What are your favorite recordings that sound best to you?

What would be the best sounding records you have ever listened to that sound best to you regardless of its genre, pressing, mastering, label, value or a technology used to record it?


Ray Brown’s Soular Energy is at the top. But, there are others. Soular Energy is my absolute reference LP.

Patricia Barber's albums are recorded extremely well

Re-issues of the Impulse! jazz recordings, such as Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Blue Note XRCD such as Hank Mobley's Soul Station


Lots of good recordings from all eras. In general, I really like material from 1950's into early 60's, still using tube equipment in recording studios. The way some of these recordings sound so real, palpable, with ease, sense of relaxation. The most analog like digital gets.

I agree with whipsaw.

 Any album of Patricia Barber are perfect for critical listening.  They are available in Master quality audio as well.


@esputnix - regarding your statement

What would be the best sounding records you have ever listened to that sound best to you 

Mainly older recordings, many of them with clicks and pops, that fade into oblivion once the music starts. 

They are mainly tracks that centers around a vocalist(s) that have ethereal qualities supported by superb musicianship, all captured by sound engineers that really know their craft, to bring you a very life like representation of what was being recorded.

Artists like:

  • Joni Mitchel
  • Jethro Tull
  • Steeleye span
  • Chris Barber
  • Paul Butterfiled
  • John Mayall
  • Rye Cooder
  • Taj Mahal

There is a simplicity and rawness about their music that makes me return to them again and again and the harmonies of Jethro Tull and Steeleye Span are inspiring  - many modern artists could learn from them

Few artists today have that same impact - perhaps Ed Sheeran is about as close as it gets.

There is one Diana Krall album that brings her into my listening space, complete with piano.

It's amazing what a good system and a glass of Single Malt can do :-)

These are the artists that I return to over and over, because they make their music interesting each time I listen.

I'm sure there are many others.

Regards - Steve


My best sounding albums are the audiophile specialty recordings like the Mapleshade label or Sheffield Labs. But it may not be the best music or performance, that is a different subject. 

Dire Straits - On Every Street:

  • When it Comes to You
  • You and Your Friend
  • Planet of New Orleans

Patricia Barber - Cafe Blue (45 RPM ONESTEP IMPEX):

  • Taste of Honey
  • Nardis

Charles Mingus - Ah Um:

  • Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Metallica - Metallica Black Album:

  • Wherever I May Roam

David Crosby: "If I could only remember my name" now available on the 50th anniversary reissue.

Dire Straits: " Brothers in Arms" on the JVC XRCD2 issue.

Most of the Pat Metheny albums on ECM.

I own about 2500 LPs.  So at any given moment there are a few thousand LPs that I have not listened to "lately".  Seems to me that every time I pull out a few LPs that are not in regular rotation, I discover another gem.  Therefore, it would be utterly impossible to name one favorite. However, one can always bank on Reference Recordings, Sheffield, ECM, Pablo, Contemporary (for jazz), Riverside (for jazz), the latter day version of Impulse ("Jasmine"), and an occasional other oddball and surprising label to provide a memorable listening experience.  This is on either of my two audio systems using any of the 5 cartridges and tonearms currently mounted on 5 turntables.





Billy Barber - both

Grusin - Discovered Again!

Kevin Gilbert - The Shaming of the True 

ELP - '70 debut



So many, but these are examples from my listening session today that come to mind (not on LP, but hopefully it’s consistent with the streaming, cd recording quality of these albums)…

Peter Frampton - Acoustic Classics

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal - Chamber Music

The Toure-Raichel Collective - Tel Aviv Sessions


The further I come along in this audio journey, the less I refer to my reference albums to check on my system. Reason is I get sick listening to this couple dozen albums over and over again. I much rather play a wider inventory even so it has some sound limitations, because by now I can easily discern those shortcomings and work on my system accordingly. I have been purposely ignoring my reference albums so I can enjoy their music once again down the road. To me life is too short to let my system narrow down my musical experience to a few reference albums no matter how great they sound. 

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@baylinor , +10 to the fourth...;)

I have my ’favs’, but will withhold them to myself, for myself. If a stranger was to peruse my ’library’, they would likely be confused to glean the chaff from the kernels that counted...

I’ve a lot of that which I return to, to revisit time, place, and space; driven by mood and desire to attempt the improbable.
A return, if but for a moment, what branded itself into my unknitting neurons....
If you’d like to hear them, show up when my ashes get tossed into the local river.

By then, ’appearance’ to that ’show’ ought to be ’live-streamed’ in some fashion, and likely not a ’node buster’ or that would cause a DOS in any case.

I’m ok with that....’fringe folk’ are used to that, and wouldn’t deny demise anyway.

I’ll work on the programming in the meanwhile.... ;)


After 50 years of experimenting with all music genres, a huge collection of spinning discs has crowded my living/music room. Of the many becomes a few...

Oysterhead / The Grand Pecking Order                                                                       Anne Bisson / Blue Mind deluxe edition  (holy crap is that recorded masterfully)       Haya Band / Silent Sky with singer DaiQuing Tana

I don't know if it's one of the best recordings - but I recently went back and listened to the John Williams recording on the original Jaws theme from 1975. I was shocked at how good the dynamics, soundstage, and impact were captured. 

I am not a Grateful Dead Fan. However performance wise, and  recording quality

one of my favorites of all time. American Beauty.

Just got 'Amused to Death' in. They weren't lyin'. One of the many recordings that I will keep forever.

Dear @esputnix  : "" recordings that sound best to you?  """


I think that this kind of thread is the fifth time that other gentelamns already posted.


Anyway, I own 6K+ LPs so exist severaL "CANDIDATES " TO FAVORITIES OR " BEST SOUND " but if I must to choose one or two definetely these ones are the best recordings ever and not necessarily my favorities but by its really high quality level performance:


Flamenso Fever by M&K label   and

Drums Sheffield Record by Sheffield Labs label.


By coincidence both recordings are D2D.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


Ry Cooder and Ali Farka Toure - Talking Timbuktu

An absolutely brilliant album by 2 guitar geniuses and a beautiful recording

Spiritchaser-Dead Can Dance MoFi vinyl

Waterbearer-Sally Oldfield (German pressing 1986 repress) vinyl

McGill Percussion Ensemble 1978 vinyl

Kind of Blue-Miles Davis Ltd Ed, reissue 200g UHQR clear vinyl

Cantate Domino- Proprious 1979 German pressing


Lots and lots of good answers, on my system one stands out. Fleetwood Mac.   Rumors 

The hands-down-best for me:

The Very Thought of You / Ella Fitzgerald + Nelson Riddle


Not far behind:

Heart Shaped World / Chris Isaak


Also very good:

Boys and Girls / Brian Ferry

Dear friends : What we like is a personal privilege but if we speak of  sound qualirty that is way different and till you listen in your home system Flamenco Fever or The Sheffield Drum s Record you just can't know what is possible in the analog alternative.



Earl Klugh - Finger Paintings UHQR

Alan Parsons Project - I Robot UHQR

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue MOFI 45 Box set

Modern Jazz Quartet- Django 45 (I think Analogue Productions Quality Record Pressing)

Stan Getz- Getz Gilberto - Speakers Corner

Fleetwood Mac (self titled) - Mobile Fidelity

Too many Japanese pressings to name individually, but the Dire Straits first 2 seem to stick out and their Love Over Gold from Pallas Germany

Generally speaking, 45s sound great - never been disappointed with one - I guess they take care in all aspects when making them.






Forgot one - Pink Floyd Wish you were Here CBS Mastersound Japanese - (Welcome to the Machine is incredible)

Shirley Horn - The Music That Makes Me Dance. Breathtakingly executed in production and performance.

Cassandra Wilson - New Moon Daughter. Again, excellent performances and sound quality.

Personally I found Patricia Barber café blue recording too hi Fi, I mean it doesn't sound real for me, it's a bit sci Fi. But it might be my system, anyway, some of my reference recording that gives me goosebumps are this:

Sam Cooke / night beat 

Inti illimani / lugares comunes

Sueye Park/ Paganini 24 caprices SACD

Ella and Louis SACD

Simone kopmajer / live at Heidi

Very common but still... Nils lofgren/ acoustic live

Jacques lousier/ the best of play Bach SACD

Pink Floyd/ the wall and animals






Dark Side of the Moon - SACD. The main reason I still have my 20-year-old modified Sony SCD-1 is to hear this recording on the SCD-1.

Steely Dan, Aja.

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, It Might as Well Be Swing.

Isabelle Faust, Bach Sonatas and Partitas

Jethro Tull, Aqualung, Steven Wilson mix.

The list goes on forever.

I just had a 45 year old Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen on my turntable that I bought new and have played many many times.  'Momma Hated Deisels So Bad' sounds really great.  

Then again Zappa's, "Feeding The Monkeys at Ma Maison" is hard to beat.

American Percussion Society, Paul Price Breaking The Sound Barrier Vol.1 Percussion Urania USD 1007 LP  (not the later pressing)

The Ramsey Lewis Trio – Down To Earth (Music From The Soil)  Verve Records 314 538 329-2   CD  (not any of the original stampers)  Bonus cut 14 is mono and fantastic


I have 28500 LPs and 7000 CDs to choose from for sonics.  Many are outstanding.  Most are not.   Recording, mastering and pressing is generally the stumbling block for LPs, just mastering for CDs.   So many outstanding CDs (jazz and classical) to choose from.   Maybe 2,500 LPs as great (jazz tends to be the best, rock the worst).  


Thousands of digital, and hundreds of albums, without any doubt the best recordings i have are digital...  by Nigel Stanford.. i know, sacrilegious but are seriously well done... Automatica and Cynmatics will truly test your setup... as far as Lp, another off beat no one ever talks about, Halsey manic is off the hook amazing not one bad song.