Buddy, listen to what you like. Sometimes the fidelity is important but most of the time, listen to what you enjoy. That's what I do.
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Many so called audiophile recordings are musically a pain in the a..hem... ears. Well recorded, but no musical content of lasting value IMO. All more noteable, the exceptions to this rule, of course ! An audiophile, who is a music lover, will by necessity have to listen to music, which is badly recorded from time to time. ( Recent example: Abado's rendering of the Beethoven Symphonies with the BPO on DGG ) This is the main reason, by the way, why I personally find the idea, that a stereo rig should be built up in a way, that it must aproximate a facsimile of the recording venue as closely as possible, a bit questionable. If for example my listening were to be confined to the music on HP's list of best sounding recordings on TAS, I'd probably soon get bored. So I've built up my stereo in a way, to give me a bit of leeway in voicing it one way or another, with the intent, to bring out most of the musical content of the recording I'm listening to, no matter how well or badly it was recorded. Its a tricky undertaking and I feel the prerequisite for it is a good aural memory of all sorts of live music.
Genesis168 above said it well. I go for the music every time. For example, I have a 3 CD set of newly remastered Jerry Lee Lewis CDs that really boogie even though the recordings aren't that great. This CD set has rhythm and is musical. I also agree with Detlof, "audiophile" recordings can be a pain in the, well "ears". To each his own, but for me if it's not musical, it's not worth it. Test tones do have some value though. Cheers. Craig
genesis has the right slant on priorities. unless you have become, or want to become and expert on the interpertation of an artist or a piece of music don't feel the need the do other than to listen to music that sounds good to you. don't let the music critics or the audio police intimidate you. if you feel you friends might judge you, you can always have on hand a selection that will meet their approval and you can hide the rest til they leave!
I have noticed that as my audio system has improved, certain music that used to sound great on my "lesser system" seems to be lacking as upgrades are made. As an audiophile (what ever that means!) I feel that sonic quality AND music should be mutually inclusive (why bother to listen to music that sounds not much different on a $199.99 "Aardvark" mini-system than on a $50,000.00 "Primo-Gonzo" rig? On the other hand, do you REALLY want to listen exclusively to nothing but Audiophile test recordings on your big rig?) An advantage of CD's is that you may be able to find a better quality of pressing than on vinyl ( has ANYONE EVER found a decent pressing of Jethro Tull's "Too old to Rock & Roll..." on vinyl? If you like Tull find a copy of "Warchild" on MFSL Gold Utradisc. Happy Tunes!
I have heard some very well recorded "audiophile" recordings of what is just useless noise. Some of it was funny for awhile because the music was just so awful and my wife or friends would make fun of me for buying it.
Music comes first. Listen to what you like. If your favorite music does not sound good on your system, then maybe you have gone "too far".
Occaisionally, you will find some new music you like because you have read about it in audiophile publications.
Some of the most knowledgable people that I have met who really know alot about music itself and who are avid music collectors, have very average sound systems. Some musicians I have met have average sound systems. What does that tell you?
Equipment serves the music!!!
A good system can serve better if properly used.
Choose good performance first then try to show it with better equipments, but it can't make performance than it really is.
The opposite won't work.
Why don't you buy a Steinway piano and play for yourself, insteady you spend big $$ on Hi-Fi.
The answer is very clear!
The reason is that not everybody can give good performance on a real piano(100% Hi-Fi).
Having a good Hi-Fi without good music is like to have a Steinway and you can't play.
If you can play like Horowitz, Steinway will give you a custom made grand and beg you to play.
Almost everybody chooses music first!
Don't spend big bucks to check your hearing but enjoy the music.
Good liestening to everybody!
Cool answers! I always choose the music first and even my analogue setup allowes me to "adjust" my tonearm to a different styles of music. Currently it's "positioned" to a Rock/Fusion with bright upper mids. Guess what? I lift it up a little higher from newtral position. On the other hand I had a little frustration that my rock collection became to sound dim with pretty musical units. I talked over specialists and they advised me to play with VTA which gives you wider possibilities to adjust your needs. Certainly, I do sacrifice for music and still continue to have fun.
marakanetz: give us a break. i think you're makin' this stuff up out of whole cloth and a smattering of audio myths derived from god knows what sources. provide us the details, if you can. in particular, explain this bit: ** I talked over specialists and they advised me to play with VTA which gives you wider possibilities to adjust your needs** does this mean you adjust the vta for each record? each genre? each mood? how do you keep track? is your arm metered? please give us a listing of your $100k system components
No Kelly, to me Marakanetz makes very good sense. As you know, one can voice ones system very differently, by playing around with the VTA. The higher the angle, the more snappier the stuff gets, until the point is reached, where it gets bleached and screechy. I am lucky enough, to be able to adjust VTA from my listening position, in very tiny increments, so I can adjust it all by ear....and no Kelly, not with every LP, as the famed Enid Lumley used to do with her Mapleknoll.