Which song does your system sound Best/Worse

I was just whining about how sorry my 500 series system sounds on Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir and wondered about everyone’s else Best/Worse song. My best, Evanescence’s Bring Me To Life, worse Kashmir. Please mention a little bit about your system then, best and worse. Thanks to everyone who participates.

Kashmir is really quite nasty now you point it out. The same recording engineer must have done a some U2 tracks few years later. They sound like they were recorded in a hole too.

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Agree with you. War is absolutely one of the worst sounding album in my system. Not to mention some classic Deep Purple album such as In Rock.

Best -Merchant of love by Joan Armatrading.
Worst - Immigrant song (live) by Led Zeppelin (unfortunately).

The short answer is most pop music is horribly compressed and meant to be listened to (a) using crappy ear buds or equivalent and/or (b) by tone deaf bipeds. Conversely, much of the classical and jazz I listen to is wonderfully recorded and sounds great. This is true whether or not I like the music/performance. I suspect that this is true of any reasonably decent system by Naim or any of its competitors.

Kashmir is not pop music though.

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I can only address my system. It sounds great on every single modern piece of music I have listened. That included a lot of pop. Halsey, Kesha, Ava Max, etc., all sound great. But, put in some of the old stuff, Doors, Beatles, Kashmir, it needs more bass. I just find it crazy that today’s high end electronics have no tone control and no loudness control. This really comes into play at lower volume. I don’t need it with current music but old stuff is desperately needed AT TIMES.

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Interesting post.

I use 552/300 on Harbeth Super HL5

Best: Diamonds and Rust (Joan Baez). The acoustic instruments and her amazing voice give me the shivers.

Worst: Anything Celine Dion

For some reason, Naim can’t play Celine. All her CDs and LPs sound awful. She sounds much better on my 1970’s Pioneer system… and live.



I’ve not even heard of those first 4.
I’ve just played the first disc of Physical Graffiti and Kashmir sounds fine to me, though the band are recorded at a lower level than on Trampled under Foot to leave room for the orchestra. I bought that disc around 1980 so no special pressing nor an early one. I’m using my new SPU Royal N which I’d just finished fine tuning on Led Zep 2 before playing the later album, bass wasn’t lacking even with a cartridge with a reputation as a mid range specialist. I’ve never listened to PG on the 555 but following it with London Grammar on the streamer is a bit of a culture shock and yes the bass is deeper.
A lot of the vinyl era stuff has a swing to it that digital replay struggles to communicate and if it’s missing suffers for it, the 555 was the first such device I’ve heard that can pull it off to my satisfaction but it took quite a bit of setup tweaking to achieve it. That includes plug order and network cable choice but other than a couple of extra powerlines I’m using the cables that came with the boxes and NACA5.

“Kashmir” and most other LZ (especially Led Zeppelin II) sounds fine to me - on vinyl (LP12) and on SHM-CD (Oppo 205). Don’t forget, it’s not really supposed to sound “natural”…

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You may just like too much bass, which is a primary mixing consideration for all of the folks you mentioned…

I still think Kashmir is terrible on my 555, 552, 500dr with Focal Maestro Uptopia’s. I had a sub but took it out due to too much bass on 95% of all music. Nearly all Zeppelin is great, 2 and 4 plus most of PG. Kashmir is such a classic Zeppelin song I just hate to be denied that pleasure on this system. It could all be fixed by tone control, but no, today’s HiFi equipment has decided they know what’s best for me.

Yes, it has largely assumed that the people that worked on the recording know how they wanted it to sound better than the listener. :stuck_out_tongue:

Kidding aside, you can just go and buy a Schitt Audio Loki if this is such an issue.

Paul Bley trio, ‘Not one, not two’ sounds best on my system.

Full disclosure, I am and have always been a HUGE Zeppelin fan, and that is the reason for my forum name. You did not say which version of Kashmir you are playing? Is it off Tidal or do you have the original album or CD ? I have just played Kashmir off Mothership, which is 96 KHZ, and I have it stored on my Core. It is definitely not as good sounding as the original album or even cassette tape I had in the day. I played No Quarter (of course) and a few other tracks off Mothership, and they all seem to sound better than Kashmir, but I would not say it is unlistenable. Led Zeppelin deserves to be played as loud as you can handle, and I think old school speakers are more suited to their music, not an ultra revealing setup.

Yes, you hit the nail on the head.
Zep recordings are a mish mash of great music put together with a bunch of audio engineering tricks.
They are not good recordings of pure music played live in one take without overdubs (like, say, ECM).
So whereas ECM sound better as your system improves, Led Zep tends to sound worse, because you hear more of the trickery/treatments/mish mash.

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I am also a HUGE Led Zeppelin fan.
I have early original pressings of all Zeppelin albums and they do all vary in sound quality and recorded volume. I have never had an issue with any of them, just remember to turn the volume up on certain records.
As for Kashmir sounding bad, never and definitely not as the system improved over the years.
They may sound a bit thin in parts compared to more modern recordings, but that would be down to the way John Bonham’s drums were mic’d up for the recordings and the various recording locations used, Headley Grange House for example

I also wonder if Jimmy Page has some hearing damage, because he was heavily involved in all the re-masters they re-released. To me, they all sound brighter than the original albums I own.

Try the Barry Diament mastered CD’s he only did a few 1 and 2 certainly, best sounding to my ears not to difficult to find used and cheap, probably because not too many people know that they are so good.

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I have Tidal and Qobuz. So that is what I am playing Kashmir through. It’s just way too bright and thin, no bottom end at all. Thank God Stairway and Whole Lotta Love are wonderful. It’s just a few songs, just happens to be one of my favorites (Kashmir). I just can’t add a $149 tone control to this systems that the wires, cables and stereo stand costs more than my first house, LOL.