Every music album has a life cycle, so a lot can happen to a piece of music during its time on the market in its original form. But what is remastered music, and what does that term really mean?
Remastered music is the process of taking an album of an already recorded piece of music, and rerecording it to a higher standard with newer equipment, and making it sound better.
This also applies to what the volume will sound like, what kind of dynamic range it will have (which is a process that can make or break a remastered piece), and also the equipment that is being used plays a big part in the process. Remastering gives the music a modern touch while still having the same essence as the original recording.
Often reissued for new audiences or as part of a box set collection, remastered music can offer an updated take on what a music piece once was. In some cases, it can also be a method to breathe new life into older recorded music that is often difficult to find either through rerecording or by finding the original recording, which may not exist anymore.
History of Remastering in the Music Industry
As I mentioned above, remastering music attempts to bring what is old in front of new audiences and make it fresh again. But how did remastered music come about? To understand what remastering music means, it is essential to look at the music industry’s history and what remastered music is really all about.
The history of remastering is as varied as it is interesting. For decades, the music industry was primarily concerned with preserving the sound of the music in the analog format of vinyl.
But in the late 90s and 00s, this started to change when the advent of CDs and MP3s became a viable option for consumers and a profitable one for record labels. With digital formats being more common, record companies were starting to see an opportunity to make more money from their already established fan base through remastered music that was widespread ready for consumption to a significantly broader demographic than previously imagined.
How is Music Remastered?
The process of remastering audio files involves a wide range of tools and techniques that can help to improve the audio quality. For example, remastering engineers use multiple recording processes (mic to an amp, digital to analog, and so on) in order to capture the best possible sound.
Then they take these recordings and apply various mastering techniques, such as limiting, equalization, compression, and dynamic range reduction. There are also techniques that involve boosting specific frequencies in order to make the sound seem louder.
Remastering takes into account the equipment that was used when the original record was recorded and is based on the quality of the original recording. Remastering engineers generally aim for the same sound and feel as the original recording but with higher sound quality and dynamics.
This can be compared to pressing a record to an LP. The new pressing has a wider dynamic range and uses more efficient methods of sound reproduction. This is why remastering is also called “pressing again.”
What Makes Remastered Music Better Than The Original?
Remastered music allows the listener to experience the songs in a much fuller way than the original recording. The remastered version of a song might include different sounds or vocals that were not heard in the original recording.
It also consists of a wider dynamic range and higher quality audio. As a result, the remastered version of a song can make the music feel and sound like you are listening to it in a more intimate setting than the original.
However, remastering music is not only about improving the audio quality. It also enhances the way the music sounds. One thing that often needs remastering is the dynamic range. Dynamic range refers to how loud something sounds.
If you take the same piece of music and record it with two different microphones, it will sound very different. If we listen to the same song recorded with one microphone, we might hear all the instruments in the mix, but if we listen to the same song with a second microphone, we might listen to only a few instruments.
This is because the recording engineer was not able to capture the full range of sound that was present in the room where the recording was made. Therefore, the second recording will have a much narrower dynamic range and a “hollow” or “muddy” sound.
This is why remastering is an important part of the music industry and is part of how music is now evolving.
What Are the Advantages of Remastering Music?
The sound of a remastered song will often feel more intimate and even more powerful than the original recording. The remastered version of a song will also sound more like the artist intended it to sound.
The dynamic range can often be wider (or maybe not if the remastered version is far more compressed and louder!), and the frequency balance will be optimized for higher-quality audio.
In addition, remastering also helps with correcting errors in a recording. Older songs, for example, tend to have a lot of hiss and noise in the background.
Remastering can help with removing these sounds to make the song easier to listen to. This is not always possible, as sometimes some of those noises are part of the original recording and cannot be removed without damaging the overall sound quality.
How Does Remastered Music Affect the Music Industry?
The remastered version of a song can help with the marketing of an artist. It can attract new fans to their music by making it stand out among other songs in the genre. It also allows the artist’s music to have a longer shelf life, making them actively relevant for more extended periods of time.
Since remastering can make songs potentially more popular again, it raises the value of the music itself. This means that people might be willing to pay more to get the remastered version of an old song. Not only does this affect the revenue that artists can make, but it also affects the royalties that they can get.
When it comes to remastered music, the new release is usually better than the original version, especially when the re-release is produced with higher fidelity or better audio processing. If an album is remastered in high-quality audio, the sound quality will be superior to the original version.
Remastering music can make a big difference for artists. It can help them attract new fans and maintain their relevance over time. But remastering is not only about the quality of the audio. Sometimes it is done to improve certain aspects of a recording that was not possible to be captured in the original recording.