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What are the best sounding albums / tracks in your collection?

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by SVXDan83, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. SVXDan83


    The title kind of says it all... I'm always on the lookout for great SOUNDING music. When I've looked for these kinds of lists elsewhere on the Internet, I always end up on some audio gear forum where everyone responds with the same 15 classic rock albums, but we're definitely in an era where a lot of musicians are focusing on sound quality so there have to be tons of newer examples!

    What songs or albums do you use as a reference to test (or show off) headphones / audio systems / etc...?

    I'll start off with a few of mine:
    • Ryan Adams - Love is Hell
    • Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands
    • The War on Drugs - Lost In The Dream
    • Death Cab For Cutie - Plans
    • Counting Crows - August & Everything After
  2. Henry

    Moderator Moderator

    Oddly, I would say a lot of recent metal core. A lot of the production is super slick, even from some smaller acts. It's not good music, but you will get s good feel for things.
  3. Ben

    Trusted Prestigious

    angrycandy likes this.
  4. JRGComedy

    Trusted Supporter

    The 1975
  5. Owlex

    free snewt Prestigious

    Tame Impala - Currents
    St. Vincent - Actor
    Kanye West - Yeezus
    Anberlin - Dark is the Way, Light is a Place

    Are my go-to records for that typically
  6. nfdv2

    Trusted Prestigious

    honestly do not know what "best sounding" refers to but my favorite albums w/r/t production and engineering are Cymbals Eat Guitars' Why There Are Mountains, followed closely by Cymbals Eat Guitars' Lenses Alien. also think On the Impossible Past has really really good production even tho it's not super slick or anything
  7. SVXDan83


    Sorry, I instantly realized how vague and stupid that sounded! By "best sounding" I meant in regards to mixing quality, production quality, separation, mastering, etc... Originally I was going to say "audiophile" quality, but I know that can be a nasty word to some!
  8. ManchesterOrch8

    Motel. Money. Murder. Madness.

    The easiest and probably most cliche is Steely Dan - Aja.

    Literally one of the best sounding records ever. Regardless of taste, the production on that album is famous.
  9. jorbjorb Apr 11, 2016
    (Last edited: Apr 11, 2016)

    7 rings

    The Maine - American Candy
    The 1975 - The 1975
    The 1975 - I like it when you sleep
    Bad Suns - Language and Perspective
    Relient K - FANSD

    Acceptance - Take Cover

    Worst Sounding: Anything produced by Will Yip
  10. JM95


    Deftones - White Pony
    PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    Pantera - Far Beyond Driven
    Bjork - Homogenic
    Tool - Lateralus

    Not a big 'audiophile' myself but I love the sound of these records. Digital Bath on White Pony would be my go-to song for testing out headphones.
    angrycandy likes this.
  11. williek311

    @wearthicksocks Prestigious

    The guitar tone on Only Living Witness' Prone Metal Form.
  12. Garrett

    you're not a ghost Moderator

    Ellie Goulding's Halcyon
  13. Bartek T.

    D'oh! Prestigious

    As a reference to test anything I've been using mostly anything post rock-ish etc., with quiet/loud dynamic, for example:

    Sleepmakeswaves - "Love of Cartography"
    The American Dollar - "A Memory Stream"
    Arms & Sleepers - "Matador"

    Other recent perferct-sounding albums:
    Copeland - "Ixora" & "Twin"
    From Indian Lakes - "Absent Sounds"
    Gates - "Bloom & Breathe"
    Caspian - "Dust & Disquiet"
    Foxing - "Dealer"

    And there's been more I really loved, but I'll limit myself to 5 :))

    To reference what I want my own recording to sound like I use different things, it really depends. For most of my projects I have some collections of songs I usually bring up, and as far as I remember "What To Do When You Are Dead" by Armor For Sleep always gets a mention ;p
  14. Preserved Moose

    Amateur Hour

    SVXDan83 and Bartek T. like this.
  15. Bartek T.

    D'oh! Prestigious

    I'm curious what didn't you like in what he produced in 2015? Actually, every year W. Yip has been holding his hands on some of my favorite albums of the year lately :)) For example, from just last year I definitely loved the mewithoutYou new album "Pale Horses", it's become on of my all-time favorites by mwY, and the sound is perfect in my opinion.

    That's just mostly a matter of taste, and (not trying to be fe anyhow offensive) maybe just by your "perfect production choices" I would be able to foretell that you wouldn't be a fan of most of his stuff. It's just mostly raw, weird and muddy. Whereas for example those records are more shiny and clean (well, most of them are). I loved the production of "Phantoms" the most out of everything you've mentioned - I'm a fan of both, clean, and dirty production, it just depends :))

    However, I wouldn't try out new speakers/headphones on Yip's productions, but I'd definitely let him mix my own music, if it makes sense :)
  16. jorbjorb

    7 rings

    I take back a little bit of what I said about Yip. I did like the production on Turnovers new album. I think the sound of that band/album suits the whole "raw" recording aspect. You can't really go wrong when the guitars are clean and the vocals are soft. I think when he does rock albums other people do it better. I do not like the way his drums sound at all and I think that's the most important part to making an album sound great. I don't even think he is getting "raw" drum sounds and is replacing almost all of it with samples. I'm not an audio engineer so what do I know. Yips mixes just hurt my ears. It sounds like he is driving everything to 11.

    A good "raw" rock album I like is Clarity by Jew or Home by Hotelier. I would also consider Relient K FANSD as a "raw" album.

    I would agree that "muddy" is a good term to associate wills work with and personally I'm not into it.

    I dig that phantoms album because it's hard to find a good distorted guitar tone these days. Phantoms sounds pretty good to me.

    Just reading above I am on board with copeland/FIL being great sounding albums as well
  17. Turkeylegz


    Always loved the real raw production on Transgender Dysphoria Blues. It made so much sense for that album.
  18. Lindsay M

    drunk on the radio waves

    I'm not super knowledgeable as an "audiophile," but I will say that I've found the latest Somos album to sound really awesome on my nice headphones, and that made me like the record a whole lot more.
    Owlex likes this.
  19. SVXDan83


    Good call on Tool! Not sure how they escaped my mind! Their albums are always very well done!
  20. SVXDan83


    Parts of this album seemed a little too heavy on the high end for my tastes, but I agree that I like the direction AM! went with it. Personally, I thought White Crosses had a better overall balanced mix, but that wouldn't have suited TDB as much.
    jorbjorb likes this.
  21. travisred

    Trusted Supporter

    Really love how American Candy sounds. Especially the drums, the snare sounds so good on every track! Not huge fan of Bad Suns but if I remember correctly the low end and drums sound pretty dang good on that record too. Good choices.
    jorbjorb likes this.
  22. jorbjorb

    7 rings

    yeah not a huge fan of bad suns as i was a few years back but I think the album sounds great

    The drums on the Maine album is pretty much the maine reason I put this album up there.

    thanks man.
  23. Elder Lightning

    A lightning bolt without a cloud in the sky Supporter

    The Goodnight Moon by Rookie of the Year was fantastically produced.

    I also agree with a lot of the ones posted already: Radiohead (especially OK Computer, Kid A, and In Rainbows), Deftones – White Pony, Tool – Lateralus, Against Me!Transgender Dysphoria Blues
  24. Bartek T.

    D'oh! Prestigious

    Oh yeah, I liked the sound on Turnover's latest album as well, but that good change is probably mostly credited to the band (I didn't like their past stuff too much). I agree on the drums part - I love good drum sounds, but on the other hand, if the drums are a bit awkward, it rarely ruins the whole listening process for me. I'm pretty accepting of flaws within production when the songs are good :)

    I'd actually assume that very little sample-work goes into Will Yip's methods, I don't hear any sampling, mostly muted or distorted sounds, not polished too much - I'm also not a professionalist, so I can't speak "the language" to explain what I mean that well ;p hopefully Noise Creators might get him on their podcast and then I'll be sure - cause they always ask a 'drum-samples question' ;D

    Jimmy's "Clarity" is just perfect! It's basically a great mix of top-notch production, full backgrounds, and some dirty sounds, I'd completely second that! Although it's very polished at times too. And "FANSD" was the reason I wrote "most of them" saying those album-choices were clean-sounding, cause this one surely isn't ;D like it a lot as well! I loved how they captured some of the darker guitar-tones on it. Need to get back to it sometimes soon!
    jorbjorb likes this.
  25. jorbjorb

    7 rings

    Well said man. I'll have to check out that Noise Creators podcast. Didn't know it existed until now. Thanks for the rec.
    Bartek T. likes this.