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My friend Mark (aka. Soundminded), a frequent contributor to the comments section of these posts, posed a question of his own. I will paraphrase: “Would I rather have a great performance and a bad recording or vice versa?”

Most of us would immediately respond we’d prefer a great performance over a great recording. But what about the extremes? What about something on the edge of unlistenable by our standards? The 78 rpm scratchy record of Caruso over today’s better recordings? The YouTube screech of something resembling music?

Just applying some honest introspection I fear I may fall into the category of those that stick with what sounds better. Fear of ridicule from music snobs over audio snobs? I don’t know. But here’s what I do know. Mark gives us an example of a great performance with sound that is awful and I could not turn it off. I listened on my crappy little monitor speakers. The video’s awful. But the performance. The music. I nearly swooned listening to it.

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