More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
One of our good customers had this to say about some Hot Stampers he purchased recently. The bolding has been added by us.)
I finally had a chance to listen to the Super Hot of Beethoven’s 5th I bought from you last month.
Tom, I am feeling really grateful to you. With your guidance, and your records, I have something I simply assumed I could never have – a stereo that can do full justice to orchestral music.
I picked this record, along with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, as my first foray into full orchestral music on my reworked stereo assembled following your recommendations – Dynavector cartridge, EAR phono stage, Legacy speakers.
Today, sitting at home, I felt like I was at a concert.
This is saying something. I had come to believe this was just not possible. I still remember the sound and the feeling of hearing Beethoven’s 5th performed by the SF Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, about 20 years ago. Seeing it performed for the first time, I was struck by what a small number of musicians the piece calls for. Nobody needed a score, MTT didn’t hold a baton – the whole performance just had a sense of mastery, control, and passion for the music. The sound from that relatively small orchestra was overwhelming. It is this sound I’ve been longing to hear at home. Today, I heard it.
About four years ago I had the opportunity to hear the Berlin Philharmonic play Tchaikovsky’s 5th from a really good seat. Hearing orchestral music performed unamplified in a venue with good acoustics has always led me to believe that it’s not possible to create that on a stereo.
I had come to believe that all stereos distort. When live orchestral music gets loud, it coheres. The sound of a symphony at full volume is just something no stereo or recording can provide. Or so I thought. I figured it was just one of the realities of musical reproduction.
Second, I assumed a full sound field just isn’t possible from a pair of speakers. When you’re a few rows back from an orchestra in a great hall, the entire space is filled, smoothly and cohesively. It makes you realize there’s always an empty space between two speakers. One of those things that you don’t even notice until it’s gone.
Today, listening to this record of Solti performing Beethoven’s 5th overturned both of those beliefs for me. When it got loud, the music hung together with no hint of distortion. Also, the sound field has the most cohesion and depth of anything I’ve heard so far on my Legacys. Most important though is the tone of the instruments on this record. The strings were distinct and differentiated.
The mastery of the performance from the Vienna Philharmonic is just breathtaking. I’m simply so grateful this performance is captured on record, and glad that I have a phenomenal copy of it. This music demands all of your focus. Even if I only listen to it a handful of times, I will be glad to be able to do so.
And, this record is “only” a super hot! I can’t wait to see what a white hot stamper of orchestral music is going to sound like on this stereo. Also, I haven’t played with azimuth or VTA at all, or even broken in the Dynavector yet. It will be wonderful to see if this cartridge can reveal even more.
So, thank you, Tom. I now have something I’ve always wanted, that I assumed I could never attain – the ability to hear orchestral music at home, the way I know it can sound in person.
This is great news, a milestone to mark your success in this hobby we find ourselves in.
With the right equipment playing the right record, the suspension of disbelief is not only possible, it’s practically guaranteed. Once the sound achieves escape velocity, assuming the music is of the highest caliber, it isn’t long before your critical listening faculties shut down and the music starts to live and breathe from moment to moment just as it would in the concert hall.
You experienced it for yourself. You were finally able to prove your theory false by having an experience that showed you how wrong your thinking was.
But it took better equipment and better records than you previously had access to, and this is key.
How many audiophiles have equipment that can do what yours did? How many have pressings of such quality? My guess is not many.
The theories of such audiophiles, very much like your old theories, are based on faulty data, the data that comes from inadequate systems, bad electricity, bad rooms and second-tier recordings. Think of all the audiophiles that own Heavy Vinyl pressings, or CDs, or stream digitally, or who knows what else. Will they ever have the experience you had? Will they ever agree with you about the quality of the sound of orchestral music you’ve achieved?
More than likely they will just assume you don’t know what you are talking about. They deny the experience you had because they’ve never had it themselves.
I wrote to you about classical music before you bought the two records you talk about above. When I told you I could play classical music at home at live levels with amazing fidelity to the live event, you were skeptical to say the least. Oh ye of little faith! Now you see where I was coming from. Experience is a great teacher.
Recently you’ve acquired some top quality equipment, equipment that has made the appreciation of classical music on vintage vinyl possible for you for the first time in your life.
I discovered most of the equipment I currently own — the same stuff I recommended to you — a good twenty or more years ago, and have been tweaking and tuning and experimenting regularly with it for all of that time, to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of hours.
Why did I put so much time and effort into my stereo? Well, for one thing, I got paid to do it.
For another thing, I like doing it because I like to hear my favorite music sound better.