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Suppose Maiden reissued their catalogue again...

Discussion in 'Maiden Chat' started by Perun, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Since it's a slow few days at work, I had some time to go through some threads here and got interested especially in the discussion about the mastering in the Vinyl Reissues thread. This brought me back to a favourite thought experiment of mine: Suppose we would be getting an ultimate reissue of all Maiden albums in the style of the 1998 ones, which is not aimed at a niche market (vinyl, iTunes... I mean a general, canonic version that constitutes the benchmark of all Maiden releases), with entirely new mastering, bonus material and all that jazz, what would your wishlist be?

    Maiden-wise, I mostly grew up on the 1998 remasters, and always went by the wisdom that differences in mastering, sound quality, clipping etc is something only audiophiles care for or even notice, with expensive equipment and deeper interest and knowledge in audio matters. But there were two things that convinced me otherwise. The first is that I didn't actually buy the 1998 CD of the debut album for a long time, because I had snatched an LP very early in my Maiden shopping days and just listened to that. When I first heard the '98 remaster, I was pretty shocked at the difference in sound, and I didn't like what I heard. The second was that at one point, I lost access to my music files for a while, didn't want to go without any Maiden at the time and also didn't have the patience to just rip the CDs again, so... shame on me, shame on me, I downloaded the discography from somewhere. Turns out the source of those rips was a completely different issue, which I believe to be the 1995 Black Triangle version. It was a completely new sonic experience for me, almost as if I was listening to all the albums again for the first time. I had always heard stories about a CD master different from the '98 versions, and how much better it was supposed to be, but I had no idea it could blow me away like this.
    So, long story short, my number one wish for a complete reissue would be either this master, or a new one that improves on it, but definitely not the '98 brickwall. I think that some work could be done to improve the sound of No Prayer and TXF, but something tells me they should be left alone. Maybe a song or two could be remixed for bonus material just to see what could be done (e.g. giving Mother Russia and Fortunes of War a heavier sound with added effects), but not to erase the originals. For the post-1995 albums, I know there are various masters around for many of them, and I know how much better the 5.1 versions of Rock in Rio and Dance of Death sound, so I'm wondering what could theoretically be done there without altering the substance of the albums. I know that not everyone is entirely happy with all the vinyl reissues, and that the quality seems to be quite uneven.
    So I guess that what I'm getting at is that I would be interested in seeing people talk about their knowledge of the various Masters, although I think it would also be interesting to see what kind of bonus material would be suggested here.
    Cornfed Hick likes this.
  2. I still have the original CDs deleted in 1995. To me they still sound superior & closer to the vinyl. Only problem is it lacks the bonus tracks added on later.

    Does anyone remember the 1995 remasters? With the extra cd with b-sides?
    Black Bart likes this.
  3. Night Prowler

    Night Prowler ɹǝlʍoɹԀ ʇɥƃᴉN Staff Member

    I want them to re-release the albums with bonus CD's like in 1995. There's enough material to do that for reunion albums too. BNW and DOD have B-sides, and for AMOL&D they can release the audio version of the Donington show, if not the video of it (think they gave up on it because flags blocked the cameras).
  4. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Or the four b-sides we were promised... <_<
  5. matic22

    matic22 H is shorter for God.

    What were those? I know they recorded an acoustic version of Tush and Hocus Pocus. There was also a Thin Lizzy song (I don't know which one).
  6. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Angel of Death. And a Deep Purple cover (Highway Star or Space Trucking, don't remember which one). All but Angel eventually appeared somewhere, and that was the one I was the most interested in hearing. But they weren't used for b-sides. Instead, we got a live version of Iron Maiden, which was awesome.
  7. matic22

    matic22 H is shorter for God.

    Oh yeah. It was Space Truckin. It was released on ReMachined album.
  8. MrKnickerbocker

    MrKnickerbocker clap hands

    I, too, was raised on the '98 remasters and never got around to tracking down the audio files from the original mixes until a year or two ago. The sound difference is definitely astounding and I would prefer all future remasters to be based off of these original tapes.

    Remastering in general is a point of contention, as it's difficult to do a full remaster without doing some remixing and re-editing when it comes to FX chains and the like. Personally, I'd love to shuffle the whole catalogue off to someone like Steven Wilson, who is known for creating incredibly textured sonic environments. My major complaint with a lot of Iron Maiden mixes (even the good ones) is that they often lack proper dynamics, using volume instead of texture when it comes to variations in loudness (TXF is particularly rife with this). Thus, any massive remaster of the catalogue would require some remixing, as well. I would love to see this happen for all of the material - especially some of the muddy reunion stuff.

    The key is to also remix and remaster without replacing. I'd never want to hear things entirely replaced with new samples and completely overhauled amp sounds (a la the Megadeth remasters). There is something to be said for replication, though - imagine if some of the earlier albums simply took one rhythm guitar track and duplicated it, did some light panning, and thus made the songs sound as heavy and powerful as they do live? Modern bands do this all the time (hell I think System of a Down recorded upwards of 20 guitar tracks of the same riffs just for layering).

    As for the presentation, I'm a firm believer in keeping the albums to the same lengths and track limits as the original pressing. Don't add bonus songs or chop up stuff and move it around. The one exception I'll make is The Final Frontier, which should have a track break between Satellite and the title song. The bonus songs should just be put on their own B-sides and rarities compilation, perhaps in a giant box (similar to Eddie's Head) with previously unreleased live shows (can we get an AMOLAD live album already?!).
    Cornfed Hick likes this.
  9. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    My experience was half and half. I first heard the remasters of the first two albums, Piece of Mind, and Powerslave. I didn't really notice a difference until getting Powerslave on viny. The drums in particular really stood out as having more "air" to them (in general if you want to hear the differences between various remasters the drums are a good place to start). The 1998 versions have now bordered on unlistenable for me. I haven't even heard the 98 versions of Somewhere In Time or Seventh Son, although I'd hate to find out what they did to such lush sounding albums. At this point with the new vinyl reissues, the "definitive" version varies from album to album. For example, the best Number Of the Beast is probably the original CD and the vinyl reissue is probably best avoided. Fear Of the Dark is the other way around. I'm not factoring in Black Triangle CDs because I haven't heard them all and they weren't widely available. At some point I'd like to put together a definitive list of the best version of every Maiden album to use as a reference. It'd actually be a fairly simple task I think.

    Anyway, if they were to do it again I'd prefer they just leave the mastering alone. Use the originals as a reference, maybe bump up the volume a little bit but every change should be minimal. Some of the 90s albums could use remixes, but as long as Steve Harris is the final say on these things it would be better to just not do anything to it.

    A lot of bands lately have been doing reissues of their classic albums with a standard 2CD version that goes out to the mass market and a more expansive version for the hardcore fans. I would prefer this route for Maiden. Have the first CD with the original UK tracklists (no Sanctuary/Total Eclipse/Twilight Zone) and then a 2nd CD with all additional tracks from those sessions, maybe some outtakes if they exist, and some live tracks. They could really dig deep and find demos of Bruce's SIT rejects or the missing guitar solo from Gangland (but don't put it on the main album!). Then the super deluxe version could include a full live recording from the tour and maybe a DVD with a documentary and any videos (live/studio/TV appearances/etc).
    Ziggyplayedguitar likes this.
  10. TAC

    TAC Nomad

    I would love to hear Angel Of Death done by Maiden.
  11. Wayne Bond

    Wayne Bond Nomad

    I'd be up for a another eddies archives but if they re released their entire catalogue they'd have to be some pretty special stuff included to make me buy the albums again.

    Im lucky enough to own all of the 1995 2 disc versions which are the best the cds have sounded and to be honest theirs no need to buy any other version as theirs enough bonus stuff on them.

    As I'm a sucker for all things Maiden I also bought the eddies head boxset with all the 1998 re masters. I don't think they sound anywhere near as bad as people make out and actually because they were louder sounded better ripped onto my iPhone than the 1995 2 disc ones (although the 2 disc ones are better in a good CD player with decent speakers cranked up lol).

    I've also started buying the mastered for iTunes albums and I've got all of them up to seventh son so far plus x-factor. I decided to get these after listening to some samples and these days I do listen to more music on my iPhone and it's so convenient to just plug into one of the many docks I have at home. The mastered for iTunes sound really good and are the best way to listen to the albums in my opinion on a mobile device, especially an iPhone. They won't beat the 2 disc albums on a good set up but they sure as hell beat any cd ripped into iTunes.

    More rare and unreleased stuff would be of interest rather than the catalogue. I have eddies archives and even have the first ten years singles boxset from the early 1990's.

    Don't think theirs anything other than bootlegs I don't own lol.

    If Maiden do go the full deluxe route for their albums they need to take a leaf out of Rush's book. Some of their deluxe editions have been utterly superb, especially the ones with the blu ray including a full 5.1 hd remix of the album. I'd also rope Steven Wilson in to supervise the remasters. Every remaster that guy has touched including his own stuff and porcupine tree has been sonic heaven. He's the best guy in the business at the moment for doing re releases.
  12. I always wanted the First Ten Years box but never been able to buy it without the containing cds I already own.

    The set is ridiculously priced on eBay, even when the box is completely battered to high heaven, always with about 40 bidders. I've given up.
  13. SirRobbins

    SirRobbins Ancient Mariner

    Bruce's scream at the beginning would be similar to the scream in Infinite Dreams.... it'd be awesome. I'd love them to cover the first slayer record. Black Magic and Face the slayer would be awesome with Bruce
  14. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    That's Angel of Death by Thin Lizzy, not Slayer.
  15. SirRobbins

    SirRobbins Ancient Mariner

    lol well oooops..... :uhm:
    Magnus likes this.
  16. DJMayes

    DJMayes Educated Fool

    Two requests:

    1) Split up Satellite 15 and The Final Frontier.

    2) Put the intro to Powerslave back where it's supposed to be, rather than at the end of Back In The Village.
  17. Niall Kielt

    Niall Kielt Pulled Her At The Bottle Top

    I have the 95 CDs, 2 5 disc box sets. So these are decent then? I've never heard the 98 ones, are they really that bad? Im not a fan of adding the likes of Sanctuary to the cd.

    @Mosh has it spot on I think, super deluxe 3 or even 4 disc affair including a full live show on cd and dvd if possible. Anything less is hardly worth the effort in my opinion.
  18. The Flash

    The Flash Dennis Wilcock did 9/11

    The difference between the original Somewhere in Time mix and the remaster is resounding. Remaster gives you serious ear fatigue.

    Sadly, the one I own and listen to is the remaster because I can't for the life of me find the original anywhere. (In physical form I mean)
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  19. SirRobbins

    SirRobbins Ancient Mariner

    the reissued CDs and mp3 did that last year
  20. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    Beware, this is a fairly deep rabbit hole.
    My two cents: for CD, get the U.S. Capitol or U.K. EMI original 1980s issues of Killers through Seventh Son (or the Japanese "Black Triangle", but those are rare and expensive, unless you download them like Perun did). Get the U.S. Capitol for the debut, as it sounds better than the U.K. or Black Triangle and also contains "Sanctuary," which the others omit. The 2015 vinyl reissues also sound excellent, arguably better than the CDs (except NOTB, in my opinion), but get the U.K. presses, not the U.S., for quality control reasons. The original CD issues of NPFTD, FOTD, TXF and VXI are better than the remasters, but not great. I think the black vinyl versions of Brave New World through The Book of Souls are better than the CDs, though the CD of AMOLAD sounds pretty good to me.

    To Perun's point, I would welcome audiophile CD/SACD/hi-res digital reissues by a top-notch mastering engineer in which the dynamics were preserved. The 2015 digital remasters should have been the definitive versions, but they blew it. They took the same flat transfers from the original master tapes that were used for the vinyl reissues but compressed the heck out of them for digital. They should have released CDs or high-res digital products that sound closer to the vinyl, leaving the dynamics intact. If they did that, I'd be in.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017

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