So, moving on to the actual comparisons. It's clear that the compilation disc has been mastered louder than the original albums, at least in the cases of Appetite for Destruction and the Use Your Illusion discs, but to be honest, the volume increase is only slight. The effects of compression are there, but the application here is far less extreme than what's been employed on a lot of other reissues of classic material. Nevertheless, it is there - even in the case of "You Could Be Mine," a comparatively loud song upon its original release, there has been visible compression applied on the newer disc despite the song only being about 1 dB louder in actual mastering level. On the other hand, in an unexpected reversal, "Patience," "Sympathy For the Devil," and the Spaghetti Incident? material are actually quieter on the Hits disc than on the originals. In fact, it seems almost as if they took the original CD masters for the Spaghetti and Vampire albums and simply reduced the volume slightly to bring them in line with the rest of the Greatest Hits selections.
Overall, this is a tough one to judge. For "Patience," the volume difference between the original and the hits album is so tiny as to be insignificant, and after a listening comparison, I think the Greatest Hits version has a bit of an edge over the original, with a slightly cleaner sound and slightly better stereo separation. For that reason, and the lack of apparent compression on the newer release, I'm going with the Greatest Hits disc in the case of that song. With the Spaghetti Incident? material, my comparison of volume matched samples found no such advantage for either release, so I'm going with the original by default. If you're going to have these songs, you might as well have them at a normalized volume level, though in all honesty the compilation disc is just fine for these two selections. To my ears, "Sympathy For the Devil" sounds better and a little less dynamically constrained on the Interview With the Vampire disc, so in that case, the soundtrack album wins over the compilation disc. As for the Appetite and Illusion material, the original albums get the thumbs up here, due to the compression employed on the Greatest Hits album. So overall, the earlier discs edge out the later one, but this is by no means a blowout. I must say that I'm very pleased with the inclusion of full length album cuts here instead of shorter edits. And while I take some issue with the track selection, the Greatest Hits disc isn't a bad option for the more casual fan to pick up. I do like the photos used on the inside and outside of the back tray, and particularly like the negative effect seen when the outside one is tilted under the light. Both photos feature original drummer Steven Adler, who only appears on four of the fourteen songs on the disc, but then again, who really remembers any of the lineups after the classic one anyway?