Cheap old 80's CDs that actually sound terrific

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steven Henry, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Active Member Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA
    Recently I came across a post by a forum member recommending a cheap mid-line priced "Motown Compact Classic" series CD as his go-to release of What's Going On. "Ha!" thought I... until I saw Mr. Steve Hoffman's endorsement a comment or two down. I believe he replied, "That's the one."

    So I gambled $3 on Discogs, and I'll be damned. To my ear, the clarity and scope of sound beat all of the vinyl versions I've heard to date. I began to do a little more investigation and discovered a few more CDs released prior to the '94/'95 20-bit remastering craze that sound as good or better than their subsequent remastered versions. A few that are hard to beat IMO:

    The Best Of Isaac Hayes (Volumes 1 and 2)
    (1986) Stax/Enterprise, remastered from analog tapes by Joe Tarantino

    Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions / The Anthology 1961-1977
    (1992) MCA, remastered by Robert Stoughton

    Big Star #1 Record / Radio City
    (1987) Line Records, mastering unknown

    Any other favorite great-sounding CDs from the 80s and early 90s?
    crispi, DrZhivago, The FRiNgE and 9 others like this.
  2. billnunan

    billnunan Forum Resident

    Cleveland, Ohio
    "The Nightfly" by Donald Fagan

    Rickie Lee Jones debut album

    "John Wesley Harding" by Bob Dylan
  3. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    I've always liked the original Columbia CD of Blue Öyster Cult - Spectres.
  4. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Jennifer Warnes covering her longtime iconic friend, Leornard Cohen, on Famous Blue Raincoat
    DLD, fini, Jarleboy and 9 others like this.
  5. fluffskul

    fluffskul Forum Resident

    albany, ny
    Most of them.
  6. heepsterandrey

    heepsterandrey Forum Resident

    I was spinning that one a few days ago. Such a smooth listen.
  7. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident

    Wichita, KS
    You must be new here!

    There are thousands of great sounding discs from the '80s and early '90s (before the loudness wars). Probably hundreds of threads here that discuss them. Not sure of the best way to find those threads (maybe do a search for a specific title that you are interested in).

    Some examples of great sounding discs:

    Virtually any of the Time-Life compilations from before '94 or '95.

    Almost all of the '80s Motown mastered by John Matousek.

    Anything mastered by Bill Inglot - pre-1994 or so.

    Anything mastered by Barry Diament.

    Anything mastered by Steve Hoffman.

    Anything mastered by Dennis Drake.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    nick99nack, bhazen, limoges and 27 others like this.
  8. HotelYorba101

    HotelYorba101 Forum Resident

    The Police - Ghost In The Machine
  9. Jack_Straw

    Jack_Straw Forum Resident

    Wichita, KS
    Almost anything by the following artists mastered to CD in the '80s:

    Steely Dan
    Grateful Dead
    Led Zeppelin
    The Police
    David Bowie
    Paul Simon
    Paul McCartney
    Rolling Stones
    Fleetwood Mac
    limoges, OptimisticGoat, DLD and 14 others like this.
  10. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Active Member Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA
    Hey thanks for helping me get ramped up, I am pretty new to the forum. I was aware of Bill Inglot’s great work on Rhino reissues from the era, but not the others.
    bluejimbop likes this.
  11. Thievius

    Thievius Blue Öyster Cultist

    The old Virgin/Charisma Genesis CDs from the 80s. Not perfect by any means, as those old albums didn't benefit from high production values, but the old CDs are fairly true to the original sound of those recordings. I'm talking mostly about the oldest albums, Foxtrot through Selling England. But the Atcos and Atlantics of subsequent albums are also preferable over the more recent remasters, which are either remixed or use noise reduction. My old Genesis CDs are my pride and joy. :love:
    crispi, fishyboots, AidanB and 10 others like this.
  12. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Active Member Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA
    As a former Tower Records employee, I had multiple CDs by nearly all of these artists back in the day. However, by the mid-90s I was seduced by the boosted bass and high end of a lot of the 20-bit and, later, 24-bit reissues. A lot of 80s versions seemed pretty thin-sounding by comparison. To be honest, some of them still do (to my ears, at least) - but I’m surprised at how many discs I’d dismissed back then are so... listenable now. Of course, having a better grade of equipment now than I did back then probably doesn’t hurt, either.
  13. moops

    moops Forum Resident

    Geebung, Australia
    Any Original Jazz Classics CD, usually with one of these names as the mastering credit on the back ......

    Kirk Felton
    Joe Tarantino
    Phil De Lancie
    Gary Hobish
  14. onlyconnect

    onlyconnect The prose and the passion

    Winchester, UK
    Tracy Chapman self-titled

  15. moops

    moops Forum Resident

    Geebung, Australia
    There should be plenty of threads here with suggestions.
    There's also some duds from the early days, so take note of those when they're mentioned as well.
  16. hi_watt

    hi_watt Forum Resident

    San Diego, CA
    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    Magical Mystery Tour
  17. stagnation

    stagnation Forum Resident

    Bridlington UK
    I’ve always thought that the original Tears For Fears’ “songs from the great chair” is a great sounding CD
    Bluepicasso, johnHS, Isamet and 11 others like this.
  18. Anarseo

    Anarseo Forum Resident

    Venice, Italy
    Tears for Fears' The Seeds of Love
    (OK that was easy)
  19. Anarseo

    Anarseo Forum Resident

    Venice, Italy
    I was writing pretty much the same thing but in two seconds I realized how titanic was "The Seeds of Love" at the time
  20. AdrianSoundchaser

    AdrianSoundchaser Forum Resident

    Sheffield, UK
    I just picked up Tango In The Night by Fleetwood Mac. 1987 release. Absolutely amazing.

    I also continue to recommend the original Chrysalis releases of Pat Benatar's first two albums. Best bass sound ever.
    bru87tr, MitchLT, Dan Steele and 8 others like this.
  21. Anarseo

    Anarseo Forum Resident

    Venice, Italy
    if you like some easy listening jazz, all the old Lee Ritenour catalogue on GRP is quite impressive
    I was spinning "Festival" yesterday, Brazilian infected smooth jazz, beautful sound, if you turn the volume up just a little bit
  22. AdrianSoundchaser

    AdrianSoundchaser Forum Resident

    Sheffield, UK
    And don't buy any RVG Blue Note CDs. The original 80s CDs blow them away. Mastered by the aptly named Ron McMaster.
  23. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Greater Vancouver
    @Steven Henry there's a rule I follow generally that holds up very well. With a few boutique audiophile labels exceptions, some DCC, MFSL, Audio Fidelity and Analogue Productions releases, older is better. Those first Japanese and German production engineers really knew their stuff and it's played out many times for myself and others.
  24. Teufelzkerl

    Teufelzkerl Forum Resident

    Few in my collection really stand out on a great system, two from the top of my head:

    Grace Jones - Island Life
    The The - Mind Bomb
  25. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    This shouldn't be news to anyone on a this forum, most of them are superior to later remasters.
    Front 242 Addict and Dave like this.

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