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Re: Gould Bias

On Thu, 20 Feb 1997, Alun Severn wrote:

> Kristen said:
> >        Really? My Gould/Rose & Laredo set sounds like hell in a box. [....]
> >The violin fuzzes out the mid range, the sound
> >breaks up altogether in some places; it's really just awful.

Yep...I tend to agree.  Some of those late 60s and early 70s GG recordings
are very midrange-y, with high levels of audible tape noise (especially
those done before the Dolby A-type compander was used) and have very
audible distortions. The Hindemith piano sonatas CD has similar sound
quality problems, but the performances are (IMHO) really wonderful.
I'm kind of surprised that the Sony engineers did not experiment with
some of the de-noising algorithms that are now available with the various
hard-disk editing systems.  They can work quite well on older analog
masters that have high levels of audible tape hiss, such as the ones
mentioned here.

> Kristen,
> I haven't tried the set on 'phones, it's true -- I don't like them much
> anyway: I wear glasses and find that after just a few minutes the 'phones
> cause the sidebars to press painfully behind my ears....If I take off the
> glasses to avoid this -- a logical move -- then I can't see a thing.
> But I'll try and remember to give them a try with 'phones over the w/e and
> let you know what the quality is like. Over speakers I think it's terrific.
> - Alun


The coupling of the headphones to your ears can be *drastically* affected
by the sidebars of your glasses.  Phones like the Sennheiser HD580s might
work well for you, because they have sizeable foam cushions that elevate
the earpieces off your head.  These cushions would probably give you a 
better fit and affect the sound less than many others.  My favorite phones
right now are the JVC HAD-990s.  They have a wonderfully solid low end
and a very musical sound throughout the audible spectrum.  They're less
comfy than the Sennheisers, though and using them over glasses will
definitely degrade the sonic quality.

I can sympathize with being "blind as a bat" without your glasses, but
I find that critical listening can really be enhanced by removing visual
stimuli altogether (ie: closing your eyes).  Of course, finding your next
CD and loading it in the player can really test your patience!