Following suit

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A few weeks ago I mentioned that one great test recording to measure your sound system’s ability to disappear was the Rutter Requiem recorded by Keith Johnson on Reference. Properly outfitted and set up, highly resolving systems should get out of the way so this beauty can envelop the listener. If not, then you need some new equipment.

One comment that struck me was this one from reader, Alan:

“I’ve got SACD’s that don’t sound half as good as this CD. Totally blown away, thank you.”

Yes, of course, we all do. I can’t tell you the number of higher resolution recordings and mediums in my possession that do not hold a candle to a number of my CDs.

Just because a medium has greater bandwidth and resolution doesn’t mean much if the source material doesn’t warrant it. The highest resolution copy of a mediocre recording doesn’t somehow magically make it better in the same way a lovelier shade of lipstick doesn’t help the looks of the proverbial pig.

The challenge we all face in perfecting our systems is systemic. Not only do we have to get the setup dialed in, the recordings chosen wisely, but it’s incumbent upon each of us to make sure the elements within that system are up for the challenge.

It doesn’t matter how great one piece of your stereo chain is if the others don’t follow suit.