Let the best be your guide

All of us have had to come to grips with bad sounding recordings. They can be disabling and make you question your whole system. The trick is to accept them for what they are and not to generalize. I try to listen for the music and skim over the imperfections. When confronted with a clinker, to save my sanity, I play a recording i know to be superior sounding. That restores my faith  in the system and brings me back to reality.


Good topic.

The vast majority of albums… I mean vast majority of albums sound great on my system. That is something that has varied a lot over the last fifty years. Over the last couple decades I recognized that my choices in components strongly influenced how much of the music sounds good.

About fifteen years ago I called my system “my reference system” because I could instantly tell everything about the recording and the venue. The micing technique, the size of the venue, what color the conductors shoes were. But also many albums did not sound good…they lacked musicality and details stuck out… unnaturally… but I didn’t realize that until it was gone.

After a nearly complete turnover in my system, it is forgiving and musical and my system disappears and the music sticks out not the technical imperfections. Thank you Audio Research and Sonus Faber speakers. Maybe one in a thousand sticks out as a bad recording now.

I have had my share of bad-sounding cd's and "some" vinyl as well. But thanks to my superior brain (Ha Ha), I don't "hear" bad stuff any more (with some truly horrible exceptions of course). What I mean is just that I can enjoy the music coming out of my Tivoli Radio or a pair of HT JBL's. The scratches on records also don't bother me much. Anyone with a collection of Charlie Parker albums is either going to concentrate on his gift or go crazy wishing he hadn't died so young. I guess I'm half-audiophile and half- Stack some 45's on my ancient old RCA record player and wonder how music comes out of it at all. 

I could not agree more with your assessment. I come from the digital world and I have found that quality recordings are most key for getting good sound. Of course, investing research and often times more money to find better playback DAC and streamers will yield better sound …..but a quality recording and engineered piece of music, album or venue will make your system, modest or refined, sound so much better.