30 Minutes with Tom Scholz of Boston Page 2

That would have been a disaster. Yeah. It did sound terrible. So we got into it, and did nothing in between working on these mixes except sleep. Remastering the whole thing took 8 days of 12-14 hours a day, straight through. I was really happy with what we got. You hear a lot of things you didn't hear before, and things that used to irritate me or sound screechy now sound full and natural. For example, [singer] Brad [Delp's] voice was warmed up the way it should be. And you can really feel that bass guitar instead of just hearing it.

Any other specific examples? We made thousands of changes - thousands: every vocal line, every guitar part, the whole bottom end. The bass has been brought up in the mix relative to the bass in the kick drum, which gives a heckuva lot more punch from the bass instruments. The vocals in many of the songs appear louder. Even though there's a lot more bass, the vocals appear louder than they did before, which is usually something you fight with when you bring the bass up - the vocals disappear. And all of the shrill guitar parts have been fixed.

The reason it's hard to pick out specific instances is because there literally isn't one second of any song on either of those albums that wasn't touched. [laughs] At the outset of Boston, when that first bass-guitar note hits in "More Than a Feeling," it's a lot fuller and a lot bigger. And when Brad starts singing, his voice is louder. It's hard to achieve that, especially when those rhythm power-chord guitars are playing at the beginnings of songs, or breaks between chorus and verses - the guitars are much more powerful. That power was something that slipped through the cracks when I was making the original master tracks. It was a mistake. I knew about it after the fact, but back then, in the '70s, it couldn't be fixed.

Also, a lot of cymbals, lead-guitar parts, and some vocals got very, very screechy in the 16-bit product, and those have all been brought back into range. They all now sound pretty good to me on CD - and I don't usually like the way anything sounds on CD.

In general, you've never been a fan of digital. I work only in an analog studio, so I hear music at its very best. I mean, there's nothing like the sound of an analog multitrack recording playing back. You'll never hear it sound so good again because it actually is the real thing. It's the real music by the real musicians, the phase hasn't been all screwed up by the A/D conversion, and the high end isn't all messed up trying to fit a 16-kHz tone into three pieces of a 44-Hz sampling rate. In an analog studio, you're hearing pristine, real-world sound - the way it would sound if it was coming through the mikes, and you were listening to them in headphones right there in your room.

24-bit digital sounds pretty good to me. But as soon as you make the conversion to 16-bit, it sounds like crap. [laughs] I have a hard time listening to CDs after working on an analog original because of what they do to the depth perception. The phase-angle errors caused by the A/D conversion really bother me. They bothered me the very first time I heard digital next to an analog original. I was always amazed that people didn't perceive that something that once sounded like it was located way beyond their speakers now sounded like it was on a flat plane...