The Best In-Production Vinyl
Nov 14, 2008 at 4:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 108

Sherwood

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Bookending Zanth's excellent suggestion that we start posting some information on excellent recordings, I hereby start the compendium of the best in-production vinyl extant.

The purpose of this thread is to provide reviews of specific in-production recordings that are focused not only on musical content, but on musical delivery. Remasters are acceptable, but I would prefer to not get in a debate about which NOS remaster is better than the current one, as there are numerous other resources for that information.

So please: If you find a new, sealed LP that leaves you nodding your head, tapping you toes, and generally reciting the hipster creed of "vinyl is so much better", post that right here. Just make sure we know how and where to get it, and why it's so good.

Here are the recommendations to date with an example of where they can be purchased online. Please don’t forget your local record shop – if you don’t buy it, they won’t stock it. If you don’t have one, please consider purchasing from Acoustic Sounds – they’re excellent.

  1. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2008 180g 2LP reissue)
  2. Steely Dan – Aja (180g Kevin Gray remaster)
  3. Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold as Love (180g George Marino remaster from analog source)
  4. Drive By Truckers – Brighter than Creation’s Dark (180g 2LP)
  5. Duke Ellington – Blues in Orbit (200g LP)
  6. Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Steve Hoffman remastered 45)
  7. White Stripes – Icky Thump (Steve Hoffman remastered 180g 2LP)
  8. Fleet Foxes – self title (2008 LP)
  9. Demons & Wizards – Touched by the Crimson King (2008 180g 2LP)
  10. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (Kevin Grey Remaster 180g LP)
  11. Harry Belafonte -- ...At Carnegie Hall (200g LP)
  12. Henry Mancini -- The Music from Peter Gunn (180g LP)
  13. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks -- Real Emotional Trash (180g LP)
  14. My Morning Jacket -- Evil Urges (180g 2LP + CD)
  15. Porcupine Tree -- Lightbulb Sun (180g LP import)
  16. ZZ Top -- Tres Hombres (180g LP)
  17. Belle and Sebastien -- Dear Catastrophe Waitress (180g 2LP + MP3)
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 4:19 PM Post #2 of 108

LFF

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Nov 14, 2008 at 4:20 PM Post #3 of 108

Sherwood

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I'll get the ball rolling:

Wilco -- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2008 2LP + CD)


This album, first released in 2002, is iconic. It was famously rejected by Wilco's label for being too divergent from their existing sound, and rather than change it Wilco purchased the rights and released it as-is.

It is to date their best-selling album.

Being that it is 6 years old, I'll assume many of you are familiar with the music on here. It is catchy alt-country in places, jangly pop rock in others, and generally groundbreaking from start to finish.

This particular version is the best ever pressed. The noisefloor is vanishingly low. I haven't heard a pop, click, tick, or otherwise. So far as I can tell the master is identical to the previous pressing, so it's not a remaster, just a re-release. The dynamic range of this album is truly spectacular, and I'm not noticed any compression or clipping on any of the four sides. Part of this comes from the recording process, and part of it comes from the fact that none of the material on here was ever dicked around with by a major label. The most musical master is what they presented to their label, and it's what we get on disc.

If you have the means and the inclination, this is one of the best ways you can possibly spend $30 on your system. The price is a little high, especially for a standard weight vinyl, but it is 2 lps and a cd, so you can still have a copy to rip to your DAP of choice without having to needledrop the vinyl.

This has replaced the 180g pressing of Ornete Coleman's "free jazz" as my stereo demo record, and after 40 or 50 plays it's still as quiet as digital.

Try it out.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 3:44 PM Post #6 of 108
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Steely Dan - Aja (Cisco/Gray)

Cisco is closing its doors, so this album is going out of print, but it is still available new. Really, this is a must own for any analog audiophile. Combine the studio mastery and song writing genius of the Dan with the mastering genius of Kevin Gray and we have audio perfection. Its my reference for satisfying midbass punch and perfect, not-to-bright treble sparkle.

I'll also second the Sundazed YHFT. I haven't heard the current pressing but the Sundazed is out of this world good.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 5:17 PM Post #7 of 108

TimJo

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Being a vinyl fan, I'll start adding some recommendations to this thread...

Today I'll start with a recent release that is particularly good. It's a reissue, but sounds better than any original version you can afford to buy simply because it's new.

It's the new Geffen release of Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love, one of my latest purchases.

It's part of the 'Back To Black' releases of late, which in general have gotten mixed reviews, but this particular one is outstanding. It is a brand new all analog mastering by George Marino at Sterling Sound, using the original master tapes. The 180 gram vinyl is flat and and dead quiet. The soundstage is huge and the dynamics are phenomenal. It's a pressing that just wants to be played at loud volumes. Highly recommended...

Note: They also released Are You Experienced, but that one is a digital master from a few years back, transfered to vinyl. It is okay, but not on the same level as Axis.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 5:25 PM Post #8 of 108

Sherwood

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I don't own the Sundazed LP, but I heard them side-by-side when I purchased the new one.

So far as I could tell on that excellent system in that terrible room, the masters were exactly the same. A brief look at the grooves implied that the length was the same. The new one was quieter to me, and $5 cheaper, so I sprung for it.

However, in the interest of starting this thread off right, I am willing to splurge on the Sundazed LP, if only to have a backup copy of what is rapidly becoming my most-played album. I'll keep you all apprised.


EDIT:

I just got the sundazed in -- fantastic. Just as quiet, just as good, but perhaps even a little more brilliant on the high end. Since they both seem to be in production, I'll let the listing stand, but know that either version you get of this album will be a knockout.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 7:00 AM Post #9 of 108

omegaman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TimJo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Being a vinyl fan, I'll start adding some recommendations to this thread...

Today I'll start with a recent release that is particularly good. It's a reissue, but sounds better than any original version you can afford to buy simply because it's new.

It's the new Geffen release of Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love, one of my latest purchases.

It's part of the 'Back To Black' releases of late, which in general have gotten mixed reviews, but this particular one is outstanding. It is a brand new all analog mastering by George Marino at Sterling Sound, using the original master tapes. The 180 gram vinyl is flat and and dead quiet. The soundstage is huge and the dynamics are phenomenal. It's a pressing that just wants to be played at loud volumes. Highly recommended...

Note: They also released Are You Experienced, but that one is a digital master from a few years back, transfered to vinyl. It is okay, but not on the same level as Axis.




Just ordered both these from insound, I've read great things about axis and although AYE as not had as rave reviews, I thought I would go for both. I don't have AYE on vinyl and thought It would be worth a listen.

Is there a better version out there ? apart from a mint first pressing $$$$$.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 7:03 PM Post #10 of 108

TimJo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by omegaman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Is there a better version out there ? apart from a mint first pressing $$$$$.


Not really, especially if you don't have it on vinyl. That version is two lp's as well, with bonus tracks (since it is the digital remaster from the Experience Hendrix releases from a few years back.)
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 7:25 PM Post #11 of 108

TimJo

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My pick of the year for 2008 is The Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark.

This is a New-West release pressed at RTI on 180 gram vinyl - flat, quiet, and good quality inner sleeves. The album itself was recorded on 2" tape, so this is an all analog affair. Great soundstage, presence, and detail (some folks have commented almost too much in a few places if creaks and rattles in the studio bug you). The dynamics are amazing so it is one that begs to be played at louder volumes to get the impact of quiet vs. loud. I'm a big Truckers fan, and I'd say this may be their strongest release so far. Highly recommended.

For those new to the band, they have a great website. Here's what Patterson Hood said about this release:

Not only is this our finest album, but it sounds better on vinyl by an even bigger margin than any of the others. It was written, learned, played, mixed and mastered for vinyl. It's how it was meant to be heard and it shines like Rain Dance Car Wax on a 69 Camarro.
It may not be as fast around the curve as your modern hybrid but that long road trip will be as fine a ride as you ever experience.
Gatefold sleeve to separate what needs to be separated. Big Beautiful artwork by Wes Freed seen in the size it was intended to be seen in.
Technicolor horizons. Indeed.


Here are some song by song notes written by Patterson Hood, worth checking out as well.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 8:09 PM Post #12 of 108

jsaliga

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I'm not buying very much new vinyl these days. I have had a terrible run of defective pressings from Classic Records and Analogue Productions and I just got tired of dealing with it.

That said, I absolutely love the sound of my Classic Records 200g pressing of Duke Ellington's Blues in Orbit.

bluesinorbit.jpg


It's one of my favorite albums, and I consider myself very fortunate to have a clean copy. It beats hands down the MoFi SACD, and is quieter than the original vinyl pressing that I have. It is still available last time I checked on Acoustic Sounds. If you can snag a good copy then it is very much worth having if you like jazz or are an Ellington fan. Johnny Hodges blows some mind numbing alto sax in these sessions.

--Jerome
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 8:16 PM Post #13 of 108

Zanth

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Since we are close to Christmas, how about Steve Hoffman's remaster of A Charlie Brown Christmas? It was released last year on heavy vinyl, 45 rpm, limited to 1000 or 5000, I can't recall. Anyhow, I was able to grab a copy after Christmas, so I refused to listen to it. This year however, I've enjoyed it quite a bit!

The rule of thumb in my house, no Christmas ANYTHING until after November 11th (Remembrance Day in Canada). When I was growing up it was December 1st, as my brother's birthday is the 30th of November and we didn't want anything overshadowing it.

Anyhow, with the earlier date of Christmas music present in the household, the experience has been stunning. Wonderful music + heavy good quality pressing + Hoffman mastering.

For a not so holiday oriented release, try Hoffman's mastering of the White Stripes latest album. Recorded completely with vintage gear, analogue all the way down. The vinyl release sounds significantly better than the CD counterpart.

For something not so pricey, how about the Fleet Foxes? Incredible experience on vinyl. The atmosphere of the small church is blissful to listen to. If one closes their eyes one could easily picture being there with them as they sing.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 8:16 PM Post #14 of 108

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For metal, I highly recommend Touched by the Crimson King by Demons & Wizards, 180g double LP. It sounds amazing. With my mid-fi speakers, I can hear a clear difference between the vinyl and CD version of this recording.

Also, I just received the 30th-anniversary Kevin Grey-remastered 180g pressing of Dark Side of the Moon. It flat out rocks, with dynamics in spades.
 
Nov 16, 2008 at 8:20 PM Post #15 of 108

Zanth

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Quote:

Originally Posted by acidbasement /img/forum/go_quote.gif
For metal, I highly recommend Touched by the Crimson King by Demons & Wizards, 180g double LP. It sounds amazing. With my mid-fi speakers, I can hear a clear difference between the vinyl and CD version of this recording.

Also, I just received the 30th-anniversary Kevin Grey-remastered 180g pressing of Dark Side of the Moon. It flat out rocks, with dynamics in spades.



Oh! I had no idea he did a remastering! Is this a recent release? Or the one that was released a few years ago (I don't know when the anniversary was). That classic album is wonderful regardless of the mastering, so having a top notch remaster would be worth the likely $50 cost.
 

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