Respighi / Pines of Rome / Reiner – Reviewed (Inaccurately) in 2006

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Back in 2006 we liked Red Seal pressings of Living Stereo recordings a lot more than we do nowadays, so take this commentary with a huge grain of salt. Only the advent of top quality  cleaning equipment and our much improved playback quality made it possible for us to hear the earlier pressings in all their glory.

A lot of records that I used to like because they were cleaner and brighter — later Red Seal Living Stereos, some OJC jazz, some reissues of rock — sounded much better when my system was darker and less revealing. There are a lot of Live and Learn entries about these records, and this is one from 15 years ago that could (probably, the record is long gone and not around to be played) not be more wrong.

This Minty looking RCA Red Seal pressing has EXCELLENT SOUND. We did a big shootout today with a number of pressings, all of which have their strengths and weaknesses. The Shaded Dogs tend to have more weight to them, but are never cut as cleanly and usually lack top end extension. The Red Seals and White Dogs are lower distortion and have better highs but tend to lack weight down at the bottom.

This Red Seal is smoother and has less extension in the highs, but in its favor it has more bottom end weight than the other Red Seal pressing. The sound is a cross between the other Red Seal we put up today and a good Shaded Dog — you get some of the sound of each here.

Side two is especially lovely with lushness that you don’t normally associate with the Red Seal pressing.

These Red Seal copies have two other nice qualities. They tend to be much quieter than original pressings, and they tend not to have all the inner groove distortion and cutter head distortion that originals invariably suffer from.


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