How much of your music collection is well recorded?

Extra credit: Introduce us to your favorite 10/10 disc—and be sure to mention its format.

How much of your music collection is well recorded? <P> Extra credit: Introduce us to your favorite 10/10 disc—and be sure to mention its format.
All of it!
5% (5 votes)
Most of it
15% (14 votes)
Some of it
54% (50 votes)
Not very much of it
23% (21 votes)
None of it!
2% (2 votes)
Total votes: 92

A perpetual problem for audiophiles has been finding that disc that not only satisfies the soul, but also placates the analytic brain as well. Of course your collection is filled with great music, but how much of it actually sounds <I>great</I>?

Josh Angle's picture

Chet Baker: Strollin' on CD (24-bit remaster).

Rick Lee's picture

I have tens of thousands of songs from the good old days pre-1971. Only an out-of-whack system makes them sound less than delicious. As played on my system, I have exactly two songs that are distorted and "bad" sounding. A Norma Tanega remix and The Kingsmen doing a distorted version of "Money." The first one sounds like Pro Tools idiots blew the levels into digital overload and The Kingsmen were known to play too damn close to the mikes so the distortion is to be expected on their semi-live version of "Money." Other than those two, I am swimming in more good sounds than I will ever know what to do with...

Dismord.'s picture

Of my LPs, I'd guess approximately 15% are well-recorded. Of my CDs, I once thought just about all of them were badly recorded, mastered or simply suffering from the limitations of the medium. However, since installing a Meridian 808.2 CD player, I've learnt that a lot more of my CD collection is sonically enjoyable, if not perfect. Dipping my toes into SACD has proven that a higher percentage than LP or CD are well-recorded, but surround recordings in several formats I tried have proven to be far less reliable and often downright gimmicky. Having said that, I still find I can still lose myself in a fabulous performance (such as the Kathleen Ferrier/Bruno Walter mono LP of Mahler's Das Lied von Der Erde) and forget all about recording quality.

BeeJay DeeJay's picture

The music takes preference over sound quality, but 95% of my relatively small collection of a little over 2000 CDs is of exceptional quality.'s picture

On the quality of recordings, I'm pretty easy. On the quality of playback equipment, I'm a fanatic. One I can't control, the other I can.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

The truth is I have a lot of old stuff that's not so good. But I'd rather listen to a poor recording of fine music then a fine recording of dreck.

hal's picture

The Awakening by Ahmad Jamal, a remastered Red-Book CD.

Poor Audiophile's picture

I try to always buy discs that have great sound as well as great music; both matter to me! My current favorite disc is Martin Chalifour in Walt Disney Hall. It's by Yarlung Records. Two mics direct to two-track! Wow! I wish Yarlung did bluegrass! Of course Mapleshade has a few of those.

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

I'm a vinyl person because I believe that those tarry-looking black discs are truly the one medium that can fully portray what the artist and engineer intended (assuming, of course, one has high quality components). Having said that, I have found that approximately 50-60% of my 16,562 record library sounds "raise every hair on your body" great. However, the rest of my collection doesn't sound all that bad; it just doesn't sound balls-to-the-walls great. Now for that extra credit. The one disc (yes, it happens to be vinyl) I would never part with with is my Columbia six-eye mono original of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan with "John Birch Society Blues." And yes; I'm the original owner....

Varun Jagger's picture

Infernal Wrath: Inside of Me. Although a metal band, the album contains alternate tracks filled with great world music which is incredibly well-recorded.

neb's picture

CDs are too loud today.

Jared Broddle's picture

Star's In Our Bedroom After the War is pretty well-recorded, as is Belle & Sebastian's Dear Catastrophe Waitress Both are on vinyl.

sdecker's picture

Great by audio-reviewer standards, only some of my many LPs and CDs qualify—although increasingly more in the past couple of years, since my rig has been fully dialed-in and I have played the remaster game and sought out good music that's well-recorded. Extra Credit: 10/10 LP: Classic's re-pressing of Rough Mix, an album I've loved since the day it came out, and consider sonically wonderful. 10/10 CD: Jack Hardy's Omens from 2000, his best album IMO and a sonic gem equal to any audiophile release (all tubed analog direct to two-track). Pity it's not on LP or SACD...

pag's picture

Some 10/10 Mahler picks: The Fifth Symphony by R. Chailly and the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Decca); The Eighth Symphony by G. Bertini and the Cologne RSO (EMI); Das Lied von der Erde by Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco SO (SFSO label).

David C Stephens's picture

I spend a lot of time trying to find realistic recordings, but only a few actually deliver.

John Gossman's picture

But that's only a small part of the big picture. Were it not for high-quality audio, we might not know the difference.

John Blackwater's picture

Perfect recordings stand out at once from the crowd of mediocre offerings and are the ones I come back to repeatedly. The rest just fill my shelves with plastic.

Jim's picture

Too much is inexplicably poor. I keep a set of reference recordings to remind me that it is not my system!

Bryan's picture

Not everything has to be recorded perfectly to get enjoyment from it. Just listen to Bee Thousand from Guided by Voices.

Jason's picture

I now avoid labels that don't state the recording resolution on the back of the SACD. Must be 96kHz minimum to be hi-fi today.

flack's picture

Most of my 1980s-era CD's sound bad due to poor sound engineering, the 1990s bought a big improvement.

Pontus's picture

Koop: Islands on vinyl.

Krautrock2, Beirut, Lebanon's picture

The problem with poor-sounding digital discs or vinyl is not necessarily the fault of the commercially-released recording format (although I am fully aware of the improvement that hi-rez formats bring to the table). I have about 4000 CDs and a few SACDs and throughout the years it became obvious that the most important thing to strive for while producing or recording a work is the first step, meaning capturing the sound itself while recording on location. More than science and acoustics, it is a mix of the above with a good dose of experience and art. How can I explain what I hear on the Reference Recordings label (Prof. Keith O. Johnson)? Normal CDs that sound better way better than many many SACDs!.

Al's picture

Even some of the remastered stuff on CDs sound so-so.

Anarseo's picture

Not much—sad, but true!

rca's picture

About 5% of my CD collection sounds great.

Al Marcy's picture

Listening to music is a joy. I do it a lot. Listening to my system's faults is not high on my list of things I want to do expertly before I die.

john in d.c.'s picture

When I heard the recent Art Pepper "Way It Was!" vinyl release through Luxman equipment and Joseph Audio Pearls at a recent audio show, it made me think how long a way my home system has to go to be top-grade audiophile. When I later listened to the HDCD Howie Day EP "Madrigals" through that same home system -- in wonder -- it made realize just how very few of my couple thousand records and CDs are really recorded well. I've got the equipment, dammit, so I just assume the industry behind the media for the most part couldn't care less about sound.