Larry, Julian, and Murali Coryell: The Coryells (Chesky, 2000)
A good stereo system can reproduce not only the spread of sounds from left to right, but also a sense of depth. This album, recorded in a highly reverberant church with just a few microphones and minimal electronic processing, is one of the best tests of stereo depth I’ve found. In the first track, “Sentenza del Cuore – Allegro,” the Coryells’ three acoustic guitars provide reference point for Alphonse Mouzon’s congas, castanets, and tambourine. The guitars are right up front in the stereo soundstage, but the echoes of the percussion in the space make Mouzon sound like he’s far behind them. Through a truly great set of speakers, the castanets will sound like they’re coming from 30 feet behind the guitars—and the wall behind the speakers will seem to disappear.