Listening #124 Contents Expired

Sidebar 1: Contents Expired

10 pop albums that sounded fresh in the 1970s but stink out loud today:

1) David Bowie: Diamond Dogs
2) Jethro Tull: War Child
3) Lou Reed: Rock n Roll Animal
4) Paul Simon: There Goes Rhymin' Simon
5) Eric Clapton: 461 Ocean Boulevard
6) Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run
7) Neil Young Band: On the Beach
8) James Taylor: Gorilla
9) Alice Cooper: Billion Dollar Babies
10) The Clash: Give 'Em Enough Rope
11) Oasis: (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (Honorable Mention: it might as well have been made in the '70s)

acawaigmail's picture

I’m surprised Art didn’t mention planar speakers (unless the comment about being “happy to have any bass at all” was a dig at his QUADs). The Magnepan MMG, for instance, has almost 700 sq. in. of radiating area, costs less than one third of the least expensive speakers mentioned in the column, and would fit well in a 12x19 room. Not much bass quantity, perhaps, but that’s why bigger (and more expensive) planars exist. Thanks for the Rosen quote.

dalethorn's picture

Some years back I read an article, perhaps in Audio magazine, describing a tiny loudspeaker that pumped out 1/4 acoustic watt of power at 30 hz or thereabouts. I sat down and wrote (before email) a letter to Paul Klipsch asking whether his Klipschorns could match that. I must have committed a heresy of my own, because he wrote back (handwritten) a letter explaining what real bass is and how the Klipschorn makes it happen, and that I shouldn't concern myself with juvenile fantasies of big bass in little speakers. And I did hear a Klipschorn in Cleveland after that, which sounded pretty neutral tonally. But no big scary bass.

prerich45's picture

You guys may get me to renew my subscription yet!!!!  This was one great article!!!! Bravo Zulu!

Freako's picture

Hi Art,

I love reading your column, even though sometimes it's about some things, of which I really haven't got a clue. But what the heck, you can always try to learn, right?

Other times I discover little golden nuggets in your column, and although you and I obviously don't agree on everything on this planet (which would in fact be weird), I surely respect your opinions. Why? Because they are built on facts, or at least on educated guesses. I also like your old fashioned (no pun intended) view on many things, especially audio, probably because I clearly remember the wonderful sound of 1950'es and 1960'es hifi equipment.

From the time when I wore diapers (1952-53), I was treated with a daily dose of Harry Belafonte, Nina & Frederik, plus a lot of other music that I don't remember quite as clearly, but I have had countless wonderful experiences with good music and decent equipment for decades. And at least I can still enjoy some of the sound of the above mentioned artists, as I still have recordings with them from that period. Hifi of that age sounded absolutely wonderful.

But now to the point:

Some years ago I worked with a bunch of students in the Danish State Archives, and one day some of them decided to go to a rock concert with the Danish (grunge?) band Kashmir. I decided to go with them, and be young with the young, just for a night. So, off we went to Little Vega...

Geez, that was a scary experience! The foremost half of the audience constantly jumped around like they were on drugs, which they may well have been, and the music (although it may have been okay if I'd been able to hear it) was completely drowned in a wall of bass, so loud and uncomfortable, that my ears sang for two days straight afterwards. There was simply no way of hearing the lead guitar or any vocals at all. A bit of drum forced its way through the wall of bass at times, but that didn't make the experience the least bit better.

Later I came to thinking that their sound engineer must have had his hearing severely damaged, since he was able to totally destroy whatever message a otherwise great band had in mind for us. Perhaps the band members and half the audience was deaf as well, I really don't know, but for me, another concert with Kashmir is out of the question.