I Youtube and don't care how well they're recorded. Only care how well they're played. Lots of well recorded music at HiFi shows either borring or played poor.
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I found Felix Laband (the South Africa artist) music at the Montreal show a few years ago. Totally electronic and a bit off from the general publics taste for pop but it's a refreshing change for me.
The next Canada show I discovered "I'm New Here," a super album by Gil Scott Heron. Sadly Mr. Heron died May 2011.
Marakanetz is somewhat correct, some rooms play the same old tired audiophile hits, hoping the problems that come with show demos are minimized.
However, the few gems I've found are priceless so I keep looking.
I agree, many do play boring music, which is easy on system reproducton, but as you say, you do pick up the odd gem, at least I do.
I do think recording quality matters to. Compressed, over loud recordings, still sound just that, through a good system.
I find Amazon a good source. Some of the CDs or so cheap, it's worth taking a risk. I listened to a recording I bought recently, I doubt many have heard of, Agnes Obell "Phillharmonics", just a lovely recording. I found my all time favourite CD there too Mark Murphy "Love is what stays". If you don't think recording quality counts, listen to that, just stunning. I don't think I have played it to anyone who has'nt bought it, including 3 dealers.
A great free resource some people overlook or not even know have cd's are libraries. You can grab a stack and bring them home. obviously selection can be hit or miss but i have found alot of obscure names i had never heard of . New to my ears music is always a joyous discovery . How many hundreds of times can one hear the same recordings .
Viridian I can't agree with you. I think they are a good place to hear artist/CDs, you have'nt heard before. They are also a great place to pick up free demo CDs, there is usually at least one, in most shows. Also you find the manufacturers demo CDs, that are'nt sold in the marketplace. I'm thinking here of the Dali 2nd demo CD , I bought recently. Not as good as the first, but still pretty good.
Not exactly at a hifi show; many years ago I went to Lyric and heard, for the first time (not the last) Elly Ameling, An Die Musik, am forever grateful. I ended up purchasing their demo Classe Dr-5 and Dr-8s which I am still using (with5A speakers for the past year)- and a second DR-8, each in mono.