Apologies for the long pedantic post, but to save misunderstanding, here's the full story behind Vampire's audio over the years!
Obviously all the following is more technical info, no guests are gonna go in Vampire thinking 'hang on this is the wrong mix' – but the point is for the music to sound good and have good effect, and clearly this is not happening today. The ride currently sounds awful.
Here is where it gets pretty complicated and you need to consider how technology has changed massively over time to get your head around it.
Let's break it down to:
Production tapes (pre dubbing, pre downsampling)
1990 Ride 'dual zoned' mix
1990 stereo cassette mix
2016 Smart mix
The original music would have been produced from tapes as a high quality production master by the composer in 1990.
A standard mix for listening would have been in stereo obviously, but for use in the ride it was mixed differently. Theme park audio is usually always in mono mix, or 'multi mono' if its a score for a whole ride that changes as you move through it. This is because a stereo image requires a left and a right speaker, but in an attraction you're constantly moving around space with usually multiple speakers playing the same track, so it makes more sense to have it in mono.
Vampire actually had a 'dual' zoned effect where the same music played throughout the station, where the organ stage played the organ instrument, and the backing track played through the rest the station (guitar in both). This opened up the sound a bit more and gave the effect of the organ playing the actual organ part.
To do this effect, a mix with split organ and backing was sent to Sparks (who produced the Vampire station), with one on the L channel and other on R. This wasn't a traditional stereo mix, it was more of an installation mix, so would sound great standing in the station, but would sound bizarre played on a home stereo. Sparks also dubbed it with the familiar screams and thunder sounds. This mix was unique to any other mixes, which is why all other versions sound slightly different.
However, because of the technical limitations of the time, the ride track needed to be downsampled to play on solid state EPROM chips, which could only hold a certain amount of memory. The downsampling means it's lacking bass, but otherwise is good and wouldnt have been noticeable on the big station sound system – as anyone who went in Vampire in the 90s would remember it still sounded great! However, in mono, it wouldnt sound so good in isolation on a home stereo.
This zoned effect was lost in Vampire around 2000 when the sound system was changed. From then on it played as one zone throughout the station, but was the same 'mix'.
Then there was a souvenir cassette that was sold in the Chessington shop in the 90s, this was a very different mix to the ride version – and was in stereo (for listening). This is the one more commonly heard online. Although a more polished mix, the sound quality has always been dire, because the same warbly digital transfer has been passed around since forever (the original cassettes are hard to come by).
Somehow this was the track that Chessington replaced the original with in 2014 when the sound system was changed to mp3 playback. What! It sounds awful due to the poor quality of the transfer from cassette and is not edited to loop correctly.
Then a few years back the composer put up his own version (the Smart mix), from his own tapes, pre-downsampling... BUT it was actually yet another mix, half the 'cassette' version and half the 'original' version. This is the best quality version of the track available, but doesnt have the zoned effect or the 'rawer' guitar.
After years of trying to find the original track, I first found just the backing part on its own, which only had the guitar and organ on it faintly. This is what's on Soundcloud, edited to sound less 'mono' and with the organ part turned up a bit. More recently I finally found the organ track to go with it, so will update the Soundcloud track soon. Have sent this to Chessington.
These are the downsampled, dubbed tracks that played in the ride from 1990 to around 2000. So, not full listening quality and would sound weird played on a stereo, but would sound good restored in the dual zones in the station. Much better than the current dodgy mp3 being played.
Ideally, a brand new mix should be struck from the original master tapes (if they still exist with the composer) to recreate the dual zoning and the more 'raw' original mix – but without the downsampling, since this is no longer necessary with today's playback technology. Combine this with a repaired sound system and it would sound amazing. However, the original composer seems to be completely uncontactable.
So, there's the saga of Vampire's audio! Once sounded classic, now sounding very lame with the poor recording they're using at the moment. But, simply putting back the orginal mix on a broken, mono system probably wouldnt make much difference. What it needs is a new, overhauled sound system and a full quality zoned mix.