Driven to distraction by the petty nonsense on some other threads I've decided to ask a pertinent question. Do Audiogon members check out new music? I guess everybody's interested in new technology and improved products/tweaks whatever... But how much time do you spend experimenting in what you listen to? Do you check out latest releases or are you happy exploring music you've found and loved? I see quite "conservative" tastes on music-which is fine I like a lot of classic rock,jazz,folk,soul from all era's but I do search out newer genres and releases. I'm also prepared to buy stuff from any era that appears quality or at least interesting. Not meaning to generalise but is the average audiophile less open-minded about new music or challenging their tastes? .I wonder on average how many releases from this year you've all bought. I'd be interested to hear...discuss Ben
Ben, I think one of major concerns with any newly released material...other than personal taste, is the sonic quality of the recording. Last years multi-grammy winning Santana CD is a good case..of a very bad sounding "new release". I am afraid that the inroads of computer mucic...MP3, home theater..etc..is likely to make the sonic aim of most major lables lower...rather than higher.
I have purchased 8-10 new releases this year.... I think that the above post is partially correct with sound quality being an issue...... but, Mark Knaffler and Sting's latest sound mighty fine. Some people that spend the cash on the studio time are actually obtaining better results than some of the older recordings (With the exception of the audiophile recording studios). Being an audiophile doesn't have to mean that you are stuck to the "reference" recordings that some of the magazines and audiogoners refer to - I personally have few of those... I am a music lover and an audiophile, and my $30K system plays punk and well as pop, beastie boys better than classical, alternative and acid jazz, jazz, the dead, phish, They Might be Giants.... You name it, I listen to it (except for rap). I agree that too many audiophiles have the tendancy to get wrapped up in the way their system sounds rather than the musical enjoyment. (maybe they do enjoy the music, but only dwell on the buzz words) I refuse to change my musical tastes to be involved in high end audio. The audiophile in me has driven my system to the maximum level I can responsibly afford, the music lover in me has compelled me to visit many musical styles, regardless if the recording is the best.
whatjd, i, too, din't buy the santana cd cuz i heard how compressed it was. but, when i found it on vinyl, i grabbed it - not half-bad, & my dbx-3bx helps even more! i listen to the radio a *lot*, & find gnu-stuff to buy this way. also, i like reading the music articles in rags like s'phile, to find things i mite like. & borders books has some nice cd-stations that allow ya to browse w/yer ears if ya got the time. i'm sure other stores are set-up like this... doug
Hi Ben: I pick randomly at thrift stores and fleamarkets. I purchase a lot of disks (since they are inexpensive) that I do not have a clue about, and just wing it on instinct. If there is something new that looks interesting (usually noted on the threads at this site) I ask my wife to put it on her list with BMG and Amazon. If I can get out I average 3 or 4 new CD's a week. I have picked up Russian opera singers, Tango CD's, you name it and have only crapped out a handful of times. I used to select my vinyl in this same manner and ended up with some very rare and good short run albums. If I like the music I just live with the recording quality (whatever it is). I also use a pair of HT Truthlink IC's to help tone down the crummy HF's of some of the disks, can't do much about the LF's , etc., but the HF's are tamable.
I definitely spend more time in music stores than I do thinking about the equipment. I don't think I've come upon a genre of music that hasn't held some gem for me. This is a blessing as there is almost always something new that I like and have never heard of before. It's a curse because I have to listen to a lot of barely worthwhile music to find the gems. Fortunately, all of my friends are into music as much as I am (although none of them are into equipment at all), so they help trim the fat. I don't know how you define conservative tastes, but ECM is a goldmine of new, excellently recorded music. Matador is pretty good too.
I think its a balance issue. It is easy to go overboard and focus almost entirely on the equipment. Personally, I can't really tell from the threads on this site if most "audiophiles" spend more time tweaking/upgrading equipment rather than listening to music. After all, this site is really geared toward electronics. And what is the goal of all this tweaking? To come closer to the music. Some people have the money to spend, others don't. What you might be seeing is a reflection of the fact that this site is mainly about equipment, and therefore most of the threads concern tweaking/upgrading, and people who have the money to invest. I spend a great deal of time reading about and auditioning equipment. But I also spend a great deal of time listening to music. For me, both are important. However, I don't generally talk about music on this site...it doesn't mean I've missed the point, it just means I don't participate in discussions about music.
i search nearly every day for "new music," rock, folk, blues, classical or any other genre that sounds interesting. i typically buy or otherwise obtain (my older son and his wife are both in the radio/entertainment industry & pass on lots of demos-lucky me!) 5-10 cd's or lp's/ week. i find lot's of interesting stuff reviewed on npr (you can get lists @ npr.org or from my state: cpr.org). i also rely on fellow 'philes, dealers and manufacturers' reps for recommendations. with some notable exceptions (grammy winners are generally not voted on by audiophiles-indeed, most recording artist i know couldn't care less about playback equipment), most recent cd's are head and shoulders better sounding than stuff put out in 1983-95. i'm rambling here, i know, so let me summarize: I am a long-time 'phile with a verrry highend system who searches for new recordings as a means to enjoy that in which i've invested my $$ and time. i know i'm not alone in this endeavor.
If it's got an ECM number I buy it. It's like putting oneself on a subsription - and almost like stamp collecting haha. In so doing I've been turned onto lots of interesting stuff. And believe it or not 'classical' music is still being written by 21st century composers. But I can dig the idea of hearing familiar 'old' pieces in new ways. Good art is timeless. When I crave pop I only buy it used because the shine wears off pretty quickly.
When I put together my first decent system that's when I started to be much more particular about what I listened to. Before that I had my preferences to classical but would give anything a listen. Now over the last ten years I find my tastes growing . I'm much more particular about what I play. I have to watch that I don't get into the habit of just playing ''off the favorites shelf'' . Sometime I pick out a piece at random and if I dont care for it any more and don't think I'll hardly ever play it, it will go to the trade in shelf. I dont like keeping dics that will never get played. Ive recently been buying a lot of latin jazz but probably because its a trend and lots of good pieces are available. I used to browse the record stores and buy what might be good based on intuition from the cd cover. However,I collected lots of duds. Now my favorite store has really good sampling stations with nakamichi cd players headphone amps and acceptable phones. I listen to everything before I buy now. I rarley have a dud and found myself having to set a limit of how many I buy. But I also listen to lots of stuff I have no intentions of buying but just exploring. If I' patient enough I always make good finds. Recomendations are good but tastes are very particular. We have a very good radio station here in Alberta that brodcasts province wide and the have a web site with posted play lists. So if you take note of what time you heard somthing you can look it up. In fact they brodcast on the net . www.ckua.ca I think. In a direct answer to your question ben campbell I limit myself to two a week. I am more carfull about what I buy and my life is busy with young kids so my listening time is limited. FYI I made a find this week Patricia Ocallghan. On Marquis distribued by EMI called Real Emotional Girl. One of the best voices I've heard in a long time. Very modern, classicaly trained and a little bit of cabaret in her style. Im totaly in love. cheers steve
I've used Napster a lot lately, and it is a terrific way to listen to new music. In the last 3 years, I've spent roughly $4000 on music software, and feel I am justified in being tired of "buying" music. I like Rock, Classical, and Jazz in that order. As far as "new" music goes, I'm still trying to catch up on all the music that has gone before. I don't have a 50,000 unit collection like many of you do, and haven't yet aged enough to accumulate such.
I'm constantly on the lookout for new artists and finding a new artist (rather than just new releases) is what I find most exciting about this hobby. This year I've "discovered" Diana Krall, Shirley Horn, Mai're Brennan, and Dave Hole. Dave Hole is a high NRG blues/rock slide guitar player from Australia. He plays the most wicked slide guitar I've ever heard-- with his left hand and steel slide over the top of the guitar-- great blues/rock. He made his way to Chicago and records on the Alligator label-- not for everyone, but if you like slide guitar, this is some of the best. He has 5 CDs out, and the recordings are good. I seldom buy "audiophile approved" music. Good "new releases": Emmylou Harris "Cimmaron", Cowboy Junkies "Waltz Across America" (available only at www.cowboyjunkies.com). Craig
Ok there is a bit of diversity amongst us however I do see indications of what I feared.....Most new releases are well-recorded my top 5 albums of this year all have good productions...it's not true to say artist/record companies don't care about how the records sound...... Also to bracket Santana,Sting,Knopfler as new ..well I have records by all these guys and I like them but there is so much new (and old) stuff to be found....I am no musical snob..people like what they like but I'm sure many of you could find "new" music in a style that you like from the mainstream beauty of Eva Cassidy to the more eclectic beauty of Jeff Buckley's Grace....the punk/metal hybrid of At The Drive In(from Texas) Relationships Of Command...to the pop/ambient/blues/hip-hop/ style of Moby's Play.... And I'm not even into the obscure stuff....and also answer me this-why does the above post try to start the usual petty arguments that are starting to make this forum unbearable?? Ben
Ben, I too am finding this site almost unbearable due to inane posts. I am almost apologetic to state that my musical tastes are what you would probably call boring. I try and try to explore different genres, but I can't get past my distractions in music that is disorderly, (i.e. I love Miles' "Kind of Blue" but can't stand his stuff after he got into the nose candy.) I fully appreciate and admire those of you who can really enjoy music that, for me, is really "out there." Best to you. Charlie
I am constantly checking out new releases/new music/new composers. As an audiophile, there's nothing better than finding a disk that's been recorded well and that gives me the sensations of being in the presence of live music. As a working composer, there's nothing that I enjoy more than finding a new, exciting, living composer. I've recently fallen completely in love with the music of Thomas Ades. It's remarkable how well recorded the four available disks of his music are. One thing that I really enjoy about looking for new music is the availability of clips on Amazon. If I hear of a new composer that interests me, I can go to Amazon and immediately hear one-minute clips of various movements of his/her pieces. There's certainly nothing wrong with listening to the same old albums over and over and over and over, but I personally just love to hear new stuff.
Oh yeah, I've probably bought 60-70 new cds this year. Now, not all of those were "new releases". I find that one of the best ways to find music that is new to me is to look at cd outlet stores (Border's has quite a few of them around here) or on www.berkshirerecoutlet.com. The latter really only applies to folks who listen to classical or jazz, though. At these places it's possible to purchase a new disk for between two and six dollars. Not much risk there.
Jeez--sorry about leaving three posts in a row, but I wanted to post an answer to your second question: Why does the above post try to start the usual petty arguments that are starting to make this forum unbearable?? I have been on both the internet and on local bbs systems since the eighties (before the public "internet" proper ever existed). Discussions in fora such as these ALWAYS degenerate into petty arguments and insults. After several insulting posts, the posters generally start to apologize and try to find some common ground (this is the modern equivalent of "guilt"). Then the posts completely leave the realm of the original query, and they become private discussions between two or three users. For whatever reason, the combatant users tend to, for the most part, be the same three or four people. I think that these fora act as an outlet for their own, personal angers. Beyond the first five or ten follow-ups, these discussions are generally worthless. This is not intended to be an insult to anyone, including Audiogon, for whom I have the greatest respect.
Ben- If you like obscure stuff, you've got to check out Wire magazine. It's from the UK so some of the stuff they review is hard to find, but you will read about stuff that you are not going to see in the store (unless it's a good one like Amoeba in San Francisco) It's my main source for new music, and rarely am I disappointed with a purchase reccomended by them. They don't grade based on recording quality, but what a shame to miss out on something good because the recording isn't perfect. Some of the best stuff in my opinion is terribly recorded. If you don't mind list some of the more obscure stuff you mentioned. -Ryan
mr. campbell, i think you misperceive some on the posts on this thread, including my 1st one. (my second post was meant in good humor; i apologize to all it may have offended.) there are, to me, at least two definitions of "new music" in your original post. the first is music "new" to you in a genre with which you have familiarity. for example, i like music that may be variously labeled "folk/blues." sure, i check out new recordings by artists i know but spend a whole lot more time looking for new artists or new (to me) subsets of the genre (e.g., "roots" or "texas blues") . i also spend time looking for and listening to music completely new to me. some recent examples of this are "11,000 virgins, music of hidegard von bigen" or "voices of light, by richard einhorn"; both of these discs feature anonymous4 singing very different kinds of music. both types of "new music" expand my horizons and broaden my musical tastes. that, in my very personal view, is as important, indeed much more so, than the search for better interconnects. i should think it boring indeed to keep playing almost exclusively the same old stuff on every iteration of one's audio system. if that's your habit, then it's the equipment that counts, not the music. and that, mr. campbell, is what i see as "missing the point" of this hobby.
Cornfedboy we are in agreement. As the more obscure releases I would highly recommend Kingsbury Manx by Kingsbury Manx (City Slang)-not uncommercial also great indie pop/rock by The Delgado's titled The Great Eastern(Chemical Underground Records)-acoustic based electronica by Larmousse-Larmousse (City Slang)-the first two albums by God Speed You Black Emperor(Kranky)-post-rock instrumental stuff. More mainstream but too downbeat for some Coldplay-Parachutes,Badly Drawn Boy-a British Beck meets Todd Rungdren and Richard Ashcroft's solo album,the last two XTC's albums-older stuff the brilliant acoustic folk of Nick Drake as heard on the VW ad in the States.All of Steely Dan's releases,Todd Rundgren,etc etc etc. Regards, Ben
ben campbell.Thanks for starting this interesting thread.I think Kurtisjeffers describes very well the senario/direction of the dicussions. It's like cell phones.The etiquette of use takes time to develop. The proper use of when and where to use cell phones will catch on when the novelty wears off. Internet dicussion hopefully will follow. ooops am I off topic, sorry........cheers steve k
I was referring to "new to me" music above and most of what I pick up used is not popular music, other than the Cowboy Junkies and Henri Mancini (he's popular isn't he?). I would not be as successful (I think) picking up popular music used as I have a 15 year void in my musical knowledge. I recently hooked up our mini system to the computer and intend on downloading sampling software (don't think it's Napster), the one offered at BMG, etc., for around $35.00. This will allow us to select new popular music without much of a gamble. To my surprise my wife just ordered 7 CD's from BMG at 70% off. I will see what they are when they arrive. Right now I am searching for some old stuff from the 70's like the Bruce Roberts album with the car song and also CD's if they exist of local talent from the 70's and 80's like Billy Vera and the Beaters and Jack Mack and the Heart Attacks. If Rhino Records is still in existence, I will also check with them for other stuff.
Ben, another thought on music, much like other things in life, not everyone is looking for the same thing. Some seek peace and relaxation in music....while others are looking for something more exciting or an exploration/expansion of their knowledge/experience in music. There are likely people that enjoy the gear as much or more than the music their components play...and that is good...perhaps very good. These people help keep the supply of high-end used components flowing here on AudiogoN.
Whatjd..no I agree I think that's great whatever keeps people happy-if you've got a $50k system and a dozen CD's that's your choice. I've got everything form Queen,Springsteen,Macy Gray,Zep,Floyd,Bruckner,George Michael,Miles Davies,Can to Magnetic Fields...I'm on a few mailing lists of obscure artists and I hate that musical snobbery "oh it's not hip.."-I am just interested to see how people who are audio enthuasists develop their musical tastes and their buying habits.... Regards, Ben
I don't have the time to check out new music- but wish I did. Since my system has improved, I am appreciating a lot of stuff all over again- particularily my early '60's Blue Note Jazz collection- new appreciation for Wayne Shorter's 'Speak no Evil'; Horace Silver (rocks on piano); etc., etc. Anyways, I also appreciate one of the above responses that mentions recording quality. I must admit, upon hearing better-recorded discs, I get spoiled, and want everything to be that good (sigh...). Re: the original question though, yah, its tough to just pay $$ for 'trying' music I've never heard before- what if you don't like it? An FM tuner is a cool idea to aid the 'discovery' process as well (will hopefully save up for Magnum Dynalab 102 one day...). Further on this point- does anyone know the best searchable web-site where you can hear a couple minutes of each track (without having to download anything)??
The best way to find new music is on large music store sites like Amazon.com Go to a CD you like and find what other people who bought that CD bought, and see lists of other suggested groups you would like. Every CD has real audio samples and each time you go to new CD new lists appear. You will discover many new groups you like and have never heard of. This can be dangerous to your pocketbook though.
Somehow music, like cinema, has limited new offerings worthy of delving into. Exceptions, fortunately, exist. I purchase excessive amounts of cds and vinyl, often used, and usually too often. Of new release, I enjoy PJ Harvey´s album, which I found on vinyl. Jazz releases and re-releases are plentiful. Occassionally, some deserving attention. Always good classical. Arthur Rubenstein has not only a huge box set of much of his works, they are selling individually. Done up beautifully. Locally, we have a radio station with a large library of new releases. Beyond all of this (I wish I could recall some of the new releases I purchased), I still find myself tossing Dylan, Peterson, Gershwin, Hendrix, and the other die-hards on for a spin. Lots of new music to appreciate, but the familiar are, well, still the familiar.
Siddh--yes but it's always difficult with new releases you like-- how they will stand the test of time?...sometimes they do sometimes they don't e.g if I had to pick my top 20 of all time there would probably be 3 Dylan albums in there however I couldn't honestly put anything in from this year. not yey at least..as popular music grows old it is difficult to be original we are so aware of what has went before.... Ben