Classical Music Discussion

This is the thread to discuss Classical music, whether it be artists, songs, acoustic properties of a song, or even which headphone you find fits the genre

Just remember keep it within the realm of Classical!


I love that this thread was started(as well as jazz). I am looking forward to a lot of discussions;quality of performance;quality of the recording;quality of the recording and which gear(headphones/amps) might be best appropriate for this genre.

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Just a start. I have found that listening to classical music through my speaker set up is different than listening through headphones. I love the volume levels of my speakers. With headphones,one clearly hears balance between different parts of the orchestra and soloists in the score. Headphones also bring antiphonal violin sections versus the American model of putting all violins together,.

In my own collection, preferences are as follows:

Orchestral, Chamber, Other Multi-instrumental - DT 1990 because of the great imaging and dry, punchy sound and crisp highs that make instruments (especially percussion) really pop.

Choral (small and large, especially Baroque and pre-Baroque), Solo Cello, Solo Piano, Other Solo/Really Small Ensemble Stuff - LCD2C because of the wetter sound that adds some euphony. The imaging isn’t actually that far off the DT 1990 after EQ’ing, so it can work for orchestral too, but with something like Bach’s Motets it makes me feel like I’m sitting in an old church listening to a live choir.

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I’m always on the lookout for good recordings of great performances. Contemporary recording technology does make a difference versus the older stuff, and one label that’s actively recording good work is Harmonia Mundi. I have two records of theirs which I really enjoy, Bach’s Motets and The Art of Fugue.


Thank you…Taron… for creating this special musical genre. I love the fact that jazz has been given a special category. Thank you,Taron.

Ok…here we go… I am really excited. The challenges of classical recording is is that we look at “old” recordings-considered to be artistically special but yet acoustically deficient versus new recordings. Let’s face it. we are almost looking at a 100 year span of recordings

Do you really really really find a discernible difference between the two headphones Can it be the amp? Can it be the interconnects? I am not try to be disrespectful. Just asking???

I’m a newbie…what is the LCD2C and the DT 1990?

Yes, but as always with such things the differences aren’t as dramatic as my descriptions might imply. In every case I’ve heard, and certainly in this one, the headphones themselves make a much bigger difference than whatever DAC and amp I’m using to drive them. Even after equalizing, these two headphones have a different sound. They both have a fast attack, but the DT 1990 has an even faster attack and faster decay giving it a much drier sound (less reverb). The wetter sound of the LCD2C is why I enjoy it for sacred choral works, as that extra reverb just makes things sound a bit more like they’re in a cathedral. Conversely, the faster attack on the DT 1990 is great for instrumental music where I like to hear every instrument as clearly defined as possible without lingering tones smearing into each other. Also, the DT 1990 naturally has a brighter treble and even though I EQ both, even EQ’d I leave the DT 1990’s treble higher because it just sounds right somehow. That higher treble brings out higher overtones in instrumental music that make music sound a bit more dynamic to me (especially when it involves percussion).

Other than both being semi-open circumaural headphones, the LCD2C and DT 1990 are about as different from each other as headphones can be.

Driver Type - The DT 1990 is a traditional voice-coil driver (like what you find in typical speakers). The LCD2C is a planar magnetic driver (very thin membrane with wires running through it, sandwiched between two arrays of magnets).

Driver Size and Shape - The DT 1990 has a 45mm diameter circular driver, the LCD2C has a 106mm rectangular driver (I think measured on the diagonal). At the same SPL, the two drivers will have different excursions.

Ear Pads - The DT 1990 has pads which absorb some frequencies and aren’t particular reflective, whereas the LCD2C has pleather pads that help create a sealed front volume that enhances bass but may also contribute to the wetter sound.

Wow!!. PWJazz…thank you for the detailed reply and I appreciate the time and effort you put into it. I will tell you. You taught me some things that I will keep in mind about “different headphones with different types of Music.”

All right, just listened to the entirety of Mahler’s 1st by Boulez (DG recording). Absolutely SUBLIME experience. The dynamic range on this symphony is like 25+ db, which Mahler seems to do a lot. The HD600s rendered a of the detail with great resolution, even at the quietest parts.

Haha, @Headfun’s suggestion of Boulez’ Mahler got me listening to him too! The dynamic range is indeed incredible. Having never really listened to Mahler’s symphonies before, I was struck by how obviously influenced John Williams’ Star Wars music is by Mahler.

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Glad you guys are enjoying the Boulez Mahler. As to the Mahler 1st by Boulez I use the opening of the last movement as a reference for clarity and especially deep bass. On the right headphones it’s a shattering experience and so life like. As I mentioned the whole Boulez cycle is wonderfully performed (with different orchestras) and beautifully recorded. Boulez is the anti Bernstein. Where Lenny was overly dramatic and to me represents the worst of 20 th century Mahler interpretations, Boulez restores the natural tension and keeps these large scale work’s architecture intact. No wild tempo extremes or overly angst melodies. He brings Mahler into the 21st Century.

Another interesting point. In the Analog days Deutche Gramophone was not my favorite label. They tended toward overly thin or bright recordings with a light bass. Their early digital efforts exacerbated that effect. But then around the late 90’s they dramatically changed their recording techniques and became one of my favorite labels.

Also give a listen to the Pletnev’s recording of Prokofieve’s Cinderella Ballet. My very favorite work beautifully recorded and another of my reference recordings. Also check out Pletnev’s Tchaikovsky symphonies.

Another is Boulez’s recording of Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet. Excitement, tension and beauty without the histrionics. Again beautifully recorded.

One other fantastic reference I can recommend is on the Telarc label. It’s Paavo Jarvi’s recording of Benjamin Britten works. The Guide to the Orchestra is just a fantastic reference piece and always fun to listen to. Every track of every work in this CD is a gem.



Yes Williams was influenced somewhat by Mahler but his true lineage is Prokofiev and to a larger degree Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner who wrote almost all the scores for Warner Brothers in the 30’s and 40’s. Check out the modern recordings of their scores. For the best Star Wars genesis listen to the opening theme to Korngold’s Music for “Kings Row”.

Good to keep in mind. I’ve got DG’s Karajan Beethoven Symphonies, as well as their Kleiber Beethoven 5th and 7th. I like the performances, but the recordings do sound a bit sharp to me at times. It’s good to know that I shouldn’t write off the label completely :slight_smile:

You mean the one for 2 pianos with Martha Argerich?

No the full recording of the Ballet with the Russian National Orchestra on DG.

Their later one bit remastered versions improved Von Karjan’s Beethoven and other 60’s recordings somewhat adding warmth to the mids and bass and smoothing the treble.

So when you say classical does that literally mean “classics” or are we going with Classical is symphonies/orchestras?
would you count this in Classical?