Passion, or ..... Precision?

Hi Guys, 

In the last 2 years I have finally built what I consider to be a fairly decent System. Namely, DCS Bartok, BHK 300 mono's and KEF Ref 5 Speakers. With the introduction of Qobuz, which is all I listen to now, I find myself searching out artists or tracks that sound amazing on my rig. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and find something I really like that also sounds amazing. Streaming is brilliant for this. However, when I revert back to the music that evokes the passion in me I find that it tends to be of poorer recording quality. I'm 58 now and grew up with the 70's/80's Heavy Rock scene with bands like Sabbath, Ozzy, Rainbow, Lizzy and my beloved Status Quo etc. Their early material just doesn't 'cut it' on a high end system (IMO) and I find it more fatiguing to listen to. Modern technology and attention to detail in the recording studio has really dated some of my favourite bands to the point I find it harder to listen to them.

Does anybody else share this experience?

cheers, Mark


This is the reason I'm a fan of vacuum tubed components. Takes the edge off of harsh recordings. I've spent a lot of effort tweaking and matching components and am very happy with how the compressed harsh recordings are sounding nowadays. Not perfect, but but very listenable.

I use Decca cartridges and everything sounds great! One trick with older rock on vinyl is just turn it up until you don't care.


Reading your post makes me grateful to not have to make this choice (most of the time, at least).  

However, the fact that you value passion more highly enables you to still enjoy listening. That is something worthy of gratitude as well, no?







bands like Sabbath, Ozzy, Rainbow, Lizzy and my beloved Status Quo etc. Their early material just doesn’t ’cut it’ on a high end system (IMObands like Sabbath, Ozzy, Rainbow, Lizzy and my beloved Status Quo etc. Their early material just doesn’t ’cut it’ on a high end system (IMO

And the problem isn’t in the recording, the problem is what most members here consider "high end". Did you ever notice when you go to an audio show with $$$$ gear that they play the lamest acoustic and vocal recordings? There is an excellent reason for that, you will NEVER be able to get HIGH dynamics pushed from an amp through speaker cables to a PAIR of speakers (well, JBL might be an exception😀)

The problem is:

A) Head room- you need a precise match of am amp and a speaker to get phenomenal headroom with passive speakers. That is why you gotta spend the big bucks on a pair of towers and then point them at your head. Replace the passive speakers with even mid fi active speakers and BOOM, instant headroom. Now raise the budget and go high end active and we are talking Ferrari level head room.

B) Metal and hard rock is not designed for pipsqueak two channel systems, it is designed for stacks of Marshall amps. Take Jimi Hendrix guitar, the lighter fluid he lights them with and then take the lighter fluid, flic your Bic, and burn down your two channel system to the ground and bury it next to Jimi’s guitar.
Next, get yourself 11 active speakers, a decent surround processor from marantz, yamaha, trinnov, etc. Put that puppy in upmix mode a’la atmos or auro-3d and tell your neighbors to get in their basements and hide while you have an actual concert type event in your MLP, yowza.

C) Finally you need a way to address the crappy recording equipment from the eighties with the technology available today. I have a Sony Signature DAC which remasters anything its fed into DSD, problem solved.

I take pity on the lost souls dumping high dollars into two channel "high end" systems that will never, ever, be able to reproduce HIGH dynamic rock and roll at gut punching levels with no distortion.

Rant finished, hope that helps.

I dunno... although I can tell the difference between recordings quality, I have speakers that sound great with just about anything: Epi 100, and Klipsch Heresy IV. Just have to have the attitude: well, it’s Hank Williams, of course the recording isn’t audiophile-pristine... but the music’s great. Likewise, Black Sabbath and whatnot.  I wouldn’t even want speakers that need pristine recordings to enjoy the music; in fact, I had some and tried to like ’em, but they just weren’t worth the restrictions on music and on listening position, so out the door they went... I like non-picky practical all-arounders.

Also note that some music of yore was actually mastered to sound good in a car, on a typical cheap car radio/stereo playing FM over the air... or even AM. Plus with the ambient noise of a car, I do agree that crankin it up in the car is cool and why I insist on having a cd player in the car... I hear a lot of oldies but goodies that way, and can test out cd "new finds" from thriftstore without much commitment of time nor money.

Bass and treble controls are a wonderful thing, and it’s one reason why I like gear with actual knobs to make it easy just to reach out and adjust at whim. It’s one fault of my Marantz Ruby amp: no knobs.