Best Sounding Recording on Your System

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Sky Saw

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2005
Reaction score
Toronto, Canada
From a purely sonic perspective (musical enjoyment aside), what is the best sounding recording in your collection, on your system? In other words, if everyone on this forum came to your place to hear your system, but only had time to listen to a single recording, what would that CD/LP/SACD/DVD be?
Mine would be:
Le Cid (ballet) by Massenet - City of Birminham Orchestra on Klavier label. LP, 180gm pressing. It is available at if you are interested in checking it out. Incredible timbre, soundstaging, air, depth, and astounding dynamics. The music is good too. Definitely a worthwhile addition.
Diana Krall - Live in Paris. Every time I play this, I feel like I'm sitting there seeing her live. GREAT recording.
I would have to say for me the artist is Bjork and the recording is Hyper-Ballad.

You definitely have to be in the "mood" to be able to listen to her, which means for me that I don't throw her cds in very often. This one recording, however, I can listen to over and over.

I get the impression she is standing in my room singing when I play that recording on my Odysseys.
Metallica - Metallica. I would have to say out of the bunch being either classical , country, or rock this album sounds fantastic.
Track 1, "Aqua Marine", on "The Famous Sound of Three Blind Mice" TBM-XRCD Sampler (google for "the famous sound of three blind mice"). TBM figured out how to eliminate the sterile, plate-of-glass sound on CDs, to the point that their stuff sounds like the best vinyl I ever owned, and "Aqua Marine" sounds better even than the other TBM recordings I've heard. Whenever I want to demo our system to somebody, this is the first thing I play. It's also the first thing I use to evaluate new equipment--and it's one of the things that converted us from Velodynes to Descents.

Disclaimer: Our system is capable of excellent reproduction of 5.1 sound, but we are still evaluating SACD. TBM also makes SACDs, as do other audiophile-recording studios, but I am not qualified to make recommendations in that area yet. So the above recommendation is within the CD universe only.
That is "very" hard to say because from a purely sonic standpoint I own quite a few that are true standouts. That said, two that I have found to be superb recordings are:

Huey Lewis & The News-Plan B
Richard Marx-Paid Vacation

I know you said to list one, but both these albums sound simply amazing on my ML's. And each and every track is a sonic winner.

Hands down for me it is Madonna's 1998 Ray of Light CD. the Bass is completely stunning as is the Techno syntehsizers used by Orbit. Plus the songs on the CD are excellent.

A well recorded and mixed CD is a work of art in itself.

I would also recommend George Strait's Millenium collection by 20th Century Masters. Excellent detail on all instruments and well balanced bass.

In Vinyl that varies but I have BAch's organ works on label VOX. Extremely clear and good floor rattling bass.
There are quite a lot of them actually... Dvorak's 9th Symphony (Kreizberg conducting the Amsterdam Symphonic Orchestra recorded by PentaTone), Händel's Concertos for Organ (Daniel Chorzempa again with Pentatone), Mark Knopffler's Shangri-La, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon,etc...

All of them in SACD. :)
Vivaldi, 'La Stravaganza', Podger

Chick Corea, 'Rendezvous in New York'

Also all SACD. :)

Chuck Mangione - The Children of Sanchez LP: incredible dynamics, slam
Andreas Vollenweider - White Winds: transparent, extreme transients and 3-D
Jan Garbarek - Twelve Moons: on ECM records, almost everything sounds well from this label

Can go on and on... :)
Gomez-In Our Gun (This is absolute must have)
Fiona Apple-When The Pawn (Awesome production value)
The Beta Band-Hot Shots (Just Plain Strange but great production)
Brendan Benson-One Mississippi (An Unknown American Classic)
The Postal Service-Give Up (Beautiful Electronic Pop)
Depending on the audience:

The Solti / Gheorgiu recording of La Traviata (Live @ Covent Garden)

Trisha Yearwood - Songbook

Guns 'n' Roses - Use Your Illusion 1 (November Rain totally rocks through my system!)


So many albums (vinyl) so little time:

1. Tiden Bara Gar Opus 3 test Record "Depth of Image"

2. Miles Davis "Sketches of Spain" Columbia 6 Eyes Stereo

3. Respighi "Church Windows" Reference Recordings

4. Rossini "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" Al'Idea di quel metallo Emi classics (CD)
never before noticed my favourites are mostly vinyl ...

warren zevon: self titled (second album) - vinyl
excellent imaging, very detailed finger work on the guiters

holly cole trio: "Girl Talk" - CD
recorded with a single point 3 channel calrec mike capturing the ensemble image.
the string bass on "My baby just cares for me" is visceral

Bruce Cockburn: Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws - vinyl, Canadian pressing
excellent acoustic guitar work

Sam Browne: Stop - vinyl
title track shoots the vocals right into your lap. rest of the album is forgettable
Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent, "The boy next door". Musically, I like some of her others CD's better, but sonically this one is great - her voice and the bass (the instrument) are incredible on the Prodigy's.
So many to choose from!!! It would definitely be on vinyl! Depends on who I'd be playing a quick demo for. Maybe


Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding
Black Sabath - Paranoid


Ornette Colemane - This is Our Music
Mal Waldron - Blues for Lady Day


Sony Terri & Bobby McGee - Midnight Special
Booker T & The MG's = Green Onion's


Earl Wild - Dohnanyi - Variations on a Nursery Tune
I thought long and hard about this.
I am sure I am missing some but,

The Braveheart Soundtrack on CD sounds great.

It is very well recorded and has a huge dynamic range.