Led Zeppelin recording quality

I’ve been listening to a lot of Zeppelin lately on Tidal…is it me, or does their recording quality suck? It’s all rather low-fi. I’m listening to the “remastered” albums on Tidal…using my HD660S. If I switch over to, say, The Who’s Quadrophenia, it’s a whole other world in terms of sound quality.


I struggle with loving their music, but finding it hit and miss whether the recordings sound thin. An IEM has to lean very warm for LZ to sound how I imagine they “should” sound.

I’ve felt the same way about Zeppein’s recording quality. Especially off of their first 3 or 4 albums. You really do need a warmer IEM or Headphone to fully enjoy their recordings. This is an on-going theory of mine but I feel as though maybe the digital re-issues of their stuff lost a lot of the sauce compared to the older cassette and vinyl recordings. I’ve heard Zeppelin from cassette tapes that my dad still owns from the 80s and to my ears, it sounds a lot more full. But this could be placebo, nostalgic bs.

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This makes sense… I had Physical Graffiti on cassette and never felt the same way about it as I do these days listening digitally.

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Yep, agree with all of the above. I have bought a few select albums in hi-rez from HD Tracks.com and, although loving the music, did not find the recording quality great.

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What does “quality” mean?

I can talk drums, drum recording and drum production all day. I use Physical Graffiti for reference tracks as I know what those drums are supposed to sound like. I know what those cymbals are supposed to sound like too.

Quadrophenia is a very exciting record to listen to for me in large part due to it’s production. However, I wouldn’t say it is higher or lower in recording quality. Different approaches to recording, certainly. Physical Graffiti sounds very natural/real in comparison from an observer’s perspective. I suppose it depends on the artist’s intention, but I feel it hard to argue that there is a difference in quality, particularly when “quality” hasn’t been defined.

And just for the record, I don’t actually like Zeppelin. I just am very familiar with the drums on those records.

Some bands just have shit recordings.

Take Oasis, for example. I love them. Noel Gallagher wrote some of the best melodies of the 90s. Yet all of their studio albums sound like shit. Muddy, excessive loudness, terrible imaging and separation. Just a wall of sound. I haven’t heard a headphone yet that makes their albums sound even remotely good.

Then you hear The Beatles. Their records are pristine with superb production by George Martin and great mixing and mastering even though they all were recorded at least 50 years ago. Fantastic headphone albums.


Led Zeppelin was also part of a recording style movement at the time that, instead of using individual mics on each drum, amp, and source, used fewer mics placed strategically in the recording suite to capture space/atmosphere and produce a more natural sounding track. This was in the (comparatively) early years of stereo recording so things weren’t nearly as standardized as they became and this was one school of thought.



The original releases have higher dynamic range than the remastered. So yeah - shit job.


Wow. That’s a super-cool site. Thanks.


So basically the folks who remastered these compressed the shit out of them like everything else that’s part of this loudness war nonsense. Predictable, but also disappointingly stupid. :roll_eyes:




Don’t touch the remasters.

I listen to my dads original CD ripped and it is amazing sounding. A lot better sounding than most stuff that comes out nowadays.

This is why buying CD and piracy is better than every single streaming site. On streaming sites, you have no idea what version you are getting sometimes, and even if you know, usually you can’t choose an older version.

What I usually do is download as many versions (including vinyl rips) I can find of an album I want on the SoulSeek P2P network, and then I compare and pick the best versions and if it is a 5-star album in my book, then I go and buy it second hand. https://dr.loudness-war.info and https://www.discogs.com are super useful to help to search for version of albums.


This makes sense to me. It sounds compressed, which is not what I expect from hires, remastered.

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I am so happy that I found this thread.

There is literally no IEM/headphone I like Led Zeppelin`s tracks on once I stepped into audio gear. It used to be one of my favourite bands when I was a kid when I used to listen to it on some shitty 96kbps rips via 10$ pair of buds. Now I really can’t stand most of their first records that I admired before (I-IV). I thought that I was insane to be honest :sweat_smile:
They are bearable on speakers, but also thin as hell, but maybe as suggested I would look for different versions of their recording.


Ok, so I started listening to Physical Graffiti, and I do believe it’s better sounding than Zep 1-4.

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I agree with you on that one. It seems like the recording tech and the mastering tech improved greatly with Physical Graffiti.


It’s too bad. I prefer Zep 1-4 to PG. Esp. 4.

So it goes.


I can see that. 4 is probably one of the greatest albums of all time, front to back. While I really enjoy some cuts off of Graffiti, like 10 Years Gone and the Wanton Song, there’s no denying the first 4 albums were a band in rare form.


Right. It’s one of the rare albums I listen to from start to finish, although I usually skip Stairway to Heaven.

It’s also one of the very few albums I listened to in high school in the 80s that I still listen to today. It’s a very short list:

Rush, through to Signals.
And sometimes Simon and Garfunkle’s Greatest Hits (their albums are a mix of gems and garbage)