Favourite/demo albums and upgrades

Posted by: Alley Cat on 09 September 2018

I suspect we all have favourite albums that we like to use for demos on vinyl, CD or other media.

Playing with various Naim components in recent days (different old/new, pre/power/streamer combos) I'm actually quite surprised by how these favourites fare differently when they're favourites on a current system for sound quality and personal taste.

A few examples:

Carol Kidd - Nice Work - Linn hi-res download and perennial favourite sounds better and better with any upgraded component in the chain.

Complex music - orchestral/rock - often sounds worse/thin when played on theoretically considerably better equipment (echoed by Mrs AC, and we've looked at each other when playing it thinking the same thing) .

Tori Amos - Unrepentant Geraldines - a favourite track, but just lacks mojo when I go from lower to higher end equipment.

Steven Wilson - Hand Cannot Erase - Nova via olive 250 vs 250DR/300DR - many tracks simply less powerful/involving - switch to NDX 2 and power returns in bucket loads.

Shelby Lynne - Just A Little Lovin - Nova (older firmware) vs Nova (current firmware) to any pre/power combo - exciting to uninspiring.

Shelby Lynne - Just A Little Lovin - Nova (older firmware) vs demo NDX 2 - bloody hell what an improvement.

Pink Floyd - The Division Bell - great on Nova to olive 250, 250DR, 300DR via NAC 72 or NAC 282.  Frankly lifeless with NDX 2 as a source- opening track piano is completely devoid of timbre compared say to piano in Carol Kidd's Nice Work which really benefits from the NDX 2 - is it showing up a poor recording or poor quality piano synth?

Good or poor examples I'm not sure, but I'm constantly struck by the fact that albums you expect to be better sometimes are but often aren't even though they were held in equal esteem on an older configuration.

Discuss! (please)

 

 

Posted on: 09 September 2018 by Bob the Builder

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

Womack & Womack - The Composers

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Survival

Posted on: 09 September 2018 by Alley Cat
Bob the Builder posted:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

Womack & Womack - The Composers

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Survival

Better or worse?

Must admit I loved It's My Life and the The Party's Over but wasn't so keen on The Colour of Spring or Spirit of Eden (one of my first CDs), but looking at the track listing I really should revisit The Colour of Spring.

Posted on: 09 September 2018 by TOBYJUG

Simon and Garfunkel - Sounds of silence.   .... And all their other albums.

  When I first got into hifi with a vinyl set up, through quality grado headphones i could tell this album was cut with an awesome dynamic and tonal range.  Played out from the speakers it just sounded like an old album.   Most upgrades since have brought this closer to how it should sound.

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by Alley Cat

I may have worded the thread title incorrectly - while Iím interested in peopleís demo choices, Iím also wondering which albums/tracks you think will sound  better with a component upgrade but ultimately fail to impress whereas the upgraded component works well for other material.

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by notnaim man

Steeleye Span - Parcel Of Rogues, as the equipment improves it just becomes more intelligible, it is all too easy for Alison Gross to simply sound raucous, aggressive, Robbery With Violins can fall apart, the band not playing together. 

Bob Marley - Legend, on No Woman, No Cry are there people clapping irritatingly out of time? Or do they fit in with the tune?

Black Uhuru - Anthem, on Botanical Roots is the bass fast, agile well defined notes or does it run together.

Osibisa - Ojah Awake - the whole album should be FUN.

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by Loki
Alley Cat posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

Womack & Womack - The Composers

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Survival

Better or worse?

Must admit I loved It's My Life and the The Party's Over but wasn't so keen on The Colour of Spring or Spirit of Eden (one of my first CDs), but looking at the track listing I really should revisit The Colour of Spring.

You certainly should AC. TT went full on post structuralist offering increasingly deconstructed music of the most nuanced and exquisitely unforgetful and striking kind. I agree that Eden is an acquired taste but makes sense in the contetx of a riven art preceded by the Colour of Spring: a kind of appendix or extension of the former. 

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by Alley Cat
Loki posted:
Alley Cat posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

Womack & Womack - The Composers

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Survival

Better or worse?

Must admit I loved It's My Life and the The Party's Over but wasn't so keen on The Colour of Spring or Spirit of Eden (one of my first CDs), but looking at the track listing I really should revisit The Colour of Spring.

You certainly should AC. TT went full on post structuralist offering increasingly deconstructed music of the most nuanced and exquisitely unforgetful and striking kind. I agree that Eden is an acquired taste but makes sense in the contetx of a riven art preceded by the Colour of Spring: a kind of appendix or extension of the former. 

Post structuralist - you've lost me now !  Will just take a listen :-)

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by Alley Cat
notnaim man posted:

Steeleye Span - Parcel Of Rogues, as the equipment improves it just becomes more intelligible, it is all too easy for Alison Gross to simply sound raucous, aggressive, Robbery With Violins can fall apart, the band not playing together. 

Bob Marley - Legend, on No Woman, No Cry are there people clapping irritatingly out of time? Or do they fit in with the tune?

Black Uhuru - Anthem, on Botanical Roots is the bass fast, agile well defined notes or does it run together.

Osibisa - Ojah Awake - the whole album should be FUN.

Great examples - I may not be familiar with them but these are the sort of things that I find interesting.

Why for example do some albums sound great in relative lo-fi in the car, but dire on a high-end system?

Just jumped listening to Van Morrison's Moondance  - the title track sounds as though Van has been speeded up by 15%, much more enjoyable - normally better quality give more time between notes and music sounds slower - weird.

Then Caravan from the same album - hell where did all those piano notes come from at the start of the album I'd not noticed before - this is an album I primarily liked for Moondance and Into The Mystic, but on the NDX 2 it's completely different.

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by Bob the Builder
Alley Cat posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

Womack & Womack - The Composers

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Survival

Better or worse?

Must admit I loved It's My Life and the The Party's Over but wasn't so keen on The Colour of Spring or Spirit of Eden (one of my first CDs), but looking at the track listing I really should revisit The Colour of Spring.

Sorry I got the wrong of the stick here Alley cat those three records are the ones I always play to test new equipment.

Talk Talk is a weird one because it's the gaps between notes and instruments within the records and the spatial effect and the atmoshere that bad equipment cannot convey and also the low end on this record is exceptional on decent equipment especially the bass drum.

Womack & Womack is all about the harmonies and the backing vocals on bad equipment these are just noise but on the best equipment you can hear the seperate voices within the harmonies and the words the backing singers are singing.

And Survival is all about the percussion the placement of the different percussion instruments in the mix and also with very good turntables and speakers there are small percussion instruments that do not come through at all on ordinary equipment..

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by Alley Cat
Alley Cat posted:
Loki posted:
Alley Cat posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

 

Better or worse?

Must admit I loved It's My Life and the The Party's Over but wasn't so keen on The Colour of Spring or Spirit of Eden (one of my first CDs), but looking at the track listing I really should revisit The Colour of Spring.

You certainly should AC. TT went full on post structuralist offering increasingly deconstructed music of the most nuanced and exquisitely unforgetful and striking kind. I agree that Eden is an acquired taste but makes sense in the contetx of a riven art preceded by the Colour of Spring: a kind of appendix or extension of the former. 

Post structuralist - you've lost me now !  Will just take a listen :-)

Oh well, that was a mistake, bought the 24/96 remaster from Qobuz and I don't think I've heard such a thin/tinny album in ages - sadly apart form a couple of songs it's not one I'll play often, I hesitate to say boring, but does very little for me.  Strange how we all differ in our listening preferences.

Posted on: 10 September 2018 by Alley Cat
Bob the Builder posted:
Alley Cat posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

Womack & Womack - The Composers

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Survival

Better or worse?

Must admit I loved It's My Life and the The Party's Over but wasn't so keen on The Colour of Spring or Spirit of Eden (one of my first CDs), but looking at the track listing I really should revisit The Colour of Spring.

Sorry I got the wrong of the stick here Alley cat those three records are the ones I always play to test new equipment.

Talk Talk is a weird one because it's the gaps between notes and instruments within the records and the spatial effect and the atmoshere that bad equipment cannot convey and also the low end on this record is exceptional on decent equipment especially the bass drum.

Womack & Womack is all about the harmonies and the backing vocals on bad equipment these are just noise but on the best equipment you can hear the seperate voices within the harmonies and the words the backing singers are singing.

And Survival is all about the percussion the placement of the different percussion instruments in the mix and also with very good turntables and speakers there are small percussion instruments that do not come through at all on ordinary equipment..

Thanks for the explanations - maybe I need to play The Colour of Spring a heck of a lot louder, maybe the Qobuz version is bad, I think I have it on vinyl somewhere.

Will look into the Womack & Womack and Bob Marley suggestions.

Posted on: 11 September 2018 by Alley Cat
Alley Cat posted:
Alley Cat posted:
Loki posted:
Alley Cat posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring

 

Better or worse?

Must admit I loved It's My Life and the The Party's Over but wasn't so keen on The Colour of Spring or Spirit of Eden (one of my first CDs), but looking at the track listing I really should revisit The Colour of Spring.

You certainly should AC. TT went full on post structuralist offering increasingly deconstructed music of the most nuanced and exquisitely unforgetful and striking kind. I agree that Eden is an acquired taste but makes sense in the contetx of a riven art preceded by the Colour of Spring: a kind of appendix or extension of the former. 

Post structuralist - you've lost me now !  Will just take a listen :-)

Oh well, that was a mistake, bought the 24/96 remaster from Qobuz and I don't think I've heard such a thin/tinny album in ages - sadly apart form a couple of songs it's not one I'll play often, I hesitate to say boring, but does very little for me.  Strange how we all differ in our listening preferences.

I honestly wonder if the remaster is simply bad quality.

Posted on: 11 September 2018 by TOBYJUG

https://www.whathifi.com/featu...-to-test-your-system

What Hifi have put this together.  Seems pretty comprehensive although could be a chore going through it all.

Posted on: 16 September 2018 by Richard Morris

Joan Armatrading: Love and Affection - those orchestral chords - der-derr. Perfection.

Posted on: 27 September 2018 by Bodger

Another vote for Moondance here. Also but not exclusively, an old LP track by The Jam, Ghosts. It may have also been a B side! It is a very sparse track, well I know only a three peice but sparse even by this measure. Just guitar riff to begin, forward in the mix and if this is harsh, move on. The first bass note is a whole note open E. This should be low, fat and really ring. Again, if this sounds muted, buy another black box. Wellers vocals are not exactly operatic but if you can't ear the emotion, buy two black boxes.

Dave