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Jurassic Shark

What happened to the sound on the 1997 SW 2-CD sets, and how did it happen?

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Bit pointless now though, as modern scans of the analogue scoring tapes will sound vastly superior to scans done in 1997 (as evidenced by Disney's OST remasters, despite some mishandled mastering in places).

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Yes, it's pretty amazing that the sound on those sets was inferior to the Arista box versions. One of the reasons why I sold them (in addition to the presentation, of course).

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Yeah, we really need an interview with MM where he speaks with no filter.

 

3 minutes ago, Thor said:

Yes, it's pretty amazing that the sound on those sets was inferior to the Arista box versions. One of the reasons why I sold them (in addition to the presentation, of course).

 

The MM essays are great, though!

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I don't think Mike has ever publicly addressed or spoken about it, which is probably no coincidence. Same story with the botched Disney OST remasters. I'm a bit surprised the question didn't come up during his London chats, considering what happened with the SEs has been shrouded in such mystery for decades.

 

At least we know the ROTJ masters are properly digitised in high resolution and safe. They sound better in the Disney remasters than I've ever heard that score sound before -- even better than Sony's scans from 2015 (which weren't first generation scans).

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I never really heard much of a problem with ANH and Empire "back in the day". I do now of course, but only because of experience and getting used to hearing high quality audio. The SE Jedi release however always sounded awful to me and sticks with me as two of the worst sounding CDs I own. I don't know whether that's technically true or not but I can't think of anything else in my collection that sounds as compromised.

I'd also love to hear Mike talk about these sets freely but I totally get why he hasn't done so far, other than saying that they were frustrating for him on a personal process sort of level. I'd rather he gets the chance to work on them again than hear him criticise previous releases ;)

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1 hour ago, crumbs said:

I believe Matessino's only involvement in the release was providing an editing reference for which cues to use from the sessions, and how to assemble the scores across two CDs (essentially an assembly guide for the cue list).

 

 

I'm pretty sure Mike also wrote the liner notes for the three booklets.

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Part of the issue is that Mike and Nick had a relatively short window to get it edited, mixed, and mastered to coincide with the special edition release of the trilogy.  I've tended to prefer the RCA 2-CD set, at least in the case of Empire, because of the sound quality.  The Arista set, which adhered to Eric Tomilson's stellar mix, had quite a few dropouts and other anomalies as the tapes used at the time was the only available source.

 

If anyone hasn't read it before, check out the Jan/Feb 1997 issue of Film Score Monthly (available in the "print backissues" section as a PDF); Mike wrote some really good articles about it not covered in the RCA liner notes.

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Simple, these releases were done on the quick by Lucasfilm/RCA and because of that they arent quite what they should have been. 

I still consider them vital because there hasnt been any legit release after that wholly replaces them.

 

ANH and TESB sound fine, imo.

 

 

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Didn't Chris Malone write a lengthy essay about the various SW releases over the years? I think it covers this issue at length. I'll see if I can find a copy.

 

Edit: here is the link:

 

http://www.malonedigital.com/starwars.htm#.XJJfxx66J-E

 

3 hours ago, crumbs said:

At least we know the ROTJ masters are properly digitised in high resolution and safe. They sound better in the Disney remasters than I've ever heard that score sound before

 

I wonder why they released that feeble ROTJ album presentation if all the masters were digitised. It's a serious oddball between the 70 minute plus albums of the other five scores.

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7 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Yeah, we really need an interview with MM where he speaks with no filter.

 

No. We really need MM to get an opportunity to revisit them, and the chances for that are much better if he doesn't start bitching about the old production process in public. ;)

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18 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

No. We really need MM to get an opportunity to revisit them, and the chances for that are much better if he doesn't start bitching about the old production process in public. ;)

 

Of course, we need that interview after he's gifted the world complete editions of all nine scores! :)

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Some two years ago I made a thread comparing the sound quality of the Main Titles (track 2) from the 97 CD against a reconstruction I made myself from the Main Title using the raw takes from the bonus tracks of the same CD.

 

The 97 release doesn't sound bad to me, but it could've sounded a whole lot better.

 

Here's the thread:

 

 

 

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The most annoying thing is that this issue hasn't been fixed yet. I mean the distance between the SEs and now is longer than the distance between the movies' releases and and the SEs.

 

1977: Star Wars

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1980: The Empire Strikes Back

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1983: Return of the Jedi

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1993: Anthology Box Set

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1997: Special Editions

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2004: Special Editions Reissues

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2016: OST Master Rescans for Digital Platforms

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2018: Disney's Demastered OSTs

2019: still nothing

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For sure.

 

But leaving the CD vs Hi-Res debate, I used to be super into compiling lists with the best sounding versions of each track, from each release, including re-recordings. But after the Ultimate Collection it was too much, I just had too much Star Wars.

 

I’d still buy a MM produced set of the OT - in a heartbeat! - but I’ve stopped fussing over trying to find the “optimal” sound.

 

However, I did buy the Dudamel 2CD Celebrating John Williams after hearing his recording of The Throne Room. That one sounded too good to pass up!

 

Oh, JWfaners, what peculiar breed are we.

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I have my doubts MM will be allowed anywhere near SW or Indy. Disney/LFL are probably aware of his relationship with Williams' people, so they're waiting for him to die, at which time they'll suddenly yank it away from MM and hand the project over to someone else in their own internal hierarchy who's probably already been selected. Someone who'll just brickwall the whole thing and make every fuck up King Mark ever feared.

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2 hours ago, dougie said:

I have my doubts MM will be allowed anywhere near SW or Indy. Disney/LFL are probably aware of his relationship with Williams' people, so they're waiting for him to die, at which time they'll suddenly yank it away from MM and hand the project over to someone else in their own internal hierarchy who's probably already been selected. Someone who'll just brickwall the whole thing and make every fuck up King Mark ever feared.

That is literally a nightmare scenario. No, surely Disney understands how important it is to give this project to MM. Someone somewhere in that vast empire (that now officially includes most of Fox) is aware that SW is just too important a cultural touchstone to hand over to just anyone. They’ll see to it that Disney does right by these scores. 

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It would take literally two phone calls for it to happen. Williams' management to Kathleen Kennedy. KK to the head of Disney Records. End of discussion. :)

 

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4 hours ago, Iron_Giant said:

That is literally a nightmare scenario. No, surely Disney understands how important it is to give this project to MM. Someone somewhere in that vast empire (that now officially includes most of Fox) is aware that SW is just too important a cultural touchstone to hand over to just anyone. They’ll see to it that Disney does right by these scores. 

 

I'm sure they'll just get Laurent Bouzereau to finish it off.

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The good thing is we know that Williams management will only allow Matessino to handle Williams related projects particularly those concerned with restoration and expansions. Tom Sawyer (Quartet) was the last time anyone else other than Matessino who was allowed to work on that.

 

As for Lucasfilm, Matessino has already indicated he has been talking to them on SW related projects and Iam hoping that a carefully planned timeline will eventually indicate his full involvement once the stars are properly aligned. (Hopefully in the not so distant future) 

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For an entire generation, people have experienced the Star Wars soundtracks the only way it's been possible: on the 2CD sets. But if you've only heard it this way, you haven't heard it at all.

 

193_15-419x420.jpg

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