SH Spotlight Wanna check how your CD player is doing? "Tigerlily" CD Natalie Merchant, how I compared CD players

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Aug 15, 2022.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    You have the old 1995 Elektra CD of Nat's Tigerlily? Go grab it.

    So I have a bunch of CD players around the house but I only concentrated on two:
    My Audio Note UK DAC 4.1X Balanced with CDT-3 transport, and my older Modwright Sony 9100ES tubed Platinum Signature Truth digital player.

    Two nice machines, not state of the digital art but quite organic sounding.

    I wanted to hear CARNIVAL on Tigerlily, hadn't played it for many years. Got it out, fired up my Ongaku/M9 AN system with the Modwright player and also fired up the Audio Note CD setup as well. Let both warm up for 1/2 hour. Both machines using AN Sogon interconnects, all songs volume matched with metering.

    On the Sony/Modwright I played track #5 (Carnival) and it came back to me, how the original recording/mixing engineers carefully dropped the top end of the drums' freq. response at around 7k as to not complete with Natalie's vocal. Makes the drums sound "warm" but it's just really an EQ choice.

    So, listening carefully, I noticed that Nat's "S" sounds were heavily annoying to me. The typical spit of a Neumann microphone. Normally I ignore stuff like that but I was curious, it made her sound a bit mechanical so, I stopped, ejected and put her in the Audio Note player.

    Hmm, got better, less spitty, more natural sounding. I guess it's to be expected with a digital playback system that costs like 20 grand or something (maybe more these days, I have no idea) but of course I had to grab my 1989 Sony 707ESD machine and try it on that.

    Ha, nice! Full bodied, no spitty S's at all. Thing is probably worth $100 these days. Might be worth picking up another one.


    So, here is what you can do right now. First, fire up your system, let it warm up. Then, play track 5 then track 9 then track 2 on TIGERLILY.

    You should hear on her vocal on #5 a tiny bit of spit on the "S" but not too much.

    Now, switch to track #9 "Jealousy". Notice the midrange suckout on this track? Better bass but a giant hole in the midrange. Changes everything. If you can hear that clearly from track 5 (Carnival) you're doing good.

    Lastly, play track 2 "Wonder". Hear the extra fake reverb on everything? If you can, you have a darn good digital system. If you can't, that could be a sign that your system could improve..

    Hope this helps!
  2. mpayan

    mpayan A Tad Rolled Off

    Cool test, Ill give it a shot Steve. Though Im pretty sure I know the outcome lol.
    longdist01 likes this.
  3. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Victoria, B.C.
    Too late! Multiply that x10. :laugh:

    Will look for the CD thou. Thanks!

  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    Just want to make clear that the point of this thread was not to trash any player. Both my Modwright AND Audio Note digital stuff are influenced by tubes. Change tube brands, the sound will change as well..

    The point was, can YOU hear the differences in mixing mastering style between tracks 5, 9 and 2? Back in the day on my old Tannoys I could not. Now, it is quite obvious. Curious as to what you hear.. How much truth is your system giving to you?
  5. mpayan

    mpayan A Tad Rolled Off

    The Sony 707ESD was my player for 18 yrs before it finally bit the dust.

    I guess I liked for a reason. Always sounded detailed but smooth to me. Very balanced and musical.

    Time to dig around and hunt one down maybe.
    c-eling and longdist01 like this.
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    Was the best CD player I had for many years in many systems.
  7. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member

    Scranton, PA
    Well, Mr. Hoffman, you've just saved another CD from used bin Purgatory. What are you going to do next?
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    Everyone should have this in their collection.
  9. paulisme

    paulisme I’m being sarcastic

    Charleston SC
    I’m scared to do this and then find myself spending big bucks on a new CD player.
    ARK likes this.
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    Might not be your CD player. Could be anything. Fun hobby!
  11. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical omnivore.

    Victoria, Canada
    I do have that CD so now I'm going to be curious to check out my various listening set ups soon. I feel better about still using old Sonys already! :)
    ARK likes this.
  12. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    thanks Steve!
  13. Al Gator

    Al Gator You can call me Al

    I love informational posts like this - they help make me a better listener, and I just tried this on my relatively modest system (FLAC files that I ripped rather than a CD). On track 5 the "S" sounds (and to a lesser extent the "T" sounds) were just like Steve described them, but not offensively so. Track 9's better bass was immediately obvious, and I wouldn't have noticed the mid-range suckout if I wasn't aware, but it was clearly audible once it was described. Track 2's reverb was not obvious to me.

    I've been aware for a while that I should upgrade my D/A converter, and a good standalone pre-amp would also be a worthwhile investment.

    Thanks, Steve!
    ivtoon and domesticmachine like this.
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    It’s fun when we’re all hearing the same thing. It’s easy once one knows what exactly to listen for.
    Static, ARK, Linolad and 3 others like this.
  15. jwoverho

    jwoverho Licensed Drug Dealer

    Mobile, AL USA
    Thanks for the heads up Steve! This'll also give me an opportunity to listen to Jennifer Turner's fantastic guitar work.
    Jeff57, Vtov, Jeff449 and 1 other person like this.
  16. domesticmachine

    domesticmachine Resident Forum

    Portland, OR
    Gonna try this tomorrow when the kid isn’t getting ready for bed. I have this CD on my desk and played it the other day through an old Discman (Sony D-191) that I A/B a ton against FLACs played through my Rasberry Pi/HiFi Berry DAC streamer in my home office. It beats em every time. Wondering how the streamer compares with these 3 tracks using lossless files.

    I am really curious how this test works on my living room Denon DCM 340.
  17. motionoftheocean

    motionoftheocean Senior Member

    Circus Maximus
    how does one warm up a cd player?
    eric777, Todd W., ARK and 4 others like this.
  18. paulisme

    paulisme I’m being sarcastic

    Charleston SC
    375 degrees for 5 minutes.
    MichaelH, barfko, Dred and 21 others like this.
  19. Pearlybaker

    Pearlybaker Forum Resident

    I’m still mesmerized by the guitar work on this album - the sum of the parts produced an incredible album despite lack of studio experience and technical skills.

    I thought it was studio magic until I saw her play live on that your and leave the audience stupefied playing Third Stone From the Sun for 10 minutes LOLZ
    Vtov, ARK and JCM800 like this.
  20. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    I just listened to that for the first time in years last week (streaming). I have the original cd, I’ll dig it up and give it a try. BTW, is the 1995 the definitive version of this album? Have thought of picking up the MoFi or DVD-A in the past but wasn’t sure if they were worth it.
    mikeyt likes this.
  21. Experiencereunited

    Experiencereunited Forum Resident

    Letting the CD player warm up for a half hour? I have suspected my system might need to warm up for a while or maybe my amp in the past. I have noticed music generally sounding better after listening for 20-30 minutes. However being I have a solid state system I thought it might be my imagination but your post seems to confirm what I was suspecting.

    Any more details on the mechanics on why warming up gear or gear types may or may not be needed?
    Static likes this.
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    Everything needs warming up in life.
    Static, NicoRock, ropiyas and 3 others like this.
  23. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    My Oppo 95 sounds better after 30 mins warming up, so does my valve preamp. My poweramp requires 1hr warming up to sound good. It's annoying when I have the time and inclination to listen to music that I have to wait 1hr, there are many cases when I do something to fill-in the hour and find that I've spent all my listening time doing the fill-in activity. Perhaps I need to set a timer!

    And thanks Steve for another great tip to help us get the most from our systems.
    Steve Hoffman likes this.
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Los Angeles
    I just switch my stuff on and start playing music. It can warm up, sure, but I’m not sitting around waiting, life’s too short!
  25. weirdo12

    weirdo12 Forum Resident

    I could hear all those things - especially the hole in the sound stage in Jealousy. Such a great song nonetheless. It doesn't bother me. I listen to the album often.

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