From: Ofir Zwebner|
Sent: Saturday 15 June 2002 17:06
Subject: Camel CD Comparison
Camel CD Comparison
Comparing CP-002CD (original edition) vs. Deram 8829252 (remastered edition)
The original CD cover is well printed and tastefully attempted to reproduce the original design, including the sepia photograph from the original vinyl on the back. The sleeve contains lyrics.
The remastered CD cover is slightly sharper, but it has a strange, tasteless array of live shot pictures on the back. The sleeve contains a mess of photographs, technical details, trivia information (about the Peter Bardens' band On). The liner notes were remarkably familiar to me, but I haven't yet found the source from which they were copied from. They are, however, sufficiently informative.
The entire remastered CD plays faster than the original CD. This makes the remastered songs between 2 to 4 seconds shorter. I sampled a few notes from each release and comparing the pitches using a guitar tuner; it turns out none of the editions falls exactly into the absolute pitch.
Slow Yourself Down - The original CD sounds a bit muffled but the sound is warmer. The remastered has a strong emphasis on the high frequencies, making the cymbals stand out, but also revealing some hiss. The remastered has an ugly fault at the end of the recording, where some muffled noise (like a turntable arm being lifted) is heard while the last cymbals crash fade away.
Mystic Queen sounds brighter and livelier in the new edition, at the cost of audible hiss and clicks at the quieter parts of the song. My guess is that the original release was heavily noise-reduced, resulting in all the acoustic guitars losing their brightness. The remastered edition suffers some mild tape drops that were not in the original release.
The stereo spread of the original Six Ate leans toward the right ear; this has been balanced in the remastered edition, as well as the sound's brightness. Once again, the remastered edition utilizes less noise reduction and thus reveals faults in the tape and recordings. Latimer's guitar riff at 1:59 sounds completely fuzzy in the new edition, an effect I don't recall Andy ever used in any other song... could it be that the remastering revealed a new style for Camel?
The different equalization of the remastered Separation takes some edge out of the guitar and again reveals some hiss. I find the original much better although it is probably less balanced.
The acoustic guitar at the intro of the original release of Never Let Go sounded wobbly and a few tape drops were audible. This has been completely fixed in the remastered edition, along with reviving the brilliance of the guitar sound. Compared to the remastered edition, the original intro sounds like it's coming out of an old transistor radio. The equalization of the entire track is somewhat better in the remastered edition, but a choice of reducing the middle frequencies caused the final guitar solo to drown among the rest of the instruments. And, if incase I forgot - more hiss is audible.
The remastered version of Curiosity and Arubaluba are brighter, revealing some fuzz used on Bardens' keyboards. I found some serious distortion in many parts of the remastered Arubaluba, which are absent in both the original CD and my own vinyl (made in Germany by Warner). I think this distortion (which is sometimes heard on other parts of the remastered CD) reveals that the source used for the remastered edition was not the original master tape.
The single edit of Never Let Go runs 3:36 minutes long and is plain awful. I doubt if Camel had any say about the way the song was sliced and mixed to satisfy the standards of a single. I think this dreadful addition to the CD should have been left out.
The CD notes often hail a longer version of this or that song. The 19 minutes live version of Homage to the God of Light is perhaps longer than the other available on (un)official bootlegs, but the extra length doesn't mean there's necessarily extra quality. In fact, Latimer's solo drags on and on, sometime loosing the key; at other moments Ward's drums fall back and fail to keep the rhythm. Although the original 16-track recording of the live performance was available for mixing, the editor elected to keep these obvious faults. The mix itself is rather poor and the end result sounds like something recorded from the back of the theatre and not from the soundboard. But hey - there are 19 minutes of this and the ending is a real smash.
The enhanced sound of the remastered edition, especially on Never Let Go and Mystic Queen, make it a better offering. However, I suspect that it is not authentic to the original vinyl release; it just sounds better. Don't bother about the bonus tracks.
Disclaimer: The above comparison was performed using simple home equipment by an amateur musician who is equipped with fish gills (muffled with sea weed) for ears. I would appreciate (and cherish) anyone who can perform a more educated comparison!