What are the best sounding albums (surround or stereo)


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2K Club - QQ Super Nova
QQ Supporter
May 20, 2013
Duesseldorf, Germany
I like to start this thread, because there are great sounding albums in both
worlds...surround and stereo.
In my world I listen to stereo music even more than surround.
Perhaps 60% in 2.1 (subwoofer is always activated) and 40% in surround.

These are my top ten albums and I just looooove that Talk Talk album.
This interview with Phill Brown tells us more about the recording:


1. Talk Talk - Spirit Of Eden 2.0
2. Fink- Perfect Darkness 2.0
3. F.G.T.H. - Welcome To The Pleasuredome 2.0
4. Steely Dan - Gaucho 5.1
5. Roger Waters - Amused To Death 2.0
6. XTC - English Settlement 2.0
7. Radiohead - The King Of Limbs 2.0
8. Sting - Nothing Like The Sun 5.1
9. Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms 5.1
10. Roxy Music - Avalon 5.1
These are some of my stereo references for mixing, mastering, and evaluating equipment (no particular order):

  • Steve Winwood: Chronicles, original Island US CD (9 25660-2 on case, 1 25660-2 SRC-04 on disc). To my ears, one of the best-sounding CDs I've ever heard.
  • The Fixx: Reach The Beach, original MCA US CD (MCAD-5419/DIDX 53 on case, MCAD 5419J S5C21 on disc—I think; hard to make out the last two characters). An odd choice, perhaps, but I really like the sound of this album.
  • The Doobie Brothers: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, Mobile Fidelity SACD. Extremely musical from start to finish.
  • Marc Cohn: Marc Cohn, Mobile Fidelity Gold CD. "Ghost Train" is just magical.
  • Dire Straits: On Every Street, original Warner Bros. US CD (9 26680-2 on case, XM3 S3 1 26680-2 SRC=01 ARC on disc), and Brothers In Arms, Mobile Fidelity SACD. Mark Knopfler knew what sounded good and made it happen; Rob LoVerde's mastering job on the MoFi Brothers​ SACD is sublime.
  • Flim & The BB's: Tricycle and Big Notes, original DMP Records CD releases. These are legendary discs that you may have heard shopping for hifi equipment in the mid-to-late '80s/early '90s.
  • Steven Wilson: Grace For Drowning, preferably 24-bit/96kHz from the Blu-ray/download. Not that it sounds any better than what has followed, but I know the material intimately.
  • Steely Dan: Aja, any released version. The answer to, "How sonically perfect can an album be?"

As for surround mixing, my go-to reference is always the work of Steven Wilson, but that's more for placement of elements within the mix. Certainly, the fidelity of most of his mixes is quite good. I'd be hard-pressed to pick favorites, though.
Steely Dan
-Aja (MFSL LP)
-Gaucho (DVD-A)

are my "go to recordings" when I go do somewhere else...

Roger Nichols was a freakin' genius..
Elton/GBYBR/DVD/Audio/FFAF/enough said
The Last Waltz/DVD/Audio/Staples Singers sound like they're in the room
Gaucho/DTS/YES I prefer it to the DVD/A
Brothers in Arms/DVD/Audio/Wow!
LOVE/DVD/A/It's the Beatles!(y)(y)(y)(y)(y)
Aja/2 channel, but sonic perfection
With over 20,000 albums in our collection, this is a DAMN TOUGH QUESTION!

I guess that anything by Bessie Smith or Charlie Patton doesn't qualify, huh?

But seriously, folks, here a few that come to mind:
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Kunzel/Zinzinatti Telarc 80's LP OR better yet
new performance Telarc DVD-A/SACD Cannons!!!
Crime of the Century - Suppertramp MoFi 1/2 speed LP or Gold CD, or better yet BD-A
ANYTHING on Opus 3 Records 2ch analog to SACD. CD's sound good, too, LP's sound great 5.1's are mostly ambient
Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits DVD-A 5.1/UK 5.1 SACD or MoFi 2ch SACD IF you have to.
Touch - John Klemmer MoFi 1/2 speed LP or Gold CD
Everything Must Go - Steely Dan DVD-A 5.1
Passion Dance - Herb Alpert DTS 5.1
I Robot - Alan Parsons Project DVD-A (2ch) is best. SACD, Mofi (silver) CD or 1/2 speed LP are very good, too
Wagner & Bach: Stokowski/LSO Dutton 5.1 SACD or 2 separate CD-4 LP releases
Ongaku Kai (Live in Japan) - Crusaders dbx encoded LP (MUST have dbx decoder!) CD sounds like CRAP!
ALL 3 Harry James Sheffield Direct-to-Disc LP's. CD releases (Sheffield Treasury) are OK, sourced from tape
King James Version, Comin' from a Good Place & Still Harry After All These Years My direct-to-discs are autographed.
Finesse - John Klemmer Nautilus Direct-to-Disc LP. regular LP & CD's are sourced from tape
The Mix - Kraftwerk CD (can't wait for BD box later this week)
Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot CD-4 LP or Quad reel MoFi 1/2 speed LP (2ch) is good, too
Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd (AP Quad mix) BD-A
The Door - Keb' Mo' 2ch single layer SACD
Innervisions - Stevie Wonder 2ch Japan SHM-SACD. MoFi Gold CD sounds good, but SACD is better.