Down with Dynagroove! Letters
I have read the Dynagroove ads; I have heard the commercials; I have read the press releases (and the counter-press releases); I have tuned in FM stereo broadcasts of these discs; I have watched their effect on a pair of matched and calibrated 4½" VU meters.
I have listened carefully and with an open mind. And I have formed my conclusion.
So long as this process remains in use by RCA Victor, I will never, repeat, never buy another of their records.
I am sorry for my local record store. His business will suffer, if only a little. I shall apologize to him for this loss of business—and explain why. Maybe he will tell RCA. Maybe other record stores will, too, if other Stereophile readers do the same.
—Charles B. Cochrane New York, NY
Congratulations on the editorial stand taken re Dynagroove, and for your point-by-point rebuttal of what seems to have been a juiced-up publicity release from the Victor "engineers." I have listened to these awful discs on one of the finest playback systems I have ever heard (Weathers PS-11, Marantz amp and preamp, E-V Georgians) in what must be one of the best rooms ever used for listening, and can only come to the same conclusions as you, only more so.
—John Hood New York, NY
I have listened closely to a number of Dynagroove discs on a good system (AR-3 speakers, Dyna amplifier and preamp, AR turntable), and cannot understand what you are complaining about. True, some of the early ones were shrill, but some later ones sound excellent. Your anti-Dynagroove article several issues back indicated that they all sounded terrible. You need your ears (or your head) examined.
—Donald Moreley Chicago, IL
It is not necessary for a Dynagroove disc to sound bad. It is just not possible for it to sound natural, for reasons which should have become clear long ago if you had read our past articles and observations on the subject.
—J. Gordon Holt
Have you ever considered the possibility that some of us like our records "souped up"? If it makes an orchestra sound better, why not "spotlight" the instruments and use corrective equalization? And as for compression of dynamic range, I personally think there's already too damn much dynamic range on most records. At least, with a Dynagroove system, I can listen all the way through an opera without having it blast me out of my chair one minute and fade out the next.
It is all very well to argue for high fidelity, but there are times when it is better for it not to be too high.
—Robert Bowden Berkeley, CA
Okay, so it depends on what you like. If you like the sound of live music, then you should want as much fidelity on your records as you can get. If you just like pleasant, musical-type noises, then you're certainly entitled to your preference, but don't try to kid yourself that you like high fidelity.
We happen to prefer live-music sound, and find it a challenge to try and reproduce this as accurately as possible. This just cannot be done if the record hasn't the original dynamic range on it. It is, however, quite possible (and practical) to limit dynamic range to any desired degree in playback, and this is where we feel it should be done. A simple and effective volume compressor can be made up for under $5 per channel; people who want less expression in their music should use one, instead of demanding that all records be emasculated for their benefit.
—J. Gordon Holt