"Achtung Baby" - U2

Remastered Album (2018 Master)

Track Listing:

Background Information

Although the sound of Achtung Baby was tweaked and sonically improved in 2011 for the 20th anniversary edition, U2 hesitated to call it a remaster of the audio mix when that version was released. That is not the case with the 2018 remaster, issued on vinyl, in a remaster that was directed by The Edge, with remastering engineering by Scott Sedillo, and the Audio Master Transfer directed by Declan Gaffney. Director of production for this release was Nadine King.

The 2018 remaster was released only on vinyl, on July 27, 2018, along with remastered versions of The Best of 1980 – 1990 and Zooropa. All three were produced on two 12-inch vinyl, at 180GSM weight.

So what is different with the new mix for Achtung Baby? We looked and compared the digital version from 2011 with the current version. Unlike the new version of Zooropa where a boost in volume is immediately evident, the increase for Achtung Baby is much more subtle. Of course the 2011 version was loud to begin with. But you can see that the volume has been tweaked, sometimes just in spots. The jump in volume is most noticible during “Even Better Than the Real Thing” where the volume is louder throughout, where as a track like “Until the End of the World” is just mixed louder at the start of the track, and other songs just have subtle tweaks in the volume of individual instruments or short sections of the song. There has been definite changes to the overall mix of instruments and elements, resulting in a slightly different sound in places. On Zooropa we noted one song that runs at a slightly different speed, but here on Achtung Baby a number of songs run at different speeds. The new versions of “The Fly”, “Even Better Than the Real Thing”, “So Cruel” and “Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around the World” all run a tiny bit faster on the new version. “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” runs a little bit slower on the new version. “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)”, “Acrobat” and “Love is Blindness” are just subtly out from the original timings, barely enough to notice, while some songs, such as “One” have no shift at all.

The album’s two vinyl are packaged in plain black inner sleeves, although custom printed inner sleeves are also included. The back of one of these inner sleeves gives credits for the 20th Anniversary Edition, as well as the 2018 Album Remaster. Also included is a single double sided sheet with the album lyrics.

The vinyl is accompanied by a digital download card which will allow users to download the tracks included on the vinyl, in wave format. The downloads are through “The Sound of Vinyl” website, and the downloads are in 44.1/16-bit quality.

The releases worldwide are all the same, and are all from a pressing that was done for U2 in the Czech Republic. (Zooropa was made in Germany, and The Best of 1980 – 1990 was made in France) The vinyl lists the catalog number 5797009 on a front sticker, and on the spine. On the back, under the UPC it is listed as 00602557970098 instead. The inner sleeves and the vinyl themselves contain 5797011 for the first disc, and 5797012 for the second disc.

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