Pink Floyd-Dark Side of the Moon CD
Mysteries of the CD Masterings

by Vernon Fitch

*** © copyright Vernon Fitch / The Pink Floyd Archives 2008-2010 ***


*** originally published on the Steve Hoffman forum on August 11, 2008 ***

© copyright 2008-2009


Here is a listing of the different Dark Side of the Moon CD masterings. I've grouped them into 11 different masterings, based upon release dates, matrix information, and EAC readings. The majority of the mastering changes were done during the sound mastering, although I would not discount that one or two may have been the result of production mastering.


The Dark Side of the Moon CD masterings

1) Mastering Number 1 – Sony (Japan) Mastering

Track Peak Levels: 39.9 / 43.3 / 70.1 / 55.2 / 72.3 / 44.5 / 53.9 / 54.6 / 61.2

The very first mastering of Dark Side of the Moon for compact disc. Believed to be done by Sony Records in Japan in the spring of 1983. This mastering was used to produce the very first copies of Dark Side of the Moon on CD, which were Japanese releases with the catalog number CP35-3017 and a black triangle on the label, and a matrix number that did not include a “TO.” These early Dark Side CDs were pressed by CBS / Sony Records at their CD manufacturing plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan for EMI Records. EMI did not have a CD pressing plant in operation at the time, so they outsourced the manufacturing of the CDs to CBS / Sony (keep in mind that these early Sony pressings still say Toshiba/EMI on the labels).

It is believed that this mastering was made from a 15ips reel-to-reel tape copy of the master tape that had been sent to Japan to produce the Dark Side Of The Moon-EMI/Toshiba Records Pro-Use Series vinyl LP album, which was the last vinyl pressing of Dark Side in Japan.

Known releases of mastering #1:

Australia first issue - Harvest Records, 7 46001-2, CD made in Japan

Japan first issue - EMI Records, catalog number CP35-3017, first pressings by CBS/Sony, indicated by no “TO” in the matrix

U.K. first issue - Harvest Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, black Harvest label, Made in Japan on label, matrix has CP35-3017 with no “TO”

U.S. issues:
First issue - Harvest Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, black Harvest label, Made in Japan on label, CP35-3017 in the matrix
Second issue - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, black Harvest label, Made in Japan on label, CP35-3017 TO in the matrix*
Third issue - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, silver label, Made in USA on label, TO J in the matrix*
Fourth issue - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, silver label, Made in USA on label, CP35-3017 TO J in the matrix*

* Note: It is interesting to note that the 2nd through 4th U.S. issues of Dark Side of the Moon were pressed by the Toshiba/EMI pressing plant in Japan (as indicated by the “TO” in the matrix). Yet these pressings use the 1st (Sony) mastering of the album. It is believed that the Toshiba/EMI plant in Japan began operations in late 1985/early 1986, and began pressing Dark Side with the Sony mastering until a new master by EMI (master #3 in this listing) was created in late 1986. Once EMI had made their own master (#3), all pressings of Dark Side used the EMI master.


2) Mastering Number 2 – Sony (U.S.) Mastering?

Track Peak Levels: 46.8 / 48.2 / 49.3 / 51.0 / 72.5 / 63.3 / 67.1 / 58.8 / 62.7

The very first compact disc manufacturing plant that was built in the U.S. was the Digital Audio Disc Corporation [Sony DADC] plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, which opened May 2, 1983, with commercial CD production at the plant starting in September 1984. Early copies of Dark Side of the Moon that were pressed at this plant had a unique mastering. This mastering may have been done by Sony DADC in the U.S. as this mastering is unique to these U.S. pressing. This mastering was never issued outside the U.S.

Known releases of mastering #2:

U.S. issues:
Fifth & Sixth U.S. issues - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, Silver label, DIDX-226 in the matrix, and Made in USA - Digital Audio Disc Corp. imprinted on the plastic hub.
Seventh & Eighth U.S. issues - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, Silver label, matrix number: C 246001 01! MADE IN USA BY PDO - this issue is a pressing by Philips DuPont Optical, at its Kings Mt., North Carolina manufacturing facility that was opened in late 1986. These are the first PDO U.S. pressings which used the Sony (U.S.) master.


3) Mastering Number 3 – EMI (U.K.) Mastering - the first EMI mastering of the album

Track Peak Levels: 87.8 / 94.7 / 100 / 97.2 / 100 / 99.1 / 100 / 96.1 / 100

On May 15, 1986, EMI Records opened its first CD manufacturing plant in the U.K. at its VHD facility in Greenbridge, Swindon, England. Prior to this facility opening, EMI Records had used outside companies to master their CDs for them. But with its own production facility in operation, a new mastering of Dark Side of the Moon was done. It is believed to have been done at the EMI facility in Swindon. This mastering was the very first "EMI" mastering of Dark Side of the Moon for compact disc, and is thus referred to as EMI revision 0.

One of the most common masterings of Dark Side of the Moon found on CD.

Known releases of mastering #3:

Australia second issue - Harvest Records, 7 46001-2, CD made in Japan

Italy - The first Italian issues use this mastering.

Japan second issue - EMI Records, catalog number CP35-3017, second pressings by Toshiba/EMI Records, indicated by a “TO” in the matrix

Japan Toshiba-EMI Records 3rd issue - Eternity Gold Edition, CP43-5771

Netherlands – The first Dutch pressings of Dark Side were made from this mastering.

U.S. issues:
Ninth, Tenth & Eleventh U.S. issues - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, Silver label, CAPITOL JAX in the matrix (indicating that this was pressed at the Capitol Records manufacturing plant in Jacksonville, Illinois, which opened in 1987).

U.K. Second issue - Harvest Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, black Harvest label, Made in Japan on label, CP35-3017 in the matrix, pressing by Toshiba/EMI Records - indicated by a “TO” in the matrix*

* Note: It is important to note that the second U.S. issue of Dark Side of the Moon with a black Harvest label and a “TO” in the matrix is made from the first (Sony) mastering, while the second U.K. issue of Dark Side of the Moon with a black Harvest label and a “TO” in the matrix was made from the third (EMI) mastering.

West Germany – all the West German pressings of Dark Side of the Moon use the first EMI mastering


4) Mastering Number 4 – EMI (U.K.) Mastering?

Track Peak Levels: 87.5 / 95.4 / 100 / 100 / 100 / 92.0 / 99.1 / 91.4 / 100

These peak level readings are found on early Australian issues of Dark Side of the Moon. Believed to be the first EMI mastering, with levels altered slightly during production mastering.

Known releases of mastering #4:

Australia third issue - EMI Music Group Australasia, 746001-2, DISCTRONICS USA


5) Mastering Number 5 – EMI (U.K.) Mastering?

Track Peak Levels: 85.8 / 92.5 / 97.7 / 95.0 / 97.7 / 96.8 / 97.7 / 93.9 / 97.7

These peak level readings are found on early Austrian pressed issues of Dark Side of the Moon. Believed to be the first EMI mastering, with levels altered during production mastering.

Known releases of mastering #5:

Austria issue - EMI Records, CDP 7 46001 2, DADC AUSTRIA


6) Mastering Number 6 – EMI Mastering – EMI revision level 1

Track Peak Levels: 83.8 / 90.4 / 95.5 / 92.8 / 95.5 / 94.6 / 95.5 / 91.7 / 95.5

A revised mastering was done of Dark Side of the Moon by EMI Records in the late 1980s. Possibly done at by EMI at their Jacksonville U.S. plant??? Or perhaps done by EMI Canada? Appears to be unique to North America. This new EMI mastering can be identified by a RE1 (indicating revision level 1) in the matrix.

Known releases of mastering #6:

Canada - The first pressings of Dark Side of the Moon in Canada by DISQUE AMERIC CANADA use this mastering.

U.S. issues:
Twelfth U.S. issue - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, Silver label, matrix number: C 246001 02% MADE IN USA BY PDO - another pressing by Philips DuPont Optical, at its Kings Mt., North Carolina manufacturing facility. However, this pressing, with 02% in the matrix, now uses the EMI mastering.
Thirteenth & Fourteenth U.S. issues - Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, Silver label, CAPITOL JAX in the matrix. The matrix has RE1 in it.


7) Mastering Number 7 – Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab mastering

Track Peak Levels: 29.3 / 34.1 / 39.2 / 40.3 / 41.5 / 56.3 / 49.2 / 57.8 / 52.9 / 60.0

In 1988, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, a high end audio company got permission to produce Dark Side of the Moon on compact disc, using the original master tape as the mastering source. It is believed that this was the first time that the original master tape was used as the mastering source.
In April 1988, MFSL released, under license from EMI/Harvest Records, the Dark Side of the Moon UlrtraDisc CD, which was based on a completely new mastering done by Mobile Fidelity. These UltaDisc CDs were pressed by Ultech in Japan for MFSL. In 1993, MFSL released an UltraDisc II version of the MFSL mastered Dark Side of the Moon CD. This UltraDisc II used the same mnastering as the UltraDisc. It was first manufactured by Zomax Optical in Plymouth, Minnesota, and then later by JVC in Japan.

Known releases of mastering #7:

MFSL UltraDisc, catalog number UDCD 517
MFSL UltraDisc II, catalog number UDCD 517


8) Mastering Number 8 – Columbia Records mastering for Shine On box set

Track Peak Levels: 35.0 / 69.5 / 69.9 / 77.7 / 75.8 / 94.2 / 70.4 / 91.2 / 75.5 / 83.2

In 1992, it was decided to include Dark Side of the Moon in the Shine on Box Set. This box set was a nine CD box set with a 112 page hardcover book on the history of the band. The box set was issued by Columbia Records in the U.S., and apparently Columbia Records did not use the EMI masterings of the EMI discs that were to be included in the box set, so they did masterings of their own.

This unique Dark Side of the Moon mastering is only found in the Shine On box set.

Known releases of mastering #8:

U.S. issue - Shine On box set, Columbia Records, catalog number CXK 53180-S1, released November 17, 1992

U.K. issue - slightly different peak readings, although believed to be the same sound masterings as the U.S. box set.


9) Mastering Number 9 – EMI 20th anniversary mastering – EMI revision level 2

Track Peak Levels: 67.9 / 69.1 / 76.9 / 75 / 96.8 / 69.6 / 89.3 / 75.7 / 82.5

In 1993, on the twentieth anniversary of the original release of Dark Side of the Moon, a new mastering of the album was done for CD release by Doug Sax. This new mastering was first issued in a special black box with five cards inside. The new remastered CDs also were given a new look, with a prism etched into the CD label.

Known releases of mastering #9:

Australia issue - EMI Music Group Australasia, 7 81479 2, pressed by EMI SWINDON

Canada - The second Canadian issues use this mastering.

Italy - EMI Records, 0777 7 46001 2 5, EMI SWINDON

Japan - Toshiba-EMI Records 4th issue - 20th Anniversary Edition, TOCP-7776, TOCP-7652, TOCP-8794, TOCP-65559, TOCP-65740, TOCP-67914, TOCP-53807 (still the current mastering being used in Japan)

Netherlands - EMI Records, 0777 78 147923

U.S. issues:
Twentieth Anniversary Edition CD, Capitol Records, catalog number C21X-81479, special edition in black box.
1993 reissue, Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2, silver label with etched prism, matrix has RE2 in it.
1994 reissue, Capitol Records, catalog number CDP 0777 7 46001 2 5, this release, with the RE2 mastering, was given a new catalog number and a picture label on the CD, matrix has RE-2 in it.

U.K. - EMI Records, 0777 7 81479 2 3, EMI SWINDON


10) Mastering Number 10 – EMI 30th anniversary mastering for SACD issue – EMI revision level 3

Track Peak Levels: 34.4 / 92.4 / 92.0 / 93.0 / 92.7 / 100 / 84.3 / 100 / 100 / 100

In 2003, for the 30th anniversary of the release of Dark Side of the Moon, it was decided to do a special 5.1 channel remix of the album for release on SACD by James Guthrie. This special release also included a stereo remix of the album. Since the EAC software does not read 5.1 SACD layers, the track level reading above are those of the standard stereo layer on the CD.

Known releases of mastering #10:

Australia issue - EMI Records, 7243 582136 2 1

European Union - 2008 remastered issue (current issue)

Italy - 2008 remastered issue (current issue)

Japan - Toshiba-EMI Records, TOGP 15001

Netherlands - This was also issued as an EU release.

U.S. issue - Capitol Records 30th Anniversary SACD, catalog number CDP 7243 5 82136 2 1 (first issues were pressed in the U.S. These had problems so manufacturing was shifted to Japan)

U.K. - EMI Records, 7243 582136 2 1


11) Mastering Number 11 – EMI (Uden) mastering for the European market – EMI revision level 4

Track Peak Levels: Track Peak Levels: 87.8 / 94.7 / 100 / 97.2 / 100 / 99.1 / 97.7 / 93.9 / 97.7

In 2002, EMI began manufacturing all its CDs for the European market, including all U.K. releases, at its plant in Uden, Netherlands. The new pressings are noted on the outside as E.U. (European Union) releases. And the latest release of Dark Side of the Moon produced in Uden has yet another mastering. This could possibly be EMI revision level four for those of you keeping count!

Known releases of mastering #11:

Argentina - EMI Records 1994 reissue, catalog number 7243 8 29752 2 9

China - EMI China, catalog number A3109, the Chinese release of Dark Side of the Moon on CD in 2005 used this mastering

Italy - 1994 remastered issue

European Union - EMI Records, catalog number 7243 8 29752 2 9, IFPI code in matrix is AAH


Over 35 years have passed since the release of Dark Side of the Moon, and 25 have gone by since it was first placed onto compact disc. As far as I can tell, there are eleven different CD masterings of the album. Most of these are out of print and can be found only from Collectible Shops.

It is interesting that if one were to purchase Dark Side of the Moon today, you can still buy the SACD issue, plus a standard stereo issue.
If you buy the latest issue in the United States, you will be buying mastering number 9, the twentieth anniversary mastering of the album in a standard jewel case, which is now being pressed by Cinram International in Richmond, Indiana.
If you purchase the latest issue in Europe, you will be buying mastering number 10.
If you purchase the latest issue in Japan, you will be buying mastering number 9.

The pressing numbers were taken from my Pink Floyd Discographies Page. All of this information and more, including worldwide releases, pressing information, matrix numbers, and more can be found on The Pink Floyd Discographies Page.