Spotlight On The Reissues: Remastering

Oct, 2020

An Exclusive Chat With Frank Arkwright

"With Frank Arkwright at the controls in Abbey Road, the sound across these titles is stunning. In shoot-outs between the new versions and originals of all of those previously available on vinyl, the 2020 editions won on every occasion. It’s far rarer than it should be to find remastering that genuinely improves the sound and range of beloved music, but that is the case here."
Gareth James, CLASH Magazine.

DCHQ recently had a chat with Frank Arkwright who remastered the nine albums for the reissues campaign at Abbey Road Studios. Frank's many credits include The Smiths and Blur reissue projects. Neil and Frank first worked together in 2018 when he mastered 'Office Politics'.

Hi Frank. What is remastering and why do people do it?

Why ice a cake!

We're remastering so it sounds best on current systems. And streaming is now one of the most popular forms of listening so we're taking that in to account. Many of these are streaming MP3 files and they have slightly different characteristics to CD and Vinyl.

Just like when CD took over from vinyl. The early CDs were made from the tapes mastered for vinyl and they sounded a bit thin and lacking in warmth and bass. So when I remaster for CD, which can handle more low end and high, I found I could make them sound bigger and better for the CD players, and it worked well.

What was the remastering process like on this project?

Brilliant. We had very high resolution transfers from the original analogue tapes which led to us discovering new details in the masters. I also really appreciated working on so many albums together - viewing it as one body of work made me understand and enjoy it all the more.

What difference did remastering make to the audio on these albums?

The original masters were loud and quite highly compressed which was popular at the time. And we decided there was no real benefit in replicating that this time. So we decided to give the music a little more room to breathe and a bit bigger, warmer sound which I think everyone will enjoy. It will also be great for the high resolution streaming that's happening now.

What album or track did you most enjoy working on?

Regeneration! I hadn’t heard it before, and it's now my favourite. I’ll be listening to it for years to come.