Top Artists – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon

  • With seriously good Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish, this mindblowing recording is guaranteed to rock your world – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The transparency, the clarity, the energy, the power – it’s all here on these very special import pressings
  • Just listen to how clear the clocks are on Time, how breathy the vocals are on Breathe, how textured the synthesizers are and how silky the top end is from the beginning of the album all the way to the powerful finish
  • A Top 100 album (Top Ten actually) and a Rock Demo Disc to rival the most amazing sounding records of all time
  • 5 stars: “…what gives the album true power is the subtly textured music… no other record defines [Pink Floyd] quite as well as this one.”

This vintage import pressing has the presence, the richness, the size and the energy you always wanted to hear on Dark Side — AND NOW YOU CAN! (more…)

Dark Side of the Moon Overview

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Customer Testimonials for Dark Side of the Moon

I admit to some bias when it comes to DSOTM. I must have played more than a hundred copies over the last forty-odd years. I was sure I understood exactly which copies had the best sound, and again and again I was proved wrong.

We only found out what the best sounding versions were about five or six years ago. We did that by doing shootout after shootout with every version we could lay our hands on, starting around 2005. We even did a shootout for two different Mobile Fidelity pressings many years ago, which we think makes for some good reading to this day.

It’s especially good reading for those who don’t appreciate how dramatic pressing variations can be for even quality-controlled limited editions. The comparison of the two MoFi’s centers around the idea that midrange tonality is by far the most important quality to listen for on Dark Side, and that, surprisingly to some audiophiles, but obviously not to us, there are MoFi pressings with a correct midrange and there are those without.

Is this fellow listening for midrange tonality? If you watch the video and he says he is, then you can let me know!

And if not, you can ask him in the comments why he wasn’t.

Maybe he just likes the chiming clocks and the bass of the heartbeat.

Some audiophiles have been known to ignore the fundamentals when comparing records.

And picking six random copies of six different pressings is not exactly a scientific approach to the problem either.

It is in fact a clear violation of the First Cornerstone of Hot Stamper Shootouts, to wit:

  1. You must have a sufficient number of copies to play in order to find at least one “hot” one.

Most of the versions of DSOTM that this individual is reviewing have never impressed us sonically. They are the pressings that most audiophiles have probably read about in the magazines and on forums. If you know practically nothing about the album going in, these might be the six pressings you would consider playing against each other in a shootout. To be charitable, I suppose you could call it a good start.

Our reviewer seems to be the type who puts a great deal of faith in so-called audiophile pressings — the Japanese Pro-Use Series, the UHQR — the kinds of records that sound more and more artificial and/or mediocre to us with each passing year.

If your stereo is not showing you what’s wrong with these kinds of records, you have your work cut out for you. This is especially true of some of the Ultra High Quality Records put out my Mobile Fidelity in the early ’80s, like this one.

Our Take on DSOTM Pressings

The domestic pressings we have auditioned over the years have never made it into a real shootout. They have always sounded far too flat and veiled to be taken seriously. There are some very good sounding Pink Floyd pressings on domestic vinyl — Wish You Were Here and The Wall can both sound amazing on domestic vinyl — but Dark Side is not one of them in our experience.

The Doug Sax-mastered Heavy Vinyl version from 2003 we played when it came out was way too bright and phony to these ears. We hated it and said so at the time.

We came across a very early British pressing about fifteen years ago, the one with the solid blue triangle label, but it was not as good as other pressings we were playing back then and we never bought another one.

We’ve liked a lot of later UK pressings over the years, but we don’t go out of our way to buy those anymore now that we have heard the really amazing pressings we like now.

As I said, we discovered the killer stampers about five years ago, and that showed us an Out of This World Dark Side we had no idea could even exist. We have a name for records like those. We call them Breakthrough Pressings, and we even sometimes used to award them a sonic grade of more than Three Pluses.

Note that we no longer give out the A++++ Beyond White Hot Stamper grade for copies that simply blew our minds, with sound so far superior to any copy we’d ever heard that they broke our grading scale.

Two Minutes Was Enough

I frankly admit I did not spend two minutes watching this video. I simply do not have the patience to watch audiophiles like this guy opine about records he thinks he knows a lot better than he really does.

That said, if there is a pressing that he thinks is the best, and you own one, we would be happy to send you a Hot Stamper to go head to head with it and let the chips fall where they may.

We are not in the opinion business. Opinions are cheap. Everybody has them, and as the old saying goes, they are worth what you pay for them.

We wrote a bit about the subject in a post entitled Explaining doesn’t work. Only hearing works.

A relevant excerpt:

All forums — whatever their benefits — cannot overcome this problem.

Next time someone posts an opinion about a record, ask yourself “What does his system sound like?”

If you don’t know the answer, why would you put any stock in his opinion? For all you know his system sucks and his critical listening skills are non-existent. He might have a pair of JBL 100s in the basement and a Dual turntable (or the modern equivalent of same).

He may hate the records whose sound you love and love the records whose sound you hate.

Rather than being in the opinion business, we prefer being in the better sounding records business, offering, as we like to say, Records for Audiophiles, Not Audiophile Records.

Our records are expensive, but they deliver the sound we describe, and we have the letters from customers to prove it.

And if we are wrong — which does happen from time to time, we see no reason to hide the fact — you get your money back.

(more…)

Letter of the Week – “[Zep II] …may be the best sounding record you’ve ever sold me.”

Reviews and Commentaries for Led Zeppelin II

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

Thanks for sending the Righteous Brothers to me so quickly. I have a copy I’ve had for years that didn’t give me much satisfaction on side one. I played yours, and it blew mine away. Just stunning. Your side two was somewhat flat and mediocre, but who cares since the great cut is on side one.

Nonetheless, I played my old copy and my side two was nearly as good as your side one. Thanks for everything. The ‘wall of sound’ is alive and well.

By the way, The Zep II that I purchased from you last month may be the best sounding record you’ve ever sold me. A bargain at $750. [The last top copy sold in 2022 for exactly $2000 more by the way.] Now if I could only find a Dark Side Of The Moon that plays at that level.

Phil 

Phil,

Thanks for your letter. I’m pretty sure you have one of our Dark Sides by now.

No Dark Side will ever have the bass that Zep II has, but it can do pretty much everything else as well, or better. Imagine that!

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Letter of the Week – “The best one from you guys that I’ve bought is easily Wish You Were Here.”

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Letters and Commentaries for Wish You Were Here

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I’ve bought several LPs from you guys and have been exceptionally impressed. The eponymous Dire Straits plus Breakfast in America arrived yesterday, and are excellent.

The best one from you guys that I’ve bought is easily Wish You Were Here. That is an album meant to be played at full volume from start to finish, loving every minute. 

Keep up the good work! 

Anyway, thanks from a very satisfied customer.

Thanks, glad to see you liked it as much as we did.

We love pointing out that our Shootout Winning copies are not originals, and not pressed in the U.K.

Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).

To see more Tubey Magical Guitar Demo Discs, click here.

(more…)

Letter of the Week – “I needed a day to fully pick up my jaw from the floor after hearing Revolver and Dark Side…”

Reviews and Commentaries for Revolver

Letters and Commentaries for Dark Side of the Moon

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hey Tom, 

I needed a day to fully pick up my jaw from the floor after hearing Revolver and Dark Side…

Now that I‘ve given them both a few listens to fully absorb how revealing these recordings I thought I knew so well really are, I just have so many questions. 

How much better sounding can the respective White Hots really be?????

As far as Dark Side, I’m finding out for myself. Just ordered the white hot stamper. Most likely will be returning one of them, but I hope that after this, I will finally be able to stop looking for “the better sound” on this one….

Regarding Revolver, will the A++ side of my Revolver Super hot sound the same as the A++ side of the WHS? Or is the A++ grade on the WHS relative to its A+++ side, and still better than the SHS? What I am getting at is, will both sides blow me away in comparison to my SHS, or is it better to be patient and hold out for a two-sided A+++? Btw, regardless of your answer, you cannot have this copy back, it is simply fantastic!

I know these kinds of questions are quite relative to a number of variables, but any enlightenment you can provide is welcome…. I appreciate what you do, you have gained a very happy customer. (more…)

Pink Floyd Sounds Terrible on this Japanese “Audiophile” Pressing

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Letters and Commentaries for The Wall

This Japanese Import is one of the dullest, muddiest, worst sounding copies of The Wall we have ever played. It is clearly made from a second generation tape (or worse!).

And somehow this pressing, or one very much like it, ended up as on the TAS Super Disc List. I would hope that the copy Harry played sounded a whole lot better than this one.

And the CBS Half-Speed is every bit as bad!

How is it that the worst sounding pressings are so often marketed to audiophiles as superior to their mass-produced counterparts? In our experience, more often than not they are just plain awful, inferior in every way but one: surface quality.

Dear Audiophiles, stop collecting crappy audiophile pressings with quiet vinyl and just switch to CD already.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

Record Collecting for Audiophiles – Japanese Pressings

Record Collecting for Audiophiles – A Guide to Understanding The Fundamentals

Pink Floyd – “…never heard the details in the guitars and cymbals and keyboards like this.”

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Letters and Commentaries for Wish You Were Here

One of our best customers, Roger, received his $150 Hot Stamper [those were the days!] ’Wish You Were Here’ and went straight to work comparing it with the various other pressings he owned: two different CBS Half Speeds. The not-so-shocking results are presented in detail below.

Hi Tom,

I received your Pink Floyd ‘Wish You Were Here’ Hot Stamper and compared it to my CBS Half-Speed (I found a bunch of these Half-Speeds in a bargain bin years ago and did a shootout to select the best one) and the pressing that I considered the best, the Japanese Mastersound Half-Speed, for which I paid dearly.

Drum roll, please while Vanna hands me the sealed envelope………… and the winner is: Surprise — the Hot Stamper!

And it wasn’t even close.

Once I heard the center-of-the-earth bass on the Hot Stamper ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, it was all over. I was amazed at how bright the CBS was, transparent yes, but bright and no bass and no body to the saxophones and voices. The Mastersound was better-balanced in that the highs were tamed, but no real dynamics and the bass was flabby.

I have heard this record hundreds of times, but never heard the details in the guitars and cymbals and keyboards like this.

And did I mention the huge, huge soundstage with a wall of sound like that of other Pink Floyd records? Nice job as usual.

Roger,

Thanks for verifying the accuracy of our Hot Stamper claims once again. The decent sounding Half Speed Mastered records, CBS and otherwise, can be counted pretty easily on one’s fingers. We could debunk them all day long if we wanted to (and had ten times the staff). It doesn’t take long to hear how anemic the sound is compared to The Real Thing, the real thing being, of course, a vintage pressing.

The copy you bought was rated A Plus on both sides, two full sonic grades below the best, so you can imagine how good those copies sound. But since neither you nor I are made out of money, for $150 you now own a copy that will trounce anything you throw at it, especially if what you throw at it is an audiophile pressing.

Those moribund LPs belong on Ebay where all the Technics turntable owners of the world can find them in order to complete their — let’s be honest — silly and ultimately pointless audiophile collections.

Modern equipment shows half-speed foolishness for what it is. You heard it, we heard it, and slowly but surely we are spreading the word to the rest of the audiophile community.

Thanks again; it’s a big job and we need all the help we can get.

(more…)

Letter of the Week – “absolutely blew me away.”

Reviews and Commentaries for Meddle

Reviews and Commentaries for Pink Floyd

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Hi Tom,

Got the Meddle album already. I sat down as soon as I opened it and listened to both sides with the volume up. Absolutely blew me away. I heard things on there that I never heard before. Or I just heard them better.

I didn’t have to listen to my other copies. I knew right away this one was IT. Listening to a record like this just gets me thinking what the other Hot Stampers sound like.

Steve


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

More Hot Stamper Testimonial Letters

Letter of the Week – “…the WHS is huge and clear. It had ALL the positive attributes I heard in the others.”

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for Dark Side of the Moon

More Customer Letters for Dark Side of the Moon

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Dear Tom and Fred,

Just a note to say I’ll be keeping the White Hot of DSOTM. Fred, thank you for reaching out to me about it. I really appreciate that.

This is one of those records where I already had a handful of well-regarded pressings. How intriguing that it was such an obscure pressing that won your shootout! [1]

I compared the WHS to my early US pressing (Ken Perry mastered [2]), my MoFi [3], a Japanese “blue triangle” pressing, and of course, the 2016 remaster [4].

Sure, there are tons of sought-after pressings that go for prices even more exorbitant than what I paid you, none of which I’ve heard, so I guess it’s not a proper shootout. But, at least among the ones I have, the WHS bested them all handily. In each of the others I was able to find something that I could appreciate, that on its own compared well to the WHS. This is such a great, and well-recorded, album that any pressing of it is going to have something worthwhile to offer.

The Japanese pressing came closest to the WHS. [Doubtful we would agree with you on the merits of this Japanese pressing. We rarely like them, and we like them less with each passing year.]

At the other end of the spectrum the 2016 remaster, noted for its great bass, just sounded clogged and thudding [5].

Compared to each of them, the WHS is huge and clear. It had ALL the positive attributes I heard in the others. Is it 15x better than my next-best copy? Objectively, probably not. But, subjectively, it must be, since I’m keeping it.

Since the hot stamper arrived the day after my Legacy Signature III’s got here, it was one of the first records I played on them. What a great pairing they are! 

This was of course the first mini-shootout I’ve done using the Legacys. What a great window into a record these speakers provide. I switched back to my Bowers and Wilkins 805s and re-ran the shootout, just to see if my impressions would still align. They did, with the hot stamper providing more vividness and a bigger sound than the other pressings did, even on the B&Ws.

But on the bigger speakers the hot stamper stands apart from the others by a wider margin.

Thank you both for all the great records you find, and thank you Tom for the stereo advice. You keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

Aaron

Aaron,

Glad to hear you are a Legacy man now. We love our Legacy Speakers and can’t imagine doing shootouts without them. (The old ones, not the newer models.) The Big Speaker sound, at loud levels, is what allows a record like Dark Side of the Moon to be every bit the immersive experience we know it can be if you have a top quality pressing to play. Now you know it too.

And thanks for doing the shootout so that you know exactly what our best copies of Dark Side are capable of. If you make any improvement to your system, be sure to go back to this Dark Side and hear the change for yourself.

Then play any of these other pressings and note how the gap has widened. That is our experience and we expect you will find the same differences in your listening room as well.

The following notes may be of general interest:

[1} Obscure pressings that sound better than all others are our bread and butter here at Better Records! There are only two sets of stampers for the record you bought that win shootouts, and without those exact stampers you would not have heard the sound you so clearly heard. There is a stamper for the pressing you bought that has the same cover and the same label, made in the same country, but with sound that is pretty subpar. We bought some because we owed it to ourselves and our customers to try every potentially good stamper we knew was out there. We bombed, but we do that a lot and never worry about it. At these prices the winners more than pay for the losers.

This is why it is difficult to take anyone seriously who thinks they know the right pressings of DSOTM. We had to play a dozen or more different ones in order to find the killer copy you now own. Who in his right mind would do such a thing?

[2] As a rule we very much like Ken Perry‘s work for Capitol, but it is doubtful that anyone ever gave him a master tape of DSOTM to work with.

[3] Many, many years ago we did a little shootout for the MoFi, which you can read about here. We should note that the last time we dropped the needle on one we found it way too bright. The Crime of the Century MoFi that I used to sort of like was the same way, way too bright. Our system ten or twenty years ago used to be darker and much more forgiving. Those dark days are gone and they sure won’t be coming back, which simply means that it is the rare MoFi record that we can tolerate anymore. (Here are some of the ones we found the least irritating.)

[4] The Heavy Vinyl pressing that Doug Sax cut may have been made from the real master tape, but it had to go through Kevin Gray’s cutting system, and it’s the rare record that survives that trip. We reviewed his version here, almost twenty years ago now.

[5] We thought it sounded very bright. I didn’t pay much attention to the lower frequencies, the higher ones were just way too boosted.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

Record Collecting for Audiophiles – A Guide to the Fundamentals

Making Audio Progress 

Pink Floyd – Way Back in 2007 We Discovered the Hottest Stampers of Them All

Reviews and Commentaries for Meddle

Reviews and Commentaries for Pink Floyd

More Breakthrough Pressing Discoveries

This review from 2007 describes our experience of having stumbled upon the right stampers for Meddle. To this day, only these stampers and no others have won the many shootouts we’ve done for the album over the ensuing years, perhaps as many as a dozen shootouts or more. These stampers are also very hard to find, which is why you have not seen a copy of Meddle hit the site in a while.

To see more albums with one set of stampers that consistently win shootouts, click here.

Want to find your own shootout winner? Scroll to the bottom to see our advice on doing just that.

This Harvest Green Label British Import pressing has a side one that goes FAR beyond anything we’ve ever heard for this album. We had no choice but to award this side one the very rare A with FOUR pluses A++++. We’ve never given any side of any other Pink Floyd record such a high grade, so you can be sure that you’ve never heard them sound this amazing!

We’ve been buying up every clean copy we can find with good stampers since we found our last White Hot Meddle back in March. Unfortunately, most of them left us a bit cold. Most copies just don’t have the kind of magic that we know is on the tape. Beyond that, many of them are too noisy to sell — even the minty looking ones. 

The Best Side One Ever

Side one here is OFF THE CHARTS, OUT OF THIS WORLD, DEMO DISC QUALITY. Everything you’ve ever wanted in a Pink Floyd album is here in generous quantities — transparency, breathy vocals, HUGE bass, warmth, richness, ambience, and depth to the soundfield. A copy like this allows you to hear INTO the music in a way that would never be possible with a lesser pressing. The presence and immediacy are staggering, and the bass is going to blow your mind. There’s TONS of life and energy, and the highs are silky beyond belief. This is tubey magical analog at its best, folks — it’s an A++++ side without doubt. (more…)