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What is the best album production (composition/engineering) you've ever heard?

Zing

Banned
Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,771
#54
I always felt that Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins was recorded and produced beautifully.

50 Cent - The Massacre
One engineering choice I think is fantastic for this album is track fading. Instead of the usual quick cut to the next track or a skit, the tracks actually fade out like the old days.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,602
#56
Yes - Fragile

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Both of those albums have such a clear sound where all the instruments are perfectly separated that you can literally listen to every single song by focusing on one single instrument and just follow it through the entire song, and you can do that for every instrument including vocals. Not only do I love the music on those albums but just listening to the sounds themselves is great.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,835
#62
Boston's first album never ceases to amaze me, personally, especially since I think the main dude did most of it at his home studio or something?
Boston is a fantastic album. The fact that it was mostly made in Scholz's basement makes it even more impressive.

In my opinion Tango in the Night is overproduced. There are too many synths, too many vocal overdubs, it gets kinda tiresome. And "When I see you again" sounds absolutely horrible, with those butchered and recreated Stevie Nicks lines. I think Mirage is infinitely better, both musically and sonically.

Yes - Fragile

Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Both of those albums have such a clear sound where all the instruments are perfectly separated that you can literally listen to every single song by focusing on one single instrument and just follow it through the entire song, and you can do that for every instrument including vocals. Not only do I love the music on those albums but just listening to the sounds themselves is great.

It's amazing how you can hear every single one of Jon Anderson's vocal tracks separately. Great, now I wanna listen to Fragile in its entirety. I'm going to do that right now!

Not one mention of Rumours. Heathens, all o’ ye.
This album is an impossibility come true. It's really not possible for a band with so many problems (every member was breaking up with or dating each other, sometimes at the same time) to come up with something this good, but they did it. That's truly amazing.
 
Last edited:
Oct 28, 2017
498
#65
At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command




Perfect sound. I know some of the band members have stated they don't like the production, but for me it definitely factors in why I love this album. The bass sounds so gritty (the intro to Quarantined may be my favorite bass part ever), the guitars are amazing (just liusten to the wall of sound in Cosmonaut), and in general the mix is pretty great. I like At the Drive-In's earlier albums, but with a production like this some songs could have a much larger impact. And I think their comeback album suffers from a forced lo-fi sound

Also:

The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute



Most discussions about this album are an endless circlejerk about whether, you like the ambient parts are not. (Full disclosure: I do, give me more of that 5-minute frog chirping! ;) ) Ignore all that, and besides being an all in all fantastic piece of music, the production is also pretty great, imho the best of all Mars Volta albums. While I love De-Loused (and the sound is generally great), it has some serious loudness issues, for me it's exhausting to listen to in one go. The mix of Amputechture is pretty muddled, while Bedlam lacks any dynamics and the high-pitched singing can sound pretty flat. Frances has the best dynamics.
 
Oct 30, 2017
10,202
#66
not entirely sure what that means, but im gonna go with Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall by Pink Floyd
 

mikehaggar

Developer at Pixel Arc Studios
Verified
Oct 26, 2017
459
Harrisburg, Pa
#67
Totally agree with OP on Dr. Dre's "2001". However, you really need to add in Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" and Snoop's "Doggystyle" albums. The production and mixing on those is fantastic as well.
 
May 11, 2018
4,746
UK
#68
Boston is a fantastic album. The fact that it was mostly made in Scholz's basement makes it even more impressive.


In my opinion Tango in the Night is overproduced. There are too many synths, too many vocal overdubs, it gets kinda tiresome. And "When I see you again" sounds absolutely horrible, with those butchered and recreated Stevie Nicks lines. I think Mirage is infinitely better, both musically and sonically.



It's amazing how you can hear every single one of Jon Anderson's vocal tracks separately. Great, now I wanna listen to Fragile in its entirety. I'm going to do that right now!


This album is an impossibility come true. It's really not possible for a band with so many problems (every member was breaking up with or dating each other, sometimes at the same time) to come up with something this good, but they did it. That's truly amazing.
Seven wonders is a mixing masterclass
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,106
#72
There's an early CD version of The Wall that sounds fantastic. It uses pre-emphasis, a rarely used method of improving the signal to noise ratio on cds. You have to take that into account when you rip the disc, or else the audio files you get will be wrong. For years I didn't know that was the version I had, and I just assumed that it had a very harsh high end, It sounds fantastic when played correctly though.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,963
#76
Roxy Music's albums are insanely well produced considering the time they were made.

Nowadays a lot is produced well.
Actually. It's exactly the opposite. A high percentage of music is crushed to hell and back. The loudness war is real and detrimental as all hell to the quality of music being made and produced today.

Check The Mars Volta "Deloused in the Crematorium" vs "Amputecture" and it is noticeable. Hell, the latest couple Metallica albums versus Ride the Lightning or ...And Justice for All.


One of my picks that is probably fairly unknown but absolutely perfect is Ben Folds' "Songs for Silverman."

Then the tri-fecta from The Flaming Lips, "The Soft Bulletin", "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots", and "At War With the Mystics"
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,506
#77
Actually. It's exactly the opposite. A high percentage of music is crushed to hell and back. The loudness war is real and detrimental as all hell to the quality of music being made and produced today.

Check The Mars Volta "Deloused in the Crematorium" vs "Amputecture" and it is noticeable. Hell, the latest couple Metallica albums versus Ride the Lightning or ...And Justice for All.


One of my picks that is probably fairly unknown but absolutely perfect is Ben Folds' "Songs for Silverman."

Then the tri-fecta from The Flaming Lips, "The Soft Bulletin", "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots", and "At War With the Mystics"
Yeah that's true. Loudness war sucks. Fat sausage wav files.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,515
London
#79
Glad to see J Dilla and Madlib mentioned, as well as Burial.

My vote goes to The Avalanches' Since I Left You. The sheer amount of samples they wrestled to produce something so lush and rich, is astonishing. Wildflower is pretty fantastic too.


 
Oct 27, 2017
645
#80
At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command




Perfect sound. I know some of the band members have stated they don't like the production, but for me it definitely factors in why I love this album. The bass sounds so gritty (the intro to Quarantined may be my favorite bass part ever), the guitars are amazing (just liusten to the wall of sound in Cosmonaut), and in general the mix is pretty great. I like At the Drive-In's earlier albums, but with a production like this some songs could have a much larger impact. And I think their comeback album suffers from a forced lo-fi sound

Also:

The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute



Most discussions about this album are an endless circlejerk about whether, you like the ambient parts are not. (Full disclosure: I do, give me more of that 5-minute frog chirping! ;) ) Ignore all that, and besides being an all in all fantastic piece of music, the production is also pretty great, imho the best of all Mars Volta albums. While I love De-Loused (and the sound is generally great), it has some serious loudness issues, for me it's exhausting to listen to in one go. The mix of Amputechture is pretty muddled, while Bedlam lacks any dynamics and the high-pitched singing can sound pretty flat. Frances has the best dynamics.
Good post. Personally I prefer how De-Loused sounds more. Both blow my mind with how they can possibly contain so much sound and still make each instrument stand out.

I wanna throw in Thrice's Illusion of Safety. That album sounds so biting and dangerous. Each riff sounds like it can stab you. I can't imagine those songs having the impact they do had they been produced any other way. Not perfect though. Sometimes the snare is at the level it needs to be to add to that piercing sound, but then sometimes they really needed to turn it down.
 

ScandiNavy

Banned
Member
Apr 13, 2018
1,538
Norway
#82
I have no idea how to answer that.
If it sounds good it sounds good.
Production/engineering?
I bet I like several “bad” ones from that standpoint, but I wouldn’t know.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,036
#88
Actually. It's exactly the opposite. A high percentage of music is crushed to hell and back. The loudness war is real and detrimental as all hell to the quality of music being made and produced today.

Check The Mars Volta "Deloused in the Crematorium" vs "Amputecture" and it is noticeable. Hell, the latest couple Metallica albums versus Ride the Lightning or ...And Justice for All.


One of my picks that is probably fairly unknown but absolutely perfect is Ben Folds' "Songs for Silverman."

Then the tri-fecta from The Flaming Lips, "The Soft Bulletin", "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots", and "At War With the Mystics"
I love all three of those Lips albums, but it is amusing that you complained about the loudness war and then chose three records by a band that was in the vanguard.
 

Servbot24

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
15,757
#90
The production on Daft Punk - RAM is pretty amazing. Unfortunately the production doesn't save it from being a bad album.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,556
#93
I'm obsessed with music, I'm constantly seeking out new songs and sounds, and I could nerd out about music all day... but I never know how to answer this question! I don't think I really know what people mean when they say good production. Can someone elaborate for me some more?
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,515
London
#97
I'm obsessed with music, I'm constantly seeking out new songs and sounds, and I could nerd out about music all day... but I never know how to answer this question! I don't think I really know what people mean when they say good production. Can someone elaborate for me some more?
I consider good production to be something that really achieves what it's trying to do acoustically. When you can hear the different elements clearly, and at the correct levels, without any one element overriding anything else (unless that's the intent, although it rarely works out like that). Crisp percussion, warm textures on softer instruments like strings, depth to trumpets or woodwind, and vocals that either aren't washed out or overbearing, etc.

It's also means knowing what you're trying to achieve tonally; whether you want the sound to feel close and intimate, like the singer is right there next to your ear, or if it's some massive, concert/arena sound.
 
Oct 31, 2017
3,725
#99
RAM is a good call, even if the album kinda blows musically

I'm kinda confused by the Burial mentions though, since his mixdowns are lo-fi, muddy messes by his own admission and that becomes really clear the second you try to mix them.
 
Oct 28, 2017
780
Jaylib - Champion Sound (This album holds a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first albums that took me on a deep dive into boom-bap rap. It was also the very first time I ever heard J Dilla & Madlib. The back & forth between smooth head-nodders like "The Red" or "Raw Shit", and gritty shit like "The Official" & "Heavy" was an amazing experience for me.)
On "React" the alternating panning of the double snares is the type of nuance I appreciate.

D12's Devil's Night might be one of the most ridiculously offensive records released at the right time, but the production has aged impressively well. Extremely high quality instrumentation by Dre, Em and Bass Brothers all who would carry the rock sound first heard here to The Eminem Show a year later.

And to jump to a completely different genre, I can't imagine trying to build, layer, mix and keep together tunes such as...