Producer/Engineer James Guthrie Remixes Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon for Surround — in Home Studio

Only a few albums in the history of popular music can be said to rival the success of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Artistically ambitious and blatantly appealing at the same time, Dark Side of the Moon remains a staple of the pop/rock recorded legacy, thirty years after its release.

The world will get to hear Dark Side of the Moon in new, high-resolution audio garb – a 5.1 surround remix due for release in April on multichannel SACD – for the first time later this week, at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City on March 20th.

The decision to remix the classic album for 5.1 is a landmark in the early history of surround audio. Highly-regarded producer and engineer James Guthrie, who has worked with Pink Floyd for more than two decades, was asked to handle the remix. Although he happily accepted the assignment, Mr. Guthrie says he had some concerns from the outset.

“This was a very difficult 5.1 mix,” comments Mr. Guthrie. “Not from a musical point of view, because the record really lends itself to a 3-dimensional treatment, but from the point of view that everyone knows the original mix so well. It is indelibly printed on our minds. We’ve had 30 years to live with it, and some people don’t want that image to be altered. Knowing that you are about to start work on something controversial can be unsettling.”

“The issues with 5.1 mixing all come down to one thing,” he continues. “Have you retained the emotional impact of the songs? All this technology is meaningless if you’ve turned the album into a video game.”

An unabashed analog fan, James Guthrie decided to get as many of the original tapes as possible and mix the entire project on 16-track Studer machines of the same vintage used on the original Abbey Road sessions. Fortunately, almost all of the source material was catalogued at Abbey Road and remained in good shape. The studio made copies for safekeeping and sent Guthrie the originals to work with.

“Nowadays most people work in digital audio workstations that have unlimited tracks. Back then you were constantly bouncing down tracks from one machine to another. We got our hands on all of the original tapes, giving us much more control over the mix. We did awaken a 30-year-old argument among band members, though. Roger and Nick liked the theatrical elements – the speaking voices primarily – louder and more intelligible, while Dave and Rick preferred that they be wetter and more mysterious. Since we had these parts on individual tracks, we were able to effect a compromise.”

“As this is a conceptual work, we agreed that I should complete the mix and then play to the individual band members for their input. That way they could experience everything in context.”

Mr. Guthrie’s studio, Das Boot, is located in his home in northern California. He designed it himself, and had it wired by Vertigo Recording Services. For this project he had two EMT 140 plates re-built to help recreate the reverb used on the original recording.

In designing his facility, James Guthrie paid particular attention to the monitoring system: “The most important equipment in my studio are the speakers. They’re your window to the outside world. Conversations about using analog versus digital are very much secondary to me. I’d rather work in a room that has some sub-par gear and great speakers than the other way around. That’s one of the frustrations I have with working in many commercial rooms. People just don’t put enough emphasis on monitoring. I’m like a fish out of water in that kind of situation.”

In order to faithfully reproduce the sound he created at Das Boot, Guthrie made sure that all band members auditioned his mixes through the same ATC monitor speakers that he created them on. “ATC speakers are simply fantastic. I can’t say enough about them. I have five of the SCM 150’s and a down-firing 15″ sub-woofer here at my place. The entire line – including the 9” model that ATC was kind enough to send down to Compass Point Studios in Nassau, where Roger was working on another project – has imaging unlike anything else I’ve ever heard. The dispersion characteristic is fantastic, and the phase coherency is fabulous.

“ATC speakers are so easy to mix on. The mid-range is instantly relatable – it’s so easy to equalize through them and know exactly where you are in the frequency spectrum. And there’s no hype to ATC speakers. Mix on them and you can go outside, play the mix on any system, and have no surprises.”

ATC Web Site

Pre-Order Dark Side of the Moon (BestBuy)

Martinlogan Announces Clarity, an Innovative New Electrostatic Loudspeaker

MartinLogan has announced the introduction of the Clarity hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker system. The new speaker model is available this month with a suggested retail price of $2,695 per pair (U.S.).

Clarity incorporates a myriad of design innovations, including a Generation 2 stat panel, MicroPerf™ stator, a high-resolution aluminum woofer and a NAC™ (natural ambience compensation) driver.

In addition, the Clarity integrates MartinLogan’s first low-voltage DC power supply. With a footprint of less than one square foot and a selection of home-friendly cabinet finishes Clarity fills a critical marketplace niche.

MartinLogan ESL (“the world’s most accurate transducer”) has advanced to a new level in the new model. The Clarity’s Generation 2 stat panel featuring ClearSpar™ and MicroPerf™ stator technology provides astounding output and detail from MartinLogan’s smallest full-range ESL transducer.

ClearSpar™ technology enhances Clarity’s transparent look and increases both efficiency and dynamics. The new MicroPerf design reduces the size of individual holes in the stator, allowing more openings compared to a traditional MartinLogan ESL transducer, maximizing efficiency of the Clarity’s small ESL transducer.

NAC (natural ambience compensation) maximizes off-axis high-frequency dispersion, assuring listeners of a perfect performance no matter where they’re seated or standing. A true audiophile solution, the NAC is parallel to the signal path and features an on/off switch to adjust for listener preference.

The discretely sized Clarity features a state-of-the-art aluminum woofer and bass reflex design that delivers an extended frequency response and accurate low-end capable of sustained low frequencies.

Designed with the upscale family home theater buyer in mind, the Clarity fulfills extensive space and style considerations. To enhance visual integration with any home environment, the Clarity’s sculptural, modern curvilinear design is available in three standard palettes (natural cherry, dark mahogany and black). The Clarity will surpass all preconceptions of loudspeakers, sonically and aesthetically, at this price point.

“I challenged MartinLogan’s world-class design and engineering team to build a high-performance entry-level electrostatic loudspeaker that is sonically and aesthetically superior and more versatile than anything on the market. In addition, I challenged them to design a loudspeaker that will fit into anyone’s home-not just the audiophile’s dedicated listening room. The Clarity exceeds all expectations,” said Gayle Sanders, MartinLogan president and founder.

MartinLogan’s breakthrough hybrid speaker engineering maintains controlled dispersion and outstanding dynamic range while minimizing room interaction. The Clarity expands its high frequency response and flawless precision with advanced crossover topology and audiophile grade components. To eliminate the need for a traditional IEC power cord and broaden ease of installation, especially for custom installers, the Clarity features a low-voltage DC power supply.

The Clarity leverages all of MartinLogan’s engineering, design and manufacturing prowess-delivering staggering value in this compact CLS hybrid. Available with cherry and black wood veneer options, the Clarity is supplied with MartinLogan’s proprietary ETC™ spikes for maximum bass performance and toolless binding posts for effortless cable attachment and management.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Generation 2 MicroPerf Stat Panel: efficient output from clarity’s small stat panel.
  • NAC (Natural Ambience Compensation): extends accurate sound to off-axis listeners
  • Low Voltage Power Supply: broadens ease of installation
  • Bass Reflex Aluminum Woofer: delivers an extended, accurate low-end
  • Cabinet Finish Options: cabinets available in three standard palettes.


  • Frequency response: 46-22,000 Hz, +/- 3 dB
  • Dispersion: Horizontal 30 degrees, Vertical 26″ (66cm) line source with a NAC™ enhanced sound field
  • Sensitivity: 89 dB/2.83 volts/meter
  • Impedance: 6 ohms, 1.1 ohms @ 20kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 450 Hz
  • Components: Custom-wound audio transformer, air core coils
  • NAC driver: 1″ (2.5cm) soft dome
  • Woofer type: 8″ (20.3cm) high excursion, high rigidity aluminum cone with extended throw drive assembly, non-resonance asymmetrical chamber format; bass reflex
  • Power Handling: 200 watts/channel
  • Weight: 31 lbs. each (14.1 kg)
  • Size: 10.2″ W × 12.25″ D × 53″ H (25.9cm W × 31.1cm D × 134.6 cm H)

MartinLogan Web Site

More on the MartinLogan Clarity

Canton Introduces New Premium Karat Tower at CES 2003

Canton Electronics will launch a new full-range, three-way floorstanding loudspeaker, the Karat Tower, at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2003, in Las Vegas next month.

The Karat L 800 DC incorporates many of the engineering principles developed for the company’s flagship Reference 2 DC speaker. The L 800 DC features the side-firing woofer and elegant slim face that distinguishes the Karat family, providing for superior upper-frequency dispersion and off-axis imaging.

The L 800 DC features Canton’s Displacement Control (DC) technology, which uses a proprietary high-pass filter to prevent infrasonic frequency signals (below 20 Hz) from interfering with the bass driver. In conventional speakers, these signals can generate high levels of unwanted harmonic distortion in the audible lower bass range, causing a muffled or “blatty” tonal quality. DC technology allows the speaker’s 12-inch cellulose-graphite woofer to provide clear, linear bass reproduction to 20 Hz, the bottom of the audible sound spectrum.

The Karat L 800 DC includes two 7-inch midrange drivers, which are made of lightweight and extremely rigid aluminum. The diaphragms benefit from a concave shape that contributes to the speaker’s highly symmetrical mid and upper frequency radiation pattern, and helps defeat the standing wave modes that can occur with conventional dome style voice coil caps.

High frequency reproduction is handled by Canton’s legendary 1–inch aluminum-manganese tweeter. This remarkable transducer’s dome and voice coil former are constructed as a single structure, giving the driver a lower mass, and greatly improved heat dissipation characteristics. The diaphragm is also much less susceptible to deformation at extremely high frequencies, allowing it to retain its linear output all the way out to 30 kHz, far beyond that of most tweeters.

All of the drivers in the Karat L800 DC were designed and developed by Canton’s own engineers, and matched tonally to generate a smooth and extended response across (and beyond) the entire audible frequency range. The cabinet is constructed of reinforced 1-inch MDF, and is 8 inches wide, 45-1/4 inches tall, and has a depth of 18-3/4 inches.

The L 800 DC will be available in January, 2003 in Ash black, Cherry, or Beech veneer finishes, as well as the Karat family’s unique silver lacquer finish. It has a suggested retail price of $4,200 per pair.

Canton Electronics Web Site

Consumer Electronics Association – CES 2003 Web Site

Axiom Audio EP175 Powered Subwoofer

The puckered vinyl “Vortex Ports” below the woofer are a unique distortion-reducing feature of Axiom designs.

Axiom QS8 Quadpolar Surround Speakers

Tweeters fire forward and back, the woofers face up and down.