Remixed, Remastered, or Reissued…What does it all mean?

With today’s technology, there are many possibilities in how engineers and producers can go back to enhance or change the sound of old favorites.  It is easy to confuse the terms remixed, remastered, and reissued since they all sound alike.  However, it is important to be able to distinguish the differences between these three terms when buying or selling music so you really know what you’re getting.

Remix

When a song or an album is said to be “remixed,” what that really means is that the song has been purposely altered to sound different than the original.  This can include changing the pitch, speed, tempo, and more.  Additional tracks of vocals or instrumentals may be added.  The remix could also be longer or shorter than the original.  A remix is often a new interpretation to suit radio play, club or DJ play, for artistic purposes, or to reach a different audience.

Remaster

When a song or album is “remastered,” this typically means the quality has been enhanced, but the original artistic intention of the recording has not be altered.  Remastering can involve a transfer from analog to digital as well as an adjustment to the loudness, dynamic range, and tonal balance.

Reissue

When a song or album is “reissued,” that means it is being re-released.  This can include some alterations and additions.  Common additions found in reissues are audio remastering, inclusion of bonus tracks or multimedia, new liner notes, new packaging or cover art, and modifiers in the title such as “Special Edition” or “Expanded Version.”  Reissues are often released in order to transfer the work from one technology to another, such as a vinyl album being reissued in CD format.  Some reissues can also be due to one record label buying the artist’s catalog from another label, so the music is reissued on the purchasing label.  Finally, many albums are reissued to commemorate a band or artist’s popularity, influence, or anniversary as well as to keep up with continuing demand for the album.

Learning these terms will help you to better determine what you’re getting.  Many audio enthusiasts prefer original versions of classic albums and would rather stray away from these newer, altered versions.  Whatever your preference, we hope this article helps you to make smarter music purchases and allows you to stick with what you like to hear.

What are your experiences with remixes, remasters, and reissues?  Do you have any favorites you would recommend?  Comment below to discuss!

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