The Alan Parsons Project Catalog

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JoelDF, Aug 16, 2002.

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  1. JoelDF

    JoelDF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Baton Rouge, LA

    At first I thought that this might be one for the “Reissue Wish List” page, but I decided to ask for opinions on this first.

    What is the general consensus on the quality of all the Alan Parsons Project CD’s released to date? Were they transferred properly, or at least “flat”, or were some of them (at least the Arista ones) rushed out the gate?

    I have what I think are all the CD’s of the albums that are available except for one that I know of for sure, and most of the LP’s. I’m also limiting this list to Project studio albums only – not the compilations or Parsons’ solo releases. This is what I have:
    • Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Re-issue (different cover art) of the LP (on the 20th Century Records label?), Parsons’ re-mixed Mercury Records CD issue, and the MFSL Gold CD of the original mix, .
    • I Robot – Arista LP, MFSL Aluminum CD. This is the one that I never bought the regular Arista CD of.
    • Pyramid – Arista CD.
    • Eve – Arista CD.
    • The Turn of a Friendly Card – Arista LP & CD.
    • Eye in the Sky – Arista LP & CD.
    • Ammonia Avenue – Arista LP & CD.
    • Vulture Culture – Arista LP & CD.
    • Stereotomy – Arista LP & CD.
    • Gaudi – Arista LP & CD.
    I'm I missing any other CD issues?

    Pyramid and Eve (and The Turn of a Friendly Card to some degree) sound extremely bright with almost no bass whatsoever. At least with Turn I could compare to the album and the CD of that one is still bright sounding but does at least it has most of the bass that the LP has. Since I don’t have the LPs of Pyramid and Eve, I have no way to know if that’s just the way it is or not. But, they sound almost as if the CDs were mastered using the LP pre-equalized masters (that’s why I ask if some were rushed out).

    All the others seemed to be relatively true to the LP’s, although once I bought the CD’s, I stopped listening to the LP’s. I guess I might do some A/B comparisons now that I’ve pulled my old turntable out of storage (and get a new cartridge from somewhere).

    I will say, however, that all of these albums need to be looked at again using today’s analog/digital re-mastering techniques and knowledge. Perhaps by Mr. Hoffman himself?

  2. Dan

    Dan Forum Resident

    I vote for "Turn Of A Friendly Card" in hi-rez! :cool:
  3. John B

    John B Once Blue Gort,<br>now just blue.

    Toronto, Canada
    I remember the MFSL "I Robot" being very good but I let it out of my grasp.
  4. johnborzatti

    johnborzatti Forum Resident

    The MFSL I Robot has all the midrange sucked out of it, overly boosted top end and an artificial sounding bottom end. A/B it with the Simply Vinyl issue and you will swear your midranges are blown when you go to the MoFi. The MoFi aluminum CD has the same EQ the MFSL LP does, I have not auditioned the UHQR but I can imagine it has the same. The Simply Vinyl issue sounds more rounded out, fatter and more correct. It also is a 180 gram press. Simply Vinyl has taken their share of bad press but some of their issues are the most accurate available. They don't remaster themselves, just call for a tape and press it. Whatever they get it hit or miss just like any re-issue label. Parsons usually masters a bit on the bright side, that was his sound. I have most of the original LP's and they have the most accurate sound.
  5. John B

    John B Once Blue Gort,<br>now just blue.

    Toronto, Canada
    Of course, I could be wrong :eek:

    I listened for different things years ago and would have been impressed with the boosted top end.
  6. johnborzatti

    johnborzatti Forum Resident

    Yeah, its amazing once you start comparing. That's why this site is so smokin' for that kind of chit chat. I also thought that pressing to be the best at one time. Now at least you don't feel so bad, mabey even glad you sold it.
  7. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    I have both the MFSL CD and the LP of I Robot. The MFSL CD blew away the stock issue! The MFSL LP sounded better, more analogue. I've never heard the Simply Vinyl LP although it's on my wish list!

    Classic Records has (had) this title on DVD-A if I remember correctly. Lets see, $30.00 for the CD, $500.00 for the player, taxes.... nawwwww forget it!


    I asked Steve long ago about doing Alan Parsons on DCC gold. He replied that Mr. Parsons has his own ideas about his catalogue....

    I wonder if that's changed?
  8. johnborzatti

    johnborzatti Forum Resident

    Hi Gary, you gotta find the Simply Vinyl. you will be astounded!!!!! Whatever master they made it from (probably the original British import pressing) is sounds much more fuller, rounder and lusher that the MoFi. As we all know they were famous for re-eqing a lot of stuff but this one was a bit extreme.
  9. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Hmmmm that good, eh? Thanks John! I'd better put this one higher on my list!
  10. Kym

    Kym Forum Resident

    After having the Arista CDs since they came out circa 1985, I'm inclined to say that they were rushed. Some of them do sound like the LP pre-equalized masters, as you had mentioned.

    I agree about Pyramid (a bit of an ear-bleeder, that one), but I disagree about Eve sounding bright. I always thought Eve was the worst-recorded album of the lot, almost like the Project's own Chicago II. It has always sounded muddy and compressed; I never liked the drum sound on this one. To me the LP sounds slightly better than the regular CD.

    I agree 100%, though the word afoot is that Parsons himself has been remixing some of his albums for surround sound; for which format is up for speculation. He does still have an ear for good sound quality – witness the good job he did on the Definitive Collection (though I feel he did ruin the current remaster of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon by over-sweetening the highs).

    After reading your post, Joel, I was curious about the timings between my US Arista and German/UK Arista CDs of the Parsons collection. I picked up the Aristas when they first came out and got the German ones last year on a trip to Europe. Here are my findings:

    I Robot
    US - 41:08
    UK - 41:06
    US MoFi - 41:16 (for comparison's sake)
    Japan, 1993 reissue - 41:09 (for comparion's sake)

    I truly think the aluminum MoFi doesn't sound any different from the regular US Arista. I'd like to know what those who swear by the MoFi are hearing that I'm not!

    US - 37:44
    UK - 37:48

    US - 39:21
    UK - 39:35

    The Turn Of A Friendly Card
    US - 40:31
    UK - 40:13
    (Oh dear!)

    Eye In The Sky
    US - 42:30
    I don't have the UK version.

    Hereafter, the timing discrepancies are quite miniscule, down to one second!

    Ammonia Avenue
    US - 40:10
    UK - 40:09

    Vulture Culture
    US - 38:00
    UK - 37:59

    US - 41:58
    UK - 41:57

    US - 38:50
    I don't have the UK version.

    One thing's for sure – the booklets in the UK versions are nicer and truer to the original LP typefaces than the sorry US versions. Also, the US versions are riddled with typos!

    I hope this thread continues on for a while!
  11. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    the gold disc of 'try anything once' is one remarkably sounding cd.
  12. vinylrec

    vinylrec Senior Member

    Delaware, Ohio
    The Alan Parsons Project
    Arista CD 610 143-222
    1984 West German pressing
    CD manufactured in West Germany by Polygram
    CD running time 39:38

    Excellent sound on this pressing. Well balanced highs and lows. Sounds nothing like the CD describled above....

  13. JoelDF

    JoelDF Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Baton Rouge, LA
    Thanks for the responses.

    I went looking for my albums again, which have stored away for several years now, and pulled several of them out. To correct my initial post, my copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination is the re-issue on that weird Casablanca label made by Polygram Records.

    I agree that the Arista CD versions of the covers really suck. Only Eye in the Sky was close to the way the information was laid out, and Stereotomy and Gaudi followed the theme through. Although they had to abandon Stereotomy’s original multi-colored concept.

    I missed out on getting the embossed “gold-leaf eye” cover version of the album Eye in the Sky, but a friend of mine has it, so at least I’ve seen it. Mine has just the gold colored printed eye.

    Stereotomy is still very interesting with that dark red/dark turquoise slip cover that the jacket (which was dark purple with alternating turquoise and red lettering) was in. I remember trying to figure out how to remove the price tag and label stickers without messing up the vinyl slip cover.

    Looks like I might have to look up those W. German issues.

  14. Rspaight

    Rspaight New Member

    The vinyl Stereotomy packaging was a hoot. They ought to reissue that as a Japan-style mini-LP CD. I'd buy one. :)

    I seem to recall that the APP CDs all vanished around the time Stereotomy came out due to some legal brouhaha. They reappeared several months later, but I don't think the discs themselves changed any.

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