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

Mine are definitely chrome ( bumper) tinted ones.

1 Like

Ivor Tiefenbrun was once asked about the quality potential of a domestic hi-fi system and his response was (so the story goes) that it could recreate “about 10%” of the live experience. I generally agree that the gulf between live and recorded is and will remain vast. By the same token, I continue to be surprised by the riches that 50 and 60 year old recordings yield up with the latest developments, which suggests that that particular limit may be a ways off.

The VFM angle will always be a personal thing. With an upgrade like the one you’ve just made, I suspect your view on that will evolve over several years (and will be a fun journey).


Part of our learning curves in hi fi (and life) often hinge on how quickly we realise the truth honestly, even if it’s terribly uncomfortable.
Seeding ground for maturity.

Brings to mind pertinent feedback on this lovely thread about being honest with ourselves and others as is, without the facades. I have an affinity for truth as I age, without the BS and any offence meant in intent, however uncomfortable.

As they say, the truth hurts (and liberates all the same).

Great on ya Claydon! I’ve had quite a few “face my system honestly” moments. And accepted the truth without overthinking.

Phil P

I actually sold all my Naim kit once for this very reason and I’d previously down graded from 282/300 to a 102/180 for the same reason as I found myself only listening and buying music that sounded good on an Linn/Naim system.

So I went back to the beginning a Nad c370 and an Technics 1210 and started enjoying all my music again I have eventually arrived back at Naim via Quad and Hegel and now own an SN2 with a P8 and Raspberry Pi/Chord 2Qute as sources and that’s it for me possibly a P10 and a Hicap DR but it’s all about music now not the Hifi my modest by forum standards system has it’s shortcomings but it plays all my collection well.


If I may, I remember this one audition at an acquaintance’s home a century ago, when my mind was still young and impressionable and I thought Naim DBLs run active were indeed “the end all”.

His were a pair of formidable bridged ML’s Cello Performance 2 monoblocks (8 pieces) with the corresponding Paelette Pre running Genesis 1 speakers with their huge ass bass towers fed by a meaty Wadia source - friends, this system till today just blew my ears and mind off completely in a different way from 3 or 6 pack active DBLs. Both were as close to live music, in the confines of home but in different ways.

Those were HUGE muthas. Don’t know who the man is - just took this off the net to convey its size. The Gen 1 took my breath away with its control, sonic purity, scale, power, and touch-you-in-the-face tangibility. He played a rock number which was recorded live. The jaw just dropped. Never heard something like that before. I was right there in that live jig. It was an uncomfortable audition in hindsight, because as a “Naim man”, it made me rethink everything I wanted to believe and enjoyed about (Naim) sound. At that time, it was difficult for you to shake my humble if battle-hardened and stubborn “allegiance” to Naim. It still is now, but being truthful to ourselves means we keep our minds open, and find real meaning when listening, without the facades and denials.

It’s good to be as is.

For the record, I still love my music deliriously through a Naim system. They are still the best sum of parts for my $.


Phil P

1 Like

Gold, for me!

Thank you Bob.

Our journeys are as unique as our ears and what we can accept to be happy with whatever our choice of system, modest to advanced.


I’ve never really understood the meaning of cassettes, safe as love letters to girls when I was sixteen or so. They were playlists although they were called compilations. It was fun to make them - afternoons had a special, intimate and hopeful quality.

Time travel…


Yes who hasn’t tried to impress a girl with a homemade compilation although I suppose now that everyone as access to almost everything online it probably doesn’t mean the same thing.


That’s exactly the appeal and what makes (made?) cassette so special. Try doing the same thing with a digital playlist. A lot of the fun was designing the inserts and labels.


I haven’t! Not a concept that was around when I was of that age… Instead it was common to swap LPs with friends at school, so I would carry prominently on my way to and from school hoping it would impress girls. (Ha ha!). But then I went to an all-boy secondary school and the only opportunity to impress girls was on the train or at the station. Once I had a girlfriend it would be taking her home to listen to LPs (all the way through of course).
I only ever made mix-tapes for music in the car (where the purpose was my entertainment not impressing anyone) - though it was not a term I knew until after I had abandoned cassettes for compilations on CD - except once I had a CD player in the car I could take the original CD and play whole albums.

Interesting that you say ‘That’s it’ then list 2 upgrades you want to buy. :nerd_face:

Absolutely bang on about bad recordings. Metallica never recorded well on CD yet ive just listened to Andrea Bocelli opera album and its clean as a whisper

Interesting to some clearly

I did the same thing myself yesterday in an email.

I think the idea of reaching a final state of audio reproduction doesn’t work, it’s too boring.

And there are always new ways to progress.

This reminds me of many happy moments in a second hand record store. Half the fun was the discovery process and picking albums and auditing them yourself.
Many sounded great on those store Technics with some nondescript headphones. Often they then sounded crap when I brought them home. So I started buying quality (new) vinyl online sounding great most of the time, apart from some duds. But yeah you then give up something to gain something.

In hindsight I guess that’s why we loved FM so much here for most listening, 70% or so. All various music is filtered / processed / equalised through the radio station’s transmitters. The only variable is then the different flavours of sound colouration of various FM stations. With a selection of those and a great Naim tuner into the Nait 2 life was good. Now exploring internet radio but somehow it’s not the same.

1 Like

I started reading the thread and then have come back a day or so later to 150 unread so I am just going straight in with the reply from my perspective…

I listen to music. I enjoy the journey of finding more music from artists even if its poor sounding live stuff. I actually buy bootleg recordings and listen to those also. Do they sound great, noooooo, but there is still a connection and a vibe that beats listening on my QB when I listen on my ND system. Compared to a decent recoding some stuff I listen to is ‘horrible’ but after about a minute and some volume you soon forget and just enjoy the show! I listen to audience tape recordings, demos & properly recoded stuff. It all has its place.


Before I buy something I try to check the DR level, although a lot of what I buy is from bands and engineers/producers who don’t tend to brick wall stuff to hell.

Nevertheless, the nasty surprises will continue to ambush me because that’s just how it is. Since I spend a lot of my time in my office with the Muso Mk2 singing away, the loud stuff isn’t so bothersome because it’s supposed to sound big on a small device. This still can’t rescue albums that are so hot I can hear distortion.

As to other types of badly recorded albums, where the DR range may be high, or the recording thin, muddled, too boomy, to spikey, etc… as a general observation I have found that the better the equipment, the more I am able to look past the sound balance and hear the what the musicians were playing and how they were playing it.

Fast, incisive, revealing, uncompromising, laid back, polite, etc. I hear these these terms applied to equipment, particularly in reviews, and to me they sound like descriptions of sub optimal musical communication. Sure, I’ve got some very sharp and spitty recordings. And muffled efforts. But the ability of the system to coherently musically communicate can overcome a lot of it. Recording quality, personal taste and the room will inevitably play their part too. As will the mood of the listener.

Some recordings will always be beyond my ability to comfortably listen to them, although I might get better enjoyment in the car or in the office. I’ve also got a QB in the shed, this can also hold a tune rather well and flatter material which is too loud to listen to in the lounge.

From as young as I can remember (probably age 3-4) I have loved music. It has fascinated me, entertained me, moved me, informed me and motivated me. I can listen to music on anything, including MW transmissions on a crap 1960s transistor radio. And I can listen to and enjoy crap recordings of good music - if I have no alternative.


An interesting and informative response, Harry, and it goes to show how personal these things are.

The addition of my 500DR has made nothing sound worse. Most of my treasured music sounds way better, with some lovely surprises unearthed. However anything that was unlistenable or irritating pre 500DR is still the same post 500DR - hence the question raised in the OP.

Here’s a nice example of a fundamental upgrade

This sounds familiar. There’s nothing like a new music collection, particularly when not anticipated. It makes me wonder how much more is buried in there.

Some stuff is irredeemable. Or at least to date. This is also why I get jumpy when something like streamer FW is released with a new DAC-DSP. I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get my music and room in good balance. Then I update FW and I’m dying by a thousand cutting leading edges. User configurable DSP would be awfully nice. I can do it to my car system with a laptop and USB cable and my local dealer has it down to a fine art with a number of Linn installations. Maybe one day.