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11 Best Surround Sound Music Discs

After more than 5 years of extensive listening in surround I came up with a top 11 list of my favorite Surround Sound Music discs.

This list is not exclusive to any media, so you’ll find Blu-ray, DVD Audio and SACD recommendations. One is even available as a multi channel FLAC donwload.

So without any further ado, here is number…

11. Hans Zimmer – Inception Blu-ray

Hans Zimmer’s great score to the movie Inception can be heard in full surround sound on the bonus disc of the 2 Disc Special edition Blu-ray. You can read the review here. Epic is the correct term for this rarity (as in ‘more movie scores with surround sound please’)!


10. Earth, Wind & Fire – Gratitude SACD

This disc is really a double album. It features live tracks from their 1974-1975 American tour plus 7 studio tracks, all very discreetly mixed in surround. The live tracks really put the listener in the audience, but with a much better audio quality than you would get at a real concert. And the studio tracks are very well balanced and immersive.


9. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – XXL DVD Audio

Gordon Goodwin’s Big Band is swinging hard and with players like Eric Marienthal, Michael Brecker, Wayne Bergeron and the omnipresent Luis Conte on percussion among others, it really doesn’t come as a surprise. The audio quality is top notch and the surround mix is equally good. ‘XXL’ might be a contender for ‘worst album cover ever’, but listening to it is always a lot of fun 🙂


8. Christian Willisohn – Hold On SACD

The CD layer holds the stereo mix of the full band, but the DSD layer let’s you hear just Christian singing and playing his piano. Not a discreet mix at all, but that would be difficult to do with just two instruments anyway. It sounds lovely and immersive just the same. Great songs!


7. Maceo Parker – School’s In SACD

The funk master teaches us a thing or two about groove just by listening to him play. Mixed for surround this record puts you right where the funk is! Hard to sit still with this one…


6. The Beatles – Love DVD Audio

The Beatles need no introduction. Remixed from the original master tapes for the show ‘Love’ and preserved to DVD Audio we get 26 surround sound tracks by the Beatles. They sound as if they were recorded yesterday. Amazing!


5. Henri Mancini – Ultimate Mancini SACD

With an all-star lineup of artists including Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Tom Scott, Gary Burton and Plas Johnson returning for the Pink Panther, Ultimate Mancini is just that: the ultimate version of Mancini’s music, in performance, audio quality and a wonderful surround sound mix.


4. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon SACD

What band would be better suited for a surround sound mix than Pink Floyd? One of my all-time favorrite albums with a true surround treatment: gimmicky in the best sense of the word when appropriate and otherwise well balanced and immersive.


3. Sara K. – Hell Or High Water SACD

Stockfish stands for excellent quality audio, and ‘Hell Or High Water’ is no exception. Fantastic recording, great songs and an excellent surround mix make this a reference disc to take to the famous island, if you had to choose. I know I would!


2. Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms SACD

Originally recorded digitally, soundengineer Chuck Ainly remixed the landmark album ‘Brothers In Arms’ on an analog console in surround. The result is simply stunning. The mix for every song is approached differently, perfectly fitting the mood of the track. Discreet, emotionally engaging and immersive.


1. Trondheim Solistene – Divertimenti SACD and Blu-ray, also available as MCH FLAC

When it comes to the recreation of space, nothing beats a real recording, if done well. The label that has set the reference bar really high is 2L. The microphones at the recording session were surrounded by the musicians, so the listener is exactly that: surrounded by the musicians or better surrounded by the music.

Trondheim Solistene surround sound recording session

If you like chamber music and surround sound music, there is nothing not to like about this release. It comes with a Blu-ray Audio and a SACD (which is also compatible with regular CD players) and is available as a multi channel FLAC download on klicktrack. The performance matches the great audio quality and the surround mix is to die for.

This release is also special on a technical level. It gives you the choice of DSD on the SACD and DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD and uncompressed PCM 5.1 surround sound on the Blu-ray. For more informations on the different optical media and codecs look here and here.


So here it is, my current Top 11 list of best surround sound music discs.

Do you have a favorite surround sound music disc that is not on here? Write about it in the comments section below 🙂

Enjoy and surround yourself with music!

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