What LP shows what analog can do?

I'm relatively new to analog. I've bought up some $1 records, and many sound surprisingly good (though I don't have a cleaner, so some are cracklier than I'd like).

I'd like to buy a couple of new LPs (probably from MusicDirect) that are at the very top sound quality. Of course, music quality counts too. So really I'm looking for suggestions for the record you put on to impress your friends (to show them the difference from CD), or to sit back and truly enjoy just how good analog can sound. I sort of have classical in the back of my mind, but I'm open to whatever.

The Norah Jones lp is quite good. Also Allison Krauss...Music direct should carry them both...
Rickie lee Jones-Girl at the volcano(track #1 Under the Boardwalk)(Quiex)
Al di Meola-Friday night in San Franscisco
Metallica-Black album
Led Zeppelin-1,2&4(Classic Records)
Fairport Convention-Unhalfbricking(island)
Jethro Tull-Aqualung(mfsl)
Dire Straits-s/t(Vertigo)
Janis Ian-Breaking Silence(Analog Production)
Sonny Rollins-Way out West(Contemporary)
Ben Webster-At the Renaissance(Analog Production 45rpm)
Jimi Hendrix-Axis Bold as Love(Classic Records Mono)
Definately Led Zeppelin houses of the holy, fool in the rain....
Page Plant newer lp first 2 cuts on lp one..
nobody's fault but mine incredible...
Metallica black album is great when you a/b with the cd..
you will smash your cd player!!
Some of the police lps, ghost in the machine , synchronicity...
Custom Audio LLC
Ry Cooder's "Jazz." Check out the previous threads on this forum.
Get an Analogue Prod copy of Patricia Barber "Cafe Blue" on vinyl and then get a MSFL copy of the same collection. The $50.00 investment might be pricey but you will be amazed. Both are available from Acoustic Sounds or Music Direct.
nearly all
Marty Wilson Piper's "Art Attack" Second side is great. Dynamic and extended as it gets. I also enjoy the first side of MFSL Moody Blues "Days of Future Passed".
"Emerald Forest" soundtrack.
Doc Cheatham's "Dear Doc".
Do check other threads on Audiogon. Much to choose from depending on musical tastes
"Hers's to Ben" by Jacintha - significantly outperforms even the XRCD version. Great music and beautiful voice. Similar in style to Diana Krall. Order from www.elusivedisc.com.
If you like blues, Analogue Productions 45-RPM Willie's Blues is incredible. A non-audiophile LP that is very impressive is Black Uhuru's The Dub Factor, again very taste dependent.
Stevie Ray Vaughn, "The Sky is Crying". I really like "Chitlins con carne" for a demo (as well as the music.)
Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The 12" 45 RPM single of "Relax", Japanese pressing. Tough to find, but my favorite demo vinyl. The "B" side (2 songs) also has a great cover of "Ferry across the Mersey"! Also, Elton John's "Madman Across The Water" on DCC vinyl. I also have the Mofi Gold Disc version of this title. I realize that the vinyl should sound better than the CD, but the fidelity of the Mofi CD SUCKS! Someone had a bad day or a severe hangover when Mofi mastered this gold CD! And it's very pricey, selling for $65- and up, used!
Try any of the Classic Records Living Stereo releases for classical. Very quiet vinyl and great quality recordings overall. In particular, try "Witches Brew". It is an awesome recording.
These are a few I have enjoyed over the years and are from a time when analog ruled.
Steely Dan (Aja and Gaucho)
Supertramp (Even in the quietest moments and Breakfast in America)
Stevie Wonder (Innervisions and Songs in the key of life)
Genesis (Invisible Touch)
Emerson Lake and Palmer (the one with Lucky Man)
Any Mannheim Steamroller LP
Really any NEW LP of music that you like will do the trick.
The Heifetz box containing nine Living Stereo reissues on 200g vinyl
Norah Jones on 200g vinyl
Dixie Dregs "What If" & "Night of the living dregs".
From the album cover of Audio Fidelity Stereodisc AFSD 5861 ("Minstrel Time with the Dukes of Dixieland")...

"Audio Fidelity Records produced and released the world's first Stereophonic High Fidelity record (Stereodisc) in November , 1957".

I don't have that first disc (also Dukes of Dixieland) but I do have several others issued at the same time which have never been surpassed for audio quality in almost 50 years!!

Recently I picked up a reissue CD of the Dukes, and was disappointed. Not as good as the record, but I think the CD was just badly mastered. I guess I'll just have to keep the turntable in working condition.
There are many, many, many. Too many to list. Here's one that might get overlooked, though. WAR, "Why Can't we be Friends".
There are so many it would be impossible to list them. What type of music do you prefer to listen to, or what don't you like?

I have had dozens of people over to do CD/SACD/LP comparisons. I have never had anyone choose anything but LP for best sound. It probably doesn't matter what you use! Clean LPs sound better, but some of the new reissues like Simply Vinyl, or Sun records just smoke all the competition. You could better ask: What CD even comes close to LP sound?

Lot's of responses but few if any classical, which you were "sort of" looking for. Arthur Salvatore has a pretty mammoth list of LP's he thinks are worthy. I haven't heard but a handful of them, but every one I have listened to has been a killer. Check out his list at:


Im my view,most LP's sound excellent BUT they have to be in great shape and clean.No snap,crackle and pop allowed.
I've listened to too many LP's to remember and I would guess (If clean and in good shape) 90% sounded fantastic.
If you want better sound (sometimes) then go audiophile or imports.
Sarah McLachlan "surfacing" (classic records) pinned me to the couch the other day, and she isn't really my favorite artist. CDs never even came close.
Not all LP's sound good, but here are a few gooduns'...

In my experience, the quality of vinyl recordings can be just as hit-n-miss as CDs. If you have not noticed this, then your system is not revealing enough and is hiding the fact with the euphonic presentation (comfortable sound) that vinyl can give.

Here are some pop LP's that I reckon have the open and uncongested feel that only good vinyl can give:

- The Sky is Crying...Stevie Ray Vaughn
- Unplugged...Eric Clapton
- Tracey Chapman...self titled
- Solitude Standing...Suzanne Vega
- Ingenue...K.D Lang
- Nothing Like the Sun...Sting
- Echomania...Dub Syndicate ( reggae )
- Signing Off...UB40 (only the 45rpm discs therein)
- Teaser and the Fire Cat...Cat Stevens
- Night Clubbing...Grace Jones
- When You Were Sweet Sixteen...The Fureys
- On Every Street...Dire Straits

Happy listening...


Steve M.
Steve-If your statement "not all LP's sound good" was directed at me,let me correct you.
I said "I would guess 90% of the LP's I have heard sound fantastic" I stand by that and I do have a very nice system,thank you.
Maybe you need to look at your system since your analog experience is 'hit or miss' I have found some LP's sound better when I have upgraded.Duh..
Dougdeacon...The lack of classical examples is explained by the fact that classical work usually involves wide dynamic range, whereas pop and rock is loud, loud, loud. When classical music enters a quiet passage, the flaws of LPs (LF rumble and HF scratch and pops) become annoying.

In an earlier comment I suggested that some of the very first stereo recordings were the best. (Vanguard put out some good ones too). I think the reason for this was that they said "Stereo...that means two microphones" and that's what they used. 24 channel master tapes came into vogue later, because little care was necessary during the recording session, the idea being that everything could be fixed by the mixdown. The result was often mush.

Also, in the beginning each channel was cut full range (20 to 20KHz). However, this resulted in vertical groove modulation that most pickups could not handle, so it became usual practice to "blend" the Lows (make them mono). Of course we audiophiles have better pickups that are perfectly capable of tracking LF vertical modulation, but usually there isn't anything to track.

I have not purchased any of the (expensive) newly made audiophile LPs. Perhaps these are cut without the compromises necessary for mass marketing.
I find it interesting that many are recommending LPs that are from digital sources. Some of these recommendations are from early digital tapes. Do the posters suggest that LP replay is a panacea for the ills of digital or somehow reverses the damage done? Perhaps an argument for complimentary colorations. Personally, I own over 4000 records and although I enjoy many that are digially sourced, could not recommend even one based on digital tapes for sound quality.
I noticed something similar to what Marty has said regarding the recommendation of digitally mastered LP's. Nothing much to offer in the way of explanation other than some folks' record collection may not go too far back as some old farts like me (us, if I may).

I wouldn't generalize too much in this area, though. There are a few d to a LP's that sound very good. Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly" comes to mind (do yourself a favor and find the Japanese pressing) in addition to several Dire Straits cuts.
I fully understand the greater challenge presented by the wide dynamic range of classical, since that's all I listen to. Matt clearly understands this too, that's why he's looking for suggestions and not just buying anything. Since that's what he asked for I thought I'd try to respond.

In my experience most well-treated and properly cleaned LP's are reasonably quite, though there are obviously some exceptions. The new audiophile grade LPs (eg, Classic Records) are better and the newest 200gm stuff is ghostly quiet. Highly recommended.

Totally agree with your view on recording techniques. The superiority of two-track, tubed recording is obvious even on CD reissues of Living Stereo recordings (compared with newer recordings on CD). After we played our first one of these and picked our jaws off the floor, my partner asked, "The last recordings like this were made in the early '60's? What happened?!" Everything went to hell when they invented the transistor, multi-track mixdowns and (shudder) digital. The first two can never be overcome. Digital has only started to become listenable in the last few years, sort of.
I have not read the above responses (maybe this was already mentioned), but most any decent 45 rpm LP should do the trick, just find one with music you enjoy.

I have to increase anti-skaing a notch when I play them, but as my A-S is a hang weight on graduated posts this is not a problem (it's easy to return it to the previous setting).
I agree with the recommendations on the Salvatore list that Dougdeacon was so kind to point out; I have many of them and I believe he is correct in his assessments. If you can get the Harmonia Mundi La Folia, it's a hoot (nice recordings of a chain saw, balloons and a Land Rover(?), among other oddities) and a sonic spectacular, with dynamics that will make you jump out of your seat and squash the good CD version. The Dorati/Mercury Firebird reissue by Classic Records is also a great example of vinyl playback's capabilities.
The Weavers, Reunion at Carnegie Hall. Wow, I can't beleive nobody mentioned this one. Especially the last track on side two, compare it to the CD version. Another good one to compare with the CD version is Sweet Honey at the Rock, Live at Carnegie Hall, try the 3rd track Wade in the Water and compare the incredible female bass singer on vinyl vs cd.
1. Louis Armstrong plays Sachmo
2. Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman
3. Dave Bruebeck - Time Out
4. Talking Heads - Little Creatures
5. Steely Dan - Gaucho
6. Muddy Waters - Folk Singer
7. Roxy Music - Avalon
8. Billie Holiday - Songs for Distinque Lovers
9. Bill Evans - Waltz for Debbie
10. Beatles - 65
Dekay recommended 45 rpm LP's
Rcprince recommended Firebird/Dorati/Mercury/Classic Records

The 45rpm version of this reissue demonstrates what vinyl is capable of as well as anything I've heard. It's glorious, although the break between sides 1 and 2 is distracting. If you can't stomach $95 for the 45rpm you can get the same reissue on 33 1/3 180g vinyl for "only" $85. That's an outlandish tariff but you'll forget that once the music starts.
I have and listen frequently to both versions of the Firebird from Classic, and Dougdeacon is correct, the 45 rpm version is breathtaking sonically (as well as interpretively, fortunately). Glad I got my copies early and paid far less than current prices. That break in sides 1 and 2 bugs me to no end; fortunately, the 33 1/3 version is almost as good as the 45. Either version will make you wonder what people are talking about when they say CD's have better dynamic range than vinyl.
Where do you guys find all these LP's for sale? I looked on www.amusicdirect.com, but can't find many.
Music Direct does have all the Classic Records and Analog Productions reissues that are still available, although you may have to call and ask them for particular titles; other sources, other than used record shops, would be Red Trumpet, Acoustic Sounds and Elusive Disk. Some of these guys have used records in their inventory which they sell--I got my copy of the RCA 45rpm Direct-to-Disk Beethoven Appasionnata from Red Trumpet, and I know Chad sells out-of-prints and used, though he charges top dollar. It pays to call and ask, as not everything is listed on the websites. For the Chesky reissues, you might take a flyer and see if Chesky Records has any left of their records, including the Stravinsky Petrushka (sp, I know) that Salvatore mentions, if you can't get it elsewhere. Finally, check the A-goN, as these sometimes do show up for sale. And I'm sure others will give some more good sources for these records, these are just the main ones, along with the Princeton Record Exchange, that I use.
Try Acoustic Sounds for new vinyl: http://store.acousticsounds.com/

I've had really mixed luck with used classical, sometimes they look as if they are in good shape but have pretty bad noise, even after using a VPI record cleaner.

thanks for all the suggestions above.
The Mercury Firebird is one spectacular sounding record! I've been listening to this album for almost 20 years, and have yet to encounter one that can better it in performance and sound. The best version is the 45 RPM Classic Reissue, followed by the 33 RPM and the Golden Import Dutch Pressing. Salvatore aptly described it as "EXPLOSIVE"! LIsten to this record and experience analog at it's finest!

Acoustic Sounds has the Chesky/Petroushka on 180g vinyl, unless the one I got last month was the last copy .

It's almost as good as the Firebird we've been discussing.
I have a couple of copies I squirreled away a few years back. Strings a little steely sounding (compared with the Firebird or some of the Decca reissues), but otherwise a terrific record. Some of those Readers Digest recordings were far better than the records they pressed--same goes for some of the Voxes, such as the Ravel and Gershwin boxed sets. The original vinyl I've found is easily surpassed by the Analog Productions and Reference Recordings reissues. Lets you see how good Wilkinson and the Aubort/Nicrenz team really were.
Have you guys heard the Reference Recordings' Gershwin Mastercut Reissues? A specific cut, "Variations on I Got Rhythm" got me boogying and twirling an invisible baton like a crazy mofo! It's not as explosive as the Firebird, but the overall sound is so natural and utterly convincing. Check it out. These records are still available from Acoustic Sounds or Elusive Disks.
That's one of the reissues I was referring to. Their Ravel and Rachmaninoff are excellent as well, the former a nice complement to the Analogue Productions reissues from the same Vox Box. Interesting to compare the Reference and AP reissues of those sets to the Classic Records DADs from those tapes, and RR's remastering chain to Doug Sax's tubed remastering job. Same master tapes, three different sonic signatures, all of them highly enjoyable and working to show how good the original recording really was (although I still can't figure how Classic mixed up the right and left channels on the DADs, even within the same piece, such as the Gershwin Concerto in F). It's too bad that Reference couldn't make any profit from their fine efforts to do more vinyl in the series, but such are the economics of this business, I guess.
Ralph Towner and Gary Burton on "matchbook". Absolutley KILLS the cd version. Suzanne Vega, " Solitude Standing"....Dire Straits, "Alchemy Live"...There are so many! I keep finding more gems that I've forgotten about everytime I dig thru my collection.
Rcprince wrote, "I still can't figure how Classic mixed up the right and left channels on the DADs, even within the same piece, such as the Gershwin Concerto in F."

I have a Smithsonian recording of Bach's Brandenburg #5 that does the same thing in MID-MOVEMENT! The harpsichord begins in a continuo role and is placed right rear. Halfway in there's an extended cadenza for solo harpsichord, the first such in musical history BTW. Just as its solo begins the harpsichord, all 500 lbs. of it, suddenly leaps to center stage front! Once the solo is finished this amazing harpsichord retreats to right rear to resume its continuo role.

What an amazing combination of athleticism and musicianship! Wish I'd been there to see it live. :)
Someone brought up the lack of Classical music responses indicating that LP is a poor medium for Classical. I have found exactly the opposite and one of the main reasons for my move back to vinyl was Classical music. Classical on CDs is simply unlistenable to me. On CD Classical is a lifeless, smeared mushed together un-dynamic sound with little resolution between instruments and sections of the orchestra. When I switched to vinyl I had the dynamics necessary for Classical music and there was separation in the orchestra. To list favorite Classical LPs would be tedious for me, as I tire of lists in audiophilia, but with about 1000 plus Classical LPs and growing, I can assure everyone that their is only one medium for classical and that is LP. Try it, you'll like it.
My favorite LP's were bought in general from acousticsounds.com and are as following:
-Tom Petty Wildflowers
-Led Zeppelin III (180 Gram)
-Eagles Hotel California (not from acoustic sounds, it is an Original Master Recording and is the nicest sounding record of all time, the guitar sounds heavenly)
-Paul Simon Graceland
-Fleetwood Mac Selftitled (Over my head is unbelievable!)
-Radiohead OK Computer (180 Gram)
-The Who Who's Next (180 gram)
-Bob Marley Kaya (180 gram)

180 gram is the best sounding vinyl around, if you take care of that stuff it never crackles or anything!
Vannorm...I tried it for-30 plus years.

Some CD's are lousy, as you describe, but others are good. Same can be said for LPs.