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Old 7th May 2004, 07:34 PM   #21
Thunau is offline Thunau  United States
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Default Audiophile recordings

Here is my 5c. I used to run a “real” recording studio and have a good understanding of audio production techniques. One thing that should be established in this discussion is whether we’re talking about “well recorded” or “well produced” albums. The distinction is: have the engineers attempted (and ultimately succeeded) to capture the performance so that the listener can be transferred to the event space (given good reproduction chain), or have they set out to make a great sounding album in a given genre of music. A lot of recordings that people are listing in this thread are great examples of “well produced albums”. They tend to sound great to good on most playback equipment, showcase the talent in best possible light and use a lot of tricks of the trade to accomplish the goal (bottom line). Very talented producers are hired to make those productions and it takes months to deliver a finished product. Are they “audiophile quality”? Yes and no. Depends on the definition of audiophile. They certainly deliver high quality sound, the captured instruments are reproduced with full frequency spectrum (for the most part), and the final mix is such that all the ingredients can be distinguished. The drawbacks? Limited dynamic range, tonality that not necessary reflects the source and many times humanly impossible performances given the ensemble (results of extensive overdubbing, editing and creative processing). Don’t get me wrong; these records are great to listen to- kind of like watching a great action movie or a sci-fi flick. In my humble opinion they can be used for meaningful loudspeaker evaluation, but by trained listeners.
The other kind of records- the “well recorded” ones tend to only sound great on great equipment in a good acoustic space. They have much wider dynamic range then the “well produced” ones making them seem “weak” at first listen. It’s because there is plenty of headroom left on the recording to accommodate the loud parts and transients. The highly compressed productions use different tricks to achieve the sense of soft and loud.
But, as soon as you match the perceived average SPL levels, the superiority of the true “recordings” is obvious. Now, a lot of older CDs do sound weaker than the newer ones. That doesn’t necessary make them “well recorded” They might still be highly compressed on tracking, mix-down and mastering. It’s just the transfer to CD that fell somewhere below the max and maybe no peak limiting was used.
My suggestions for a “well recorded” CD: Beyond Words by Oregon -some synth stuff, but for the most part acoustic live performance by a great jazz trio in a nice acoustic space. A “well produced” album by the same group- “Always, never and forever”. Still nice and acoustic, but with more overdubs, compression, EQ, creative miking and artificial ambiances. Both are on my favorites list. Both sound great in their own way.
"Most people just say what they know, the wise ones know just what to say."
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Old 7th May 2004, 08:45 PM   #22
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My choice, electronic music, pretty heavy, I think well made. This is the album I'd use to demo another system, and one of the only albums I've bought twice incase the vinyl goes out of print.(and I damage my copy).

Squarepusher : Go plastic

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Old 7th May 2004, 09:53 PM   #23
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Being not a big fun of classical music, I found this recording quite impressive.
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“Do something really well. See how much time it takes. It might be a product, a work of art, who knows? Then give it away cheaply, just because you feel that it should not cost so much, even if it took a lot of time and expensive materials to make it.” - JC
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Old 7th May 2004, 10:55 PM   #24
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Well , nice thread.

I start with 2 selections of live recordings ;

Being a fan of Joe Jackson I can't miss to signalize an outstanding recording and performance of the trio J Jackson , Graham Maby . Gary Burke live in New York called "summer in the city".
The musicians here are flying , literally.Unforgettable "Fools in love /For your love" , a nice cover of "King of the world" (a song by Steely Dan) and incredibly performed " You can't get what you want" and "One more time".
(Sony Classical)

the other is a live recording of Michel Portal and Richard Galliano
"Blow Up".This CD is an incredible emotional performance "Leo, estante num instante" and "Blow Up" but also "Oblivion"(by Astor Piazzolla)are absolutely beautiful songs : the clarinette basse played by Portal and the accordeon by Galliano are shoking and shooting.
(Dreyfus Jazz- distribution by Sony Music France)

It is my intention jump in this thread with more
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Old 7th May 2004, 11:08 PM   #25
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Galliano, Portal
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Old 7th May 2004, 11:21 PM   #26
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one of my favorites is Magda Kalmar singing Vivaldi -- "Laudate Pueri", "In Furore" and "Nulla in mundo pax sincera" == she won the Grand Prix du Disque for this recording -- if you can find it.

Amanda McBroom singing "Dreaming" -- Gecko Records, and Amanda McBroon and Lincoln Mayorga "Hollywood Town" on Sheffield Labs.

Rostropovich playing Haydn Cello Concerto's in D and C Major on Angel,

Peter Hurford J.S. Bach Toccata on Argo at the Ratzeburg Cathedral.

Charles Dutoit conducting Montreal -- two of these are wonderful -- Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique and Pines of Rome.
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Old 8th May 2004, 12:38 AM   #27
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Some of my favorite "audiophile" recordings:

Joe Jackson- "Body and Soul". Great recording, mostly stereo mic'd. "Losaida" and "Cha Cha Loco" are especially well done.

Pink Floyd: DSOTM is my standard "reference" recording, but most of their stuff is well done. "Meddle" has some great stuff. "A Pillow of Winds" features some great acoustic slide guitar by David Gilmour.

Steely Dan: Another meticulous studio band. "Aja" in particular is a good recording. I have the MFSL CD, and it's another standard reference recording. Pretty much all of their stuff is well done, especially if you like guitar.

Dire Straits; "Love Over Gold" and "Brothers in Arms" are both well made. Some of their earlier stuff isn't as well done. I was listening to "Communique" yesterday, and was kind of dissapointed. Some of the cuts sounded a bit flat.

Genesis: "A Trick of the Tail"- Some standouts are "Mad Man Moon", with some great piano work, "Ripple", and "Entangled".

Supertramp: "Crime of the Century" The first MFSL record I ever bought. Actually, it was one of the very first MFSL recordings, after "The Power and the Majesty". Now, there was a speaker killer!

Beatles: "Revolver", "Sgt. Pepper", and "Abbey Road". All well recorded and produced. Great headphone music.

Rolling Stones: "Let it Bleed" and "Sticky Fingers" are two of my favorites. Both well recorded. On LIB, the choir on "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is very well done, as are Mick Jagger's vocals.

As you can see, I'm pretty much a classic rock kind of guy.

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Old 8th May 2004, 12:49 AM   #28
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Although I'm not a country kind of guy, this album is one of my favourite. It's a 5 disc set of all songs and outtakes that didn't make into the four previously released American recordings albums by Johnny Cash. I made a one disc compilation of the best tracks, and I can listen to it everyday. I can honestly say that this is amongst the best music I have ever heard, and this is coming from someone that generally can't stand country music.
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“Do something really well. See how much time it takes. It might be a product, a work of art, who knows? Then give it away cheaply, just because you feel that it should not cost so much, even if it took a lot of time and expensive materials to make it.” - JC
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Old 8th May 2004, 02:05 AM   #29
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The LA Four - "Going Home"

This is a great jazz combo album with super sound. It was cut direct-to-disc by East Wind Records back in the 80's and features Laurindo Almeida, Ray Brown, Shelly Manne & Bud Shank.
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Old 8th May 2004, 02:55 AM   #30
andy_c is offline andy_c  United States
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Peter, it looks like the stuff you posted is all CDs. Does this mean you haven't jumped on the high res bandwagon yet? I did so recently and it's really renewed my interest in music. While many high res disks probably shouldn't have been released as such due to mediocre sound quality, the best of DVD-A and SACD are really good sounding, much better than the best of CD IMHO.

Jorma Kaukonen's Blue Country Heart SACD-only release is great. He used to be the lead guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane in the late '60s and early '70s. Now he plays mostly blues, but with a country sort of flavor. This is a DSD recording with excellent sound quality. It won't play on CD-only players though. I went to a concert of his about 10 years ago. After it was over, I heard a teenaged member of the audience say "If I knew he was going to be that good, I would have paid twice as much!".

Ray Brown's Soular Energy DVD-A also has excellent sound quality and nice music. It's 24 bit/192 kHz and just sounds very clean, alive and natural. It's a bit more on the "easy listening" side for my normal jazz tastes, but the music is very nice, with superb sound complementing his great acoustic bass playing.
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