From: Ofir Zwebner|
Sent: Friday 14 June 2002 17:14
Subject: Mirage CD Comparison
Mirage CD Comparison
Comparing Deram 820 613-2 (original edition) vs. Deram 8829292 (remastered edition)
The beige tinted original DERAM CD cover is very similar to the vinyl copy I own (by the Canadian Passport Records). The remastered CD cover is of very light, off-white beige, which I found really strange. Unlike any vinyl or CD release I've ever seen, the remastered CD's cover artwork is framed by an empty margin. The printing is sharper but I prefer the darker tones of the original CD edition.
The original CD booklet contains one large picture of the band, an article and some technical details. It is designed with simplicity and taste, even attempting to restore the typeface used to print the song titles as in the original vinyl. The remastered edition booklet contains more pictures, including a (rather small) picture of the US cover and lineup photos from the original vinyl sleeve art. It is sad that the new release failed to give credit to the technical personnel who worked on the album. If some money and care was given to the booklet, it could have been much better; the 8 pages end result looks messy and cheap.
The new liner notes are simply written, with some care for technical details and other information. Where John Tracy (of the original Deram release) would grind his pen with "Camel returned the compliment our cousins paid by packing their bags and heading toward the nation where Liberty waits to greet newcomers. Booked for a 7 weeks crusade, again with their old friends Wishbone Ash headlining, Camel's act was aimed fairly and squarely at the audiences who'd pay to watch with 45 minutes of hard rocking boogie", Mark Powell (of the remastered release) would plainly write "As a result, Camel were booked for a seven week US tour supporting Wishbone Ash".
The equalization and compression of both CDs is essentially similar, and in most cases I found it hard to tell the difference between them. Both editions display good stereo separation, tone brilliance and considerably very little hiss.
The remastered Freefall has been a equalized so the middle range (1KHz - 4KHz) is slightly higher. The result is a warmer sound that is noticeable on some moments.
The remastered Supertwister is slightly quieter than the original mastering but they both sound the same.
The remastering of Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider attempted to emphasize the middle range but also reduced the levels of the higher frequencies. This resulted in slightly muffled vocals (as if the original vocals weren't muffled enough) and the Oboe sounds a bit dead in the mix.
Earthrise - In the few quiet parts of this piece, the remastered edition sounds louder and warmer than the original CD.
When comparing the two versions of Lady Fantasy I found the original edition to be considerably louder with more emphasis on the bass and treble. I suppose the remastered edition attempted to conserve the sound of the original mix, but it is in fact the original version that rocks.
The only bonus track of "historic" or "archival" importance is the alternative mix of Lady Fantasy which is 15 seconds longer. Sadly, this new mix is all too similar to the original one, to an extent where hearing it twice on the same CD may become a burden.
The three other bonus tracks are live recordings of Supertwister, Mystic Queen and Arubaluba. The former two are of great importance because this is the first time these songs are available "live" on an official release. Supertwister is nothing to write home about, it sounds rather flat and out of place when compared to the studio recording. Mystic Queen and Arubaluba are both fine, though they don't reflect in any way on the Mirage album. Another fine live recording of Arubaluba is available in "'73-'75 Gods of Light".
Buy the new edition if you're really into the "Mystic Queen" bonus track or for having some other photos of your favorite group. Otherwise, stick to your old Deram CD.