I’ve written a long post comparing (despairing) most, if not all of the modern Bowie masters currently available. They range from ‘good’ to ‘unacceptably bright and digital’. David Bowie “The Next Day” as you no doubt know, is his latest album. The mastering is much better this time, although clearly digitally mastered for CD, it’s not fatiguing or brittle sounding as the later Bowie discs. It’s a reasonable attempt at making a post modern rock master. The vinyl, however is mastered by someone totally different, and seemingly with a little more care.
This is then, should enable us to hear the difference between the CD master and true vinyl master of the same record (I say true because to my ears a lot of vinyl are pressed from the CD master now, totally defeating the purpose of the big black disc).
Here, presented to you for curiosity sake, is a totally unscientific comparison of the CD and vinyl. I’ve chosen track 3. The Stars (Are Out Tonight) because it seems to have the largest sonic difference. Play them back-to-back, see if you can spot the difference.
David Bowie “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” Vinyl Master
David Bowie “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” CD Master
To be honest, I don’t find the vinyl that much more dynamic, but I do like it’s driven bass and softer treble. The 180g vinyl comes with the CD anyway, so it’s not like you need to choose between them.