OK, this question from JonYo got me really curious about whether the
Virgin imports sounded as good as the Warner Bros. and Infinite Zero
releases, so I decided to break out my headphones and do some
comparisons. I don't claim to be a great audiophile and my equipment
is very good but not state of the art, but I've played music
professionally all my adult life and I have a pretty good ear for
anomalies. Here are my results:
Virgin vs. WB
Songs tested: Through Being Cool, Jerkin' Back 'n' Forth, Beautiful
World, Working In A Coalmine
For the most part the only difference I heard between these versions
is that the WB versions have a slight bit of tape hiss still audible
at the beginning of each song. No biggie. The only significant
difference was in Through Being Cool. The stereo mix was a lot more
separated on the WB version than the Virgin version. But on the rest
of the songs tested, they sounded identical.
Duty Now For The Future
Virgin vs WB vs Infinite Zero
Songs tested: SIB, Pink Pussycat, The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprize,
Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
No comparison here. The Infinite Zero album sounds a LOT better than
the WB and Virgin releases, which sound identical once again. It does
sound like a full remaster. It sounded less compressed, the bass drum
was fatter and the hi-hat sparkled more and had a vibrancy that wasn't
in the WB or Virgin CD's.
Oh No, It's DEVO
WB vs Infinite Zero
Songs tested: Peek-A-Boo!, That's Good, Big Mess
Again, the Infinite Zero release totally blows away the WB. What I
said about the sounds on Duty Now goes double for Oh No. That's Good
especially benefits. On the WB CD, these songs sound flat, and on the
IZ CD, they're anything but.
Do the Virgin and WB CD's sound bad? Not at all. They sound good.
However, the IZ reissues really went the extra mile sonically. Which
makes me really glad I finally will be getting New Traditionalists
soon. And all I need is Shout to complete my collection...but I'm not
going to pay $40 for it! Actually, I'm waiting for some good soul to
torrent it in FLAC format and then I won't have to get hosed on Ebay.
Till then I have decent quality MP3's, so I guess that's something.
So bottom line, IZ sounds best, WB has a slight edge over Virgin.