Top Engineers – A to Z

Rudy Van Gelder – One of Our Favorite Engineers (A Continuing Series)

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RUDY VAN GELDER is one of our favorite recording and mastering engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Rudy Van Gelder engineered albums, along with plenty of our famous commentary.

The really good RVG pressings (often on the later labels) sound shockingly close to live music — uncompressed, present, full of energy, with the instruments clearly located on a wide and often deep soundstage, surrounded by the natural space and cool air of his New Jersey studio. As our stereo has improved, and we’ve found better pressings and learned how to clean them better, his “you-are-there” live jazz sound has come to impress us more and more. (more…)

Ron Nevison – One of Our Favorite Engineers

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RON NEVISON is one of our favorite engineers. He recorded Bad Company’s debut, a Top 100 album for us, as well as Straight Shooter. In 1973 he engineered Quadrophenia, taking the reins away from Glyn Johns after his success with the amazing Who’s Next.

1977 saw him working on the sprawling mess that turned into Physical Graffitti.

Engineering

Bad Company was one of RON NEVISON’S early engineering jobs. The year before (1973) he had been behind the board at Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio for Quadrophenia, one of the best sounding Who albums we know of and a longtime member of our Top 100 (as is this album). He also knocked it out of the park on Bad Company’s followup release, 1975’s Straight Shooter. In 1977 he worked on the sprawling mess that turned into Physical Graffitti.

If you have top quality copies of any of them you should be able to recognize the qualities they all seem to have in common. This guy definitely knew how to get The Big Rock Sound onto analog tape.

Our job here at Better Records is simply to find you the very special pressings that actually reproduce all the energy and rock and roll firepower that Nevison captured. It ain’t easy but we don’t mind doing it — these are clearly some of the All Time Great Rock Albums of the ’70s (or any other decade you care to name) and we just never get tired of hearing them.

Nevison went on to do many of the biggest selling rock albums of the ’80s, but The ’80s Sound has never held much appeal for us. This explains why you find so few recordings from the era on our site, silk purses, sow’s ears and all that. Ron Nevison This very album was one of Ron’s first big engineering jobs .(They passed on Glyn Johns if you can imagine that.) He went on to do Bad Company’s debut, a Top 100 album for us, as well as Straight Shooter, which in some ways I like even better as a recording, and then the sprawling mess that turned into Physical Graffitti. He went on to do lots of the biggest selling monster rock albums of the ’80s, but The ’80s Sound has never held much appeal for us, which is of course why you find so few recordings from that era on our site, silk purses, sow’s ears and all that. (more…)

Roy DuNann Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

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ROY DUNANN is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Roy DuNann engineered albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries. 

More of our Favorite Engineers and Arrangers

Eddie Offord Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

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EDDIE OFFORD is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Eddie Offord engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.  

Many can be found in our Rock and Pop Top 100 List of Best Sounding Albums with the Best Music (limited to titles that we can actually find sufficient copies of with which to do our Hot Stamper shootouts).   

Eddie Offord Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Eddie Offord Engineered Albums We’ve Reviewed

Hugh Padgham- One of Our Favorite Producer-Engineers

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HUGH PADGHAM is one of our favorite engineers and producers . Click on the links below to find our in-stock Hugh Padgham engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries. 

Hugh Padgham Engineered or Produced Albums with Hot Stampers

Hugh Padgham Engineered or Produced Albums We’ve Reviewed

Ken Scott Is One of Our Top Five Favorite Engineers

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KEN SCOTT is one of our favorite record engineers and producers. Click on the link to find the albums on our site that Ken worked on, along with plenty of our commentaries about the sound of his recordings. 

Ken Scott (Ziggy Stardust, Magical Mystery Tour, Honky Chateau, Crime of the Century, Truth, Birds of Fire) is the man responsible for the sound of many of our All Time Favorite Albums here at Better Records.

The kind of Tubey Magical richness, smoothness and fullness he achieved at Trident in the early ’70s has never been equaled elsewhere in our opinion.

In 2008 I had the opportunity to hear Ken speak at an AES meeting here in Los Angeles. I won’t bore you by trying to recap his talk, but if it ever comes out on youtube or the like, you should definitely check it out. The Behind-The-Scenes discussion of these artists and their recordings was a thrill for someone like me who has been playing and enjoying the hell out of most of his albums for more than thirty years.

Many can be found in our Rock and Pop Top 100 List of Best Sounding Albums with the Best Music (limited to titles that we can actually find sufficient copies of with which to do our Hot Stamper shootouts).

Lee Herschberg – One of Our Favorite Engineers

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LEE HERSCHBERG is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Click on the link to find more of the albums he engineered or produced, along with plenty of our famous commentaries. 

One of the top guys at Warners, you’ll find his name in the credits for many of the best releases by the Randy Newman, Gordon Lightfoot, The Doobie Brothers, Ry Cooder and Frank Sinatra, albums we know to have outstanding sound (potentially anyway; you have to have an outstanding pressing to hear outstanding sound of course).

And of course we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the album most audiophiles know all too well, Rickie Lee Jones’ debut. Herschberg’s pop and rock engineering credits run for pages. He won the Grammy for Strangers in the Night.

The one album that gets my vote for Herschberg’s Pop Engineering Masterpiece would have to be Michael McDonald’s If That’s What It Takes. On the best copies the sound is out of this world.

The most amazing jazz piano trio recording we know of is Herschberg’s as well: The Three (with Shelly Manne, Ray Brown and Joe Sample).

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Stephen Barncard Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

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STEPHEN BARNCARD is one of our favorite producers and recording / mixing engineers. Click on his name to find our in-stock Stephen Barncard engineered albums, along with some of our commentaries for same.

Barncard is the recording engineer on Tarkio, one of our All Time Favorite Records. He’s also the man behind one of the ten best sounding rock recordings we have ever played, If I Could Only Remember My Name

Typical Notes for If I Could Only Remember My Name

A TRUE ROCK DEMO DISC! A Hot Stamper copy such as this will show you why we’ve long considered it one of the All Time Top Ten Rock Albums for Sound and Music. You will not believe how Tubey Magical and three-dimensional this album can be when you have the right pressing. The harmonic complexity and extension on the acoustic guitars are absolutely stunning!

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs, not exactly a tough call it seems to us. Who can’t hear that this is an amazing sounding recording?

You Don’t Have to Be High to Hear It

This side one is truly stunning — amazing transparency, breathtaking clarity, vanishingly low levels of distortion, breathy vocals, uncanny immediacy and lots of LIFE.

When you drop the needle on this record, all barriers between you and the musicians are removed. You’ll feel as though you’re sitting at the studio console while Crosby and his no-doubt-stoned-out-of-their-minds Bay Area pals (mostly Jefferson Airplaners and Grateful Deads) are laying down this emotionally powerful, heartfelt music.

The overall sound is warm, sweet, rich, and full-bodied… that’s some real ANALOG Tubey Magic, baby! And the best part is, you don’t have to be high to hear it. You just need a good stereo and the right pressing.

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Chris Kimsey Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

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CHRIS KIMSEY is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Kimsey engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries.  

Many can be found in our R ock and Pop Top 100 List of Best Sounding Albums with the Best Music (limited to titles that we can actually find sufficient copies of with which to do our Hot Stamper shootouts).

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Ray Hall Is One of Our Favorite Engineers

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RAY HALL is one of our favorite recording engineers. Click on the link to find our in-stock Ray Hall engineered or produced albums, along with plenty of our famous commentaries. 

Ray Hall Engineered Albums with Hot Stampers

Ray Hall Engineered Albums We’ve Reviewed