The Alan Parsons Project - Original or Remastered

I would like to hear opinions on The Alan Parsons Project albums on CDs - Original release vs Remastered (2007, 2008) also known as “Expanded Edition”. I have both, purchased and downloaded from Qobuz, with the exception of Vulture Culture. Qobuz only has the remastered, and I have not heard the original release.

Let’s leave vinyl out of this discussion and limit only to CDs.

What do you prefer, the original release, or the expanded/remastered edition? I have formed my opinion on each album, but wanted to see what others like.

For each album, state your preference, and possibly explain why you prefer it.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976)
I Robot (1977)
Pyramid (1978)
Eve (1979)
The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980)
Eye in the Sky (1982)
Ammonia Avenue (1984)
Vulture Culture (1985)
Stereotomy (1985)
Gaudi (1987)

I prefer the original 1980s CD masterings, (with one exception below), the Dynamics were far far better. I doubt that Qobuz is selling is the original 80s cd mastering, though, as many of those titles were remastered in the 90s.

Tales of Imagination CD release is the exception to the above, and, is a bit trickier, as quoted from discogs.

In 1987, with album sales rapidly shifting to the CD format, the duo decided to remix the album to update it for the then-new format. The 1987 remix differs in that some elements have been re-recorded, as well as having certain production hallmarks of the mid-1980s which contrast considerably with the original 1976 recording. The remix uses a modified version of the original artwork, and was issued worldwide on the Mercury label. The original 1976 mix was unavailable on CD until 1994, when it was finally issued by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab.

In 2007, UMe issued a deluxe edition, containing both versions of the album as well as a few bonus tracks.

In 2016, a 40th anniversary edition was issued, as well as a 5.1 remix on Blu-Ray.

Given that I had the original vinyl pressing of Tales and had been listening to it for over a decade, the 1987 remix is an abomination, imho. I do have the 40th anniversary edition, with a 24/96 rip of an original vinyl pressing. I still want to hear the MFSL CD, but, it can be expensive.

1 Like

The original CD’s… and you can pick them up on eBay for next to nothing.

I did have the originals, lost them in the years, but bought them all “expanded”. I cannot compare therefore, but I hardly play the “expanded parts” - I still remember what the last track should be…
ergo I go for the originals.

1 Like

@Rugby You could be right about Qobuz not selling the 80’s mastering, but they do have a regular version (which I dubbed original) and then they have expanded edition. Here is example of the song Stereotomy in Audacity. On top is the “original” and bottom is the expanded.

1 Like

The top version is looking pretty good. The bottom is an example of why I prefer the originals, it is much more compressed.

1 Like

Would say that this does not say anything except for the variant below showing a different normalization and obviously some peaks seem have been undergone a limiter so headroom could be reduced.

If there are no clear signs of heavy overall compression (which is not the case here) no-one could tell from just a waveform graph which variant sounds better or offers more dynamic. Same to dynamic range measurement. In my opinion the cult about dynamic, condemning compression is heavily overhyped.

Over the years I happened to own several Alan Parsons CDs and various reissues including MFSLs and blu-rays. Mainly found tonal differences (bass, presence and alike) but not a single one I would call anyhow lacking dynamics due to compression.

Roon reports DR13 of the first, and DR12 of the second.


Which is a proof that no overall heavy compression has been used during remastering which might explain any reported reduction in dynamic.

@Andrew i do not have the Stereotomy album in my collection so cannot compare several versions. But I strongly recommend not to rely on this ongoing ´DR astrology´ when it comes to judging which version of an album sounds better.

DR is a mathematical method to calculate an average dynamic range, and the result is depending on numerous factors of the remastering process. No-one except the mastering engineer himself knows which tool has been used and how it is affecting the perception as well as the DR calculation. Subtle changes such as adjusting the level of every track, removing noise/clicks, EQing or putting an inaudible limiter to some peaks might explain every single change of DR in your example. It does not say anything about compression or perceived dynamics.

So DR is completely useless when it comes to picking the preferred version of an album for your listening pleasure. With the exception of some cases using overall compression extensively which leads to a reduction of DR from let us say 15 to 3. That is clearly audible as compression.


I have them on vinyl. Vinyl every time for the above two.