Albums you love that sound poor on hi-fi

Barely touched my LP12 for months as the last album I played sounded awful.

All About Eve’s Scarlet and Other Stories.

Love the songs but the Original LP just sounds terrible.

I have quite a few albums I enjoy in lo-fi but they’re rubbish via hi-fi. You feel as though the artist was short changed somewhere in the production chain.

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Yes, John Denver ticks that box really well

Love his music , but the recordings were/are crap , they have the feel that they were recorded for the lowest common denominator - like AM Radio and little care was spent beyond that sound range /

As an alternative I listened to Roger Whittaker on CD a few months ago, and whilst they were mostly played on the same AM/FM radio they didn’t shortchange listeners with better quality systems , in fact it sounded pretty good even if he/ it had a street cred factor pf 0.5 on a scale of 0-10

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Crosby, Stills & Nash, the first album.
Remasters & Reissues galore won’t affect the terrible quality of the original recording, it would seem.


The 2012 remaster on 24bit 192kHz sounds pretty good on my system.

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Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf the original vinyl pressing is flat and lifeless and sounds absolutely awful on my system which is a shame because I love every track.


Joshua tree by U2 never has sounded that good. Seems mixed for radio.


Not albums I like per se but my wife had a large collection of J-POP which is mixed, without exception, for listening on headphones on noisy commuter trains. Dynamic range reduced to near zero.

When I got the hifi she said, “Your system has ruined music for me.”

Had to bite my tongue from saying something snobbish.

I find a good hifi can make even bad recordings more enjoyable. The one exception being really bad dynamic range compression. That just gets butchered. Probably most noticeable for me is Groove Armada’s White Light and Black Light albums. The compression is so extreme you feel like something is wrong with your ears/brain. It’s actually unsettling.


Definitely I second the Joshua Tree!!! One of the greatest rock albums from one of the greatest rock bands of the 20th century was engineered or rather butchered by the famed Daniel Lanois whose main contribution to the album seems to have been to make the entire masterpiece sound like you’re listening with a permanent head cold…

Lanois accomplished the extraordinary trick of managing to make the entire thing sound both muffled and shrill at the same time.

When they listened back to the masters in the control room through presumably some pretty high quality monitors how on earth did the entire band plus him manage to sign off on this utter garbage production?? How did the Edge one of the most technically proficient and innovative guitarists in history decide it was OK to compress his extraordinarily gifted playing into oblivion? How do you render one of rock’s most soaring and emotive singers sound like somebody performing karaoki on a wet Tuesday night down at the Dog and Duck?

It’s a travesty I tell you, a travesty…

I actually made a point of playing this when I did the SME Model 60 review for Soundstage just to see if probably the finest turntable in the world could somehow elevate it. Even with NAC252/Supercap/NAP300DR/NAP300PS and a set of hugely dynamic ATC SCM50 monitors on the end of it all the whole thing was still as flat and lifeless as week old lettuce…

Its only hope may be that maybe, just maybe one day somebody who doesn’t have cloth ears like Giles Martin might one day pull the master tapes and actually remix and remaster the whole thing properly.

I have no idea how much Lanois got paid for this monstrosity but frankly with absolutely no training and my daughter’s home studio I could have done a better job.


Mildly frustrated with the Engineering, would be a fair description then…:thinking::rofl:


It’s a regular issue, across all formats IME, made worse that it embraces both relatively simple and sparse music (e.g. vocalists with support) up to the ‘busy’ albums like U2 (as flagged above).

You buy an album to hear a great vocalist perform, and then find their voice is buried so deep in the mix, the equivalent of row-Z in an auditorium, that it’s basically over-shadowed by all the support. The early tracks on Beth Hart’s tribute to LZ are like this.

There are so many ‘radio mixes’ on the formats out there, they are too numerous to list. One can understand some additional compression for vinyl but the CD versions are often 99% the same IME.

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To be fair, BH was following a tradition. I am a huge Zeppelin fan, but I wouldn’t call any of the great albums audiophile recordings in the way that (say) DSOTM and Pretzel Logic are.

I’d also point at Kind of Blue. IMHO, it’s the best jazz album ever, and I haven’t heard the more recent doctored versions at all, but the speed on the original is surely a bit imperfect, and the saxes distort a bit and the opening flutters a little. None of it ruins the music.

Also, can we mention DG’s recordings in the early 80s?There was also a period in the late 60´s, with recordings made in Philharmonie Hall in Berlin. It’s probably my cloth ears, but they really don’t sound right. This covers a fair few recordings by von Karajan, so may be contentious.

Then there’s The Only Ones’ first album, and almost every live album by a rock band, apart from Live At Leeds.


I listened to this last Friday on Qobuz via my Zenith Mk3 and thought there was something wrong with my system, it truly is dreadful.

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Try the Mobile Fidelity SACD. It sounds very sweet!

Sadly I don’t own any kind of CD player at the moment.
Once I have purchased the ND5 XS2, I will probably get a CD Transport and may then consider purchasing CD’s again. Transports that play SACD’s​:thinking:, do the Audiolab ones do that?:man_shrugging:t2:

I read an article about the Master Tapes of this album a while ago and apparently the quality of the recorded original recordings was very poor, which is why they say you will never be able to get a good Production Master.
I think Graham Nash also made reference to the same thing in his biography, that I read a couple of years ago…

Not that i am aware……did hear the Accuphase SACD/CD transport………really good, but at £20 k

Soon after Live Aid, Bono did an interview where he said he was going back to basics and listening to his songs through an alarm clock speaker to see if the song was good enough. This ideology may have carried on through the recording process. I never had a problem with the recording, but I have not played it for a while. I have been following a strict regime of only listening to their 80s albums when they reach their 40th anniversary. So currently up to War, so have to wait another four years before I can play The Joshua Tree again.

What is your opinion of the recording process of The Unforgettable Fire and Achtung Baby both of which had input from Lanois?

:rofl: :rofl:
I doubt I’ll be buying anything more expensive than a 9000CDT, but more likely to be a 6000 or 7000…:man_shrugging:t2:

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I am sure Qobuz will have a high Rez version shortly.
That’ll be better than digitally remastered?

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I always think that Basket of Light by Pentangle sounds distorted. I thought that when I had it on vinyl back in the day and it still sounds like that to me on CD.


Blue Cheer - Outsideinside

This lot are, in certain circles as first heavy band, which is way out for me. But even so, this album is weedy, which a shame as the songs are excellent.

MC5 - Back in the USA

Again chock full of amazing songs, the the production was made for transistor radios, and gets nowhere near Kick Out The Jams, or High Time.

I saw the band three times on their 1972 tour, and was in a daze for weeks after. My only claim for fame was having a microphone shoved in my face by Rob Tyner and told to sing Rama Lama Fa Fa and Wayne Kramer throwing a lit cigarette at us. He said he didn’t like they way we were looking at him.

An amazing night.