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#142197 - 06/21/06 10:04 PM Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread....
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10832
Loc: Central NH
We all know that Axioms can be demanding of source material in that they allow you to hear every flaw in a poorly mixed or engineered source. I've often thought that an ongoing thread regarding the Sound Quality of recordings (not the actual artsts' performance) would prove helpful to many. I know that in my case, I've purchased discs with high expectations only to be disappointed in the quality of the recording. Maybe, being able to search this forum for a band name could have saved me from buying the disc.

So... in the interest of getting things started:

If you're a Deep Purple fan, the 2CD 25th Anniversary edition of Machine Head Amazon Link sounds fantastic! An absolute testament as to why a person shouldn't be afraid of older recordings. The lack of compression (i.e., the dynamic range) in the disc is awesome…far, far better than most recent rock recordings and it literally sounds good enough to be considered a reference / demo disc.

(I did not hyperlink the text "Machine Head" because I'm not sure if that precludes it from being searchable!)
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#142198 - 06/21/06 10:43 PM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: MarkSJohnson]
LHawes Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 71
Mark,

I was just wondering how to get out my frustration over my recent purchase of Peter's White's 'Glow' CD. I absolutely love 'Bueno Funk' and I downloaded an MP3 only to find this terrible low drone of bass mud doo doo.

So I bought the CD thinking this would be much better but no. Unlistenable with this overpowering bass muddy mess. Really dispointing and no way to 'fix' other than turning the subby off.

I don't have a list of great recordings cause I'm just learning about sound but am anxious to learn of some great recordings.

Larry

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#142199 - 06/22/06 01:12 AM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: MarkSJohnson]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10362
Mark, as has often been pointed out, many pop recordings are almost uniformly loud and often add to that a little boost in the upper midrange/lower treble "presence" area, both of these being aimed at sounding more impressive than the competition, especially on mediocre equipment. Classical recordings are thankfully rarely manipulated in those ways and the dynamic range closely approaches that of the original performance. The distinction has been demonstrated even more clearly to me by other board members(more accustomed to typical pop recordings)who either in replies or in PMs have commented about turning the volume up on the often relatively quiet openings of classical CDs they've gotten on my suggestion and then being almost blasted out of their chairs on peaks. That's the way music is sometimes supposed to be, of course.

First priority is the attractiveness of the musical composition itself, then the quality of the performance followed by the quality of the sound, with price also being a consideration. Fortunately there're many available CDs that are attractive on all four points. The Planets CD that I constantly suggest is great example and some others on sale now that sound great are Alexander Nevsky and the Slavonic Dances .
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#142200 - 06/22/06 07:30 AM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: JohnK]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10832
Loc: Central NH
John:
Yes, I missed the obvious point in my first post that this thread won't likely pertain to most classical recordings. And don't get me started on the current state of mixing and mastering of most of the other genres of music....I've been wanting to write the "Mother of All Posts Volume V" on that one for quite awhile, as the "mixing to the lowest common denominator" has been a very, very big pet peeve of mine for a couple of years now and it's only getting worse.

Over the last six months or so, since wanting to start this thread, a large part of that desire has been to simply warn people about crappy recordings. I would approximate only 5% of my listening to be Claassical or Jazz, so unfortunately, I run into crappy recordings often.... and am occasionally surprised by an excellent recording.

If I truly had the time and energy, I would try to organize a National boycott of crappy recordings. When the lousy quality recordings stop selling, record companies might change (the recording quality of) their tune.
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#142201 - 06/22/06 10:28 AM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: LHawes]
sonicfox Offline
aficionado

Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 902
Loc: Davenport, Iowa, USA
Larry, I remembered that you are a fan of smooth jazz. I've noticed that for whatever reason, a lot of smooth jazz recordings have obnoxious bloated bass. I'm a big fan of Keiko Matsui, and in general, her recordings sound good except for the exaggerated bass. It's just seems overpowering at times.
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#142202 - 06/22/06 10:42 AM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: MarkSJohnson]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6380
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Here's a link to a previous thread that debated the merits of remastered CD's. For those that don't want to (re)read the whole thing, I've summed it up in terms of discs and sound quality:

Rush Remasters series: an improvement over the originals, especially the 1970s material (2112, Hemispheres, etc)
Rush, Vapor Trails: TERRIBLE ("overbearing, too loud, distorted")
Rush, Presto; Test For Echo: also bad due to bad engineering
Rush R30 DVD: good
Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones first pressings: bad
Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones remastered: good
Van Halen originals: good
Van Halen remasters: bad (overly data compressed)
Pink Floyd remasters: good

Here's hoping this thread takes off and becomes a major resource for the board. It certainly has the potential!
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"The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever" - Alan Watts

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#142203 - 06/22/06 11:11 AM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: medic8r]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3875
Loc: Up yonder
This is a great idea for a thread. I am also continuously disappointed with the sound quality of CD’s that I buy. My primary listening choice is Rock (classical, Alt, metal, etc…), but I also listen to just about everything else - except Pop and Rap. So I’m wondering just what I should list here? I’ve got over 800 CD’s I know that many of you all have just as many if not more. Too bad this “thread” couldn’t be sorted into Genre’s?

Well here’s one CD that I have that sticks out to me as being mastered very well and sounds terrific on the ol’ M80’s. The disk I have was recorded in 89’ and it was not ever ‘remastered’. I did a quick Amazon search, and they have it, but the album description say’s it was recorded in 90’, so I don’t know if it’s the same one or not. If you like classic rock, you’ll like this one……..

Ten Years After, A Space in Time
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000003...5Fencoding=UTF8
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#142204 - 06/22/06 12:28 PM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: MarkSJohnson]
royce73 Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 170
Loc: New Jersey
I think the worst CD I have listened to, for both sound quality and content, is Metallica's St Anger. Really harsh sounding, especially on the drum symbols.

For one of the best rock CD recordings, I would have to go with the MFSL Gold Version of Guns N Roses' Apettite for Destruction. The beginning of "Mr Brownstone" is just amazing - really tight bass. For DVD-A/SACD, you really can't go wrong with The Who's "Tommy" on either hi-res format.

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#142205 - 06/22/06 01:19 PM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: sonicfox]
LHawes Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 71
Sonic,

It's really interesting you have found the same thing to be true of smooth jazz recordings. One of my all time favorite bands is Four Play. The bass isn't overwhelming but very strong and difficult to control. I think may be the way of the recording world these days - make up for quality with quantity and I guess you sure wouldn't choose to exagerate some throbbing treble?

To me Norah Jones' 'Come Away With Me' seems like a great recording or maybe my M22's are made for her voice but it sounds so beautiful.

Also Andrea Botcelli's 'Amor' is a gorgeous recording with, again, not so much bass, which seems to be the killer for my listening tastes and ear.

I'll have to try a Keiko Matsui CD one of these days. Thanks for the reply and insight.

Larry

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#142206 - 06/22/06 01:24 PM Re: Great (and Poor) Recording Quality thread.... [Re: michael_d]
MarkSJohnson Online   happy
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10832
Loc: Central NH
Quote:

Too bad this “thread” couldn’t be sorted into Genre’s




My thought would be that bands would be pretty searchable as the thread grows...i.e., if I searched for "Deep Purple" in the Stereo Forum only, it's easy to could come up with my post of the discs' recording quality.

The thing is, it's always been pretty easy to read a ton of reviews on, say, Amazon.com, but very few reviewers ever get into the quality of the recording. Not that the performance isn't important of course, but I've been disappointed too many times with a disc of great performances that, to me, are unlistenable on my Axioms.

I don't think there would have been any need for a thread like this 5 years ago. But with the trend of putting out discs that are as loud and compressed as possible (which, of course, sound lousy to anyone who is serious about their sound and listening on something other than a car stereo, boombox or MP3 player) is hlpful in steering others away from bad recordings....or to good ones.
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::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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