Written by 5:00 am Audiophile Music

Five Clicks To Audiophile Bliss

Mark Smotroff showcases five audiophile faves that are just a mouse click away

There is a modern marketing phenomenon, which ties in with blogging and social media, dubbed by many industry cynics as “click bait.” This rather derogatory — and perhaps justified — term has evolved because it is a style of article designed to pull in readers with easily digestible large graphics that look great on portable mobile devices such as your iPad or iPhone. They are easy to read while commuting on a bus or train and sometimes offer up fun information. In my experience, however, many of these articles tend to have little in the way of actual info apart from a poorly written photo caption (if you can call it that — yeah, I’m one of those cynics I talked about earlier).

beck_hook.jpgBut most importantly, a good click bait article will pull in readers who will “click” through all the way to the end so that the publishers can expose you to all manner of advertising. And for every page that you click through to see another pretty picture caption, you get to see another round of ads.

Neato, right? You get pretty pictures. The publisher gets to sell the promise of more eyeballs to potential advertisers. A win-win situation!


Now, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you, dear reader, that most blogs, including our beloved one here at Audiophile Review, rely on advertising to stay alive. This pays our modest salaries and funds all the backroom technology that allows this thing to exist and be read by you, dear readers, wherever you may be in the universe.

RTF.jpgAll that said, now I can write this sort of piece in good consciousness so that hopefully you, dear reader, are not in anyway misled. For the record, no one up on high asked me to do this. I just thought it might be fun to try since people clearly seem to like this sort of thing these days.

Thus, here is a quick click bait styled article featuring five — count ’em, 5! — albums I like and which perhaps you might like too… Essential recordings, IMHO, across genres and generations that are important both musically as well as sonically.

All right then… let’s get clicking!

1Buckley.jpg. Return to Forever, Where Have I Known You Before: Arguably this jazz-fusion band’s finest hour, this early-’70s LP was also a popular stereo demo record used in “hi fi stores” (‘member them?) when I was a kid first getting into audio gear… and it still sounds great today!

2. Jeff Buckley, Grace: The lone album by one of the most influential artists of the ’90s remains a sonic wonder and is available now on a beautiful high-quality audiophile LP that will put your stereo through the paces… Led Zeppelin meets Edith Piaf. Rawk!

coltrane.jpg3. Beck, Morning Phase: The 2014 Grammy-winning album of the year is also a gorgeously recorded spin, pressed on high-quality vinyl at Pallas. Lush acoustic modern folk-rock.

4. John Coltrane, Giant Steps: Beautiful sounding early-’60s post-bebop jazz, featuring the saxophone master at one of his many peaks. From the manic “Countdown” to the hushed “Naima,” this is a good place to start exploring jazz that also sounds spectacular. Recently reissued on 180-gram vinyl and also on high-res download.

heifetz.jpg5. Heifetz Concertos: An all-time great violinist, Jascha Heifetz, tackles rich concertos by Sibelius, Prokofiev and Glazunov on this fab Super Audio CD (SACD) reissue of a vintage RCA Living Stereo LP. Albums in this spectacular reissue series are selling now for bargain prices! I chose this one for its nice sense of dynamics showcasing the violin’s rich and delicate tonal sensibilities, fine performance and music by diverse composers. And if you play this SACD on a 5.1 home theater surround-sound system, you’ll hear it in the original three-track form it was recorded: left, center and right channels! But really you could easily enjoy any of the series featuring some of the most revered catalog in classical music. Living Stereos rank high with audiophiles who still pay big $$$ for hard-to-find pristine original LP pressings. Many of these have been reissued as audiophile LPs too, but the SACDs are the bargain these days often selling for $10 or less.


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