Why Spend More On Hifi When Some Music Is Poorly Recorded?

In a fit of rage I posted the following over in The Grand Cafe thread in the Lounge, but maybe it is worth a proper airing here in Hi-Fi Corner:

Has anyone refused to upgrade further because the quality of recordings of the music they like to listen to becomes the limiting factor of SQ?

I occasionally put on the odd album that sounds crap due to poor recording/mixing/mastering, which spoils the enjoyment of music. I have found better Naim kit can ruthlessly reveal these deficiencies, whereas lesser kit can mask them somewhat.

Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I hear myself muttering…’what is the point of me spending all this money on the ultimate hifi when recordings can sound so sh1t’.

Rant over.


I think you’ve answered your own question


Well…….yes. On trying the Melco D100 cd ripper it could not breathe life into some of my original cd’s that suffered from the mixing of the day. But even newer recordings can suffer from compression and other problems for those of us on the digital side. I follow the vinyl thread with interest for clues on recordings. For new releases, if i like it on Qobuz, then the download from Qobuz has been of similar or better quality.


It doesn’t happen often because I have learnt to avoid those crap albums. There are many albums I like where my enjoyment is spoiled because my hifi is so resolving of poor production.

I might try out a new find on Qobuz. The music is great but the sound is such a let down.

I guess my question is that can you reach a level in the Naim hierarchy of kit where adding yet further resolution becomes, at best, of limited value, at worst, self-defeating, depending on your own particular diet of music?

I don’t regret for a minute upgrading to the NAP500DR, but boy is it revealing of poorly recorded/mastered music. At the moment the benefits the 500 delivers to reasonably/well recorded stuff outweighs the negative. It does however make me think twice about possible further upgrades in the future


A second system with a Nait 2 and P3 is probably what you want :slight_smile:


I like all of Paul Wellers later stuff, especially if live. I now try not to play it on the DR 552/300 combo. It sounds so much better on the 82/250. :joy:


Maybe because all the DR stuff lowers the noise floor so much it allows you can hear all that lovely mush! :wink:

I’ve always thought Mr Wellers sound engineers haven’t liked him much. :slight_smile:


It’s strange, I found the opposite when I had a 552/300. I could chuck any old stuff on and it would sound great. I’ve read others saying the same. I think the key is just to focus on the music and forget the ‘sound quality’ otherwise all you’ll listen to is Dark Side of the Bloody Moon and Dire f.ing Straits.


A chap I know has a very expensive multibox system from a well known British manufacturer. I haven’t seen or heard it as we only meet when abroad. It is mainly CD, and streaming, he has an LP12/ARO but I think it is mothballed.
He told me it makes his best recorded CDs sound totally stunning. But it makes a big chunk of them totally unplayable.
In my more modest system, I have developed/tweaked it over the years to make nearly all of my recordings “comfortable” to listen to. I can set it up to make the best recordings sound more impressive, but I don’t.
Priorities I guess??


Maybe because I jumped from 552/250DR straight to 552/500DR, the leap up in resolution exposed those dodgy albums. Thankfully there is enough great music around that I don’t have to confine myself to DSOM and Dire Straits.

There is a random quality in modern remixes/remasters which is infuriating. And it can be an expensive mistake. Last year’s reissue of George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ is a case in point. It cost almost £70, and the mix is unlistenable on some tracks - the bass booms out. I don’t know if this is aimed deliberately at occasional streamers - we can’t have George sounding weak in the low end next to Taylor Swift can we? On the plus side, I purchased a couple of the Bryan Ferry remasters that were issued in 2021 - ‘Boys and Girls’ and ‘In Your Mind’ and the SQ is fabulous.

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I’ve seen people commenting over the years about how an upgrade made some of their albums unlistenable. That always struck me as counter-intuitive, my systems are there to enjoy my music. When auditioning I try tracks from a range of my favourite artists/composers, if any system made me not enjoy one of them I can’t imagine getting it, no matter how great other tracks sounded.
Badly recorded albums can still be enjoyable to me, as HH suggests I listen to the music, not the sound quality. Although I do sometimes wonder whether I could have saved a lot of money over the years by just doing that to all of my albums on a cheap system. :laughing: (When I get home after being away and listening on a Qb and listen on the main systems I realise how nice it is to hear the detail.)


I’ve found my system improvements have made the music more enjoyable, easier to follow despite any poor recording quality.
What I used to think was an average album for SQ is now much better :slightly_smiling_face:

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I have maybe 400 lps and 1000 digital albums and cd rips. Mostly jazz , jazz fusion, funk, soul, blues, and a little rock collection.
I have 0 bad recorded lp ( all from the 70’s, apart maybe 20 from the 60’s).
For digital, maybe 20 are sounding bad or average.
So not a problem.

I still buy secondhand CDs from that site, and often there are many price points for the same CD in the same condition. It does make me wonder if these are indeed different masterings/editions of the same CD. Checking out the CD in question on Discogs would only show one edition.

Anyway I usually end up buying the cheapest in Good Or Very Good condition.

First world problems.


Yes, I think that is fair.

The vast majority of my collection (ripped CDs, downloads and ‘My Albums’ in Qobuz) have benefitted from the addition of the 500DR, but some more than others. My personal collection remains intact, because I won’t have held on to each and every album if I didn’t enjoy the music.

It is just the occasional album that really disappoints which make me grumpy and makes me question any further hifi upgrades.

The 500DR has only served to increase my love of music.

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As are all threads here!


And that’s what hifi is for. :clinking_glasses:

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