I have done many comparisons between CDs and LPs of the same album. There is no comparison, as most of you must know. I wanted this album based on a demo played at a local hi-end audio dealer on his DAC. I was intrigued by the surround effects. I had only heard effects like that on Tomita LPs, until now. I picked up the Amused to Death CD for $1.97.
I am surprised by the quality of the sound, for a CD. It still feels compressed and phony, but, the music is so good and the lyrics so poignant, that it deserves a pass. Interestingly, I played it on my Toshiba DVD player and it sounded smeared. So, I put it into one of the DVD drives on my computer (audio-out to aux-in on my hi-fi). Not only did the sonics improve, BUT, the separation of the ambient sound (Q-sound phasing) was much improved. I gave demonstrations to a few blokes and they were not only amused (and still alive), but amazed at the clarity of the surround sound effects.
A couple weeks later, I scored a top-notch Sony SA-CD player. I put the CD in there and it sounded tonally better (slightly) BUT the surround was not nearly as exciting or distinct. WTF? I put on a test CD and the left and right channels were reversed on all sources emanating from my computer. A headphone check revealed that the sound chip, driver, and software were correct. All my cables were installed correctly. The only non-visible component was the mini-to-RCA y-cord coming out of the computer connecting the RCA cable to the pre-amp. By process of elimination, that is the culprit, mislabeled (colour-coded female jacks).
However, sometimes, good inventions are the result of mistakes or errors or defective products. I am so happy with the result of the channel reversal on this CD that I continue to reverse the cable before listening. I highly recommend lovers of this album to try it. The voice of Bill Hubbard (presumably) should be about 4 feet directly to the right of your right ear, as well as the little kid that follows. Marv Albert’s voice should be in the same place at the end of cut four, Perfect Sense, Pt. 2. If you play it as it is sold, that sound (data) comes from the left speaker, not nearly as “Qed” or dramatic.
Although, even if you reverse the channels, as I recommend, spatially, this CD, is nowhere near the quality of the Tomita LPs.
Which brings me to the point of this entire introduction. Why the F*&* should getting a copy of this album in vinyl format be so Go**amn difficult (and open to a black market of counterfeiters). It is ridiculous. Why would Waters use Q-sound if he weren’t trying to make a more effective artistic statement? And, if that is his intention, surely he is highly aware of the reputation of Dark Side of the Moon as an audiophile staple in VINYL!!! The fact that I got a brand new copy of the CD for $1.97 and that the least expensive LP is well over $300 is an indication that the music isn’t necessarily for the masses, as written. It is most appreciated by audiophiles (and intellectuals). All audiophiles (and especially intellectuals) are not in the 1% (I’m on food stamps – my equipment is from the ‘70’s and still outperforms most of the $100,000 systems of today). Waters should have demanded more vinyl pressings from Columbia at the outset, so as NOT to reward the 1% who are the only ones who can afford “collectors” items.
I hope someone gets to him in this regard so he can right this injustice and remove this black mark from his record. Release a flood of Amused to Death LPs NOW!!! Make those of us, who were left behind, tickled pink.