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An incredible night of listening!

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If you’re anything like me, you are always searching for new (what I call) reference material. You know the tracks - they are the ones you go back to over and over, when you’re auditioning new gear, or when you just want a reminder of just how awesome your current system sounds. The search for these tracks is never ending for me, and I’m lucky to find one or two in a given year.  Last night I found two in the same night, and a planned 30 minute listening session ended up being about 3 hours...


The first came courtesy of @jazzman53 from his post in the “new music” thread.  When he posted “Wicked Game” by Lydia Ainsworth, I just knew she was right up my alley, so I ordered three of her CDs.  Upon listening to them, “Wicked Game” is not entirely indicative of the majority of her material - much of her material is even better!  She has a ethereal vocal presentation combined with an electronic sound.  Think great female vocals with a toned-down Deadmou5 sound.  And her recording quality is sublime. My favorite (and new addition to reference tracks) was “Floating Dream” off her Phantom Forest album.  This track has -and I don’t use this term lightly- perfect bass, superb imaging and wonderful depth, and the detail is right up there with my other reference tracks from Alison Krauss and Dire Straits. This gal gives me hope for the future of pop-style music. 

The second great find of the night has kind of a funny backstory. I went through a phase in my life when I had way more money than time.  During that time, I bought a lot of SACDs that I barely listened to. However, I had one that I never even unwrapped - The Other Side by Godsmack. During my listening session, my wife came downstairs and listened for a bit (which very rarely happens). I asked her if there was anything she wanted to hear, and she asked about a particular Godsmack song that happened not to be in my FLAC library.  That’s when I remembered the SACD I had. I got it off the shelf, unwrapped it and put it in the Oppo - as soon as I hit play, my jaw hit the floor.  The detail, the clarity, the imaging... just.... WOW....  just about every track on this disc is pure GOLD. One of my quickest and easiest go-to tests for recording quality is cymbals. If I can’t tell the difference between a hi-hat, crash and ride cymbal, it’s not reference.  The Godsmack disc features a perfectly miced and mixed drum kit - every different type of cymbal (and tamboreen) has its own sound signature AND place within the soundstage - pure magic! And yes, there’s more than just cymbals, but you get the idea.  This disc is now in my top 5 (actually top 2 or 3 with Love over Gold and Rumors) reference discs.  







the Lydia Ainsworth track - YouTube won’t do it justice, but you’ll get the idea:



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Thanks for that!

It reminded me so much of a reference album I have used for years (Days of the New--Yellow) that I had to look to see if any of the artist were shared as Travis Meeks used a lot of guest artist. Nope non shared.

I ordered my copy immediately.

FYI Days of the New--Yellow


Days of the New



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  • 4 weeks later...

My son actually bought this one the other day, and I must say there’s some great new “reference material on the SECOND disc (make sure it’s the 2-cd edition here  https://www.amazon.com/Tea-Tillerman-2-CD-Deluxe/dp/B08HRTYL9Y/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=cat+stevens&qid=1613331082&sprefix=cat+ste&sr=8-3 ) The main album is ok, but the second disc contains some pure MAGIC - specifically the “Studio Demo” tracks (tracks 1,2,6,7). These sound just like being in a studio - the clarity is stunning, and the sound stage is to die for. There are also some very neat other tidbits on disc 2 as well. HIGHLY recommended!




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I also have those tracks that I like to hear on different setups and Godsmack is one of the groups that are at the top of my list along with Candlebox. 

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I'm glad this thread popped back up again.  I love finding new music - especially reference material. I sampled the Lydia Ainsworth track "floating dream" that mark linked and I immediately bought 3 of her albums. I've decided that my unemployment money should not only pay for groceries; it should also pay for music (and gun parts).  However, I did not buy from Amazon since I was disgusted by their treatment of Parler. 

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