Although vinyl sounds better than digital audio, not all records sound the same. There are some records that sound better than others.
Different vinyl editions sound completely different because they have different thicknesses, weights, pressings and special editions. Then there are records we all have in our collections that fall into a sad state of disrepair, but there are those records that sound so excellent we can’t help but spin them nearly every time.
What to look for
If purchasing used vinyl, look for albums released between 1974 and 2000. In this era, pressings of albums were often made using thinner vinyl, also sometimes recycled, creating an inferior sound compared to higher-level pressings.
Must own vinyl albums
Music For Films by Brian Eno
It belongs here precisely because it wasn’t entirely enamoured with us before we heard it run at half speed; the sonic upturn gave us a new perspective especially in terms of dynamics, however admittedly subtle.
Van Morrison – Moondance
Moondance was the album Van Morrison’s name was attached to. It features some of his most well-known songs, blending jazz, blues, rock and soul.
You should have a copy of this album if you’ve only heard it on CD or MP3 for a completely new experience. Moondance was written for and was intended to be heard on vinyl, which features fuller mids and lows compared to other releases.
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Daft Punk’s disco-themed dance record was made last year by a team led by directors including Julian Casablancas, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams, but most electronic music is created behind the screen of a computer.
The flawless vocals and flawless instrumentals are sure to get anyone moving. ‘Get Lucky’ has been played a million times on the radio. Just wait until you hear it on a turntable. If you don’t have one yet or it’s too old, a brand new turntable priced around 200 bucks might do the job just fine.
Kid A by Radiohead
The sound of the album is bold and often euphoric despite its always-subdued phrasing. Its smooth electronic textures and lush acoustic instruments provide a convincingly immersive soundscape.
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Its sales were in the millions, and though many people attribute this to Michael’s name, audiophiles claim it sounded so like a legit quality record by today’s standards – namely, the Thriller sounds well ahead of its time.
It was released in November 1982 after being recorded between April and November 1982.
Tips: Here a melody but don’t know what song is? Try this guide to How to Find a Music Video Without Knowing The Name!
Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis
We know of people who treasure their charity-shop-bought records for the cracks and hisses they may have gone through, which will add to the authenticity of the music.
So magnificent a suite deserves to be appreciated in its full glory, on the cleanest, best pressing. Then it’s simply irresistible.
Arca by Arca
It is an interesting sonic collage, exploring the lines between music and sound art, and sometimes you can hear the groove picking up its grimy textures off the grooves. If you want to maximize performance, you need a system that’s well armed for when Arca goes low.
This album sounds great on vinyl, it does not matter what album you listen to if that surface is scratched up. Your vinyl will sound better than ever with a top of the line record cleaner.