I am not sure this applies… but it might.
One of the qualities that Audio Research equipment excels at is getting the gestalt of music correct. It does not overly highlight details that should not be. So it differentiates nuances in volume really well. Some equipment over emphasizes certain sounds and frequencies.
As my systems got better and better over the years it seemed the treble went down in volume more and more relative to other frequencies. After studying this effect and comparing to real music I realized my system was getting closer and closer to the real thing and that a lot of the treble was over emphasized high frequency hash and distortion, which brought out details, but actually sounded terrible. But I was growing up in the ‘70 where concerts and solid state gear threw terrible distorted treble at you.
Any possibility that is the way it was recorded?
I had an Audio Research Reference 5SE for many years and now use a Ref 6SE. Truly great preamps.