I still think that vinyl provides the most satisfying listening experience–if you purchase good vinyl and have a proper modern turntable. At the same time, though, we can’t ignore the reality of digital music files. Digital music is here to stay.
With a small but growing segment of the population rebelling against the bad sound of MP3s, lists are starting appear featuring the best digital files for testing out new audio gear. Note that we’re NOT talking about MP3s here; for anything of these recordings to be of any use, they have to be encoded in FLAC at the very least.
Computer Audiophile has this list of recordings, all of which are of the classical and jazz variety. Nice, but I’m not really enough of a fan of those genres for these recordings to be of any use to me. It’s like giving me a $500 glass of wine; I wouldn’t be able to appreciate it over one that cost $15.
If I had to pick three High-Res Audio recordings to audition new gear, I’d go with the following.
- Legend/Bob Marley: Lovely dynamic range. You’ll hear a new clarity in Bob’s voice that’s hard to describe. I also hear bass notes that I never knew existed even after listening to this album roughly 800 million times.
- Brothers in Arms/Dire Straits: Listen for the snare drum snap on “So Far Away.” I swear you can also hear Mark Knopfler’s fingerprints as he picks at the strings.
- Aja/Steely Dan: Their records are engineered to perfection. A High-Res version is pretty much as good as a 180-gram vinyl edition.
- Tour de France Soundtracks/Kraftwerk: Everything exception the vocals have a digital source. Flawless recording, mixing and mastering.
I realize that only a tiny, tiny number of people are into this kind of digital high fidelity. But if you are, what recordings would you include in this list?