In the last two articles, I presented some titles from the extreme ends of the spectrum of my music taste. Today I will write about a piece which falls somewhere in the middle. A ballad from The Rolling stones, the song Angie.
This is a song from the album 'Goats Head Soup'. I have never been a big Stones fan. Sure I liked their music and they are one of the greatest rock bands. From an audio geeks point of view, the recording quality of most of their albums is quite mediocre, but that shouldn't really count anyways, at the end, what matters is the music.
Goats Head Soup is also nothing special in terms of technical recording quality. The vinyl I have is from the seventies, from the era when most records where cheaply made, thin and flimsy. Yet on a good system it is very listenable. Especially the song Angie has some interesting details on the recording. Whenever I listen to a new system or a new component, this is one of the tracks which I like to listen to. The first time I heard this track during a HiFi demo was a long time ago. I was a teenager and wanted to upgrade the speakers of my very first stereo system to something 'serious'. This was one of the pieces which was played and the system reproduced it really well, at least to my standards back then. I bought the speakers. In the years after that, I kept experiementing with different audio systems and followed what the glossy HiFi magazines preached: 'high resolution' with good imaging. This was during the 80ies. Many records were almost unlistenable on these systems, including this one. It was regarded as a sign of the good quality of the stereo, since it clearly showed the flaws of the record. It took me a while until I realized that this was the wrong path. A system should be able to play 99% of your favorite records really well, no matter what their 'technical' qualiry level is. A good system does not show the weaknesses of recordings with a magnifying glass. It should show their strengths.
After I got into vaccum tube amplification and especially DIY, I learned about the correct way of music reproduction. Trying to get the best out of every record, focus on the music, ambience and emotions, not the technical sound.
Many records contain such things. Explore your record collection, especially those which you think are nothing special. They might contain some gems. Savor your Vinyl!