Neither expansive nor exhaustive a review I simply wanted to acknowledge a renewed interest in collecting CDs for my listening pleasure. With a resurgence of vinyl and the now mainstream accessibility of digital downloads the poor old Compact Disk seems destined for the historic trash heap. Nonetheless, the CD medium seems perfectly suited for my own needs.
In the 1980s I first caught the audiophile bug and pushed (as far as my limited budget would allow) for a quality music system, the cornerstone of which were my Boston Acoustic A150 floor speakers.
A divorce at the millennium’s turn and many years later the desire for a return to some quality sound prompted me to purchase a pair of Book Shelf Speakers; the speaker size dependent upon and dictated by a smaller room setting.
I settled upon a pair of ELAC B6 Debut Series 6.5″ Bookshelf Speakers by Andrew Jones. To power them I purchased a Marantz PM6006 amplifier. Finally, in lieu of a dedicated CD player I just hooked up my Sony Blue-Ray player circa 2002. I bought a pair of Sony MDR-RF985 Wireless Stereo Headphones. However, I was a bit underwhelmed by them. Back in the day I owned a pair of Koss HV/1’s that I loved and so searching about the net I stumbled upon Grado’s line of headphones and purchased a pair of SR125e’s.
Check out each of these components as there is lots of information on the net and the reviews are generally quite favorable.
Being an old timey classic rock gal my first new CD purchase was the Beatles CD remasters box set in stereo. Wow! This set represents the crown jewel in my growing music collection. The sound quality is phenomenal and the packaging quality of the overall product irreproachable. Some may question my choice of Stereo over Mono since the Beatles’ catalog was initially released in Mono with the Stereo recordings considered a mere after-thought. But for me the versions of the Albums I am most familiar with are the stereo recordings and so I am eminently satisfied with my purchase. I have never heard the Beatles sound as good as they do in this collection.
After the Beatles I began picking up the 2014 Jimmy Page remasters of the Zeppelin studio releases. Audiophile, Ron Beaudry has panned them mercilessly. Ron is a vinyl guy and has a number of fun and informative reviews of youtube. He is definitely worth checking out. However, I am very satisfied with the 2014 remasters and the sound quality is great. Of course, all of this is subjective so you may find yourself strongly disagreeing with me; No worries, for as the old saying goes “your mileage may vary.”
The last CD collection I wanted to mention is YES – The Studio Albums 1969-1987 Remastered & Expanded CD BOX SET. This collection arrived at my door today via Amazon and it prompted me to do a review; initially just about the Yes collection, but then I thought it more useful to discuss CD’s in general and a return to collecting music in this format.
The Yes set presents the Rhino remasters from 2003 and I am “very” happy with the sound quality here. The packaging is “okayyyy” but not great. It comes in a nifty little box that looks good (Roger Dean good) but hampers my access to the CD’s. So I keep the box out and displayed for aesthetic purposes but I have removed the CD’s and have them stored for easy access guaranteeing that they’ll be played more; which undeniably is what it’s all about.
Clearly, digital access to music is the most efficient when it comes to muss and fuss. Most of us can get a quick musical fix by logging onto YouTube and hearing essentially anything we want (Bob Dylan being a notable exception). Vinyl is great and the ultimate nostalgic fix for an aging baby boomer. But in all honesty, I’ve been spoiled by the easy access afforded by the digital age. Admittedly, LP’s are one of the greatest OCD experiences you could possibly hope for — cleaning the record’s surface with a lint free brush or cloth —swinging the tonearm over and gently lowering the stylus to your song of choice really can’t be matched by any other medium.
However, CD’s still afford the collector the ability to hold in his or her hands old familiar Albums (albeit in reduced scale) and see Marc Bolan and David Bowie looking eternally young in top hat and Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt. Compact Discs afford the consumer the reward of physical ownership of a property they can actually call their own — and there is something nicely cathartic in all that.