The sound of my new electrical service: Day 2
I started day 2 in a new thread to keep the discussion current. Please look for the Day 1 thread if you missed the backgroung of what has been going on.
Day 2: Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson: "Storytellers", Fairfield Four: "Standing in the Safety Zone", Red Mitchell and Roger Kellaway: "Life's a Take"
First up was Fairfield 4. Acapella Gospel music. These singers are usually transported into my room with real dynamics and 3D placement of each one. What now? Well, they still are! I'm not sure this one has ever sounded better. I'm senseing an even more transparent and "empty air" sound of the recording space. I mentioned before about singers and players "stepping" on each other. Not so here, they are all individual and easier to sort out than ever. Lots of acoustic air and echo is revealed. Never been sure if this recording got that from a studio, hall, or a special room. Or was it electronically created? Still not sure, but I don't care, it comes off great and is not obviously canned. Tape hiss seems more prominent, but with it comes more clarity. I sat there wishing someone else could hear this. Such a different reaction compared to Day 1. That murky and harsh sound of Clapton's vocals has not shown up here.
On to Willie and Johnny. Great disc, just the two playing guitar and singing some of their best. A Live recording and one of my references when tuning the system. It does not lean to the warmside, but ohhh, the ruthless clarity! Every recording I have by either one of these guys is veiled by comparison. I'm hearing more of what Cash is playing here. More of the softer plucks he fingers between those loud ringing out high notes. Quiet stage or audience sounds are more audible making me suspect I now have a lower noise floor. Those feet to floor sounds are still more audible as well. MY neighbor, Tony the musician/songwriter. He played on that "Alley oop oop, oop oop" song/album. Played on the road with Brenda Lee. Even the Beatles did one of his songs. He's not overly impressed with Willy's technical playing compared to his writing. I told him I don't care about that, I still love to hear him play. Love his style. Listen here to him do "Nitelife" Just awesome, warts and all. Full of passion and fire but way too short. I want him to go on forever. Wonder what Tony would think of this, sometimes musicians just don't get it. Today this sounds at least as good as ever. Maybe even more visceral and moving. Both vocalists come off pretty well. A little harsher maybe than before, but not off timbre or dark.
Red Mitchell. You may not know him. One of the greatest jazz bassists that unfortunately died too soon. I'd like to see more of his work available. Here it is just him and piano in a live set. This is different, for the first time now I find myself tapping my feet. He's on a roll and I'm digging it. Red has a habit of mouthing the tune as he plays. Doesn't bother me too much as it is minimal. I'm finding that mouthing to be both more audible and more realistic. Clearer and just right in tone though not necessarily louder. A good sign, but it is the overall musical flow here that shows me there might be light at the and of the tunnel. Bass seems a bit tighter but still timbre correct. This Bass disc is a workout for the 15 watt amps driving Totem Forests. Nevertheless, I (for the first time) turn the volume up and things just get better. That huge Bass in my room exchanging riffs back and forth with the piano. A bit like Garcia and Weir would do with guitars. High energy and high music making! Too loud and things fall apart though, have to set it just right. Nothing new there. Other than a not quite right piano tone, this disc sounds almost as good as ever.
So, where does this leave me? I'm not sold yet, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Or is it the train? Still a harshness that sets in on mids and above but I'm getting more fine detail and the lows, I believe have improved. The "all important" midrange?? This needs work. Remember though, only the second day now.