PINK FLOYD -- Atom Heart Mother (Mobile Fidelity)

In 1970, Pink Floyd released their fifth album, Atom Heart Mother. The title came from a headline bassist Roger Waters saw about a pregnant woman with an atomic-powered pacemaker. This was the band's first collaboration with studio wizard, Alan Parsons (who later engineered the classic 'Dark Side of the Moon' as well). When I did an A/B test between with MFSL's Anadisq II vinyl pressing and the recently remastered Capitol CD, the MFSL vinyl put Capitol's remaster to shame. It sounded warmer and much more natural.

On the side-long title track, the orchestra was rich and vibrant. Waters' bass on "If" is much deeper than the remaster. The album really shines on "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast". You can practically smell the eggs cooking when you hear the track. David Gilmour's acoustic guitar work on the cut is clear as a bell. One of the coolest things about MFSL's vinyl pressing of Atom Heart Mother is that it includes the dripping water runoff groove. On the original album, the last thing you hear as the album ends is the sound of water dripping. It didn't fade out like most albums would. If you had a manual turntable, the dripping would continue into an endless void until you actually lifted the needle from the record. Some things, you just can't do with CDs.

When Capitol reissued Atom Heart Mother on CD last year, it included the lyrics and new photos, but omitted the original inside gatefold cover art (included in MFSL's vinyl pressing). Unfortunately, it also included a lot of tape hiss. MFSL's vinyl pressing was breathtakingly quiet. Purely in terms of sound quality, the Anadisq 200 pressing can't be beat. The dynamic range and channel separation are excellent, as you'd expect. The bottom line here - if you want lyrics, new photos and tape hiss, pick up the Capitol CD. Otherwise, stick with the MFSL pressing.

© 1996 Steve Marshall