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Señor Member
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Was thinking this one over the other day. There are some semi-absolutes to quality production but it's mostly a matter of taste. As such, I figured it'd be worth asking what albums "stand out" to you folks?

Totally non-metal, but this one plays in my car on the way to work regularly and everything sounds so transparent, you can hear everything very well and there's extremely subtle panning used for separation:


For an older recording, I'd definitely consider the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd but there aren't any HD versions on YouTube for me to use as an example.

So, what else?
 

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Opeths latest album?
 

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Though I don't listen to it much anymore, Untouchables by Korn stands out as the one album with close to impeccable production and mixing, to me. Andy Wallace, who mixed it, is my favorite mixer, and I often use albums he's worked on as reference. Thirteenth Step by A Perfect Circle Nevermind by Nirvana, both also mixed by Wallace, sound excellent, too.

As for Pink Floyd, I feel that The Wall is the album of that era with the best production. As for metal, I think Metallica's Master of Puppets completely nails that 80's sound while still managing to sound relevant and great even today. I also love the sound of Blackwater Park and Watershed by Opeth.
 

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I rippity rhymes, da rhymes dat I rip
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Korn - Untouchables. Listening to that album on a true hi-fi audiophile system will transport you to a different dimension. If I remember correctly I think they spent over a million to produce it which is ridiculous but at the same time it shows. Drums are HUGE sounding as well as the guitars are absolutely crushing. Vocals, even if you don't care for the style are just over the top through and through. The production on this album absolutely floors me every time I listen to it and I think that's part of the reason why it's one of my favorites. You couldn't do those songs any justice unless it was produced the way it was. If you're going for a full on rock opera you have to have all the theatrics involved, you know?

Edit: sniped, lol. and +1 to APC thirteenth step, phenomenal sounding album as well. The guitars on that album are the bar by which I judge all modern rock guitar tones.
 

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Wow, what a huge subject. On the whole, I would have to say that Dark Side of the Moon is the best production I've ever heard. On a good stereo, it's like you could dive in and swim around in that mix. It actually sounds like it's all happening right there in the room with you.

For metal, I would say the best production I ever heard was Metallica's Black album. Even if the music is underwhelming compared to their previous albums, the production is stellar.

I would also name Back in Black as an amazing hard rock/metal production. So many of AC/DC's albums are just a bit too raw and dry for my tastes, but that one combines their natural edge with a beautiful lushness that is second-to-none. I think everybody has been trying to get that guitar sound and mix for 30 years.
 

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My favorites are classic death metal productions from the late 80's/early 90's (Autopsy- Mental Funeral, Obituary-Cause Of Death, Bolt Thrower-The IVth Crusade, Entombed-Clandestine, Asphyx-The Rack, Morbid Angel-Covenant, Cynic-Focus, Burning Inside-The Eve Of The Entities, Edge Of Sanity- Unorthodox and more...) I don't know how perfect they are technically (lol) ...but they ooze individuality, enhance atmosphere & have the ability to make my hair stand on end.. :metal:
 

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Devin Townsend's "Terria"
 

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Opeth's Blackwater part. Everything is clear and clean. And the bass stands out on its own without overpowering anything.
 

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Fear Factory - Digimortal
Korn - Follow The Leader
SiC - Fighters They Bleed

From what I can tell on my speakers anyways :lol:

+1 on Untouchables too!
 

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I love the production on Swallow the Sun's Hope. Porcupine Tree always has great mixes. Anathema's We're Here Because We're Here sounds awesome (incidentally produced by Steven Wilson).
 

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Any Steely Dan record
Thrice - Vheissu/Alchemy Index
Rise to Remain's new album
Pretty much anything Andy Sneap has had a hand in
Cinematic Orchestra - Ma Fleur
Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Electric Light Orchestra - A New World Record
Converge - Axe to Fall
Jaga Jazzist - A Livingroom Hush
Steel Panther - Feel the Steel
Telefon Tel Aviv - Fahrenheit Fair Enough
Björk - Homogenic
Radiohead - OK Computer
Propaghandi - Supporting Caste
Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies
Gojira - The Way of All Flesh
Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise
Sigur Rós - Ágætis Byrjun
Deftones - Diamond Eyes (the song, not the whole album)
The Reign of Kindo - This is What Happens
 

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How about worst production? I'd throw the early Testament and Megadeth albums in there along with Death Magnetic.

Also Cacaphony.
 

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For metal I would have to say After The Burial rareform (remixed), here is an example:


Everything sit really well in the mix; the guitars sound tight and focused, but heavy and alive at the same time. Drums sound really popping, and the snare comes through perfect.
 

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Agalloch - The Mantle an Marrow of the Spirit
King Crimson - All of SW's 5.1 remasters, holy crap.
Cynic - Focus
Emperor - Prometheus
Rush - Hemispheres
Henry Cow - Leg End
Univers Zero - 1313/Heresie
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here/Dark Side/Animals
etc.... :)
 
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