Listing to some of the Rudy Van Gelder Blue Note reissues and some of the original Blue Note releases, i am beginning to wonder if the quality of the recording...and therefore the overall SQ that one is going to get through your system is more dependent on the quality of the mastering than any other aspect! If the mastering engineer nails the recording and is able to record onto the tape the most 'live' sounding instruments and voices, then you will get a superb recording that will do almost ANY system proud ( IMO Rudy's recordings onto the master tape are incredible ( most) ). OTOH, if the mastering engineer somehow screws up, then the result will be nothing special...regardless of how great the system playing it back is...or for that matter ALL future reissues and techniques of re-mastering the original tape..'One Step' Direct to Disc etc. To sum up, if the original master tape is recorded poorly, ( due to the electronics used, or to any number of other variables) then all subsequent releases will simply be a polishing of a turd! Thoughts???
In my experience no. The real test of a system is what it does with less than pristine recordings. Does the system convey the humanity and emotion in the recording irrespective of the technical media used to record it? Many of my favorites to listen to are sketchy live recordings from DAT or basic four tracks and as my system has progressed it’s astonishing how much more it is able to extract from what we’re never technically sophisticated recordings. What many people assume to be “turds” may actually be “diamonds in the rough”
btw don’t confuse this with systems that impose their own “rose tinted spectacles” on poor recordings, this is about honesty to the original, warts and all
I am compelled to agree, I don't like being negative and usually avoid it However- I am listening to the recently promoted live -50 years ago- on vinyl and it has a sort of haze over the sound. It could be (probably) the original recording tapes or it could be my lack of listening to a lot of live field albums.
If I may make a strained analogy -- the original recording mix is the meal a chef in a quality restaurant prepares and mastering is the overall restaurant experience for the diner. Mastering cannot take a poorly prepared meal and make it taste wonderful. Mastering can complement and enhance a dish to make it a truly exciting dining experience. If the mastering engineer is presented with a well recorded, well mixed album, then they do very little sound alteration in mastering process. They stay out of the way a let the recording come through.
I agree with Folkfreak's comment above. Any decent system will sound real good with a great recording. It's how they handle to mediocre to bad recordings that makes for a truly satisfying system.
I tend to disagree with the statement that a mediocre to bad recording on a decent system will sound anything BUT mediocre or poor. IMHO, the more warts that are exposed, the worse the listening session becomes...if we are talking about a bad recording.Since the best systems are more resolving and therefore more able to expose the warts, then the negative aspects of the recording are clearer...which to me is less satisfying. Obviously, on a better recording, that is where your great system shines.YMMV.
I prefer original LP pressings (even in fair condition) over new reissues cut from digital files! There just seems to be more "there" there! And music recorded digitally seems to sound best on a digital format.
I am awaiting the arrival of a digitally-recorded RCA Red Seal LP - Mata and the Dallas SO doing The Firebird and The Rite Of Spring. This I will compare to a CD to note the differences. Should be an interesting test!
I am no fan of digitally recorded vinyl reissues; with the possible exception of the MFSL Box set Allison Kraus + Union Station Live. I think it is a safer bet to get the download or the SACD of a digital recording.
@daveyf the operative word is not good/bad but "honest" -- a lousy studio manipulated over processed recording can never sound anything other than fake but a "mediocre" honest recording of real musicians in real space can yield surprisingly evocative and attractive results -- I for one love to listen to 78 era recordings, and golden era mono -- no one is going to think that these are "state of the art" reproduction but a better system will dig out amazing amounts of real world performance information even from these limited sources.
@folkfreak Some of the oldest recordings are indeed superb. i don't think that they are actually a good representative of a marginal or poor recording, generally. Main reason that I think some of the older recordings are superb, is because they were recorded using simple tube gear and not much in the chain to disrupt the signal. Same goes for golden era mono. BUT, I am mostly talking about poorly recorded and mastered pieces ( contemporary or otherwise) that just don't sound good regardless of the gear you play it back on.
Just FYI, the record producer and recording engineer(s) are primarily responsible for getting the music onto the tape or drive, then there is often a separate mixing engineer and finally the mastering engineer who gets the final mix of the tape or file ready to press onto LP or CD.
Absolutely @onhwy61. Many of the recordings that feature James Jamerson on electric bass are of mediocre or worse sound quality, yet hearing his playing never fails to get me high. There are plenty of excellent sounding recordings that leave me unmoved, 'cause the music itself isn't ime excellent. That's like a perfectly-prepared and presented meal of a food you don't like, or a high quality print of a photograph you can take or leave. Speaking of which, there is a book available containing nothing but photos of The Band by Elliot Landy, entitled "The Band: 1968-1969". Fantastic!