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.

Antonio Esporma's picture

I've kept my records clean since I was in the 6th grade. When I lived in Oahu, HI, our tap water was very pure, so I used to soak my LPs in a bathtub of water with a couple of capfuls of Ivory dishwashing liquid; I dried them in a rack afterwards. In college, I trained my housemates in the proper maintenance with a Discwasher brush. A few years back I got a VPI cleaning machine.

Graham Skardon's picture

mUCH OF MY COLLECTIOn consists of live grateful dead recordings

John Atkinson's picture

I would say that around 10% of my collection of several thousand CDs and LPs offers truly superb sound quality. But though really bad sound quality is quite rare, what puzzles me is rock CDs that are hard-clipped at a level a little below 0dBFS. Some mastering engineers are not watching their meters!

R.Fortier's picture

most of the works I have been bought since listening to small ensembles have been well recorded.I cannot say the same for my collection of rock.

Gary Mertz's picture

A person adds any given recording to his/her collection because he/she enjoys the music contained therein. Sound quality is in reality less important than the enjoyment it provides the listener. If you enjoy it, it's value is certainly high and ultimately, sound quality will take a back seat to the overall musical experience (within reason of course--a poor recording is still a poor recording).

John at JC3RD@AOL.COM's picture

All my music sounds great as long as I accept the fact that all recorded music is flawed. Really, though, I enjoy every record and CD I own. I wouldn't still own them if they didn't contain something of musical value.

Lyman G.L.  DeLiguori, Sr.'s picture

Janis Ian's "Breaking Silence" (24K Gold), Grand Funk Railroad's "Bosnia," Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" (original Harvest recording ca. 1975), and the Stones' "Exile On Main Street" are four sonically outstanding recordings---bar none!

Klaus Armbruster's picture

Most of my CDs are only used in the car; with my 'real' system at home, they just don't sound like music (which doesn't become that obvious with all the noises interfering while driving)

Bill Schuldt's picture

In the beginning I was not so discriminating, so some of my earlier purchases did not have the best recording quality. Now, I am very picky about recording quality, but occasionally I still buy a CD that has less than perfect sound. Oh well!

Manuel's picture

Even when you try to look for good recordings---apart from jazz and classical---it seems to be quite random. The worst of it is that there is no relation between what you like most and what is best recorded,. Sigh!

Mert Tetik's picture

I buy records based on the reputation of the producer (e.g., Chesky, Reference Recordings, etc.). However, sometimes music that you like comes from ordinary producers: you buy it anyway!

Scott Higgins's picture

Too much compression & poor digital processing

Curt Simon's picture

The contrast between recording companies is NOT subtle. Reissues by Fantasy, which, unfortunately, owns the entire Prestige and Riverside catalogs besides, are grainy, harsh, and embody everything that is bad about digital. All one has to do is compare the DCC and Classic Records remasterings to realize what a hash a company that doesn't give a shit can make. The classical lables have made great strides in recent years, and BMG has been particularly good about redoing stuff. Even so, the single biggest limitation on sound quality, in my view, is the sound of the source material. Unfortunately, this seems the slowest of all to respond.

Jim Casteel's picture

Out of my small collection of CDs, only a small number of older CDs I keep by the stereo.

Brian Freedman, Toronto, Canada's picture

I believe the Rolling Stones set the standard in the late '60s/early '70s: great music . . . lousy sound! The truly masterful recordings are very few and far between. Whether it's CD, DVD, or emerging digital audio formats, the golden rule remains: "garbage in, garbage out"!

Devan Kaufman's picture

It is hard to find good quality music selections that are well recorded.

Woody Battle's picture

I sometimes think that all the fuss about DVD is really silly. The engineers making most of the CDs today cannot get better than okay sound onto the discs. Do we really need DVD if we don't have some way to improve the performance of the average recording engineer?

G.  Prentice's picture

The frequency distribution for record quality seems to take the usual bell curve form. A few are spectacularly well recorded, so you know it can be done. A few are spectacularly poorly recorded, so you know how poorly it can be done. The majority are in between. Thanks, Chesky, Telarc, and Sheffield! Keep showing everyone else how well it can be done.

Rollo J.  Brewster's picture

I use a lot of drugs!

Kevin Owen's picture

Very few sound good enough to be considered of "audiophile" quality. The exceptions are, of course, Chesky (I really enjoy Sara K.) and AudioQuest (Doug MacLeod).

Frank D Santelia's picture

How about an anolog disc?

Olle Linder's picture

Talking CD:s, even less... Goodbye New World

Anonymous's picture

while finding a great sounding recording is difficult it's not impossible. there are so many things that impact great sound. You always look for a great performance of the music, but a great performance doesn't make that a great recording. recently I bought a new CD that was an excellent performance marred only by the work of the recording engineer. A great recording that has a great performance or rendetion of the music and sounds great is hard to come by.

Tony Coughlin's picture

It's a combination of sound quality and performance quality, with the greatest contribution to musical satisfaction residing, of course, with the performance. For a music lover, sound alone is a Faustian temptation; but performance is the spiritual ascendence to heaven on earth.'s picture

Very few albums (6000+) and none of the CDs (300+) were bought for their sound. I am a music lover, with audiophilia added as a bonus. So my great-sounding albums in general also contain great music.

Al Duncan's picture

I should listen to you guys before I buy---check the reviews, "Records To Die For," etc., and also check out the ones the hardware reviewers use for the evaluations. But no, if I see it I buy it.

Kurt Christie's picture

Thinking over the quality of my 500 CD collection, I believe the familiar bell curve answer applies here (though I cannot explain why it should). A small portion sounds great, a small portion is, or was, truly bad - almost unlistenable on my system, and most is average to mediocre.

Curtis Heisey's picture

I feel that recording quality of classical CD's took a dramatic leap forward in about 1993 or so. More and more standard label recordings are "audiophile" quality.

Sean M.'s picture

While many of the albums in my collection are reasonably well to excellently well controlled, but it seems that any of the "pop" albums I've heard lately have absolutely no dynamic range left, and I've heard many inexcusable flaws such as ground loops, clipping, etc.