Chris Isaak - Baja Sessions CD. Sounds better than it should.


I'm always in search of well recorded CDs and someone here on Audiogon recommended Chris Isaak's Baja Sessions. I'm an Isaak fan so I found one on eBay for about $5.

It arrived today and I popped it into the Oppo and it sounds really good. "Loudness" levels sound on par with other well recorded and mastered CDs that I have. (Hi res streaming version also sounds fantastic.) I'm very sensitive to DR that is over compressed and can usually tell immediately if a piece is highly DR compressed. Out of curiosity I checked this CD on the DR Database and while it is not way over compressed it is in that 9-10 range that usually gives only marginal SQ.

All I can say is that it sounds great and DR isn't the only measure of SQ.
n80
I'm also an avid fan, I've seen him live six times, and have all of his CDs. In my opinion, all of his recordings are lovingly made, and should be an example to other artists. 
@n80,

No it's not the only measure of sq, not all music calls for a huge dynamic range. Besides recording, production and mastering all matter too.

However, don't you think it's an appalling state of affairs when vinyl releases regularly trounce their digital counterparts for dynamic range?

Just have a look to see how many of the highest average scores belong to vinyl releases.

Digital often gets a lot of criticism but it hardly seems fair to blame the medium when it's so regularly handicapped in this fashion. The recording industry is plainly not interested in exploiting the full capabilities of digital.

Only it's  commercial ones.

Looking at the dynamic range database I can't find anything of great interest amongst those few digital recordings up above +20 range. 

The highest CD recording seems to be a John Cage Concert for Piano album from 1993 (+24 avg).

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list/dr/desc
Chris Issak's  "Forever Blue" is another surprisingly good sounding album. The music alone IMO is solid , but it does sound convincing.
On Spotify not Qobuz.
Library it is.
Baja Sessions is also hdcd, as I recall, and the Oppo may be decoding it depending which model you have.
Of course if you have the UDP-205, it’s the best player they ever made, imo, and exceeds the sound quality of their previous units, despite lacking hdcd decoding.

My Oppo is the BDP-105D and I’m assuming it decodes HDCD because it flashed “HDCD” on its screen before the CD  started. 

@cd318, in terms of DR my ears are pretty happy at anything above 12. If you sort the DR database from highest DR you can find lots of CDs in the 16+ range. Some of the artists and titles with high DR are surprising. 
@n80,

'@cd318, in terms of DR my ears are pretty happy at anything above 12. If you sort the DR database from highest DR you can find lots of CDs in the 16+ range. Some of the artists and titles with high DR are surprising.'


Yes it's a question of looking. I did see a CD listed at avg DR +18 that might be of interest as I used to have the vinyl copy -OMDs Architecture and Morality.

However that score only applies to the 1984 CD. Other iterations can be as low as only +9 average DR!

Certainly worth bearing in mind.
I've been streaming Beck's Morning Phase. Never heard it before. Really like it. SQ of streaming is okay but bass gets muddy and boomy.


On DR database average DR on CD is 6. You have to try to screw something up that bad.
Ridiculously good album. Thank You for bringing it up. Very musical and sounded fantastic on Spotify 
Beck, (one of my favorites) is another artist who makes good sounding recordings. No, they don’t sound "natural" because there are a lot of effects, but his voice usually sounds close up and intimate, and the stage is large and wide.
Morning Phase is great, so is Sea Change and Mutations.
We're big fans of Chris Isaak, and we've seen him live a few times. All of his albums seem well-recorded, but "Baja Sessions" is a standout. Thanks for bringing it up. I'll pull it out and listen later today.