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Quality CD's

 

JimmyM
Unregistered guest
Is there a way I can tell if I'm getting a quality CD (read quality music) before I buy it? Conversely, is there a way I can tell if it is junk? Will the case/cover bear any particular language, marking(s) or logo(s)? Does a higher price guarantee quality? Is quality music found more generally in any particular genre of music, e.g., classical? I'd appreciate a short primer on choosing quality CD's, if there is such a thing.

BTW, I tried unsuccessfully to search for such a thread.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1323
Registered: Dec-03
Jimmy,

I personally think the answer to all those questions is "No". "Quality" is a personal judgement. In my opinion, one of the nice things about HiFi is that you can try things at not much cost, and then make up your own mind.
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 220
Registered: Feb-04
If you're refering to sound quality, the best source of information would be word of mouth or magazines/websites that care to report on sound quality. There are no hard and fast rules for determining the sound quality of a CD by the cover or the case. However, there are some labels that have a reputation for their excellent recording quality. A few that come to mind include Hyperion, Telarc, Chandos, BIS, Chesky, Linn, Mobile Fidelity Labs, and Blue Note (from the 60's on).
 

Bronze Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 46
Registered: Mar-04
yes, two cents has a good point. if you're looking for quality music, labels is a better way to get the highest quality.

while not necessarily considered a "hi-fi" label, i've found that many tracks in my various rykodisc collections are demo quality.

i'd add the dorian label to the "hi-fi" list for classical music. denon's CDs are usually considered better than average and mark levinson's red rose label and sterophile's own label are considered "hi-fi" too.

any CD that has "super bitmapped" in it's description might be higher fidelity eg. mickey hart's planet drum CD was recorded with state of the art analogue. the gold version of the CD was recorded in 24 bits and the super bitmapping conversion is supposed to make 16 bit CD sound like it's higher resolution in a way similar to "superbit" DVDs having a little more resolution than regular DVDs.


if ultimate fidelity is your main goal, reviews, as mentioned are a good place to start. hi-fi magazines like stereophile and the absolute sound are a really good place to look as they include sound quality in their reviews where magazines like rolling stone are usually more concrened with the music.

i'd recommend stereophile's yearly "music to die for" (M2D4) list as required reading. i think most of the back issues of that are available for free at their website.

most of the best hi-fi music tends to be jazz or classical with a few exceptions.

solex: solex vs. the hitmeister... might be an electronic album, but i use it as a demo disc whenever i audition speakers as it demonstrates most of the features of hi-fi music... bass, treble, imaging, dynamics and vocals among other things.

kraftwerk's CDs are also electronic but highly regarded as demo discs.

pink floyd's dark side of the moon has been considered as one of rock's greatest demo discs for many years.

personally, i'd rather hear a great song with lower fidelity than ANY jazz no matter how well it's recorded EVERY time.

if you'd like to test drive CDs, why not see what your local library has? i've found several awesome hi-fi acoustic world music etc. discs there including planet drum.

one other recommendation for hi-fi music... if you want super realistic recordings, look into binaural recordings. those are stereo recordings where a dummy head with mics in the ears is used to record music for listening to with headphones. the totally acoustic stereo mixing of a binaural dummy gives a listener a very spatially realistic experience that can make you feel like you're really "there" better than even $100,000 speakers can.

binaural recordings are supposed to sound pretty hi fi listened to over speakers as well only sacrificing some of the lower volume details. if you have a pair of headphones... try at least one binaural recording. whatever you do though, don't turn your head to follow sounds as you can induce dizziness doing that.

i remember years ago when i was listening to a recording made on my sister's friend's little boombox's mics, i was actually fooled into thinking my sister had entered the room when i listened to it with headphones.

i'd bet that a proper dummy head recording would sound much more realistic.

i've made recordings with a pair of PZM mics spaced at "ear distances" without a dummy head that sound VERY realistic over headphones... even more realistic than the "alleged" binaural tracks on the monsters inc. DVD.

maybe it was my cheesy $5 in ear headphones that ruined that.

if they're still in business... binaural source had a fairly large collection of binaural recordings including classical, jazz, environmental and even a couple of binaurally recorded dramas.

i've been meaning to buy the thunderstorm disc they used to sell as they never had any of my favorite classical music. i think i'll look them up again after this post to see what's new if they're still around.
 

Anonymous
 
try steve hoffmans music forums
 

Bronze Member
Username: Willy_57

Moerbeke waas, Oost-vlaanderen Belgium

Post Number: 12
Registered: May-06
You can't go wrong with; Peter Hammill
Robert Wyatt
Nick Cave
Nick Drake
David Thomas
 

Gold Member
Username: Gavincumm

New York USA

Post Number: 1189
Registered: Feb-05
anything by Ottmar Liebert, Diana Krall, James Taylor, or Loreena McKennitt
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