Best Sounding CD Ever?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by robchittum, Jul 3, 2003.

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  1. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    What is the best sounding CD available (any genre) in terms of recording and mastering job out there? I know opinions will differ, but I an wanting to buy a CD to use as a learning too (listening and learning about what I should go for in terms of sound).
  2. Beau Landry

    Beau Landry Guest

    Tom Petty's Wildflowers? I can't think of anything that touches it.
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    It's too subjective. It's what serves the music best is what you should be striving for. You can learn just as much from bad sounding cd's too. Music is an art form, not a SAT score. Does it move you, make you listen, make you smile, laugh, cry, kill someone. Does it translate from system to system. If it accomplishes this then you've done your job.
  4. 3dchris

    3dchris Active Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    dak side ov da moon!
  5. keithant

    keithant Guest

    I know what the worst sounding CD i've heard in a long time is,Metallica's new album,i think the recording engineer must have been drunk when he made this one,worst audio quality i have heard in a long time.I liked it better when recording studio's where analog,back then i think engineers took more time to make great recordings.Now i think they just crank up the levels push a button and walk away.I think studio's are in a hurry to get the things out to the public instead of taking the time to make a good product.Of course this is purely my observation or opinnion and your miliage may vary..PEACE and Happy 4th of July everyone..Keith H.
  6. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    I agree that there is some pretty crappy CD's being put out there now. I have been listening to a few very successful new albums on some very good headphones lately and have noticed some distortion in places. Seems that a lot of folks are going for very "hot" albums (hitting the max limit button or something) and they don't seem to be worried about a few digital artifacts. Pretty careless in my opinion.
  7. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Rob, what style of music? I agree with Michael that it's subjective. Maybe the question should be what are some good reference CDs?
  8. robchittum

    robchittum Guest

    That is what I'm looking for - thanks for the clarification. I would like a good acoustic and good rock reference to learn from. I think all of Alison Kraus's stuff sounds pretty darn good, but I would like other suggestions.
  9. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Sit in the sweet spot while listening to any track from Tool's Undertow for a great rock reference. The clarity in that album blows me away every time I listen to it.
  10. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Check out Coldplay. As far as older stuff I liked the Sadie productions and Miles Davis "Kind of Blue". I'm a big fan of most T-Bone Burnett and Brenden O'Brien productions (sp?). I find that things get really weird when I find myself enjoying really bad music just because of the production values. Then again some things sound so bad that they start to sound good. (some of the Frank Black stuff- very innovative or accidental?). Sometimes a really raw sound will deliver such an emotional impact that is easily lost with too much finesse. It can be a fine line to walk. Figure out the direction you want to go in before you start twiddling with the knobs.
  11. Jbuntz

    Jbuntz Guest

    Undertow has a very bright (something that sounds music man-esque) and very loud bass. The guitars almost take second seat to bass on this album. However, that could contribute to it's clarity (people who mix metal guitars know what i'm talking about). I personaly like the sound overall of the last two albums with the exception of the overcompression during mastering.

    Staying in that same genre, the new deftones sounds amazing despite the heavy compression in mastering and as long as you dont mind megaphone vocals for a whole album. The kick drum sound rocks! The snare sound is way tight and high but still sounds good! Terry Date always impressed me for heavy rock albums.

    As far as interesting production, Radiohead's OK Computer is amazing! Simultaneously mechanical and organic sounding. Never heard another album like it.

    Second place for interesting production would be anything Tom Waits has done for the last 15 years. Very earthy, amient sound that gives you chills.

    Aphex Twin's "Richard D. James" is a one trick pony as far as sounds but it also one of my favorites sonically. So basic it almost sounds like atari video game music.

    I could go on all day. You can't compare the production of Tool to Aphex Twin or Tom Waits or another other genre to any other genre. It's like saying "who's better? michael jordan or tiger woods?"
  12. Exmun

    Exmun Guest

    For a nice South American CD, I'd suggest "Espiritu vivo" By Susana Baca. The recording is very well done and everything beyond it (mixing, mastering) seems to be spot on. Susana Baca does Afro Peruvian music, so you're going to get very organic music. This CD, however, was recorded in NY (Right Track Studios I believe). The deep tones that they got from the acoustic bass are incredible to hear. It's a very sparse record in many places. I credit the mastering engineer with gently massaging the CD rather than the typical squishing that is all too common these days.

    For bluegrass/folk, I also like Dan Tyminski's latest record. A real nice recording and beyond job with great clarity for each part. They seemed to do a lot of hi-pass filtering (or low end reduction) on his voice to get it to fit, but it worked for this record. Very polished.

  13. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    I´m afraid the pancake squeezing starts happening with SACD´s and DVD-A´s also.

    About crapy high end mastering, I prefer the ones I do with $1000plug-ins lol

    I like Steve Vai´s "Passion and Warfare", Firegarden", Satriani´s Extremist, Toto´s Kingdom of Desire, Yes´s 90125, Fragile, Big Generator, Rush´s Counterparts, Power Windows, Hold your fire and so and so..

    lol :p:
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    John Hiatt's Crossing Muddy Waters...

    For massive production values....don't laugh....Shania Twain's Come On Over..its The Mutt at his best...actually the one before it is just as good....

    Joan Osborne's are right in yer face and you can hear every note.

    Find a good copy of the album, not the CD, the PLASTIC and make your own copy of Hendrix...Axis Bold As Love and listen to Eddie Kramer use great big old tube gear and four tracks...its also a guitar primer.The clean rhythm is the best that ever was and still is.

    [ October 06, 2003, 10:56 AM: Message edited by: Davedog ]
  15. Treena Foster

    Treena Foster Active Member

    Jul 4, 2003
    "I would like a good acoustic and good rock reference to learn from."

    For me....

    Bonnie Raitts, Nick Of Time Cd, produced by Don Was. Bonnie covers every genre of music and the tones are beyond reproach!


  16. Cary

    Cary Guest

    I see you have an ear similar to mine. I would have named those cd's also.
  17. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Oh yeah, Tom Petty's Wildflowers has been jumping to the top of my list since it came out. Talk about an amazing sounding album. The balance is amazing, the drums are perfect, and the vocals sound oh so good.

    My top three:

    1. Tom Petty - Wildflowers
    2. Radiohead - OK Computer
    3. Sgt. Pepper. I know, it's outdated, but the sound is so unique, and I love the old school panning. If you listen to some of the individual sounds on that album...they're so cool sounding. The production is also top notch.
  18. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Undertow by tool was a fantastic sounding record, but just a little synthetic. In their case, it suits them well.
    Fiona apple's Tidal was great.
    Paul simon's graceland.
    Throwing copper by live
    Tom petty, full moon fever
    Blue rodeo lost together
    Pat methany letter from home(a touch brittle though)
    Santana Spirits dancing in the flesh.
    Slayer god hates us all
    Chilies Blood sugar sex magic
  19. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2002
    Denver, CO
    OK. How about some GREAT sounding "classical" acoustic recordings?

    Los Angeles Guitar Quartet - "LAGQ" and "Air & Ground"

    John Williams (no, not the composer) - "The Guitarist"

    These three definitely set the bar for classical guitar recording. I've searched for technical info regarding the John Williams album, but can't find anything. If anyone knows of anything, let me know.
  20. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    I wanted to clarify my comment about tool sounding synthetic, as another member pointed out to me that this could be taken a couple of ways.

    In no way at all was I making a point at the engineer of the record. Primo job engineering!!
    I simply didn't think that the bands sound is natural. That doesn't mean that the studio is faking their sound. I have seen tool live, and it does sound just like the record. I like them very much and they influence my music.

    To me, if you are going to look at the best sounding album, I think it's simply a matter of preference. Most of the time I would rather listen to tool, but I think the graceland album sounds better.

    Just my opinion! Thanks for listening. :D
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