Vtory's Music (Re)Discoveries

Discussion in 'Music and Recordings' started by Vtory, Aug 25, 2022.

  1. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth Damsel in distress, ZMF Whore

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    I love the Capenters. @penguins can tell you; I built my speaker rig to specifically sound extremely good with the Carpenters and other music of this era.
     
  2. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Hifiman Susvara (mod) < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-14_21-29-40.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/dfqhrx2cunkqb

    This is an interesting work by Kuniko Kato, a top tier leading percussion virtuoso from Japan. In this album, she mainly focuses on cello suites and violin sonatas, re-interpreting what Bach means to her. I don't necessarily agree with all her interpretations but the recording quality is stunning, honestly.

    My audio chain faithfully reproduced the delightful balance between the direct instrument sound and the ambience behind it. Susvara's transparency allowed me to hear clearly how the attack on each note lit up the reverberation in the recorded venue (a large Church in Estonia if I recall correctly). I appreciate very rich lower registers, too.
     
  3. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Hifiman Susvara (mod) < Topping LA90 < Gustard X18

    upload_2022-9-15_20-12-37.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/0002894833190

    Endowed with a nicely flowed various sparkling tunes evoking the rhythm and color, Jiri Belohlavek and Czech Philharmonic could connect me to magnificent symphonic poems by Bedrich Smetana.

    On my audio chain, I immediately appreciated the violins had great body to their tone, the cellos sounded rich, and the woodwinds sounded natural and were suitably set back in the soundstage behind the plane of the strings. While I am not Czech at all, I could easily feel their (composer, conductor, and orchestra's) unadulterated love for their homeland. A beautiful orchestration and recording quality.
     
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Hifiman Susvara (mod) < Topping LA90 < Gustard X18

    upload_2022-9-16_12-17-46.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/q65x50u7bnh2a

    It's always fascinating to find diverse interpretations, which is one of major reasons I love to listen to classical music. That's also why I got to love Murray Perahia and his works. That said, I'm very thrilled when I first discovered this album recently because both sonatas were radically different from what I used to.

    My audio chain got in the way of the music. I could easily hear lots of timbral richness and right balance between attacks and decays. High frequency is much better articulated than other headphones sitting around me. With such a perfect audio support, I felt like Murray was saying on emotional and spiritual levels. I was able to appreciate not only his performance but also his interpretations. Very insightful listening overall.
     
  5. gotflute

    gotflute Rando

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    First, thanks for the recommendation. I enjoyed this on multiple levels.
    What are you used to? It will help supply context to my reply to know which versions of the sonatas feel like "home" to you.

    The listening was very interesting and pleasantly like a sort of "normal" to me :) Of Mr. Perahia's many permutations over the years, this one has the more horizontal feel to things: as a wind player or orchestra would approach the material.

    Melodic content (the various motif content) seem to be his priority in this performance: tempi and harmonic considerations are all calculated based on the "the tune". I found the tempi to not be that laborious type, typical of most of the later 20th century. In some of those recordings, I wondered if we would ever be done. That is what is happens when the work is treated like a term paper instead of a sonic/emotional sculpture. Well done to bring out the emotional melodies while making the harmonies support what is going on.

    As to the recording, I am happy that, through what ever trickery that German label has up its sleeve these days, they have created a mostly believable soundstage for the piano... mostly. Decays and reverb, on my setup, sound a little artificial, breaking the disbelief that I was hearing a piano in a space. Better than their efforts in the past, but still didn't break the illusion from time to time. All in all however, the engineer got out of the way mostly and just made a modern feeling of a good piano floating in space that was neither bathroom like nor a studio covered in blankets.

    Thank you again for the "recommendation".
     
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  6. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I think I spent the greatest amount of time in listening to Beethoven's piano sonatas through Wilhelm Kempff and Emil Gilels's renditions. When I practiced to play several sonatas myself many years ago, those two were always my reference.

    Also, thanks very much for your epic impression. Love to read your analytical thoughts (happy to induce such a nice post in this thread). All points agreed.
     
  7. gotflute

    gotflute Rando

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    [QUOTE=" Emil Gilels's renditions. When I practiced to play .[/QUOTE]

    Ok. That's funny! I was just going to suggest Gilels as a point of reference and comparison.

    There was a time that every piano student was given a recording of Gilels playing beethoven and was told "yeah: play it like this".

    Not to be hard on the guy: he had a rough life. And, at times, broke through the mold that was being imposed on all classical pianists at that time.

    My question is: do these producers and recording engineers have any awareness of what they are doing?

    thanks for the epic tag. Looking forward to more conversations.

    If you would like a recommendation showing more of this "horizontal" view of the piano... check out this guy:


    (not an audiophile recording)

    Not sure why this "kid" isn't just touring everywhere. I purchased a couple of his CD's, and look forward to him coming to Texas post COVID: I'll be there with a foam finger. He shows such musical maturity and the type of sensitivity that is only possible through technical prowess. Just beautiful. One of my favorite living pianists (the CD's are mastered... ok... for Redbook... these days... this guy need to fire his agent).
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2022
  8. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ESlab ES-R10 < SMSL M500.3
    • [email protected] loaned me a demo pair of his take of R10 for my evaluation. I will probably use them to update this thread for one week or two, starting from today

    upload_2022-9-17_11-51-38.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/5410547051932

    Many of music pieces I'm reporting to this thread is recommended by AI's recommendation system (previously Tidal now Qobuz). The algorithms seem to work their job very well.. at least to me. Her debut album (this album) is also recommended by qobuz and I absolutely loved them from the first listening. This is an intelligent and moving jazz album exemplifying what acoustic jazz can do.

    On ES's R10, I found the soundstage was a little enhanced than I anticipated. Melanie's smoky voice was large and at dead center. Drum kit and piano were mostly overlapped (they're recorded that way, I think) but understandably separated. Compared to more standard sounding headphones like HD650, R10 expanded and/or over-separated things a bit. I really appreciate vocal presentation (attributable to singer, recording, and audio). In particular, The third track, 'Never Gonna Make It', enthralled and owned me immediately. Her thick and husky voice was much lusher and more romantic than any other headphones I have at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ESlab ES-R10 (demo pair) < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-18_12-7-31.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/0002894831604

    While I knew ES-R10 went well with almost every vocal recording, I wanted to know how they sound under a larger orchestral and spatially-complex context, which led me to this work. While I do have a slight preference toward Karajan's Salome, I've kept revisiting this album many times. Solti's reliable orchestration combined with Birgit's vocal glory is worth listening by all means.

    On the R10 replica, I was impressed by their headstage reproduction. R10 recreated the deep and wide soundstage of this large-scale event much better than I assumed. Instrumental and soloist's sections were well discernable. Locational cue of each vocalist was easily identifiable, too. Singers' movement around the stage was almost visible. Birgit's voice was faithfully reproduced with solid power, clarity, and richness. The music-audio pairing was very successful doubtlessly.
     
  10. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ESlab ES-R10 (demo pair) < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-19_12-43-52.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/0060253780526

    Probably no long introduction is necessary. Superb album by two jazz masters. Both musicians surely had a clear understanding of each other's style and timing. Some parts showed a beautiful lyricism and timing while other parts exhibited relaxzing and fluent intimacy with gentle refrain moments.

    On the replica R10, Charlie's double bass sounded solid and buttery smooth. Keith's piano had a moderate upper treble sparkle albeit a little veiled (note: the album seems to be recorded this way to some extent). R10 did impress me in bass more than in piano. The level of reproducing acoustic bass in terms of weight, warmth, and physical sense of touch is noteworthy. I occasionally hear low notes were a little lighter to my liking but overall it's good enough for me to want to listen to the whole album again.
     
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ESlab ES-R10 (demo pair) < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-20_17-16-4.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/0652637270969

    After finishing a long, busy and tiring day, I wanted to listen to something moody. What I ended up double-clicking among my qobuz favorites was Dead Can Dance's "The Serpent's Egg". While this work is highly experimental, it's rather immersive. I always find DCD's music very evocative and captivating.

    The replica R10 effortlessly reproduced the dense, wide, and blooming soundstage in my head. I also liked how believably modern and medieval instruments were imaged and layered. Overall, R10 could replicate all its drama, weight, and spaciousness powerfully as well as portentously.
     
  12. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ESlab ES-R10 (demo pair) < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-21_18-31-38.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/p3q8u8j05aneb

    How many of you have heard about the Seattle Symphony or Thomas Dausgaard? Those names were pretty new to me as a noob casual listener. Qobuz recommended me a while ago and I honestly was motivated by the colorful jacket image. What I didn't expect was this work's excellence in both interpretation and recording.

    I like the pace this work moved along at. Thomas facilitated nice texture, too. Strings could leave something to be desired, but that brass section was so strong that can make up for anything.

    On the R10 replica, I really appreciate sublime dynamics and staging accomplished by the engineering team. While the R10 could not fully reach as low as the mighty organ could go, they could do tight and convincing bass, warm mids, and rousing highs. The sense of immersion in an all-encompassing soundfield is lovely. Clear separation was also noteworthy. It's not that often to hear this much differentiation between violins in the orchestra's large string section.
     
  13. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ESlab ES-R10 (demo pair) < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-22_19-37-2.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/ma1exff23kaxc

    One of the best vocal works. There is everything -- the gorgeous tone, the stunning flexibility, the dramatic instinct, and the stylistic authority. Beautifully recorded, too.

    The R10 replica surprised me with much better clarity than I thought. I could easily appreciate that it's her great breath control that resulted in deep feeling, perfect control, and hushed intensity. The last track, 'Se ami senti spirarti sul volto', particularly and comprehensively demonstrated all of them.
     
  14. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    ESlab ES-R10 (demo pair) < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-23_17-13-59.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/0075597939187

    There's no wrong or bad Bach. But this work is pretty unique in its unusual instrumental combination. At least to me, cello, mandolin, and double bass, at face value, are hard to imagine to get along well. Nonetheless these three virtuosos came up with a wonderful interpretation. The result was extremely pleasing with each clear voice and real independence in the lines. The blend really worked.

    I like the R10 replica's presentation in reproducing each instrument. Double bass was moderately tight, mandolin's texture was convincing, and cello was effortless yet colorful. A nice soundstage, too. The replica might not achieve the top notch delicacy or transparency compared to my totl orthos tho.
     
  15. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    DCA Stealth < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-24_18-55-51.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/0002894832017

    With a new toy in the house, I wanted to see what they were truly capable of in terms of spatial picture reproduction. For this purpose, I keep revisiting this album albeit some minor noise issues in certain tracks.

    The Stealth's headstage was not the widest or deepest I've experienced. Not wrap-around enveloping, either. Producing a fine spread, the soundstage was very stable and the images presented on it were precise, holographic, and solid. I appreciate absence of distracting diffusion. It's always very pleasing to hear familiar things be presented more clearly. Lots of low-level details were audible slightly differently including more nuanced/textured reverb. Highly enthralling.
     
  16. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    DCA Stealth < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-25_16-47-39.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/xggud6wi3209b

    With a moderately rainy weather outside, I wanted to listen to a serious piano recital today. Something worth paying close attention to. After thinking of some candidates, I double clicked Anna Gourari's recent album. Her works commonly include self-reflective style through delicate gradation. But she also occasionally uses adventurous contrast through bursts of bright colors and engaging energy. This album is filled with such tracks. I do think the elusive affinity is a fitting name.

    Playing this album with the Stealth, there were quite a lot magical moments I should listen with breathless attention. For example, the last aphorism's (from the Five Aphorisms for Piano) lower-register was of impressive clarity with lower bass extension. Wonderfully finished by atonal crashes with the loud pedal depressed. In the last track (BWV 974's 2nd movement), on the Stealth, the image of Anna's piano was stable, uncolored, and convincingly placed in the headstage. The continually repeated phrase by her left hand was almost hypnotic.
     
  17. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    DCA Stealth < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-26_22-5-8.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/e4i8jj2sos1vb

    I love to listen to this album with various hifi combos. With capable audio systems, Patricia, the band, and the engineering team made the familiar tunes be sounded as if anyone (myself included of course) felt that he/she was sitting in a great jazz bar at night. Great sounding music played extraordinarily.

    To be specific, the Stealth immediately let me know how well balanced lows and highs were in this album. I couldn't hear any hint showing the hi-hat's highs or Patricia's voice were exaggerated. The highs might be tiny bit mellower than things like Susvara. But I really like Stealth's slightly forwarding sound. Patricia's voice was projected forward in the soundstage -- almost what I deem the way it should sound.

    On top of that, the piano had excellent presence and superbly natural sounding tonal balance. The bass line was pushed forward and had a good combination of weight and definition. It's truly a summit-fi experience.
     
  18. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    DCA Stealth < SMSL HO200 < SMSL M500.3

    upload_2022-9-27_17-10-38.png

    https://open.qobuz.com/album/0884977319354

    Modern technology sometimes does wonder. What Zenph studios did 12 years ago was almost a magic to me. Well, what they actually did was (1) to obtain the best recordings by Rachmaninoff from the early twentieth century, (2) to remove surface noise through fancy computer processing, and (3) to restore the dynamic range that was muted by the limited recording processes of that era. Were they successful? Absolutely..

    The subtle ambience around and behind the re-synthesized steinway piano were clearly resolved by the Stealth. The piano sound was reproduced without midrange coloration. Some of the highest notes did sound a little accentuated though. I could thoroughly enjoy Sergei's rendition and styles -- which are btw still a bit difficult for me to accurately describe more than "utter sense of music".
     
  19. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    You are misunderstanding the Zenph process. What they do is analyze a recording and create a play sequence of the timing, force, duration and release of each piano note and pedal actions. Then they play the sequence on a real piano (a modern, high end player piano) and record the sound.

    https://www.npr.org/2007/05/28/10439850/new-technology-recaptures-pianists-of-the-past
     
  20. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    You're right. I heard that before.. I might mix up with something else. Thanks for point it out.
     

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