Any fan of the Grateful Dead would be thrilled – and a little nervous – if asked to remaster some of the best-known studio recordings of the past 45 years. Workingman’s Dead was my first real (and lasting) introduction to the band, and I wanted to be sure that the masters I created for release as high res downloads and as “mastered for iTunes” compressed downloads would make a positive contribution to this important recording legacy.
The collection of 13 studio albums is now available at HDtracks as 96kHz/24bit and 192kHz/24bit files, in aiff, alac, flac and wav formats.
The Grateful Dead studio albums were mastered from the original master tapes in Airshow Studio C in Boulder. Transfers were done at 192kHz/24bit from an Ampex ATR with Plangent replay electronics to a Prism ADA-8XR A/D converter into a soundBlade workstation. My studio, designed by Sam Berkow, has Dunlavy SC-V loudspeakers driven by Ayre Acoustic amps.
For comparison I referenced the previous CD versions of the albums and original LPs. The goal was to remain faithful to the originals while at the same time extracting as much resolution and detail as possible using modern technology – and improving on the original releases, if possible.