Is remaster a new version

When does a recording become a new recording/version?

I have a compilation album that contains a few songs with the exact recording as on a previously released album. A few songs are slightly remastered (basically just normalisation).

A few other tracks have a slightly different mix of the original recordings. Some instruments sound louder than on the previously released version.

I would say that the remixed songs would be a new recording/version.
But what about the normalised/remastered tracks?


A remaster is no new recording.
And, as you said, a remix is a new recording, even if there are no major changes.


Is this a band’s own compilation? If so I can understand they may fiddle with the mix a bit. It is rare for a Various Artist compilation to get new recordings.

If I was adding a compilation where all the notes are still played in the same order, by the same instruments, but some bits are just louder then I would treat that as the same recording. If they don’t change a single note then I feel they are just tweaking the original recording.

A trick I’ll often do is but both tracks on at the same time and flips between them, hitting mute on one of the other. Ideally in Audacity as I can also see it then.

Yes, in this case it’s the bands own compilation.

And yes, I used Audacity to see and hear the differences. I also am in contact with the musician who is handling the band’s archives (not officially disbanded but inactive for many years).

I see what you mean. A simple remix could mean making some bits louder. A more complex remix is using different bits of the original tapes which can create a whole different sound.

If he is going back to the original separate tapes of each instrument and making a new version that way, I’d call that a new recording.

Or does he just have the final recording tape from the session and he is just moving the volume up and down a bit when the guitar kicks in. I’d call that the same recording.

It is funny when I look at some Hawkwind tracks I have. There was one of their compilations where it looks like someone was in the studio and just made it all LOUDER but changed nothing else. Quite visually noticeable with Audacity, but all the spikes and dips of the audio graphs still followed along. It is therefore the “same” recording as the original, but would not be the one you’d want to own.