Nothing captivates audiophiles and fans of classic rock more than Pink Floyd recordings. Many audiophiles consider Dark Side of the Moon one of the greatest recording ever made or at least near the top and Wish You Were Here also rises very high on the list. As the line goes from the track Have a Cigar, “We call it riding the gravy train”; that’s exactly what the record companies continue to do with these albums, 40 years after their release. Dark Side alone has had more than 100 re-releases and re-masters in CD and vinyl since its original release. Some audiophiles collect the various releases. Many of them will tell you the original 1973 release sounds the best and others rave about the MoFi UHQR release. However, these can cost in the neighborhood of $1,500 for a copy, depending on the pressing and that’s further than many of us want to go. Not to mention, venturing into the high dollars can also end up with you getting something less than you were expecting (especially if you haven’t heard the version you’re buying).
I’m going to let you in on a secret that was passed on to me recently by a friend. The 2011 vinyl re-master of Wish You Were Here is brilliant. A good vinyl recording is all about the sound-floor…the lower the floor, the blacker the background, the more the music will jump out of your speakers with dimensionally defined, realistic sound. I haven’t compared the 2011 version to the original, but after listening to this one I’m confident few people would pay for the upgrade given how good it sounds.
I purchased the 2011 version of Dark Side at the same time. I wouldn’t put it in quite the same category as the 2011 Wish, but it is very good. I prefer this version to my copy of the 30th Anniversary pressing, from 2003. My friend also claims the 2012 release of The Wall from this same collection is in the same category with Wish You Were Here, so you would do well to pick up a copy of that. As far as CD versions go, of the handful I’ve heard, the 2003 CD/SACD version is outstanding.