The Definitive Edition (Digitally Remastered)

Digital recording technologies have not only transformed the sonic quality with which studio engineers can capture and reproduce music, but we the listeners, have also benefitted from an audio clarity and dynamic range never before accessible from previous (pre-CD) deliverable media formats.
With this in mind the motives behind delivering a reissue are explored, and whether there be genuine sonic improvements in the many anniversary re-releases of artists’ back-catalogues.
What factors determine a ‘definitive edition’ of a recording? The research is aimed at inspiring debate about recordings with a sonic fingerprint that anchor the music to a particular time in history, and whether they should be altered to suit any requirements beyond their preservation and archiving. One may also consider through historical context and drawing parallels with other art forms, that revisions of production sound is merely an extension of existing artistic practice.
The research references album tracks from various remastered and/or remixed editions of works by David Bowie and Jeff Lynne’s ELO which are considered objectively by spectral analysis tools, as well as drawing on subjective issues and direct interviews with Jeff Lynne and Ken Scott.
Further contextual references are made with recordings from artists ranging from The Beatles, Genesis, Yes, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Rush. Proposed possible rationales for the sonic changes are made, whether they are regarded as an improvement or a deterioration of the original productions.