A Perfect CD to Showcase Your Speakers - Does it Even Exist? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-27-2013, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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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.

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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?
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-27-2013, 07:22 PM
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Dali demo cd.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-27-2013, 07:31 PM
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Pink noise from a test CD?

I like Flim and the BB's TriCycle and Amanda McBroom/Lincoln Mayorga's first album.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-28-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

Pink noise from a test CD?

I like Flim and the BB's TriCycle and Amanda McBroom/Lincoln Mayorga's first album.

Thank you, BB's TriCycle sounds terrific!
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 05:32 AM
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i prefer norah or adele
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
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i prefer norah or adele

Thank you. which release?
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 06:38 AM
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Big Sweet n' Blue Norris Turney off the Mapleshade label. One big fat sax.smile.gif
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 07:53 AM
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if you like progressive rock my new favorite to show off my speakers is the new days between stations- in extremis. if you like genesis, yes, pink Floyd, king crimson you'll enjoy this cd. it gives my speakers a workout from one end to the other

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 10:07 AM
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If you haven't heard them, give Rodrigo y Gabriela's album by the same name a try. Fantastic acoustical guitar with a progressive, upbeat sound that is a fusion of many influences. If you like that, their Live in Japan album also sounds excellent:

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post #10 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Jesus Christ, even on Youtube these guys sound fantastic (Playing via HDMI on a Pioneer Elite BluRay player, Pioneer Elite VSX-53 and EMotiva XPA-3 power amp). Getting the CD, definitely. Thanks a lot, Cel4145. BTW, is there a BluRay of this concert available?
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

Jesus Christ, even on Youtube these guys sound fantastic (Playing via HDMI on a Pioneer Elite BluRay player, Pioneer Elite VSX-53 and EMotiva XPA-3 power amp). Getting the CD, definitely. Thanks a lot, Cel4145. BTW, is there a BluRay of this concert available?

They are awesome, and nobody sounds quite like them. I've seen them live, too. A couple of years ago, Gabriela had an RSI problem, so I don't think they are performing nearly as much as they used to.

I don't think there is a Blu-Ray edition. But the extra DVD footage included with their Live in Japan CD sounds quite good smile.gif

11:11 is a very good album, too, if you get into their sound smile.gif

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post #12 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 11:47 AM
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OP - I'm listening to the Buddy Rich album right now and man, you are right - the highs are incredible!! This is using Spotify too - the actual CD must really be impressive.
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

OP - I'm listening to the Buddy Rich album right now and man, you are right - the highs are incredible!! This is using Spotify too - the actual CD must really be impressive.

No, CD actually sucks. It has to be the $150 SACD (sorry i posted the wrong link). Worth every penny! The CD sounds like an eight track compared to the double layered SACD. Here is the right one





Thank you for the comment
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-29-2013, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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From reading the SACD brochure I understand this is the first direct to LP recording that has been later re-processed (enhanced) for the SACD. Who can guess how much this process costs?
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post #15 of 19 Old 11-29-2013, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

If you haven't heard them, give Rodrigo y Gabriela's album by the same name a try. Fantastic acoustical guitar with a progressive, upbeat sound that is a fusion of many influences. If you like that, their Live in Japan album also sounds excellent:

Im loving the sound. Thanks for posting the video smile.gif

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post #16 of 19 Old 11-30-2013, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by weez82 View Post

Im loving the sound. Thanks for posting the video smile.gif

Replying to my own thread after 2 months of searching.

So far these are the best I've found:

1) The Sheffield Lab Drum & Track Disc



This disk will wake up your high end system. Dont expect too much in terms of vocals (there aren't any), but the drums and cymbals will amaze you.

2) Bowers & Wilkins presents: Very Audiophile New Recordings



Vocals, acoustic guitars - that is where this one shines. An excellent disk.
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post #17 of 19 Old 11-30-2013, 09:00 PM
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Dave Grusin - Discovered Again. Sheffield Labs

It's not your usual Grusin - it's a small jazz combo. Amazing music in addition to the best sound. It makes almost any decent system sound great. I think it may be a bit bass heavy - low frequencies, not the instrument.

(I prefer the original version to the Plus version.)
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post #18 of 19 Old 12-08-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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One more (eight more actually): Audiophile from FOCAL JMlab 1996-2009 8CD

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post #19 of 19 Old 12-08-2013, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

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.
I don't like the midrangeon the XRT2k. Spent a lot of hours with a pair and it's... what's the word... indistinct? I'm guessing it is because of the array of tweets/midranges. Things that should be point-source just don't sound it. It's pleasant, but wrong.

Bass was amazing from those though.
Quote:
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.
Actually: the 20-year-old stuff is often better because dynamic compression was less common in those days.
Quote:
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?
I have been a fan of some of Ray Charles' duets of late. They seem to play quite well on good gear. Linn puts out a sample CD/SACD I like as well.

If I'm not trying to evaluate a speaker but just want to be impressed by it: FloRida's "Spin me round" sounds good on a wide array of gear.
It's not actually good for evaluation for several reasons (unless you are checking for bass).
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