The notion of music we all could become familiar with and use as reference sounds like an excellent idea. I no longer listen to vinyl though, do you suppose any high quality media would work?
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I think this is a wonderful idea. If this catches on, I am sure that I will be introduced to some great, well-recorded music - both to listen to and to form a reference for discussion.
Let me be the first to nominate an LP: Muddy Waters, "Folk Singer" or Cannonball Aderly, "Somethin Else".
This is just the type of reductive sentiment that leads to people with $40,000 systems and fifty records. Most of them Diana Krall and Holly Cole. To properly get the feel for a system, the maximum number of records should be used for evaluation and those should be ones that you like. This common ground idea really makes no sense.
To take Pererayer's example of "Something Else", I could be talking about the 45RPM reissue, you could be talking about a first BN pressing, the next person could have a King Super Analog Japanese pressing and someone else could have the 90s digitally sourced reissue. Other than agreeing that this is one fine bit of playing, we are not apt to learn much else. Then again, we could all buy yet another copy and all have the same one, and still no one would agree on anything.
I think your concept is a good one ,you mentioned this on another thread and I for one would participate.
I'm thinking out loud, a possible fly in the ointment....If it gets off the ground I'm confident you will hear from those with original first release or a better re-pressing that smokes the currant re-issue used for evaluation.
This will have to be established first.
I see already Viridian has brought this point up.
Dear all, to once again clarify the point:
These "agreed upon records" are about to establish a common ground for sonic evaluation and correspondence only!!
We need "records which everyone has access to for normal prices".
I have over 900 first pressings (... most of them first stamper..) in Jazz and classical from 1958 to 1968 - however I would never ask for including original vintage pressings here.
This is completely off point.
These records shall only serve to create - well: again.. - a common ground.
These shall not form the core of a collection, but shall reflect all aspects of recorded music and all aspects (..positive..) of recorded music sound.
This package shall serve to create a solid ground to improve communication and make statements and sonic experiences one makes/have easier understood by other members.
So far I have seen several good proposals - each of them can serve here well.
And - yes, the originals sound "better" - but it doesn't matter at all in this context.
I believe we have a great chance here - and it might as well work for the digital fraction too.
I think this is a very good proposal, many times when Ive read a review(not just magazine reviews) Ive picked up the record mentioned and tried to listen for the described section and see how my own system handled the described piece.
Although I think this might be scary for some when they realize what their system does or doesnt do.
Dear all, a suggestion for a guidline/some ruling:
***may everybody interest to do so suggest 3 records.
All these records MUST be excellent recordings and all these records MUST be ready avaliable as re-issues or current pressing through retail stores or online merchants like Acoustic Sounds or similar (in other words: everybody has access to them). If the music has a universal appeal - it makes things easier to agree for most people.
For instance: I think a record like Muddy Waters: "Folk Singer" will find wide spread approval.
I would as another exmaple vote for R. Frühbeck de Burgos "Suite Espanola" on Decca SXL 6355 as an outstanding exmaple of a very dynamic orchestra with extreme live-like soundstage, shocking dynamics, subtle shaded colors and "breath", presence and a superb illusion of "being there".
Its readily available as re-issue from Speakers Corner for fairly low money.
This one belongs to the 10 best orchestra recordings ever made and features a wonderful suite of transcriptions for Orchestra from Issac Albeniz' Suite Espanola. The transcriptions were made by the conductor - so we are looking at a "definite" recording in all ways.
You are invited for suggestions.
Please keep in mind that we do need indeed most - if not all - aspects of music covered AND great quality in terms of the recorded sound.
Thank you, D.
yes, I guess we need an attempt to 'level the paying field' (pun intended).
"Folk Singer" as mentioned, also some possible synergy with digital, yes?
Now, 'Folk Singer' on UltradiscII UDCD 593 STEREO sounds very good, so it does on CHESS records HDR 1001, yet a typical item to be in favour of vinyl, in my system.
B U T, now lets look at some others:
- 'Sometin' ELSE' on UltradiscII UDCD563 sounds crap, to put it bluntly.
- 'Kind of Blue' Columbia COL 4606032 (CD, prod. by Teo Macero) is just as bad, and makes me wonder what everyone would want to rave about? Yet, having heard some more recent re-mastering, it's much better.
(Surely it must have been re-master 1 million time by now...)
Artistic performance is somethin' else :-) but NOT the sound of it. We will have those issues to 'weed out' else we are headed for some chaos.
One more for 'flavouring' is DECCA SXL 2248 'La Boheme'. I have the DECCA 'wide silver band', alas made in SA!
No idea if the 'Made in England' item is any better as far as plain old groove noise and tape hiss goes?
It is VERRRY dynamic and in places wants to dismantle your drivers! Horrific test for massed instruments, voice(s) et al. But as I said, groove noise --- bad news in deed.
Dear All, again:
- only CURRENT available NEW records.
NO vintage first pressings - NO super limited edition high-price reissues (4-set 45 rpm etc).
It is NOT going for the absolute best sonic version, but for a common base.
We need an easy available to everyone for NORMAL price record.
If the recording is available on CD too ( even if that medium is dead and gone by 2011.....) - even better.
May I add some ideas about that?
Forget those "Audiophile " Pressings (or the most ), they have nothing to do with the real thing, or Reissues, their high frequencies are lost in general.
These pressings are nice to have, sound good for most Systems, but they do it in lower class C Systems, too. These records don't go with the better Systems, they level everything. The only exception I know is the 1. LSC series from Classic Records when Wilkinson was hired for checking the process.
When someone has no idea about that, try to learn and don't list records which are better saved in the "Records To Die From" List
I list a few which are easily to get in 2. Hand market for little money too
Some of the good - normal- ones:
AC/DC ( Bon Scott ) High voltage Atlantic 1//1,2,4 2//1,2
Cash, Jonny American Recordings American 9455201 1//1,3,7
Eagles Hell Freezes Over Geffen 24725 2//1,2 3//3
Scruggs, Earl Nashville's Rock Columbia CS1007 1//5,6 2//3,4
Wassermann, Rob Duets MCA 42131 1//3,4 2//1
Bruch Scottish Fantasy - Heifetz RCA LSC 2603-45
Gounod / Bizet Faust - Carmen RCA LSC 2449-45
Walton Facade Suite RCA LSC 2285-45
Soundtrack Paris, Texas Warner 925270-1 1//1,2,3,4,5,6 2//1,2
Soundtrack The Graduate Columbia OS 3180 "360 Sound"
They can show the "Real thing", AC/DC has an enormous upper headroom...
no, I don't know all reissues, I bought a lot in the last 7 years and most are not worth their high price (but there will be always some few exceptions), so I stopped it 2008
Alison Krauss: I don't have
Abraxass: I have a reissue from a German plant, calm but awful
2201 I don't know about having it
2430 I have, but I have to listen to it (no memory)
Mussorgsky 'Pictures at an Exhibition' (Classic, LSC-2201) Reiner CSO.
As with some other living Stereo RCA's there have been some original full frequency/dynamic versions --- than came the complaints and they got much reduced in dynamics so as to be able to play them on most often then used TTs.
If you listen to one of these, well they are WELL below anything to write home about.
So, I guess it's the re-issue for this one. I has just about EVERYTHING on it, right across the full orchestra 'blow-out' to very very gentle passages.
I could have mentioned Richard Strauss - Also sprach Zarathustra - with Reiner, but that one might just have been too much, same as Jacques Offenbach's - Gaîté Parisienne ... with, well you will know who *).
Now as I understand you wanted to 'ban' some stuff 'cause it's too good, making 'everything' sound too nice. What did you have in mind, just to get some idea.
PS: *) Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops ... just in case.
Now that you clarified your point.
My picks are all available ,exceptional music and a job well done with these re-issues.
Ella Fitzgerald "Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie" Classic Records
Harry Belafonte "At Carnegie Hall" double Lp set Classic Records
Sarah Vaughn "Sarah Vaughn" mono Speakers Corner
Dear Stiltskin, can agree with those 100% - very nice pick indeed.
Whether the recordings are digital or analog is unimportant.
We are talking relative comparisms here.
******The only important facts and features are:******
* readily available by mail-order or retail shop for decent (set a mark: below $50/record).
* covering all aspects of music:
* classic orchestral, opera, chamber, baroque, concerto
* rock - heavy, metal, soft, studio - live
* singer-songwriter - male - female, studio - live
* jazz - bop, hot, cool, etc.
* pop - male vocalist - female vocalist
* specials soundtrack (NOT Casino Royale !!!), electronic music etc.
Going for 3-4 LPs in every sub-category will give ample selection and enough food for everyone.
We should take care too, that the records are "great" or "well recorded" (best is both...) all through. Not just 1 or 2 individual tracks.
I am sure we can do it.
Right now I am working on a list of mine and will it post here early next week for all to discuss and to illustrate my vision how this might look.
I have to check whether all I have picked is vaialble and will post this list with full detail.
Please keep on to make suggestions of your favourites.
I think this could be related to the thread "Are our test records adequate?" Are our test records adequate
The great records should sound wonderful on ALL systems and I'd suggest:-
The Royal Ballet-Ansermat-RCA Victor-Record 1 side 1
La Folia-Paniagua-Harmonia Mundi
Adagio d'Albinoni-Gary Karr-Firebird The Super Analogue Disc
The Three Cornered hat-Ansermat-Decca
The Koln Concert-Keith Jarrett-ECM
Dire Straights-Dire Straights (analogue recording better than the digital Brother in Arms unless you have tube electronics?)
The Well-Jennifer Warnes-Cisco
Paris Texas-Ry Cooder
But the real weaknesses and strengths in a system will be revealed I believe, in the 'difficult' recordings mentioned in the attached Forum?
Most suggestions sound very good (the ones I have heard) -- B U T The Eagles "Hotel California" seems the exception here so far.
Tubean, the CD that I have (Made in Germany) is truly and utterly **non-audiophile**.
In contrast "hell freezes over", most of the live stuff, is far superior. Though the side one tracks (all studio), sounds awfully digital to me, even on vinyl.
Viridian, SRV is of course also on CD, but minus the bonus tracks on side 4 vinyl. (It is yet another CD that makes vinyl sound so much better).
Halcro, oh yes!
The Royal Ballet-Ansermet-RCA Victor-Record, actually all 4 sides, why only side 1?
It is THE vinyl to show off vinyl! :-) But as I should think just too good, it "makes every rig sound great"?
Be interesting to see what D. comes up with...
Dear Halcro, dear Axel, please keep in mind:
- its NOT about the absolute BEST pressing but about the READILY NEW AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE pressing for below US$50.
- it is less about whether there are better test records. Its about a solid common ground for exchanging sonic impressions in a virtual world - i.e.: Audiogon.
- it should use records only, which are a pleasure to listen to NOT JUST BECAUSE OF THE SONICS, but entertaining and "good" in the musical sense (thats why my lists will contain in teh majority LPs only, which have stood the test of time and will most likely sound familiar to most music lovers and audiophile .
I am glad to learn, that so far most contributors to this posts seem to have ideas going in the very same direction.
Looks like we can really put together a common ground for a much better communication about sonic issues and topics in the future.
Natural sounding vocals with little to no artifacts attached for me is of paramount importance on a recording.
"The illustion of, in the room with you kind"
To add from my suggestions above , another one that stands out that is readily available and inexpensive is Joan Baez "Diamonds and Rust"
I never did care for Joan's music until I heard this A&M release through a pair of Quad 63's some 25 plus years ago.
The original release was exceptionally well recorded and the current re-issue is it's equal.
Great band and good music.
Alison Krauss "So Long so Wrong" Good music, talented band, good recording however the studio mucked with the vocals too much.
Their "Live" release has far more natural sounding vocals and is equally entertaining and well recorded. Mobil Fidelity
Joe Williams "Me and The Blues" Speakers Corner , check this one out.
Nat Cole "After Midnight" mono , Pure Pleasure...in deed it is.
Hi Axel, Without getting into a forensic analyst of why these modern day engineers have to do this,knowingly or unknowingly simply put this other wise very good Lp stands out a slight electronic hue that's attached to all of the vocals.
It's not overly distracting for me however too bad it's there, Alisons voice is so sweet.
If you can compare the Live Lp to this studio mix,it does present vocals far more natural, for a modern day recording that is.
>>> Alisons voice is so sweet...<<< :-) too true! Some latter day Dolly Pardon?
But I think her is a bit 'thin' also, and what I can hear on some tracks they done a dubbed voice-over i.e. she sings it twice to make it sound less a bit fuller.
I was expecting you might have noticed some of that :-)
Axel, Noticing this electronic hue on the vocals on So Long So Wrong was a slight disappointment and a minor nit pick. I didn't listen deeper to what else could be wrong on the recording,sat back and just enjoyed the music.
With Alison Krauss and Union Station their music is new to me and the handful of times I've played the two Lp sets,
I feel their live Lp is the better of the two, recording wise.
She's so sweet.
Whilst the full set of The Royal Ballet is good, for some reason side 1 of record 1 is better than the others and as you so rightly claim, it is perhaps the most realistic, sublime and convincing recording of the full symphonic orchestra able to be reproduced in one's listening room?
Dear Daniel, all my suggestions are readily available for under $50 (allowing for double LPs). I specifically do not go for the 200gm 45RPM re-issues.
I've never been convinced by the much admired Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall and his Return album, nor the Weavers Reunion at Carnegie Hall (all of which I have).
Whilst not being my taste in musical genre, I find the voices and instruments (though undemanding), to be well recorded. However for me, the true worth of a 'live' recording is hearing a realistic recreation of the 'space' and the audience.
On these albums I hear little of the actual 'space' of Carnegie Hall and the audience is simply an ill defined sometimes distorted screech of nebulous applause.
Compare these to the Simon and Garfunkel Concert in Central Park where you can 'hear' into the night........where the location of a surrounding audience is palpable and individual members of that audience are able to be located.
For that matter, listen to the 'space' and the audience of the Greek Theatre on Neil Diamond's Hot August Night?
Far more difficult instruments to combine and record well than those at the Carnegie Hall concerts.
Even Eric Clapton Unplugged manages a realistic capturing of space and audience.
Hi Halcro, side one on the Royal Ballet set is dead on perfect phase - the other 3 sides are not. A common problem with many major classical recordings in the period from 1958 to 1963 - the first movement of Reiner's Scheherazade (well - not Reiner's but Rimsky-Korsakoff's....) and the "Heldenleben" by Thomas beecham are other good examples.
Agree on most everything you wrote, but the Weavers as well as Belafonte's first Carnegie album do indeed live up to their reputation with correct applied groove-compliant VTA. Then the space opens up and the audience becomes an audience and is no longer a waterfall.
But this is not about sonic differences in pressings and VTAs - sorry for the discourse.
Keep up the good work - I think we are doing fine.
Have a great weekend,
>>> side one on the Royal Ballet set is dead on perfect phase - the other 3 sides are not...<<<
I follow this with great interest :-)
The one (for me) most important short coming of side 1, the stereo double album, (I also have the single 1st disc in mono), the cutter left that 'nasty' 50Hz buzz 'marking/trace' on the groove.
It can be clearly heard subsiding when going into dead wax.
There are a number of older recordings (period from 1958 to 1963) that seem to have that exact problem also, I'm thinking DG.
Maybe we can get 'Atmasphere' to comment on this, as he seems the one contributor most closely knowledgeable of cutting-lathes, and their problems.
Hi, in general the DECCA-engineers had a more lucky hand regarding absolute phase in the recording equipment than their collegues at RCA and EMI.
Thats why on the best DECCA SXLs you will have - once your VTA is 100% (...99%) groove-compliant - a extremely convincing recreation of the actual recording location, its proportions, separation and localizing of individual voices and the sense of real air.
Ma mère L'Oye is good - but on a par with another 30-35 DECCA recordings.
Then the OSR is first rate rarely.
But this DECCA too may serve well.
Halcro your description of what you hear off Belafonte's long time and highly regarded performance is totally mystifying.
"Voices and instruments undemanding though well recorded""
"Audience is simply an ill defined and sometimes a distorted screech of nebulous applause"
This excellent R.C.A. recording has been known as such among music enthuses for "decades"....
Oh, oh, now we're getting down to brass-tacks!
Who'll be the judge on all this lot now?
Got to pull this Belafonte LP from under my locker and see what's what.
I do recall the music is not exactly down everyones alley though, my girl friend (17 year younger to say) is going to throw stuff at me I suspect.
OK, Belafonte at Carnegie Hall...
The applause on my lot supports Halcro's gripe, not very defined at all, the singer is there very nicely but superior 'hall information' .... I think I heard better. ---Now we are of course supposed to listing to the performers and they are very well defined.
Here is a clue: This album was **at least** 6 time re-issued and not getting better by the time I got my orange budget (I guess) label RCA.
Could explain some of it, yes?
Wheather your a fan of Belafonte or not, the fact remains this particular recording is superb with NONE of the discribed issues above....None.
I can only guess why Halcro would say what he did, most likey a poor pressing for sure.
Anyone with a good pressing vintage or re-issue will tell you the same.
If your system can't handle this recording you need to make adjustments and or get a good pressing.
Hi Daniel Axel and Stiltskin,
side one on the Royal Ballet set is dead on perfect phase - the other 3 sides are not. A common problem with many major classical recordings in the period from 1958 to 1963That's incredible information Daniel. How do you know this? It sure explains things. If I reverse the phase on the other sides (via my preamp), will they then sound like side 1?
Interesting comment about the correct VTA for Weavers and Belafonte and your description of the 'waterfall'....which is just what I hear?
Sorry to offend Stiltskin, but that was precisely why I mentioned those much acclaimed albums. They have never sounded to me like 'magic' and in describing what I hear and receiving your responses (especially Daniel's).....I believe we are achieving what Daniel wanted to when he started this discourse?.........to be able to discuss exactly WHAT we are all hearing on the same source material?
Incredibly valuable stuff if you ask me?
back to Belafonte.
The following I can dig up:
1) RCA LOC-6006 1959, 2 LPs, MONO (USA)
2) RCA LSO-6006 1959, 2 LPs, STEREO (USA)
3) RCA LSO-6006 ca. 1968, 2 LPs, Stereo (England)
4) Classic Records, RCA LSO-6006 1995, 2 LPs, STEREO (USA)
5) Classic Records, 1995, 1 LP, 45 RPM, White pressing (USA)
*) RCA 6006-2-R, 1992, CD, (FRG)
6) mine, pressed in Seoul, Korea, RCA orange Label,
So, it might just be a bit difficult in comparing this lot, as I had eluded to earlier.
I am rather MUCH more into recordings then into tonearms.
The records were and always will be my center of apssion as far as audio goes.
Thats why I am so fanatica about groove-cut-angle compliant VTA.
And yse, - I beleive taht this is one of the many points why a common ground based on a few handful of reciords agreeed upon can serve us all so well.
Indeed Stiltskin - teh Belafonte is superb. I have 2 copys 1s/A1 all four sides. One of my favourits live-albums.
Here is one, which fits all (it is Classic, but even those who have absolutely no affinaty to it, will enjoy it, it is nothing depressive), a reissue from Classic Records, current available
LSC 2327, BIZET / CHABRIER
This is one of those rare records which has everything and - very important - NO limit, it will go up with your system, the better it is, the more Details you will "see".When right, then you have a view into that Performance from above,
it is clear from the tonal spectrum, very deep soundstage (no limit), endless Detail, deep Bass (no, that is not the Subway :-) ), in short: excellent for comparison.
Others are good too from the CR Batch, but with this one here you will get an extraordinary focus in 3 Dimensions, the holographic Dynamic is program, best described with "Living Presence".
HP once created the word "Gestalt" for his description about cartridges, here you will "see" and hear what's all about.
Endless pressure between the 2 speakers (not via volume knob from your preamp, it is the power IN the performance) with all kind of Details you can imagine. No matter how often you will listen to it, you will always discover something new. Side 2 is killer, Bass will move your stomach even at moderate level...
One of my 4 tops.
let's maybe get some jazz in the mix also?
All time goodie "Time Out" by Dave Brubeck Quartet.
'6 eye' Columbia CS 8192
Or is this not so easily available any more?
Interesting with this one for me. When the set-up is fine you get a clear pre-echo when in the start-wax -- and the 'walking bass-line' becomes nicely noticeable, i.e. the timing sounds right, otherwise it can get a bit lost.
PS: I tried my Belafonte again, the applause is annoyingly sounding like a 'waterfall', too bad. Yes, there is some 'live' hall information too. But that audience must have been done by the sound-engineer's apprentice .
Hi Axel, do lower the SME V (I know - not that easy...) until your VTA is complaint to the groove-angle - no matter what pressing of the Belafonte set.
Once achieved the soundstage will open up and all a sudden the audience with lots of indiviadual voices in clear separation and many precise echos from the walls and galleries are there.
They are there.
If you do not hear them ....yet .... it is a matter of not matching VTA.
Every sonic statement about a front-end component - cartridge, tonearm or preamp - given WITHOUT precise groove-angle-compliant VTA adjustment is NULL AND VOID.
When Raul mentioned in another thread that he does not care about this, I knew instantly that all his sonic descriptions are a hollow joke and without any content.
If you do not care about compliant VTA - RECORD GROOVE COMPLIANT ! - then all your other efforts to improve your analog system are futile from the start.
Much lesser systems will outperform yours for a fraction of the money.
Fact of life - not my fault.
The sonic result then is always something by chance - not what is precisely engraved.
People may accuse me of being overly insistive on the precision in set-up, but you simply waste your US$, RAND, YEN, EURO and Pesos alike if you do not work precisely and if your VTA is not adjusted to the cutting angle with which the groove of the LP on your platter was cut.
Again - if you do not hear something the other does - it neither means the other is longing for enhancing distortions or has a strange sounding system.
It might very well be that his VTA is just precisely aligned - and yours is not.
Its a tricky game - but this was common knowledge in 1988 among all serious record collectors with audiophile orientation.
Talking about knowledge getting lost....