Last Updated
June 25, 2024
Ric's Blog

Mar 29/08 - Great vinyl records you may have missed

Introducing ROARS, Ric's Overlooked Audiophile Record Selection.

I've been promising this for a long time to my regular customers so for those of you that haven't had a chance to visit the store, I'll give you a little background. Without bragging, I have the largest used audiophile vinyl record selection in the Greater Toronto Area.
Many of you might be familiar with the "TAS" list in which the editors of the Absolute Sound magazine compiled a list of audiophile recordings or pressings that exhibit better sonics and stand above regular pressings. In my opinion, they have done a great job and for the most part, are bang on. However, the list heavily favours classical music. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some classical but 99% of the time I'm listening to rock,jazz and blues. Yes they have some rock and jazz lps listed in the "informal" section. Cool, I don't have to wear a tux to listen to this, and the snobbish attiude of formal/informal rubs the wrong way. The lps listed in the informal section ARE great and they have done a good job, but there are hundreds more that people should be made aware of. That's where this list comes into play. I'll try not to duplicate ones from their list and yes, my list will probably be biased towards some of my favourite bands. I'm a fan of Mobile Fidelity ( MFSL )  and a few other audiophile labels and those selections seem obvious to me but they will be included here as well.I also tend to think that imported pressings sound better possibly because they used better raw materials or pressed less and took better care of the pressing process.
My major criteria for making this list is music AND sonics. There are too many audiophile records out there that while they may sound stunning, are also truly boring musically so after your jaw drops at the sound of a crescendo or effect, you're ready to run and take the record off. To me, Amanda McBroom "Growing up in Hollywood Town" on Sheffield labs is a perfect example of this. Makes you sit up in your chair right away and then if you last two songs, you are a patient person.

This list is not complete in any way and sometime in the future I will add more to the list so check back every once in a while.

Boston - "Boston" MFSL/CBS 1/2 Speed/Epic 34188 - Both the mofi and 1/2 speed will leave you speechless with the MFSL a touch better.The domestic Epic pressing is no slouch

Buckingham Nicks -"Buckingham Nicks" Quality/Polydor 5058 - Collectable album done just before their Fleetwood Mac fame has excellent music and sounds stunning.Either the Canadian ( Quality ) or U.S. Polydor

Kate Bush - "Hounds of Love" EMI ST 17171 - Domestic copies sound great and the U.K. is a small notch better.

Cano -"Rendezvous" A&M SP 9037 - Jazzy rock by Canadian band features great vocals/musicians/production. Also recommended, "Eclipse" & "Au Norde de Notre Vie"

Bruce Cockburn - "Dancing in Dragons Jaw" True North/CBS 1/2 speed - One of the best CBS 1/2 speeds ever produced in my opinion. Even the domestic TN 37 pressing is amazing

CSN/CSNY - "Crosby Stills Nash" & "Deja Vu" - Classic/MFSL - The Classic records pressings (out of print) are fantastic with a soundstage that puts them right in the room with you. The MFSL deja vu is stunning but so is the price. Hard to tell difference between it and the Classic with the Classic being a fraction of the MFSL's going rate.

Dire Straits - "Love Over Gold" - Vertigo VOG 1 3317- The dynamics of song Telegraph Road will amaze. Domestic is great with German a notch better

Donald Fagen - "Nightfly" - MFSL/Warner - The MFSL has been my personal reference lp for years. It has it all, dynamics,musicianship and production. Very pricey but in my mind, an lp I could not live without. The domestic is very very good.

Fleetwood Mac - "Tango in the Night" - Warner Bros - The domestic is very good with the U.K. or German pressing just a notch better.

Peter Gabriel - "So" - Geffen - The U.K. pressing is the one to own, forget about the Classic. Domestic pressing is great too!

Art Garfunkel - "Breakaway" & "Watermark" CBS PC 33700/PC 34975 - Both of these domestic pressings are fantastic and should not be overlooked.

Hall and Oates - "Abandoned Luncheonette" MFSL - Their best album in my opinion with their vocals never sounding better on mofi's pressing.

Heart - "Dreamboat Annie" CBS 1/2 speed - One of the top five CBS 1/2 speeds

Gordon Lightfoot - "Sundown" MFSL - Canada's national treasure of folk nevr sounded better

Loggins & Messina - "Loggins and Messina" Columbia PC 31748 - The domestic copies of this lp sound great but try to search out an original 360 sound label pressing

Matt Bianco - "Whose Side Are You On" WEA WX7 - Who said the 80's sucked. The U.K. or German pressing of this is tight and allows future jazz vocalist Basia to shine. Domestics are good too

Steve Miller - "Fly Like an Eagle" MFSL - Steve flies on this pressing and certainly higher than an eagle.

Naked Eyes - "Fuel for the Fire" EMI 17116 - Another forgotten 80's band with great songs/sound on this album

Pink Floyd - "Dark Side of the Moon" & "Meddle" MFSL - Ok, most of the Floyd lps have great sonics but these two on MFSL are the pinnacle. TAS chose the brit version of Dark Side yet my mofi kills it in my opinion

Renaissance - "Ashes are Burning" & "Scheherazade" Sire/MFSL - Japanese and Mofi are the ones to own if you can find them. Orchestral prog rock with soaring female vocals

Steely Dan - "Aja" MFSL/Cisco - My other reference album on MFSL. I have compared the Cisco but from valued customer's opinions they state the Cisco is better. Hard to beleive.

Steely Dan - "Royal Scam" & "Gaucho" Japanese - Usually ( 90 % of the time ) I find Japanese pressings thin with poor bottom end but these pressings are the best available for one of my all time favourite bands.

Tears For Fears - "Sowing the Seeds of Love" Fontana 838 730 1 - Search out the domestic numbered gatefold edition of this. You'll be well rewarded.

10CC - "Deceptive Bends" UK/Mercury - The British version on UK records is awesome but domestic pressings are good too

Gino Vannelli - "Powerful People" MFSL/A&M - The MFSL has a bottom end that you have to hear to beleive. Domestic A&M copies are very good as well



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