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What's Your 'I Got New Equipment' Album?

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As in, a record you know really well, and/or that is well-recorded, that you go to as one of your first listens when you get new equipment (whether turntable, amp, speakers, headphones, etc.).

Usually mine is either Big Star's #1 Record, Elvis Costello's Get Happy, or more recently, The xx - The xx (for headphones - that album really is incredible with good cans).

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I'm more of a ritual-based listener than a technical one, so I don't have anything that I go to for accurate testing of how much better my equipment sounds...I just throw on an album like Modern Life Is War's "Witness" or Converge's "Jane Doe," something that has a lot of symbolic and personal meaning to me.

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Nevermind 24bit/96k flac files FTW. Grohls drums are fucking HUGE


Yeah, but which version are you talking about? Cause there are many...


I've always thought 'the best version of Nevermind' has been an interesting topic. There was a point in my life where I spent about a month hunting down every conceivable version of Nevermind I could get my hands on. I then spent more months analyzing them over, and over, and over again. Comparing dynamic range, clarity, each instrument alone, and all together. I ended up having different version to suit what style I wanted to hear. Sometimes I want punch. Sometimes I want it as clean as possible. Good thing I have choices.


What it all came down to is how YOU want it to sound, what you think the best version is. (I did a chart for all of them in Small Talk like a year ago -- this is my favorite album of all time, mind you.) Keep in mind personal preferences, and set ups are going to come into play, obviously (with all albums).


Here are my personal favorites:


1.) MFSL 24k CD | FLAC | 12bit | 44.1k ||| This version is so punchy, ambient, bright, and is my personal favorite. Plus you get 'Endless, Nameless'. If you think the drums are huge in the copy you listened to... holy fuck, check this out, NOW. (This is my go to digital copy. This is what I use to test new digital equipment.)

2.) ORG Pallas Vinyl (2013 Repress) | FLAC | 24bit | 96k ||| A lot of people say this is the best, and I don't blame them. It sounds incredible, and has a lot of depth. This is definitely the cleanest version. Best part is that you can get it for $25. (This is my go to vinyl copy, hands down. This is what I spin to test new analog equipment.)

3.) Devonshire Mixes | FLAC | 12bit | 44.1k ||| Oh, man. Butch's original version is just something else. It's hard to really describe hearing this, and comparing it to the Butch/Wallace mix. This is more so a personal contender, and less of a 'best sounding DR wise'.


Honorable mentions:

1.) German 2008 Geffen 320 'Back To Black' - a good amount of people say this is the 'best' copy. It's definitely up there for sure. Has a very natural sound to it. Seems they didn't mess with the EQ a lot on this copy. (2nd place for vinyl copies. I spin this one if I want the 'original' sound. You can get this for $20.)

2.) US OG Geffen 1991 - very balanced, but good luck getting a physical copy without breaking the bank.

3.) US 2009 Geffen Pallas ORG (Pretty much the same as the 2013 [my number 2 overall], except more expensive.)


If we are going straight audio, without Devonshire:

MFSL 24k > ORG Pallas > German 320 'Back To Black'



Best digital: MFSL 24k / ORG Pallas

Best analog: ORG Pallas




I don't know why I typed all that at 5AM...

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I recently (re) discovered my copy of that Nevermind MFSL 24k CD. I bought it like 20 years ago--well before I knew anything about audio--and completely forgot I had it. It's apparently worth a few bucks these days.

kind of makes me want to buy a CD player...

You can get a CD player cheaper than you can get the 24k CD. Haha. But damn it's worth it.

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I don't really have a go-to album to test new equipment, I generally gravitate towards something that I'm currently into that sounds really clean and has lots of bass (think Burial or Massive Attack).




However, I had equipment-ruining albums.  I've blown out speakers and earbuds to Massive Attack - Mezzanine and lvl - Denial.


lvl - Denial in particular because of the bass contrasted with the super gritty/abrasive beats puts a lot of headphones through the ringer:



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Yeah, clean might be the wrong word.  "Clear"?  "Bright"?  Something where I can very clearly distinguish between different sounds/instruments/tones


But yeah, you get me.




EDIT:  Not referring to the post.  I think the word you are looking for is "articulate".

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oh my wow GIF by ESPN Deportes


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