Recordings vs playback equipment

October 18, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

17 comments on “Recordings vs playback equipment”

  1. And that’s what I’ve been saying all along; that it’s mainly about how great the recording is…or not.
    80% recording (source) / 20% home audio set-up …but hey, that’s just my opinion.
    (22 years in home audio retail don’t lie) πŸ˜€

  2. Now if only Octave records had a division that could take some of those great albums in the past that were horribly mastered and magic wand them up to our finicky standards… Revealing can be a curse as well as a delight. It can invoke a “wow” in awe, OR in disappointment. It has become a lifelong obsession to find a good sounding copy of some of my favorite old albums…
    A couple more popular ones come to mind:
    Breakfast In America
    Pink Floyd’s Division Bell and Momentary Lapse Of Reason.
    These are some that I’ve found: the better equipment I get, the worse these sound.

    There’s a Japan SACD of Breakfast in America for $1219.66. Not THAT obsessed…
    Anyone heard the Breakfast In America (SHM-SACD) [New SACD] Japan – Import? Is it just a cleaner version of the original mediocre recording?

    1. Those albums you mention were recorded after Rodger left ,I don’t think its the recording process that is lacking but the musical content ,bye the way they sound ok on my modest system .

    2. pikpen,
      I had the original first Japanese made for the USA CD release (1983) of BIA & sold it 4 years ago & bought the 2002 Red Book remaster which, to me, sounds crisper, more detailed & more dynamic than the original.
      I haven’t spun it for a while.
      Now you have me intrigued & I’ll give it a spin tomorrow to check out the sonic quality.
      But since it only cost me AU$15… πŸ˜‰

      I still can’t get into anything that ‘Pink Floyd’ has done since Roger left…I’ve tried, but no.

      1. Thanks, but I had the Japan audiophile master LP back when wax was our only option, and is WAS quite good, but now I happily live by the ‘Friends don’t let friends tick & pop’ motto…
        I recovered from getting hifi on crack and I can never go back.

    1. Paul,

      As I mentioned to you, the Chilean singer Mon Laferte has recorded Norma at Capitol Studios in LA. All musicians and singing together, as if live. You can see the videos too. The music is beautiful (if you understand Spanish, the lyrics are quite good too). There are a lot of great arrangements in the songs!

      It may be that it is analog, as some of the videos start with a clip of a Studer A80…

      She won a lot of Latin Grammy awards for this album.

  3. Paul,
    Rooibos is a herbal tea from South Africa. Makes a pleasant cuppa, no caffeine and a smooth taste. I prefer beer when listening but to each his own

  4. I have been looking without any success in finding a review of an experiment in front of invited music mag writers of two amplifiers hidden behind an acoustic curtain the writers were asked to score each .The writers gave their verdict on each amp and a winner was decided on, Peter J Walker owner of Huntingdon Electronics (Quad) then drew back the curtain to reveal one amp and one pair of speakers ,some red faces were apparent. I read this in the eighties so the original test could have been conducted any time before ,I think it could have been in H-Fi News as Peter was then a contributor of some interesting articles for them .

    1. Sanssolo,

      Let me give you a different perspective. Billie Eilish and her brother produced the records the way they wanted them to sound. They used the studio (and their bedrooms!) to get the sound they wanted. They had a precise idea of the end product. You can watch the videos where Finneas describes how he created each sound and how he mixed it into the records. Incidentally, Billie sang with a children’s choir associated with the LA Phil. She is classically trained as a singer so she now sings the way they want to sound.

      If they went to Octave, they will produce their music the way they want as well. For them, the studio is another instrument.

      If you watch the attached video, you will see Mon Laferte singing “Funeral”, one of the great breakup songs in Spanish. Again, she sang in one take with her musicians in Capitol’s studios. She used the study to “create” the music to sound they way her team wanted it. The video is great even if a little distracting if you listen to the music in a good system. They made changes to the original sound in the levels (mixing).

      Musicians today create using the studio. George Martin did it for the Beatles. And people can do what they want, from pure and very little knob fiddling to heavily processed music.

      Going back to Eilish, the electronic bass in the records can be excellent, especially with good subwoofers.

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