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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been listening to a lot of 2 channel sources lately and one thing I can never get sick of is a disc with an incredible soundstage and imaging. It's perhaps one of the joys of 2 channel audio to be able to absolutely visualize a live band or quartet or even orchestra right in front of you, and being able to pinpoint exactly where each musician is playing their instrument. I love the affect of being able to visualize the band and the different instrumentation within the soundstage, and then have the "lead" instrument "jumping" out right at you in front of the "band". The feeling of being "at the performance" is a rare treat, and many times the mix of these recordings is so good, it's actually BETTER than seeing a live performance. Alas, not many of my own discs have such great "live" qualities which is why I would like to hear suggestions from members here of CDs and LPs that would have a great soundstage and precise imaging in the mix, and of course 2 channel SACDs as well.


Just to start out with, one of the CDs that I've been listening to quite religiously recently is "MJQ & Friends - A 40th Anniversary Celebration" by The Modern Jazz Quartet. I've had this CD for over 15 years, but I recently took it out again as I upgraded my stereo set-up and the mix has been blowing me away! Just how clearly I can make out the vibraphone, piano, double bass, and drums has been incredible. I simply close my eyes and the band is "there". It's rare that my speakers have "melted away" so easily. Plus on each track there is a guest lead instrumentalist, whether it's polyphonic vocals, saxophones, trumpets, etc., and the instruments "jump out" in front on the band in a convincing way! The affect is almost "holographic". This disc is really something special.
 

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Leonard Bernstien and the NY Philaharmonic


Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon


Rodrigo y Gabriela 11:11 (this will BLOW you away, particularly the last track 11:11)


Ray LaMontagne Til the Sun Turns Black & Gossip in the Grain


Jack Johnson On & On


NiN Into the Void


Fleetwood Mac Rumors


There's quite a bit more but these stand out in my mind
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a lot Fanaticalism! I downloaded Rodrigo y Gabriela from iTunes and it sounds amazing! I like the aggressiveness of the guitar, and the soundstage makes me feel like I'm actually INSIDE the instrument at times. Great choice!


Any other excellent 2 channel suggestions?
 

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Most from these record label:
Opus3

Sheffield labs

Linn

Chesky
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepysurf /forum/post/18190709


Just off the top of my head...


Blue Coast Collection The E.S.E Sessions... http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Coast-Col...6952730&sr=1-1


Branford Marsalis Trio Jeepy

Jazz at the Pawnshop

Mickey Hart Dafos

Lightnin' Hopkins Goin' Away XRCD


These'll get you started!
Trio Jeepy is my go-to Jazz demo. Some of the best close-mic recording I've ever heard.


CD
 

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do you want real soundstaging and imaging or created? beacuse no pop/rock has real soundstaging its all created by the mastering.

Most live clasical will show soundstaging imaging
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys for the great suggestions, particularly the jazz discs! I've heard of "Jazz at the Pawnshop" before but never actually "heard" it so I'm looking forward to picking that up. Didn't know about "Trio Jeepy" either so will check that out. Hopefully my local CD shop will have them, but if not, I'll get them on Amazon. Generally I prefer to have the actual CDs than downloading on iTunes, but sometimes I can't wait!


Quote:
Originally Posted by wrat /forum/post/18191261


do you want real soundstaging and imaging or created? beacuse no pop/rock has real soundstaging its all created by the mastering.

Most live clasical will show soundstaging imaging

I prefer "real soundstaging and imaging", so basically recordings that sound "live", which I guess is mostly jazz and classical.


I have quite a few classical discs, actually, but I wouldn't say all of them have a great soundstage. Some of the recordings sound a bit "distant". What I'm looking for right now are discs that really put me in the room with the musicians. For classical, it seems that recordings of smaller groups like quartets seem to have more distinct soundstaging and imaging to me, but of course, that's not always the case. Also, I seem to really like recordings with a pronounced soloist.


Well thanks again for all the suggestions, but please keep them coming!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood /forum/post/18192955


There's the absolute sound's/Harry Pearson's list of the "Super Discs", his choice of the best vinyl, primarily Classical:

http://www.martysaudiophilevinylcollection.com/28.html


Here's someone selling some of these record reissues:

http://www.elusivedisc.com/products.asp?dept=1211


Mercuries and RCAs listed here generally have great soundstaging.

What a cool list! Really is tempting me to get back into vinyl (after a 24 year hiatus!). Just a question, do the CD versions of the relevant titles also score similar high marks or is this list pertaining to LPs only?
 

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Yes, most pop recordings are fake in this respect, with the "sound stage" assembled after the fact in ProTools. One great exception, since it was recorded in one take in a church, is the Cowboy Junkies' The Trinity Session.


Also, two great classical examples that popped into my mind - the Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and the Pinnock/English Concert version of the Four Seasons.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyaDawn /forum/post/18196259


What a cool list! Really is tempting me to get back into vinyl (after a 24 year hiatus!). Just a question, do the CD versions of the relevant titles also score similar high marks or is this list pertaining to LPs only?

Don't get back into vinyl for these! Unless you are wealthy you can't afford them and unless you are independently wealthy, you don't have the time to find them! Most of these are very hard to get in an early pressing in good condition.


I own a large percentage of that list on digital. I have a friend who is a very serious classical collector and so have had the pleasure of hearing many of them on vinyl.


First keep in mind, that list is an excellent starting resource for classical beginners because it is not just great sounding records, but the holy grail in that they are also, arguably, among the best recorded performances of the given pieces. Getting both the sound and the performance right is catching lightening in a bottle.


As for the quality of the digital versoins, some are better than others. An example comes to mind because I just listened to it last night... the Chabrier Espana with Argenta is AMAZING on the original Decca vinyl, fair on the US Columbia vinyl release, fair but different on the later London vinyl release and mediocre on the London and budget digital reissues. But I also have the FIM CD reissue and it is very very good and captures much of the "liveness" of the early vinyl pressing.


As a whole though, your chances of a good quality CD from this group is better than your chances on any average album because you are starting with an excellent original recording. You gotta work to screw these up.
 

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Harrypt is pretty much on the money. A great many of the RCAs and Mercuries were reissued on CD some years back, but many of these have since gone out-of-print. They sounded pretty good, all in all.


Original or early vinyl pressings can be had on eBay for less than what the guides say they should go for, but they can still be pretty pricey. The Pearson list can give you an idea of what to look for if you can find cheaper digital reissues, or if you win the lottery and want to get crazy.


Just by concocting this list Pearson shot himself in the foot. He had a bad fire and found he couldn't afford to replace his collection any more! You rarely see it reprinted in his magazine any more.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyaDawn /forum/post/18191691


Thanks guys for the great suggestions, particularly the jazz discs! I've heard of "Jazz at the Pawnshop" before but never actually "heard" it so I'm looking forward to picking that up. Didn't know about "Trio Jeepy" either so will check that out. Hopefully my local CD shop will have them, but if not, I'll get them on Amazon. Generally I prefer to have the actual CDs than downloading on iTunes, but sometimes I can't wait!





I prefer "real soundstaging and imaging", so basically recordings that sound "live", which I guess is mostly jazz and classical.


I have quite a few classical discs, actually, but I wouldn't say all of them have a great soundstage. Some of the recordings sound a bit "distant". What I'm looking for right now are discs that really put me in the room with the musicians. For classical, it seems that recordings of smaller groups like quartets seem to have more distinct soundstaging and imaging to me, but of course, that's not always the case. Also, I seem to really like recordings with a pronounced soloist.


Well thanks again for all the suggestions, but please keep them coming!

sounding distant is fine it usually means it was miked correctly to get a feel for the acoustical space of the performance.....sounding "live" may not mean anything other than a closely miked recording
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood /forum/post/18197771


Harrypt is pretty much on the money. A great many of the RCAs and Mercuries were reissued on CD some years back, but many of these have since gone out-of-print. They sounded pretty good, all in all.

Most of the Living Presence and and Living Stereos are still available on redbook. The early ones were pretty good in comparison to most early cd's. They are fair in comparison to today's best sounding cd's. The quality of A/D processors has improved since then. I'm not sure if they've been remastered, I'd like to know.


They were all available on SACD until just a few weeks ago with the Mercury's were discontinued. I was able to pick up all but one or two that I wanted about a month ago but I had to order them from 3 or 4 different sources to get everything I wanted. I don't know how many are still out there available.


The SACD's are undoubtedly the most cost effective way to get your hands on great sounding copies of those two labels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaded Dogfood /forum/post/18192955


There's the absolute sound's/Harry Pearson's list of the "Super Discs", his choice of the best vinyl, primarily Classical:

http://www.martysaudiophilevinylcollection.com/28.html

I have to say this is the gift list that keeps on giving!



The Sheffield Drum Record - WTF?! Oh my god, simply INCREDIBLE! I would LOVE to hear the original vinyl LP to hear the actual "direct-to-disc" recording where it went from the mic straight to the cutting lathe. But the CD sounds pretty amazing too, taken from the live two-track analog reference tape. I play drums very occasionally and I've never heard such realism of the drum set come from any speakers! The percussive energy and the decay of the cymbals and the nuances of the attack are simply breathtaking on this disc. Talk about holographic imaging, this disc has got it! You can pinpoint exactly where each drum head and cymbal are, and then those rimshots! WOW!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepysurf /forum/post/18190709


Just off the top of my head...


Branford Marsalis Trio Jeepy

Jazz at the Pawnshop


These'll get you started!

Jazz at the Pawnshop - Thank you! This is an obvious classic that I've always hear mentioned, but which I never sought out until now. Not much more needs to be said about this recording, but WOW! I can't say the SQ is the highest I've heard, but the imaging and soundstage is amongst the best I've listened to. This is real LIVE music. You can position all the instruments easily and even the audience! And I have to say, like the MJQ disc I mentioned earlier, I seem to really enjoy the vibraphone in these discs! Somehow, that instrument really pops out of the soundstage, on its only height and plane. I love it!


Trio Jeepy - Thanks again! Another amazing "live" disc, well "live in the studio". Great SQ and amazing soundstage, again, feels like the trio is in my living room, plus the music is excellent!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt /forum/post/18197087


Don't get back into vinyl for these! Unless you are wealthy you can't afford them and unless you are independently wealthy, you don't have the time to find them! Most of these are very hard to get in an early pressing in good condition.

Funny you mention this, I found a record store tonight that was selling "never-been-played" LP releases from Japan from decades ago. I'm talking Beatles "Abbey Road", etc., selling for over $4K! They had so many of these records. The "bargain" LPs they had were $300! And they looked in mint condition, wrapped in so many plastic covers. After 40+ years, I wonder if they should even be ever played, or forever cherished in mint condition. Now that there are record players that use lasers and not needles, maybe this is the only type of player these discs should ever be used it, if they should even be opened at all.


The store also had tons of Japan CD releases, also extravagantly priced. $800 for a CD? It's amazing the "value" of these items, they take these "rare" releases so seriously. But the proprietor was nice enough to give me a demo A/B test between one of his prized Japanese CD releases and a more "commercial" release. The artist in question was Cliff Richard, and in the Japanese CD, his voice was smooth, mellow, and overall the sound was very rich and warm, despite being an older recording. It sounded very "analog". Then he put in some recently remastered atrocity of the same song and it was awful. The volume seemed twice as loud and the treble was so bright, it was like fingernails on a chalkboard. They also tried to add more "detail" to his voice, which sounded to me like an audio version of edge enhancement. I could definitely see where the proprietor was coming from. Still, not exactly the type of artist that makes me want to spend $800 for a CD. On the other hand, if I ever got back into vinyl...
 

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To me there are three reasons to get into vinyl today. You already have a bunch of records, you want to buy new releases on vinyl, or you want to start spending your time hunting garage sales and flea markets.


You need to beware of two things with sellers like that. First there are dishonest ones, although there are many honest ones as well. Second, they sell as if the imports are always better and that's just not true. Most honest record dealers will take a bad record back, but if you order it from Japan, the freight makes it prohibitive to return. You have to know exactly what you are getting. About three nights ago I pulled 6 copies of Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water off my friend's shelf in all different pressings including British and Japanese. By far the best one was the original American pressing. In fact the Japanese was really quite inferior.


Unfortunately a dearth of valuable used vinyl has been shipping to Asia for the past few years. Supply and demand... they've been the highest bidder for awhile now.


As for saving them, to me there is no value if I can't listen to them, but that's just me. I have friends that are into the collecting aspect. Me, I only want to collect what I want to listen to. But a well cared for record will last longer than a lifetime. What wears out records is worn needles. If you replace your needle in a timely fashion, you'll never wear out your records. And too bad the laser turntable sounds like crap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That store may be expensive, but I wouldn't call them dishonest. They geniunely have a passion for the product, and quite brave in this day and age to even have such a business model and to offer such items. Even in the 80's before CDs completely took over, I never saw a record store that had selections like this. And I don't think I've ever seen anyone but myself in that store, so I'm definitely rooting for them to do well.

http://www.ifc.com.hk/english/shop.aspx?id=3098
http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/hi-end/


I'm just surprised they can stay in business selling items like a HKD$49,800 (nearly USD$6,500) Harry Belafonte double LP from 1974. And that it costs more than the Beatles "Abbey Road" which was about $4K!



So what's with these Toshiba "Ever-Clean" LPs? This store specializes in these releases and they feature prominently in the store's marketing. Are these releases actually superior to "normal" LPs?


This Heifetz collection of 26 LPs with his recordings from 1917-1955 are going for HK$298,000 or nearly USD$40K! I say "bravo!" to this store, and while it may not be me, I hope it does find that kind of customers that are willing/crazy/passionate/foolish enough to keep the devotion to this hobby alive.


http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/hi-end/article?mid=4697
 

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I wasn't calling him dishonest, but now that I look at that site what comes to mind is that a fool and his money are soon parted. I have 3 or 4 copies of original pressings of the Harry Belafonte at Carnegie and same originals of Abbey Road and probably don't have $50 invested.


The Heifetz box is marketing of a set of records all available elsewhere individually and it's a late pressing Red Seal. Just because someome says it's rare doesn't make it valuable. You'd be much better off sourcing the originals individually for that kind of money. From the writing on the site, maybe he's a music lover and maybe he's just a good marketer, but no collector who knows what they are doing would buy from this guy. I get your passion for it, I'm sure I have a lot more records than you do, but that's just crazy.
 
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