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J Dilla

What are your favorite mix/mastered albums?

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J Dilla

This thread is for posting music you love that is mixed, mastered and pressed very well.

 

All mediums weclome, from vinyl to web

 

I'll start the ball rolling, I find these releases to be great examples of exceptional mix/master/pressing

 

Edit:

Mostly mainstream, Mediums mentioned

( This list will always be under construction )

[Disclaimer: I am no audio expert by any definition of the word, I'm just a fan of music. I'm just going by what I hear and doing my best to articulate it. It should go without saying but just so I don't have to insert it too much... IMO IMO IMO IMO IMO]

This is just for music that I like to listen to, hence why I didn't add Random Access Memories or Aja because I barely ever play em even though they are fantastically engineered. I should also mention that there's something about the genre of Rock, I think it may not be the best lane to showcase mastering, am I wrong? Rage Against the Machine sounds brilliant, it's very clear and balanced, all of its distortion is discernable and there's a lot of guts to the sound though isn't noised out guitars just sort of easier to mix, master and still sound optimal? I can't think of a good analogy for it, how about colour correcting an image that is just shapes of single colours compared to colour correcting a photograph of a more natural scene like a face. Just a thought.

 

 

pu442k.jpg

2001 - Classic Records - MG VS-6021

Apparently something amazing in the world of audio engineering happened in the spring of 1957, you've got a bunch of albums from this year showcase new hights of sound quality; Sonny Rollin's "Way Out West", Charles Mingus' "Tijuana Moods", Art Pepper's "Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section" being highlights, imo.

This Billie Holiday album is my favorite out of the bunch, It may be my favorite engineered album and the 2001 classic records reissue sounds fantastic. Some may like the SACD more but I prefer the soundstage the LP brings. So much definition, all the instruments sit just right, I was so blown away the first time I heard it and almost in disbelief at the year it was recorded.
oqixha.jpg
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Stereo: Original 6-eye Stereo
Stereo: 1983 CBS 35DP 62 CD
Mono: 2013 HDTracks
Mono: 6-eye WLP

I'm recommending a few for this because there are different sounds for different uses and because It's one of those albums I listen to the most, when I wake up, when I want to chill out at night, if i'm cooking in the evening and want the perfect music to pair with a pinot noir. I usually go for the original 6-eye stereo for headphone listening though when I've been going to the mono for Flamenco Sketches at times, I find it easier to tune in and mellow into that way.

The mono, like most mono experiences for me, are for the speaker play and this album is a fantastic example for an album that you need both stereo and mono for. Both my stereo recommendations and the 6-eye mono run a little fast on Side A, all original pressings do due to the tape machine running a little slow. I've fixed this issue though so it's not an issue for me. Both stereos use the original stereo mix, I prefer it over all the other mixes.
9wyo7l.jpg
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
2018 - MFSL One Step - UD1S-2-004

I wasn't going to add this because there is a dark and a muddy or compressed sound at times, like for example the title track. But i'ma chalk that up to effect and not let the many shining moments go unmentioned. The vocals on this just sound so airy and beautiful, that reverb adds such a richness and doesn't drown all the magic out in place of a wall of sound. Even though the mix is very spacious, it still manages to pack a punch and sounds full, EQ sounds balanced through all this. The Only Living Boy In New York is a real goosebump grower
 
a87x53.jpg
Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
2012 - ORG 45rpm

The music is top notch and it's very well engineered, I might've gone for a mix a bit more forward facing but this is still a fantastic sound. I'd also recommend the mono if you're playing through speakers, it has a sort of fullness that the stereo lacks. Through headphones the stereo is king imo. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat is one of my favorite tracks oats.

I've gotten a needledrop of the MFSL One Step pressing which I thought would be amazing like all the other MFSL One Steps I've heard but it sounds bright and to the point where it's just not pleasurable in comparison to the ORG45. I've read the same issue from some people who own physical copies. This is such a let down
 
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The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
2003 - Capitol Records ‎- 5.1 Mix (Stereo Downmixed)
2012 - MFSL SACD (I haven't heard the LP)
1972 - US Mono (I haven't compared it to many others monos)

The vocals have so much more definition and presence on this downmix, the instruments sound a lot more discernable also. It really alows the music to open up further and encompass you. The original mix also has its respectable charm and differences, as well as the mono which is why I've also recommended those.
ep5x43.jpg
Igor Stravinsky - The Firebird (Suite, 1919 Version)
Original German Pressing

I've heard SACDs of this but they sounded flat in comparison, even straight from the beginning I can hear more depth in the LP. I've heard an original US pressing and I prefer this original German pressing. The music and performance is nothing less than phenominal, Stravinsky & CSO's complete version from 1959 is also brilliant, High Definition Tape Transfers released a version of it which sounds great though I haven't been able to compare it to any vinyl or SACD. This 1919 Suite offers a condensed shot, It's my preferred Firebird.

Interestingly enough, this was cut with at 16bit & 50kHz as opposed to 44.1khz. Surely it'd sound better if it were higher res but this still beats the CDs for me and it sounds very impressive. Telarc has some really heralded releases, not all are golden though, I've heard their 2019 "A Spectacular Sound Experience" LP and it was just super bright and very lackluster.
 
Various Artists - Test Record 1 (Depth of image)
Original Swedish Pressing

It might seem like cheating to add test records but some of the best sounding tracks I've ever heard is on this, and I regularly listen to some of the tracks. A lot of the test SACDs I've heard sounded too flat and bright, though maybe I was just unlicky with my choice of Opus3 SACD.
2wvgkg.jpg
Tom Waits - Mule Variations
Original EU Pressing

Some might be wondering WTF is this doing on the list, this ain't "Hi-Fi", these is field recordins from a broken down barn where Waits is accompanied by roosters, barkin' down crap microphones. An old bard pulling the heartstrings of a delapidated upright piano stuffed of hay and cobwebs. Swaggering down the lowside of a sun scorched road with a bottle of texas medicine in one hand, a bus ticket he found in the gutter in the other and a badly concealed pistol stuck out his overalls.

It's the effect this mix and master goes for and it aces it imo! You have parts that are lo-fi but then layered with hi-fi parts, and all of this sounds mix and mastered just right, the right amount of gloomy detail, highs that add a sweet counterbalance to the lowdown lows and gritty mids.
9ws4je.jpg
D'Angelo - Voodoo
Original CD
o43835.jpg
Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club
2015 - World Circuit ‎– WCV050
22l98i.jpg
Santana - Abraxas
MFSL One Step
 
 
 

 

 

some others

1960 - Lightnin' Hopkins - Lightnin' (2017 AP LP)

1964 - Muddy Waters - Folk Singer (Classic Records Clarity 45)

1982 - Gregorio Paniagua - La Folia (1993 limited edition 180g)
1959 - Antal Dorati - 1812 Overture - Capriccio Italien (2012 Mercury Living Presence box set)
1964 - The Dubliners - The Dubliners (Original UK Mono)
1973 - Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon (SHVL 804 - A2/B3)

Edited by J Dilla
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sivispacem

I would point to Æther Realm's "Tarot" as the best mastering job I've heard in recent years.

 

Metal is much maligned in terms of mix and master, somewhat unfairly in my opinion because there are several people like Dan Swanö promoting enormous dynamic ranges within their mastering jobs.

 

Tarot represents everything done right in production. It weighs in at a hefty DR10, has an outstanding soundstage, zero sibilance and fatigue, perfect instrument separation and the drums...oh my good god, the drums. Like Tyler Gresham is playing inside your eardrums. 

 

 

 

Interesting factoid- my dad owns Island Records' LP master of King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King". 

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-7-

Everything mixed by Harris Johns, one of my favorites:

 

 

 

Max Norman with Megadeth was perfect at the time, I love his work here, f*cking awesome.

 

 

Edited by spectre07
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Rhoda

Oh boy, I love discussions about mixing and mastering. There's so much that can make or break an album. Without much thought there are two examples I'd like to share - Rage Against The Machine's self titled album released back in 1992, and the 1977 album from Steely Dan Aja. Both had been recommended to me as prime examples when it comes to testing audio equipment such as speakers and headphones, and I find that they quickly expose any gaps or faults. I think having them on opposite ends of the scale in terms of style helps too. You can't really compare the two.

 

As for personal favourites, I'll just list them because I could be here all day.

 

Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Frank Zappa - Hot Rats

Dr. Dre - The Chronic

Tool - 10,000 Days

Kyuss - And The Circus Leaves Town

Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero

MF DOOM - Born Like This

Aphex Twin - Syro

Philip Glass - Glassworks

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-7-

I love the work of Jaime Gómez Arellano on this album:

 

 

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-7-

Some favorites with producer Colin Richardson

 

 

 

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-7-

Flemming Rasmussen is very well know for working with Metallica in the past, but I prefer his touch in those albums.

 

 

 

 

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J Dilla
Posted (edited)
On 1/22/2020 at 9:00 PM, sivispacem said:

I would point to Æther Realm's "Tarot" as the best mastering job I've heard in recent years.

 

Metal is much maligned in terms of mix and master, somewhat unfairly in my opinion because there are several people like Dan Swanö promoting enormous dynamic ranges within their mastering jobs.

 

Tarot represents everything done right in production. It weighs in at a hefty DR10, has an outstanding soundstage, zero sibilance and fatigue, perfect instrument separation and the drums...oh my good god, the drums. Like Tyler Gresham is playing inside your eardrums. 

 

 

 

Interesting factoid- my dad owns Island Records' LP master of King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King". 

Very strong and impressive sound that Tarot, not typically the sort of thing i'd listen to but was a nice listen.

 

That King Crimson album sure is wonderful, the original german stateside pressing is my favorite out of a large bunch i've tried.

 

On 1/25/2020 at 5:30 PM, Rhoda said:

Oh boy, I love discussions about mixing and mastering. There's so much that can make or break an album. Without much thought there are two examples I'd like to share - Rage Against The Machine's self titled album released back in 1992, and the 1977 album from Steely Dan Aja. Both had been recommended to me as prime examples when it comes to testing audio equipment such as speakers and headphones, and I find that they quickly expose any gaps or faults. I think having them on opposite ends of the scale in terms of style helps too. You can't really compare the two.

 

As for personal favourites, I'll just list them because I could be here all day.

 

Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Frank Zappa - Hot Rats

Dr. Dre - The Chronic

Tool - 10,000 Days

Kyuss - And The Circus Leaves Town

Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero

MF DOOM - Born Like This

Aphex Twin - Syro

Philip Glass - Glassworks

Yeah, rage against the machine is an insane sounding record, A lot of that down to production. I use a needledrop of an original US promo lp, I used it for a little GTA SA compilation I made.

 

 

 

Thanks y'all for the recommendations. I updated OP with some more 2c pieces

Edited by J Dilla
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Shyabang Shyabang

 

 

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-7-

Back when Rick Rubin was so good to produce and mix albums, this is probably my favorite album of this band.

 

 

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sivispacem

Another surpringly well produced recent metal album is Rimfrost's "Expedition: Darkness", which is especially notable given black metal normally sounds like it was recorded in a lift on the world's cheapest karaoke machine and then mastered by a chimpanzee on PCP.

 

 

Punk also gets a pretty raw deal when it comes to production though a few bands buck the trend. I was going to post Martyrdöd as despite not being the last word in dynamism they consistently release decent sounding records, but intended up in a two way toss-up between a couple of neocrust/epic crust bands, Ictus from A Coruná, Spain, and Fall of Efrafa from Brighton, UK. 

 

The latter is what I've plumped for in the end, specifically their first album "Owsla" (ten points for anyone who gets the literary reference). This was recorded on an absolute shoestring budget and goes to prove that it's possible to get a brilliant sound without spending huge bucks on a big name producer. Even at YouTube's awful compression rates it sounds excellent, dense but crystal clear, and extra props for having the bass so far forward in the mix.

 

 

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-7-
Posted (edited)

The work of Lars Nissen is great which production of both albums are perfectly balanced, too many musicians involved, including a real orchestra.

 

 

 

Edited by spectre07

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thecoolfattykid

Relapse by Eminem is one of the best produced album in hip-hop. The production is mostly done by Dr.Dre and his team with the exception of one track that's produced by Eminem himself. The album has aged incredibly well. There are some amazing tracks such as:

 

 

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-7-

I love the mix on this record, great album.

 

 

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Mister Pink
Posted (edited)

There are few albums that don't sound dated at all in terms of them being recorded, mixed and mastered greatly. 

 

Obviously to get a good mix and master you need good recordings. Jimmy Page produced all Led Zeppelin's work.  There's some interesting stories on how they recorded the famous drums for When The Levee Breaks at Headley Grange by placing mics up the stairs and having Bonham playing in the lobby. The sound has been often mimicked.  This is a 2013 remaster which I think remains faithful to the sound. I just think if you can remaster music made in 1971 and for it sound like this, you got superb recordings. 

 

I would say any Zeppelin album was mixed and mastered really well. 

 

 

I would also say L.A. Woman is an album also recorded in 1971 that is mixed really well.  Riders On The Storm is a great example. The sense of space between the guitar, the rain and thunder effects, and Jim's baritone vocals. You can hear him whispering the vocals under the singing, which i didn't pick up until recently. 

 

 

 

Edited by Mister Pink

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