Your Reference Vinyl

I’m still early days in my journey back into vinyl, but I’ve been separating my best of the best reference pressings as well as my really good sounding albums. I’d like to share what I would use as my top 4-5 if you would stop by & I would love to hear what you would consider as your top reference if I would visit you.

Here are mine with some quick notes why they do it for me.

My top as of May 2021

Holly Cole AP boxset - fabulous bottom end and vocals are to die for - spot on

SVR Couldn’t Stand the Weather One-Step - wow, just wow.

Zeppelin II - Ludwig Hotmix - enough said about this over the years. It is the standard for this album.

Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow AP - great overall balance and provides details (eg nuance on brushes) I’ve never heard in other pressings.

Santana OMR - I’ve not heard the one-step, but this is hits the mark. I could see bringing the lead guitar slightly more forward into the mix, but that is my only real ask if splitting hairs.

Bonus - Ry Cooder OMR - listen to the digital copy first - more than likely you hear a very flat soundstage; but if you enjoy any of this album, I’d encourage anyone to get this as the soundstage depth and overall mix is so much better.

What are some of your reference vinyl pressings?


My picks (although i’m just seasonal to vinyl, around max 200 albums in my collection :slight_smile: )

Dire Straits - Brothers in arms - half speed mastered 45rpm vinyl (although even the standard 180g remaster release also sound great). I haven’t heard any better vinyl pressing.

Dead can dance - Spiritchaser - MoFI release. Surprisingly good sound from this “thin” vinyl.

Shpongle - Museum of consciousness - Brilliant, crystal clear sound, quiet backround, holographic images…


Excellent. I have that Dire Straits pressing and agree the Abbey Road 1/2 speed master is very well done. I will add the other two into my watchlist. Thank you.

You named the SRV Couldn’t stand the weather One Step already, so I don’t list it again. Also my Holly Cole Temptation Clarity Vinyl Classic Records 45 RPM one sided box would be a contender, but you named it already, so I leave it out.

So those here would probably be my 4 :wink: Many rank directly thereafter, but those stand out on a quick check.

I don’t have the time to explain right now, but there would be a lot to tell about each one…maybe later. I just name the label and type of release. Often but not always the exact release matters a lot.

The last 4 are even digitally sourced (but partly analog mixed/mastered for vinyl release)

Unbelievable that those few records, although not the most expensive around, have a value of several thousand $.



Chesky 33 RPM

Wilson Audio 33 RPM

Reference Recordings 45 RPM

Sonor 33 RPM

Yarlung 45 RPM

Fone 45 RPM

Classic Records 45 RPM




Classic Records 45 RPM

DEITSCHE Kammerphilharmonie 33 RPM

None such 33 RPM


SFS Symphony 33/45 RPM


Wow - you’ve provided a very robust list to research and review - thank you.

Short update. I was able to order Yuko Volume I and Belafonte, both in stock at AcousticSounds.

Great taste in music!

1 Like

Which Belafonte? (Although everything he sang was great. The Jamaican equivalent to Sinatra?)

The AP boxset @jazznut recommended


There’s another one I’d put on my top list of best sounding showcase LP’s (with great music, too):


The Yuko plays Miles Davis LP”s are quite as good sounding if you like those.

A favorite, and I have the original India Navigation release.

I second that recommendation.

1 Like

Don’t understand what reference means : sound or musically ?

Available exclusively at your local audio retailer, Acoustic Sounds or Elusive Disc. Unavaialbe at more traditional mom and pop record shops. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Not sure anymore if I also have the original of this one, too, but I have other Chico India Navigation originals and they all sound nearly as good as the AP and fantastic.

1 Like

The original poster IMO meant sonically reference showcase albums. Usually they would also have great music on them but sporadically could also be no absolute favorites there.


Top of the list in my collection, hands down, is the IMPEX 1STEP reissue of Cafe Blue. S/N 487.


The pressing is simply extraordinary. Cafe Blue of course is a demo quality recording with Patricia Barber at her best on any pressing. The IMPEX reissue blows my socks off.

What I don’t understand is how Elusive Disc managed to get copies, which I immediately swooped on, when nobody else seems to be able to stock copies. Sure glad I paid the price. Worth every penny.


Mine is on order, too. I don’t have the Mofi 45RPM and the Doug Sax release is great, too but has sibliance.

1 Like

I have them as well, a fan of his when they first were issued. His later releases are a little too “Contemporary Jazz” for my tastes. I believe they were aiming for a wider audience. I prefer his freer performances, especially Kings of Mali.

1 Like