Pictured at Marsh Mastering in Hollywood are mastering engineer Stephen Marsh (left) and Audio Fidelity engineer Steve Hoffman.
Photo: David Goggin
Audio Fidelity, a leader in audiophile remastering of classic rock and pop albums, has completed James Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon at Marsh Mastering in Hollywood. Working from the original 1971 analog master tapes, Audio Fidelity engineer Steve Hoffman joined mastering engineer Stephen Marsh for the critical remastering sessions in preparation for a limited edition of 5,000 numbered 24-karat gold CDs scheduled for release in spring 2012.
“Our goal at Audio Fidelity is to deliver the optimum remastered Compact Disc from an analog recording that was done a long time ago,” says Hoffman. “We are maintaining all of the integrity of the original sound, while creating a recording that sounds exceptional on good listening systems.”
Mud Slide Slim is the fourth James Taylor album to be remastered by Audio Fidelity at Marsh Mastering. Othe limited edition titles already available are Sweet Baby James (1970), One Man Dog (1972), and Walking Man (1974).
“We are trying to create today’s definitive version of the record to get as close as you could possibly get to the master tape and honestly capture the artist’s original vision, using modern technology to present the music in an unadulterated fashion,” Marsh explains.
“It’s a very delicate process,” Hoffman says. “In some cases we have to carefully dehydrate or ‘bake’ the analog tapes that are unplayable otherwise.”
Marsh adds, “Every particle of oxide that falls off is part of a song that you will never hear again.”
“Luckily, all the James Taylor analog master tapes have been in fantastic shape, well stored by the archival folks at Warner Bros.,” Hoffman says. “Audio Fidelity is in contact with James Taylor before these reissues and he is very pleased with our work. That’s the ultimate compliment—if he’s happy, we are happy.”