The roundabout

August 7, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

With every major improvement to my system, I find myself revisiting all my favorite music. Tracks I haven’t heard for sometimes years get pulled off the shelf and replayed.

Cutting-edge equipment or improvements that breathe new life into the system don’t demand a revisit to those older musical gems, they beckon me with the promise of new found treasures. Like the cleaning of a dirty window, once clear you cannot help enjoying the better view.

As soon as the new BHK600s were placed into the system, I found myself reliving all the wonderful tracks I had gotten a bit tired of. Wow. Not only do I get to relive the pleasures of these tracks again, I uncover new wonders. It’s as if I am listening again for the first time.

Round and round we go with each new improvement.

What a delight!


Subscribe to Paul's Posts

34 comments on “The roundabout”

  1. I had similar experiences with properly remastered CDs.
    Clearer, cleaner, more dynamic & with more detail,
    ie. sounds that I hadn’t heard in the original releases.

    Send me a couple of BHK-600’s Paul & I’ll hear for myself
    how much improvement there is in clarity & detail 😉
    Cheers! ✌

    1. Hey Martin. Some of the best remastered CDs I’ve ever heard is from Peter Gabriel. He reissued his entire studio catalog in 2010 and my god they’re actually far superior than the originals.
      If you like PG, I highly recommend his Security album (album 4) remastered edition (2010).

      I used to be a prick and take that cd to highend audio shows, so I could hear many many systems fail trying to play it.

        1. Oh wait. There is a bit of a strange instance there. I forgot to tell you. SO wasn’t released in 2010 as a remaster. It was released in 2012 as a box set or single cd to honor the 25th Ann of the album.
          That remaster is not good!! There is waaay more compression on that disc, sadly and oddly.

          Try a 2010 reissue. It is very different, but sadly you can’t get SO in those 2010 reissues.

          I don’t know why they did that, but if you grab any other album you’ll be happy I promise.
          Overall I found that 2012 version of SO disappointing. It is too loud.

  2. I used to do that. I couldn’t wait to hear all my favourite tracks through the new equipment I’d just acquired, discovering new details and the way the track now presented itself, it was almost manic. Usually results were positive but not always. That new found bass note could be a bit woolly because the speakers or the room couldn’t cope. Or, as I later discovered, was it down to positioning? I’m a bit more relaxed about it now but it’s still one of the great joys when playing with the latest toy. Whereas before I’d just select my favourite tracks more and more I’m listening to CDs the whole way through because they’re so satisfying. Tracks I thought were not so good are sounding more cohesive and in that sense I’m discovering new music or rediscovering what I have can sound better and therefore more enjoyable than I previously thought.

    A couple of topic related tracks from different ends of the musical spectrum.

    1. > Tracks I thought were not so good are sounding more cohesive and in that sense I’m discovering new music or rediscovering….<

      One of the greatest benefits for me of local streaming is the ability to shuffle all the music files and let the algorithm pick what’s next. Quite often I’m shocked by what music I actually own and how enjoyable lots of it sounds. Like you discovering… what I already have. Maybe it’s a hold over from the FM days… or some deep psychological defect…. ✌️ 😀

  3. Paul,

    Ever ask yourself what else is being hidden and where?
    Or is it a happenstance that a new amp found it all?

    As far as uncovering ‘new’ in ‘old music’ it is one of the great joys of this HIFI pursuit. Music that I really like I never tire of.

    On the other hand, recordings designed mostly to showcase some playback systems strong points can be come tiresome and end up moving way down in the playback rotation list.

    1. Well I tell ya something. A new amp can do a lot. I’m definitely experiencing that right now. Getting into more elite amplification really re-educates your brain on how you listen to music. It is pretty cool. 🙂

      1. No argument there Neph.
        My question (maybe poorly worded) was is that where most, shall we say hidden, details occur? I have major step forward in sources and pre’s.
        Glad your new amp stepped it up a notch for you.

        1. Mike! You’re a good man, thank you. I had such a good day today with my system. Feel great.

          Also yeah. Amps really help dig out those nuances. The WA 22 is really special. Got me into more elite territory. I’m amazed how when you have a top of line amp, the music seems so effortless sounding. You don’t have to crank it either. 🙂

      2. I’d go along with that. Previously I’d underestimated the benefits a quality amp can bring, and it’s not just about power, the nuances are a big part of it.

  4. The roundabout…

    Looking at it from a US perspective (Boston area at rush hour). Make the mistake of getting in the inside lane …. Are you aggressive or daring enough to push your way to the outside lane to make the exit? Or is it like a whirlpool and you have to wait until the flow subsides for the escape?

    1. And now Dear Reader, yet another excerpt from The Weird Sierra Files (metadata unavailable):

      I read something (source lost to the depths of space/time and diminished cognition) about Boston’s road system being laid out on 18th century cow paths, so to successfully navigate you need to be able to think like an 18th century cow.

      Having never been to Boston, I have no actual experience there. For all I know this is just an amusing (at least to me) anecdote.

      1. Probably close to being true, confused.
        In Much of the northeast it seems cow and cart paths were just paved over and called roads.
        Boston is one of the few cities I’ve been where every road seems to be one way the wrong way. Or take 4 right turns starting on the south side and end up in the north end.

  5. I’m not quite sure why Paul called the post Roundabout? That said, I do enjoy when a new piece of gear that is truly meant to improve my system and not just make it sound different makes old music seem new.

    The last time this happened was when I got my PS Audio PST. Thank you Paul.

    1. And try to get us to buy some new kit. But hey, he has a company to run and staff to pay, so no faulting him for this. If you’ve got the discretionary income, you could do far worse than the BHK line. Not cheap, but not bat-sierra crazy expensive either.

  6. My methodology also.
    I have some old direct disc recordings, some CDs and SACDs to revisit for evaluation.
    My last big addition was an SACD player.
    Maybe a year ago a good MC phono cart.

    Sometimes routine, often awe inspiring.

  7. This is exactly how I feel, Paul with my recent new Tube Amplifier purchase. 🙂

    You get to relive the adventure all over again.
    Today I’m spinning Dead Can Dance’s “ Into The Labyrinth” (MFSL DSD capture) to enjoy the familiar and to get know my new amp. 🙂

    Life is good! 🙂

    1. The best way is through Qobuz (if you’re using that service). Look for PS Audio Playlist. If not, Google Paul’s Picks and you’ll be taken to an older list.

      When I have access to the 600s (which isn’t always at the moment) my system is all PerfectWave. BHK preamp, DS DAC (on occasion DS2 – oh my!), PST, BHK300s (when I don’t get 600s), 3 P20s. All AQ Dragons for cabling.

Leave a Reply

Stop by for a tour:
Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm MST

4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

Stop by for a tour:
4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram