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.


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.

I think the trick is to be able to enjoy great performances where the recording is less than ideal. where the system pulls the good stuff out and allows it to come through even where there are flaws. so much pop/rock/??? is not especially natural or honest....but there can be special things happening. or maybe we have a connection that hits us? and you can still hear the intent and artistry and be drawn into the experience. the system needs to capture all the information and allow our minds to filter what is not musical.

any other approach is missing the music. we can’t narrow our listening to technical perfection.....yet we appreciate it when everything is working.

and sure...there is plenty of all around 'dreck' out there to avoid. just noise. YMMV.

I do have plenty of relatively flawless music that I love, but also enjoy exploring too. and my ears have to be open to be amazed however it happens. my system makes the most of great recordings, but also reveals the deeply obscure magic too. the system should get out of the way of the music.