Thanks for your comment.
My beef is of course only with the "new" surround mix of the album, not with the original music, production or mix.
Whenever you remix music for surround, especially if you're remixing a 20 year old "classic", the question is how true you stay to the original mix or how far you stray. You are of course right in saying there are no strict rules. And that's good. That's one of the great things about surround discs today ... they are mixed completely differently. There's real variation and no fixed mixing formulas. And yes, I do want a surround mix to differ from a stereo mix.
I don't need a surround mix if it doesn't try to improve on the original mix. Surround is a powerful medium and a surround mix should make good use of the possibilities. But making up completely new elements, not at all there in the original recording, only to demonstrate that there are speakers in the back?
The trouble I have with this disc in particular is that with some very rare exceptions, on all tracks, completely new mix elements have been added that 1. aren't in the original and 2. In my view aren't there because they aid the music (more on motives later). Now this is very subjective, of course, but to me, the surround mix is very unmusical and going very much for noticeable effects instead of music-enhancing techniques. Please don't misunderstand, this is not about following "standard rules". It's just that I find the choices made very unmusical and - from a sound engineering perspective - badly executed.
This disc was actually not remixed to surround for SACD, but for DTS CD a good few years before SACD came along. DTS tried to introduce the DTS-CD as the standard surround music media at the time. They made the encoders for the production and sold the decoders for home listening. My guess is that the objectives given to the surround mixer by DTS at that time were likely "make it so that in every track, surround is really really noticeable so that people are surprised and captivated!".
To my ears, every snare beat (its reverb rather) in Roxanne tries to sell you a DTS decoder. Out of the ca. 300 surround discs I have listened to, this, in my view, is one of the 10 or 20 worst. It tries so hard and it shows throughout. It always tries to distract. It never dares to be musical. It never just "works".
But of course, this is highly subjective and essentially, I'm repeating what I wrote before. I just want to say that I dislike this disc not because the mixing is bold or creatively breaking rules in any way. I personally think it's not doing that at all.
If you enjoy this disc, I don't want to (and can't) take that away, but I would encourage you to listen to many more surround discs. There are many that, in my view, are exciting in itself while immensely enhancing the music, drawing attention to the sounds, not the engineering of them. I personally recommend any surround mix by Elliot Scheiner. He's done a lot of remixes of older classics for surround too and they are usually spot on - never boring, often quite daring, but always elegantly in line with the musical intent as I understand it.