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pbarach
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Thank you, Art Dudley

I really appreciated the comments that you made concerning the musical vacuum that one finds on so-called "audiophile records." Another audio publication (one that prides itself on not having any measurements in its reviews) published an article a few months ago with a list of sound spactaculars--that wasn't the name of the article, but you get the idea. These include loud drum records, the musically empty soundtrack from The Thin Red Line, some of Villa Lobos' worst music, etc. etc. I cannot understand why anyone would want to use fine equipment to play musical trash. There is so much wonderful music out there, with sound quality ranging from wax cylinder to hi-rez--that's what our audio equipment is intended to let us hear at its best.

Your comments about pomposity in audio-writing were also apt. Some audio writers are absolutely convinced by their own opinions, as if Newton came along and invented some new laws of physics. Many also magnify tweaks of minor benefit as if a new galaxy had been discovered.

jazzfan
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

I (almost) completely agree. AD pretty much hit all the major points regarding what is "wrong" with present day audiophile journalism but he failed to take into account his own over blown ego. The biggest problem is that Dudley is very much cut from the same cloth as the writers he is complaining about. Plus he falls short for not calling a spade a spade, i.e. Stereophile's current music editor, Robert Baird, is, and has been, a complete disaster since the day he took on the position.

Oh, and when I think of Art Dudley I think about Quad and all things Quadophile.

rvance
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:
I (almost) completely agree. AD pretty much hit all the major points regarding what is "wrong" with present day audiophile journalism but he failed to take into account his own over blown ego. The biggest problem is that Dudley is very much cut from the same cloth as the writers he is complaining about. Plus he falls short for not calling a spade a spade, i.e. Stereophile's current music editor, Robert Baird, is, and has been, a complete disaster since the day he took on the position.

Oh, and when I think of Art Dudley I think about Quad and all things Quadophile.

It's difficult for me to criticize a writer's ego when there are so many temper tantrums on this forum. Writers must expose themselves to relay any authenticity. It is a risky business.

Regardless what AD thinks of Baird (I wouldn't claim to know), did you really expect him to publcly trash a collegue? Wouldn't that be an exercise of pure ego?

QUADs are fantastic speakers, but given your comments about AD, I suppose this quote was critical? Does he promote them too much, IYO?

I am always amazed at how Stereophile readers are so invested in believing the magazine should be a perfect mirror of their own beliefs. This is an unreasonable expectation.

Jazzfan, I know your remarks come from a deep respect of jazz and music and I enjoy your informed perspective on the subject.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

I must agree with AD on the issue of direct to disc Lps. Most often the idea is great and the players certainly among the best to play straight through with no mistakes. Yet the material on many of them is so unspectacular from the arranging point of view to make little difference. Not all of the songs on Pressure Cooker, Randy Sharp's Nautilus "The First In Line", or Grusin's "Discovered Again" are worth the D@D effort. There is great playing and the discs are quiet, but there is no dynamic life in the performance, whether by engineering design or otherwise.

I can, on the other hand, fully appreciate K622 in my vinyl copy as it is excellent. I can even go back to my vinyl copy of "Kind of Blue" and fully enjoy it. I have it on CD and I need to buy the SACD version just to have it.

The bottom line is that vinyl can be great, but the people involved need to cut the compression and learn how to properly master for LP. MF has complained about the Nashville pressings more than once. You can't blame that on the format.

dcstep
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

I've got about 20 D2D recordings and most a marginal musically; however, all the Sheffield Harry James series are spectacular examples of the big band genre. Also, the Tower of Power D2D LP is stunning. The TOP is made more significant because their other releases at that time were typically poor quality pressings.

Remember the times, the average LP was made off a stamper half way through it's too-long life, or worse. If you could get great sound AND a great performance, then D2D made it all worth while.

I listen to the early Telarc LPs now and I'm amazed at how bad they sound, reeking of digititus. It oddly amusing to realize that it took a aging format to capture the true uglyness of early digital (forever). Thanks to upsampling and other miracles of processing, my early CDs now actually sound good, but those old Telarc LPs mastered from those early digital recorders are loaded with glare and haze that can't be removed. Oddly, I liked those records when I first bought them because of their dynamic range, good surfaces and decent performances (Cincy Winds, Atlanta Symphony, etc.). Now I can't listen to them for more than a few minutes. Of course, my system has advanced a lot in 30-years and the DCM Time Windows are long retired.

Dave

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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:
...Of course, my system has advanced a lot in 30-years and the DCM Time Windows are long retired.

Dave

Another onetime DCM Time Windows owner. I also had a pair of Time Windows which have long since been traded in for something else. I still remember, and sometimes miss, the way the Time Windows handled classical guitar recordings, there was just this special chemistry between the TM's and classical guitar that made the music really sing.

dcstep
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

Yeah, the DCM TW did some things very well and acoustic guitar was one of them. Imaging was excellent, for the time. There was a anomaly in the midrange that I couldn't get out of my head once I heard it. Still, I've got a friend that bought after hearing mine and he's still using them after two recoverings.

I went from the Time Windows to Celestion SL-600, with superb mids and imaging and finally moved to my more full range Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby Grands just over a year ago. Someone got a hell of a deal on the Celestions at Goodwill. I hope they went to someone that appreciates them.

Dave

jazzfan
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:

Quote:
I (almost) completely agree. AD pretty much hit all the major points regarding what is "wrong" with present day audiophile journalism but he failed to take into account his own over blown ego. The biggest problem is that Dudley is very much cut from the same cloth as the writers he is complaining about. Plus he falls short for not calling a spade a spade, i.e. Stereophile's current music editor, Robert Baird, is, and has been, a complete disaster since the day he took on the position.

Oh, and when I think of Art Dudley I think about Quad and all things Quadophile.

It's difficult for me to criticize a writer's ego when there are so many temper tantrums on this forum. Writers must expose themselves to relay any authenticity. It is a risky business.

Regardless what AD thinks of Baird (I wouldn't claim to know), did you really expect him to publcly trash a collegue? Wouldn't that be an exercise of pure ego?

QUADs are fantastic speakers, but given your comments about AD, I suppose this quote was critical? Does he promote them too much, IYO?

I am always amazed at how Stereophile readers are so invested in believing the magazine should be a perfect mirror of their own beliefs. This is an unreasonable expectation.

Jazzfan, I know your remarks come from a deep respect of jazz and music and I enjoy your informed perspective on the subject.

Rereading my previous post I realize that I was somewhat unclear regarding my reference to AD and Quad. This statement was in response to Dudley's writing

Quote:
On a related note, I'm also apprehensive - grateful, I suppose, but nevertheless uneasy, - whenever readers associate me or my work for this magazine with a single specific product or brand.

in the article under discussion. I suppose Art isn't anywhere near as bad as Sam Telling and Musical Fidelity, or rather, Music Hall Importers but he's not entirely clean, so to speak. And to be fair, he does own up to often appearing to have too much brand loyalty from time to time and says that he prefers not to aid in those companies' sales efforts.

As for my other statements, I stand behind them but I also understand how Dudley likes top throw a monkey wrench or two into the works every now and then, I just wish he's thrown it a little harder, that's all.

That plus I'm still steamed about him bashing Elvis Costello in his previous column and then going for the moral high ground because he listens to and plays bluegrass. Bluegrass is one of those musical genres that has become completely marginalized over the years and I know a thing or two about being a fan of a marginalized music, after all I do love free jazz and that's about as marginal as it gets. Funny thing is I'm just as guilty as Dudley is with regards to trying to take the moral high ground simply because I love free jazz, a marginalized music. Does that I mean that now I have to take it all back?

jazzfan
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:
Yeah, the DCM TW did some things very well and acoustic guitar was one of them. Imaging was excellent, for the time. There was a anomaly in the midrange that I couldn't get out of my head once I heard it. Still, I've got a friend that bought after hearing mine and he's still using them after two recoverings.

I went from the Time Windows to Celestion SL-600, with superb mids and imaging and finally moved to my more full range Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby Grands just over a year ago. Someone got a hell of a deal on the Celestions at Goodwill. I hope they went to someone that appreciates them.

Dave

I went from the Time Windows (sold a coworker) to a pair of Energy Reference Connoisseurs, to a pair of Vandersteen Model 2Cis and finally to a pair of Vandersteen Model 3A Signatures with one Vandersteen Model 2Wq subwoofer. All speakers, which like the DCMs, image very nicely and, unlike the Time Windows, have some really nice low end.

rvance
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:

That plus I'm still steamed about him bashing Elvis Costello in his previous column and then going for the moral high ground because he listens to and plays bluegrass. Bluegrass is one of those musical genres that has become completely marginalized over the years and I know a thing or two about being a fan of a marginalized music, after all I do love free jazz and that's about as marginal as it gets. Funny thing is I'm just as guilty as Dudley is with regards to trying to take the moral high ground simply because I love free jazz, a marginalized music. Does that I mean that now I have to take it all back?

I also was ticked when he dissed Elvis and I said he "got it wrong" on this forum, but I do like his Quad stories. So I have to take what I can.

I have a friend and co-worker who has a true roots/mountain bluegrass band (not country). He was a self-admitted snob for many years, but has mellowed with age. He also likes The Kinks and The Who, but I can't get him interested in any jazz. Stubborn guy. I saw him jam with John Jorgenson- he played banjo on some Stephan Grapelli style swing number- and I was able to chide him for playing jazz.

pbarach
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

I don't have the Telarc LP's any more, but there is nothing wrong with the sound on the CD issue of the Maazel/Cleveland Pictures at an Exhibition, and the performance is exciting and brilliantly played. I haven't heard the SACD reissue yet.

I think Telarc's issue of the Atlanta/Shaw recording of the Firebird was one of their first issues on LP and later on CD. But I never found it to be either sonically great (yes, there is some glare, and the soundstage isn't that well defined) or musically interesting.

BrianP
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

Art's comments about the Sheffield Track Record made me chuckle. I bought that awful piece of dreck some years ago, based on the testimony of certain "audiophile" equipment reviewers, and traded it in to the used record store after one listen. The studio hacks accompanying James Newton Howard were not just ANY studio hacks--they were members of the wimpy-slick pop band Toto. (The kindest thing one can say about Lukather & co. is that they are skilled instrumentalsists, whose talent far exceeds their taste).

I generally distrust any recording labeled "audiophile," though to be fair there are a few (mostly European) classical and jazz labels that release good minimalist recordings of truly interesting music. But so much of what falls under that heading is superbly recorded acoustic wallpaper. Crash-bang symphonic warhorses, lame pop-jazz, mumbling geriatric bluesmen, or narcissistic singer-songwriters--choose your favorite flavor of boredom. Once you get past marveling at the impressive imaging, soundstaging, and resolution of nuances, there's little musical substance.

dcstep
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

The Sheffield Labs Harry James and Tower of Power D2D LP are great in every way. It's ok if you don't like those genres, but, if you do, these are must haves, IMHO.

jazzfan
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:
I generally distrust any recording labeled "audiophile," though to be fair there are a few (mostly European) classical and jazz labels that release good minimalist recordings of truly interesting music. But so much of what falls under that heading is superbly recorded acoustic wallpaper. Crash-bang symphonic warhorses, lame pop-jazz, mumbling geriatric bluesmen, or narcissistic singer-songwriters--choose your favorite flavor of boredom. Once you get past marveling at the impressive imaging, soundstaging, and resolution of nuances, there's little musical substance.

Sounds like a apt description the entire Linn Records catalog. However you left out the real sad part of the deal - as audiophiles we're asked to pay rather handsomely for these little pieces of "superbly recorded acoustic wallpaper", often in the neighborhood of two to three times the price of the usual, less well recorded* non-audiophile CDs.

Typical CD on Amazon price range: $10 (a new release, on sale) to $18 (regular price)

Typical "audiophile" CD price range: $18 to $40

What a bargain!!!

* Well not always less well recorded but rather just not considered to be worthy of being called "audiophile" by the powers that be, either because the recording doesn't show up on some Super List or R2D4 list, is not mentioned as being used by some reviewer for testing equipment or never shows up as demo disc during one of the big audio equipment expos. Or simply because the music on the recording is GOOD. Now there's a concept.

dcstep
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


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Sounds like a apt description the entire Linn Records catalog.

If you like jazz guitar, all the Martin Taylor discs are exceptional, including Spririt of Django, all the solo albums and the jazz trio albums (no longer availalbe). Linn doesn't get a lot right, IMHO, but they did a great job on these CDs.

Dave

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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:
If you like jazz guitar, all the Martin Taylor discs are exceptional, including Spririt of Django, all the solo albums and the jazz trio albums (no longer availalbe). Linn doesn't get a lot right, IMHO, but they did a great job on these CDs.

Dave

Since I'm not familiar with Martin Taylor I did a quick search for him on both All Music Guide and All About Jazz only to find that indeed he is considered to be one of the best acoustic jazz guitarists working today. So I guess his recordings on Linn Records are the exception that proves the rule of how weak most audiophile recordings usually are. The funny thing is just about any halfway decent jazz record label would probably be able to record solo acoustic jazz guitar quite well and then sell the recording at "normal" prices, not at the highly inflated prices that audiophile labels like Linn Records sell their recordings for. I might even have a well recorded Joe Pass record or two in my collection.

struts
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:
Linn doesn't get a lot right, IMHO, but they did a great job on these CDs.


People can think what they like about Linn hardware but the Linn software has always impressed me SQ-wise and their more recent releases (I am thinking of the SCO and Dunedin Consort in particular) have hit the spot artistically too. It may not be the most adventurous choice of program (e.g. Mozart, Handel) however the choices of obscure or new performed versions add an interesting dimension and the performances are absolutely first rate. I have also found non-classical repertoire I have enjoyed (e.g. Barb Jungr, Walking in the Sun). The Studio Masters are indeed fully priced, but the combination of superb performances, great recordings and hi rez makes them well worth the money in my book, I mean, where else are you going to go? What Linn Records really needs IMHO is some competition!

dcstep
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley


Quote:
The funny thing is just about any halfway decent jazz record label would probably be able to record solo acoustic jazz guitar quite well and then sell the recording at "normal" prices, not at the highly inflated prices that audiophile labels like Linn Records sell their recordings for. I might even have a well recorded Joe Pass record or two in my collection.

This is very true. Lot's screw it up, but it's pretty easy to do right. Sean McGowan is a Denver based jazz guitarist in the Martin Taylor/Tuck Andress vien. His self produced CD, "Indigo" is breathtaking. It's on CDBaby and iTunes.

I don't have an original LP of Pass's "Virtuoso" but the recent reissues on vinyl and SACD are incredible compared to my old CDs of the same. Joe wasn't playing on the best of guitars back then, but his playing was always good. My favorite Joe Pass album is "Intercontenental".

Dave

jazzfan
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

Although I mentioned Joe Pass it was more because he mainly played acoustic guitar since I'm much more of the electric jazz guitar. On electric I like everyone from Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell to John McLaughlin and Pat Metheny to Eugene Chadbourne and Derek Bailey. Plus I have excellent sounding, non-audiophile produced recordings by each of them. I'll try and post a couple of recommendations over the next few days but over in the "Jazz" section of the forum. (I won't want to have Art Dudley's name mixed up with electric jazz.)

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

I did own that Joe Pass (Pablo) recording and gave it to someone who was a huge fan. I thought the sound of that disc was pretty good, very life-like, for want of a better word. I have a Mike Longo Pablo disc that is good as well.

jazzfan
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

As promised I just posted this message over in the Jazz section:

Great Sounding Jazz Guitar (non-audiophile)

linden518
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

This is why I appreciate AD's column. I was right there w/ jazzfan & rvance in the other thread about AD being off on Costello, but I still maintain that AD's priorities in listening to music is way more fundamentally sound than most audiophile critics. Even his earliest Listening columns were diatribes vs the sound effect-sy garbage that are audiophile CDs & recordings. I still don't understand how Antal Dorati is a bigger name amongst audiophiles than Furtwantgler or even Carlos Kleiber. Bizarre. I think I even read HP of TAS intimate recently that he can't or won't listen to Kleiber's Beethoven 7th because of sound quality. What's wrong with these people!

I do think AD is the best prose stylist in audio criticism, bar none. It makes me cringe reading 90% of the writing out there in the audio reviewing world. Why do so many of them sound like rednecks from West Virginia trying on British phraseology?

KBK
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Re: Thank you, Art Dudley

Yes. I have a sealed copy of Amanda McBroom's 'Hollywood Town'.

You folks should thank me for helping keep the world a safer place.

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