This is what I wrote yesterday in the thread about the ribbon mic.
It adresses the issue of 'natural sounding' records form a bit different perspective:
Certainly listening habits do play a role; also the high frequency sensitivity is beeing reduced with age.
Keep in mind, whatever you feel as natural, that the listening of live music is quite different from listening to a record.
Just to name few factors:
1. The visual presence of the player helps to adjust to a much bigger dynamical range than in a purely auditive situation. I think a slight compression could help with that, though it certainly contradicts all 'purist' standards.
2. It is sheer impossible to capture the far diffuse field experience of a good sounding room. So records 'natural sounding' tend to be a bit boring at home. Making a recording slightly 'larger than life' by a higher degree of proximity and intimacy can balance that out.
3. Most people listen music under far less than optimal listening conditions. The impuls fidelity (speed) of most amps and loudspeakers is sub-optimal. Furniture and stuff dampen the high frequency energy ...
Probabely it's all a matter of a good balance and taste. I strongly encourage you to find your own 'handwriting' as a recording engneer. Some people will love it, some other will loath it; it's impossible to satisfy everybody. It's an iportant starting point to have a vision how you want the sound to be.
Still, I'm strongly advocating more direct stereo methods, including border surface arays; also, Neumann binauaral system is certainly the best you can get, hard to beat with 10$ capsulas.
There is a lot to learn about mic positioning before you resort to such a special purpose solution like binaural. Sometimes little changes in positioning make a world of differences in the result. When you record live, and have a chance to check the sound before it get's hot. Take the mic stand and go around with your headphones until you find the sweetest spot.
When I was recording Anthony Bailes on lute for the first time, we have spent hours just first shifting his stool to find the position that fitted him best, accoustically, and than shifting the mic array centimeter by centimeter ...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...