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What’s wrong with the Pat Metheny Group recordings

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have more than a thousand CDs in all kinds of music. But I guess 15 to 25% of my listening these days involves Pat Metheny, mostly the Pat Metheny Group.


I recently did some heavy listening sessions in the HiFi shops around me looking for my first HiFi headphones (DT-880, HE-500, HD-650, etc.). This is BTW a very frustrating process as it seems that every CD would need a different kind of cans. I thrived for analytical listening of some of my jazz recording but hated say Thriller on them where you can hear every synthetic process and too much silence between them to a point that you don’t recognize the music! Then again, as appealing as true tone and texture are when you concentrate on them, it is sometime very hard to "enter" into the music and forget about system (I like music, not gizmo) when they are too analytic. Also, somes cans where perfect for say chamber music but lack highs or lows for other kind of music. And I hate boomy bass or piercing high, I want precision, speed, truness along with emotions and involment.


Anyway, my point is that each of my sample CDs where very enjoyable on a least a pair of cans, even some obscure badly recorded indies or MP3 256>Blue book compilation. Of course, they were sometime inaudible on others. There was one exception, my Pat Metheny Group CDs which... all sound bad, or I should say very dull or emotionless, on each and every one of them. It was hard to believe that they sounded exactly the same. Fun headphones, dry analytical headphones, there was no differences. 


How can they do that? Or phrase differently, how can they do such a lousy job? Is it just me?


P.S. Maybe because they were just so dull, my brain leveled them down the stairs and made them equal?

post #2 of 8
Music that is mixed for the lowest common denominator of equipment generally sounds just as mediocre on every kind of rig. All you can do is optimize for good recordings that adhere to standards and let the rappy stuff fall where it may.

The other option is speakers. They are a bit more forgiving, and with multichannel, you can use DSPs that can significantly improve flat recordings.
post #3 of 8

I find it amazing that some cd's that you listen to are recorded awesome, and other's are really recorded badly, no matter what source,headphone's that you have. In the whole big picture of thing's, I've really come to realize the main factor of listening to music, comes down to the recording! So IMO everything sound's different from cd to cd, and sometime's from song to song on the same cd. So just try to narrow your choice's down to the sound quality of the headphone that suit's your prefference and main genre you listen to most. Just another suggestion, if you want you can try equallizing the recording's. Good luck on your mission!!!

post #4 of 8

Some recordings just sound awful on head-phones, likely because they were mixed to sound good on speakers !

Often, crossfeed benefits these recordings ..

But some of the Metheny-albums date back to before the CD was introduced, so it could also be a bad re -mix/mastering-job .

Or maybe you have heard them so many times on speakers that you kinda 'remember' the sound of that ?

post #5 of 8

I'd be curious which recordings you are speaking of.  I have quite a few Methany discs, old and new, and would be surprised to hear that they don't sound so good.  I've used one of them, "99->00" or something (can't remember the title) as a reference disc for years because it had such a great mix of instruments and very, very clear and well-recorded.


There are significant differences between the older recordings of his which I agree can sound a little dull compared to the newer recordings.  It's probably because of better mastering and recording equipment (70's 80's v. today).


Is it possible your ears became fatigued?  Once my ears are "cooked" it takes a good 12 to 24 hours to be fresh again.

post #6 of 8

ECM make some of the best sounding CDs there are.

To answer your question, they are as dull as dishwater

post #7 of 8

I am a huge Metheny fan and have everything he has done and have heard pretty much everything a kazillion times and I think they sound phenomenal.


The big difference I hear with Pat Metheny Group stuff is it isn't recorded "hot" or bass boosted.  It's fairly flat and neutral.  I think you are too used to hearing other more colored recordings but I find Metheny recordings among the best in my collection.


Conversely, I would say Marcus Miller is perhaps the worst!  For some God-Awful reason they have his bass playing BOOSTED throughout the recordings and it basically ruins everything else.  Absolutely dumbfounded how a "professional" sound engineer could create a recording that sounds that hideous and out of balance.


Most smooth jazz is recorded bass boosted, fat and bloated.

Edited by Spyro - 1/11/13 at 7:32pm
post #8 of 8

I listen to alot of smooth jazz and really dont find this at all. (At least the recording's I own on cd).

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