Star Wars original trilogy soundtracks CD

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by FACE OF BOE, Jun 4, 2007.

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    FACE OF BOE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hi all

    Cananyone tell me which editions of these are the best; the recent Sony releases or the 1993 Arista boxset? Which has the best sound quality?


  2. bru87tr

    bru87tr Forum Resident

    Lowell, MA
    I think the first remasters (in the late 90's) are best and accurate.

    the original cd's are missing music.
  3. pool_of_tears

    pool_of_tears Music Appreciator

    Eastern Iowa
    The 1993 box set is the best IMO. The later ones are missing things (Lapti Nek) and there's the 4th disc of outtakes and such.
  4. The recent special 2 CD editions are apparently most complete and best (I own them but don't have the original 4 CD box). I've enjoyed the heck out of these 6 CD's of material from the original trilogy. I only have the single standard discs of the prequels.

    I should mention that I find the insightful-but-basic annotation of the special 2 CD editions very useful, as compared to the more overtly scholarly (and occasionally over-my-head) approach taken to say, the complete Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers box sets for Lord of the Rings.
  5. JoelDF

    JoelDF Forum Resident

    Baton Rouge, LA
    I have the "special edition" silver box set of the trilogy in the 2-cd per movie configuration, the 4-disc trilogy box set from '93, the original Polydor 2-disc soundtrack of "Star Wars", and the original Double-LP issue of "The Empire Strikes Back".

    Apparently, most of the "special edition" 2-cd set of "Empire" is remixed. Overall, I prefer the sound of the 4-disc box set to the 2-cd set of the trilogy even if the 2-cd set is more complete. Although, a cut in the treble of the 2-cd set gets it closer to the sound of the 4-disc box set for everything but "Empire" (no thanks to the remixing).
  6. Gene Parmesan

    Gene Parmesan Have a good time all the time.

    PA, USA
    The film version of Lapti Nek has never been released, AFAIK. The version on Disc 4 of the Trilogy box is different.

    Still, anything is better than Jedi Rocks.
  7. darkmatter

    darkmatter Gort Astronomer Staff

    Following this one with interest :)
  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    The article at this link:

    has more information than any human could possible know on all the various Star Wars CDs released over the years, covered in a (free) downloadable PDF document. It's clear to see the author (Chris Malone) spent hundreds of hours evaluating every CD release, and presents a lot of pros and cons in a fairly objective way.

    I personally think the 1993 Arista Original Soundtrack Anthology boxed set isn't bad, and it's widely available cheap on eBay. The author has some bad things to say about the later RCA reissues.
  9. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

  10. minerwerks

    minerwerks Forum Resident

    Or how about the English version that was heard in the "From Star Wars to Jedi" TV special? That would have been interesting.
  11. EddieVanHalen

    EddieVanHalen Well-Known Member

    I still have to see/listen a decent sounding version of the Star Wars soundtrack music, and the same can be said about The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
    Just compare the Star Wars and Superman soundtracks sound, same recording studio, same engineer and same orchestra. One sounds terrible, the other sounds great for a late 70's recording.
    Compare how the soundtracks for The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Last Ark sound, same case as before.
    Lucasfilm, John Williams or Sony Classical should make decent releases of these soundtracks, starting from the multitrack tapes and do new mixes from scratch at a top recording studios and by a reputed engineer.
    I don't think they do this anytime soon as the Star Wars soundtracks have been released so many times that fans became tired of buying them once more, regardless of sound quality.
  12. valvehead

    valvehead Forum Resident

    Hampshire, UK
    The Arista 4-CD Anthology box set is definately the way to go for the 'best' sound quality (or as good as we can get at present) overall, and is the one I always go back to on CD. Very analogue sounding.

    The 2-CD sets are a huge missed opportunity. Star Wars actually sounds pretty good, if a little 'hard etched' and digital sounding. Empire sounds merely 'OK' and Jedi is just an abomination - I suspect carless use of some sort of no-noise processor. It's like listening to the album through a wet sock - appalling. How this got past quality control I'll never know! Practically all the upper treble is eradicated, robbing the music of its bite and much of the excitement. The problem with Empire is a constricted 'claustrophobic' sound-stage, which is not how it sounded on LP or the Arista box set... or in the film for that matter.

    The RCA and Sony Classical 2-CD sets are from EXACTLY the same masters, though the Sony boasts additional DSD mastering. I have heard both and cannot tell the difference - timings are exactly the same for each. The RCA set is to be preffered for the sleeve notes if you MUST have the 2-CD sets.

    This soundtracks are in DIRE need of Mr Hoffman's skilled mastering techniques (for a taste of how Star Wars could sound find a DCC copy of his Raiders of the Lost Ark - awsome!).

    As far as I can tell Mr George Lucas no longer cares about quality, and hasn't for a while now (witness the bad colour 'correction' and reversed surround channels for the most recent Star Wars DVD...).

    The best sound quality I have heard for Empire is from the original Polydor 2-LP release, but many of the tracks have been rearranged/sequenced. Managed to score a sealed copy of this a month ago on Ebay. They're still out there.

    - John
  13. Chris Malone is a member of this very forum. He also wrote a very extensive article detailing the recent Superman FSM boxset. All those articles are great reads and highly informed.
  14. Chris Malone

    Chris Malone Forum Resident

    I wholeheartedly agree with John. Steve’s magic touch is required on the Original Trilogy STAR WARS scores.

    There was a thread about Steve and Kevin somehow coming across the 16-track backup tapes and doing their own mix many, many years ago:

    Further agreeing with John, the original 2LP set of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the best sounding release of that score. Dynamic, with good tone and stereo image. Sadly, it was never available in that configuration on CD. The sequencing of the 2LP set is great. In fact, I have a Japanese pressing that I want to preserve on CD and will be looking for a forum member to help with that. (Will post a separate thread.)
  15. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Toulouse, France
  16. Chris Malone

    Chris Malone Forum Resident

    Have just been revisiting the STAR WARS 2LP set in a few incarnations. Whilst the 20th Century-Fox Records release is somewhat lacking -- the RSO is dynamic, lifelike and rich in tone.

    This might just be the best version of the score I’ve yet heard. The brasses are still somewhat aggressive but this was the intention of the composer and engineer for them to sound this way. The timpani hits in a few of the bombastic passages (particularly at the climax of "The Last Battle") are not distorted unlike the 4CD box set and 2CD special edition.
  17. Chris Malone

    Chris Malone Forum Resident

    It would be interesting if Steve was able to remaster the original albums, additional music notwithstanding. They were well assembled and offer the highlights of the scores (with the exception of RETURN OF THE JEDI).

    I have wondered what the rumoured/proposed sequence for a 2LP version of JEDI would have been. The single disc never did it justice.
  18. valvehead

    valvehead Forum Resident

    Hampshire, UK
    It would certainly be a dream come true for Steve to remaster these - I'd pre-order in a heartbeat. It would be great if he could work his magic with the content of the entire scores, but even a release of the 2-LP sets as they are (but remastered from the album masters of course) would be superb.

    It happened with Raiders, perhaps there's a SLIGHT chance... anyone here friendly with George Lucas?!? Lol!

    - John
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