I am in search of a perfect CD or (SACD) that will allow me to enjoy my speakers fully. Is there such a thing?
Don't get me wrong - there are plenty of good music around. It all sounds terrific (or at least decent) when you have low or mid level gear. As you move up the chain and obtain a higher quality amplifier or a set of speakers, the same old CDs you used to enjoy somehow begin to miss something. You begin to realize that although your good old garden variety BOSE 501 Series V speakers claim to produce almost the same frequency response as the McIntosh XRT2K, one attempts to imitate the original recording while the other one reincarnates in its original glory.
Not that I ever own either of these, you understand.
Once you've heard what a pair of good speakers can do, your old CDs dont play that great anymore. The drums now sound like someone is banging on pots and, pans, the vocals are of a telephonic quality, the highs very much resemble a screeching. I am not talking about artists loosing steam or releasing music that sucks. No. I am talking about raising the expectations for recording quality as you graduate from casual music listener to an audiophile. What I am after is such a quality that will make your speakers fight hard on all fronts, with all speaker drivers.
You may say it is all digital. CDs aren't tapes. The quality is identical whether it is 20 years old or just been unwrapped. But they are still a facsimile of an original master recording which may sound dull, regardless of the artist.
So what I would like to find is a CD that will mesmerize the listener with crispy highs, articulate and vivid midrange and punchy bass that will take his breath away, all in the same recording. I dont care who the artist is or what sort of music you like. If you use excellent speakers and at least a decent set of separates (the amps), this level of quality is very hard to come by in the same recording. Something is always missing even if the artist has stolen your heart ages ago.
Here are examples of releases that possess each quality separately.
Highs:Buddy Rich (p) 1977, "The Greatest Drummer That Ever Lived'
. This CD will set your tweeters on fire if you play it loud enough.
Midrange:The Modern Jazz Quartet (p) 1964 , The Sheriff
. Close your eyes and you will actually teleport to the recording room, that is how vivid the midrange sounds on this jazz CD.
Bass:Amon Tobin (p) 1997, Bricloage
. You may find more bass-heavy CDs than this one. But I am talking about natural bass, not artificially enhanced by fancy software or remixed and re-equalized to amplify low frequency. The first track Stoney Street is simply intoxicating. There is little else to go with the rhythm, but that is not such a bad thing.
These are separately excellent CDs containing either amazing highs, or lows, or mid frequencies recordings. But I am looking for only one that has them all.
Some candidates can be mentioned (Pink FLoyd's "the Wall" or the Alan Parsons "Eye in the Sky, which by the way were engineered by the same audio recording genius), but they are still far away from a perfect source.
Which CD do you think will make all drivers in my speakers shine ? Who can help me find my Holy Grail? Does it even exist?