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What Does Remastered Mean: Remastered Song vs. Original

Last updated: 10 months ago
5 min read

Remastered music goes through the remastering process. It updates songs to make them sound better. It’s like polishing a gem to expose its maximum potential.

Remastered song meaning

KEY TAKEAWAY

  • A remastered song is an improved, enhanced, and updated version of the original master recording.
  • The main difference between a remaster and an original is that a remaster has a clearer, crisper sound without original audio distortion and is saved in a modern digital format.
  • Audio engineers use techniques such as increase of audio definition, noise reduction, dynamic range adjustment, equalization, and others to remaster a song.
  • The advantages of remastered music are improved sound quality, modern compatibility, and preserving musical heritage.
  • The disadvantages of remastering are the loss of the original song’s sound and character and the potential deterioration of sound quality.
  • For quality remastering, you need neutral-sounding studio headphones capable of reproducing rich details and nuance.
CONTENTS (show more)

    What Does Remastered Mean in Songs?

    Remastered in songs means the song went through the remastering process of improving and correcting the audio quality.

    The remastered version of a song is a better version recorded according to the latest standards with modern technology.

    The main purpose of remastering a song is to make it clearer, more detailed, and more fun to listen to. It’s a refining process that takes the original recording and brings the best out of it with modern technology.

    In the past, song recording was done by analog technology.

    Song recording and remastering were done with analog technology. Later, with the advent of digital technology, mastering became digital.

    Analog recording studio 1960s

    The first commercial digital recordings were released in 1971. Before that (and later), music recordings were analog.

    What’s the key difference between an original and a remastered song?

    The key difference between an original and a remastered song is that the latter often has improved audio quality, less distortion, crisper sound, and a more balanced mix that sounds good on modern audio systems.

    In short, remastering a song breathes new life into it. It makes it stand the test of time and ready for the next decade.

    What Is Remastered Music?

    Remastered music is an improved version of the original music.

    Audio dynamic range abstract

    How do remastering engineers do the magic trick?

    Here’s basically what they do:

    Audio definition increase

    An audio engineer carefully analyzes the original recording and makes specific changes so improve details and clarity.

    They edit things like:

    • Hissing sound
    • Ticks and pops (like you hear listening to vinyl)
    • Improve frequency and audio resolution

    Dynamic range adjustment

    The dynamic range is the difference between the loudest and the softest parts of a song (also called dynamics). The goal is to balance the dynamic range to fix distortion and improve details while keeping the song’s emotional impact.

    Noise reduction

    Many older recordings have unwanted noise. The beloved hisses and pops on vinyl records are an example of that.

    An audio engineer uses the latest noise-reduction techniques to remove unwanted noise without changing the character of the music.

    Equalization

    Older recordings are often recorded in sub-optimal conditions. Such recordings are emphasized in one section of the frequency spectrum and recessed in another. This results in an out-of-balance sound signature that doesn’t sound the best.

    Reestablishing a balance between frequencies improves a song’s sound quality.

    It’s a similar process to equalizing headphones on a music app but more sophisticated.

    Do all music albums get remastered?

    The majority of the older popular music albums have been remastered. And new remastered versions are coming out each year. More popular albums have a higher chance of getting remastered.

    Here are some of the top remastered reissues of older albums.

    Advantages & Disadvantages of Remaster Music

    Remastered music has advantages and disadvantages (like any other thing).

    Advantages of remastered music

    • Improved sound quality: Remastering makes music sound polished and refined. Instruments are cleared and more detailed. The vocals sound more lifelike. It’s as if it were recorded in a modern studio making it more satisfying to listen to.
    • Modern formats and device compatibility: Remastered music is stored in new modern formats. It makes it possible for older music to reach new listeners through digital streaming and modern audio platforms.
    • Saving musical history for the future: Old audio formats don’t last forever. Remastering old music and holding it digitally ensures future generations can listen to it. This encourages musical exploration and education.

    Disadvantages of remastered music

    • Losing the original music’s essence: While remastering aims to improve the sound, it often does the opposite. Many listeners prefer the original recording saying that the remastering process damages the authenticity.
    • Making a song sound worse: Many people think remasters make the songs worse than the original. The most common complaints are unnatural and overproduced sound, which takes away from enjoyment.

    Similar complaints to the one below are common:

    In short, remastering music is a complicated and sensitive process that is necessary if we want to preserve old music, but it often results in dissatisfying results.

    Remastering Music and Headphones

    If you want to enjoy remastered music, you need high-quality headphones that can expose the intricacies and details.

    Thankfully, you don’t need any special headphones to enjoy remastered music.

    Quality wired and wireless headphones will do the job. Also, modern wireless headphones are usually good enough to listen to remasters.

    Best ANC headphones
    Bluetooth headphones and true wireless earbuds are more than good enough to listen to remastered music.

    Here are the best models to look at:

    Good headphones for remastering

    If you want to do a remaster yourself, you need headphones with the following features:

    • Neutral, balanced sound that won’t colorize the remaster
    • High-resolution sound so you can hear the details and nuance
    AKG K240 studio headphones
    These AKG studio headphones have seen better days, but they’re still great for remastering work.

    Colored headphones have a heavy emphasis on specific frequencies. This impacts your perception of sound when remastering.

    Remaster with neutral-sounding studio headphones for the remaster to sound exactly how you want it.

    If you remaster with colored headphones, the remastered song will sound good to you once you’re finished. But when you swap to other headphones, the remaster will sound different. And most often in a bad way.

    This means your remaster will sound much different to others than to you, which you want to avoid.

    For good remastering results, look at the best mixing headphones. And look for audio neutrality over other features.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About Remastering

    What is the difference between remastered and original?

    The difference between the remastered and original version is that the remastered is an enhanced and polished version of the original. A remastered song is made to sound better, with more details, improved clarity, and stored in modern formats. The original recording is the primary recording, often older and without enhancements.

    What does it mean when things are remastered?

    When things are remastered, it means they’ve gone through the process of improving and enhancing quality with modern technology. Remastered songs have improved sound quality. Remastered movies have improved picture and sound quality. Remastered games have improved graphics, compatibility, and gameplay. The goal of remastering is to produce the best version of the content for the audience.

    What is a remastered version?

    A remastered version is an improved, enhanced, and updated version of the original audio recording, video recording, or videogame. Audio engineers use modern technology to bring the best out of the original, which is often outdated.

    What is a master recording?

    A master recording is the original version of a song, usually recorded in a studio. It provides the source of other copies for selling, distribution, and other uses.

    Conclusion

    The remastering process changes older audio recordings into better-sounding modern songs. It keeps older music timeless and serves it in a modernized format that the modern audience can enjoy.

    Now while there is no unanimous belief that remastered music sounds better, it plays a vital role.

    We can thank remastered music for increased interest in classics and older music and genres, as well as preserving our musical inheritance.

    What’s your opinion? Do you prefer remastered songs or the originals?

    Let us know in the comment below.

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