A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.
This London White Hot Stamper pressing has DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side two! Sound of this calibre is nothing less than SHOCKING. If you like the sound of solo violin — and who doesn’t — you will have a VERY hard time finding a better sounding recording of it than this. That’s assuming you can get your Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA) dead on the money, not something every audiophile can manage. If you can, lookout — you are in for a sonic treat.
And when one side of a record sounds this good, what are the chances that the other side will also be as good? Slim is the flip answer, but flip or not, it’s no less true. Although quite good in many respects, side one is clearly a step down. The statistical law of “regression toward the mean” would tell us it almost had to be. Side two is simply an outlier in the world of violin records. I would not expect to hear many that sound as good in my lifetime, or at least in my audio lifetime.
Experimenting with the VTA for this record, we found a precise point where it came together far beyond any expectations we may have had, revealing the sound of a violin floating between the speakers that was truly MAGICAL. The sound of the wood of the instrument became so clear, the harmonic textures so natural, it was quite a shock to hear a good record somehow become an amazing one. All it took was a little work.
A bit distant but clear and lively. We think A+ to A++ is a fair grade. When you flip this record over you will have no trouble hearing what White Hot Stamper sound gets you though. There is really no comparison.
What to Listen for
This is truly The Perfect Turntable setup disc; when your VTA, azimuth, tracking weight and anti-skate are correct, this is the record that will make it clear to you that all your efforts have paid off.
What to listen for you ask? With the proper adjustment the harmonics of the strings will sound extended and correct, neither hyped up nor dull; the wood body of the instrument will be more audibly “woody”; the fingering at the neck will be noticeable but will not call attention to itself in an unnatural way. In other words, as you adjust your setup, the violin will sound more and more right.
And you can’t really know how right it can sound until you go through hours of experimentation with all the forces that affect the way the needle rides the groove. With precise VTA adjustment there is almost no way this record will do everything it’s capable of doing. Thee will be hardness, smear, sourness, thinness — something will be off somewhere. With total control over arm and cartridge setup, these problems will all but vanish. (Depending on the quality of the equipment of course.)
We harp on all aspects of reproduction for a reason. When you have done the work, records like this sound GLORIOUS.
The 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1 was written by Niccolò Paganini between 1802 and 1817 and published in 1819. They are also designated as M.S. 25 in Maria Rosa Moretti and Anna Sorrento’s Catalogo tematico delle musiche di Niccolò Paganini, which was published in 1982. The caprices have an étude-esque structure, with each caprice studying individual skills (double stopped trills, extremely fast switching of positions and strings, etc.)
Caprice No. 24Main article: Caprice No. 24 (Paganini)
The theme from Caprice No. 24 is well known, and has been used as the basis for many pieces by a wide variety of composers. This caprice uses a wide range of advanced techniques such as tremendously fast scales and arpeggios, double and triple stops, left hand pizzicato, parallel octaves and tenths, rapid shifting, and strings crossings.