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How To Identify An Audiophile Recording

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#1 JazzDoc


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Posted 29 January 2020 - 09:28 PM

I sometimes read posts on this forum with a degree of concern. I really hope that I am wrong but it seems that for a small number of members, the enjoyment of music is secondary to tinkering with computers, software settings and interconnect leads. On a hi-fi equipment manufacturer's forum, there was recently some discussion on what might constitute an audiophile recording. The discussion was fairly intense. I was tempted to observe that with modern recordings, anything with a DR greater than 5 would probably be considered audiophile but I wishes to provide something a little more interactive so I devised the following questionnaire:


  1. Is the featured artist someone who you have never heard of?
  2. Are they playing an instrument that looks impossible to tune, much less play?
  3. Does the featured artist spell their name in an unusual way?
  4. Was the recording released by an obscure record label?
  5. Does the music contained in the recording celebrate the cultural diversity of an indigenous people or their country of origin?
  6. Was the recording made using a restored vintage analogue R2R recording device, e.g. Nagra, Studer?
  7. Is the music contained in the recording wholly inappropriate for dancing?
  8. Would you have no wish to see the featured artist in live performance?
  9. Does the featured artist have facial hair? (Please note that this question is also applicable to female artists)
  10. Is it likely that, having listened to the recording once, you would never play it again?
  11. Would the featured artist be unlikely to release a ‘Greatest Hits’ album?
  12. Does the recording enable you to focus on the more detailed mid-range of your most recent system upgrade?

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to six or more of these questions, then you are probably dealing with a genuine audiophile recording. Take comfort in the knowledge that you probably have a great hi-fi system. 


Although I offered the above as light-hearted relief, some seemed to take offence. Perhaps most of their music library met the above criteria. I cannot recall who observed that a music lover will use their hi-fi system to listen to music whereas an audiophile will use music to listen to their hi-fi system. Perhaps someone can remind me? I seem to recall that it may have been Alan Parsons, known for his sound engineering contributions to 'Abbey Road', 'Let It Be' and 'Dark Side Of The Moon'. 


I guess this a request. It would be great to read posts about the music that JPLAY Forum members are enjoying, perhaps with a brief explanatory note. It is after all, the enhanced enjoyment that must surely provide a rationale for the constant system tweaking that appears to be the order of the day for those who enjoy computer based front end setups.

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#2 Thuan


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Posted 30 January 2020 - 02:52 AM

It's essentially the question, "Do you listen to the music or the equipment?". I admit I can't stop tinkering with all aspects of the sound equipment (very limited opportunities in a traditional stereo setup, almost limitless ways with computer audio) just to squeeze an iota of difference in SQ. Why? I find it's fun and less boring to drink the same good wines (favorite and familiar tunes) in different and increasingly better glasses (better components enhancing music enjoyment). The ability (not a mandate or requirement) to constantly change and thus improve the sound quality, which is the sonic vehicle that conveys the music to the listener, is the beauty of computer audio, imho.

It's funny that I'd been itchy to get a DSD512 capable DAC but after it's here I find myself still listening to familiar favorite 16/44.1 tunes more often. It's like one enjoys cruising leisurely on a sport car most of the time, knowing the driver can "step on it" and go 0-60 in a merely few seconds at will.

Another word or two about tweaking. An Wifi router has been placed near controlPC for many moons and functioning well as Access Point. Recently, I managed to move it closer to the Comcast modem thus far away from main setup and onto the other side of the FMC, and the same familiar music sounded better. Most recently, I moved the Acousence GISO from main setup to the back of Comcast modem, and the favorite tunes sounded better again. Eric Clapton's Unplugged sounded scarily, surprisingly LIVE in the room. Most vocals in Best Audiophile Voices sounded sweeter, more intimate, more palpable, more full bodied, more separated from instruments. There're all 16/44.1 tunes.
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#3 Rob


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Posted 30 January 2020 - 07:41 AM

Hi, for me it’s all about enjoying the music, but I do enjoy building the hardware and the better it sounds the more I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy listening hard for small changes in SQ. Same as Thuan I have a separate WiFi router with linear PSU for the hifi and it makes a difference, I also have  16/44.1 recording’s that sound better to me than 24/192 or DSD which seems to be because of less processing in the chain.

Kind Regards Rob. 

#4 Marcin_gps


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Posted 30 January 2020 - 04:10 PM

For me it all boils down to dynamics. The more compressed the recording, the 'less audiophile' I suppose :) 

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