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Music Streaming As a System Upgrade.

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These random thoughts may apply equally to other music genre recordings but my focus lately has been on Classical Music.

I never thought I would rent my recordings instead of purchase them but it looks like I am trending in that direction.   There are a lot of advantages but the three big ones are 1. ability to entirely, repeatedly, listen to a recording without buying 2. The option to purchase CD or Higher Res files at below CD prices, 3.   The monthly access fee is less than the cost of a new release Classical CD.  I haven't purchased a new CD for several months.

The classical music recording industry is mostly cover bands trying to create definitive versions of music from way back. Every substantial change in recording technology spawns a wave of re-recordings of standard repertoire because the industry knows the audience will buy multiple versions of the same music in the hope that a definitive combination of interpretation, performance and engineering will emerge to replace the previous best effort. Traditionally, critics and reviewers would help steer you to the next best thing.

The best streaming libraries are vast.  You can do your own comparisons and discover there are real qualitative differences in classical recordings across generations of technology as well as within the generations.  Some old recordings still hold up well but many recent captures for Hi Res release offer stunning quality, even at CD bit rates.  That is not to say Hi Res versions are always best or even better.

The incremental price for this improved listening experience is low compared to most system upgrades and can make a lot of sense if you still purchase recordings.   
Of course the only convenient way to play Hi Res files is to have a robust internet connection to a computer, of some kind, and maybe an outboard DAC . The entry cost is about the price of a pair of good speakers but the incremental cost of the music is low and is significant tweak.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Below: Two versions of Bolero that are very good, stylish, recordings made about 40 years apart. Both adhere to Ravel's instructions for tempo and dynamics,i.e. length about seventeen minutes and loudness to span the softest soft at the beginning and slowly build to the loudest loud possible at the end. Either recording will help you tweak your ear, system and listening space for dynamic range. 

The music begins with a single pianissimo snare drum and ends with a fortissimo orchestra.  The challenge is to set your volume control at the beginning so you can hear the drum without needing to turn down the gain as the loudness relentlessly builds to the climax.




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  • 1 month later...
According to ChatGPT
"The lowest pedal note in the Toccata from Widor’s Organ Symphony No. 5 is typically determined by the registration of the organ. The composer noted that to achieve a fuller sound, “16 foot” stops or couplers should be used to duplicate the same notes an octave lower. This means that if the lowest note written in the score is a C1, for example, using a 16 foot stop would produce a C0."
 There are at least two points in the score where a 32 Hz C1 is supported by a 16 Hz C0.
There are many recordings of the Widor Toccata, which now has an identity separate from the work of which it was originally a part, but the recording venue and artist have a huge impact on what is captured.   
The two recordings below are the best I can find that allow you to clearly hear and somewhat feel the low Cs that occur around 1.5 minutes and again at around 3.5. 
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