Pink Floyd best CDs soundwise

Hello Goners. I have a nearly complete collection of Pink Floyd on vinyl, mostly regular pressing, mostly old pressings, and they sound really good. Recently I decided to get them on CDs to use in my car and to preserve my vinyl a bit. I was surprised to hear really crappy sound. These are regular versions. "Dark Side" is mediocre, "The Wall" is barely OK, so is "Final Cut", "Wish YOU Were Here" is plain unlistenable - dark, un-transparent with barely a hint on highs, "Animals" is the same way. Then I picked up a couple of either bootlegs or copies, probably made in Russia or somewhere near (:-)))). One is something called "Animals" with a slightly different cover, and it contains original "Animals", and it sounds like somebody tried to bring some life into it, but still "no cigar", BUT - it also contains original "Saucer full of Secrets" - and WOW! that sounds great! The other is something called "Complete Zabriski Point sessions" and it is a KILLER! I used to work in a studio, and this is by far the closest I have heard anything, whether on CD or LP, to studio masters. Now, music there is not really nuch to talk about, but the sound!

So I have two questions:

1) the latter shows that master tapes exist of excellent quality, then why production Pink Floyd CDs suck?

2) please somebody tell me which CDs or SACDs of Pink Floyd I should be looking for, if something of good sound qaulity does exist?

(I am not looking for anything they made after "Final Cut")

Try the Dark Side of the Moon 30th Anniversary Hybrid SACD. I listen to the CD layer, and it is fantastic. Far better than any of the other issues including Mofi.

The Mofi version of "The Wall" is also pretty good. Not as good as the Dark Side 30th Anniversary, but pretty good. It's just hard to find and expensive.

The Japanese hybrid "Dark Side of the Moon" is spectacular.

Capitol TOGP15001
Thanks for advise. Is 30th Ann. hybrid different from regular SACD hybrid that I see now on e-bay and other sites? Is Japanese hybrid different from both of those?
Have you tried the black marker tweak for easying your pain?
Sol322, never heard of it, pls enlighten me!
The 40th anniversary edition (3 disc set)of The Piper is pretty spectacular.
The SACD hybrids all appear the same based on the packaging. Here's the specific one that I'm referring to:

Dark Side of the Moon 30th Anniversary Hybrid

I'm not familiar with the Japanese hybrid.
The gold Wish is incredible. The English Wish is a little better BUT they fade in late and fade out early to hide the master tape hiss. Thank God they didn't remaster it though.
Japan Animals is great too.
Guthrie remixed DSOTM in his Tahoe studio - he uses EMM Labs Switchman III preamp & ATC. If you google you can find an interview with Guthrie....some of the vocals are deliberately blurry as that is what the band wanted - they definitely made some aristic changes in this remix. I have also seen an analysis indicating that the CD layer was made "hot" to match other CD's of our time (although no one will admit that the CD layer is doctored to sound quite different from the SACD layer).

Hot means they compress the sound using limiters and then jack it up close to the maximum level attainable on the CD. It gives a punchy sound which initially sounds impressive at low levels. When you crank it however you realize it is badly distorted and will sound excessively harsh/unnatural. I have many many examples of this....take for example the famous Rosanna - from Toto with nice ghost note drumming from Porcaro. I have a CD I bought of this back in 1996 which you need to turn to voume to 8 or 9 to sound loud and it sounds beautiful, polished and delicate, as it should having won a grammy award. I have the same on the recent "Essential - Toto" CD which has been remastered. This newer version sounds very loud at 3 or 4 in volume level and it initially sounds more punchy and crisp/exciting (at low levels) but when you crank it is so very clearly doctored that vocals are harsh and edgy...another victum!!

The problem is usualy the band and the producers themselves...they often want "hot" CD's to compete with other hot and lousy sounding CD's (but sound good or more audible in a car or as background in a restaurant) and they demand this in the mastering stage.

The good news is that you can get pretty nice sounding stuff on independent bet is that the Japanese version might be the safest bet...much of this can be corrected by a proper master....although some material is distorted in the orignal masters like much of the Stones early stuff (deliberately done for artistic reasons)

If you want to find less doctored/hot CD's then stick to mastering engineers Bernie Grundman and Doug Sax - they still use compressors (everyone does/did even for Vinyl) but they tend to have a lighter touch than most. You can find out who mixed and remastered stuff on artists direct.

Good luck - finding good CD's (especially remasters) of Pop music is a real crap shoot.

BTW- Guthrie started working with Pink Floyd on The if you don't like the wall it is possible you don't like the way he mixes....personal taste may play a role too. (The original sound engineer behind DSOTM, as every fan knows, was Alan Parsons....that was in the days they uses to cut and splice analog tape with a razor blade)
Try to get the EMI Harvest CD release done for the UK....this will be closest to your original Vinyl.

Since you only want CD layer and you clearly like the original Vinyl - I would stay away from more recent remasters.

I am lucky enough to own the UK CD version - it sounds great but I am no massive fan of Pink Floyd - so I never bought the SACD - so you may want to take that in consideration with other opinions. And no - even though I am no fan - I will NOT part with my UK version.
A big part of what you are experiencing is due to the fact that a good LP issue of a given album will normally sound much better than the even the best digital version. That's not just Pink Floyd, but across the board (all things, e.g. playback gear, being equal and highly capable)

That's not to say that CD's aren't capable of very good sound, because they are. It's just that most of the time they are not optimally mastered. I find I can usually outdo the sound of commercial CD releases by a pretty wide margin with copies of LP's that I burn onto CDs. Sad but true.
all pink floyd cd's regardless of their country of origin(NO RUSSIAN BOOTS) are manufactured at facilities approved by the group. the masters for every territory are identical clones.

It consists on applying permanent black marker in the "edges" outer and inner of your CD.
Some don't like the change ( can be reversed with a Q-tip moistened in alcohol provided the CD edge has not been roughened at the factory.)

If you would like to try it, and make your own judgment on this, try it on a copy of a CD you don't care to lose.
Play your CD as is first, then take it out and apply the marker to the external edge of the disk. (Carefully, try it slow and avoid getting it on the label side or the opposite side of the disk )
Allow to dry ( 30 seconds should be enough. Play it again and judge if the change in presentation, clarity stage are of your liking some people have reported no changes. In my case I'm treating my collection. YMMV though.

I think that this is one of the things overlooked and that has hindered the digital media to reach better acceptance inside the audio community.
If you really want to know which PF disc's sound beter do a search at Steve Hauffmans site, the guys there are really into the different masterings, pressings, etc. I believe that there are some very knowledgeable folks there that could disprove Jaybo's comment.

click here

or copy this into Google
pink floyd

As for the black marker tweek, I have also had luck with a CD treatment called Shine Ola on some discs that seemed very digital and too bright and brittle. It really seems to take a hard edge off of some of the discs I have used it on.

Happy listening........
Have you guys heard he red book copy of Delicate Sound of Thunder. Excellent for just the avg CD. I wish they all sounded like that.
I just listened to Animals, Wish, and DSOTM on CD last night. Both Wish and Animals were remastered. DSOTM seemed to be covered in a veil of haze compared to the other two. I listened to it twice.

I'm going all digital, I bought these copies to replace US and German vinyl versions.
The new Box set that cost more than any on the planet I think is probably pretty good, its like 300 plus retail I believe. I have not heard it but I would assume worth a shot. However the BEST digital versions I have heard are in the Columbia released from like 1992' "Shine on Box set"... And this is pretty readily available on Ebay but still rare, They are some kinda master transfers and in black shiny CD cases.
I have the Japanese remaster of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". It is one of my best sounding cds. It was done by Toshiba EMI (Japan) with a street date of Oct. 14, 2002. I see that it is still available @ CD Universe for $38. They have 2 in stock. If you notice, the majority of the Japanese Pink Floyd releases are backordered @ CD Universe. If interested, go to CD Universe and key in "pink floyd". Then scroll down to "Show Only: Everything" and click on it. Scroll to "imports" and click on it. All Pink Floyd imports come up. This one sounds better than the Japanese cd/sacd hybrid "Dark Side of the Moon" mentioned above. I have that one too. They sure are expensive, but the sound is alot better than the "Best Buy" cds.
The David Gilmour CD "On an Island" and the DVD from the 2006 tour are spectacular sounding.

I also like the David Gilmour solo CD from 1978.

I'm a little off topic, the Gilmour thread died a long time ago.
Best Floyd CD -Delicate Sound of Thunder.
I second the Japanese "Animals",very spacial and natural.
Very late to this party. Shadorne, your essays on topic are excellent! Priceless insights.

I just received an unopened copy of the 30th Anniversary version of DSOTM in heavy vinyl from EMI as a gift, and it sounds a bit "recessed" with significant congestion in the busier parts. The disk itself feels hefty like a late 50s pressing, the surface is super clean and it is dead quiet, but the mix sounds completely different than I remember. Kind of disappointed compared to my best vinyl versions of other favorites. Since this is my only copy, will look for the Harvest version of the DSOTM CD as you recommend.
I,ve a copy of wish you were here.I have never heard it sound so good.Given ,good recordings,bad recordings,but on the whole the cd has it.It was not mixed to sound bad.I,m going to get animals.I have the wall.It also sounds incredible Happy Listening
Just a note for those that might be interested. Most of these were re-released in Japan on 12/23/09 at relatively reasonable prices (price may get better depending on exchange rate). Unfortunately, only available until 2/15/10. Check them out at CDJapan or similar.
The majority of FLoyd recorded during their 70s heyday sounds very good...they were very meticulous in the studio and were able to use state-of-the-art recording facilities such as Abbey such...differences are marginal as the original master tapes are of such high quality...that being said...I do have a Japanese cd of Animals from 02 that sounds amazing...and the sacd DSOTM is stellar as well...ditto for Piper remaster...also have DSOTM and the WALL on mofi cds...and they sound very good...great bass....