Pink Floyd best CDs soundwise

Hello Goners. I have a nearly complete collection of Pink Floyd on vinyl, mostly regular pressing, mostly old pressings, and they sound really good. Recently I decided to get them on CDs to use in my car and to preserve my vinyl a bit. I was surprised to hear really crappy sound. These are regular versions. "Dark Side" is mediocre, "The Wall" is barely OK, so is "Final Cut", "Wish YOU Were Here" is plain unlistenable - dark, un-transparent with barely a hint on highs, "Animals" is the same way. Then I picked up a couple of either bootlegs or copies, probably made in Russia or somewhere near (:-)))). One is something called "Animals" with a slightly different cover, and it contains original "Animals", and it sounds like somebody tried to bring some life into it, but still "no cigar", BUT - it also contains original "Saucer full of Secrets" - and WOW! that sounds great! The other is something called "Complete Zabriski Point sessions" and it is a KILLER! I used to work in a studio, and this is by far the closest I have heard anything, whether on CD or LP, to studio masters. Now, music there is not really nuch to talk about, but the sound!

So I have two questions:

1) the latter shows that master tapes exist of excellent quality, then why production Pink Floyd CDs suck?

2) please somebody tell me which CDs or SACDs of Pink Floyd I should be looking for, if something of good sound qaulity does exist?

(I am not looking for anything they made after "Final Cut")

The SACD hybrids all appear the same based on the packaging. Here's the specific one that I'm referring to:

Dark Side of the Moon 30th Anniversary Hybrid

I'm not familiar with the Japanese hybrid.
The gold Wish is incredible. The English Wish is a little better BUT they fade in late and fade out early to hide the master tape hiss. Thank God they didn't remaster it though.
Japan Animals is great too.
Guthrie remixed DSOTM in his Tahoe studio - he uses EMM Labs Switchman III preamp & ATC. If you google you can find an interview with Guthrie....some of the vocals are deliberately blurry as that is what the band wanted - they definitely made some aristic changes in this remix. I have also seen an analysis indicating that the CD layer was made "hot" to match other CD's of our time (although no one will admit that the CD layer is doctored to sound quite different from the SACD layer).

Hot means they compress the sound using limiters and then jack it up close to the maximum level attainable on the CD. It gives a punchy sound which initially sounds impressive at low levels. When you crank it however you realize it is badly distorted and will sound excessively harsh/unnatural. I have many many examples of this....take for example the famous Rosanna - from Toto with nice ghost note drumming from Porcaro. I have a CD I bought of this back in 1996 which you need to turn to voume to 8 or 9 to sound loud and it sounds beautiful, polished and delicate, as it should having won a grammy award. I have the same on the recent "Essential - Toto" CD which has been remastered. This newer version sounds very loud at 3 or 4 in volume level and it initially sounds more punchy and crisp/exciting (at low levels) but when you crank it is so very clearly doctored that vocals are harsh and edgy...another victum!!

The problem is usualy the band and the producers themselves...they often want "hot" CD's to compete with other hot and lousy sounding CD's (but sound good or more audible in a car or as background in a restaurant) and they demand this in the mastering stage.

The good news is that you can get pretty nice sounding stuff on independent bet is that the Japanese version might be the safest bet...much of this can be corrected by a proper master....although some material is distorted in the orignal masters like much of the Stones early stuff (deliberately done for artistic reasons)

If you want to find less doctored/hot CD's then stick to mastering engineers Bernie Grundman and Doug Sax - they still use compressors (everyone does/did even for Vinyl) but they tend to have a lighter touch than most. You can find out who mixed and remastered stuff on artists direct.

Good luck - finding good CD's (especially remasters) of Pop music is a real crap shoot.

BTW- Guthrie started working with Pink Floyd on The if you don't like the wall it is possible you don't like the way he mixes....personal taste may play a role too. (The original sound engineer behind DSOTM, as every fan knows, was Alan Parsons....that was in the days they uses to cut and splice analog tape with a razor blade)
Try to get the EMI Harvest CD release done for the UK....this will be closest to your original Vinyl.

Since you only want CD layer and you clearly like the original Vinyl - I would stay away from more recent remasters.

I am lucky enough to own the UK CD version - it sounds great but I am no massive fan of Pink Floyd - so I never bought the SACD - so you may want to take that in consideration with other opinions. And no - even though I am no fan - I will NOT part with my UK version.