Letter of the Week – The Nutcracker and the Benefits of Big Speakers

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)

Hot Stamper Pressings of The Nutcracker Available Now

One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently:

Tom,
I’ll have a couple of returns for you from recent orders:

Tchaikovsky / The Nutcracker (Complete Ballet) / Ansermet (CS 6069)
Surprised to be returning this, but it just doesn’t do much on my system. Sounds like any old good discogs copy, not WHS for me. Cost wouldn’t have been a factor here for a copy that ’sang’ more.

He then bought some new, bigger speakers, because if you are going to play a work like The Nutcracker, you need big speakers!

  Hey Tom,   

The good news is with my new speakers + amp setup, the Nutcracker set I’d previously asked to return is sounding incredible. Previously it sounded little different to your average discogs copy, but I can hear now how much body I was missing with the smaller Harbeths. The drums are slammin’, the sweet treble notes are dropping like luminous honey, the field is deep and rich. My only beef is that this performance is a bit ‘fast’, in terms of tempo, but this is by-design. So, will hang on to this (which leaves $500 in your pocket).

Dear C,

We are glad to hear of your progress in audio. I’m guessing that a lot more of our records will meet with your approval now, and that most of your Heavy Vinyl pressings will sound even worse than before, or at least they will sound more second-rate than before, which is kind of the same thing.

We discuss the idea of Big Speakers in this boilerplate commentary all over the site:

Let’s face it, this is a BIG SPEAKER record. It requires a pair of speakers that can move air with authority below 250 cycles and play at fairly loud levels. If you don’t own speakers that can do that, this record will never really sound the way it should.

It’s the kind of recording that caused me to pursue Big Stereo Systems driving Big Dynamic Speakers for as long as I can remember. You need a lot of piston area to bring this recording to life, and to get the size of all the instruments to match their real life counterparts.

For that you need big speakers in big cabinets, the kind I’ve been listening to for more than forty years. (My last small speaker was given the boot around 1974 or so and I have never looked back.)

To tell you the truth, the Big Sound is the only sound that I can enjoy. Anything less is just not for me.

TP


FURTHER READING

Basic Concepts and Realities Explained 

Important Lessons We Learned from Record Experiments 

Key Tracks for Critical Listening 

Making Audio Progress 

Unsolicited Audio Advice

We Get Letters 

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