Not that we know of. If audiophiles and the reviewers who write for them are listening critically to these famous recordings on high quality equipment, why do they never talk about this problem?
Here is what we noticed when we played a big batch of Nutcracker recordings on London and Decca:
On some copies of this album the strings are dry, lacking Tubey Magic. This is decidedly not our sound, although it can often be heard on the hundreds of London pressings we’ve played over the years.
And we imagined that this might be the culprit:
If you have a rich sounding cartridge, perhaps with that little dip in the upper midrange, the one that so many moving coils have these days, you may not notice this tonality issue nearly as often as we do.
Our Dynavector 17Dx Karat is ruler flat and quite tonally unforgiving in this regard. It makes our shootouts much easier, but brings out the flaws in all but the best pressings, exactly the job we require it to do.
We discussed the issue in a commentary entitled Hi-Fi Beats My-Fi If You Are At All Serious about Audio.
Here are some other records that are good for testing string tone and texture.
Can we really be hearing all these things that nobody else seems to be hearing? Things like:
If audiophiles and audiophile reviewers are hearing these things on the records they review, in magazines and audiophile forums, why aren’t they discussing them?
Case in Point
We occasionally take the time to create a little “test” to see if audiophiles — customers or just visitors to the blog, makes no difference to us — can hear a specific quality we’d noticed when auditioning a record. Normally this would be a quality that jumped out at us when playing the record, and we were just curious as to whether it jumped out at anybody else.
On this version of Sweet Baby James we heard something that took us by surprise, an artifact we subsequently dubbed an “EQ Anomaly.” We put the question of what this anomaly might be to our readers and waited for someone to spot it. And here is what we got in return. (more…)