why are some cd's so bright sounding

I just purchased Jewel's and Chris Isaac's newest releases and can't believe how bright they sound compared to their older stuff. What is up with that? I love the songs but can't stand to listen to the harsh sounds on my setup.
Not all companies who process recordings these days are as concerned about "musicality" and studio "rightness" of sound. "Get that product out there" seems to be 95% of the marketplace, but lets not forget, 95% of the marketplace owns cheap hi-fi. Producers often add their own "soundglazing" or overproduce to compensate for todays mass-market playback equipment. Let's not always blame the producers either!.... Most recordings sound thin, bright,hard and equalized, simply because that little extra effort was not spent in the mixdown process. Recording engineers know what sounds right, for the most part, but they are always limited by budgets, time and direction. This could also be the way the artist wanted it, and lastly, let's not forget, digital will NEVER equal good analogue although they are getting closer over the yrs.
The problem is that they are not properly equalized .
The problem is that they are not properly equalized .
I agree, Chris Isaac's latest is an earbleeder - it's too bad, and it's surprising because some of his earlier recordings sounded really good. I would love to hear some of his stuff recorded to audiophile standards - his smoothness and precise guitar playing lends itself to that. You'd think Isaac would be hip to that jive.
My guess it that it was ruined in the mastering (when it's transferred from the mixed studio master to a CD master). They often run through graphic equalizers and compressors and all sorts to get "the sound they want". The sound they want is a good sound on a boom box, car stereo and mini system .. because that's what most people own. I expect in the US the car stereo is the primary listening source.
Unfortunately hifi buffs are a small percentage of total listeners and don't get a say in the sound quality.
Crappy master/poor QC at plant.
I won't buy pop/rock anymore unless it's from Japan.

Cd is just like vinyl used to be. Poor recordings are commonplace but when you get a good production, it can be very very good. I agree with all the posts above. Killerpiglet, you have a point. I have a Japanese pressing of EBTG[great stuff]
Bigwave, why don't you contact the artists, recording engineers, producers and mastering engineers and ask them. They might surprise you and actually tell you how and why the records sounds exactly like they wanted them to sound.
I believe the problem lies in the "Studio Monitors" that a lot of recording studios use to master music. Honky horns, with no top end response, and very little accurate bass. So, they mix & equalize so it sounds good to them in the studio. Play it back on a decent hi-fi and, presto! - ear-bleed stuff with lumpy bass. I recently had a talented session musician friend of mine over to hear the new song he had just recorded in a New York recording studio. Offered a very rare opportunity, I asked him if my system played back the song as he heard it in the studio, true to the artist's goal. He said, "Nope. I can heard all of the production mistakes on your system. We couldn't hear those in the studio. " I offered my home as a master listening place for his next recording, before the final mixdown. Sweet.

Swelled head & all, I remain...
It can happen that if a system has beend designed to accomodate the more common low-fi recordings and one unexpectededly aquires an album of superior sonic qualities, it can appear to be too bright when it is just revealing substandard qualities of the system.

Any serious audiophile who's goal is to attain 'true to the original' as closely as possible in their system, needs to first aquire sonically superior 'reference' recordings to evaluate the components of the system.

The problem is, before you get there, your system is not qualified to recognize such recordings. You have to go on trust.

I found someone trustworthy in that regard who has a list of recordings on his web page intended to be used as references in evaluating your system.

I decided to trust his ears, and the $30k Audio Artistry 'Beethoven' system he designed and listens with. And after recognizing the validity of his audio theories, and experiencing the practical application of his designs, I now vouch for him as an authentic audio guru.

In a give back spirit, he offers DIY speakers affordable to most active audiophiles that will be the last speakers you ever buy.

He assures us that with his DIY designs we will not be missing anything by not having even the 'Beethoven' flagship model of the Audio Artistry active EQ/XO open baffle diple speaker line.

Check it out: www.linkwitzlabs.com
Remember some of the old Columbia Cassette tapes? They kept clogging up so much that even as a kid I knew better than to buy this label. I got the Cd 'Motown's Greatest Hits' on the motown label. Terrible quality recording. I then got a collection of much of the same music on the Rhino label. Excellent quality throughout.

the ablove entry about "Just get it out" is so true. Another awful release is Cream's Greatest Hits.

I am right now listening to the new Led Zepplin DVD piped through my 2-channel system. Strange, I have yet to watch it, but the quality is so good that I have listened to it many, many times. I understand the quality of what they started with was seriously lacking. This Cd (DVD...) is awesome....and I am not all that much of a Zepplin fan. well, at least I wasn't until now.
Homedesign, the correct address for the site is:

It is alarming how many higher end car manufacturers are using Bose as their OEM stereo. So, my theory is, with all these Audi and Mercedes on the road with such crappy stereos, softwares need emphasis in the highs which would compensate for most stereos' crappiness.

I speak in jest, ofcourse. My other theory is most software companies care more about their bottom line than quality of sound.
I briefly logged onto the linkwitzlab site. hey Albert and hime design, you often make lots of have lots of sense. Can you translate this into linkwitz's dollars?
I think all new cars should not have radios at all--they are junk!

Bose--are Bose'
It's not a question of "quality" or how much time is spent in mastering the release. The CD sounds that way because the engineer wanted it that way, and the reason is to sound better on non-HI FI playback equipment. Suggestion...use your tone controls. That's what they are there for.
Thanks for your opinions, I will be trying to look for different labels to see if this helps in the future. I find my self buying music now for how well it sounds, which sucks because there is a lot of fun music out there that is so dissapointing on my system...