HiRez Poll Pink Floyd - ANIMALS [Blu-Ray Audio/SACD]

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Rate the BDA/SACD of Pink Floyd - ANIMALS


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    135

Tres Discrete

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I haven't voted on this one yet only having listened to it once, but I can only echo the sentiments of most of the other posters here in that I was extremely impressed.

I'm not really a Pink Floyd completist - I have a bit of soft spot for Pompeii and Meddle thanks to having worked with Adrian Maben, but I really like Dark Side of the Moon, (and Wish You Were Here even more) and Animals always felt like an album I should like, but I could never get inside it thanks to the grungy "recorded on a cassette tape" kind of fidelity.

I think the biggest musical revelation this remix provided is that thanks to the increase in fidelity and clarity, Animals now feels like one of the sets of rock 'n' roll "twin" albums alongside WYWH. It seems like when bands are in the midst of their powers they often do this, record two consecutive albums that sound like two sides of the same coin - the Beatles Revolver and Rubber Soul and Black Sabbath's Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage are just a couple of examples that spring to mind. Obviously in this case there's good reason for it, given that both Dogs and Sheep date back to the WYWH era, but each has their own distinct identity - the ethereal WYWH and the driven, muscular Animals. I've seen this album referred to as having "punk rock" energy, but to me that's a really reductive way of describing this album, especially given that the majority of the musical content found its genesis (ha ha, no pun intended) before British punk was even a thing. Just because tomatoes are red, doesn't mean that everything red is a tomato - what I hear on this album is a band simply at the height of its powers playing with the confidence and telepathy that comes with 10 years of collaboration, rehearsal and touring. I think Animals is maybe one melodic centerpiece song away from being an all-time 10 out of 10 classic, but it's still very good, and sounding as it does now, eminently re-listenable.

With DSOTM and WYWH, my go to versions are the quad mixes - I wasn't expecting much given the lackluster nature of the surround content in James Guthrie's 5.1 mixes, so again like most people I was more than pleasantly surprised with this one. Either he's gotten more adventurous in his old age, or he's taken onboard some of the listener feedback on his previous mixes, but either way we're all winners for his adjustment in philosophy. In the last 10 years or so it seems like there's been a raft of 5.1 (and now Atmos mixes) by engineers that don't even seem competent enough to engineer a stereo mix, with (variously) terrible tonality, elements missing, wrong takes, not enough surround content or a variety of other problems - it feels like there are more ways to get a surround mix wrong than there is right, and we've heard all of them. Guthrie's work on this album is a reminder (to me anyway) of the value brought to the table by 40+ years of experience - I think you can quibble with how aggressive he chooses to be with surround placement sometimes, but with Elliot Scheiner seemingly in semi (or maybe full?) retirement, there aren't many 'elder statesmen' of surround who have this kind of attention to detail.

This mix actually gave me a lot to think about - generally speaking I'm a "lets have some main elements in every speaker, please" kind of guy, but the way Guthrie seemed to constantly expand and shrink the size of the surround field yielded some stunning results. I think Greg Penny talked about this in an interview on mixing Atmos, about how with the Elton mixes he'd start almost in mono, and have the soundfield get bigger (and more surroundy) as the song built up, and it's a really effective technique. Guthrie does this a lot on Animals, but instead of only using it in a linear fashion like Penny where the song starts small and gradually gets bigger as it goes on, he seems to do it multiple times in each song, At least for me, it was so masterfully done that I never felt like "hmm, nothing coming out of the rear speakers" - it was more like I'd be focused on the interplay going on in front of me, and then bam, a guitar part or keyboard line surprises me from behind. Obviously there's precedent for Pink Floyd employing this technique, having used it in the quad mix of WYWH during the transition from Have a Cigar to Wish You Were Here, where the quad soundfield collapses down to one-corner mono as the radio broadcast plays, but it's not something you see all that often, and given how effective it is (the first time I heard that part in the quad mix of WYWH I thought my system was broken, only to be stunned when the full band kicked in) I hope other surround mixers take note of it.

Having said that, I think from a surround perspective there were probably a few moments for me where I wish Guthrie had pushed the soundfield even more into discrete four-corner territory, but given how huge the overall sonic upgrade is, I can forgive it for not meeting my own expectations in these handful of instances. Like I said I still need to give it a few more listens, but I think it'll probably get a well-deserved 9.

Oh and lastly, @R8der 's photo reminded me of what is probably just an interesting coincidence in the lyrics:

And any fool knows a dog needs a home,
A shelter from pigs on the wing.


I used to travel along the railway line you can see in the middle of that photo at the bottom, from my girlfriend's place in West Dulwich to Victoria station in London - as you'd ease in to the city you'd see the Battersea Power Station menacing on your left (at the time derelict and unoccupied, and it didn't have all those new apartment blocks surrounding it) and on the right, this building:

View attachment 83923

The Battersea Dogs Home ...a dog needs a home.

Like I said, probably a lyrical coincidence, but a cool one nevertheless.
I think you’ve hit the nail on the head re: Animals being “one melodic centerpiece song away from being an all-time 10 out of 10 classic”
I have always thought this album was fantastic, but put it a notch (maybe 1/2 a notch?) below DSOTM & WYWH…I suppose that is the reason why…on the other hand, I love the hard edge on Animals (being a recovering metalhead…) 🤪
 

skherbeck

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The sound quality on the 5.1 mix is exceptional. Interesting that my sub doesn’t activate until midway through Pigs. However, the low end is great throughout. I’d say the majority of the surround mix is big, room- filling stereo 60% of the time with discrete active surround activity about 40% of the time (excluding the bookend stereo tracks.) I love the parts where the vocal fades to synth in Sheep. For $20, I’m happy. Not a 10 for me, but at least an 8… not sure yet. My cat loves the graphic (she just stares intensely… I think she’s waiting for the pig to move!)
 

Tres Discrete

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The sound quality on the 5.1 mix is exceptional. Interesting that my sub doesn’t activate until midway through Pigs. However, the low end is great throughout. I’d say the majority of the surround mix is big, room- filling stereo 60% of the time with discrete active surround activity about 40% of the time (excluding the bookend stereo tracks.) I love the parts where the vocal fades to synth in Sheep. For $20, I’m happy. Not a 10 for me, but at least an 8… not sure yet. My cat loves the graphic (she just stares intensely… I think she’s waiting for the pig to move!)
Well…aren’t we all in our own little way?! 🫠
 

mediumwave13

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I gave this a "7", but probably in all fairness a "7.5". Fidelty-wise, this sounds amazing! The detail in this new mix is fantastic, I love it. As a surround mix goes, however, I think this is really quite conservative. I really like Guthrie's work as an all-around engineer, however as a surround mixer, not so much. This feels more like enhanced stereo. I would love to hear more aggressive mixes of Pink Floyd's catalogue overall, and this is probably the least aggressive so far. I'm hoping that the eventual 5.1 mix of The Wall is a bit more adventurous, given how theatrical that album is.
 

srbjab

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After many listens and comparisons I'm voting a 9 for this blu-ray release. Is it the best ever 5.1 mix? Not even close, BUT I think it is the best Guthrie PF surround mix and is objectively very good. I also think the overall fidelity and SQ are excellent, and I like the choices in what to emphasize in the recording. I'm dinging the blu-ray release a bit for the flimsy cardboard packaging (the sacd package seems significantly better), but overall an excellent value especially for the price.
 

JediJoker

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I voted 5. Audio fidelity is excellent, surround mix is good especially based on Guthrie's previous efforts as others have said. But the music is just uninspiring for me as previously discussed. I'll probably never play this disc again.
Could you break that down? Is that:

CONTENT: 0
MIX: 2
FIDELITY: 3
PACKAGING: 0?
 

albertop

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I voted 10.

Content: 10/10 (one of my top 3 Pink Floyd albums, and it gets played a lot here)
Mix: 10/10 (It's amazing how good this mix sounds, considering that it is in fact a quad, and I think it is a deliberate artistic choice. I don't think the mix is conservative, it is actually enveloping, and instruments are moving from front to rear and left to right - and vice versa - in quite an articulate way that fits the music).
Fidelity: 10/10 (never hear Animals with this degree of fidelity, it is audiophile quality for me)
Packaging: 10/10 (a blu-ray disc for an affordable price is all I need, and I appreciate the inclusion of the original mix in hi-res).

I have been playing this a lot recently, in both stereo and surround, and I don't feel voting anything less than 10. It is one of those historical releases that don't happen every year.
Fully satisfied with this purchase and a must-buy in my view.
 

Owen Smith

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About it being a quad mix. There's stuff coming out of the Centre speaker. At a considerably lower level than the other speakers, but it's there. Even if it's just a mix of front left/right it will cause phase issues and disrupt the soundstage if it's not meant to be there.
 
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paligap

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I voted 5. Audio fidelity is excellent, surround mix is good especially based on Guthrie's previous efforts as others have said. But the music is just uninspiring for me as previously discussed. I'll probably never play this disc again.
I stopped buying music I've never heard for precisely this reason.
 

AYanguas

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I stopped buying music I've never heard for precisely this reason.
With all my respect, now it's very easy to test first and listen music from internet, youtube or similar, specially old releases.

You can listen several times and decide later if it is that you like or not.

In my case, I never liked electronic music, but now, with surround and Atmos that style has entered my brain and I have bought some discs, after listening to them first.
 

paligap

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With all my respect, now it's very easy to test first and listen music from internet, youtube or similar, specially old releases.

You can listen several times and decide later if it is that you like or not.

In my case, I never liked electronic music, but now, with surround and Atmos that style has entered my brain and I have bought some discs, after listening to them first.
Of course. I meant to convey that with my brief statement, but I did not spell it out for a particular reason . . . ;)
 

timothyemerson

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Mine arrived in NZ yesterday. I FLAC'd it and gave it a spin last night. I can only confirm what others have already stated:

1. Surround mix is great and I'm sure future listens will reveal more.

2. Fidelity is superb from the pant-leg-vibrating lows to the crisp highs.

3. I've heard things I haven't heard before. Synths and guitars in particular reveal so much more than previous releases.

4. Probably my favourite 70's Floyd and well worth the purchase.

5. I gave it 9 sheeps out of 10.
 

Bill B

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Absolutely blows my mind that this impressive release has received three 5 votes. That’s simply insane!
I would bet the people that voted the 5s did not care much for the album before this re-release. Conversely, as I admitted in the post explaining my vote, I am sure the album got a point just for being one of my all time favorite albums (likewise for others that voted highly). IMO, a person's perception of the music itself matters more than anything else when they vote. It taints your objectivity either way. I am sure they think they are witnessing a classic case of "The Emperor's New Clothes".
 

fetchmybeer

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If I cannot overcome my personal dislike for an album, I won't rate it. It's why I haven't voted on Eye In The Sky. I know that mix is good, the fidelity is great, but I just can't rate it because I have a visceral, strong dislike for about 75% of the music on the album.

That said, I don't know how somebody can have a similar dislike for Animals. Maybe the Syd stuff, sure, and maybe even Atom Heart Mother, but Animals?
 

the tree 3

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I haven't participated much here lately. I still really enjoy my discs, I'm just having a hard time justifying paying stupid prices for unnecessary box sets (hello Steven Wilson) when all I want is the surround disc. Other affordable titles released recently didn't interest me much. Sooo, I was very happy to see this favorite of mine finally released with an affordable standalone Blu Ray. I don't quite understand the members who buy music they don't like, and post poor scores for content. Outside of the obvious surround interest, the content should be the main reason to purchase. Now that I've got that off my chest, I'm wavering here between 9 and 10. I love most things about this release, but still like my surround activity a little more adventurous than this. It is good, but still somewhat reserved in spots.. for me. Fidelity is incredible. Time to give it another listen.
 

JimHansonDC

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Just wondering if you've listened to the 2018 stereo mix. If so, in your opinion are the guitar growls also neutered in that version?
Still yes compared to the 77 mix but less than in the surround mix. Feels like the adjustment to level needed to make them pop in a bigger mix got missed in the surround.
 
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