Saga’s Heads or Tales: Is It Flawed?

I re­cent­ly bought the 2003 Steamham­mer/​SPV re­mas­ter (cat. no. SPV 076‐​7439A CD) of Saga’s Heads or Tales al­bum. It ex­hibits se­ri­ous­ly ex­ag­ger­at­ed tre­ble. It ac­tu­al­ly sounds like my 1994 Poly­dor CD (cat. no. 815 410‐​2) with­out de‐​em­pha­sis ap­plied to it (one of the very few CDs with pre‐​em­pha­sis that I own), on­ly even worse, and with in­creased loud­ness. It seems like they’ve been work­ing with pre‐​em­pha­sized au­dio dur­ing the re­mas­ter­ing with­out know­ing it.

I’ve lis­tened to my 1983 Bon Aire vinyl (cat. no. 208 477), and it sounds aw­ful­ly sim­i­lar to the re­mas­ter, al­though not quite as bad. Is it pos­si­ble that they’ve been us­ing pre‐​em­pha­sized au­dio on the vinyl as well?

I’ve record­ed two sam­ples (The Fly­er, So­cial Or­phan) from the Bon Aire vinyl, and ap­plied de‐​em­pha­sis to them (The Fly­er, So­cial Or­phan). The de‐​em­pha­sized ver­sions sound very sim­i­lar to the 1994 Poly­dor CD (The Fly­er, So­cial Or­phan). I don’t have the best turntable in the world here (it’s a 35 year old Lux­or with DIN lev­el out­put), but it will hope­ful­ly be enough for this “demon­stra­tion”. Proof or not? It’s an in­ter­est­ing dis­cov­ery nev­er­the­less. I’ve al­so lis­tened to a Bon Aire CD (cat. no. 258 477) that us­es pre‐​em­pha­sis just like the Poly­dor CD. They sound very sim­i­lar. If the tre­ble‐​ex­ag­ger­at­ed sound on the vinyl was in­ten­tion­al, why wouldn’t they be con­se­quent and make the CD sound the same? Per­haps the Poly­dor vinyl is OK in this re­gard, I haven’t had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to lis­ten to it.

To make things clear, I should per­haps add that Saga is, and has al­ways been, one of my all‐​time fa­vorite bands. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t put my en­er­gy in­to this in the way that I’ve been do­ing.

If you have any com­ments, please e‐​mail me.