S9 is hands down one of the best examples of a recording that only really comes to life when you Have Your Volume Up Good and Loud.
There’s not much ambience to be found in their somewhat dead sounding studio, and very little high frequency boost to any instrument in the mix, which means at moderate levels this record sounds flat and lifeless. (You could say it has that in common with most Heavy Vinyl pressings these days, assuming you wanted to take a cheap shot at those records, which, to be honest, I don’t mind doing. They suck; why pretend otherwise?)
But turn it up and man, the sound really starts jumpin’ out of the speakers, without becoming phony or hyped-up. In fact, it actually sounds more NATURAL and REAL at louder levels.
A Quick and Easy Test
Play the record at normal levels and pick out any instrument — snare, toms, sax, bass — anything you like. Now turn it up a notch and see if the timbre of that instrument isn’t more correct. Add another click of volume and listen again.
I think you will see that with each increase in volume, assuming your system can handle it, the tonality of each and every instrument you hear continues to get better.
This record would sound right at something very close to, if not actual, LIVE levels. Of that I have no doubt. (more…)