Below is the tier list used to rate and rank recording on All The Right Notes. I supplement these general descriptors with a brief summary of my verdict at the end of each review.
A (modern) classic that embodies artistic greatness; an indispensable part of any record collection.
An accomplished reading in its own right; a worthy alternative to the classic recordings.
A decent, though nonessential, recording.
A mediocre recording; one with obvious flaws, or without obvious strengths.
A subpar recording; one with many serious flaws.
An abysmal recording; one with no redeeming features at all, and that should have never been issued.
All the recordings under review are from my personal library unless specified. I purchase the recordings with my own money and listen to them in detail multiple times before penning my thoughts. As I have absolutely no personal or professional relationship with the record labels or artists under review, I do not receive any free review copies, nor do I receive any compensation from them in any form. All this is just another way of saying that I endeavor to keep my verdicts disinterested as much as possible.
A word about audio (a topic which I wouldn’t otherwise go into). I freely admit that audio equipment can greatly affect one’s perception, and thus enjoyment, of a recording. As a reviewer, listening to audio equipment that reproduce audio signals on a recording with fidelity is essential, especially when it comes to accurately perceiving and communicating the minute details that are so important in classical music recordings.
But even in the realm of good quality audio, different audio systems can and do sound worlds apart from each other. What I perceive through my audio equipment will be influenced to a certain extent by the artefacts of the equipment itself, and may thus be different from what you perceive through yours.
So, in the interests of full disclosure, here is the audio equipment that I employ for my listening:
- IEM: InEar ProPhile8 Burl Wood; AK T8iE MkII
- Cable: Effect Audio Ares II 8-Wire, 4.4mm balanced termination; Dita Oslo
- DAP: Fiio M11
- Audio files: Lossless ALAC/FLAC/DSD
- Media player (Mac): JRiver Media Center 27
- DAC: Chord Mojo
- Amp: Schiit Asgard 2
- Speakers: iLoud Micro Monitors
- Headphones: Beyerdynamic Amiron Home/Massdrop HD6XX