Best Recordings

It seems today's music artists don't really care about the quality of their recordings; it seems many of them produce recordings for boom box or car stereo.

What are some of the best recordings?
Most Anything Pink Foyd. one of my favorite recordings is The devil went down to georgia by the Charlie Daniels band. Another one i that i think is good for a audiotion track would be Mr Robato by the Styx believe it or not. lol Those are just some of my favorites. Im going out to get some more pink Floyd today. Theyre Great!
Well Jxl that's quite a claim,of course there are many of today's artists who do care about how their music sounds and of course there are artists who maybe are only concerned with selling records.
There are also interesting artists who may be trying to do something different with their music and may not fit your idea of what constitutes a good recording or even good young bands with not the money to get a decent recording done.
Your question is so vague as to be almost meaningless.
Have you any type of particular music in mind?
If not consider Radiohead in the alternative rock field.
Ryan Adams in the alternative country/singer songwriter field.
Metallica in the heavy metal field.
Eva Cassidy in the popular field.
Madonna in the pop field.
The White Stripes,Jeff Buckley,Rufus Wainwright etc etc,jings even the last Dylan album is well recorded.
If none of this fits the bill there is enough new reissues etc. to sink a boat-Simon &Garfunkel,Pink Floyd,Nick Drake,Miles Davis,Roxy Music,Bowie,Steely Dan Led Zeppelin,Frank Sinatra etc etc.
You might even consider buying a music monthly like Mojo and reading about music you might like to hear and you know take a chance on something.
Interestingly enough one of this years best releases has a poor production they are a young band from New York called The Strokes.
To me it's about music.
You'll find many of what I listed above will not be considered good recordings by other people.
Is that kind of world...sometimes you gotta find your own way........

ben makes a very good point. there are numerous contemporary artists and labels that care about the sonic quality of their records. indeed, i think, on the whole, the quality of redbook cd's has increased significantly over the past few years. here are a few more artists to add to ben's list:

neil young
string cheese incident
ani difranco
los lobos
willie nelson
dave carter & tracy grammer
david byrne
lucinda williams
Try anything from the Alan Parsons Project. He is the recording engineering for Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” .
Well, Ben, is there any good reason to get snotty with jlx?

I think he is correct about one thing, many of today's pop artists' producers do record with the end delivery system in mind..that would be the boom box and the car with the 4 30" woofers.

I don't think there is anything wrong with liking poorly recorded music for the musics' sake. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with seeking out well recorded music, is there? I think there are many young artists (pop) who wouldn't know how to make a good recording if they had the bucks. But, of course, their idea of 'good' could be different than mine, always a convenient cop-out.

And speaking of Miles Davis, which album is it that you thought was well recorded? Perhaps it's 'Kind of Blue'? With all the digits spilled over that poor cut-and-spliced analogue tape, I guess it only has to get better, huh? I really can't think of any other Miles' albums that sounds particularly well recorded, although they are certainly some of the best jazz music every laid down.

It really sounds like your definition of well recorded is different than mine. Guess I found my own different-than-yours way. On a more positive note, what new recording would you recommend that sounds good, since I think that was the original intent of the poster?
I'm in agreement that MANY recordings esp. newer (but definitely those from 70's thru 90's) are what I'd call over-engineered and often poorly recorded. Technology hasn’t necessarily been a good thing. …While it provided opportunity for creativity it is also what has lead us to some of the poor recording practices that are now readily accepted.

For years recording companies and engineers have engineered music to sound good on the radio - esp. car stereos and moderate hi-fi systems. We in the higher res. world haven't been considered for the most part. There ARE those established artists who have been both interested and able to have significant or ‘complete’ creative control of their work e.g. the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Harry Connick Jr., Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Sting, U-2… While there are others too these are a few that came to mind (popular music) from the 60's to now.

Just by listening to most modern recordings one can discern that ZERO consideration has been taken into recording the acoustic interaction of the performer/instruments with the recording environment and in the case of multiple musicians – each other. …On occasion a RAW recording turns out to be good i.e. Eric Clapton’s ‘Unplugged’ (which wasn’t ever supposed to see daylight). But for the most part it’s as though acoustic environment and proximity are complete non-issues or afterthoughts. I attribute this to the reality that most bands are recorded with each member in their own iso-booth on a dedicated voice track, and each instrument/sound effect on it’s own track.

By isolating each instrument and member the individual tracks can be tailored to FIT the sound the engineer wants, and to remove any errors. I’m certain many of us are all too aware the end result of this type of recording. Its a sound that could most correctly be described as a mélange – with overlapping images fighting to occupy the same space, or a space that is disproportionate – whether too small or too large. The lack of believable aural cues completely kills the illusion. …And while the music is still enjoyable one doesn't get the holographic experience one does when the recording is RIGHT.

IMO that the lack of concern for recording quality is most likely due to economic & political issues within the recording industry. Bands are paid to sell CD’s, and to produce them on time and on budget. If they want to be successful then they’ve got to play ball, and not sweat the details (until they’re important enough to get away with it). I suspect that this is why so many new artists first recordings are often less than great quality.

I'd love to see more artists and studios pursue realistic sound. …This isn't to say that I don't enjoy music that is heavily engineered or with many effects/multi-tracks. I merely prefer recordings that sound as though the performers are in front of me as opposed to those recordings, which sound as though everything is floating in space. Its almost as thought these recordings were made for headphones - so that the band is positioned between ones ears. …This is not a snub to those folks who like/desire and seek out this effect esp. when indulging in various ‘listening experience enhancing substances’.

I'd love to hear anyone’s comments/opinions re: companies such as Sheffield Labs who use only one set of stereo microphones and a single track to record. Sheffield recordings imbue an unmistakably organic quality. Few other recordings/companies come as close to recording the realism of the event. All the spatial cues etc. are just RIGHT.

While I know that the Sheffield approach is impractical or downright impossible for some artists/bands (for various reasons), I believe that we’d be much better off if other recording companies (that go the multi-track route) would aspire to the Sheffield sound.

Good points all above,I'd like to add the Dire Straights and anything that Knopfler recorded later!
Many interesting points have been brought to light about how we interpret the best recordings. As audiophiles sometimes we miss the forest, the forest being the music, while looking at the trees, the trees being the sound that is produced. I am as guilty of this as the next person involved in this hobby.

I have found that many of the reissues, the Grateful Dead box set being the best by far, are my favorite recordings of the year. One of the reasons why is because I have loved the music and hated the production. Technology has made it possible to hear what these recordings would sound like if they were introduced today as new. I believe this to be a great step forward. Some purists would disagree with me. My father believes that it all went downhill when stereo recordings were introduced and 78's were replaced by 331/3's.

Many of the best sounding recordings are being put out by Alt/Country, No Depression, artists. Many of these have been mentioned in previous posts. I would add Uncle Tupelo Anadyne, Wilco Summer Teeth, any Son Volt, and the new Jay Farrar album to the list of the best of that genre. In addition, Ben Harper puts out great albums that are hard to categorize but are great to listen to. Start with, "Fight For Your Mind". The best new album of last year, IMHO, is Ryan Adams "Gold".

Happy Listening.
Travis I wasn't being snotty merely trying to coax Jxl.
He really gives no indication of what type of music he likes and of course I did recommended no less than 5 releases from 2001(The Strokes,The White Stripes,Bob Dylan,Rufus Wainwright and Radiohead).
As you point out (as I did) what constitutes a good recording is a very contentious issue,on the subject of Miles Davis in my opinion despite the obvious tape splices I consider Bitches Brew not only an amazing collection of music but fantastically well recorded-you may be more of a purist or more technically atuned to what makes a good recording but neither of us would be wrong in our conclusion.
I also love the recording of Kind Of Blue.
Likewise what's the point of me recommending some electronica,hip-hop,jazz or heavy metal if he doesn't like these types of music?
A simple indication of his tastes would have made his query easier.
Although if you reread my original posting I do give a wide range of music to consider,more than any other reply.
If somebody had posted they had $50000 to spend on a system but they considered most lifestyle systems rubbish then he might have been accused of trolling and you could be sure the replies would ask "valves,vinyl,digital,size of room"?
I love well recorded music and I did agree he had a point about some modern recordings.
In fact even the term "modern recording" is pretty vague-last year,95,91?
Also the recommendation of music itself is very contentious-if you like Pink Floyd,I could recommend OK Computer by Radiohead but you might not like the singers voice...some people will find Eva Cassidy banal but I don't..
I did try to help but was merely pointing out at the end of the day Jxl will need to do some work on his own,listening or researching.
Oh another recommendation Motherland by Natalie Merchant that came out this year......
I find many of the Jazz labels are conscienceous about recording and mastering. Verve, Blue Note, Concord all have produced excellent product. In folk, Rounder and Flying Fish do very well. Ryko has taken on many lesser known artists and produced phenomenal albums such as Mickey Hart's Planet Drum.

Commercial FM radio is mostly such a poor place to start looking for quality music and production. Public radio can be a great source of discovery.
Detlof is right about Dire Straits. Their recordings are truly remarkable for sonic quality.
One CD I use to "show off" my stuff is Dylan's "Good As I Been To You." I don't know why, but it is an extraordinarily well recorded CD, audiophile quality on a standard CD. It is great musically, too.
It is an acoustic solo recording of Dylan covering some great old songs, like "Frankie and Albert," etc., that also shows Dylan's great talent as a guitar player.
If you want to see how good your system sounds, and hear some great Dylan, get this CD!
Clapton has shown us that after 30+ years he's still not only one of the very best guitarist and songwriters, but he cares about the quality of his recordings. His cds over the past decade have been excellently recorded. His new cd "Reptile" is a gem.