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Interview With Steve Hoffman

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  • Interview With Steve Hoffman

    Interesting information and some real cautionary notes for those comparing originals and reissued LPs and CDs, digital files, etc.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor,

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  • #2
    I know Steve Hoffman's work more from his remasters than from any mastering he did for first release. Many of his DCC records are prized, and are well done. When I did that extensive comparison of the various Tull Aqualung pressings, I concluded that his DCC was probably closest to the WLPs I have, and probably sound a little better. The problem, of course, is that by the time he steps in, the "master tape" is already done, the mix has been fixed and he has some serious limitations in what he has to work with- you can hear this by comparing almost any version of Aqualung with the Steve Wilson remix, where Wilson went back to the multi-tracks and remixed the album. (In my estimation, it improved it to such a degree that the conversion of the tape to digital for the remix and mastering was a worthwhile trade-off).
    I'm a pretty regular participant on the SH Forums. It is a very good source of information on older pressings of rock and popular music, and many of the older threads involve extensive "crowd sourced" research on deciphering the deadwax and comparing the sonics of a lot of big selling rock records.
    If memory serves, he did the 45 rpm version of Way Out West (with Kevin Gray, I think) - despite the hard left/right panning of the record, you can actually hear some of the back wall on that version, which lends it more of a "stereo" effect. The point about what the "real" master is raises a host of issues. English bands recorded in England, but mastered in the States- which record, U.S. or UK is really the "original"? And which one sounds better? Blackwell used Sterling for some of the Island UK stuff, but I still prefer the UK pressings to the early US ones (which usually were licensed since Island didn't have a US subsidiary until later).
    I know from people who have spoken to Steve at shows that he's pretty friendly. I have yet to meet him in person.
    He's also a pretty serious gear head, from hi-end to vintage stuff.


    • #3
      I think that this album is one of Steve' best work, 10 different artist from their own master tapes, all top 40 hits from 1955 to 1959. There is zero record noise even between songs,the level doesn't falter not even 1 db,it is so transparent, you would think that it had to be from the same master tape that is how great it is, it is so impressive. I bought this in 1986 when he did it and I never get tired of playing it, of course I remember each song as they were released. Those were my teen years.


      • #4
        my take away is that tubes fix everything and less is more. I'm a huge fan of SH's work, he and Kevin Gray should be the only two allowed to 'remaster' rock can wish.