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Why I Choose to Review What I Do

01-01-2022 | By Rushton Paul | Issue 119

When I started writing music reviews for Positive Feedback, David gave me the brief to focus on high resolution DSD and DXD recordings. I think this was his way of challenging me to make the transition from an analog-only vinylholic to this new digital audio world into which I'd been plunged. And, so, I've found the last two years filled with listening to a broad range of new DXD and DSD recordings, writing about some and passing by others.

A friend recently asked, "Why don't you post more critical reviews? I'd like to hear from you what recordings I should avoid, not just what you like."

It's a fair question. I've appreciated being warned off some recordings (and equipment) over the years. But that's simply not a role I'm taking on.

Let me explain…

First, life is short. Time to write up reviews is limited.

Second, I like to share what gets me excited, not what got me down. If I like a recording, writing about it is my way of sharing something positive—that gives me pleasure. Writing about something I found disappointing, or simply not very good, just doesn't excite me.

Third, this journal is named Positive Feedback! I like this stance. The name reflects our editors' philosophy: let us focus on sharing what we find that is excellent. There are so many recordings that are simply not very good, we could overwhelm our content if that's what we wrote about. It is this philosophy of sharing excellence that attracted me to accept David's invitation to write about some music recordings.

Fourth, I enjoy sharing some of the history of stereo recording. Many of you know all about this, and more. I don't claim to be an expert. I'm simply an enthusiast who's picked up a smattering of information over 50 years of listening and thinks, perhaps, these surveys might be a helpful introduction to readers who may today be where I was so many years ago. In doing this, it makes sense to talk about the gold to be found in those hills.

So, this brings me to where I am. Just a music lover who has always listened to lots of recordings and who has developed some well-established listening biases, listening priorities, over the years. If I don't care for a recording or a performance or a given musician, there will be ten other recordings that I DO like and that I'd much rather invest my time sharing via an article here. After all, I write here just for pleasure, in the hope that some may find my comments useful. And only for as long as David will put up with me.

In closing, let me list some of the labels whose DXD and DSD256 recordings I've been finding consistently reliable and enjoyable, both with respect to their performers and with respect to the engineering of their recordings. These are some of the gold in the hills:

2L (recording engineer Morten Lindberg) HERE

Channel Classics (recording engineer Jared Sacks) HERE 

Cobra Records  (recording engineer Tom Peeters) HERE

Eudora Records (recording engineer Gonzalo Noque) HERE

Just Listen Records (recording engineer Jared Sacks) HERE 

Northstar Recording (recording engineer Bert van der Wolf) HERE

Sound Liaison (recording engineer Frans de Rond) HERE

TRPTK (recording engineer Brendon Heinst) HERE

Explore and enjoy!