Forget musical merit. What is the best-sounding disc you have in your collection?

Forget musical merit. What is the best-sounding disc you have in your collection?
Here it is
92% (158 votes)
Can't think of one
8% (14 votes)
Total votes: 172

Let's focus on sound for this week. (We'll zero-in on the music next week.) When you want to hear how good a recording can sound, what do you go for? Forget musical merit. What is the best-sounding disc you have in your collection?

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COMMENTS
Walter's picture

Studio: Pat Metheny: Secret Story. Live: Rush: Exit Stage...Left.

Carter's picture

Tom Waits' Nighthawks at the Diner is the best I own. If you close your eyes you are there in the crowd while he plays live. It is eerie. Whenever I go to audition a new piece of equipment I bring this disc along. Other great sounding discs include Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage (a lot of Zappa albums are very well recorded), the Cowboy Junkies' The Trinity Sessions and Michelle Shocked's Short, Sharp, Shocked. Some of the best sound of all is on a bootleg - The Beatles' Ultra Rare Trax, vols. 1 and 2. The bootlegs come off the master tapes and have incredible sound, sound better than any commercial release of the same recordings. Rumor has it that the tape copies could have been made by runners for Mark Lewisohn, who was reviewing the master tapes for a book he was writing. The version of "She's a Woman" on vol. 1 is perhaps the best Beatles recording I have ever heard.

Michael W.  Kidd's picture

Kind of Blue by Mile Davis (Columbia Legacy, 1997 Sony Corporation SBM Super Bit Mapping).

Jay Karlson's picture

Lyle Lovette: Joshua Judges Ruth

Ed Moore's picture

Kiko by Los Lobos.

Listoboi's picture

Hidden Beauty A Narada Collection

df's picture

The DVD Audio release of David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name… is astounding to say the least. An amazing sense of presence and space. The Emmylou Harris Producer's Cut DVD-A is also sublime. For more contemporary fare, I really like the ambience of Bjork's Vespertine or The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and any of the recent Porcupine Tree releases to push the systems a bit. But since those are all DVD-A, I need to have some stereo only, and non-DVD format discs as well. Miles Davis' Kind of Blue on SACD as a standard. Nora Jones, also an SACD, but a hybrid for the that red-book compatibility. And finally, just plain old CD's, I find the David Sylvian releases on his Samahdisound label have great dynamic range - Sylvian's own Blemish release, or the Nine Horses project are among the best recorded CD's I've heard in a long time.

Xenophanes's picture

There are two basic standards for what constitutes good recordings: accuracy and pleasantness. Just how a stereo recording sounds depends on the system used, chiefly the speakers and where they are placed m but also on any signal processing used, whether EQ or surround sound technology and multichannel reproduction. Recordings can have many different strengths and weaknesses, so it is not so easy to be sure which recordings are the best There are two basic standards for what constitutes good recordings: accuracy and pleasantness. Just how a stereo recording sounds depends on the system used, chiefly the speakers and where they are placed m but also on any signal processing used, whether EQ or surround sound technology and multi-channel reproduction. Moreover, even with good speakers, just which recordings sound best will vary somewhat according to which speakers are used. Moreover, recordings can have many different strengths and weaknesses, so it is not so easy to be sure which recordings are the best. So, no, I can’t think of just one “best-sounding” disc. But there are some that have stood the test of time for me, and some of the performances are equally excellent.. Beethoven, Symphony No. 4, Suitner, Statskapelle Dresden, on Denon 198C37-7254. J. S. Bach Orchestral Transcriptions by Stokowski, Pikler, Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Chandos 6532. Elgar, The Black Knight, Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands, Hickox, London Symphony Orhcestra and Chorus. Chandos9436. This is a favorite of Alan Lofft, retired audio journalist now working with Axiom speakers. Harris, Symphony No. 4 ‘Folk Song Symphony,’ Alsop, Colorado Symphony and Chorus on Naxos 8.559227. The chorus can sound astonishingly real, with just the same difficulty in understanding the words likely in a live performance. Is the recording better or worse than the highly regarded Elgar recording preceding? It depends on the standard used which is a matter of personal preference. Rag Jhinjhoti, Rag Pilu; Imrat Khan, sitar; Vajahat Khan, sarod; Shafaatullah Khan, tabla. Nimbus5195. So, no, I can’t think of just one “best-sounding” disc. But there are some that have stood the test of time for me. Beethoven, Symphony No. 4, Suitner, Statskapelle Dresden, on Denon 198C37-7254. J. S. Bach Orchestral Transcriptions by Stokowski, Pikler, Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Chandos 6532. Elgar, The Black Knight, Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands, Hickox, London Symphony Orhcestra and Chorus. Chandos9436. This is a favorite of Alan Lofft, retired audio journalist now working with Axiom speakers. Harris, Symphony No. 4 ‘Folk Song Symphony,’ Alsop, Colorado Symphony and Chorus on Naxos 8.559227. The chorus can sound astonishingly real, with just the same difficulty in understanding the words likely in a live performance. Is the recording better or worse than the highly regarded Elgar recording preceding? It depends on the standard used which is a matter of personal preference. Rag Jhinjhoti, Rag Pilu; Imrat Khan, sitar; Vajahat Khan, sarod; Shafaatullah Khan, tabla. Nimbus5195.

Steve R's picture

The best disc I have is an SACD called Epic from Telarc. It is a DSD multi-channel. I only have a two channel system. All the songs are from movies. Incredible soundstage, musical detail, thunderous bottom end, and it's very dynamic.

Xanthia's picture

Michael Jackson - Thriller on SACD.

rvance's picture

It's a dead heat between Steely Dan's Gaucho and Talking Head's Speaking In Tongues, both on DVD-Audio. The Japanese 2 channel SACD of Al Dimeola's Elegant Gypsy is also a "go to" demo disc. Sorry I couldn't name just one. There's many others, too.

Jim the Listener in Denver's picture

CD - "Here's to the losers" ~ Love Jones LP - (tie) 180g "Jazz at the Pawnshop" ~ Arne Domnerus and ensemble, "Stardust" ~ Willie Nelson These albums are not musical stinkers - in fact I enjoy them all quite a bit!

Don Bilger's picture

Comin' From a Good Place, a Harry James direct-to-disc LP on Sheffield. This is one of the few records I've ever heard that can truly make you believe that the band has joined you in your listening room.

KBK's picture

Roger Waters:Amused to Death, Quiex II vinyl, double album, 180G, Arf speed mastered, etc.

Blue Mikey's picture

Forget musical merit?!? Like I could. It's Saxophone Colossus. I've owned it in three formats and five masterings, and it always sounds wonderful relative to the format.

BILL CRANE's picture

Jennifer Warren’s The Well is a great commercial recording. At CES I have used cuts from slack key virtuoso Makana’s Ki Ho’alu CD to evaluate systems. Usher, the loudspeaker company, issued a disc with a version of “The Mass” a couple of year ago, which is popular cut for listening to systems at these shows.

simon's picture

Chris Rea -the road to hell 12inch single

fk507's picture

Cantate Domino Propius XRCD That's the best for me. However, I guess that Dark Side of the Moon will get the highest votes. See if I am correct.

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