Reference System – Day 9

Reference System – Day 9

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams’ Gold, his second album is a career high point

Reference System, Day 9; we are a few days behind in this Twelve Days of Christmas feature.  It is time for some music (hopefully, one more piece of kit will be in the system). A reviewer needs music and this is inevitably affected by personal preferences. This album has been in this reviewer’s life since its release and the vinyl copy is well worn. Despite Ryan Adams’ fall from grace, he remains the classic alt-country favourite for many.  His album Gold is a stonewall classic. It is a classic because it is Van Morrison, Neil Young, Dylan, The Stones and Elton John all in one album. It is also very poignant as it came out 2 weeks after 9/11, with the opening track being New York, New York.

As an audio reviewer, there are several reasons for listening to Gold. Firstly, it is available in HiRes, just about everywhere, and certainly on Qobuz and Tidal, which is 24-bit and 96kHz quality.  In the round, the album is dynamic and has good pace and rhythm throughout, certainly in the opening track, New York, New York. Nobody Girl and Tina Toledo have the same energy There are high levels of detail in the album too and it is excellent for listening to specific instruments, guitars of course, in La Cienega Just Smiled, Rescue Blues or Wild Flowers; pianos are beautiful here too, particularly in the lyrically beautiful Sylvia Plath.

As you listen to the album over extended years, the bass line response in The Rescue Blues becomes familiar and thus becomes a measure of a system or a particular component under review.   Similarly, the drums in Enemy Fire are nicely open in this recording and can be used as a measure of response and resolution.

The album is not perfect by any means as it offers a confused swathe of styles but if you’re feeling low, on a long walk (1 hour 10 minutes!), drifting off, or having a drink, there is no better album to do it all to.  If you’re a reviewer, there are few better than this ( I’ll invoke OK Computer here, which probably should be on this Reference System series, as well!).

As an aside, have I really just noticed the US flag is upside down, after all these years?

That’s Day 9, three more to go and just two days left of the Twelve Days of Christmas, hmm….

Reference System – Day 1 – Chord Electronics 2go with the 2yu network bridge.

Reference System – Day 2 – iFi Audio Pro iDSD DAC.

Reference System – Day 3 – Atlas Cables Mavros USB A-B cable with their Grun earthing system

Reference System – Day 4 – Moor Amps Angel-Preamplifier

Reference System – Day 5 – Moor Amps Angel 6 Power amplifier

Reference System – Day 6 – Michell GyroDec SE

Reference System – Day 7 – Titan 505 loudspeakers

Reference System – Day 8 – Atlas Mavros loudspeaker cable


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