What songs/albums/artists actually sound worse when played through audiophile systems?

As much as audiophile equipment has elevated my enjoyment of music on many levels, there is some great music that just sounds worse than it used to when I had a cheapo system.  My number one example is the artist Ariel Pink (and the Haunted Graffiti).  His album Before Today is one of my all-time favorites, but played on my SET amp w/ Chord DAC and Klipsch Forte IIIs, it just sounds harsh/bad.  I know that my system is very revealing, and I love that about it, but damn, I may have to get a crappier secondary system to enjoy some great low-fi music again.

What songs/albums/artists are painful to listen to through your audiophile system?
The Stones, Iggy Pop, The Ramones..Janis Joplin they all sound  bad... sorry... The Stones, by design for sure.. The rest, just crappy recordings, mixing, mastering... you know all that jazz.. Just BAD... Even DEVO took better care, with the end product...;-)

Yeah, I just can't bring myself to play Janis Joplin either.  Love Mark Mothersbaugh and Devo!
First that come to mind, unfortunately, are my early Charlie Parker and Miles albums, specifically the stereo releases. I think some of these older recordings may be better in mono.
Uh, its not the system's job to make anything sound good. Or bad. So if anything really does sound worse on your system, don't blame the recording. 
It all depends. A lot of audiophiles’ systems are not all that. If it was that easy everybody could do it. 
That's the problem with good speakers. They make bad sound even worse and great sound as good as it was meant to be. It will faithfully play back what you feed it. Welcome to the world of discovering how many of your favorites were done poorly. Over the years I have had to weed out many bad recordings that used to be my favorites.

  Go learn about Audacity and sometimes this program can salvage bad engineering. If you do start using it keep a file of your original so you can go back to it if you have to.
If a lot of music sounds bad, then some dubious choices of equipment have been made.

Each piece of equipment, cables, power cords, amps, dacs, cartridges, all of it, to some degree..each item will degrade the sonic quality, in some way.

the trick is to chose components that degrade it the least, and are neutral or balanced in their areas of degradation..and then chain them together.

Where each individual device’s dynamic range of clarity is similar to the last, and neutral, centered -as it should be.

To get to the least compromised delivery that you can.

In such a system, everything played should sound ok. That each recording should sound as it actually is.... and the equipment should neither embellish, nor detract -in any area, way, or the whole.

There is no such thing as an increase in sound quality with a single piece of gear available anywhere on the planet. That would be an added distortion. Which decreases dynamic range and introduces massive problems. Ie, that each piece of gear is a cleaned window and perfectly aligned with the ones ahead of it and behind it. As you look/hear through the stack only, not though any single pane at a time. It’s like building a camera lens where the distortions of any given element are cumulative and exaggerated in some way by the next element.

There is only ’the least damaging piece of equipment’ (cleanest window) The ones with the widest cleanest dynamics and micro/macro detail etc.

It’s a subtle distinction but a critical one.

You are essentially, taking a photo, then printing it...and then taking a photo of that photo..and printing it..then taking a photo of that photo..and printing it..and taking a photo of that photo..and printing it...

Imagine the cumulative degradation in contrast, dynamic range, color purity, edge definition in the details, pixel matrix, all so on. Do that 4-5 times (standard audio system) with 5 different cameras and 5 different printers..using 5 different software packages (in each camera, computer, and printer) and I can guarantee the final image...is going to look like junk. A recognizable image, yes, no problem there, but... correctness? No. Not happening.

That, in a nutshell, is an audio system.

So never try to fix things by adding an advertised artificially created skew of some sort (leaner, darker, faster, slower, etc). Neutral and perfect with extreme dynamics that are spot on... is all you want. Anything else..well.. that just shortens up the possible dynamic quality range, even more.

In each stage, the range of quality possible for each photo imaging and reproduction device has to be better than the one before, as degradation will happen, in the images..there is no escaping it. Half million dollar audio system, it will be there, at any price, inescapably so. Intelligent application minimizes the losses and that’s the best anyone can get to.

Overall..what..maybe 6-12db of visual quality will go away (in the visual comparative). With the faults of each imaging and printing aspect of the given individual ’device’ intruding dramatically as a sum total at the given end point. That a cheap piece of audio gear is equivalent, in that visual chain, to a junk camera form the dollar store. Get rid of it. I don't care it is a favorite. It's making a mess. Quit trying to fix things around it--wrong move entirely.. Get rid of it.

Audio - same same. On paper the distortions may seem minimal, but in reality they are, to the eye and the ear..gross or notable.
While a superior system, properly set up, will of course make great recordings sound better than an inferior system, it may or may not make most poor recordings sound worse than on the inferior system.  A very fine line separates the two outcomes, and depending on the specific systems and the recording it could go either way.

I’ve found that improvements in accuracy, especially with respect to resolution of fine detail, can often make mediocre or poor recordings sound more enjoyable.

A good example of that would be an orchestral recording having overly bright string sound. I’ve found that the brightness will be less objectionable if the sound of massed strings is reproduced in an accurate and detailed manner than if it is reproduced with less resolution of detail, and consequently in a more homogenized manner.

I’ll mention also that I’ve come to believe that time coherence can be a significant contributor to achieving that. Most speakers are not time coherent, including all speakers having crossover slopes that are more than 6 db/octave, which means nearly all dynamic speakers which have crossovers and are not made by Vandersteen, formerly by Thiel or Green Mountain Audio, and perhaps one or two others. And the addition of a DEQX to my system a few years ago, which can bring any speaker that is not time coherent significantly closer to being so, has helped to firm up that conclusion in my mind. Another member here who is very experienced with time coherent speakers had made a similar point in the long-running DEQX thread. Comparisons I’ve made between listening via speakers and listening via my very detailed and time coherent Stax electrostatic headphones have also led me to that conclusion.

-- Al

 nothing is going to sound worse in a good system (different thing from good components), on the contrary. Surely some recordings will sound better some mediocre, or worse, but even these ones should be enjoyable enough and far from unlistenable. When the worst recordings make sense, are easy to follow, create a believable image and sound like good music (even recorded badly), then you will get much much more from the good one. This is the only way to rediscover your music collection. 
If it’s mixed poorly it will sound bad on any system. In the late seventies I went all the way down the audiophile rabbit hole. I had a great system to play crappy classic rock ( Steely Dan and a few others were exceptions). 
I'll join posters like petg60 and say that none of them sound any worse.  Yeah, Rolling Stones records can sound pretty mediocre but did they ever sound much better than mediocre?  As it says on the back covers of a couple Stones albums, Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham for Impact Sound!  Yeah, impact...  Not fidelity...
Interesting assortment of responses.  I wasn't expecting this to be another controversial audiophile thread, but here we are (and my original wording didn't help much)...

Part of what I have observed in my own system is that some recordings sound incredible (I can actually appreciate jazz and classical in a way I never did before!), but some of the music I used to love the most (older loud classic rock stuff that hasn't been remastered, for instance, or newer lo-fi stuff like Ariel Pink) is just not sounding as good.  I don't mean to say that it actually sounds WORSE than if I were playing it through my crappy car stereo in terms of detail and imaging. 

I think what I am saying is it is just striking how relatively poor it sounds in relation to really well-recorded/mastered music.  On my crappier systems, it would actually be more enjoyable to listen to mediocre records than well-recorded jazz/classical, because it was harder to appreciate without good detail, timbre, and imaging.  Now, just the opposite.

I don't think I'd want to alter my system in a way to change this, because it make the great recordings more mediocre (introducing more distortion and coloration as suggested by teo_audio.  

The time coherence stuff is super interesting to think about too.  Not sure how it would affect some recordings more than others, though.  Any ideas about that?

The time coherence stuff is super interesting to think about too. Not sure how it would affect some recordings more than others, though. Any ideas about that?
It has been a few years since I performed a lot of comparisons in my system between having my DEQX HDP-5’s function which improves a speaker’s time coherence turned on vs. turned off. (My speakers are Daedalus Ulysses, btw). But as far as I can recall mediocre recordings of complex material, such as the example I cited earlier of orchestral recordings having overly bright massed string sound, particularly tended to benefit.

The degree of improvement provided by that function was less predictable with other types of material, and I wasn’t able to identify any particular type of recording (e.g., poorly recorded/well recorded; simply mic’d/heavily multi-mic’d; classical chamber music/pop/rock/jazz; vocal/instrumental; etc.) which was especially likely or unlikely to benefit.

In any event, though, it was rare for a recording to sound worse with that function engaged than with it disengaged. And most recordings sounded noticeably better with it than without it.

-- Al

Perhaps a poor choice of words to say good speakers/system make bad recordings sound worse. Of course they don’t but when your good recordings start sounding better and your bad ones pale in comparison the difference is enough to make me get rid of bad ones. Yes the system as a whole has a lot to do with it but the OP made mention of the quality problem AFTER he added the Forte 3 so I assume the speaker is what he was directing his comment too.

  As to a list of bad recordings you ask about OP none come to mind but I do get rid of many over time. The same album can be different and what you download or get from a friend may have been tinkered with so a list is not much use when your source can vary so much.  Joe Satriani for one seems to generally be OK and Telmark recordings generally are good.
To my ears, anything with compressed DR sounds bad on a hi-fi system.

In the car it makes no difference. With ear buds it makes no difference. On my system at home ear fatigue comes quickly on highly compressed albums. Alabama Shakes (who I really like), both albums, are among the worst. I get the impression that their albums are mixed and engineered well and then DR compressed before distribution.

Someone in another thread said they could make them sound good with the proper system set up. With my level of inexperience I have no basis to deny it but I wouldn't believe it unless I heard it.

I just don't understand how you can make DR compressed music sound good when the range simply, by definition, is not there.
Why do they compress the dynamic range on some recordings and not others? Why do you think it makes it sound harsh? 
I think it sounds harsh simply because the range of volumes (?) is compressed so you get a narrower range of variation between soft and loud. This removes nuance, for lack of a better term....I’m not an expert.

It is also important to note the DR compression can and must be used to make a track listenable at normal volumes. Like a symphony with soft strings and then booming horns. The DR has to be compressed so that you can hear both at normal listening volumes.

It is heavy handed or 'over' DR compression that I’m talking about.

Why is it done wrong? It is my understanding that DR was compressed heavily to increase the relative loudness of the track or album making it more noticeable (??). This would be most effective in the car or with ear buds etc.

It is why some songs will sound ’louder’ than others if there is no equalization applied in iTunes, etc.

I have no idea why it is still done. To be honest, I’m not sure there is a lot of talent on the final production side of the recording industry these days and I think it is done simply because that’s been a standard practice since the 1990s. Metallica was one of the first bands to get significant bad press for the practice.

A recent example is a band called the Teskey Brothers who I really like. They do their own production on older analog equipment and they do a good job. But on their most recent album the CD is very compressed and unpleasant to listen to, while the vinyl is superb. Somewhere in the production process of the CD the DR was compressed while on the album it was not. Why? I have no idea.

The Dynamic Range Database is an excellent tool for finding the best recordings and I use it religiously as, in my opinion, it does not matter how meticulously a track is recorded, if the DR is compressed it doesn’t sound good. So that’s where I start.

I have found that certain artists are better about not over compressing. Steely Dan and Mark Knopfler come to mind. I have also noticed that within the Jazz genre there seems to be less DR compression. That alone is telling in my opinion.

Anyway, sorry about the rant. Of all the nuances audiophiles hear, I am not particularly sophisticated but DR compression for me is always noticeable and unpleasant. Also sorry about any inaccuracies or improper terms. If I’ve got something wrong I hope someone will chime in. There is a lot of info about DR compression out there. I think Wikipedia even has some good info.

What songs/albums/artists are painful to listen to through your audiophile system?

~~~~Diana Krall~~~, all of her cds, unlistenable, as they sound ~~Fake~~
Now that i have my Jadis Defy all modded out,,, now i can hear things never heard  previously. DK's cds now sound wayyy overed modded, EQed, computerized, modulated,, tinkered with,, just one word ~~Fake~~
I can't stand listening to any of her cds now. 
Sophie Milman is yet another over tinkered with modern recording gadgets,,,But at least I can bear Milman's recordings,,but not Diana's. sadly her music is wayyy too modern sounding = Fake/,a  fraud, /a  big fat  lie. 
She should have requested her record engineers , record her muisc as in the 1960's style, pure, natural, that is to say~~ Authentic. 

n80: thanks for that brief discussion about dynamic range compression. Clearly this is a factor in hifi listening pleasure and pain. As you mentioned, the Wikipedia entries related to this were very informative. 
I also think it is an under considered factor. As far as I am concerned (with my very limited experience) DR is the most important initial consideration for source quality. A hi-res file of a highly compressed recording is just hi -res noise to my ears.