General discussion


Recordings old and new

By Oz_Media ·
Being in a business with extremely high end audio products, I have noticed that there are few to no recent recordings that actually display high resolution, soundstaging, transparency etc.

While it appears that music quality is of the utmost these days, nothing is cleaner than digital they say, I have actually not seen a quality recording for ages.

In the old vinyl days, Chesky recordings were the tops. Nobody had ever recreated audio the way he and his team did. His high resolution recordings, 96kHz/24bit, have yet to be topped....that I have heard.

Have people just simply forgotten about real audio due to the low grade trollop we are force fed these days, or do people actually feel that today's recordings offer a high enough standard to show off your system?

Is it perhaps that our ears are being desensitized and having lower expectations?

Are big box stores, blowing out Mexican made Polk speakers, now considered quality audio retailers?

Do people who buy a $4000.00 plasma TV and then spend $200.00 on "surround sound in a box" actually feel they are getting their money's worth?

Maybe the younger generation has never heard quality audio and they feel that what is around now is suitable?

Why, with all of the technological advancements around today, is it harder to find an audiophile quality recording amongst the trash?

To this day, the best recordings I've heard include just about anything by Telarc, Chesky recordings (circa 1985)and the old B7W audiophile tracks (they did two pretty good jazz disks) and of course, Dire Straights Bros. In Arms, which is still one of my favorite demo disks, and one of the most dynamic too.

Perhaps THAT is the issue, most high res recordings are of Jazz or soloists singing acappella, not exactly the fodder of today's mainstream. Then again, most of you know I am into heavy metal and have managed some pretty hard core bands, but I still appreciate quality audio when I am looking to have my ears sweetened.

Does anyone here know of high quality recordings anymroe, or is it a lost art even in a far more advanced audio world.

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In the world of earbuds and computer speakers

by jdclyde In reply to Recordings old and new

Most people couldn't tell the difference anyways. I personally blame the original walkman, and then the diskman, for making the crap headphones standard issue.

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by JamesRL In reply to In the world of earbuds a ...

The first walkman's headphones were pretty good for the day. It was the me too makers who sold on price that brought it down.

Personally I hate earbuds, won't use em. My current headphones aren't as good as the old Sennheisers I used for recording, but then they are much cheaper. On the other hand, those Bose noise reducing things are crap too - you can get as good a sound from a $50 set of headphones and save yourself $350.

Part of the problem with computer speakers is the need for shielding. The good speakers with heavy magnets would require massive shielding, so they try to get away with as small a speaker as possible.

I actually have some rather nice computer speakers, but they are monsoon electrostatic ones and were very expensive.


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by Oz_Media In reply to Don't

First of all, I agree wholly with your Sennheiser comments, Ibought a lightweight reference model a couple of years ago, I think we were talking about that before, and they are simply incredible with highbitrate copies in my MP3 plpayer.

Bose is getting pretty bad now, they are simply marketing geniuses but the speakers are prety useless these days. Same thing with Paradigm, I remember repping for Paradigm in teh 80's and they were a force to be reckoned with, but as with most others, they look to big box solutions. Polk, sure they sound good, they also cost far too much for what you actually get and positioning is nearly impossible in most rooms, many people don't realize that Polk moved manufacturing to Mexico over 15 years ago and quality dropped as a result.

I've heard the Monssons for computers, they are really cool, as you say pretty pricey too. I have Altec Lansing three channel myself, solid wood encased in a plastic, it sounds pretty good for a PC speaker, I use it as a surround for the bedroom tv where I play my computer vids.

I think shielding is getting better now though, with two piece, fully capped magnets, stray fields are becoming rare, I see this as a result of the home theater craze and extends into most freestanding models now.

Oh well, time for a little music.

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I had Altec Lansing speakers for my PC

by AV . In reply to Bose

They were really good PC speakers. I bought them with my PC back in 1994 and they had great quality.

On my new system, I have the Logitech 5.1 surround sound speakers and they are actually really good and pretty inexpensive. I think I paid about $60 for them and I'm impressed. I'm not into heavy metal, but I love jazz and some classical music and they are very good for that.

My car has Monsoon speakers. I've never seen them for a PC, but they are great in a car stereo. I'm not really a heavy metal person, but they definitely make my drive to work enjoyable. I can understand why heavy metal people would love them because they have an outstanding base.


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The pigeonhole

by Oz_Media In reply to I had Altec Lansing speak ...

Not to discount your comments but because I am into Heavy Metal and have worked in the industry, I am not what you would call a 'heavy metal' person.

On my drive in today, I listened to Bruckner's 5th, but also a little Ozzy and some Van Halen.

I like to mix it up a bit too.

In fact I am just about to throw on a Chesky jazz compilation disk, very dry.

But I appreciate your comments and you have a point why many woul dlike bottom end. Muself, I prefer no colour. The more transparent the better.

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Mixing it up is the way to go

by AV . In reply to The pigeonhole

My mistake, I always thought you were mostly into heavy metal music.

I'm hooked on my XM radio, so I don't really do lots of downloads, but the Chesky site looks like they have alot of good stuff to offer. I love Rachmaninoff but also Zero 7 and Brazilian jazz, like Bebel Gilberto. One of my favorite albums is from Chick Corea and Return to Forever - Crystal Silence with Flora Purim. Weather Report - Heavy Weather is also one of my favorites. Oldies but goodies to me.

I haven't heard Bruckner's 5th but I'm gonna give it a listen.

I'm not sure I totally understand your last sentence, though.


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Colour and transparency

by Oz_Media In reply to Mixing it up is the way t ...

Speaker tones are referred to in many ways, boxy, transparent, coloured, sibilant, brassy etc.

Colour: Most low to mid end (and even some supposed high end products like Bose) have coluration to them. What goes in is not what comes out. You know how some people say "it's a good rock speaker", or "it's a good classical speaker" this refers to the colouration or deficiencies of the speakers drivers and cabinet/crossover engineering. Speaker excursion (travel) is supposed to stop dead between producing sounds, this offers clarity and detail to the music as was intended when recorded. There are virtually no speakers under $1000.00 that don't have colouration, save but a few like RBH, SOME high end Polk, Rockford FOsgate's high end etc. Some people seek colouration, a nice bassy speaker is often referred to as warm, but it isn't really a warm tone but the inablity of the woofer to cancel resonance after recreating a sound.

Transparency, is the opposite of colour. Studio Monitors, high end headphones (AKG, Sennheiser) have virtually no colour. The sound that comes out is identical to the source, as it was intended by the musician. JAxx and Classical are two types of music that most definitely sound best uncoloured. Whereas many people prefer muddy borrom end for rock and pop, as that's what system in the club sounds like too.

TO get a really good example of what speaker tones should be, how clarity, detail,transparncy, presence etc all play out or are supposd to play out, pick up (or download) Chesky's Ultimate Demonstration Disk, it was made back in the 80's I used it back then for Harman Kardon, Paradigm and Mission demo's.

Bruckner's 5th is a great example of cello and french horn, resonance that is carefully contained and reproduced, it sounds phenominal on the right system, but still sounds great on just about anything else.

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Demo pieces

by JamesRL In reply to Mixing it up is the way t ...

I mentioned in another thread about the systems at Epcot in 97. They had a $2000 system and a $10,000 system and a blind listening setup. Most people preferred the cheaper system as it was "warmer". The speakers on the $10,000 system were big electostatics - amazing clarity and transparency.

The demo piece? Music from the movie "Glory", I swear you could hear the breaths of the Harlem Boys Choir clear as a bell.

It was the perfect piece - most classical can demonstrate a wider dynamic range than the average piece (and I said average) of rock.

I sing classical so I tend to favour composers who write some choral music - Bach, Mozart, Bethoven, Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn etc., though I listen to more than just choral.


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So true

by Oz_Media In reply to Mixing it up is the way t ...

PEesant ears, I know sounds too stuck up but its a generalization for those with no appreciation of true tone. Kind like people who think steak is the only worhwhile meat and that veal is icky. Those thta only eat north American foods and would never try something like indian, or greek etc. These are peasant pallets, not that the people are peasants but their pallet is common.

That out of the way, the Ultimate Demo disk by Chesky has a couple of really cool tracks you'd like, if you ain't heard em yet.

Livingston Taylor - Grandma's Hands (demonstrates midrange purity, with the emphasis on the finger snaps that sound like skin on skin, not clicks).
Rebeca Pidgeon - Spanish Harlem
(demonstrates high resolution, with a sax playing 10' from a suspended mike behind a beathy aria)

You'd love it, well worth at least downloading a flac file of it. Some of the jazz pieces are a bit dry for me but the sonic quality is simply stunning.

As always, thanks for posting your comments James.

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Very informative, Oz

by AV . In reply to Mixing it up is the way t ...

You just taught me something really good about speakers - thanks. :^0

But I do have another question for you. Suppose I have bassy speakers. Can I lessen the bass with an equalizer and achieve less colouration? In other words, can I compensate for a speaker's deficiency by doing that or do I still have a bassy speaker that isn't capable of transparency no matter what I do?

The reason I ask this is because I usually always mute the bass, to some degree, on my speakers. It sounds like it makes a difference to me, but knowing what I do now, do I still have an inferior sound, as far as transparency goes?

Peasant ears? Thats funny, Oz. I know it was in the other post, but it sounds like a stew made from the ears of the little people that didn't pay their taxes back in medieval times. :^0


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