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

And Norah Jones.

Fascinated if you play the Smiths and let us know what you think

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Can’t dis The Smiths at the moment, HH is about!


I’ve listened to enough to know she’s not my cuppa a tea, neither is Dire Straits or Pink Floyd.

With more resolving kit you hear more of the recording, including what’s wrong with it. I find some aspects of poor recordings distracting at higher volumes but turning it down takes the edge off and its fine. Save cranking the volume for the good stuff :+1:


@Petersfi has just posted an interesting article on this subject.
Link - New music is trending down

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II am always on the hunt for new music, but new music to me isn’t necessarily new to everyone else or new as in just released. But I do listen to more newer material for the most part. It’s all part of the journey discovering stuff you missed first time or second time around and finding something nobody else has heard, the latter becoming harder given today’s medium of streaming.


It should be like looking at a great oil painting.
The more closer you look the more you can see the hand and weave.
If it sounds crap - that’s how it was intended to sound.
Life isn’t always a bed of fresh roses.
Some grit,smear,distortion,wonkyness and other agitated artefacts can be an intended influence.


You really hate those, don’t you?

But they are awful.
(heads for cover)

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I have the (delayed) 50th anniversary ‘What’s Going on’ on pre-order. I also have a copy of the LP already (not an original) and it’s a pretty average reproduction of a great album, in my view.

The 50th has been remastered by Kevin Gray, from the original analogue tapes. This gives me hope based on his Tone Poet work. I’m convinced a fair few LPs are poor quality reproductions rather than poorly recorded in the first place. We shall see.

I don’t find that having better equipment makes poorly recorded music less enjoyable - generally far from that.
There are several aspects, I think. One is familiarity. With music that you remember or have lived with for a long time - that your really loved as a youth - the better system takes nothing away, and adds something. If it is music you love, then you will love it however you reproduce it.
I have a lot of recordings from the mid-1960s onwards, usually on reel-to-reel, sometimes on cassette. Sometimes copied from one recording to another. Quality can be really poor. But I still love it. Often, I find original recordings (or digital copies of them) on the 'net, and they are technically far better - and I like those too. But the original, terrible copies that I made are something special. It’s very strange.
But I guess if you find that better equipment makes old recordings unlistenable - get a cheap system as well, and play them on that. Should work.
But a good hifi lets good recordings show stuff that poor hifi cannot.


Hi Nigel, good thread.

A better-resolved higher end system will always be a double-edged sword.

But there’s nothing like good hifi in a dedicated listening room. In knowing badly recorded stuff, I can spend more time listening to the better recordings which give me goosebumps and more enjoyment.

All things considered, since I prefer the deeper connection to the essence of the music through a better system than not, I will spend what I can. Good hi fi when set up carefully provides me with invaluable reference points. I like the idea that if I am able to discern good sound from average or poor sound, I’m still in the pink of health… like a litmus test. Without these reference points, a Bluetooth speaker will do just as well as a pair of Air Pods for general music enjoyment.

I won’t stay on poor recordings as they will never be a priority since they don’t get me closer to the music.


Phil P


Not at all. I own and like DSOTM, but am perplexed when people show it so often in their photos. You’d think they’d try to demonstrate a little imagination, rather than a hoary old chestnut. As to Dire Straits, I love their first album, and will admit to liking Brothers in Arms. But as for their rubbish where hifi obsessives debate whether it’s one or two smashing bottles, well….

I have to confess that I’m currently listening to the rather wonderful Waits/Brennan remaster of Tom Waits Nighthawks at the Diner, released in 1975.


Actually… some Jazz masters and their recordings were done in mono… thin, not the best sounding - but still fantastic music.

Just plonk it on, and enjoy the music for what it is. I’d rather be able to play music on a 500 based system, or a Nait chrome bumper system as a lifestyle choice, because I can, and I know what a Naim system can do for music, than not.



Well yes, some recordings or rather some media representations of it can be poor but as you say mostly it is rare. So, I am happy to focus on the very good music I can listen to on my HiFi.

When I say media representations I am mostly thinking of LPs, for instance, I have a couple of copies of the Steely Dan Aja LP. One is pretty rubbish or at best mediocre (an MCA 1988 reissue) sounding like you are listening through a wet flannel and an ABC records original pressing (1977) which just sings that is a super representation of the original recording.


I also find that much of the Beatles recordings are thin - in that they don’t have as much bass as you might expect. But perhaps my expectations are wrong.
I am surprised at the quality of some of the Shadows’ recordings in that regard.

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I love music. I loved it on a small transistor radio as a child; on a cheap car stereo; a dansette; an Amstrad tower and eventually hi-fi separates.

If your system, for you, exposes the weaknesses in the recordings of great music to the extent you query the musical side of things then likely you have lost sight of the goal of loving music and focused on hi-fi goals such as soundstage, resolution, “accuracy” etc. Those are all well and good but all of us have a point at which those attributes make us enjoy great music less. That wouldn’t necessarily prevent me upgrading. It might make me think of downgrading.


More gold!

Thank you Mike.

So far, my olive Naim system then played anything and everything, and it was just joy in general.
I don’t remember having stopped listening to thin, or badly pressed mono recordings because the music was just wonderful for what it was.