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Riding The Musical Surroundings Train, Cont.

Next up was an LP reissue from DCC Compact Classics of John Coltrane's "Lush Life" album. Again, I also had the CD version. The eponymous track on the LP made me fully aware that The Trane had truly left the analog station. That I wasn't traveling on it all these years had made my musical life a hollow whistle blowing in the far off night.

Coltrane was doing something with his tenor sax that couldn't come through the CD. He was making the emotional tone of his sax fatly ripe and decadently round, all to match the song's dyspeptic sentiment.

As G. Stein might have said had she been around long enough, there is no there there on CD's—the expressive connection is just so totally absent. Their binary emotional deficit drives home why you must have analog-made music, especially when done by a system as competent and relatively low cost as this rig from Musical Surroundings.

Oh sure, you get a better 3-D soundstage along with more fully fleshed out instruments and performers, and also improved rhythmic momentum with LP's than with CD's. But that's not the point. No, the issue is that the music coming off that glistening black platter, whose wobbling grooves may have been cut long before you were born, is real, while the music coming off the CD, is not.

Regarding dynamics, I have an album, an old 1978 Sheffield Lab recording of Prokofiev's "Rome and Juliet Ballet", performed by Erich Leinsdorf conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, that has one of my favorite analog system torture tracks on side 2. It's track 1. It begins with some low-key dissonant horns, but abruptly erupts into full forte mayhem. The bass line is also killer. (And if you listen closely, you will also hear echoes of Scorsese's Taxi Driver sound track—there is nothing new under the musical sun.)

If a TT system can survive this sudden musical eruption; better yet, face down a huge orchestra charging at it in total maddened mayhem; then you've got an analog winner. This analog rig had no problems skiing down Leinsdorf's musical avalanche.

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21st, The VXM Network, http://www.vxm.com

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