Top Artists – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd / Meddle – 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 precisely these stampers have won the many shootouts we’ve done for the album over the ensuing years, probably 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.

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…)

Which One’s Pink? – And What Do All Those Numbers Mean?

An erstwhile customer wrote to us a while back asking a question about Dark Side of the Moon: “What is the FULL stamper matrix for this record… all the way around the dead wax?”

I replied that we never give out stamper numbers for the records we sell. The only way to find out the stampers for our records is to buy them.

He then countered with this bit of information:

Well, ok. I don’t understand the logic, but it’s your show.

Floyd stampers are probably the most uniquely well documented stampers on [a site that no longer exists] that they’re pretty much common knowledge. If I understand your logic, a first pressing may not be a “Hot Stamper” while a 3rd, 4th or 5th might be. Just a function of the stars aligning when that record is pressed. So what’s the diff?

I would think this would be pretty obvious. If we say pressing X is the best, this is information that you cannot get anywhere else, certainly not on the site you linked to. The day that such a site tells you which stampers sound the best is the day that such a site will have any value to those who are not collecting for the sake of collecting, but actually want to find pressings with the best sound to play

The information on that site has absolutely no value to me, or to any of my Hot Stamper customers, of that I can assure you. [It no longer exists by the way.]

If you told me what the stampers were and it was a first pressing and /or issue, it would enhance the marketability of that particular record and I would be more inclined to buy it…not that I would sell it, but just knowing it was a first press would have more value to me.

Why would you want a first pressing if it didn’t sound as good? Or, if a later pressing sounded better, why would that make any difference in your desire to buy it? Isn’t the idea to get good sound?

If you buy records principally to collect original pressings, you will end up with one awful sounding collection of records, that I can tell you without fear of contradiction.

On the other hand, if you want the best sounding pressings, we are the only record sellers on the planet who can consistently find them for you. This is precisely the service we are able offer, unique in the world as far as we know. 

Anyone can sell originals. Only we can sell the best sound. (Others could of course, but none of them have ever bothered to try, so the result is the same.) Finding the best sound is far more difficult and far more rewarding to both the seller and the buyer, as any of our customers will tell you.

I guess the only problem for the “collector” who cares about sound as well as rarity is that your “Hot Stampers” aren’t “certified” in any way. That is, if I went to re-sell a Hot Stamper I bought from you, no one else would know it to be different from any other pressing of the same record. Ever thought about coding your records so that individual record had some kind of verifiable marking that it was a certain level of “hot stamper”???

We do have a customer who makes us fill out hot stamper certificates, but they are really of little value for resell in the real world.

Records aren’t to sell, they are to play and enjoy.

Btw, I collect for sound first, but “collectability / rarity” is up there too. My stone mint MFSL Muddy Waters Folk Singer #0005 / 5000 might fetch a couple more bucks on ebay than number 4999 say, right? I know, 4999 might sound better, but hey, a lot of people don’t have the equipment to tell the difference.

[This is where I got a little fed up and a little testy, or maybe I should say testier than usual.]

Since that is an AWFUL sounding pressing, I hope your equipment is able to tell you what is wrong with its sound. Mobile Fidelity is one of the worst labels in the history of the world; surely you don’t buy their lousy sounding records to play them? Collect them all you want, it’s your money, but who in his right mind thinks they sound any good? There are tons of commentaries on the site detailing their deficiencies. Please take the time to read them.

The fastest way to improve your record collection is to get rid of all your audiophile pressings, since only one out of every ten or twenty is even passable. If your stereo isn’t showing you how wrong the sound of those records is, it’s time to make some serious changes.

Best, 
TP


FURTHER READING

The collector game cannot really be played with Hot Stampers. If anything they are just the opposite of a collectible, due to the fact they have practically no established or verifiable value. Their value is purely subjective; they exist only to provide listening pleasure for their owner. No other concerns have any real bearing on their worth.

I can understand why a record collector would be confused by this notion of subjective and limited value.

Collecting records is mostly about buying, selling and owning various kinds of records, and the ones that are worth the most money are typically considered the coolest ones to collect.

Who wants to collect worthless records?

Collecting records is not primarily about playing music; this seems to be a less important aspect of collecting. (I’ve known record collectors who didn’t even own a turntable!)

So all those funny numbers in the dead wax and on the label and the spine of the cover are just numbers, man.

They don’t mean anything to me (other than helping us recognize the best pressings) and they shouldn’t mean anything to you — that is, if you care about the sound of your music. If you want to collect a record because it has one set of numbers in the dead wax or the label or on the cover rather than another set of numbers, that’s your business. I guess that’s what most record collectors do. I, for one, want no part of it. I just want good sounding records. They can have any numbers they want.

To be clear, we here at Better Records very much want copies of the records we sell with the right stampers, the stampers that win shootouts, because that makes our job a lot easier.

As listeners, we don’t care about the numbers and neither should anyone else who is serious about listening, not collecting.

The Elephant in the Room

One more afterthought, which may sound like a cheap shot but still needs to be said, because, from my point of view, it is clearly the elephant in the room and very probably the underlying cause of this man’s troubles. If Muddy Waters on MoFi is your idea of a good sounding album, you have plenty of work ahead of you.

You need one or all of the following three things:

  1. better quality playback,
  2. a better room,
  3. or better-trained ears.

Without some or all of those, Hot Stampers are going to remain very much a mystery.

The Opposite of a Hot Stamper

It’s easy to be a collector; you just collect stuff. To get your stereo and room to sound right, and to be able to recognize when they do, that is very very hard. I’ve been at it for thirty-five plus years and I still work at it and try to learn new things every day. I know there’s a long way to go.

Until you get your stereo, room and ears working, collecting good sounding records is all but impossible. You will very likely waste a fortune on “Collector Quality Pressings:” the kind with Collector Value and very little else. These records are the opposite of Hot Stamper pressings: All their value is tied up in their Music and Sound, which is where we think it should be.

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Letter of the Week – “I have to admit, I now listen nearly exclusively to your records.”

More Pink Floyd

Reviews and Commentaries for Pink Floyd

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

Hey Tom, 

Last December on the 3rd I think it was I ordered my first Hot Stamper, a White Hot Pink Floyd The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

From January this year on I bought quite a lot more, as it was with the first, any of these records was a pleasure to me.

I have to admit, I now listen nearly exclusively to your records.

In line with the collection of Hot Stampers I improved my stereo. Let me say, it became an obsession.

Many, many thanks for your help, which brought me really forward and helped me over some points of design with the will of throwing all out of the window.

Kind regards from Austria,

Hans

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Letter of the Week – “Wish You Were Here is maybe the best sounding record I’ve ever heard…”

More 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 want to say a big THANK YOU for the Hot Stampers you sent to me.

Wish You Were Here is maybe the best sounding record I’ve ever heard (as you know I have a lot of Hot Stampers). I’m so amazed and lucky – I can’t describe it. The copy sounds out of this world with soooo well-defined bass, stunning clarity, warmth and richness, immediacy, astonishing transparency…

It murders my old copy.

Another Passenger and Honky Chateau are also Demo Discs of the highest order. 

Erik S.


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

More Hot Stamper Testimonial Letters

Basic Concepts and Realities Explained

Are All MoFis Created Equal? A Pair of Pink Floyd LPs Proved They Aren’t

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for Dark Side of the Moon

[This commentary was written more than ten years ago. Still true though.]

Many audiophiles are still under the misapprehension that Mobile Fidelity, with their strict “quality control”, managed to eliminate pressing variations of the kind we discuss endlessly on the site.

Such is simply not the case, and it’s child’s play to demonstrate how false this way of thinking is, assuming you have these four things: good cleaning fluids and a machine, multiple copies of the same record, a reasonably revealing stereo, and two working ears.

With all four the reality of pressing variations for ALL pressings is both obvious and incontrovertible.

The discussion below of a Hot Stamper Pair of Dark Sides may shed light on some of the issues involved.

Remember Classic Records Comparison Packages?

This is our first Hot Stamper Comparison Package.

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Letter of the Week – “Where should everything be on the ‘stage?'”

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Letters and Commentaries for Wish You Were Here

One of our good customers had some questions about the Hot Stamper pressing he had purchased:

Hey Tom, 

Hope you are fine! Please let me ask for a bit of help/advice. It may seem to be a stupid question, but it is essential to me to get clarity about my room and treatments.

It is about Wish you were here, the song on side two of the album. Got the white hot and it is sounding phenomenal.

Now my questions: It is about 1) the „huuhh“ followed by the 2) harrumph and the following 3) two tunings of the guitar.

1) Until yesterday the „huuhh“ was coming out between the loudspeaker, with small changes in the room treatment it is now coming from right, which sounds good. The accoustik guitar intro came before and comes after the changes from between the speakers. So my question: Should the „huuhh“ come from the middle or from the right. When coming from right the sound in general sounds more dynamic to me.

Hans,

Let me tell you what I can say without going back into the studio to play the record. These are some things that are generally true.

You are probably correct I am guessing. The reason for that is that the guitar is miked but not the vocal, meaning the vocal may be displaced in the soundstage due to phase issues. It is off-axis to the mic, and therefore “out somewhere,” not where the guitar is, because only the guitar is directionally miked.

2) The harrumph comes from the right side, right?

3) The two guitar tunings: first comes from the upper middle of the stage, the second comes from the right upper side, correct? Especially those two guitar tunings are in my opinion extremely fragile to changes, really minor changes in room acoustic and speaker placement, I would say half of a cm or so are enough for changes where they come from.

Would be great, if you can give me some input here. All in all, if half a year ago somebody would have told me my stereo sounds like it does now, I would have told him, that’s impossible. Now, I want even more, and the more I do, the more I am convinced that the room with the treatments together with speaker placement are the critical point.

All of this gets at the same questions – where should everything be on the “stage?”

The danger is making these judgments with one record is that you never want to optimize one record, only to find out it sounds good but others you own don’t. Here is an old commentary about that:

In 2005, I Fell Into a Common Audiophile Trap

This one is a tough test too:

The Blood, Sweat and Tears Turn Up Your Volume Test

So the best thing to do is get all your hardest test records out and start playing them and making notes as you make changes to your system.

You are correct that speaker placement is very important. Room treatments too. I would add electricity to that list.

I said so in my review of the 45 RPM Tillerman:

Recently I was able to borrow a copy of the new 45 cutting from a customer who had rather liked it. I would have never spent my own money to hear a record put out on the Analogue Productions label, a label that has an unmitigated string of failures to its name. But for free? Count me in!

The offer of the new 45 could not have been more fortuitous. I had just spent a number of weeks playing a White Hot Stamper Pink Label original UK pressing in an attempt to get our new Playback Studio sounding right.

We had a lot of problems. We needed to work on electrical issues. We needed to work on our room treatments. We needed to work on speaker placement.

We initially thought the room was doing everything right, because our Go To setup disc, Bob and Ray, sounded super spacious and clear, bigger and more lively than we’d ever heard it. That’s what a 12 foot high ceiling can do for a large group of musicians playing live in a huge studio, in 1959, on an All Tube Chain Living Stereo recording. The sound just soared.

But Cat Stevens wasn’t sounding right, and if Cat Stevens isn’t sounding right, we knew we had a Very Big Problem. Some stereos play some kinds of records well and others not so well. Our stereo has to play every kind of record well because we sell every kind of record there is. You name the kind of music, we probably sell it. And if we offer it for sale, we had to have played it and liked the sound, because no record makes it to our site without being auditioned and found to have excellent sound.

And as for your stereo being so much better than you thought it could ever be, I wrote about that twenty years ago!

The Myth of Diminishing Returns in Audio

Hope all this helps. Feel free to email me anytime.

Best, TP


FURTHER READING

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Pink Floyd – A Saucerful of Secrets

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Reviews and Commentaries for Pink Floyd

  • You’ll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides of this vintage stereo UK pressing
  • Forget whatever sleep-inducing Heavy Vinyl record they’re making these days – if you want to hear the Tubey Magic, size and energy of these wonderful sessions from 1967 (some with Syd, some with David), this is the only way to go
  • in 2014, Nick Mason named A Saucerful of Secrets as his favorite of Pink Floyd’s studio albums. “I think there are ideas contained there that we have continued to use all the way through our career,” he says. “I think [it] was a quite good way of marking Syd [Barrett]’s departure and Dave [Gilmour]’s arrival. It’s rather nice to have it on one record, where you get both things. It’s a cross-fade rather than a cut.”.

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David Gilmour – About Face

More David Gilmour

More Pink Floyd

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  • About Face makes its Hot Stamper debut here with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two mated with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound on side one – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Here you will find sound quality that is both cleaner and clearer, with much less grit and grain – richness is also key to these better copies
  • 4 1/2 stars: “About Face is well-honed rock album that is riveting from beginning to end.”

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What We Think We Know about Pink Floyd’s Amazing Wish You Were Here Album from 1975

We have added some moderately helpful Title Specific advice at the bottom of the listing for those of you want to find your own Hot Stamper pressing.

This is the perfect example of everything we look for in a recording here at Better Records: it’s dynamic, present, transparent, rich, full-bodied, super low-distortion, sweet — good copies of this record have exactly what we need to make us audiophiles forget what our stereos are doing and focus instead on what the musicians are doing.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the album, Pink Floyd managed to record one of the most amazing sounding records in the history of rock music. The song Wish You Were Here starts out with radio noise and other sound effects, then suddenly an acoustic guitar appears, floating in the middle of your living room between the speakers, clear as a bell and as real as you have ever heard. It’s obviously an “effect,” but for us audiophiles it’s pure ear candy.   

Pink Floyd Hot Stamper Pressings Available Now

Letters and Commentaries for Wish You Were Here

The Seventies – What a Decade!

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).

This is some of the best High-Production-Value rock music of the ’60s and ’70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, The Who, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Yes and far too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted.

Big Production Tubey Magical British Prog Rock just doesn’t get much better than Wish You Were Here.

A Big Speaker Record

Let’s face it, this is a BIG SPEAKER recording. It requires a pair of speakers that can move air with authority below 250 cycles and play at loud levels. If you don’t own speakers that can do that, this record will never really sound the way it should.

It demands to be played LOUD. It simply cannot come to life the way the producers, engineers and artists involved intended if you play it at moderate levels.

This is also the kind of recording that caused me to pursue Big Systems driving Big Dynamic Speakers. You need a lot of piston area to bring the dynamics of this recording to life, and to get the size of all the instruments to match their real life counterparts.

For that you need big speakers in big cabinets, the kind I’ve been listening to for more than forty years. (My last small speaker was given the boot around 1974 or so.) To tell you the truth, the Big Sound is the only sound that I can enjoy. Anything less is just not for me.

Size and Space

One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.

Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.

We often have to go back and downgrade the copies that we were initially impressed with in light of such a standout pressing. Who knew the recording could be that huge, spacious and three dimensional? We sure didn’t, not until we played the copy that had those qualities, and that copy might have been number 8 or 9 in the rotation.

Think about it: if you had only seven copies, you might not have ever gotten to hear a copy that sounded that open and clear. And how many even dedicated audiophiles would have more than one of two clean British original copies with which to do a shootout? These records are expensive and hard to come by in good shape. Believe us, we know whereof we speak when it comes to getting hold of original pressings of Classic Rock albums.

One further point needs to be made: most of the time these very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy do what this copy can, it’s an entirely different – and dare I say unforgettable — listening experience. (more…)

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon

  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from start to finish, this mind-blowing recording is guaranteed to rock your world
  • 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 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…)