I was listening to a Pet Shop Boys track (You only tell me you love me when you’re drunk) on my Amazon Echo the other day. Alexa prefaced the track by informing me that it was the 2003 remaster. I thought this highly odd as it was only released in 1999. What possible reason could there be to remaster something that soon after original release? Was there an issue with the original master? Did something paradigm shifting happen in music (unlikely as it was almost certainly recorded digitally, even back then and sample rates didn’t increase for some time after)? Was it a cunning ploy by the label to re-release on marketing or copyright grounds? Answers on a postcard…

It did get me thinking about how re-masters are appreciated, or not as the case may be. Most regular listeners hearing a remastered album recorded relatively recently will hear an increase in quality but was the original bad enough to make you rush out and buy another copy? Audiophiles with £50k replay

systems will undoubtedly get all excited but i’m guessing they’re in the minority. So it follows that the real benefits are to older recordings, pre-CD e.g. vinyl. Perversely though vinyl purists will say that that format and master is the most faithful reproduction one can hear of the artist and producers intention. Presumably because that’s sonically all they knew and therefor what they were aiming at! Would Beethoven have continued to write for live orchestra if he’d had access to racks of synths and samplers as Bill and Ted would have us believe!?

Anyway, so many questions! Just my thoughts really. Feel free to weigh in…

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