Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
Album Comparisons: Led Zeppelin II
Hardly anything needs to be said about Led Zeppelin's massive influence in the universe of rock. Formed in 1968 out of the ashes of the Yardbirds, the band featured Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, and former session guitarist Jimmy Page (who played with acts ranging from John Mayall to Jackie DeShannon). Drawing their inspiration from genres as diverse as rock, blues, folk, and psychedelia, Led Zeppelin became one of the most influential and most accoladed bands of the 1970s, releasing a total of nine studio albums and inspiring countless legions of fans and musicians right up to the present day. Led Zeppelin II, their sophomore LP, originally released in 1969, has since had over 400 individual national and international releases on various formats and doubtless will see many more in the years and decades to come. This comparison is of the original U.S. CD release and the 1994 CD remaster helmed by Jimmy Page and George Marino. How do the two compare?

Whole Lotta Love

1987 original U.S. CD release

Whole Lotta Love

1994 CD remaster

Whole Lotta Love

What Is and What Should Never Be

1987 original U.S. CD release

What Is and What Should Never Be

1994 CD remaster

What Is and What Should Never Be

The Lemon Song

1987 original U.S. CD release

The Lemon Song

1994 CD remaster

The Lemon Song

Thank You

1987 original U.S. CD release

Thank You

1994 CD remaster

Thank You

Heartbreaker

1987 original U.S. CD release

Heartbreaker

1994 CD remaster

Heartbreaker

Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)

1987 original U.S. CD release

Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)

1994 CD remaster

Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)

Ramble On

1987 original U.S. CD release

Ramble On

1994 CD remaster

Ramble On

Moby Dick

1987 original U.S. CD release

Moby Dick

1994 CD remaster

Moby Dick

Bring It on Home

1987 original U.S. CD release

Bring it on Home

1994 CD remaster

Bring it on Home
And the winner is: 1994 remastered version. The Jimmy Page remastered disc represents such a dramatic sonic improvement over the earlier issue that this one is no contest. It is noticeably louder than its predecessor, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing in this case. Looking carefully at the waveforms, it does appear possible that there may have been some *very slight* compression of the very loudest peaks, but this may simply fall in line with normal mastering practice for evening out the sound. It's not entirely clear, but the dynamics appear pretty much intact, and so I am going to give this one to the 1994 disc. The 1994 Jimmy Page remaster is the clear winner, with bright, clear sound and no muddiness, released during a time when "remaster" didn't mean "brickwalled to hell." The dynamics are great, the sound is top notch, and I enthusiastically recommend this release over the earlier one.