I have brought this topic up in the past. But now I have "gotten down
to business" and carefully compared the original USA Discreet LPs
with the Spencer Chrislu mastered equivalent tracks from Lather. (I
do not own the other individual CD versions, which are supposed to be
My conclusion is that my ears were not as bad all along, and
those LPs DO sound good (even VERY GOOD most of the time, save for
Duke of Orchestral Prunes, which is quite muffled) . This in spite of
Zappa's contending way back that the masters he had delivered to WB
they couldn't manufacture proper records out of because they hadn't
been provided with the necessary technical specs - I don't remember
the exact technical term - to complete the job and EQ them correctly.
Chrislu's excellent (as always?) CD mastering does have slightly
better percussion (high-end detail). Also, as some of the end-of-side
pieces progress towards the center of the platter, my little Grado
cartridge doesn't track so well and distorts, so the CD equivalent in
those cases is MUCH better... But that is only physics and not
inherent to the master tapes.
All in all, I find it weird that the sonic difference is very far
from dramatic... at least to my ears!
What's your own take/feeling/opinion on this?
For further Z-related fun, please visit http://www.thebignote.com or
http://www.killuglyradio.com , thank you.
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