I love this release, the box was a great idea and I love the book - full of Hipnogsis' images and artfull ideas for the album covers etc., and it helps strengthen the box from damaging happening to the CD's. Plus it's a nice change to have Hipnogsis/Storm Thurgeson's history from the start of the band, all the way to this latest release. It's been a long-time partnership, and it's an interesting story, watching the ideas progress over the years. It would be simular to having a book with George Martin's own personal notes and thoughts with a Beatles release. There's enough books and the like on Pink Floyd, including Nick Mason's "Inside Out" if you wish to learn about the band and their times making these iconic albums.
James Guthrie did a wonderful job of taking the original source tapes and cleaning them, plus enhancing them when necessary. There's only really two complaints from me. One is that the piano parts on a lot of the albums are way too subdued. The keyboards are strong, and noticably the drums as well. But Richard Wright's piano contributions throughout all the albums seem too soft and not load enough. This is also the case with Michael Kamen's beautiful piano compositions on "The Final Cut". Kamen, who was of great value to the overall sound of "The Wall", his piano accompaniment was just drowned out by the 'Salvation Army-style' orchestrations. The orchestra work used in this album was perfect for the kind of sound and feel that Roger Waters obviously intended, simular to circa 1940's, but the piano always seemed like the 'lead' instrument with this album - especially in the past releases. I think the album still works with the orchestra brought more forward, but it hurts it with Roger's singing style for this album. It would be simular to deluting the piano to an unlistenable level for "Nobody Home" from "The Wall" album, in favour of the orchestrations instead - especially when Roger sings at that 'whisper-like' style, the piano works way better.
The second main issue for me was the overall sound of "Momentary Lapse Of Reason". Outside of the song "Learning To Fly" which sounds way better now, with the instruments clearly more separate and more defined, the rest of the album sounds 'muddled'. Side 2 especially sounds 'untouched', and is not any better now than the last remaster outing, it truly suffered in it's finished state. I either think that the original source tapes were not used (or found?) to remaster this album or maybe because of it's very 80's sound - synthesizers, electronic drums, etc. - Guthrie may have not been too experienced with that kind of a sound to fix it properly. This is by no means an attack of his remastering or producing abilities, especially when regarding to the range of sound(s) and how many years these albums cover. There's no producer that can master every type of style and sound from any kind of band or singer - 13 out of 14 albums perfected well, is quite an outstanding feat! I just hope that this isn't the last time they attempt fixing this album. Maybe Robert John "Mutt" Lange could take a turn at it? It was a very unique sounding album, you either loved it or hated it, I always like when Floyd go out on a limb and completely change their sound. This album would still be considered 'progressive', especially when the album before that one: "The Final Cut" was completely different in style and execution. On the flip side, "The Division Bell" - the album following "Momentary Lapse", is by far the best this album has ever sounded. Every track was way more strikingly clear and enhanced in every respect - guitar, backup vocals, drums, etc. and especially vocals! Almost like David Gilmour had re-recorded them all over again (which of course he didn't), just beautiful! And Richard Wright's lead vocals on "Wearing The Inside Out" sound much more 'confident' and more in the foreground than it's original release. Perfect for his final Floyd composition.
Price-wise it's also worth buying the collection as a set then separately (at time of release). You basically get 3 to 4 albums for 'free', which works out pretty well. Especially if you have/or are going to purchase the 3 'Immersion' Sets. Because obviously you wouldn't need "Dark Side Of The Moon", "Wish You Were Here" or "The Wall" from this set, so your not wasting any money on the doubles - and it would give you 'back-ups' of arguably their best albums ever made. I love the title-less album covers as well, just like the original releases. This set was something that I've been waiting for a long time for.