXILE masters (like us) here is a repeat of that little tidbit about the 1986 version too:

EXILE MASTER
From Musician Magazine, April 1987

Rolling Stones on CD: You Can Get What You Need.
By Scott Isler

"When you consider the type of people the Stones were in those days, you can imagine the approach they took in the studio." Greg Calbi, mastering engineer at Sterling Sound Studios in New York, speaks from experience: He digitally remastered Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Some Girls and Emotional Rescue for Columbia Records. "I don't think they really had the patience," Calbi continues. "Because it's the Rolling Stones and it's your favorite record, a lot of times you think a record's gonna be a lot better sounding than it really is. These records were never really recording gems but they were rock classics. That's their big conflict with digital."

Calbi's job - along with Vladimir Meller, the CBS Studios mastering engineer who handled Columbia's other Stones CDs - was to resolve that conflict. Their modus operandi was identical to Klein and Oldham's with the earlier Stones albums. "We bought each of the albums in a store," Calbi says, "and listened to what people had available to buy right now. Then I would go back and listen to the master tape. In some cases they were better, in some cases the record sounded better: Mastering, eq-ing doesn't go onto the master tape; that's done through the recording console. The main thing was to have plenty of time to compare all this stuff and see what was on the market and try to improve on it."

Calbi praises Don DeVito, Columbia's coordinator and supervisor for the Stones CD project. "He was very open to any suggestion. A lot of A&R people might just get the most convenient tape and say, 'Here, make a record out of it.' A few years ago I think they were just interested in getting a CD out. Now the competition is pretty serious. I think they know that if they get bad reviews in any of the magazines, that's just going to hurt the whole catalog."

Calbi and Meller were flooded with tapes: original masters, equalized masters, safety copies of original masters - several different versions for each album. "That gave me a tremendous advantage right off the bat," Calbi says. "In mastering, every stage is so important as far as differences in sound."

Nothing brought that home to Calbi like working on Exile, his self-described "favorite record" when it originally came out. "Exile On Main Street was probably the most perplexing one of all" the Columbia Stones CDs, he says. "The master tape sounded so drastically different from the record that was out on the market. I wouldn't want to insult anybody, but the master tape I had was dreadful. It was very muddy and there was very little separation between everything. It was obvious that whoever mastered the album did something magical to it, something which I couldn't figure out. I worked for two or three days on it, and I just gave up. I thought maybe over the years the tape had lost some quality. I couldn't get it to jump out. I did the best I could.

"Three days after I sent out the final product, they found another tape. It was an equalized tape done when they cut the record. I put it on, and it's phenomenal. With the help of some people at Columbia, we stopped production on what we had, and went back and actually used the equalized master that was done for [vinyl] disc. It just sounds fantastic.

"On the other hand, something like Sticky Fingers was fairly easy to improve upon. The bass response particularly was very lightweight and flimsy on disc. The bottom was so much fuller and richer when I got the master tape and played it on my Neve console."

"If you hear bass on an eq master that came out on disc," Meller says, "it's not enough for CD. You can put much more highs on CD. When someone buys a CD, the first thing they expect is more dynamic range than on disc, so why transfer the same sound to CD?"

Calbi cites a "transistory midrange" endemic to early-70s recordings. "The harshness is a hard thing to get rid of. But when I mastered Sticky Fingers I just went for the excitement, for the guitar growl. I figured the people who are going to buy those records want 'em to kick."

By the time of Some Girls (1978), the engineers' job was much easier. "I had all the cutting information at my fingertips," Calbi says. "I had the master tape. I opened up the bass a bit. I reduced the amount of compression considerably. The drums are clearer and louder now."

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: January 9, 2024 14:56

These guys always talk a great game ...

...but then somebody comes along and compresses the whole bloody thing to soulless oblivion .

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: StonedRambler ()
Date: January 9, 2024 15:37

Quote
Spud
Quote
Nellcote1971
Yes a lot of people rave about the flat transfer (haven't heard it YET).

What I don't get... I've read numerous posts (here and at the Hoffman forum) that indicate that the original master was lost and that famously Bob Ludwig had to purchase a mint Monarch copy for his 1994 mastering (source: Don Was) but I've found nothing about the resurfacing of that master.


If that's the implication...I very much doubt that Bon Ludwig mastered anything from an LP record!

...though he may have sought out a good original analogue pressing as a listening reference, which all good and caring engineers would do.


The whole thing is a bit complicated, let me explain (I have read far too much about that topic in the past)...



As for Exile there is an equalized mastertape (that was used as the basis for all the original vinyl masterings) as well as an unequalized mastertape (just all the mixes transfered to one tape).

So the order of the tape transfers must have been something like this:

original mixes -> unequalized mastertape -> equalized mastertape -> individual masterings of each pressing plant

- The 1986 CBS CD (mastered by Greg Calbi) uses the original equalized master tape (see the interview RobberBride posted above). After that the tape was "lost".

- when Bob Ludwig did the 1994 remasterings they couldn't find the original equalized mastertape. Therefore Bob Ludwig had to buy an original mint copy of the vinyl and replicate all the EQ choices that were done on the original Exile mastering as the have a huge importance on how the album is sounding.

- Steven Marcussen who did the 2010 remaster also had the unequalized master but didn't replicate the EQ settings of the original album at all (he probably didn't even know or care). That's why the tonal balance of the 2010 remaster sounds a lot different than all the other versions. Especially those edge-cutting trebles on the horns (e.g. in Rocks Off) are gone.

- as for the Flat Transfer I would assume it is also the eqed master (maybe it reappeared?) since the eq sounds a lot like the original vinyl to me. Only problem here for me is that all the Flat Transfers were transfered slightly too slow and therefore are also slightly flat in pitch (maybe that's why they are called "Flat" transfers, pun intended...) which as a person with perfect pitch makes it unlistenable to me.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2024-01-09 15:40 by StonedRambler.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: January 9, 2024 16:56

Good heavens !

How does someone afflicted with the awful curse of perfect pitch even listen to the Rolling Stones at all grinning smiley

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: January 9, 2024 17:14

Fascinating how an uber-established band like the Rolling Stones could have master tapes "lost". I get that in the 60s things were recorded over because tape was expensive and no one thought these animals would even be around in 2 years, but surely by 1972 and with RSR, their own production company, they should have had a system of archives in place. It's ludicrous really.

Ah, but that's just so rock'n'roll!

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: ChrisL ()
Date: January 9, 2024 17:18

Quote
treaclefingers
Fascinating how an uber-established band like the Rolling Stones could have master tapes "lost". I get that in the 60s things were recorded over because tape was expensive and no one thought these animals would even be around in 2 years, but surely by 1972 and with RSR, their own production company, they should have had a system of archives in place. It's ludicrous really.

Ah, but that's just so rock'n'roll!

I have no idea, but maybe the fact that some of the EOMS songs are controlled still by Abcko has something to do with the split masterings and the lost tapes?

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: dedospegajosos ()
Date: January 9, 2024 19:50

wow, so the Virgin Exile and the Universal Exile sound that different? I never notice this, I will check it out again soon. I mean It should be dramatically different

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: djgab ()
Date: January 9, 2024 20:17

what about the half speed mastering ?

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: Nellcote1971 ()
Date: January 9, 2024 20:20

Quote
djgab
what about the half speed mastering ?

I didn't find much difference to the 2010 remaster but maybe that's just me.

Re: "Exile On Main Street" Mastering History
Posted by: StonedRambler ()
Date: January 9, 2024 22:09

Quote
dedospegajosos
wow, so the Virgin Exile and the Universal Exile sound that different? I never notice this, I will check it out again soon. I mean It should be dramatically different

I think the difference is dramatic. Just listen to the drum fill on Loving Cup when Charlie kicks in. On the Virgin it's sounding super punchy while on the Universal the balls are cut off.

Goto Page: 1234Next
Current Page: 1 of 4


Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Online Users

Guests: 1210
Record Number of Users: 206 on June 1, 2022 23:50
Record Number of Guests: 9627 on January 2, 2024 23:10

Previous page Next page First page IORR home