Recording quality of media

I have been an audiophile and have been chasing an affordable “dream system”. I had the upgrade itch so many times before and used to have an Audio Research Ref 6 + Ref75SE + Esoteric K-03x + Wilson Sophia 3s just before moving into a smaller house. I now have a Pass XP22 + XA30.8 + Bartok + Mofi Ultradeck + Wilson Duette 2s. Of course, the itch to upgrade to a Rossini and another Wilson model is there.
However, I am coming to the view it is less of the system and more on the media source which makes for great listening. By that I mean the quality of the recordings. DSD albums purchased via HDTracks sound very good and so are the more recent recorded CDs. The quality of recordings vary from being very good to just painful.
In short, I remain almost at a standstill and am enjoying what I have with good recorded materials. Tidal is just about ok and I stay away from their MQA titles. Their listing is more populated with rap type of music and I await for Qobuz to be available here in Singapore.

That’s the sad reality. No matter what I do, much of the music of my youth (mid 80’s) sounds like crap. In fact the better my system gets the worse the music sounds. Now I don’t try to relive my youth but find new, well recorded, music that sounds good.


Perhaps need to use a CD-player and CD editions of that era? Not files, not remasters, and maybe not a modern high end in general. High resolution also has a downside))

I also notice that some old recordings sound lousy. And it seems to me in my youth I listened to them without any problems on old equipment.


Us boomers win again! The pop/rockr/jazz ecordings of my childhood and youth can sound fantastic. Duke Ellington Masterpieces - one of the early LPs ( mono) from 1951 sounds astounding ( recent remastering). Some of those Frank Sinatra recordings from Capitol during the 1950’s are just superb ( originals and remasters) - try Songs for Swinging Lovers or Come Fly with Me. Then there are the Beatles albums , variable,but great sound on some particularly in the recent Giles Martin/Miles Showell remasters. Or then there’s the mono remaster of Cream Disraeli Gears …

In addition there are classical discs like original Decca wide bands often of what used to be termed " Demonstration Quality".

Just one small point - all of the above are vinyl :grin: :laughing:.

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yes, I probably missed that moment when I wrote about the equipment and recordings of that era)))

Oh Yes! Good point. Albums of that era in vinyl certainly do sound better. Which reminds me to stop being lazy and to spin a few vinyl albums later this evening.

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Pete, what kind of turntable do you have? Are you using SCA2 preamp phono? Do you listen to vinyl through ATС actives?
I think there is no problem for ATC to reproduce old records, they have changed little since their first release, and this is just that era, well, almost))

My turntable is a highly modified JA MIchell Orbe. It has been modified to carry two tonearms , reduce contact between armboard and subchassis, get rid of a tendency for the suspension to ring and to move laterally when e.g. playing off centre discs. The suspension has been replaced by rubber like O rings ( think SME 'tables). The bearing and suspension points have had their steel ball bearings replaced with ceramic balls which drops the noise significantly. The two arms are an Audiomods Series Five with an Ortofon 2M Mono SE ( I believe that you can only get the SE version directly from the factory ) and an SME V with an Ortofon Windfeld ti.

My ATC SCA2 is really now my reserve preamp and my day to day listening is via an EAR Yoshino 868PL. This also has a very , very good phono stage. However I use an outboard two box phonostage; the Icon Audio PS3 special edition. So all round it’s step up transformers for the MC cart and loads of hot glass. The ATC phonostage is very good but I really prefer that magical combination of Moving Coil, SUT and tubes.

Yes I do, the ATCs are good at everything !

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Many current CDs of 1980s albums have been “remastered” which more often than not means the volume has been turned up and the dynamic range compressed and limited to more or less square off the waveforms.

On the other hand, if you can find the original 1980s CDs, they are blissfully dynamic and unlimited.

For example, here is the track I Don’t Know How to Love Him by Yvonne Elliman from the album Jesus Christ Superstar, from a CD released in 1990:

Here’s the same track from the 50th Anniversary CD released about a month ago:


Sometimes it isn’t even worth it at all. :disappointed_relieved:

Loudness War