Several months ago many on this forum helped me get started with a new system. It consists of a MacBook Pro, PS Audio Direct Stream DAC, Prima Lune HP integrated amp, Harbeth HL-5 plus speakers, Nordost cables, etc. I find the whole process of downloading music from the internet rather frustrating, and I have a myriad of questions about that, but some of the music I have found has me pinching myself.
One example is the Tokyo string quartet’s recording of Beethoven’s late string quartets. Another is Jonus Stalker’s recording of Bach’s cello Suites. I know, Stalker is very controversial amongst cello players and Tokyo SQ is not everyone’s cup of tea (I don’t know why). But I must say, the sound of these recordings, through the DS and the Harbeths, is a marvel. Ditto for Cecilia Bartoli recordings of Agostino Steffani. It takes the Harbeths some time to open up, for the base to blossom. But with enough time, and the right music, they are really very beautiful. This kind of music, too, especially the chamber music, seems to be in the sweet spot for these speakers. It is beyond my powers of description to paint a picture of this, but . . . Well, they are just a wonder.
By contrast, my beloved recordings of Gould playing the Goldberg Variations sound horrible. They sound infinitely better in my car. The first variation, after the aria, with its tremendous punch and drive in the left hand, all but disappears on my system. What gives? I used the CD which I uploaded to my hard drive and I assume the CD was not great quality, but boy is that evident now. I am going to see if I can find something on the internet to replace it with, and any recommendations there would be much appreciated.
No one who loves music should fail to hear Tokyo SQ play the third movement of Beethoven’s 15th SQ.