Musical Bits

Music Reviews and System Tests from the Defiant Audiophile

In a recent blog post, I detailed my nearly year-long experience rebuilding my listening room. Since its resurrection it has provided hours of entertainment and some very satisfying listening proving, to me at least, that even a “budget” dedicated listening environment can render recorded musical performances well enough to recreate the live experience.

Of course, this relies on careful speaker placement, effective room correction and capable electronics, but most of all the so-called “suspension of disbelief” has to come from the source material. A poorly recorded or badly engineered track will sound “bad” on even the most sophisticated audiophile system, whereas some carefully recorded tracks can make even a budget system sound its best. Of course, even the best recordings will suffer from being compressed into MP3’s, played through cheap earbuds, or streamed at insufficient bandwidth, so all the links in the reproduction chain have to be maintained to at least a minimum “audiophile” standard.

But if the reader has already assembled a reasonably competent music system, then all that remains is to feed it with some of the best source material that can extract the maximum musical enjoyment for his efforts. Hence, I have assembled the details on some of the recordings and sources for them that I have found to be the most satisfying in my listening room.

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Squiggles or Pits?

The Defiant Audiophile Wades Into The Fray

Of course, the debate rages on over analog vs. digital, vinyl vs. CD, and whether astronomical bit depths and bandwidths really make any difference at your ears. It has been suggested that I don’t appreciate the superiority of vinyl due to my advanced age and the resultant hearing loss that accompanied my often-noisy automotive shop career environment.

Conversely, I argue that it’s not so much a matter of what I DON’T hear, as it is a matter of what I DO hear. It’s not what’s purportedly missing in digital recordings, but rather, what’s variously present in analog ones.

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