Great rock audiophile records...why so very few?

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
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La Jolla, Calif USA
#1
Jazz, Classical and even Blues seem to be well represented in audiophile recordings. Yet for some reason, I have heard very very few Rock recordings that I would consider to have great sound quality..or even mediocre sound quality. Not sure why that is??

Anyhow, maybe we could use this thread as an archive of the best sounding rock recordings...
It may be a short thread...as I am not aware of that many, but here are my few picks..

1) MFSL Santana Abraxas One Step

2) The Sheffield Track record.

3) Dire Straits ‘Love over Gold’..original Warner Bros pressing

4) James Newton Howard and Friends...Sheffield Lab. ( this one sounds good, but the music...:eek: )

5) Dark side of the Moon...Pink Floyd...various pressings.

Suggestions?
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#2
I think you are correct, but isn't this because most rock and pop is recorded in multi-track so that (i) after all the electronic and digital processing of individual tracks, and the mixing and baking of all of them together into two channels is completed, the sound quality has been reduced to poo; and ii) there is no original, organic musical to attempt to reproduce authentically?

Neil Young's voice on the song "After the Gold Rush" on the album After the Gold Rush sounds very clear and closely-mic'ed and well-recorded to me. His voice on all of the other songs on that album sounds cloudy and distant by comparison. I often think that during the recording of the vocal for "After the Gold Rush" the recording engineer forgot to hit the "Mess Up the Vocals" button on the console.
 
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DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
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La Jolla, Calif USA
#3
I think you are correct, but isn't this because most rock and pop is recorded in multi-track so that (i) after all the electronic and digital processing of individual tracks, and the mixing and baking of all of them together into two channels is completed, the sound quality has been reduced to poo; and ii) there is no original, organic musical to attempt to reproduce authentically?
Could be, but my example of the Dire straits album would lead one to believe that it is very possible to get great results...even with all of the studio processing. Same thing applies for DSOTM.
Any suggestions on great sounding rock albums?
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#4
I can't think of a single one of the albums I liked from the 1980s that was well-recorded. I love the music but Born to Run and Bat Out of Hell I think sound like messes.

I think some of the Fleetwood Mac stuff (e.g., Landslide) and some of the Eagles stuff (e.g., Hotel California) was decently recorded?
 

BruceD

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Dec 13, 2013
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#5
In no particular order:

God Willin' and the Creek don't Rise-- Ray La Montagne

Amused to Death -- Roger Waters

Under the Wishing Tree--- Charlie Sexton Band

Arc of a Diver--Stevie Winwood

Some Change--Boz Scaggs

Acadie--Daniel Lanois

Being There--Wilco

Big Man Big Guitar Live---Popa Chubby

YVMV:b

BruceD
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
133
63
La Jolla, Calif USA
#6
In no particular order:

God Willin' and the Creek don't Rise-- Ray La Montagne

Amused to Death -- Roger Waters

Under the Wishing Tree--- Charlie Sexton Band

Arc of a Diver--Stevie Winwood

Some Change--Boz Scaggs

Acadie--Daniel Lanois

Being There--Wilco

Big Man Big Guitar Live---Popa Chubby

YVMV:b

BruceD
Wow, some good suggestions there. I would never have guessed that Popa Chubby would have good SQ. OTOH, most of his work is considered blues.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
133
63
La Jolla, Calif USA
#7
I can't think of a single one of the albums I liked from the 1980s that was well-recorded. I love the music but Born to Run and Bat Out of Hell I think sound like messes.

I think some of the Fleetwood Mac stuff (e.g., Landslide) and some of the Eagles stuff (e.g., Hotel California) was decently recorded?

I know, it’s hard to think of a great sounding rock LP...from almost any era! A huge shame, as I really like rock and a lot of the bands that play it.
There are some great sounding Eagles Hotel California LP’s out there, also quite a few turkeys...depending on the reissue, but I agree, I think the master was pretty well done.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,263
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Manila, Philippines
#8
I remember that as a kid in the 70s, my uncles and my older brothers and cousins never really mentioned the stuff we prize today such as sound staging and imaging. Separation, which we oft take granted for these days, was a word often used to describe good sound. Fair I suppose as it was the age of inefficient speakers and the prepuberty years of solid state. Resolution was for the common listener in pretty rare supply even with older good recordings of classical and jazz.

In the 60s and 70s it is said that the blame is on the "Bounce". Bouncing tracks the act of combining multiple tracks into one and then playing that back together with the now freed up tracks as these are recorded. You can imagine how there is degradation every time that tape channel is recorded on and wiped. Not only that, once bounced, there is no going back. Multitrack recorders were rare and expensive. The majority were forced to you use 4 track recorders and do a lot of bouncing. To bounce properly required a lot of skill, George Martin God Level skills. I suppose that was in short supply too.

The advent of 16 track recorders which would cover the microphone assignment needs of your typical rock band would help somewhat. Still these were expensive and only established artists with label backing got time on them as the 70s began. Early works like Jefferson Airplane's Volunteer album is a good example of how less bouncing gave better clarity due to the reduction in masking and tape degradation. SMPTE timecode also came in around this time allowing for more discreet tracks.

On the artistic end, rock has always been about experimentation. Bands like the Who, Queen and Pink Floyd and individuals like Zappa ended up with good sound presumably because they were careful in their planning. Others I guess, such as the Stones, were more about the groove and less about the sonics. The 80s were all sonics but mostly forgettable fluff bringing about the rebellion later to be known as Grunge. The 90s saw the infancy of digital recording and the quality shows. Albums I wish escaped the ADAT era include Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill. Great music that will be forever scarred.
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
133
63
La Jolla, Calif USA
#9
I remember that as a kid in the 70s, my uncles and my older brothers and cousins never really mentioned the stuff we prize today such as sound staging and imaging. Separation, which we oft take granted for these days, was a word often used to describe good sound. Fair I suppose as it was the age of inefficient speakers and the prepuberty years of solid state. Resolution was for the common listener in pretty rare supply even with older good recordings of classical and jazz.

In the 60s and 70s it is said that the blame is on the "Bounce". Bouncing tracks the act of combining multiple tracks into one and then playing that back together with the now freed up tracks as these are recorded. You can imagine how there is degradation every time that tape channel is recorded on and wiped. Not only that, once bounced, there is no going back. Multitrack recorders were rare and expensive. The majority were forced to you use 4 track recorders and do a lot of bouncing. To bounce properly required a lot of skill, George Martin God Level skills. I suppose that was in short supply too.

The advent of 16 track recorders which would cover the microphone assignment needs of your typical rock band would help somewhat. Still these were expensive and only established artists with label backing got time on them as the 70s began. Early works like Jefferson Airplane's Volunteer album is a good example of how less bouncing gave better clarity due to the reduction in masking and tape degradation. SMPTE timecode also came in around this time allowing for more discreet tracks.

On the artistic end, rock has always been about experimentation. Bands like the Who, Queen and Pink Floyd and individuals like Zappa ended up with good sound presumably because they were careful in their planning. Others I guess, such as the Stones, were more about the groove and less about the sonics. The 80s were all sonics but mostly forgettable fluff bringing about the rebellion later to be known as Grunge. The 90s saw the infancy of digital recording and the quality shows. Albums I wish escaped the ADAT era include Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill. Great music that will be forever scarred.
Agreed. But I am hoping that there are going to be a few exceptions. These exceptions don’t have to be from any particular era. As an example, there are some Michael Jackson albums that seem to offer slightly better sound than the norm...although some of his music may not strictly be classified as rock.
Jack, any suggestions as to your best sounding rock albums?
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#10
listening to a 15ips, 1/2" fairly low gen master dub of Steely Dan's 'Gaucho' on the 1/2" Studer A-820 right now. I've had a fairly good 1/4", 15ips dub of this for years.....which easily bettered any vinyl i'd heard. this 1/2" is another few levels better.....and transcends any sense of a recording chain. i'm hearing waaaay into this; big, meaty, and rock-solid sounding. bass nuance and textures which play to all the best parts of the big rig.

'Hey Nineteen' must be heard to be believed. I've always loved the bass pulse and action, but i'm stupefied by this. no matter how hard I push it, it holds completely coherently together.....scales and scales.....as only the ultimate format can. super physical. this is really like hearing them live (which I've done 4 or 5 times), as blasphemous as that sounds.

Steely Dan can be too slick and polished, and I have to be in the mood for it. but it does scratch a certain itch.

I think that one has to dig and dig for the best examples of rock albums, but then you are rewarded as many do sound quite good. I have quite a few that hold my respect as very good sounding.
 
Last edited:
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BruceD

VIP/Donor
Dec 13, 2013
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#11
I remember that as a kid in the 70s, my uncles and my older brothers and cousins never really mentioned the stuff we prize today such as sound staging and imaging. Separation, which we oft take granted for these days, was a word often used to describe good sound. Fair I suppose as it was the age of inefficient speakers and the prepuberty years of solid state. Resolution was for the common listener in pretty rare supply even with older good recordings of classical and jazz.

In the 60s and 70s it is said that the blame is on the "Bounce". Bouncing tracks the act of combining multiple tracks into one and then playing that back together with the now freed up tracks as these are recorded. You can imagine how there is degradation every time that tape channel is recorded on and wiped. Not only that, once bounced, there is no going back. Multitrack recorders were rare and expensive. The majority were forced to you use 4 track recorders and do a lot of bouncing. To bounce properly required a lot of skill, George Martin God Level skills. I suppose that was in short supply too.

The advent of 16 track recorders which would cover the microphone assignment needs of your typical rock band would help somewhat. Still these were expensive and only established artists with label backing got time on them as the 70s began. Early works like Jefferson Airplane's Volunteer album is a good example of how less bouncing gave better clarity due to the reduction in masking and tape degradation. SMPTE timecode also came in around this time allowing for more discreet tracks.

On the artistic end, rock has always been about experimentation. Bands like the Who, Queen and Pink Floyd and individuals like Zappa ended up with good sound presumably because they were careful in their planning. Others I guess, such as the Stones, were more about the groove and less about the sonics. The 80s were all sonics but mostly forgettable fluff bringing about the rebellion later to be known as Grunge. The 90s saw the infancy of digital recording and the quality shows. Albums I wish escaped the ADAT era include Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill. Great music that will be forever scarred.
Don't forget the --

Aphex Aural Exciter :rolleyes:!

BruceD
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
6,135
133
63
La Jolla, Calif USA
#12
listening to a 15ips, 1/2" fairly low gen master dub of Steely Dan's 'Gaucho' on the 1/2" Studer A-820 right now. I've had a fairly good 1/4", 15ips dub of this for years.....which easily bettered any vinyl i'd heard. this 1/2" is another few levels better.....and transcends any sense of a recording chain. i'm hearing waaaay into this; big, meaty, and rock-solid sounding. bass nuance and textures which play to all the best parts of the big rig.

'Hey Nineteen' must be heard to be believed. I've always loved the bass pulse and action, but i'm stupefied by this. no matter how hard I push it, it holds completely coherently together.....scales and scales.....as only the ultimate format can. super physical. this is really like hearing them live (which I've done 4 or 5 times), as blasphemous as that sounds.

Steely Dan can be too slick and polished, and I have to be in the mood for it. but it does scratch a certain itch.

I think that one has to dig and dig for the best examples of rock albums, but then you are rewarded as many do sound quite good. I have quite a few that hold my respect as very good sounding.
Thanks Mike, very interesting. Please give us some of your recommendations.
 
Nov 3, 2017
87
1
8
#13
I think you are correct, but isn't this because most rock and pop is recorded in multi-track so that (i) after all the electronic and digital processing of individual tracks, and the mixing and baking of all of them together into two channels is completed, the sound quality has been reduced to poo; and ii) there is no original, organic musical to attempt to reproduce authentically?

Neil Young's voice on the song "After the Gold Rush" on the album After the Gold Rush sounds very clear and closely-mic'ed and well-recorded to me. His voice on all of the other songs on that album sounds cloudy and distant by comparison. I often think that during the recording of the vocal for "After the Gold Rush" the recording engineer forgot to hit the "Mess Up the Vocals" button on the console.
Same I think can be said for ELP. It seems that “From the Beginning”, “You Turn Me On” (no not you Ron), “Lucky Man” and I guess most of their singles are great, and then.....
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,263
238
63
Manila, Philippines
#14
Agreed. But I am hoping that there are going to be a few exceptions. These exceptions don’t have to be from any particular era. As an example, there are some Michael Jackson albums that seem to offer slightly better sound than the norm...although some of his music may not strictly be classified as rock.
Jack, any suggestions as to your best sounding rock albums?
Frampton Comes Alive comes to mind immediately :)
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,263
238
63
Manila, Philippines
#15

BruceD

VIP/Donor
Dec 13, 2013
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#17
As an example, there are some Michael Jackson albums that seem to offer slightly better sound than the norm...although some of his music may not strictly be classified as rock.

They may have achieved some sonic merit if Bruce Swedien hadn't been persuaded by head Monster Lee to wire the Recording Studio with Monster cable.

I've a Promo copy of BAD used to demo the " incredible detail and vivid presentation due to the cabling"

Meh!--- the ears will never be the same:mad:

Mores the Pity--- MJ did some groundbreaking stuff

BruceD
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
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Marina del Rey, CA
#18
I can't think of a single one of the albums I liked from the 1980s that was well-recorded. I love the music but Born to Run and Bat Out of Hell I think sound like messes.

I think some of the Fleetwood Mac stuff (e.g., Landslide) and some of the Eagles stuff (e.g., Hotel California) was decently recorded?
The Cars albums from the early 80s sound great.

Talking Heads is another group.

REM reissues

Sting

Remember my Bangles album? Haha

I can go on and on...
 

dcc

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Nov 4, 2012
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#19
Fully agree on the Cars albums and particularly the MoFi reissues.

The reissues by Intervention Records of Joe Jackson’s Look Sharp, I am the Man, Night and Day are also pretty good.
 

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