Sterling Sound Remasters Bob Dylan

Jul 22, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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On September 16, 2003, Columbia/Legacy will release 15 classic albums by Bob Dylan in the Hybrid Super Audio CD (SACD) format. Sterling Sound's Greg Calbi mastered all of these discs, with five titles being mastered in 5.1 surround by Sterling Sound's George Marino.

Calbi worked from a variety of master tape formats, dating from 1962 to today. Working from these analog masters, the whole of the Dylan project remained in the analog domain. "The analog signal processing in my room is ideally suited for SACD. It does a great job of taking the analog signal and transferring it into the best digital data that's available," said Calbi. "The low end and all of the rhythmic elements are working in such a way that the combination provides a much more musical experience."

Recently, some new features were added to Calbi's room, including complete new console wiring (featuring Wireworld cables), all tube signal processing and a new patchbay to minimize signal path. "Those three elements created an immediacy of the sound on the Dylan project that just blew away anything that existed on the market before," said Calbi. "On all of the releases, the vocal quality, clarity and expressiveness is much more intimate than it ever has been. People are really going to hear things in [Dylan's] vocal that they have never heard before. SACD is much a marked improvement over the PCM Digital, in terms of smoothness, clarity and fullness. It is a much more pleasurable and satisfying experience that has made me a complete believer in SACD."

Earlier this year, Sterling Sound completed the development of a custom analog surround mastering suite for George Marino, which gives him the ability to master multichannel audio for DVD-A, DVD-V and SACD formats. "You have to create proper balance and imaging so that the audience will appreciate the desired effect," said Marino. "This way, they can experience something refreshing and different from what they're used to in the stereo environment." Marino worked mainly from brand-new multitrack mixes by mix engineers Michael Brauer and Chris Shaw, along with senior VP of A&R at Sony Legacy, Steve Berkowitz. "It was a pleasure to work from the Dylan mixes brought in by Michael, Chris and Steve," said Marino. "They are faithful to the original 2-track stereo mixes while adding a whole new element that Dylan fans will find very interesting."

Bob Dylan albums that have been recently mastered include The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Another Side of Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, Planet Waves, Blood on the Tracks, Desire, Slow Train Coming, Infidels, Oh Mercy, Street-Legal and Love and Theft. Marino has mastered the following titles in 5.1 surround: Blonde on Blonde, Love and Theft, Slow Train Coming, Bringing It All Back Home and Another Side of Bob Dylan.

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