Great Recordings, Sonically Speaking - and Why.

I think many of us would accept that artists such as Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, and Dire Straits have consistently put out music that was at least originally recorded to a high technical standard. [I'm not too sure what the loudness wars may have done to subsequent reissues, but even so, the tone and timbre thankfully tends to remain intact.]

However there must be plenty of lesser known recordings out there that could be said to be of a high sonic standard.

One such recording that I like to put on in the background whilst I'm doing other things is a piano recording that features wonderfully lush timbre and some delightful tunes.

This one is The Disney Piano Collection by Hirohashi Makiko and to me it makes a lot of other piano recordings sound a little washed out.
The suggestion above on Dallas Wind Symphony Trittico is excellent.  Just listened to it and the recording engineer knew what he was doing!
Several mentions of Dire Straits but solo Mark Knopfler is a better bet for recording quality. "Sailing To Philadelphia", "Shangri-La", and "Get Lucky" are all really good. I'm sure others are as well but those are the ones I'm most familiar with. To me, Mark is like further distilled Dire Straits. His voice is just one of the best ever with amazing presence and gravitas. He's a pretty decent guitar picker, too. (That's a joke, he's incredible)
Just re-read the OP and realized he’s asking for lesser-known stuff. I’ve got a sleeper for sure. Ben Rogers "Wildfire" album is one of those recordings that make you wonder, "man, how much great music is out there that almost no one will ever know about?" Very well recorded, too.

Going to the other extreme, pretty much everyone’s familiar with Darius Rucker, but have you heard his only album in the R&B genre? "back to then" from ’02 is fantastic and the recording quality is excellent.

George Michael almost always delivered on quality, as well. If you’re only aware of his radio hits I would encourage you to dig deeper.

Gregory Porter is a wonderfully pure vocalist that is always presented well. Josh Groban is much more well-known but also consistently delivers quality.

Here’s one that was a bit of a shocker for me. Rascal Flatts. Not my usual cup of tea at all but my wife has one of their cds titled "Rewind" and I popped it in one day. I was very impressed with what I heard. Again, not so much the content (though I’ll admit a lot of it is pretty "catchy") as much as the presentation. I ripped it onto my music server in AIFF and listened to it with my dedicated headphone rig and it still stood up. Goes to show how we’ve got to keep our minds open...

Once again swinging the pendulum to the complete other extreme is Rage Against The Machine’s debut self-titled album. The music itself may or may not be up your alley (and it’s very NSFW) but the quality is unassailable. I have it in hi-res now but even the cd is really good.
Sade "gets it" when it comes to quality. And if you ever want to test your low-end with something that’s still very musical "Slave Song" from the album "Lovers Rock" will undoubtedly do the trick.
Weezer can be a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to recording quality, but their latest "Van Weezer" is pretty fantastic. Really fun album, too.

"Yes @thecarpathian, and correctly so. It is also often mis-pronounced tim-ber by the musically uneducated (no offense intended) . Timber! is what you yell when a tree has been felled. ;-)"

So, when the tree surgeon you've hired misjudges his chain-saw angle and ends up sending a tree crashing through your picture window down onto your audio system, which do you yell, then: "timber" or "timbre". . . ?


"I have tick skin so if I get beat up for stating the obvious I can handle it"

Yeah-- especially once all those ticks are filled to the brim with blood, I imagine it's like being sheathed in a carpet of miniature balloons-- no wonder the punches just glance off !


"Several mentions of Dire Straits but solo Mark Knopfler is a better bet for recording quality. "Sailing To Philadelphia", "Shangri-La", and "Get Lucky" are all really good."

For sure.

Mark Knopfler is a great musician who consistently puts priority on sound quality.

He certainly seems to have taken no chances, or spared any expense when he put together his own recording studios in Chiswick, West London.

Folks like Mark Knopfler and Barry Diament seem happy to go that extra mile when it comes to preserving the highest possible studio sound quality.