***GROUP PARTICIPATION***SYSTEM CRITIC & COMPARE***


I’ve had this idea kicking around a while but never had time & couldn’t think of the right song to start it with...
The premise is this:Every week(7 full days)I will post a link to a song on Utube.I will provide my listening thoughts & hopefully Agoner’s will do the same based on their systems.I’m really hoping this takes off as I would love to see how my system & room compares..
The first song comes from what is widely hailed as one of the most beautiful recordings ever produced.Weather or not you agree is a different subject.I assume 90% of everyone reading this has heard of the record so I won’t go into much detail..What I find most interesting is that this tonally beautiful recording was Digiatlly based,
"according to recording engineer Peter J. Moore it was actually recorded on a Sony Betamax SL-2000 video cassette deck connected to a Sony PCM F-1 digital/analog convertor, using one single Calrec Ambisonic Microphone"...AMAZING,a mid 1980’s DAC & Freaking Beta Max hahahahahahah...
Sweet Jane is a languid remake of the Lou Reed hit that highlights Margo Timmins voice with 3 instrument support.I listened to the song about a dozen times..
When the song opens 2 things I notice right away is echo from the drum stick on the rim,way up iPAST where I have treated & killed all the echo,& the very slight distortion dialed into the guitar..
The band is close,I can see them from just about mic distance.Guitar to the left and sounds slightly lower than Margo.Drums offset back right,bass slightly ahead & farther right but close to the kit...Margo appears about 10’ back.
It’s hard to talk about the guitar as there isn’t much to say.It never calls attention to itself.The midrange purity of tone of finger strummed metal strings yields loads of string detail as the fingers slide across.
The bass is also low key.Good depth & tone but I swear sometimes it has a very very slight Sennheiser veil.I have a feeling the bass amp was partially obscured at times because as the vocals shift with Timmins movement bass texture becomes cleaner & clearer.
And last but not least Margo Timmins vocals.Right away I hear bad sibilance!Oh god I hope this is in the recording.It must be because "T’s"are perfect & I never heard it before..It is in the recording isn’t it(finger crossed)...The most striking thing to me is Margot’s middle & lower registers,OMG the midrange papability here is off the charts...
So that’s it boys & girls.Hope you play along..https://youtu.be/Fa9nN3G2CSg
freediver
Don’t panic,the sibilance is real:)It’s not harsh on my system at all,just naturally occurring.I perceive the drums just left of center though.But my room is different of course.It really is a beautiful recording because it’s so dreamy and atmospheric.This is a fun thread!
I think this is a good idea. Not sure how it will fly here at Audiogon but I'll bite.

First, I like the Cowboy Junkies. Lay It Down is my favorite album of theirs and I really like it. Some of their other stuff leaves me cold.

I have to say, Margo Timmins' voice frustrates me at times. I like her voice but her range seems fairly narrow to me and she doesn't have the richness and depth compared to someone like Natalie Merchant who has a somewhat similar voice and style. But, on the songs where her voice works, well, its golden, perfect even.

As for Sweet Jane, I like the Cowboy Junkies version better than Lou's. I have heard that Lou said theirs was his favorite version. I like the song but it seems maybe too understated? Of course understated is the CJ's schtick and I appreciate that.

I can't comment much about how it sounds on my system. I'm not a dedicated 'streamer' so I'm basically sending it from my laptop to Apple TV to a low end DAC via optical. So both the YouTube video you linked to and the Amazon Prime Music version sound a little flat to me. The YouTube one sounds a little better than Amazon actually. I do hear the sibilance you are talking about. More in the 's's and maybe a little distracting now that I'm focusing on it?

Sound stage is like you describe from left to right with Margo well right of center but on my system it is not forward and it doesn't have much depth. I'm guessing that has more to do with my system's low end digital handling.

I've always liked this song so there's no doubt about that but I couldn't pass judgement on the recording without getting a good CD version.


^^^ thanks for participating..
 I've been researching the recording and have found absolutely 0 references to sibilance .It is very pronounced on my system..I wonder if this is an artifact of Utube because I listened to the song on Pandora+ and there is no sibilance at all,just the beautiful tone raved about in every review..

The CD for this album has very high dynamic range across all songs which, it seems to me, would be very important for an album as generally quiet and understated as this. As such it should sound excellent. I’m going to get a copy of the CD.

Edit: Found a copy for $4.00. I love CDs!
I have the cd.Through my system I can hear sibilance that naturally occurs when pronouncing k,s,t,etc. but not excessive at all.I don't stream so can't compare.
Imo, lousy recording, and sibilance is an artifact of recording. Harmonica on next track is intolerable. :(
@douglas_schroeder : what source are you referring to?
I just got the CD in the mail. SQ is way better than my streaming set up/ YouTube/ Amazon Music.

Production quality seems generally good to me. Maybe not great though. The sibilance on the Sweet Jane track seems to be more of an issue there than on other tracks. I think it is largely just Timmins' voice, particularly how she is enunciating the word "sweet". It seems intentional almost. Could it be a microphone issue as well? I guess. But the truth is, I've listened to this song many times and never noticed or been put off by the sibilance, so it really isn't an issue for me at all.

The whole album is low key and less loud than a lot of productions. It requires a good bit of volume on my system.

I agree that the high pitched harmonica on Postcard Blues is intolerable but when he is playing in a lower register it is fine. I get the impression that this was intentional too. If so, bad choice. I don't like the song at all even without the shrieking harmonica. Will likely leave it off when I rip it.