Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
Album Comparisons: Pretty Hate Machine
It was 1992, way, way back in my middle school days, when I was first exposed to Nine Inch Nails by way of a cassette tape of "Head Like a Hole." Trent Reznor's 1989 opus is legendary in industrial circles, so it's a given that eventually a deluxe, "remastered" version would be released. How does it compare to the 1989 original? Note: This comparison only includes the 10 tracks in common to both releases, and thus the bonus track on the remaster is omitted.

Head Like a Hole

1989 TVT Records CD release

Head Like a Hole

2010 remaster

Head Like a Hole

Terrible Lie

1989 TVT Records CD release

Terrible Lie

2010 remaster

Terrible Lie

Down In It

1989 TVT Records CD release

Down In It

2010 remaster

Down In It

Sanctified

1989 TVT Records CD release

Sanctified

2010 remaster

Sanctified

Something I Can Never Have

1989 TVT Records CD release

Something I Can Never Have

2010 remaster

Something I Can Never Have

Kinda I Want To

1989 TVT Records CD release

Kinda I Want To

2010 remaster

Kinda I Want To

Sin

1989 TVT Records CD release

Sin

2010 remaster

Sin

That's What I Get

1989 TVT Records CD release

That's What I Get

2010 remaster

That's What I Get

The Only Time

1989 TVT Records CD release

The Only Time

2010 remaster

The Only Time

Ringfinger

1989 TVT Records CD release

Ringfinger

2010 remaster

Ringfinger
And the winner is: 1989 TVT Records CD release. The waveforms say it all. Severe compression of the original dynamics has been applied as part of the remastering process. A comparison using the album's biggest single, "Head Like a Hole," shows a volume boost of almost 9 dB over the original version in the remaster, making this release one of the very worst I've seen so far. What's even more painful about this is the fact that Trent Reznor is said to be an audiophile, making what has happened to this album that much more tragic. No contest here at all.