Years ago, in a section on their site, Mapleshade recommended a female vocal for turntable setup and mentioned Blue by name.
How much deep punchy bass is there on Blue? Barely a trace in the piano, that’s it. Blue is a good record for testing some sonic qualities, not at all good for testing others.
Our advice: do not limit yourself to a female vocal recording when setting up your turntable.
We use Bob and Ray Throw a Stereo Spectacular because it is BIG. How big is Blue? How big can it get? How big is it supposed to be? (We asked that very question about a Heart album we liked to test with years ago. As you can imagine, it is an impossible question to answer when one has only a single copy of the album.)
Blue is simply not a good test for size, power, weight or energy.
These things are very important to us — we talk about them in almost every Hot Stamper listing we write — and if you are not the kind of audiophile BS record lover whose collection is full of Sarah McLachlan and Patricia Barber “vinyls,” they should be every bit as important to you as they are to us.
They are what make music fun and exciting. Don’t you want your music to be fun and exciting? We sure do. It’s practically a three word definition for the kinds of records we sell.
For this same reason, female vocals should not be used exclusively when judging turntables either.
Cheap turntables — you know the kind — with no real energy, solidity or weight, can still do a very good job reproducing female vocals.
Not so good on Revolver, Back in Black, 88 Basie Street, Scheherazade or anything else on this list.
But if you have your speakers too far apart like this guy, a good female vocal would be just the thing to show you the error of your ways.
Regarding speakers, Blue is the kind of record they are going to want to play you at an audio store to demonstrate how good their small speakers can sound.
Small speakers may be able to play Blue, but they can’t play the records we love.
The KEF speakers you see pictured to the left retail for $8,999.
Yes, you read that right.
Roughly 2% of my record collection might play just fine on them. Perhaps less than 2%. Either way, I don’t want to find out.
If you are in the market for better speakers, here is some Speaker Advice you might find useful.
Robert Brook has some advice for those who would like to learn more about analog setup, and you can find it here.