leni v posted: "A good amp should expose poor recorded music."

I think this one is worth a thread of its own.

How do you know it's a poor recording? Because your system can't play it without some unpleasantness distracting from the music?

Back in the 90s I used to drop in on Tom Evans (Michell iso, various Groove phono stages, Eikos Cd player etc) every now and then, partly to go fishing with him but I'd always be roped in to listening to the latest itteration of whatever he was working on. One occation he had a pile of digitally mastered Zappa to hand which when played on his Mk2 Rock/DV17D2 and prototype amps into Mk2 Glastonburys sounded really harsh but the analog mastered recordings sounded great. A few weeks later, on another visit, the digitally mastered records sounded very enjoyable, the only difference was that he'd changed a couple of op amps in the preamp for a different type, he never said what they were but the harshness was undetectable now, the previous opamps had been the issue but the tendancy was to blame the recording.

Why do most rooms at a hifi show have jazz playing a lot of the time? is this because the systems make a mess of anything else but do tone well?

Who needs a system the main talent of which is telling you most of your records are rubbish recordings? It's meant to extract the music from those recordings, some systems can do this in an enjoyable manner while letting you know the recording isn't the best, some emphasise the recording aspects over the musical ones. Which is the better system?

I may be misunderstanding the post quoted in the thread title and he could mean "expose the music in a poor recording" in which case I fully agree.

Original Post

Almost impossible to answer..., but here goes. Let’s imaging the nature of the poor recording is badly set levels, so some of the peaks clip. This will introduce all sorts of horrible distortion, with high frequency harmonics extending right up the audible range. If one amp ruthlessly reveals this, whereas another, which does not have the speed or resolution, does not which is best? On another track which is well recorded with correct levels, the better resolving amp might be described as detailed with high end clarity. I’d much prefer an amp that lets me hear what is happening. Badly recorded stuff is left for the car, or the bin.

Who's leni v ?

for me if a recording is "poor" or " audiophile tinkles" or any thing else I may care to throw at a system.   I would be more concerned that the best relative organisation was taking place to make sense out of what's going on.   I have many poor recordings that I enjoy and that roughness - if well handled can be more engaging.

 You should hear everything as everything, although sometimes a system will have trouble making sense out of everything, but hey - you sometimes can't have everything.

In fairness if a better system exposes flaws in a recording, it should equally make better sense out of it.

Or "A good amp should revel in well recorded music".   

I have spent decades telling people that get new toys that should not abandon their favourite recordings when they discover how poorly recorded they are when they finally hear them revealed in true hi-fi. This is because the reason they loved the performances in the  first place will not change. They just need to get over the honeymoon period with the new toys and the reason they liked those performances in the first place will return.

I think the question is far too simplistic. The definition of "poorly recorded music" is highly variable. Not just in a matter of degrees but in terms of what aspects contribute to it being poirly recorded.

To me, these nuances make all the difference between a system resolving as much from a poor recording to make it more enjoyable, versus exposing flaws that ruin the listening experience.

I find that older recordings on poor mastering equipment that were done as well as they could given the limitations sound excellent. Yes the percussive dynamics are a little flat and certain instruments can sound reedy but on my system they get infused with magic and real presence.

Conversely, if the reason for a poor recording is abysmal dynamic range compression then what was listenable on my Sony Walkman or old micro system becomes unbearable and I don't think any system worth having can fix that. I have some albums purchased in my decade break from hifi which, after hearing them exposed, will never get played again.

I actually consider the latter scenario a case where the poor recording (which is part of the artistic creation that makes up music), simply defines the music itself as bad music and a decent hifi exposes that. Good music sounds better. Bad music sounds worse. And deciding what you like is easier. I don't think "great band but unbearable recording". I think "crap band".

TOBYJUG posted:

Who's leni v ?

for me if a recording is "poor" or " audiophile tinkles" or any thing else I may care to throw at a system.   I would be more concerned that the best relative organisation was taking place to make sense out of what's going on.   I have many poor recordings that I enjoy and that roughness - if well handled can be more engaging.

 You should hear everything as everything, although sometimes a system will have trouble making sense out of everything, but hey - you sometimes can't have everything.

In fairness if a better system exposes flaws in a recording, it should equally make better sense out of it.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW? On the subject the last remark in your answer is exactly what i meant.a good amp will reveal what is good and what is less so.A member mentiond  that he gave up on his sn2(not you)  because its to revealing and changed it for a better amp .I think his new amp is simply good enough for HIS kind of music.but when you deal with demanding music you need an amp that reveals.

Ah yes.   The post by yeti42 didn't make it clear that leni v yourself was a fellow forumite.   Impossible to follow all threads and quotes.

I assumed yeti was referring to an article written by someone that was published - hence asking.   So I hope you don't interpret " who's leni v" as being condescending, just misunderstood.

I have a whole bunch of original cds from the eighties of the jangly indie genre, especially The Cocteau Twins albums; that used to be unlistenable by far excessive splashy treble on an older system.

on my present system this is not an issue and realise it's from being better able to deal with the hot treble energy of these recordings.  Rather than exposing this aspect of a recording, I feel a better amp just makes better sense out of it.

Of course having the right source and speakers helps. 

The perfect system neither adds nor takes away. You can’t blame the tt, CD player, tuner, streamer etc if the source is poor.

One of the things I have noted about upgrading my power amp recently is that some vocalists actually sound worse. The reason for this is that you can clearly hear where they have the timing wrong, poor phrasing or the infamous “withou choo” instead of “without you”. Try singing both and you will see what I mean. The t in without is not easy but just makes so much more sense.

feeling_zen posted:

I think the question is far too simplistic. The definition of "poorly recorded music" is highly variable. Not just in a matter of degrees but in terms of what aspects contribute to it being poirly recorded.

 

couldn’t agree more... 

Any replay equipment should portray the recording as it is and not try and embilish it.. that is sometimes when issues can occur with the recording becoming   bad or good sounding up on replay. If this happens I say the system is a poor Hi-Fi replay system.

yeti42 posted:

 

Who needs a system the main talent of which is telling you most (some) of your records are rubbish (SQ compromised) recordings? It's meant to extract the music from those recordings, some systems can do this in an enjoyable manner while letting you know the recording isn't the best, some emphasise the recording aspects over the musical ones. Which is the better system?

yeti, in large agreement, I edited your quote above to better fit my own thoughts. I've always been mystified why some here hold to the notion that a more exposing system is somehow better. Better at what? Alienating you from recordings you could otherwise enjoy? The better system in my mind allows you to sit back, relax, and get engrossed in the musicality of most recordings. 

Any system, regardless of cost or sophistication, colors replay to a degree. I prefer my replay with color on the warm side that allows me to get involved with my entire music collection. No loss of PRaT with that warmth.

Those that strive to expose the 'absolute truth' from recordings are likely experiencing colder replay; thereby limiting the breadth of music they might otherwise enjoy on a less exposing system while often paying more to do so.

How does the listener ever benefit from exposing poor recordings? One answer might be that the great stuff sounds so much better. For me, there's not nearly enough great stuff out there to rationalize that compromise.

Almost like watching old Jez taking out a high end very expensive motor out for a proper spin. Only the most exotic closed down winding road in the mountains is suitable.

Although would be rather exposed on a suburban roundabout complete with massive potholes and sleeping policemen.

ChrisSU posted:
TOBYJUG posted:

Although would be rather exposed on a suburban roundabout complete with massive potholes and sleeping policemen.

It’s the policemen who are still awake that I worry about!

Just step on the peddle Grettle. A bit of gas and a swerve and they'll be put out of their misery.

Well, somewhat tongue in cheek, A good system, not just the amps will show up badly produced recordings and maybe you'll be put off playing them. However a very good system will still show up the bad recordings, but you won't be put off playing them. Rich. 

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