How much of your music collection is well recorded?

How much of your music collection is well recorded?
All of it!
4% (8 votes)
Most of it
21% (38 votes)
Some of it
54% (100 votes)
Not very much of it
20% (37 votes)
None of it!
1% (1 vote)
Total votes: 184

A perpetual problem for audiophiles is finding that disc that not only satisfies the soul, but placates the brain as well. While pondering last week's question about the value of his music collection, reader Randy Meenach wondered how much of it actually sounds great.

St's picture

The point is, do you want to listen to good music badly recorded, or not very interesting music well recorded ? I really think that you will have the same conclusion as I have: they are EQUAL. But then again, it depends on your mood.

gregg littlefair's picture

it's too bad,the better the system u have.the more it reveals how bad alot of recordings are out ther

Steve in E.L.'s picture

Of course thi all depends one one's definition of "great".

Randy Meenach's picture

Hey, thanks for using my letter last week for this weeks question. What a nice surprise!!

David L.  Wyatt's picture

I took my albums to college . . . amazing how few roommates respond to proper record-care training.

Wayne Murphy's picture

If you stick to telarc and london you might be happy but so many others just flip crap onto discs.'s picture

Some of it = ~ 50%

Dan Landen's picture

Some of the recordings are re-releases of older recordings so they don't have all the dynamic range of newer stuff. Some are HDCD encoded disks and those sound heavenly even though I don't have an HDCD d/a convertor, yet. My Audio Alchemy DDE1.1 & DTI sound marginaly good for their age. Lp's are another story- the newer ones sound great but they lack some of the detail cd's have. Just my opinion, of course if I had a Stereophile rated 'table' then that statement would be turned around the other way!

Erik Leideman's picture

This is a difficult question. Where is the limit for a "good recording"? Also, even if the recording is good, the transfer I own might be inferior. I have around 3000 78s, 1600 LPs, 1400 CDs. Astonishingly, many of the 78s are well-recorded; the problem is only how to bring out the sound from the records. Whereas I get great sound from them with correct equipment, most of the transfers to LPs and CDs sound terrible from using wrong styli, bad equalization, and too much filtering, even if transfers have improved in recent years. The same with LPs reissued on CD: Some transfers sound great, others are poor. How come, for instance, EMI's Japanese CD transfers by Okazaki are so much better than the European and American transfers?

Bill Miller's picture

Most of the time my software fails me, not my hardware.

David McIlroy's picture

It clearly depends also on the resolution and how well your system reveals recording/mastering deficiencies (or is that implied in the question?)

Michael Johnston's picture

Sonic quality used to be a problem for me because I listened mainly to new and offbeat music on CD. Now it's turned around because I'm into reissue vinyl, and most of it's well-recorded. Within the last three days I got (among a few other things) Louis Armstrong's "Under the Stars," Art Blakey's "Moanin' " on Verve (lovely record; highly recommended if you don't have it already), and a Living Stereo reissue titled "Finlandia" (music of Sibelius and Grieg). All three are just excellent sonically. But I also got "Propellerhead" (electronica) on two black discs, and it sounds very good too. I will say that I've replaced a fair number of CDs with the vinyl versions, and the vinyl makes things sound better generally. (Bettie Serveert's "Palomine" or the Breeders' "Pod," to name two examples.) Sometimes it's clear that the recording was made with vinyl in mind and the CD transfer was inferior---a poor CD will come alive in the vinyl version. Now if somebody could just tell me what turntable to buy as a semi-terminal (i.e., long-term) purchase in the $800-$2000 range---this problem is really making my head hurt. Nobody demos TTs, and it's virtually impossible to do an A-B because of setup worries. E-mail me if you have strong opinions---I'd appreciate the help.

Martin's picture

Mostly Classic Rock, but it not being recorded well doesn't stop me from enjoying it.

David G.  Bishop's picture

On a $300 boombox it all sounds the same! Be happy.'s picture

My most frequent listening source is vinyl. Even though I own a nice SFD-2-Mk.II, I always prefer to listen to the lacquer. And I've to tell you that I have only a few bad sound-quality records. Of course, not all are audiophile grade, but it's always a pleasure to close my eyes and enjoy. It's true that I have only about 400 LPs, and I select them a little before buying them, especially when several pressings are available.

Kyle Given's picture

Its interesting but probably expected- the more care an artist takes with their music tends to be an indicator of the quality minimum they will accept in the finished product. (ie. a Spice Girls recording probably doesn't sound as good as say a Lyle Lovett recording).

Anonymous's picture

It is rare when a truly great piece of music also sounds great. Dave Brandeberry

David S.  Dodd's picture

I figure less than 10% of my collection has reasonable production values, and less than 5% has whatever "it" is that transports me into the music itself. Not that it isn't fun looking for new items!

David's picture

The stuff that doesn't sound great has been thrown out or replaced with cleaner sounding versions.

lacey listener's picture

50% tops but if it moves you. SO WHAT.

Bob Sykes, SF's picture

Few great productions sound bad, but probably only 10% sound amazing. While the producer himself used to pretty much account for everything, with today's technologies---and this will become more true for 24/96, etc.---the mix, and particularly the mastering, engineers account for more and more of a recording's quality and sound character. AES highlighted a lot of new stuff that ought to sound fantastic at "high project studio" price points. Going forward, there should be little excuse for any artist to release a poor-sounding record. And to skimp on world-class mastering is just stupid. Overall, I'm impressed with the sound on more and more recordings I buy these days.

frank iacone's picture

about 1/3 sounds good. most commercial releases suck

Henry Sreinberg's picture

Very few good recordings companies are available ecept for XRCD by JVC

Mike Hultquist, Chicago's picture

Very little of it (about 700 CDs) is totally unacceptable in terms of recording quality. Also, I find that the best-recorded audiophile stuff is pretty lousy, musically speaking.

Christopher's picture

To:, cc: Subject: Where are my Stereophile CDs??? Dear Sir/Madam Please refer to my faxes, 2 weeks ago, with documents supporting my claim that the CDs were paid for on 16 Jun 98. Kindly let me know if the CDs are being delivered as it has been 4 MONTHS now !!!?? I understand from Mr Nick King that the delay in response could be due to the relocation exercise that's going on. By the way, will I be compensated for this extremely UNBELIEVABLE hassle???!!! Thanks. Christopher LIM BLK 109 TOA PAYOH LORONG 1 #06-306 SINGAPORE 310109 REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE To: Christopher LIM/MOM/SINGOV@SINGOV cc: Subject: Stereophile CDs Dear Christopher, Sorry you are having problems. I do know that the backissue site is currently being bombarded, so a delay in response is inevitable. Stereophile also moved office this week and all their emails and computers have been out of action. That could explain the delay in response. Sorry I can not be more helpful, Best regards, Nick

jim krause's picture

all of my equip is krell,magnepan,levinson,and accuphase with kimberkable cabling and connects. with all of that (sob) :( money spent it better sound damn good!

G.  Curtis's picture

Since being reintroduced to high-end audio a couple of years ago, my appreciation of music (mostly jazz) has been rekindled, along with the appetite for high-quality recordings of good and great performances. It is, most of the time, difficult. But I think the industry is starting to come around once again to view the recording and engineering of music as an art, rather than just production for the (mediocre) masses. I hope more of the mastering facilities are demanding the same.

Abe's picture

I have some CD's where the recording is not that great, and I can hear it!

R.  Pedersen's picture

It is an unfortunate reality that a great deal of quality music out there sounds like rubbish when critically evaluated on a sonic basis. A large portion of my library consists of works I consider essential to a particular musical genre, but falls short of the mark in terms of dynamite sound. I can listen to it from afar and enjoy. However, when I sit in the sweet spot, it doesn't add that special dimension of being there that the audiophile hobby is all about. Fortunately, I do have many discs that highlight my system and the underlying performance that really involves me in the experience. I thank "Stereophile" and other audiophiles for guiding me to these sonic gems. At the end of the day there is a place for both background and critical listening in one's life, and I make my selections accordingly when firing up some music.

Ronald D.  Taylor's picture

There seems to often be an inverse relation between performance quality and recording quality. Rarely are the best performances recorded adequately.