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Best Albums for Audiophiles, According To Sound Engineers

If you love music, then you will know that to truly appreciate a great album it must have been mastered with a wide dynamic range.

Each of these influential albums on this list is one of the best hi-fi albums ever recorded.

From the opening track to the end they deliver the kind of music (and often pop music) that you can really make the most of a world-class hi-fi system with.

The Best Entire Album Plays For An Audiophile’s Library

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

If anybody says nothing good came out of the pandemic? Play them this album. This is a bright intelligent sophomore effort that looks at the world and longs for more.

There’s a really complex sound here and from the title track onward the recording sessions for this album must have needed a phenomenal sound engineer.

Give it a listen here.

Boards Of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children

Boards Of Canada - Music Has The Right To Children

Who can believe this glorious slice of psychedelic rock is over 20 years old? Well, we can as our copy is a vinyl record but this record’s sound is still fresh and modern.

There’s so much going on here that the recording process must have taken forever to get right but combine that with the thought-provoking lyrics and you have great music that ought to have been a best selling album that started a more memorable career.

Give it a listen here.

David Bowie – Blackstar

David Bowie – Blackstar

We know, Bowie has plenty of previous records that would qualify but this posthumous release is one of his most inventive.

And the combinations of jazz, electronica, art-rock, and even the occasional nod to “easy listening” is just a phenomenal record that demands you listen closely and see what happens when a commercial success is given full creative control. This was a fitting footnote to an amazing musical career.

Give it a listen here.

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

If you were expecting Dark Side of the Moon, that’s because you haven’t spent enough time with the whole album that is Wish You Were Here.

You have 5 tracks that last more than 40 minutes and it’s a loving tribute to the legend that is Syd Barrett and the tragedy of his decision to stop being a creative.

Give it a listen here.

Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral

This is not an enjoyable ride but rather the wildest of rides from the moment that you press play.

This is hard rock with the hardest of edges, it’s full of drug use, self-harm, suicide, and more. But there’s no doubt at all that the soundscape is among the most interesting and entrancing ever laid down.

Give it a listen here.

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

We could probably have chosen any album from this incredible act that seems to redefine the electronic sound every time they lay down a record.

But it’s their fourth outing that seems to show the most maturity and which rewards the first-time listener with untold sonic delights.

The album is a huge tribute to the sounds of the 70s and 80s such as the created by Stevie Wonder or Fleetwood Mac while remaining entirely their own.

Give it a listen here.

Radiohead – OK Computer

Radiohead - OK Computer

We strongly recommend buying the remastered version of this album from the Radiohead site to get the most out of it.

Not only was it a critical success but it’s probably the only album in history to see the entirety of Glastonbury Festival sing it word for word as it was played live.

Give it a listen here.

Nirvana – In Utero

Nirvana - In Utero

Get the 20th-anniversary edition, don’t skimp on this. Then sit back and listen to the excellent original followed by Steve Albini’s remixes. There’s so much more texture here than there was before.

Give it a listen here.

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

To listen to this, properly, along with its overdriven guitars, you should really turn up the volume loud enough to require earplugs.

But you will be impressed just by testing the limits of your own setup, we think

Give it a listen here.

Dr Dre – 2001

Dr Dre - 2001

Mainstream hip-hop shows that it’s not just rock and electronica that can put your hi-fi to the test with Dre’s insanely clever second album.

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Give it a listen here.

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?

This was written as a response to his brother’s Vietnam war experiences. It tackles so many social issues and blends blues, soul, and jazz together seamlessly.

It’s one of the most enjoyable audiophile recordings in history and still sounds great nearly 50 years after it was laid down.

Give it a listen here.

R.E.M. – Automatic For The People

R.E.M. - Automatic For The People

It’s the jangly pop element of this wonderful album from mid-career REM that will show if your hi-fi can hack it.

We also love the dark side of this album. It’s absolutely irresistible.

Give it a listen here.

Final Notes

Yes, we know. Pet Sounds isn’t on this list but that’s because it’s such a hugely influential album that it’s on every list. We wanted to bring you influential records that deliver the goods for audiophiles that don’t get such prominence in the regular press.

One comment

  1. I feel that Tool has put out some great sounding albums that are worth a listen with good headphones or on a decent stereo system. It surprises me that their music doesn’t make it on more of these lists.

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