I thought twice about posting this but I decided to do it in hopes others would share their opinions.
My rig consists of SDA 2Bs TLd, a Marantz CD5000, Adcom GFA-545, and a Bottlehead Quickie tube amp. I am relatively new to the hobby, two years into it as a matter of fact. I have not had a great deal of exposure to other systems which is a thorn in my foot at this point. My rig sounds good at times, great at other times, and then not so good at others. Case in point. When listening to Steely Dan's Aja my gear sounds pretty good. I understand that this is one of the best recorded albums and I have always busted it out as I have completed a project in reference to my equipment. I have been doing some critical listening lately identifying my likes and dislikes. What I have found is that the vocals in the Aja album are raspy and frankly I cannot stand to listen to some of the songs anymore. And that stinks because the album is great in my opinion. I also notice that my right channel plays at a higher volume on this album that the left. Is it me? I wondered that so I get my daughter sitting at my listening point and start the album. I explain to her what to listen for, the raspy voice, but I do not mention the right channel. She listens to a whole song and says yeah, the voices are raspy. Then she also states that the right channel is of higher volume than the left. So now its not me.
Now here is where it gets interesting. I play some lighter music, The Guitar Trio. I put some volume on it and it sounds wonderful. Musical. Detailed. Just right. So now I am wondering if my speakers are not responding well to some music that has more to offer in the midrange area. Aja is definitely more busy than The Guitar Trio and I start to wonder if I am limited somewhere else in my system in reference to tracks that are busier. Would that affect vocals? I listened to a spot in a track on Aja with my headphones and there was a amount of rasp to the vocals. And it sounds like my speakers are putting out what my cd player is giving them.
So I am wondering if it is the experience of others that some albums sound head and shoulders above another even though that album is considered very well recorded? I have this experience with other albums and find myself listening to those albums that sound great instead of something I like better but sounds mediocre.