Iron Maiden albums (CDs) pressings with best sound quality

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
People from Maiden Fans forums, could you give me hints, insights and opinions on which Iron Maiden CDs pressing has the definitive best sound quality? I listened to the 1995 Castle/EMI double bonus discs, the 1998 remasters (which I don't really like) and some of the brasilian 1st pressings. As everything from Japan - in terms of technology - are second to none, I'm about to get the Toshiba 1st pressings or the Black Triangle pressing, (there's also one pressing from Fame, which I think is European).

So, all the info about these pressings and perhaps others which are worth, but I'm not aware are very much welcomed.

Thanx & UP THE IRONS!!! :edmetal:
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
WOW, dude!!! There's a lot of insightful and clarifying info on those threads. Thanx a bunch, ABandOn!!!

UP THE IRONS!!! :edmetal:
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Playing the devil's advocate: how do you deduce from that thread which pressings have the best sound quality?

I am curious for The Final Judgement. ;)
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
In this case, by general consensus, if there's one on that thread. But as I suspected, the japanese pressings seems to be really the top quality ones.
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
I ended up getting all Japanese first pressing loseless format and the sound is really warmer, more well balanced, the highs and lows are well defined. The remasters always sounded to extreme and without edge, without bottom or high. Everything is a just a sonic m(e)ass (Powerslave, Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son are completely ruined on the remasters). I hear a quality to the japanese pressing cd's - which really took me back to my childhood, as well - that I was only used to when listening vinyls, back in the 80's. Finally, I really had to turn the volume up to hear it as it must be, which is something you don't need to do with the remasters; only now I could notice how much I was missing.

I intend to get another of the well regarded pressings to see how they compare to these japanese pressings. I used to have the EMI 2 cd sets, from 1995, and they were nice and it's said to be one of the top 5 pressings for Maiden albums, alongside the original U.K. pressings and the first German pressings.
 
I don't think the 98 remasters are all that bad, not compared to their later releases anyway. But I'm intrigued to ask, please don't take it the wrong way, but how are you even able to listen to later maiden records if you are being so audiophile and scared of compression? do you adjust your hearing or do you skip listening to them all together? Just out of curiosity =)
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
I don't think there's too much compression. BNW has an incredible sound, DOD has a kind of sound that fits the album vibe, AMOLAD is the one I like less, the sound is not as it should be, idem as its music. Even if I didn't like the sonic value of these albums at all, the music always comes first.
 

Twarkle

Nomad
I own all the Black Triangles (they still have their Obi strips too), and I get accused of being an audiophile all the time.  To be honest there isn't much, if any real difference between those and the original Captiol/EMI pressings.  I've compared the files with spectral analysis and they are really similar.  

As a collector of Japanese first pressings especially from the 1980's of all types of music (I have over 300) I think it's important to point out that there is a lot of misinformation about them floating around.  For the most part their sound quality and their mastering are identical to their UK, US, etc counterparts.  The difference was the quality control of the Japanese pressings were immaculate.  They were using better equipment at their pressing factories and were paying much more attention to detail.  A lot of this hogwash was started by the mastering engineer/liar/thief, Steve Hoffman, and his band of sycophants at his forum.  It should be noted that in the world outside his little forum and in the record industry, and amongst his peers, that Hoffman is considered a joke.  Mention his name to any engineer worth his salt and you'll be greeted with laughter.

The whole Japanese pressing thing has become larger than life.  This is now also fueled by eBay, and in all honesty the hype has exceeded the reality, which is that Japanese pressings, 1st pressings in particular are fun to collect and often come with cool goodies and bonus tracks, but in the end even those who claim to have the best ears in the world can't tell the difference between the same release from 2 different countries on high end systems.  I've seen this proven time and time again.

I will say the remasters are unlistenable to me, and I have serious problems listening to Dance Of Death.  Brave New World is fine, and AMOLAD doesn't bother me from a compression stand point too much, but I'm not a fan of the sound of the album, though I do really like the album itself.

I think the word audiophile has a bad connotation now, and people associate it with snotty wealthy guys who think they have better ears than everyone else.  That doesn't have to be the case.  It's possible to buy very high end equipment and enjoy listening to music the way you like it without berating other people.  Unfortunately lots of audiophiles behave this way.  
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
I agree. The best sounding Maiden albums are the first pressings for EMI U.K. and the Black Triangle series. The difference I clearly notice is that the sound of the BT series is brighter and I'd call them as 'remasters' when compared to the EMI U.K. pressing 'cos its sound is a bit louder, but not compressed like the horrible Eddie's Head remasters. I listened to Piece Of Mind from the BT series, today as part of the marathon from The Soundhouse Tapes up to The Final Frontier, and the b-sides I've Got The Fire and Cross-Eyed Mary from The First Ten Years series and both sound great, but the EMI pressing is a bit more fuller and the equalization is a bit damped, making all the frequencies keep the same peaks. Both sound great, you can actually turn the volume up when listening to both and doesn't crack the music, turning it into an unbearable ma(e)ss of sounds, but the japanese first pressing has more dynamics and you can clearly listen every instrument.

The new Black Sabbath deluxe remasters is the best Sabbath sounding albums I've ever heard 'cos like on the Maiden's pressings I just commented about, every instrument has room to breathe without stepping on each others toes; the best remastering jobs I know are the Jethro Tull 2001 series, Black Sabbath Deluxe Editions from 2009/2010 (more to come, yet), Rush 1997 remasters and Judas Priest 2001 remasters (Defenders Of The Faith though, has K.K. and Glenn wrongly on switched channels).

About the audiophile term, this is so gay, so posh. Argh! I detest these intelectualized 'titles' some are proud to be tagged as. Pathetic.
 

Twarkle

Nomad
Jeffmetal said:
I agree. The best sounding Maiden albums are the first pressings for EMI U.K. and the Black Triangle series. The difference I clearly notice is that the sound of the BT series is brighter and I'd call them as 'remasters' when compared to the EMI U.K. pressing 'cos its sound is a bit louder, but not compressed like the horrible Eddie's Head remasters. I listened to Piece Of Mind from the BT series, today as part of the marathon from The Soundhouse Tapes up to The Final Frontier, and the b-sides I've Got The Fire and Cross-Eyed Mary from The First Ten Years series and both sound great, but the EMI pressing is a bit more fuller and the equalization is a bit damped, making all the frequencies keep the same peaks. Both sound great, you can actually turn the volume up when listening to both and doesn't crack the music, turning it into an unbearable ma(e)ss of sounds, but the japanese first pressing has more dynamics and you can clearly listen every instrument.

The new Black Sabbath deluxe remasters is the best Sabbath sounding albums I've ever heard 'cos like on the Maiden's pressings I just commented about, every instrument has room to breathe without stepping on each other toes; the best remaster jobs I know are the Jethro Tull 2001 series, Black Sabbath Deluxe Editions from 2009/2010 (more to come, yet), Rush 1997 remasters and Judas Priest 2001 remasters (Defenders Of The Faith though, has K.K. and Glenn wrongly on switched channels).

About the audiophile term, this is as gay as peadophile. I detest these intelectualized 'titles' some are proud to be tagged as. Pathetic.

I would agree with you that when you know what you are listening for the Japanese BT's sound more crisp Jeff.  I just think a lot of people have been misled and tricked, and have spent their money on things they will never hear the difference on.  Even the 1995 Castle re-issues are really good (when the discs don't physically corrode).  It would be really nice to see Maiden release everything with it's original mastering, or even a remaster version that is done properly, not just brickwalled.  

Give credit to Axl Rose, who despite what people think of him or Chinese Democracy at least had the good sense to choose a great sounding mastering when Bob Ludwig presented him with three versions of the album.  Ludwig said he was relieved that someone actually wanted a non brickwalled mastering on a modern album.
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
I used to have the Castle/EMI (only NPFTD from Castle; the rest from EMI) 2 cd's set from 1995 and when I bought Somewhere In Time remastered, I missed those series immedeately as Caught Somewhere In Time started it's galloping part. It's really horrible!!! Powerslave and Seventh Son are the other two of top 3 horribly remastered Eddie's Head. I learn to play songs by ear and I make loads of Maiden tabs and Somewhere In Time is one of the hardest albums to learn the songs by ear, and with the remasters it became really blurred, muddy and even the synths were compressed. Seventh Son guitar and synths is a block of compression that you can barely tell what the guitars are doing. Now, with the first pressings, I rediscovered how everything is much more defined and separated from the mixdown.

I think the guy who's been doing the new Sabbath deluxe remasters would be perfect for a new definitive series of Maiden remasters, preferable as DVD-A. It would be essential.
 

Twarkle

Nomad
Jeffmetal said:
I used to have the Castle/EMI (only NPFTD from Castle; the rest from EMI) 2 cd's set from 1995 and when I bought Somewhere In Time remastered, I missed those series immedeately as Caught Somewhere In Time started it's galloping part. It's really horrible!!! Powerslave and Seventh Son are the other two of top 3 horribly remastered Eddie's Head. I learn to play songs by ear and I make loads of Maiden tabs and Somewhere In Time is one of the hardest albums to learn the songs by ear, and with the remasters it became really blurred, muddy and even the synths were compressed. Seventh Son guitar and synths is a block of compression that you can barely tell what the guitars are doing. Now, with the first pressings, I rediscovered how everything is much more defined and separated from the mixdown.

I think the guy who's been doing the new Sabbath deluxe remasters would be perfect for a new definitive series of Maiden remasters, preferable as DVD-A. It would be essential.

Oh man the Somewhere In Time re-master is just brutal.  It is a freaking abomination.  Though all the remasters will give you a headache after 15 minutes regardless of the volume.  The only problem with the Castle 2 disc sets is like I said they had a bad habit of corroding or I guess the more common term is CD rot.  I've been through 3 sets.  I'm not buying them again if this set corrodes.  
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
I sold them in order to buy the 1998 remasters, but now that you talked about the corrosion problem, I got rid of a real rag. :lol:
 

Cornfed Hick

Ancient Mariner
To be clear, the low-sound-quality "remasters" you are referring to the currently-in-release "Enhanced CD" versions that, when stacked properly, are supposed to show Eddie from the first album?  (On Amazon, they are all dated March 2002, not 1998.)  If so, that's mostly what I have now for the 80s albums, though I have the original (or at least earlier) release of Seventh Son and Number of the Beast.  I also have vinyl versions of all the 80s albums, which are great to pull out and play from time to time. 
 

Twarkle

Nomad
cornfedhick said:
To be clear, the low-sound-quality "remasters" you are referring to the currently-in-release "Enhanced CD" versions that, when stacked properly, are supposed to show Eddie from the first album?  (On Amazon, they are all dated March 2002, not 1998.)  If so, that's mostly what I have now for the 80s albums, though I have the original (or at least earlier) release of Seventh Son and Number of the Beast.  I also have vinyl versions of all the 80s albums, which are great to pull out and play from time to time.  

The 2002 versions are the same version.  The 1998 remasters are also enhanced and when lined up, the spines show Eddie as well.  No difference, though I think they may have changed the packaging to look like the original vinyl?

Since you have already paid for all the albums, just go download the EMI/Capitol or Japanese 1st pressings.  They are all over the net and usually labeled so you know which version to choose.  Or just make a CD from your vinyls which I'm sure sound great.
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
Another amazing feature from the Black Triangle japanese cd's is that they're very close to the vinyl sound, just with a brighter, more defined sound; I listened to The Number Of The Beast yesterday and I heard all the same nuances that I used to hear on the vinyl version. It was like 1987 all over again! :) I got to get a new turntable to me, but I will as soon as I start buying all the vinyls back (I still got 'em from the debut up to Fear Of The Dark, but they're all fucked up).
 
Well, I don't have as sensative ears as you guys, but I certainly dislike too much compression. As far as maiden goes I've only had this problem with three records though, DoD, SiT & Virtual XI. I haven't seen anyone else say anything about the quality of virtual XI though, is it only me who finds it hard to listen to without the ears starting to bleed after a couple of minutes?

Also, totally unrelated, is there anyway to spellcheck your post within the forum? I don't have english spellcheck in my browser...
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
No, unfortunately, we rely on the browsers here.

However, your English is quite good, so don't worry about it.
 

Jeffmetal

Ancient Mariner
stannar_kvar, don't worry, your english is better than your ears, apparently, are. :p

I also got NPFTD, FOTD, TXF and VXI from the japanese pressings. They sound much better, too, from the little I've heard of 'em.
 
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