"Bridge Over Trouble Water" sounds artificial

During the pandemic I've been upgrading my sound system.  I used to enjoy Simon & Garfunkel, "Bridge Over Trouble Water".  With my upgraded equipment the hi resolution audio sounds very synthetic, with one track on top of another, not like real music at all.  The voices are doubled and violins just layered on top.  On my same system, I played a live concert of Andre Previn playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue".  It sounded real and beautiful, like a live performance.  Am I doing something wrong?
Really need more info. What was the equipment that sounded good, and what is your new equipment?
Sounds like you are now able to “hear into the mix” better now than before.  The pros and cons of a highly resolving system.  
While I agree with crn3371, what you might be hearing is a poor mix of the Simon&Garfunkel track.  I remember that back in the day there was a lot of criticism Of S&G mixes, that they were “overproduced”.  Since I was a teenager at the time with my parents system that cost around $29, I couldn’t have said, and I only listen to Classical now, but I did hear some S&G tracks at a show a few years back and my reaction (to the recording, not the music) was “Yuck!”
So many versions with differing dynamic range which is yours. (click on each "album" to find out)
I usually find the later ones and most streamed/downloaded not only more compressed but also much louder mean level recorded.

Cheers George
Key quote:
With my upgraded equipment the hi resolution audio sounds very synthetic, with one track on top of another, not like real music at all. 

Key phrase: "high resolution audio".
Simple hack that will serve you well in life: whenever one simple word is replaced with a whole bunch of syllables, run. In this case the word "record" is replaced with "high resolution audio." Where in your life have you ever heard anyone describe the sound of a record as "high resolution audio"? Its a record. It sounds like music. You're listening to a file. Expecting a file to sound like music is... oh wait, what? Digital forum? 

Nevermind. Sorry. Probably went right over your heads. Forget I said a thing. Carry on as you were.
Done something wrong? Not at all!

What have you upgraded recently?
It seems likely that your changes have resulted in a more revealing combination of equipment which sharply illustrates deficiencies in production, miking, mixing techniques, and possibly, listening room acoustics.  
Recently I upgraded my primary source to digital streaming, my amplification to a newish brand integrated amp with DAC onboard that has been highly praised for its sound quality, and finally, my speakers to Spatial Audio M5 Sapphires.

The changes were done one at a time with one or more weeks between each piece being added. This allowed a fairly long period to discern the difference in sound quality that each     swap made.
To be brief, upgrading the amp and then the source while using my old speakers moved me to tears when listening to choral and classical music that I have known (and performed) for decades. 
Adding the M5 Sapphires Increased my pleasure in the classical and choral recordings BUT a surprising number of rock, c&w, jazz and folk recordings became decidedly LESS SATISFYING TO LISTEN TO.  

The problem? They sounded ‘synthetic’!  Doubled voice tracks with added reverb and peaked up frequency balance were now much more obvious.  Individual tracks with distortion added stood out clearly with the much more transparent M5Sapphires. 
I’ve rambled on too long so I’ll close by saying that one of the costs of upgrading to ever better, more revealing gear might well be diminished satisfaction from some recordings in your collection.
I haven't listened to Simon &Garfunkel for a very long time for this very reason.It sounds better on a car radio.I need to pull the boxed set out and give it another try I guess.I've been trying for years to get my favorite 60s and 70s recordings to sound pleasing(if not fabulous) on my system.I've had to sacrifice some transparency and detail in order to thoroughly enjoy the old rock and blues that I love.There are always trade offs.
Remember the studio dubbed that song to havea  certain spatial, **oceanic* effect.. Sail of silver girl, sail on by,,,
so maybe with your upgardes, you might had the same exp i had listening to Diana Krall after adding a  new component/upgrades.
I could detect a  bit studio tweaking on Diana's voice ,,  a tad over dubbed.
anyway, so yeah, the Simon song now has lost that *old charm* *more organic* *monoish* flavor you remember from when we 1st heard that song wayyy back in 1971.
Your system back then did not have the same fq resolution you have now,,  the experience changes as the resolution becomes greater , ... take my LS9 preamp, modded with new M caps, Johnny Winter LIVE AND, sounded *raunchy*, ,  not like I recall back on my LP days with crappy equipment,.,,, Resolution was not near what I have now,, Then i gota  Jadis DPL modded with new M caps, and sure the raunchy, rawness was still there,,,but somehow ~~enjoyable vs the LS9's resoltion. The LS9 revealed thev studio sounds perfectly, but the Jadis DPL not only exposed the rawness, but added soundstage, making the cd much more listenable. 
So a preamp definetly  reveal whats on the cd, a  great preamp not only reveals, but also gives depth and resolutions. 
We had cheap sound systems back then, but not once did we say,,*man that Johnny Winter LIve Andlp sounds so *raunchy*. 
Now with high resolution components/mods, ,, our old favs,  are not going to have the same listening experience, Whether athst good or bad, depends on how we feel at that moment.
That song was magical when it 1st came out. and we loved it even on our Zenith consoles....
I haven't listened to Simon &Garfunkel for a very long time for this very reason.It sounds better on a car radio.I

I think, above,  I touched on what you are saying here. 
Simon and Garfunkle on our higher resolution systems is not going to bring us back to that magical moment we 1st had on our Zeinth consoles, /Marantz crappy ss amps. 

most of the recordings I enjoyed when I was younger, I can't listen to on digital.  I have to get vinyl to enjoy them.
Am I still the only one who feels that favorite songs sound their best on AM radio? Even classical. That will not help OP, but when the topic has been brushed against, I thought I'd ask.
Check another recording of the same song. This happens to me all the time. It’s all these remasters. They add stuff you’ve never heard before to give it that “master” tag. It sounds horrible. Drive me batty i tell ya 
Those two recordings are apples and oranges. 

All recordings are produced differently. If that is what you are hearing it is probably an indicator that your hifi is delivering what is in the recording better than before. 

Recordings are what they are not want the listener thinks they should be. Important to realize that and not fall into the endless trap of thinking a good hifi can make all recordings sound the way you think they should. Otherwise you end up on the hifi merry go round with no chance of ever getting off.
On the other hand, most of Paul Simon's solo releases sound quite nice on CD.  
I had the same reaction--system got better and S&G got worse.  The same is true for some Who albums.  I was expecting access to the natural voices of S&G but they were processed and the instrumentation seemed disconnected from the vocal tracks. 

The solo work of Simon and Garfunkel have better sonics, of what I've heard.

A good anti-dote is the new Sarah Jarosz --World on the  Ground.  The sound you wish S&G engineers delivered.
...'course, there Is the fact that a few decades have transpired since the originals and all the various remasters, compilations, etc.

Studio has improved, your equipment ditto.  Meanwhile, your 'on board listening system' has likely deteriorated a bit....if you'd care to be honest about it....

Mine has....it kinda comes with the 'territory'....a.k.a age. ;)
I have "Graceland" and "Still Crazy after all these years" on vinyl and I enjoy them a great deal.
Last Winter, after listening to them, I got nostalgic, thinking I’d like some of the older songs that I grew up with. On eBay, I found a NM copy of Simon & Garfunkel’s "greatest hits"...released in the mid 70’s. OMG, it was the perfect example of "one and done". The sound took me back alright... back to the sound of a battery operated, early transistor, AM radio. I listened to the whole thing, hoping to find one track that sounded good, and gave up. Haven’t bothered to listen to it again.
That was disappointing!
I have original vinyl recordings of S&G. Bridge Over Troubled Waters is an excellent recording and mix, as it was originally mastered by Columbia.

No idea what the OP is listening to, what mix or who mastered it.
Happened to listen to Bridge over Troubled Waters cd this weekend (and other S&G stuff) and thought it was surprisingly well recorded and sounding. Not all tracks though. The joy with a fine system is to hear it all, even the bad parts. I mean it is a studio product. Didn't listen to them as young so have no nostalgia here. If you want to hear what is possible to create in a studio today try Sierra Hull and the above mentioned Sarah.
Of all the CD’s released this 1985 made in Japan is the one with least compression.

And there’s 3 used ones on ebay

Look what they are getting for the later Sony SBM (Super Bit Mapping Mastersound) ones.
And they don’t have the dynamic range, of the older ones http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/view/5716

Cheers George

Take some time and listen again. Sometimes the difference in information you're receiving through your system takes a while for your ears to become accustomed to. If it's not sounding brash or sibilant or harsh take some time and enjoy the bits that are new discoveries. I think mapman sums it up perfectly.
Sorry pjr801 and wolfie, there's no remedy for this recording.
Agree entirely with jctf and mozartfan.

Right from the get-go this was a poor recording showing terrible distortion in the repeated sung choruses towards the end.
I bought the LP when issued and immediately found this track is unlistenable.  Most of the rest of the record is OK.  I have always picked the stylus up rather than listen to this.

I think the engineers set the levels too high and the sound pressure near the climax pushed into straightforward distortion.  Arrangement and engineering by P. Spector?? (not really, only joking).

Obviously this will not sound so harsh on a less critical system.

What a pity!
I have noticed this too — but the idea of trying different versions is a great one; same with the "getting used to a different sound" idea. I heard an old Joe Jackson track ("Steppin' Out") which sounded awful. Then, I heard a remastered version — much better. It was almost as if they were expecting the original to be played on boom boxes at the beach and then realized that the album was still popular 30 years later and they redid it.

Others here are more clued in about the original recording details of S&G, favorites of mine, too, but things my parents had on vinyl which I heard via the old Garrard TT. So, perhaps not much help. Now, Paul Simon's Surprise album, well -- wow. That sounds great.
So you're complaining because A Bridge Over Troubled Waters sounds just like a bridge over troubled waters?
Post removed 
I agree with many of the comments above.  That is, S&G early recordings were poorly done and don't sound well at all on a quality, high resolution system.  Vinyl copies are somewhat better than CD, but either one is not great by any stretch of the imagination.

When Paul Simon made solo albums things got much better.  There Goes Rymin Simon is very good, but still not excellent.  For the very best recording of Paul Simon try Graceland.  And especially the 25th Anniversary Edition release, RTI pressing.  It is absolutely stunning and will highlight the very best capabilities of your new system.
This is the best, perhaps only reason to have more than one music system setup.  For example my old car cassette mix tapes sound pretty good in my workshop on Spectrum 208As and Minimus 7's through a 1971 vintage KA-4002 integrated.
The office room has a multibit to a Vali 2 for monitoring and a Nobsound 3116 powering Pioneer S-H453F-K's and a JBL car sub for rocking out. In that room the cheap Chinese amp sounds much better than the Dynaco stuff it replaced.
None of these sources sound "good" on the "A" system.

Furthermore much of the old stuff was recorded and mixed for AM radio and cheap stereos, which we all had then.
Still, a lot of it sounds pretty good on "Wow I Haven’t Heard This Song in Years"
which streams at 128 kbps.
Alas, some of the troglodytes around here will NEVER hear those songs again
Glad I'm not the only one who noticed that about Simon and Garfunkel recordings. And I agree with Glupson about AM radio and some of those songs, and classical for that matter. As much as I love high fidelity stereo there are times when simple mono with limited frequency response from a simple radio just creates the magic somehow. I think it lets my imagination take over more, romanticize more. It's like 24 frame per second film compared to 60 frame per second. Too much information destroys something fancy going on in my head. 
I’m on the side of the fence that says I enjoy hearing what old radio tunes really sound like on a good quality modern hifi rig.. It’s often nothing like what you remember....so many things happening that were obscured prior.

If it’s relative lo-fi like from a car radio 50 years ago one pines for, lots of inexpensive options still for that.
The internet is actually quite useful for researching information about the actual recording of this album.  If you're truly interested, there's even a documentary movie where the songwriter, vocalists, instrumentalists and engineer/producer describe making the album.  They really weren't thinking about car and portable fm radios.  BOTW was a high dollar prestige product from the largest record label at that time.  I wonder what the SQ matrix quad mix sounds like?
I read BOTW was produced using Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” production techniques. Read up on that and explains a lot.

The first part with just vocal and piano is a much simpler production. It sounds like the piano was closely stereo miked which spreads the keys across the soundstage.

I used an original CD release of BOTW album streamed at CD resolution using flac format to listen to and assess BOTW the song/track. 

For the hit pop release that it was intended to be the recording is pretty good actually overall. Just don’t compare it to a good quality classical recording. Apples/oranges. Though the piano/vocal only first part is not radically different from many.
I tried my 1985 CD of Bridge Over Troubled Water.  It says it's a digitally mastered analog recording CK9914.  It definitley is smoother than the hi-resolution version I downloaded from Qobuz, but not natural music.  There is low frequency bass that does not sound like any musical instrument I have ever heard.  Some of the vocals do sound like real human voice and some vocals are clearly engineered.  Thanks.  I will try the LP next.
From Wikipedia:

Joe Osborn played two separate bass tracks, one high and the other low.”

Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound approach was not intended to sound “natural”. 
mapman, a good perspective. A song that our familiarity and memory come's from hearing many times (fifty years ago) via top forty station and am car radio, now listened to on our hifi system, is ear-opening!
It is so important to realize that we are listening to productions on our hifi. Every one is different! Like an art museum. Every work is different and done by different people with different techniques for different reasons. How boring if all art is done the same for the same goal of being “realistic “. The reason I can spend countless hours listening to music I might not even be familiar with is I never know what I might hear next. That’s a big part of the thrill of listening to music for me. Sure I have my favorite artists and my favorite recordings but it’s the variety and not knowing what you will hear next that keeps me going. I spend a lot of time using random play off my music server library.  It is my library so all stuff I have some interest in. As long as it is not making my ears bleed when they should not be I am good with it. Some recordings will and some are even designed to do that. I want to hear it all! Just some more than others perhaps.
+1, maps....I listen to a rather wide variety of selections chosen for a variety of reasons.  Some for the song itself, some for the dynamics (subtle or strong), and a few just for the grins...

An example; I have the 'straight version(s) as well...


Yes, terribly 'off the wall'....;)  But I like to think of it as an object lesson in the 'power of music' and the rather blatant parallels that certain genres can potentally evoke in and within our society....

*L* Yes, a heavy-handed commentary...akin to F. Zappa being told to 'shut up and play your guitar...."

Enjoy what you do...ignore the rest of us as needed or desired. *S*

Play on, J

op's query has been covered well here

suffice it to say that most pop/rock recordings are mastered without any thought to how they will sound on high end system

hi end hi fi is a niche... mass market recordings truly don't give a sh*t 
Systems that Emphasize imperfections in recordings have become synonymous with High Resolution Sound...the details are present on most systems, but the emphasis is more on the Music rather than the artifacts of a recording.  Been there and found it antithetical to the enjoyment of music.  Two words to avoid when building a system are Flat and High Resolution!
To build upon Dave b's post -- if you put together a system that makes music you love sound bad, then what exactly have you accomplished?

As a thought experiment, imagine how BOTW would sound on a good system in 1970.
That is one horrid recording...period!  Nothing could ever save that mix.
Albums that sound like BOTW, and there are far too many of them, I simply keep the volume much lower than I do with a great recording.  This allows me to enjoy the music I wish to listen to and do so without being too terribly brash on my ears.  I would not build my system "down" to a lower level of quality for the sake of such albums.  I strive to put together the best system that I can afford and simply adjust the volume as needed.  But man, on those really great recordings, let 'er rip!  Full-tilt-boogie, what a blast that is.  Sonic bliss and entertaining as hell.
mammothguy, thats a good point,
We revisit oldies but goodies , like a walk down memory lane.. I recently  added  Carol King’s greatest Hits, as much as i love some song,s, its best not to put too much gain on the vol knob.
We have fond memories for these masterpieces , but not for the quality of sonics.
S&G’s hits had great impact on the youthful hippie generation. Paul; Simon was perhaps the greatest song writer for the hippy/pop culture.
We loved his songs for their folksy, creative words and melodies. Paul Simon’s creativity spoke the soul yearnings for *Our Generation* (The Who My Generation Live version)
I mean consider how important, and *sensational* the soundtrack is for The Graduate.
So the soso record quality on some , if not most of our greatest hits late 60’s/early 70’s , are *forgivable** for the creativity and as someone mentioned, their *nostalgia* emotive affects as we walk down memory lane...

I'd say, it has nothing to do with the recordings. Your result is just reflective of the current (true) state of your playback system in your room...even if the upgrade results, in some way, in an apparent step backward or down in listening experience (in the case of a few recordings). 

Either the "upgrade" was not quite "up" enough, or other areas of the system need to be looked at, too.

But, I can assure you, once you've finally gotten it right, you do indeed get the satisfying treatment All your music deserves.

You can look at better gear or better tweaks or both, whatever you like, but this sort of 'jockeying' of subjective impressions of various recordings as you progressively improve your system goes on all the time. And at times things can somehow, in more isolated incidents like you've noted here, can temporarily appear 'go south' a bit unexpectedly in the process longterm. That may seem counterintuitive given the rationalization for a given upgrade, but I would say this kind of thing is situation normal and just goes to show that you may have a bit further to go with your system...but I'm saying that if you keep going you will definitely get there.

Sometimes, that can be a difficult thing to keep in mind in the long run, and it may be easy to get drawn down into the weeds so long you lose sight of it...assuming it's even your goal, of course.
I listened to this album a few weeks ago on Quboz. 96/24 mastering of the 1970 album by Vic Anesini, best version I remember ever hearing.
Would also like to add: remember that exactly where, and in what order, your recordings will ultimately land is overwhelmingly determined by the quality of your setup.

For the longest time, I believe it was J Gordon Holt, who went around proclaiming the relative recording quality of various vinyl editions in general, but as his system progressed into the $30k territory, he found himself reversing his opinions on several of his recommendations and ultimately felt himself forced to admit that trying to divine overall recording quality was actually too hazardous for anyone to do definitively.
I'm in the $65K + range for my system and it is very well matched components and cables.  I have been doing this for a long time.  Trust, there are great sounding recordings, there are good recordings, there are not so good recordings, and there are terrible recordings.  Some reissues are good and some are fabulous.  It's all over the map.

mozartfan, by the way since you mentioned Carol King, the reissue of 'Tapestry'  by Mobile Fidelity, Original Master Recording, is absolutely fantastic.  That one you can turn the volume knob way, way up.  It has dynamic range, slam, and sonic bliss that will shock you.  Well worth the higher price for a MoFi edition.