Best System for Pink Floyd

Someone who I never expected might listen to Pink Floyd was praising Dark Side of the Moon recently.

It made me realize that I have been listening to it for over 30 years now, and I still get something out of it every time, and also trust and rely on Pink Floyd to test the resoltuion and imaging of my audio components.

Which made me wonder:

Imagine if the only music you would ever listen to again was Pink Floyd, what components and in particular, what speakers would you suggest?

It would be fascinating to hear how you like to listen to Pink Floyd, as well as an interesting litmus test for capable and dynamic systems.
Floyd sounds best to me via vinyl. After all, that is how it all started. I have come a long way from my AR speakers / Sansui Integrated with the table built in! Today I have Focal 1037's and two JL Audio F113's. A not too far second would be the " DSOM " SACD that I play on my EMM Labs CDSA SE. I have shed the strobe / black lights but I still induldge in the brewskis!
I don't think I could better what I have for Pink Floyd.

if you think PF is a good audio challenge, try the albums "Lighthouse Sun", "Deadwing" or "Fear Of a Blank Planet" by Porcupine Tree.

If the system is able to deliver the goods on most any classical or modern "loudness wars" recordings, including Hip Hop, metal and the likes, then I think it will handle most anything else with aplomb.

The finest reproduction I have ever experienced of that recording was at Phillips Crest National Studios in Hollywood--one of the largest producers of SACD's world wide. They had an amazing, enormous custom room built in with all the acoustic goodies one could want, including a door bigger and heavier than most bank vaults. The system was 5.1 of Eggleston Andras w/ sub, Halcro DM68 mono's on all and Mietner digital from end.

Never before or since have I heard SACD replayed the way it was obviously intended --near perfection. Literally, you could hear and feel helicopters flying overhead, voice and sound coming from specific points all around you and on the track Time, and almost shocking realism with the bells, bass and chimes all separated and in their own space. Then they played Gabriel's UP SACD and I almost fell off the chair, hearing information and scale literally missing from any other system I have heard that using SACD--including some huge systems. I'd give a lot of props to their great room and the meticulous set up.

In terms of experiences with SACD on a 5.1--that stands alone. In terms of more modest home listening I think any system with good balance and near full range capability can do DSOTM a lot of justice. To hear the 5.1 the way Guthrie and the band intended, find a killer surround set up.
As a long time fan of the "Floydsters" I have listened to them on many systems and always enjoyed it. Before I delve in to the dream system you suggest I would own for FLoyd music only, I must add the Maoman is right on que with the refernce to Porcupine Tree. I discovered them a few years back and I feel that PT picks up where PF leaves off. A continueum of the Floyd sound.
SO if I could afford it I would go with:
Wilson Sashas
McIntosh MC1201's
Audio Research REF5
Ayre C5xe-mp for CD/SACD
Linn LP12 with Ekos SE-Keel-Radikal and Urika
Lyra Olympos Cart
Cardas Clear IC's and Speaker Cable
That is about it, I know there is more expensive and better sound gear but these are components I have heard.
Oh and a fresh copy of Momentary Lapse of Reason to warm it all up.
I don't know if it's "the best" system for PF, but I heard the Burmester setup (cdp, amps, speakers) playing The Wall at CES 2009, and it was stunning.
Some ancient history.

When it first came out, "The Wall" was one of my most successful demo disks back in 1978 in selling equipment to fellow college students when I used to do such things.

We sold JBL, Advent, Infinity, EPI, Electrovoice, KLH (back when they we decent) and other brands. It always sounded best on OHMs, in particular OHM Hs. Those were too big for my dorm room so I settled personally for the OHM Ls that I still run, though I've always coveted OHM Hs and a bit later also OHM Is. All others had various shortcomings IMHO, although the better large JBLs may have had perhaps teh "warmest" sounding presentation.

BTW, one might be able to pick up newly refurbished versions off any of these old classic OHM models via OHM still. They still sell them refurbished and retrofitted with the latest 21st century drivers and technology when available.

I don't know of ANY speaker I have heard for $600 a pair that can beat my OHM Ls playing PF or PT in particular these days, especially anything that works well close to teh rear wall. I could probably still live comfortably with these as my main speakers today. They cost $500 a pair new back in 1978.

There was a point about 2 years ago as I was in the process of updating most of my system that the PT album "FOABP" ONLY sounded good to me on the OHM Ls in my big listening room where the OHM 5s reside today. This album was in particular one of the hardest I found to get to sound right, but once it does, like most PT stuff, BINGO!!!
As a long time Pink Floyd fan since 1968, I have always used their music when selecting components. As they still are my favorite group even after 42 years, I always get something new when listening to their music.

My present system reproduces their music very satisfactory to me. Click on my "system" link for a glimpse, and if you like you can leave me feedback regarding my system. I have been fortunate enough to see Pink Floyd (all 4 of them) play together 7 times, also 3 times without Roger Waters, and David Gilmour 1 time in New York on his last tour. He had The deceased Richard Wright playing keyboards that evening and the crowning jewel of the show was when they did "Echo's" in its entirety. I also saw Roger Waters 1 time when he did "The Dark Side Of The Moon" tour

Best listening sessions EVER of this legendary recording? Get the very best headphones and amplification you can afford. The genius of this music is in the mix and little bits and bytes of sprinkled detail all over the recording. Try it with cans around 1am - you will experience it as never before.
No reason for any system not to play any Fink Ployd music,
as they are all superbly recorded and engineered.IMHO.

On the track 'The Happiest days of our lives' off of 'The Wall', after the helicopter lands in the room and he says 'laddie, yes you, stand still laddie', when he hits the hi-hat I can hear harmonics (or something) that I only hear when played on vinyl.
I will be able to listen again to Floyd on Vinyl (woohoo)as I am in the UK next month.

Yes, a good point re headphones....but still not as much fun as speakers which can resolve all the weird detail, while imaging well.

Hence, my question.

I disagree with the idea that anything which can play loud and/or low is up to the task.
a few points;

-the ideal Pink Floyd system must do scale and space very well.

-you must have a great tt to be able to hear everything that Roger Waters 'Amused to Death' original pressing tells you. much of the out of phase 'Q' sound information info is lost on less than SOTA tt's. also the UHQR of DSOTM is pretty damn good.

-it does not hurt to have a great reel to reel machine to play 15ips 1/4" master dubs of 'Wish You Were Here' and 'DSOTM'.

--your room needs lots of deep bass capability and be coherent on peaks for 'Fearless' from Meddle to sound ideal.

i like my room/system for all those attributes including the appropriate software. i know there are other issues but those are important.
Member Oneobgyn's Wilson/Lamm system with his reel to reel tapes of "The Wall" and DSOTM and Gotham subwoofers.
I think Samuel and Sonicbeauty have pretty much nailed the answer with the reference SACD 5.1 surround system, and headphones answers.
I think Samuel and Sonicbeauty have pretty much nailed the answer with the reference SACD 5.1 surround system, and headphones answers.

well; i'm a big SACD fan (i own about 1000 of them), a couple of years ago i did convert my 2-channel room to multi-channel (including a pair of f113 Fathoms) using SACD multi-channel as the source. one motivation was DSOTM 5.1. short answer; i ended up preferring my UHQR Lp of DSOTM to the 5.1. in fact; i also preferred the Allan Parson's Quad mix on DTS redbook to the Guthrie's 5.1 SACD mix. the SACD has more refinement but the Allan Parson's Quad mix has things in better balance.

a year later after getting into RTR and adding more tt's i removed multi-channel from my room.

then i heard the 15ips 1/4" master tape dub of DSOTM on the Studer.

game, set, match!

maybe someone someplace has a 1" 4-channel master tape of Parson's quad mix; that would likely be the ultimate 'holy grail' DSOTM if one had the proper RTR deck and quad system to play it on.

i have no comment on headphones.
Well, Mikelavigne, you have me beaten experientially, and I know this will be forever so.

I tend to think the 5.1 system Samuel mentioned might be closer to what Pink Floyd intended (and would have done if the technology existed in the day), based on their complex stereo mixes, and their use of Holophonic processing on "The Final Cut".

I have always thought they endeavored to make their records completely immersive.

On the other hand, I could be completely off track with my line of thinking.
i have no comment on headphones.
Mikelavigne (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)
Is this because you've not heard Pink Floyd through headphones?

IMO, one hasn't truly experienced a Pink Floyd album until one has heard it through headphones. Headphones provide the full immersion intended in the recordings.
Only a fool would build a system around ONE group!
Tvad, what headphones/amp did you hear it on?

yes; i've heard Pink Floyd thru headphones, although just lowly Sennheiser HD-580's. there are aspects of the sound which are unique to headphones, but a whole part of the experience is missing. on many Pink Floyd albums headphones do give you a unique 'around and thru the head' room gets most of that and expands the sense of space.

i respect headphone enthusiast's love of the strenghts of headphone listening. i've listened to SOTA headphones at audio shows.....and they do reveal low level information that is very enjoyable. OTOH it is not the physical experience that Pink Floyd, at warp 9, can be experienced in my room. it's cannot be a collective experience, you don't feel 4 15" subwoofers moving air, there is not the 'washing' over you with sound.

my room is designed so i don't need headphones. i do use them for finding spots on the reel to reel tapes while others are listening to other media in my room.
I heard Pink Floyd through Koss headphones. 1975. Probably from an 8 track tape. Transformational experience.
Get a boom box!!
Tvad, and that betters your current system?
Tvad, and that betters your current system?
Perrew (System | Threads | Answers)
My point is being missed here. It's not about the equipment. It's about how the headphones provide the immersive experience.

Oh...never mind...
i would agree that headphones are, by nature, immersive and 'other-worldly'. Pink Floyd music is most definitely not meant to be 'conventional....and does compliment the headphone perspective on music. some of the 'stuff' Pink Floyd puts into the mix can be much more easily percieved on good headphones than on a typical high end system.

OTOH my 'conventional' system excells at doing space. my sources are particularly high resolution. i feel that i get the best parts of what a headphone can do in my system plus the best attributes of a conventional full range system. but....the combination is a hard one to pull off and not cheap. headphones, for Pink Floyd music in particular, get you lots of the picture with much less effort and dollars.
Mike, I'm certain your system gets everything possible out of the recording and the experience.
Tvad, Im sorry if I missunderstand, I might interpret "immersive" differently, stimulation for a number of senses?
But for me the headphone is always 2 dimensional compared to my speakers, even though I own some very nice headphones. There good if no one else wants to listen to the music though.
But for me the headphone is always 2 dimensional compared to my speakers...
Perrew (System | Threads | Answers)
Interesting. I have never considered headphones 2 dimensional in sound provided the recording takes advantage of what headphones can do.

A binaural recording through headphones is incredible in its recreation of the live event.
Key here is: " always 2 dimensional compared to my speakers..."
Perrew, I can't and won't debate personal opinion. It's a waste of time.
I just spent some time on head fi to shop for headphonea and got a nice pair of Ultrasone Edition 8's. They are amazing on ipods and also with the main system using a Manley Neo 300b for headphones.
However, the majesty of the "big rig" isn't challenged.
I think headphones offer intimacy and appreciation of certain types of resolution, and can be very satisfying, but the main system is still the "go to" for ultimate listening impact.
I can listen with headphones and keep the subwoofers on as well, which seems to improve overall slam and scale from the headphones.
Best listening sessions of DSOTM?
Easy - JBL 4311 , Quad 405 and 33 with a Thorens TD125 / Shure V15/3 about thirty years ago.
Although I have now access to much better systems, time does not go back...
ATC speaker systems


Re "only a fool would build a system around ONE group!"

As you can see by the growing number of responses to this thread - it's just a fun question.
The best I've heard Pink Floyd is with my headphone setup. The HD800 being amped wih the three channel Beta22 amp and Sigma22 power supply sounds pretty amazing. Laying back and letting the music of Floyd run through you is what it's all about.
They were mixed on ATC speakers, so not surprisingly, sound amazing. On a budget: try their 16s or 19s. Money no object: 150s.
I love DSOTM and The Wall on my system - Bryston B60, Rega Apollo, and Audio Physic Yara Evolution Bookshelves. I also have them on vinyl, and my Pro-Ject 1Xpression with Speedbox II and Dynavector 10x5 presents them in an equally well, yet different way.

I've heard both albums on several systems. My favorites were ATC active floorstanders with an ATC preamp and Linn LP12 with Lyra cart, and Mac seperates with Totem Arros.

My only criticism of both albums is I think they used a bit too much echo in the vocals. Sometimes it gets a bit distracting to me.
Regarding headphones vs speakers - both do different things. One isn't completely better than the other IMO.
Are you kidding? I had the band come over to make it happen!

Or actually I used the re-release of "Wish You Were Here" to tune and change some things with my setup. It paid untold dividends.

Synesthesia Studios
I have been fortunate to hear this disc on several component systems;
Lexicon/Classe'/Martin Logan/B&W/Transparent.
Sonic Frontiers/Vandersteen/Audioquest.