Here you can hear something I’ve cut to make the differences clear between unmastered and mastered. You hear a few bars each unmastered and mastered, always alternating, through the whole song. I mastered the song in 2017 after Tigerskin asked me to.
A review about a Pink Floyd record should be biased, in my case. I’m a huge fan since for ever, and bands like Pink Floyd are the major part of my musical imprints, this (Progressive Rock) is the music I grew up with. But I guess this review isn’t as biased as one would expect, for a simple reason: I’m not a boy anymore, but a professional musician myself, and here’s some anticipation: the record is no masterpiece at all. We’re talking about this product (Deluxe CD\ Blu-ray Casebook Edition), to be precise.
So, I’ve listened to all material twice, in 24bit / 96khz audio quality, on my dry and natural sounding YAMAHA NS-G 30 speakers. If something sounds good on those, they sound fabulous on every system.
Let’s start there, at the mix and mastering of the album. To make it short: it’s crap, if you ask me. You don’t need 24bit / 96khz at all when you have a mix and mastering that is as bad as this. I really have no idea how a band with this history and financial background can deliver a bad sounding album like this.
The mix is muddy, intransparent, lacks a real stereo imaging and filling of the panorama (some things sound totally mono to me), especially the guitars and pianos are too loud and sharp, the drums go under and totally lack presence.
The mastering lacks everything from punch to richness and brilliance … this record just has zero BOOM and WOW, something that was always present on other Pink Floyd records. All of this isn’t given, “Louder Than Words” sounds like a bad rip off a crappy radio station.
Nick Mason has never been an exceptional drummer, but on this record most of the drum parts sound like he’s a total beginner. Bad timing (not even audio-quantized in post production), and same goes for some parts of Richard Wright. I mean, when the band brags about more than 2 years of work on an album, I expect things to be on point, at least.
Of course, David Gilmour IS an exceptional player, and his guitar play is actually the only thrilling element on the whole album. There are some really good moments, but all of this isn’t enough to touch or move me emotionally. The album sounds unprofessional, unfinished and uninspired.
The artwork is ‘nice’ at best, but nothing like the Storm Thorgerson artworks of the past. Okay, the guy is dead (so is Richard Wright), but I think the band could’ve come up with something more original.
One more thing on mix and mastering … please, take the time to listen to those 2 pieces and compare the qualities:
This one is recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by myself (you might wanna skip to 6:35 for the fabulous Gilmour-esque guitar):
This the “Making Of …” video, showing the recording, narrated in German by guest guitarist Alex Schweigert:
Make up your own mind. My rating for “The Endless River”:
4/10 for David Gilmour’s guitar play and the bands legacy.