What percentage of music in your collection is both great music and sounds great?

Stereophile Staff's picture
And now the important question: What percentage of music in your collection is both great music and sounds great?
What percentage of music in your collection is both great music <I>and</I> sounds great?
100%
5% (6 votes)
90%
2% (2 votes)
80%
10% (11 votes)
70%
8% (9 votes)
60%
3% (4 votes)
50%
11% (13 votes)
40%
11% (13 votes)
30%
16% (18 votes)
20%
17% (20 votes)
10%
9% (10 votes)
Less than 10%
8% (9 votes)
Total votes: 115
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Comments
Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn View, CA's picture

What percentage of music in your collection is both great music and sounds great? What? Is there a difference? I don't think so! And I'm just a peon in the audiophile and music world.

Joe Hartmann's picture

As I have improved my electronics and particularly my turntable, my software got better. I was amazed 27 years ago when my Linn removed all that and corrected the tone. Still, some of my collection is less than great music.

Colonel Tom Parker's picture

Same as last week in sound quality: 80%, but as per my taste in music, I would like to think that 100% of my collection is great music, otherwise I wouldn't have it in my collection.

Mike Agee's picture

If one definition of great is that it pulls me in no matter what the mood, then maybe 10% of my collection is great and 25% of that sounds great, too. Other pieces can be revisited when the mood is right and be great for that brief time, the "art" of music appreciation via audio, and the only creativity I bring to the table besides component matching that can be witnessed by others, is selecting the music that fits the moment. Reading that mood is the key to communicating the joy of all this to others.

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

Sounds great and is great music: nothing recorded in the last 15 years. Why? Has digital ruined the art of recording by making it too easy?

MIA's picture

Over 70% of the music I listen to is great music. It is a shame that only 20% of it I would consider audiophile quality.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

You ask much, grasshopper.

Matt W.'s picture

I shudder to think why you used a Led Zeppelin album cover next to this poll question. Led Zeppelin albums are some of the muddiest, worst-mixed, and worst-sounding classic rock discs out there.

Andrew Maher's picture

Would you believe, that two of my best examples of performances that sound great and are great come from the 78 era? EMI's Elgar series conducted by the old boy himself is remarkable for its age, and Bruno Walter's 1938 Mahler 9 likewise. Yes, there are technical limitations, but the performances are terrific and Fred Gaisberg could engineer a could recording with the equipments he had. There is plenty of more modern stuff as well that sounds great and is great.

Aden's picture

About 20% - not much is it?

Glenn Bennett's picture

Some of the indy labels do a very nice job.

Randy's picture

I have some old Bix Beiderbecke remasters from the '20s that sound great, so there are great sounding recordings from all eras.

Martin Penicka's picture

Out of mabe 700 LPs and CDs, I can think of only a handful of recording that are great music and sound really good, such as Jazz at the Pawn Shop, Eric Bibb, all of the ECM recordings I own. Being a professional cellist and sound enginerr,I find audibly compressed commercial recortdings to be least appealing, although this can also vary. Having said all that, I'm not at all interestied in listening to bad, well-recorded but bad music.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

Great sounding, great music? I would be happy with 10 % of my music library. Most of my great music sounds far from great.

Daniel's picture

Music is like a short blanket. You either cover your chest or your feet. Difficult to get both at the same time, although there are some great things in both aspects.

Macksman's picture

To test for my answer to this question I put on LiLiPUT's 1982 Rough Trade Records album and, sure enough, it took me right back to that too short period in 1981 when this then-young Texas guy was hanging around in West London at Rough Trade, the store and the label headquarters. By golly, if that isn't great music and great sound, then I don't guess I want any. I hadn't thought of those Spandex girls on roller skates in years. You may put that same record on and hear "low" production values and a flat soundstage and I can't argue with what you hear. I might consider your criteria for music and sound to be unfortunately limited to only what you hear. I think I hear to feel.

Mike Leggio's picture

Modern alternative bands such as Clap your Hands say Yeah are almost recorded so poorly they are unlistenable except on an iPod or junk boom box. Sad, because some of it, such as the Hold Steady is pretty good!

Jack B.'s picture

It seems rare when purchased music is great and sounds great. I think somewhat of the same thing is happening with cd's as happened with LPs in the late '70s and early '80s. That is, now that a new format is coming on strong, compressed digital, CD manufactures sometimes release crap quality. Is the CD going to become obsolete to digital compressed format because it is inferior or because manufactures are making them that way? The answer is obvious!

Murph's picture

It's been getting worse. I still like the music I buy but mixers and producers are flatlining everything and it's just not right!

JR's picture

Like movie soundtracks, sometimes the recording is anoying and sometimes magical, but most of the time it is average.

Monty's picture

I estimated about 20%. That's being generous.

John 1st's picture

Difficult to say. When I like a track, it sounds great. It seems like I'm unlucky, many of the things I love are poorly recorded from classical to hardcore punk. But when you listen to a piano or a voice and then you hear it recorded on tape even via an ultimate high end gear (an equipment that I generally dislike for obvious reason-it exagerates the faults of standard recordings), it has nothing to do with the live sound, eh ?

greedy audio pimp's picture

Lots of my 3000 CDs sound good, but great only about 20%, if that. The best music is simply recorded with little compression,manipulation etc, if it is recorded well it doesn't need all that,unless you're just producing a product to sell as opposed to first and foremost a work of art.The best example of this is Nirvana's in utero,masterfully recorded by fellow musician Steve Albini and then butchered beyond belief by greedy,moronic record execs and their handmaidens (the "producers")—in its original form, it is probably the best rock album ever; in its officially released form, it is unlistenable.

Mike Kowalczyk's picture

I wish it was 100%. Some of my favorite songs sound like they were recorded with microphones from the '30s.

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

I think it depends on how many recordings you might have. If you have a lot of records/CDs, I think a low percentage will be the answer.

Anonymous's picture

At Best

Tom Warren's picture

It’s the music that’s most important to me, so I’m somewhat forgiving. Maybe 20% of the discs I listen to are great in both regards. As I’ve upgraded my system that percentage has gone up; great gear can bring out the best in a good recording. Many LPs put out by independent labels when recorded analog on decent equipment, sound amazing. Even though considered by many to be low-fi. Akron, Ohio’s Black Keys’ “High Fidelity” recordings truly are. From the majors, Neil Young has always been an advocate for excellence in audio. His vinyl releases by Classic Records and Reprise are about as good as you’re going to find in the genre. His 2005 200-gram release Prairie Wind is one of my current favorites. Greatest Hits 200 gram w/7” is stunning; I plan on picking up Living With War.

sams's picture

'60s and '70s Decca classical recordings are probably the best combination of great music and great sound. Try the Solti Wagner Ring cycle to hear what I mean.

Tim's picture

The question reminds me how many cds and lps I own that never get listened to.

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