I know some albums that suffered from loudness war have been remastered.
For example - Green Day "American Idiot" was remastered for HDtracks and the master there is not over-compressed.
But I suspect many of the masters there are over-compressed, just like the CD - and I suspect some audio CDs have been re-released with better dynamic range.
And I don't know if they re-issued a CD from that master or if it is exclusive to HDtracks. And I don't know if the other Green Day albums there are better than CDs that I already have (went to high school w/ them, kind of special to me for that reason alone)
Is there a list somewhere of albums that have both bad digital masters and good digital masters, so we can look for the right one when buying or replacing our existing CDs?
I've seen a few sites that list albums with too much dynamic compression, but they didn't list when better (earlier or later) masters exist.
There isn't a comprehensive list unfortunately. Perhaps you need to look for places which offer return&refund and try to listen.
> I've seen a few sites that list albums with too much dynamic compression
How much is too much? I'd say most music (in rock & metal at least) released after 1994 has too much dynamic compression.
well, there's dr.loudness-war.info
but it's definitely not complete, it only relies on user submissions which are not verified by anyone else, it's basically an anarchy
also there's now 2 different measurement methods, and one of them isn't even open source so we have no idea what they actually measure with the "new" method.
You need to research what the best masters and pressings are for any given release, it's been that way since way before the loudness wars started. Discogs and the Steve Hoffman forum might be good places to start your search.
dB LUFS Integrated is the most widely used measurement for perceived loudness of entire tracks, in the industry (music, TV, film and broadcast) these days.
If you look only on loudness, keep in mind that an album can be both quieter and have lower DR at the same time. (if peak levels are too low; not common but sometimes it happens)
Sometimes there's a remastering where compressed tracks are simply reduced in volume from the already compressed version, so there's no improvement and only a bit worse signal to noise ratio.
Yes, only relying on Loudness figures would be a ridiculous way to measure the quality of a recording.
I assume that looking at perceived loudness after peak normalizing would compensate for masters that just reduced volume resulting in same level of compression but still lack dynamic range.
``Perhaps you need to look for places which offer return&refund and try to listen''
I do not think this would work for me because I enjoyed the over-compressed mastering of American Idiot but definitely enjoy the HDtracks remaster more. So I would have to buy multiple versions to test which I like better and return the ones I do not, but I'm autistic and like many (but not all) with autism, have social apprehensions about confrontations other people find a normal part of life, so I would rather try and find the information ahead of time rather than have to face my apprehension and buy knowing some will have to be returned.
Just try to research online the particular release you are interested in, that's what I tend to do. And just because it's "HD 24/192" on HDTracks or Quobuz or something doesn't necessarily mean it will be better. I've had some horrid experiences with HDTracks in particular, where their so called "Hi-Res" versions were just as clipped and limited as the CD releases, and their HD version of The Who's 'Tommy' is even missing the last track!
Ultimately you just have to research as much as you can, or take the plunge.
Oh believe me I know the 24/192 or 24/96 doesn't make any difference. When I do buy something from them (rarely because their download manager doesn't work with Linux and I don't do wine) I resample the purchase to 16/48 because the flac for desktop playing takes a lot less space and there is no audible difference. Especially since I'm in my 40s and doubt my hearing range comes even close to 20kHz.
I've had some horrid experiences with HDTracks in particular, where their so called "Hi-Res" versions were just as clipped and limited as the CD releases...
And because I had the same experience with them. I started opening their song previews in a wav editor to get a glimpse of just how compressed they are. If you can figure out how to do that, you can do the same thing to other sites to see if they are any better. This is all assuming they use an actual sample of the song you would be getting and not something else.