Super-Disc Lists Are Irrelevant


Recently I came across HP's "Superdisc List" again and after perusing his personal list of sonic gems my primary reaction was, "Who cares?"

For anyone under the age of 40, who listens to anything besides classical music, there's very little in the way of program material on HP's list that would be particularly appealing, based on anything besides sonics (maybe).

Also, if you don't buy the assumption that LPs invariably sound better than digital recordings (which I have only found true for recordings that were originally recorded, mixed, and mastered for analog) there's little in the way of "modern" artists or recordings (recordings made in the last 30 years) on HP's list.

Although an analog recording made in 1959 can be very, very good, it is not, by anyone's standards, state-of-the-art. Recording technology has continued to advance during the last third of the 20st century, with the development of DSD, high bit-rate PCM, phase-coherent miking techniques, and better microphones and microphone preamps. But to look at HP's list, you would assume that nothing recorded after 1985 warrants any airtime whatsoever...

Finally there's the issue of musical taste. It's unrealistic to expect any two people to have the same musical tastes, especially if their birthdates are separated by more than twenty years. From a taste angle very few of HP's discs appeal to me. Can anyone honestly say that they enjoy the performances on Jazz at the Pawnshop? Or how about the fluff on Andre Previn's Music Night? Belafonte, Bachrach, and Rough Trade? No one under the age of 30 gives a fig for any of these artists and would probably only play them if forced to...I know that I have hated listening to Jazz at the Pawnshop each and every time I've been subjected to it.


Frankly, if I put together a list of my favorite "best sounding" commercial releases it would, most likely, be equally lame. Nobody but myself and small group of misanthropes living in outer lower Slobovia listens to Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors but it's one of my fave reference discs. But my best and most useful references are the recordings I've made over the years, which are not and never will be released for public consumption. That's makes my own reference disc list almost completely useless for anyone else.

In my humble opinion, most, if not all, of anyone else's personal reference disc lists are of little real value because they reflect someone else's musical tastes. Sure, these lists are fine beginning guides to what many people would consider a good recording, but the only "best sound" list that has any importance is the one you make for yourself, based on your own musical preferences and values.

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