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Difference Between "Audiophile" Recordings and Many Others

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Hey Guys - I've been watching the series Soundbreaking again and I was really struck by a quote and piece from episode 3 that I watched last night. It immediately made me realize a major difference between many audiophile recordings and others from more traditional artists (for lack of a better description). I believe I've known this forever, but for some reason watching this show made it really hit home. Don't get me wrong, I love my audiophile recordings, but I love others even more. I also don't judge and don't care one bit if people only love audiophile recordings. Live and let listen.

 

Here is the quote from Nile Rogers when he was working with Madonna.

 

Give me as much emotion as you can because I don’t have any button that I can push that can put that in.”

 

 Here is a clip from the episode that completely nails it as well. Being a huge fan of Christina makes the clip even better of course. 

 

P.S. If you haven't seen this, it's required viewing for all music lovers and anyone remotely interested in how music is made.

 

 


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Wonderful clip Chris...thanks for sharing!

 


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again, audiophile recording buyers are on a journey that's enjoyable to them...

 

I think some of my favorite blues albums were done with wire recording machines...

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14 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

again, audiophile recording buyers are on a journey that's enjoyable to them...

 

I think some of my favorite blues albums were done with wire recording machines...

Absolutely. Live and let listen. 


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47 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I bet it isn't truly pawnshop either.

The jazz club where it was recorded had previously been a pawnshop.

 

I don't know why someone would say it isn't jazz.

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Great advice. I see the trend towards perfection in art to be its death knell. As a photographer, I rely on those 'happy accidents' - which are often luck, but luck born of hard work and diligence towards one craft. My style is to often (like really often) not even look through the camera when taking the picture, and rely on my deep intuition and knowledge of framing and timing. Here's what I wrote on Instagram awhile back:

 

"I don’t look through the viewfinder, but instead pre-focus, hold the camera away from me and just wait for the right moment. I’ll keep adjusting the focus as the subject moves, either by eye or lens marking, and re-frame accordingly.

 

I always tell people that the camera will take the picture whether you’re looking through the viewfinder or not. Just point and press the button. It can be a difficult leap of faith to make, but quite liberating once done."

 

And it's that leap of faith Christina and her producer are talking about, creating perfection out of imperfection. 


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There some great audiophile recordings out there with great performances. I am listening to one now, Reference Recordings From the Age of Swing. Great musicians, great arrangements, great playing and great sound. But I get your point. There are tons of great sounding recordings available, the one up next here, The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco. Recorded in 1965, that group is right in the room with you. It is like being transported there in a time machine. Everyone I play it for has the same reaction. They used an out of tune probably beaten up piano at the club, but other than that, the recording is superb. The drums are as real as they get.

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On 1/15/2020 at 2:54 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

 Here is a clip from the episode that completely nails it as well. Being a huge fan of Christina makes the clip even better of course. 

 

P.S. If you haven't seen this, it's required viewing for all music lovers and anyone remotely interested in how music is made.

 

 

 

Ummm, "blocked in your country on copyright grounds" - anywhere else?


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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7 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Ummm, "blocked in your country on copyright grounds" - anywhere else?

 

UK. I don't like tatoos anyway...


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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Neat, I didn't know about this series but have just placed a hold on the DVD at my local library so I'll be checking it out next week...

 

I HATE auto-tuned vocals (just sayin'). Not much of a Christina Aguilera fan either. I guess I prefer this...

 

 


"Let the great constellation of flickering ashes be heard..."   ~ Noel Scott Engel

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16 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Ummm, "blocked in your country on copyright grounds" - anywhere else?

Same here - in the Netherlands. I had to use a VPN (server location - USA) to watch the video.

On 1/14/2020 at 10:08 PM, mansr said:

The jazz club where it was recorded had previously been a pawnshop.

True.

On 1/14/2020 at 10:09 PM, Ralf11 said:

too whitebread

IMO also true.

 

 

For me the 'quintessential' audiophile label has always been Chesky Records. IMO it's the most boring label of all. I've always used to say that (music) balls are not allowed in the Chesky studios - the emotional aspects of the performances are castrated by the Chesky brothers in such a way that I suspect there is a special place in the hall of their studio with a note: 'Please leave your balls here, they are not allowed inside'.. ;)

Fortunately there are quite many very good, audiophile quality classical music recordings - from e.g. Denon, Telarc, Ref.Recordings, Linn and some other labels (not necessarily 'audiophile' ones) like e.g. Channel Classics.

 


The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

                                                                          ―  William Shakespeare.

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, sphinxsix said:

For me the 'quintessential' audiophile label has always been Chesky Records. IMO it's the most boring label of all.

Some of the music they've recorded is good, but all their recordings have a distinctive Chesky sound that I can't quite describe.

 

27 minutes ago, sphinxsix said:

Fortunately there are quite many very good, audiophile quality classical music recordings - from e.g. Denon, Telarc, Ref.Recordings, Linn and some other labels (not necessarily 'audiophile' ones) like e.g. Channel Classics.

Chandos is another good one for classical music.

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I honestly can't think of any Audiophile recordings that I own other than something along the lines of Pink Floyd DSOM assuming that would fall into this category? If were talking about the Chesky or Channel Classics type recordings then I definitely don't own any of those.

 

What I do do though is find the best recording version of the Bands/Albums I do like. In fact, I go out of my way to aquire those versions whenever possible but not sure if this counts as Audiophile recordings or not. Given my taste in music falls mostly in the Hair Metal and Trance genres I would think it doesn't qualify 😀

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I binned three audiophile recordings/remasters today.  All new in the wrapper, two still are after tasting the first.  

 

Let me take this chance to congratulate our international corporate masters on their success casting a plague upon all current/future copies of the immense catalogs they own and everything else they soon will.  DR reductions here, innocuous mastering decisions there, reusing old copy about master tapes when the flawed previous cd mastering was source, a drab of this followed by a drib of that.  

 

ScalyUnawareBlackbuck-size_restricted.gi

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Is there a formal definition for 'Audiophile' recordings? I'm guessing it would be any recording that is released on one of the specialty labels which offer hi-res downloads and/or LPs, CDs, tapes with superior mastering of one kind or another. And any SACD or DVD-A or Blu-Ray pressing of an album on a regular mainstream label. Or how would you define it?

 

I was listening yesterday to the Steely Dan Citizen CD box set of all seven studio albums, and I'm just blown away by how good this version sounds. I honestly haven't owned or listened to any of the other CD versions of this artist's albums (used to own them all on original-issue LP back in the day) so I can't compare the sound to other versions of the same albums. But this is just a regular CD release on a mainstream label, with no premium price tag or claim to audiophile status, and yet it sounds vastly superior to many SACD discs or hi-res downloads I've purchased at much higher prices.

 

So I'm guessing it's mainly in the mastering, but also in the quality of the original recording and mix (both relating to the production values that shaped the sessions). I'm pretty much of a neophyte audiophile, so I don't have a good understanding of the technical end of things. What I do know is that there are a relatively small handful of recordings in my collection of about 1400 albums that dramatically deliver a truly breathtaking listening experience. Hearing this was a revelation for me when I upgraded to a new stereo system two years ago. The way I'd describe the sound on these few exceptional recordings includes words like open, spacious, bright, deep, clear, and present. Very precisely defined soundstage. None of the instruments or frequency ranges are buried in the mix, it's all clearly identifiable. The music just seems to 'breathe' in a way that makes all those recordings of 'average' quality that comprise the majority of my music collection seem lifeless (and I won't even talk about all the albums I own whose listening experience is more or less spoiled by poor mastering, recording and production). Listening to a really great recording like Gaucho, Tumbleweed Connection or certain classical SACDs that I own, compared to 90% of the other discs in my library is like comparing an aged single malt Scotch to a mainstream blended Scotch whisky off the supermarket shelf.

 

So what labels, albums and artists should I be checking out, to hear more of the kind of music that can transport me into the clouds? I hesitate to ask because I can't afford to pay the usual prices that CDs (especially those that are OOP) on the MFSL label go for, or SACD discs. I'd love to know of some really exceptional titles that might be available on my Qobuz Studio streaming plan. If there's an online compendium then point me to it and I'll check it out.

 

Edit: One thing I've noticed is that the quality of a recording doesn't seem to be dependent on the state of the technology used during the recording. Last week I was listening to a Prestige label box of Eric Dolphy, and I was amazed at how good the sound is on some of those sessions. The recording they made of his quintet live at the Five Spot in 1961 is particularly clear and forward sounding in a very natural way. Sounds like I'm sitting at a table right there in the club, and that was taped to two-channel analog tape live in a nightclub. Sounds better than most of the albums I own that were recorded in the studio during the last few decades on much more advanced equipment, 24/192 digital and massive mixing boards.

 

 


"Let the great constellation of flickering ashes be heard..."   ~ Noel Scott Engel

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48 minutes ago, Tinnitus Andronicus said:

Is there a formal definition for 'Audiophile' recordings? I'm guessing it would be any recording that is released on one of the specialty labels which offer hi-res downloads and/or LPs, CDs, tapes with superior mastering of one kind or another. And any SACD or DVD-A or Blu-Ray pressing of an album on a regular mainstream label. Or how would you define it?

 

Ones that make your system sound good, 😜.

 

Quote

 

The way I'd describe the sound on these few exceptional recordings includes words like open, spacious, bright, deep, clear, and present. Very precisely defined soundstage. None of the instruments or frequency ranges are buried in the mix, it's all clearly identifiable. The music just seems to 'breathe' ...

 

That's the nature of virtually all recordings.

 

Quote

 

Edit: One thing I've noticed is that the quality of a recording doesn't seem to be dependent on the state of the technology used during the recording. Last week I was listening to a Prestige label box of Eric Dolphy, and I was amazed at how good the sound is on some of those sessions. The recording they made of his quintet live at the Five Spot in 1961 is particularly clear and forward sounding in a very natural way. Sounds like I'm sitting at a table right there in the club, and that was taped to two-channel analog tape live in a nightclub. Sounds better than most of the albums I own that were recorded in the studio during the last few decades on much more advanced equipment, 24/192 digital and massive mixing boards.

 

 

 

Audiophilia lives in a back to front world - one uses a rig to decide whether a recording is good enough; rather than determining whether the rig is good enough to bring out what's been captured in the recording. Whether a particular recording "sounds good!" is dependent upon whether the distortion characteristics of the equipment used to make the recording in the first place are a good match for the distortion characteristics of the playback chain - if they are, then you can call it "good synergy!"; and, you have your very own "audiophile recording", 😁.

 

Obviously, I'm being quite ironic here - but the thrust of what I'm saying still stands. As regards recordings that have a better chance of holding up, many of the older ones that used extremely straightforward recording methods have a good chance of impressing ... simplicity wins, often, in audio.

 

The long term goal can be to evolve a setup so that more and more of the recordings you already have become 'audiophile' to listen to, in the way you described - but this process currently only suits a small, a very small percentage of the audio enthusiast crowd, 🙂.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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5 hours ago, fas42 said:

The long term goal can be to evolve a setup so that more and more of the recordings you already have become 'audiophile' to listen to, in the way you described - but this process currently only suits a small, a very small percentage of the audio enthusiast crowd, 🙂.

 

Indeed - what is the point of this hobby if not about music, mojo, goosebumps, milking the emotion ... maybe transcending "self"?

 

Most of my music is more "audiophile" than the following instance - but if I were to be asked for an epitomy of rock 'n' roll ...

 


Disclaimer! I have not in the past, I do not now, and I am not likely ever to stream music from the internet.

System: here

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there is a formal definition for 'Audiophile' recordings - they cost more and are marketed as 'Audiophile' - we always hope they sound better (see cjf's post above) but sometimes they just sound different

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