IMHO, the CBS/Sony Japan Pro Use, is the best copy of this title that I have heard. I know it fetches big bucks, although that doesn't really mean it's the best, but I think so.
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I'm still biased towards the original US vinyl release copy from 1978 in that it was one of the finest pop/rock recordings of its time though admittedly I have not heard many other vinyl versions. The original US CD master I have is not bad but a good example of why many people prefer vinyl over CD.
I have a Japanese Pressing that I bought @ A CES show in the mid 90's. It was purchased from Audiophile International, a record dealer from from CA. Serial # is 40AP1750-1. It is the CBS/Sony. I paid $200 for it, and although it may be expensive, it is awesome. If this is the pressing you have dibs on for $40, do the following: Give the seller the $40, and a big hug. It is an awesome pressing.
I would be shocked if the reissue could hold a candle to this, or for that matter, a clean US original.
Thanks for the responses. Some good information to follow up on.
Sonofjim, I am inherently lazy but I will probably do as you suggest and listen to a few versions to see what I like best including the new remaster (which I think is based on a high rez digital master). Reading the above I see that there are different takes on what is best so I probably need to listen for myself. I just hate to take a hit on the new remaster if I don't like it. I guess I could always drop $300 on a super hot stamper. Wow, at that rate my record collection would cost more than most of American's homes!
I remember as a kid in middle school listening to this record over and over. I also remember how good it sounded to me even on my cheap rig. I have a remastered CD, 20th anniversary I think, which sounds very good but it I think it lacks some of the warmth that I expect to get from a vinyl version.
I have three copies of the album, including the reissue, and I agree that it's hard to find a bad sounding pressing of The Wall. The reissue sounds quite good, and I think it's well worth the sticker price, but I do prefer the original pressings. One quibble I have about the reissue is that it was mastered at a lower volume that the original, but otherwise it's superb. It was a welcome change in that it was dead quiet as many used copies are very noisy due to wear-and-tear, but still manage to sound glorious. If the used copy you're looking at is indeed NM I'd say go for it over the reissue.
I would lean toward the Japanese, or either of the two Audiofeil mentioned over the reissue. BTW-spending $200 for vinyl is not common practice for me. I've bought many great sounding records for less than $10.00. I paid around $10.00 for the majority of my records, and have many gems in that price range. Do I regret paying $200.00 for my Japanese: The Wall? Not at all, that's why I said go for it at $40.00.