The Listening Studio came about almost by accident. Len Mullenger, the founder of MusicWeb, David Dyer and John Quinn got together in December 2013 for what was expected to be a purely social event, listening for pleasure to some recent recordings on high-quality audio equipment. We realised, though, that there could be value to MusicWeb listeners if we shared our reactions to the recordings that we heard. So, the Reports were born.
In our sessions we focus primarily on the audio side of the recordings though, inevitably, we also discuss – sometimes in a lively fashion – some of the artistic aspects of the releases. We make no apology for the fact that there is quite a bias towards large-scale orchestral music, usually from the late nineteenth-century onwards. That’s where our own musical interests largely lie; also, we feel such repertoire is a particular test of the engineer’s art. Primarily, we cover CDs and SACDs but the Studio is also equipped lor Blu-ray.
In the years leading up to the Covid pandemic we usually managed four sessions per year. Since the lifting of the Covid restrictions we have not managed to resume quite that frequency due to congested diaries, but our aim is to restore ‘normal service’ from the second half of 2023 onwards.
We continue to be enormously impressed with the high standard of audio engineering which shows up the performances to which we listen in very good light. However, our occasional comparisons with remastered recordings from the 1960s and 1970s remind us that the engineers of that period were also capable of producing terrific results.
The equipment on which we evaluate the recordings is as follows:
Meridian 808i Digital preamp + Series 5 CD player
Bowers and Wilkins Nautilus 802D speakers
Bryston 14B3 power amp (Power output: 600 watts/channel into 8 ohms)
Oppo BDP-105D DVD / Blu-ray player
Audioquest Interconnects. Pre to Power Audioquest Water XLR
Listening Room Reports Index