What is a good recording?

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In response to my post Making Peacea reader asked the question “what exactly is a good recording?” Great question and here’s what’s interesting: we all know a great or poor recording the moment we hear one.

At one of my seminars yesterday I was demonstrating the PWD streaming music and selected an unfamiliar Miles Davis track out of the many I have in the library – it sounded dreadful from the moment I turned it on. I turned and looked at the crowd in the room and every face clearly reflected the same sentiment. I had chosen poorly and immediately went to a more familiar piece from Something Blue, an album I know to be a good recording.

I don’t know enough to be able to analyze and pick apart what makes something sound good or bad but I can tell you within seconds its quality – so can you and every person that listens to it on a highly resolving system.

The fact any one of us can instantly identify good from bad is significant – I am just not sure what it means.