In audio and video post-processing, remastering is generally understood to mean performing the mastering again . This term is mostly used in connection with older audio and video recordings that have been remastered for republication on audio CD or DVD or Blu-ray Disc ( "digitally remastered" ).
The remaster process can range from a normal mastering process to a complete restoration of the existing material. Remastering can remove or at least minimize unwanted background noise and noise from older monaural or stereophonic sound sources . However, this usually affects the quality of the useful signal. Denoising can create audible artifacts.
Furthermore, when remastering existing multi-track recordings, a completely new mix can be made; this creates a so-called remix. This means that even older sources can now be used to produce versions with lower dynamics and even Dolby Digital multi-track versions. This method is z. It is used, for example, with many older films that are new to DVD. Even if there are no more multi-track recordings available and only a mono or stereo master is available, multi-track surround processing is often possible (upmix). One variant is e.g. B. Ambient Surround Imaging (AMSI).
In principle, the same editing options can be used for remastering as for mastering.
The term “remastering” is also used for video and film material. This term is used here to mean the scanning of film and video material for DVD or Blu-ray production. After scanning, the digitized video material can be post-processed by digitally removing scratches or damage to the film copy or by performing a color correction. If a film is restored and a new negative is created for it, one speaks of film restoration in contrast to remastering . A very striking example is the film Metropolis by Fritz Lang, which has been remastered in various new versions.
Use in advertising
The use of the term “digitally remastered” in advertising is sometimes problematic . Since the technical provision of an older sound source for publication on a digital storage medium represents a re-master in the broader sense, the term in no way always guarantees the optimization of the material for today's hi-fi requirements. Especially in the lower price segment there are so many new releases of older, mostly copyright-free audio and video materials that have been remastered but still have defects.
For very few "remastered" albums, the audio material has to be extensively restored. Sound improvements suggested by the imprint “Digitally Remastered” are definitely possible with new editions, but are rarely due to improvements in digital technology. Analog / digital converters have improved significantly in the last few decades, but digital equalizers and compressors still have to be measured against their analog counterparts. This is why analog devices are often still used, especially in mastering, but are usefully supplemented by digital devices such as phase-linear equalizers.
Better source material can improve the sound quality of new editions. For many older CD editions of albums that were created in the analog age, pre-mastered tapes that were intended for vinyl editing were reused. These were often third or fourth generation tapes with a correspondingly high background noise. The bass range was often severely cut and summed to mono. For the best result, the first generation master tape has to be found if it is still in good condition. Some labels that specialize in audiophile remastering advertise that they only work with original first-generation tapes.
The most important factor for the subjective hearing impression is in any case the processing by the mastering engineer. His artistic and technical decisions shape the sound so decisively that you can safely ignore any improvements in technology. Therefore, older editions can be aesthetically superior to the remaster. The trend to severely restrict the dynamic range or to increase the treble to suggest improved separation and clarity certainly plays an important role in this phenomenon.
- Hubert Henle: The recording studio manual. 5th edition, GC Carstensen Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-910098-19-3 .