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Thread: Phantoms Reissue/'remaster'

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Unhappy Phantoms Reissue/'remaster'

    I realize this 'remaster' came out several years ago and I am a bit late coming to the party. However, I just got this without reading the reviews and was sorely disappointed. I noticed something was up when comparing "Our We Ourselves" to an older CD edition I had. The stereo imaging is completely reversed. Has anyone else noticed this? I did a search of the forum but could find nothing. I gather One Way Records (which may now be defunct though I am not sure) didn't care to have this fixed. Can anyone out there confirm that this release has, indeed, been botched?

  2. #2
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    Feb 2002
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    Portland, OR
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    I have heard rather negative things about this release, although unsure about the stereo imaging. How sad, Phantoms is a true classic. This album sounds best on vinyl, in my opinion.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Thanks for the reply. I was wondering if anyone was out there. I should get a vinyl release and compare. What other negative things have you heard (outside of the shoddy liner notes)?

  4. #4
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    I have heard similar things as what you describe about the sound quality. I can tell you that I own the non-remastered CD that is now out of print, and while it sounds good, it does not sound as good as that same album on vinyl. "Wish" in particular sounds GREAT on a record player. It's almost as if the album loses some of its soul in the translation to CD. Just my opinion!

  5. #5
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    May 2006
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    I need to get the LP. Why can't they make a good remaster?

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Abacab
    I need to get the LP. Why can't they make a good remaster?
    Do you have any idea how well (or not well) the remaster of Reach the Beach did? The answer probably lies there.

    I never picked that up, since it would have been the fourth time I'd bought RtB! But I did wonder how it sounded. I remember that Amoeba Records in Hollywood got a humongous pile of promos and put them straight into the used bin - meaning, somone in publicity at MCA took them straight over and sold them upon the reissue's release. Nice.

    My vinyl Phantoms vinyl sleeve is signed by Cy, Jamie, Rupert and Adam. It's a treasure. I put it in a nice frame and hung it over the mixing desk in my studio.

  7. #7
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    May 2006
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    AFAIK, the RtB remaster is quite good. I don't have the LP to compare it to, but I have other CDs with tracks from the album and the RtB remaster sounds quite good in comparison. Also, the RtB remaster has liner notes. The "Phantoms" reissue is neither good nor of liner note quality.

  8. #8
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    an ignorant question

    What the heck is "stereo imaging"

  9. #9
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    "stereo imaging" is a way to describe the perceived "width" of a recording. if you put on a pair of headphones, does the sound seem to be sitting right in the middle of your head (a la The Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds')? That's monophonic imaging. Can you hear the footsteps travel from left to right before "Breathe" on 'Dark Side of the Moon?' That's stereo imaging, in a sense. Does Jamie's guitar sound like it's coming from one spot, or does it shimmer all around?

  10. #10
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    Thanks! Given that description I'll avoid the remaster as well.

  11. #11
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    Mar 2000
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    Auburn, WA, USA
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    Yeah, the sound quality isn't quite as good....but,... don't forget about the bonus tracks. The different version of "Less Cities, More Moving People" is quite good. And the extended version of "I Will" is something I think most Fixxtures will want in their collection.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  12. #12
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    May 2006
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    The sound quality is fine. It's the stereo is reversed which makes this CD not worth buying.

  13. #13
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    Nov 2000
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    Phantoms was a great album for me. I lost it years ago - who knows how - and recently bought the re-issue. The extended mix of "I Will" is worth the CD alone. I mentioned it in an earlier post that, at least to me, Phantoms is kind of the Achtung Baby for the Fixx. A musical masterpiece that was over the head of the general public. If that album was released for the first time today, the critics would explode in a frenzy not knowing what to make of it. I'm biased though.
    Skippy

  14. #14
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    May 2006
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    I just noticed the nick of "Trazadone." ha - don't mix it with alcohol. Damn tricyclics. I once took 100mgs of that and one mixed drink and I was out for 15 hours.

  15. #15
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    I spent a good part of the day studying the differences between the Phantoms LP, the Phantoms original CD issue (not the "Super Sound Saver edition), and the "remastered edition" of Phantoms.

    The remastered edition has a louder output, meaning, it was mastered to disc at a higher volume than the original CD. There was no remixing done for the remastered edition so everything present on the original release is also present on the remastered edition but with a higher volume.

    Abacab is correct that the polairty of the stereo imaging is reversed in the remastered edition as compared to the origianl CD release AND the vinyl LP pressings. If the left and right channels being opposite of the origianl recording is that offensive to you then I suppose avoiding the release will remain your priority.

    As far as CD versus LP goes, CDs are capable of reproducing a much greater breadth of sound. 60 db for LPs versus 90+ db for CDS. CDs are capable of 90+ decibels worth of dynamic range. This means there is a width of 90+ decibles between silence and the loudest possible sound on any given CD. The LP on the other hand has an inherantly limited dynamic range of 60 db (as does ALL vinyl). In additon, vinyl is only capable of 30 db channel separation. A sound panned to one channel that is louder than 30 db reproduced from vinyl will "bleed" over to the opposite channel. Since the needle following the course of the groove is vibrating to produce the sound repproduction, a point is eventually reached where channel separation limitations become apparent. CDs, on the other hand, being in the digital domain, have no such channel separation issues.

    Liner notes...well, hands down, the LP has the best artwork. Even the vinyl itself had George Underwoods artwork in the centerpiece. The original Phantoms CD did not include the photo collage but rather all the text involved with the release in a 6 page insert. The remastered edition restores the photo collage albiet much smaller and with an antique tint. The new notes are tainted, however, by an unkind review done by Stephen Thomas Erlewine of All Music Guide. Inclusion of this unkind review was a bonehead move by the reissue producer and artwork redesigners. Missing in the remastered edition is the orginal verbage regarding the credits that made Phantoms possible.

    I'm with Skippy. The inclusion of I Will and Less Cites 12" versions alone makes this CD worth it's price.

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