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Ar9Jim

LP Albums for doing demos. Whats your favorite ?

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I have been a digital audio guy since CD came out. Its been at least 30 years since playing the last vinyl.
 
While setting up my Bob Carver showcase system, Bob mentioned some people will want a demo with vinyl.
 
I have a turntable set up now and need to get some music on vinyl.
 
It seems wise to buy new for this. Can you guys share your #1 pick for doing demos of vinyl.
 
Artist, label, where to buy.
 
Maybe with your help, I can find a variety of genre, with the highest quality recordings to makeup a demo sample.
 
Thanks for your recommendation.. 

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Here a few of my favorites that haven't been mentioned:
 
Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um (Columbia CK65512)  [very well recorded post-bop jazz]
Gustav Holst - The Planets by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit conducting  (Decca or London) [impossible dynamics!]
Arne Domnérus ‎– Jazz At The Pawnshop (Proprius PROP 7778-79, 2 LPs) [a live recording that puts you in the audience]
Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues Volume 3  (Sheffield Labs, Lab 1) [you feel like you are in the studio]
Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker - I've Got The Music In Me  (Sheffield Labs, Lab 2) [incredible dynamic range]
Virgil Fox - The Fox Touch (Crystal Clear Records CCS-7001) [direct to disc recording of organ music with incredible bass] 
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I second: Steely Dan Aja and Dire Straits Brothers in Arms

 

Billy Thorpe - Children of the Sun (opening song has fantastic imaging)

Bassnectar - if you want show off bass but your turntable better be isolated

Nora Jones -Come Away with Me

Diana Krall - Love Scenes

David Gilmour - Rattle that Lock

 

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Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab pressings. They don't have the surface noise because they use a higher grade vinyl and have better quality control. Since you are demoing a MoFi table you might ask them for some of their re-mastered vinyl recordings to demo with!

 

I would not necessarily recommend Pink Floyd DSOTM to demo with. The heartbeat sound on the first track can be too intense and cause lots of problems with feedback to the TT. It's fine for normal listening but you don't want it to turn a customer off to vinyl. If your customer is into vinyl then let them play it if they bring it of course.

 

There are some recordings I'll suggest that are not at all mainstream, and they might not be anyone's cup of tea for music an general; but they have some incredible 'wow' factor when played on a good TT/cartridge.

 

Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back Soundtrack

Cabaret - Original Soundtrack 1972

Fleetwood Mac - Tusk - Particularly Side 4

Blondie - The Best of Blondie

Earl Klugh - Finger Paintings (MFSL)

Crosby Stills & Nash - CSN

Van Morrison - Moondance

Pink Floyd - Meddle

Frank Zappa - We're only in it for the Money

Police - Outlandos D'Amour
 
Good record cleaner - Discwasher D4, D4 fluid (don't ever use VinylStyl it leaves residue).  I use two, one for initial cleaning of dirty record/wet, and a second one to finish and help pick up the last bit of dust as it finishes drying.
 
I only suggest vintage pressings. The new ones have quality issues except any MoFi releases.  Diskeeper ultimate audiophile sleeves are a must to keep the recordings clean.  You might need to play/clean a record with surface noise several times to get rid of any dust in the grooves, don't ruin that by putting them back into paper sleeves.
 
Discogs.com is a good place to look for vinyl; it's a bit more expensive but you can probably track down NM recordings more easily with so many vendors.  If I buy via discogs I usually make a few picks from the seller and make a package offer if they are open to negotiation, and it helps reduce shipping cost per-record.
 
If you want me to look for anything here there are several stores with lots of inventory, PM me a list.
 
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Unclemeat made some very good points. And I like his list of demo albums. Brilliant idea to get MoFi to donate some of their pressings. I would also do a little research and find out which pressings sound the best. Many of the remastered 180 gram pressings sound like crap. For instance, the first pressing of Pink Floyd The Wall crushes the 180 gram remastered newer pressing. I have both and they don't even sound like the same album.

 

Some of my suggestions will tear up an average turntable. I had a Pro-ject table that couldn't handle any volume or heavy bass. (Sold it) A good turntable and a proper set up can easily handle DSOTM, David Gilmour or Bassnectar. I like them because of unexpected passes that are so dynamic and will knock people our of their seat. I can crank DSOTM to ear bleeding levels without turntable feedback. It will shake you at your very core.

I had a guy wanting to hear my system about a month ago. He wanted to listen to a couple songs. Two hours later I couldn't get him to leave. The next day he invested in a $4000 turntable not including cartridge. Within a week he bought a new amp and speakers. He said it was Pink Floyd -(we played Animals, DSOTM and The Wall) and Supertramp (Crime of the Century, MoFi pressing) that did it.

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Thanks Chiro, I added some more to my prior post as well. DSOTM will cause my room to resonate, and that's what causes the TT arm to vibrate. It's not the table's fault in this case, it's room response and feedback to the arm/cartridge. If Jim's setup can handle it, by all means use DSOTM. I would use the original pressing, not the digitally remastered version for that one, or a MoFi pressing.

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I would recommend a turntable wall stand. Check with the manufacturer but it isolates the turntable from the floor.

 

If you happen to get resonance in the arm there are few things you do to stop it. Let me know.

 

There are some wall shelves that someone makes and sells on eBay. They are a Rega style shelf filled with sand. I add an acrylic shelf with great results. I will post pics tomorrow

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Jim: There are lots of great audition tracks on the 2014 CarverSite Reference Disc. Here's a scan of the track list: 
 
20170509103806628.jpg 
 
 
And these are Marks notes for each track:


The 2014 Carversite Reference Disc project has been a total blast to put together! I want to thank all the members that suggested tracks for this project. In my opinion, what makes this disc set special is two fold: First, it's a collection of what all of YOU personally use for your own reference tracks, not just what one person thinks up as an arbitrary "best tracks" list. Second, you all gave a brief narrative of what you listen for in these tracks, and I think that information has a lot of value.


I would like to extend a special thank you to Rodney (weitrhino) for giving me a Lightscribe disc drive, which enabled me to etch the discs for a professional look, and speed up production considerably. Thank you sir!


Here is the final track list and accompanying notes for you to refer to while listening:


The Road To Hell, by Chris Rea. Submitted by B-Man

The bass line is low, clean and well balanced with the rest of the disc; his voice has a bit of a rasp that sounds "right" on a good setup; dynamic range in general is very good. Definitely a reference song for me when auditioning a system.


Ride Across The River, by Dire Straits. Submitted by B-Man

Great example of a dynamic recording. Great for revealing system noise or high frequency issues / harshness. Good bass moments as well.


Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow / Nanook Rubs It Off, by Frank Zappa. Submitted by SteveFord

You'll know within 30 seconds if the amp/preamp/speakers, whatever is really good or bites. You've got the swirling snow sounds and then Frank's voice with Tina Turner and the Ikettes doing the background vocals. Is the bass too light or too heavy, are the vocals up front or recessed, does Frank sound life sized or like a dwarf, does his guitar sound like a razor blade or is it dull sounding, how are the dynamics, etc. Those are the tracks that I use.


Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo, by Bela Fleck. Submitted by Fill35U

For the low notes of the bass guitar, contrast of the piano, the dynamic range.


Too Rich For My Blood, by Patricia Barber. Submitted by Toy Maker

No notes have been submitted for this track. If you Have a write-up of what you listen for, post it as a comment, and I’ll insert it here!


When You Say Nothing At All, by Allison Krauss. Submitted by Daddyjt

The real magic in this track is right in the first minute or so. The opening guitar should sound very crisp and smooth. It should not sound at all muddy or dull. When she starts singing, you should hear every detail, right down to the intake of breath. In the second sentence she sings, "…. You can light up the dark,

 

listen for the "k" in dark. It should be a very subtle "kiss" of a sound, but very well defined. On some systems, it ranges from inaudible, to a muddy, incoherent sound. When the drums kick in, and she really opens up with her voice, your system should be able to handle the dynamic increase in volume without making you want to turn it down. It should be a powerful, slightly scary moment, as the overall system output jumps significantly. On MANY systems, this moment will come across as shrill, and very unpleasant. The bass should also be solid and deep, but not boomy. This is my number one track for judging equipment – Enjoy!


Brother Where You Bound, by Supertramp. Submitted by Gene C

The clarity in Ricks singing at the beginning before the drums hit. The system has to knock me out of my chair with that song.


Private Investigations, by Dire Straits. Submitted by Doh-R

Quiet details, highly defined passages, good dynamic range.


Are You Receiving Me, by Golden Earring. Submitted by BluesMan57

Great imaging and separation. Give it a listen you will be surprised.........


Battlestar Galactica Theme, by Erich Kunzel & The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Submitted by Daddyjt

This track plays

 

BIG, right from the opening drum hits. This will push your system to the lowest depths it can reach. What makes it useful, and somewhat unique, is the fact that while the bass is at maximum excursion, there is A LOT of other information being reproduced – from strong horns, to subtle flutes and triangle strikes. You should hear it ALL – a veritable buffet of sound. If your system is lacking power or dynamic output, the bass will rob all the power, and leave everything else flat. The last 20 seconds are a real test for ANY system!


Your Latest Trick, by Dire Straits. Submitted by Daddyjt

Outstanding trumpet intro, with a seamless transition to saxophone in the intro. Listen for the trumpet fade-out note, right before the sax and drum kit start. It should keep a clear tone, and not become "nasal" as it fades out. There are crystal clear cymbals, to the point that you should be able to distinguish the different types of cymbals being utilized. When the singing starts, you should actually hear the guy playing the sax walk away from the mic, and fade into the back of the stage – it should actually fall back away from you in your soundstage, and not just diminish in volume. The bass should be incredibly tight, and you should actually hear the bass drum skin being struck. This is one of the most well recorded tracks I have ever come across.


Symphony #3, by Henryk Gorecki. Submitted by dcl

Female soprano & orchestra in a moving performance–you will forget the gear & room when the sound is spot on or otherwise be up fidgeting.


On The Road Again, by Katie Melua. Submitted by PDR

All her material is very well recorded.....the "Dramatico" label.


Norwegian Wood, by Patricia Barber Submitted by ?

This one came to me in a PM that I deleted – Please post a comment with your notes on the track, and I will insert them!


The Forecast Calls For Pain, by Robert Cray. Submitted by B-Man

Good recording; clean bass line; good imaging capabilities.


Ouverture, by Robin Vassy. Submitted by Weitrhino

French/Iranian jazz. Vassy creates many of his own instruments so the sounds in this track fall outside the ordinary. I listen particularly to the hard plectrum sound from the plucked steel strings and the beautiful decay of the fading vibration sometimes with multiple strings in harmony. Additional instruments appear and disappear sometimes panning and sometimes precisely imaged in three dimensions. As the piece progresses the full band kicks in. The bass is deep and resonant but with a softer touch that evokes fingers in contrast to the hard plectrum sound of the other string instrument. This is an album that sounds particularly good on ribbons. The whole album is amazing and has the advantage of presenting something fresh.

http://robinvassy.bandca...m/album/bon-voyage


Dirty, by Johnny Winter. Submitted by Blues Pwr

Originally released on vinyl in 1974, the song "Dirty" was a bonus track on the remastered CD released in 2008 from the original LP master tapes, which creates a crisp and clean recording. This song is just Johnny on acoustic slide guitar and vocals and a flute player(Jeremy Steig an American Jazz Flutist). Often criticized for his lack of vocal prowess, this song is perfect for his south Texas twang/growl. The flute playing is incredible, at times light and airy and the next second dirty and raspy. It contrasts sharply with the dark lyrics and Johnny’s acoustic slide guitar work. The flute playing will test the upper ranges of your system and reveal any weakness's it may have. Should be a real test for ribbon and super tweeters. This is unlike any other Johnny Winter song out there, which is probably why it was added as a bonus track, because it wouldn't fit on any other release. Well worth a listen, if you’re curious what real blues are supposed to sound like.


Hush, Hush, Hush, by Paula Cole & Peter Gabriel. Submitted by Daddyjt

This is a great track for Sibilance (The correct reproduction of the "

 

s" sound). Paula’s voice is almost a female falsetto, and can come across as very grating in poor speaker/amp combinations. A great deal of the information on this track sits right in the cross-over region on 2 way speakers. As such, it will test the anomalies created by your cross-over design. Peter’s voice carries a soft, yet grainy feel, and should seem to anchor the entire track. All-in-all, a great duo, and a nice listen.


Son Of A Preacher Man, by Dusty Springfield. Submitted by kve777

For sibilance checking- Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" as found on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. I use various tracks on that CD for testing, but this is my go to track for speakers. I've passed on many deals just because this song sounded crappy.


Powaqqatsi, by Philip Glass. Submitted by dcl

A mid-piece crescendo merges vocal chorus & orchestra over the deep ostinato (hey, its Philip Glass). So, massed basses, percussion over which the chorus could be shrill at volume.


Walking On Sacred Ground, by Janis Ian. Submitted by Daddyjt

This track is great for testing mid-bass response. When done right, it is warm and inviting with a solid low end kick. The vocals should float above all the other instruments, and especially the bass line. Her voice should have a delicate, yet powerful sound. When done poorly, the bass is very muddy and ill-defined, and the lower notes lack any kind of kick – the whole thing turns into a dull mess that is rather unpleasant to listen to. This track also has the nasty ability to showcase rattles within your system and room.


The Children’s Crusade, by Sting. Submitted by Daddyjt

This track exhibits great texture – from Sting’s raspy voice, to the seemingly off-key piano. Good crescendos before the chorus take a lot of power to keep the different sounds separate, and not allow them to collapse into a jumbled mess. Listen for separation throughout, and solid transients.


Frequency Sweeps, Low to High.


Great for detecting and isolation rattles and resonances. Be careful at the higher frequencies, as prolonged sign waves can damage tweeters!


Again, I’d like to thank everyone here for their help and input – I think this first go is a success, and I’m very proud of the results! Thinking maybe we do this again next year, but I’ll let all of you be the judge of whether or not we do it again…

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Jim, I had this great strategic suggestion all typed, when the site went down last night...,  The jist of it was...
 
1. Consider that the quality of your vinyl in your "showcase" should be in parity with the ~$40,000 worth of the latest technology you are presenting.
2. Russ and Chiro are dead on with the MoFi suggestion. I'll add SuperDisc, and there are others.
3. Avoid used, moldy, beat up garage-sale records that would appear to your audience as being orthogonal to your high-end objective.
4. I would pick "pressings" over "titles" - which will give you enough overlap. 
5. A few dozen quality pressings from MoFi, or SuperDisc, or even some of the Japanese and European pressings are better than 250 titles of junky pressings covering every genre.
6. Your audience, with $40K in disposable cash will expect top-quality vinyl - and the new stuff is pretty impressive.
7. If you pick up a used be sure to get a cleaner (ultrasonic, or other) your new TT and cartridge needs that respect. I like the suggestion of two DiskWashers, one for cleaning, one for finishing, that someone said - I do that. 
 
FWIW, MoFi, Mobile Fidelity, started here in Chicago - look up the Wikipedia article.  And, there's a weekend sale at their HQ every week (close to us! - bonus).  They offer 20% to 30% off MoFi titles along with lots of high-end used stock. 
 
BTW, I'm not trying to be a vinyl snob - just thinking about what I believe you are setting up with the Showcase of this gear.  Most, 98% or more of my vinyl, is used, beat-up jackets from garage sales and swap meets. 
 
There ARE bad repressings (MoFi and others...) the best advice is to plug into some vinyl groups, like the MoFi group on FaceBook.  There's lots of opinion there, that can steer you away from lesser pressings that MoFi can't help.
 
Some of these repressings are super valuable, and in limited editions.  The recent release of Donald Fagan's Night Fly on 45rmp MoFi, has more than doubled in price in the aftermarket.  I heard it at a friends, last Sunday night..., and it is absolutely stunning (played it on some tubed Audio Research gear, a Marantz TT through Klipsch K-horns - orders of magnitude better than the original pressing. 
 
One last thing there are a couple very good shops in Rockford, and the used market for recent MoFi pressings is pretty strong in our area of the midwest.  A regular event - record swap at the Hillside Best Western is on for this Sunday, always is a good place to find near new Mofi. 
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Good pressings make all the difference. I just purchased another pressing of Steely Dan Aja for $178 from Better Records.

Better-records.com They focus on finding the absolute best sounding vinyl on the planet. I try to get a copy of all my favorites from them because the sound is significantly better. Very pricey but worth it. Pressings are so different from one to another. The temperature at which each was pressed, the engineer, the time of day, the beginning or end of a run, the press machine, was it remastered, did the boost the high end (common for Japanese pressings)... I have two first pressings of Kansas Point of no Return that sound completely different. I have three pressings of Srt. Peppers the 2014 parlaphone mono is by far the best pressing. Quality Record Pressings is another great source. Their Pressings are outstanding. If you read about how they do their pressings, you will want nothing but their pressings. Cat Steven's Tea for the Tillerman is outstanding. If you want to amaze with your Amazings, use good pressings.

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What a great source of knowledge. Thanks a million. I'm only doing this once,  and it cost less to do it right the 1st time. Thanks for suggesting sources as well. Since its for demo use, I'll get the best available and be done with it.
 
Unless there really is something to this vinyl thing, and I get hooked for more records.. 
 
I'm skeptical at best. The new DACs are pretty darn good.. Look forward to comparing. 

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Here are some pics of the turntable wall shelves I picked up on ebay. I think I paid $175 each.  They do a great job, highly recommended.  Solid, well made, filled with sand and easy to install.  You have to buy a shelf.  I picked up a 3/4" acrylic shelf off ebay and had them cut it to size.  Perfect
 
20171116065535264.jpg
20171116065716253.jpg 
20171116065847896.jpg 
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Jim, I had this great strategic suggestion all typed, when the site went down last night...,  The jist of it was...

 

1. Consider that the quality of your vinyl in your "showcase" should be in parity with the ~$40,000 worth of the latest technology you are presenting.

3. Avoid used, moldy, beat up garage-sale records that would appear to your audience as being orthogonal to your high-end objective.
4. I would pick "pressings" over "titles" - which will give you enough overlap. 

5. A few dozen quality pressings from MoFi, or SuperDisc, or even some of the Japanese and European pressings are better than 250 titles of junky pressings covering every genre.

6. Your audience, with $40K in disposable cash will expect top-quality vinyl - and the new stuff is pretty impressive.

7. If you pick up a used be sure to get a cleaner (ultrasonic, or other) your new TT and cartridge needs that respect. I like the suggestion of two DiskWashers, one for cleaning, one for finishing, that someone said - I do that. 

 

FWIW, MoFi, Mobile Fidelity, started here in Chicago - look up the Wikipedia article.  And, there's a weekend sale at their HQ every week (close to us! - bonus).  They offer 20% to 30% off MoFi titles along with lots of high-end used stock. 

 

BTW, I'm not trying to be a vinyl snob - just thinking about what I believe you are setting up with the Showcase of this gear.  Most, 98% or more of my vinyl, is used, beat-up jackets from garage sales and swap meets. 

 

There ARE bad repressings (MoFi and others...) the best advice is to plug into some vinyl groups, like the MoFi group on FaceBook.  There's lots of opinion there, that can steer you away from lesser pressings that MoFi can't help.

 

Some of these repressings are super valuable, and in limited editions.  The recent release of Donald Fagan's Night Fly on 45rmp MoFi, has more than doubled in price in the aftermarket.  I heard it at a friends, last Sunday night..., and it is absolutely stunning (played it on some tubed Audio Research gear, a Marantz TT through Klipsch K-horns - orders of magnitude better than the original pressing. 

 

One last thing there are a couple very good shops in Rockford, and the used market for recent MoFi pressings is pretty strong in our area of the midwest.  A regular event - record swap at the Hillside Best Western is on for this Sunday, always is a good place to find near new Mofi.

 

 

 

True, but wouldn't it be even MORE impresive if you put an 'old beat up jacket' record on and it was MORE impressive than a new/pristine record??  It's what's in the grooves that matters; not the jacket.

 

I'm sure that there are impressive new pressings, but what I've bought of it has been junk, and I'm in no way willing to spend $168 for Aja when my original pressing sounds better (to me) than the CD.  Jim is going into marketing, and I understand the need for clean vinyl but I still suggest giving NM used a try because it's HIS money that he is investing in setting up, not someone elses cash.  

 

I bought 15 used titles last week and they averaged $10/per and I was having sticker shock at the register. But that's the problem with vinyl; it sucks you in to spending more on it.  What's funny is the $1.99 copy of the first record by Queen I bought blows away most of my other recordings, and it's scratched and has lots of surface noise between tracks LOL.

 

 

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"I'm in no way willing to spend $168 for Aja when my original pressing sounds better (to me) than the CD. "
 
True, for clarification the Aja pressing I bought was not new. It was a 1977 pressing ABC label that was hand pick from numerous 1977 pressings for its amazing detail and sound.  Not all pressings from the same run sound the same. The other Aja album is a 1980 pressing with a MCA label. I have only bought a handful of these Better Record albums because of the price.  Poeple will pay more for a MoFi pressing because of the better quality.  I will be happy to pay more for an album if I know it's going to sound significantly better.  We spend a a lot of cash for equipment to get a better sound why not spend a little more to get a better source. 
 
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Nearly all of the Johnny Cash stereo recordings, including the new ones are outstanding sounding. I think the mid 60's era are the best, but even the newest ones are well engineered for image/depth.

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[...]True, but wouldn't it be even MORE impresive if you put an 'old beat up jacket' record on and it was MORE impressive than a new/pristine record??  It's what's in the grooves that matters; not the jacket.

 

I'm sure that there are impressive new pressings, but what I've bought of it has been junk, and I'm in no way willing to spend $168 for Aja when my original pressing sounds better (to me) than the CD.  Jim is going into marketing, and I understand the need for clean vinyl but I still suggest giving NM used a try because it's HIS money that he is investing in setting up, not someone elses cash.  

 

I bought 15 used titles last week and they averaged $10/per and I was having sticker shock at the register. But that's the problem with vinyl; it sucks you in to spending more on it.  What's funny is the $1.99 copy of the first record by Queen I bought blows away most of my other recordings, and it's scratched and has lots of surface noise between tracks LOL.

 
I am in total agreement, Russ. For my money, I like the $2 records I have in my collection. I don't own much MoFi - and experience it mostly at my audio friends who have more money than I do...,   I get very stoked when a $2 bargain knocks my socks off when I get it home.
 
Thoughts presented were only suggestions to ponder. Jim, don't blow your budget - do what you think is best, I may have misunderstood your showcase's objectives.
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Yep, it depends on what Jim wants to invest. It seems to me that he doesn't want to cull through lots of record bins to find gems; so it likely will be high quality (MoFi, etc) new or NM used.

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