Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones – Good Demo Disc / Bad Test Disc

More Rickie Lee Jones

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Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

RLJ’s first album is what we would consider a Good Demo Disc but a Bad Test Disc.

Meaning that this record can sound good on really crappy stereos — which explains why it is so often heard at stereo stores and at shows, where really crappy stereos are usually found in abundance. But it’s not what the System Doctor ordered if the goal is to work out some problem or fault with the reproduction of all your other recordings. In other words, records like this can be misleading. 

Of course, all records have that quality to one degree or another, which is why you need to use a basket of recordings to make judgments about equipment. Don’t rely on any given recording to be The Truth. None of them are.

Wait a minute. Perhaps I spoke too soon.

Here is an excerpt from the commentary for the Blood Sweat and Tears album we like so much:

Concerning Good Demo Disc, Bad Test Disc, this disc is actually both a Good Demo Disc and a Good Test Disc, and practically the only record I can think of off the top of my head that is. The good copies of this album sound good on almost any system. But the better systems bring out qualities in this recording that you are very unlikely to have ever heard on another.

No matter what level your system is at, any change you make will be instantly obvious on this recording, for good or for bad. Nothing can fool it. It’s too tough a test, the toughest I know of bar none. For this record to sound right, truly right, every element of its reproduction has to be working at the highest level. Any shortcoming will be glaringly obvious. The record may still sound good, but it won’t really sound right, and you should be able to hear that.

If you want to improve your stereo, this is the record that will show you whether or not you’ve succeeded. It’s the perfect record to set VTA, adjust subwoofers, position speakers… You name it, this record is the ultimate audio test disc. Live music is the real test, and this recording comes closer to that sound than any I know of.

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