Great-sounding records serve an essential role for any budding audio engineer. The first crucial years of your audio journey entail a thorough, patient exercise in critical listening. And in your quest to build a proper audio workstation, it’s imperative that you start with optimizing your listening environment. For these crucial stages, great-sounding records not only provide context to your critical listening journey, they also serve as helpful references when optimizing your listening environment to ensure accurate mixing or mastering decisions.
In this article, we go over a list of great records that have served many of today’s top mastering engineers well throughout their careers. We will be focusing on three different perspectives on how these records have served a unique purpose to industry pros: understanding and appreciating various production styles, listening for audio fidelity, and testing for optimal tonal balance in your listening environment.