Steve Hoffman and Richard Foster review the Dark Side


I know you've been waiting for my review of this album. Here it is, short and sweet:

Don at RTI kindly furnished me with an LP test pressing of the long anticipated Dark Side Of The Moon, mastered by Doug Sax and Kevin Gray at AcousTech Mastering out at RTI in Camarillo, Ca.

Doug's personal tube playback machine was brought in for the cutting, and the original Dolby A master mixes were used, as talked about on other Dark Side threads on our Forum. No high-frequency limiting was added to the mastering probably for the first time in the history of the album, so watch out ribbon tweeter lovers, those bells & whistles really ring out!

It sounds great, just like the master tape, with a minimum of EQ tweaking or other "futzing" that we all dislike here. One can clearly hear the different tonalities of the various instruments, pre-mixes, voices, effects, etc., quite clearly, as it should be.

A very enjoyable listening experience.

Please remember folks, that the RTI processed metal parts were sent out of the country for pressing. The RTI test surface was dead quiet which was a joy. Hopefully the actual finished product will be nicely made.

- Steve Hoffman, mastering engineer Originally posted on the discussion forum at


As I mentioned earlier, Chad Kassem was kind enough to loan me his RTI test pressing of DSOTM.

I'm lucky enough to have a very early UK EMI Harvest Solid Blue Triangle Label with A2/B2 matrices. I forgot the exact stamper numbers but they're pretty low for this LP. Also keep in mind the story goes that they changed the solid blue triangle to the outline of a triangle after less than six months. My copy has the original sticker on the jacket, which tells you the LP inside is Dark Side of the Moon.

Anyway...I'm gonna keep this short and sweet.

I've compared this copy to just about every other copy I could get my hands on including the UHQR (or compact disk sounding drek), the regular MOFI, BOTH Toshiba issues (the regular and the Pro-Use)

It has ALWAYS come out on top.

until now.

In my opinion, in every way this new release is superior. Period. The biggest thing I immediately noticed was the CLARITY. Openness, clarity, transients, clarity, punch, clarity, bass (not just sounds right) oh...and did I mention clarity? Bells, breathing, cash register, it's just terrific.

This copy was dead quiet as has already been pointed out by Steve Hoffman on his great website:

I do hope whoever presses this can do a job that AT LEAST matches the great job RTI did on this test pressing.

Based upon what I am hearing (this is the third time I've played it) it's definitely now my preferred pressing....and there is no doubt anyone who likes this classic album will want a copy.

A tip of the hat to Doug Sax, Kevin Gray at AcousTech, and Don MacInnis at RTI for a GREAT JOB on a (for me) classic album. I've NEVER heard it sound so good.

God, the clarity is just insane!

(Hey Chad....I just moved and changed my phone number, so you won't get this copy back.)

By the way....pholks here should go and visit RTI and see what they do. What they do, in my opinion, is great work. Thanks guys.

- Richard Foster, Originally posted on Phonogram (SEE BELOW)

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Posted by Acoustic Sounds on 03/01/2003 at 11:30 AM | Categories: General