Most helpful critical review
1,408 of 1,650 people found the following review helpful
Imitation Dark Side of the Moon
on April 18, 2003
Being a Pink Floyd fan, I have purchased every version of this album since it was released 30 years ago.
By far the best version is the SQ Quadraphonic LP version, but as far as the stereo mix goes, the original UK Harvest CD (made in Japan) is still the high point.
Ten years ago, the fine engineer Doug Sax made a valiant effort, but it is clear listening to that XXth Aniversary Edition CD that the original tapes no longer have the same dynamics they originally had (magnetic analog storage slowly loses it quality).
Nevertheless, I decided to give this new 30th Anniversary CD a try. I should mention here that this is only a review of the standard stereo tracks - I don't yet have an SACD-capable player.
However this release doesn't make me want to run out and buy one. My worst fears have been realized as once again, the overall mix of the album has been lost in favor of "resolving power", ie the ability to hear little details. The problem is that after applying techniques to bring out such details, the engineers have done nothing to restore the original mix of the album.
The result is like a starving artist's copy of a Rembrandt painting - it sounds something like Dark Side of the Moon, but when you hear the real thing, you realize that it is only a faded imitation.
The problem is that few people these days have access to what it actually sounds like. Almost no one listens to their LP versions, and only a handful of people are lucky enough to own the original UK Harvest CD. Furthermore, it seems clear that the engineers of this 30th Anniversary Edition haven't listened to the original, either.
Interestingly, the original engineer, Alan Parsons, asked to be involved in this 30th Anniversary Edition project, but was shut out. It would seem that future listeners suffer as a result.
PS My qualifications: I am a California state certified Studio Recording Engineer. One of my instructors was the original engineer for the drum recordings for "Dark Side of the Moon". I compared the 30th Anniversary Edition, XXth Anniversary Edition, and UK Harvest CDs using AKG K240 Studio Monitor headphones (as used in many studio recording situations over the past 20-30 years).