Your Not-So-Obvious Best Fidelity LPs

I’ve spent over three years building up to the system I have now.  I’m really happy with it and my wife and I love sitting in our listening room spinning various vinyl most evenings.  Rather than researching and testing gear, I want to spend this year adding great recordings to our collection.

So what are the albums you have that every time you play it you're continually amazed at its fidelity?  You might have spent $80 on it or just $1 or maybe it was a hand-me-down decades ago.  Any genre really.

And if we can please avoid the most obvious choices (which are truly wonderful) such as Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Diana Krall, etc.  I’m looking for albums, (vinyl only please) that probably fly under the radar for most folks.

I'll start….

James Taylor - Dad Loves His Work - this was just given to me by a friend a couple of weeks ago as he had an extra copy.  I have plenty of JT albums but I didn’t have this one yet.  As soon as I put it on I could tell it was special.

Edie Brickell - Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars - My wife requested this one so I found a NM copy on Discogs for a reasonable price.  This kind of blew my socks off.  Sounds really wonderful and present and the music still holds up.

Counting Crows - August and Everything After - I surprised my wife with this one as it’s one of her favorite albums.  They really nailed the recording and pressing on this one.  It’s quite impressive. 

Ben Folds - What Matters Most - He’s one of our favorite songwriters but trying to find a copy of anything of his or Ben Folds Five for under $80 is nearly impossible.  This album was released just last year and they obviously paid special attention to the recording quality.  Sounds just phenomenal. 

Steely Dan - Northeast Corridor - Obviously everyone knows how amazing their studio recordings are but this album might be unknown to some as it came out just a few years ago.  I bought it on a whim knowing nothing about it.  It’s amazing.  As if they would release an album with less than stellar fidelity.  If you’re a Dan fan, this album is a no-brainer.

REM - Automatic for the People - Completely hypnotic.  Stunning recording.

OK, that’s enough from me.  


Frank Zappa's "Thingfish" 

Robin Thrower's "For Earth Below"

Al DeMeola's "Scenario" 

@roadwhorerecords @grislybutter @czarivey thank you for those contributions!  Hope to get to hear some of these on my system in the near future.

Who else has some suggestions for us to hear?

What a great post paulietunes, interesting and thought provoking. Thanks to bigtwin, I listened to Miles Davis In A Silent Way last night (via Qobuz), never heard this record before, absolutely fantastic! I am going to make my way through everyone's recommendations. The joy of finding new music.

@mgattmch thank you!  I’m enjoying this, too, and hopefully this post will continue to receive more recommendations.  Good to spend the winter getting exposed to different music and building up the collection with great recordings.  

I have often sung the praises of a series of recordings made by Nonesuch back in the 70's. Some are called "Spectrum New American Music". 

These recordings are quite amazing with regards to soundstage, imaging and the preproduction of other spatial cues. 

If you want to hear what a realistic, natural sounding soundstage sounds like, these recordings will do that. I can easily imagine getting up from my listening seat, and walking into the soundstage among the musicians. 

I listen to plenty great sounding rock recordings, but recordings like these are qualitatively on a different level.

And the thing is, these were a budget label when they were released. Not in the least bit considered "audiophile".

Musically, YMMV, since these tend to be pretty 'thorny' and atonal sounding (I love it!).  

They all tend to  have this visual format: