Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
Analogue Productions CAPP 33453 SA
David Gilmour (vocals, guitars, lap steel guitar, EMS Synthi AKS, keyboards, tape effects)
Roger Waters (vocals, bass guitar, guitar, VCS3, tape effects)
Nick Mason (drums, percussion, tape effects)
Richard Wright (keyboards, VCS3, clavinet, backing vocals)
35th Anniversary Edition
The Most Anticipated SACD Release Since The Dark Side Of The Moon!
Easily The Biggest SACD Title In The Analogue Productions Catalog!
Wish You Were Here is a multitrack masterpiece. Now, to have it mixed for 5.1 surround sound and stereo from the original analog master tapes by Pink Floyd's Producer/Engineer James Guthrie is, well, pretty damn exciting.
Is this the biggest SACD reissue in the history of the format? Time will tell, but don't bet against it.
Wish You Were Here(?) Now you can be. Total lifelike recreation of a chart-topping, pioneering, way-ahead-of-its-time blockbuster.
You talk about a title made for multichannel SACD! It's as if they knew 35 years ago that this format would be available. Finally, technology caught up with Pink Floyd. And oh how lucky we all are to still be around to hear this legendary studio recording in its full potential.
Pink Floyd chose Acoustic Sounds and Analogue Productions to handle the exclusive distribution of this monumental SACD and we are honored and thrilled to be a part of EMI's huge Why Pink Floyd...? campaign that includes remastered CDs, Blu-rays, DVDs, LPs, memorabilia box sets and this, the first-ever multichannel presentation of Wish You Were Here. The SACD also of course includes a stunning stereo mix. And as this is a hybrid disc, the record is of course also playable on a standard CD player.
On its release in 1975 Wish You Were Here topped the album charts in both the UK and the U.S. Reflecting the band's thoughts of the time on the music business and exploring themes of absence, Wish You Were Here contains the classic cut "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," a tribute to founding band member Syd Barrett.
In fact, Barrett, who'd long been absent from the lives of Pink Floyd's band members, stopped by the Wish You Were Here recording sessions at London's Abbey Road Studios unannounced. The reunion - with Barrett reportedly appearing in poor mental condition - is said to have been an emotionally stirring event for the band, and apparently that encounter would be the last any of the band members were ever to see of Barrett, who died in 2006.
As they did with their previous release, Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd made great use of studio effects for this, their ninth album overall. The record's winding soundscapes are perfect for the canvas of multichannel SACD. Spacious and airy, the record breathes like a living being.
Wish You Were Here was selected by Rolling Stone as No. 209 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". And that's before they heard it like this!
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Review by Darren McKeown - April 17, 2016
Firstly, in the interests of openness and full disclosure let me state for the record that I am a huge Pink Floyd fan, so much so that my entire sound system as it stands today was built around the 30th Anniversary Edition SACD of Dark Side of the Moon. Up until then, I was more than happy with a really good set of headphones for my daily dose of Floyd but the potential that the SACD offered, both from the much higher level of sound quality and more importantly the multi-channel mix totally captivated me and started me on a path of almost obsessive upgrading and modification trying to hear every last detail locked away in the multi-channel mix.
WYWH was THE album that first introduced me to Pink Floyd, and so will always hold a special place for me. I first heard it when I was around 10 years old on my friends Dads hi-fi system, played on vinyl through a pair of very high quality headphones and it totally blew me away. Shine On You Crazy Diamond drew me in and time seemed to stand still. Then the stereo effects of Welcome to the machine (with the sounds moving from ear to ear) totally amazed me that someone would put so much effort into making a piece of music. At the time my preferred choice of music was Poison and Guns 'n' roses so for something so completely polar opposite to have that effect on me really speaks for the quality of the music and its timeless nature.
The SACD comes in a case that’s more akin to a book than a CD case and certainly not the super jewel case you would expect with an SACD. Inside is a booklet with lyrics and some production photos of the band. Also included are some post-cards with images which are actually alternate album cover choices that were at one stage being considered in place of the iconic “burning-man” image we are of course so used to seeing.
(The book-style case is actually the same as the one that comes with Roger Waters Amused to Death and as both titles are by Analogue Productions so I’m guessing it must be something specific to them but I could be wrong).
The first thing that is completely different from any other version of WYWH and probably only noticed by those who have listened to this album on a lot of different sources is that there is no hiss at the start of Shine on. This is due to the remastering from the original analogue sources. Then the slow and enveloping build-up of the synths it’s soon very obvious that this was well worth the wait and never once falls short both in terms of mixing and sound quality.
As far as balanced 5.1 mixes go this one certainly is the best I have heard by a long shot. The surround speakers were used exactly where they should have been and never once detracts you from the actual music.
Shine On You Crazy Diamond seem to have a much more ethereal quality about it, and the fading of the sax into the distance behind you has been done so well you almost don’t notice it’s happening. This is largely due to the sound-stage not only being between left/right but also between front/rear. [Moving from the surround “sweet spot” by only a few feet either way makes this brutally obvious on a well set up system.] This has the effect of literally immersing you into the sound-stage and making you feel like you are inside the music, much like when I first listened to it all those years ago through headphones.
Hearing Welcome to the machine with its pulsating bass bouncing from speaker to speaker and rippling through the room with sound effects panning all around really made the hairs on my neck stand up (something that doesn't happen very often). This is certainly a track made for surround sound, with the doors of the car/elevator and the crowd outside all around you.
Then Roy Harper's voice in Have a Cigar sounded like he was standing there in front of me. The fade-out at the end which leads into the title track (and one of Pink Floyd's most well-known tracks) was very sudden and powerful through all of the speakers as it sharply switches to the mono AM radio voices tucked away in the rear left of the room. Then hearing "Floyd" coughing coming from the centre speaker and then plucking the guitar strings and then the guitar filling all the speakers was something of pure magic.
And lastly the final parts of Shine On You Crazy Diamond with the fading of the wind noise and Rick Wright's fantastic work on the synths once again draw you into the music and really creating the sense of detachment and absence that is of course the underlying theme of the album. And as it slowly drifts away it leaves you with the bitter-sweet feeling of having the experience end but being able to press play and do it all over again (which is exactly what I did).
SACD Stereo mix:
After the multi-channel mix, I wasn't expecting to be "wowed" by the 2 channel version but I was absolutely wrong and when I gave it some thought it makes perfect sense after all my only listening experience with this album was with the 2 channel version albeit of varying qualities depending on the version being listened to. But this 2 channel version is something that needs to be heard to be believed. The sound-stage was so well balanced and defined that at times it was hard to realize that this was only coming from 2 speakers and not 6. Obviously well balanced speakers are a large part of this but even with the best speakers available if the mixing and mastering isn't up to standard then it will still sound average at best. So if you have 2 full-height speakers with a well set up system then you are in for a real treat.
I think it’s fairly obvious that I absolutely loved this SACD but there was one issue that I noticed but this was more a familiarity thing than an actual problem with the disc itself. At times the mid-range seemed a bit flat, almost as if some sort of dynamic range was in effect. But after re-listening to this disc and comparing it with the regular CD version (both on this disc and an earlier issue) I’m now quite certain that this is because the low and high frequencies on the SACD layer have so much more definition, making the mid-range frequencies sound noticeably flatter. It becomes unnoticeable after a couple of listens after which point it’s almost impossible to go back to listening to the non-SACD version.
With such high expectations for this release especially after how well the 5.1 mix of DSOTM turned out, not to mention with any remastering of a timeless classic, there were a lot of opportunities for WYWH to fall short and even dare I say disappoint, but that certainly wasn't the case at all. As with DSOTM, this was definitely an album that was made for multi-channel, and apart from a select few who had the systems able to play the very limited quadraphonic versions of these albums released back in the 1970’s, the SACD’s were the first time most Floyd fans have heard their favourite albums the way they were intended.
Copyright © 2016 Darren McKeown and HRAudio.net