Other than being an "old" sounding recording, the instruments are pretty balanced with eachother on my tenores. The bass sounds more dry and in your face, but not bassy, the piano sounds more in the distance, the drums sort of somewhere in between but all a similar volume.
Can't..... hold.... tongue..... bah! This is definitely not true. With good recordings, absolutely you are correct. But with overly compressed recordings, as I was referring to, this is not the case. As an audio engineer and fervent warrior against the loudness war
I must disagree. When "most" modern CDs go through their mastering phase there are a few common things done to the sound. The main change is to dynamically compress or "brick wall" the audio signal so that the mastering engineer can pump out as much volume as possible. Large amounts of dynamic compression make a song sound dull and lifeless. As there is no sense of attack, the apparent details suffer and even bass impact is ruined. The result is a muddy mix of all the complex sounds with no good level of distinction.
The irony is that so many people seek out amazing gear to listen to this stuff. Don't get me wrong, there is some excellent music that unfortunately suffers from bad mastering. Nonetheless, you have two possible end results. First, you have an audio engineer that realizes this dull outcome of the sound. They are under pressure to get the most volume, so they compensate the dullness by using various plugins and tricks to give the frequencies a shift into a more V shaped signature. Anything from greater pre-compression EQ compensation to exciter-type plugins and even adding distortion in certain bands and all sorts of other various "trade secrets" are used to try and give the impression of more detail or "life" to the sound.
On the other hand, a lot of engineers simply don't do this and compress the final audio signal with no aural compensation. The result would be the same exact final mastered sound, but now it has added compression that results in the dull lifelessness with greater volume. When this type of music is listened to on a reference earphone or headphone, I'd argue it still sounds the best and most accurate, however, most people would find it dull and lifeless (as much as the compression affected it that is). The easiest way to compensate for this is with a V-shaped phone. The added treble peak gives extra energy to the treble and the same for the bass peak. Most people that become familiar with a flat signature will realize that these peaks might temporarily give the illusion of added detail, but ultimately they usually just add fatigue, possible sibilance, etc. While the added bass simply masks the other frequencies more and can end up sounding bloated and "slow" as some people describe it.
I haven't even taken into account noise reduction which further reduces details, clarity and airiness. Let alone poor stereo width in a mix and other mix pitfalls. Needless to say, everyone has their own opinion on sound and there's no "right" way to listen to music if the goal is enjoyment. It's your choice. However, from an accuracy standpoint this is all going in the wrong direction. Instead of fixing the problem at the source, users are forced to try and fix it at the other end. Ironically, well recorded music suffers with these non-neutral phones, because they might contain more treble energy to begin with, so the boosted treble causes more noticeably peakiness, harshness, sibilance, etc. And with these V-shaped earphones, people usually do consider them to sound more dynamic because of the things i just described. When a drum snare is hit hard, a compressed track on a neutral earphone will represent that snare hit as blending in with the other instruments in terms of volume and dynamics. So it won't sound very snappy. On a treble boosted earphone, that snare drum will snap in a frequency that is boosted. This gives the impression that the snare drum is hitting louder than the other instruments in the lower regions, thus the impression of more dynamics. Unfortunately, this isn't actually recording dynamics being accurately portrayed, it's somewhat of an illusion.
I'll say again, I'm not saying anything bad about V-shaped signatures. In fact, some can sound very nice. But a lot of the sound and results are dependent on the recordings and what a user expects the end sound to be. For most people, that expectation is based on current mastering trends (because they're not aware of anything else) and thus dictates the listener's impressions to some degree. If you watch a bluray on a super reference HD TV it looks amazing. If you take an old 1960's color film that has not been restored in any way and has faded over time, most people would want to increase the contrast of their TV to give the image more seemingly dynamic "pop" and vividness. Same idea with audio. If they went back to the source and cleaned up the old film so it displayed the vibrant colors as it was originally recorded, you wouldn't need any boost. If engineers went back and mastered the audio to CD so it sounded the way it did before being compressed, you wouldn't need to compensate for these flaws. Obviously, there are still personal tastes that will always dictate what a person will like, but I think a lot of times people don't realize "why" they don't like something. And if you only listen to modern, highly compressed music, by all means, enjoy a V-shaped signature. There's nothing wrong with that. That's most likely why they are so popular and companies continue to pump out model after model of similar signature phones in this regard. People like the way it makes their music sound. However, if you were to hear the same modern recording uncompressed, the difference in depth, soundstage, details etc. would be very noticeable. No earphone signature can restore these qualities from a compressed song. Compression can't be undone. They can only give the false impression of something "like" these properties. But to a experienced ear these don't easily fool.
Personally, I don't listen to recordings that I find are poorly engineered. Or at least very rarely. I will go out of my way to find a well mastered version of a CD, and I won't buy a new CD if I find it to be very compressed dynamically out of principle against the loudness war or noise reduced. Sorry for the long post. You can blame silverears.