Record making techniques were upgraded and improved throughout the decades, but there’s no room for arguments about the following statement – some of the finest vinyl releases were made many years ago, and we’re now here to decide which ones are worthy to be considered the best sounding vinyl records of all time.
Top 15 Best Sounding Vinyl Records of All Time
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd is, perhaps, the biggest name in R&R history, and it’s only natural that we’re opening up with one of their greatest achievements. The artwork is simple, yet legendary, but the sound quality is what made the stars in this case. “The Dark side of the Moon” was recorded in 1972 and released just one year after and it lasts approximately 43 minutes
Led Zeppelin – III
Fans of Led Zeppelin are arguing which album was their best, but hardcore fans often state that “all of their works are masterpieces, there’s no such thing as the best Led Zeppelin album”.
Even though that might be so, their third album is, in our humble opinion, best sound-wise. It was recorded in 1970 and released in the same year, much alike Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the moon. Tangerine and Gallows Pole sound so breathtaking that you’ll be with us when we say that this might be the best sounding vinyl record of that time.
Michael Jackson – The Thriller
We’re progressing up to the 80s with Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Michael was always controversial, and his blend of post-disco and funk simply had to come out right.
This vinyl was sold in millions of copies worldwide, and even though most people accredit this to Michael’s sheer name, audiophiles beg to differ – namely, The Thriller sounds so ahead of its time that it could easily pass as a legit quality record by today’s standards. It was recorded during the interval between April and November 1982 and was released in November the same year.
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath, along with the infamous Ozzy Osbourne are heavy metal pioneers from England – we’ve all heard about them, some of us have seen them live, but only the handful few have had the privilege to listen to their “Black Sabbath” vinyl record.
There are numerous controversies about how this record was actually recorded, but most sources claim that all members of the band have entered separate rooms and started jamming out the legendary riffs from The Wizzard, N.I.B, and Behind the Wall of Sleep. The sound quality of this record isn’t exactly pitch-perfect, but it’s clearly distinguishable and exquisite, to say the very least.
Van Halen – 1984
Eddie Van Halen’s sixth studio album bears the title of 1984 (after the year when it was released), and it was recorded in 5150 Studios in California. Ted Templeman did a very fine job with producing and editing, but it was essentially Eddie who devised a way to make you “Jump” out of “Panama” while he was “Hot for Teacher”.
Generally, this vinyl record sounds great, maybe a bit too commercial, but we would expect nothing less from the father of glam rock.
Black Sabbath – Heaven and Hell
We’ve already mentioned the big guys when we covered “Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath”, but it felt oddly uncomfortable to leave out Dio out of the picture, especially since he passed away a couple years back.
Heaven and Hell vinyl has more meaning than ever, and it’s safe to say that this is the best sounding vinyl record released during the early 80s. The instruments appear more precise, the vibes are in traditional Sabbath style, but Dio’s voice is what makes this piece of art so unique, so transparent. If you never got the chance, we highly advise that you check it out.
Beatles – Revolver
The Beatles – four Englishmen who ignited a rock and roll revolution across the globe. Sifting through their numerous vinyl records, we’ve discovered that it was all too hard to pluck out one that sounds better than the rest.
The “Rubber Soul” has the rhythm, “Help!” has the energy, and who can escape the sweet nostalgia “Abbey Road” brings? Anyhow, we’ve decided that “Revolver” has it all – the sound quality is on point, especially if we consider the fact that this album was recorded in 1966.
Johnny Cash – At San Quentin
Johnny Cash had a plethora of hits – his singles were #1 for decades, albums are still cherished, but the truth is that he knew how to touch one’s soul when he performed live.
The “At San Quentin” represents his live performance at State Prison of San Quentin in February of 1969, and no man, woman or child could be left unmoved by his domineering presence, soft-spoken voice, and golden fingers. This vinyl record is most certainly not for the faint of heart, as tracks contained within are so pure that you’ll be drowning in tears sooner than later.
Johnny Cash – All Aboard The Blue Train
We couldn’t leave out the big Johnny – this legend has rocked his way through bluesy tracks which later evolved to what we now know as “rockabilly”. We’re proud to present you with “All Aboard the Blue Train” – the 14th album by one of the greatest musicians of all time.
Even though it was recorded in 1958, it was only released in 1962, but we’re referring to the re-issued edition which came to be on 9th September of 2003. Johhny’s Blue Train, Train of Love, and Folsom Prison Blues make us wonder whether trains are actually as sad as he portrays them, or do they become so after listening to the tracks?
Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden
We’ve saved the best for last – it’s easy to close down the curtain in style with Iron Maiden. England houses some of the finest musicians the world has ever seen, and Maidens come to mind whenever Beatles and Sabbath are mentioned.
Iron Maiden’s self-titled album is a rock/metal masterpiece – the vocals don’t erupt through the speakers even though they’re incredibly high, the guitars sound perfect (even though there are three of them), and who would’ve thought that such a great sound could be found and achieved during the early 80s? Make sure to own this record, even if it costs you an arm and a leg.
Deep purple – Deepest Purple vinyl
Deep Purple’s been one of the most influential rock bands of all time, and it’s no surprise that they simply sound better on vinyl records where there’s absolutely no compression. The guitars here fill richer, the bass deeper, and the vocals are just pure gold.
You’ll find some of their finest hits on the ‘Deepest Purple’ such as the ‘Fireball’, ‘Burn’, ‘Highway Star’, and of course, the legendary ‘Smoke On The Water’. Regardless of whether you’re a rock fan or prefer other music genres, the ‘Deepest Purple’ is undoubtedly a must have for everyone.
Yngwie J. Malmsteen – Trilogy
Yngwie’s the ‘Fury’, the ‘Viking’, and most importantly, he’s the ‘Fire’ in the heavy metal world. Although some of his music might be a little bit on the harder side for non-rock or metal fans, it’s a given that he’s one of the most proficient guitarists of his time.
The reason why you need his ‘Trilogy’ on vinyl format is because you’ll get to experience some of the most profound licks, absurdly emotional solos, and overall – the most complete musical compositions heavily influenced by classical and neo-classical genres.
Alice Cooper – Greatest Hits
Alice is well known among music nerds for being a brilliant composer, a one-of-a-kind showman, and beyond that his music somehow appeals to everyone. However, digitalized formats tend to bite in from his flair, which is why we strongly suggest that you give his ‘Greatest Hits’ a try.
There’s simply no living being that hasn’t banged their head with his ‘School’s out’, but this vinyl also contains some of his hidden gems, such as Elected, Under My Wheels, Desperado, and Is It My Body. Though it’s not mainstream per se, you’ll most definitely grow to love it.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced
Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Experience’ can be considered as an educational record more than anything. This rock god’s got the groove, the vibe, and somewhat devilish technique on the guitar that simply can’t be captured on a compressed MP3 format.
Sing along the ‘Hey Joe’, ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Love or Confusion’, and ‘Fire’, along numerous other hits, such as ‘Are you Experienced?’, ‘Foxey Lady’, ‘Third Stone From The Sun’, ‘May This Be Love’, and many others.
Queen – Self Titled Vinyl
Queen, alongside all of the individual members has set the bar for how music should be made, and it would be sacrilege to listen to their songs in any other format than vinyl. What’s more, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ movie just came out recently, so there’s no better way to enjoy it than by warming up with one of the greatest vinyl records of all time – Queen’s ‘Queen’.
This particular vinyl has some of the less-known songs that you simply need to hear, such as ‘My Fairy King’, ‘The Night Comes Down’, ‘Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll’, ‘Jesus’, and ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’. Pay respects to the late rock and roll titan and give a listen to what these wonderful people have made.
Prices last updated on 2019-12-13 Source: Amazon - Turntable.guide is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.