- This wonderful classical release has long been a favorite of ours here at Better Records, and this pressing is outstanding, offering Double Plus (A+++) sound throughout
- The stereo sound here is Tubey Magical, lively and clear, with the kind of three-dimensionality that will fill your listening room from wall to wall that only the best vintage vinyl can offer
- A rare title and a very difficult one to find with audiophile quality playing surfaces – this is about as quiet as we can find them, folks
- “From the opening bars, Quartetto Italiano distinguish themselves as eminent interpreters of Debussy… The Ravel quartet also receives an outstanding treatment: atmospheric, rhythmically secure and supple.”
This vintage Philips pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides of This Wonderful Ravel & Debussy Disc Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.
Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.
Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.
What We’re Listening For on Debussy and Ravel’s String Quartets
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
A Must Own Classical Record
This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Classical Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.
String Quartet in G Minor, Debussy
Anime Et Tres Decide
Assez Vif Et Bien Rhythme
Tres Modere – Tres Mouvemente Et Avec Passion – Tres Anime – Tres Vif
String Quartet in F Major, Ravel
Assez Vif, Tres Rhythme – Lent – Tempo I
Vif Et Agite
Amazon 5 Star Review
From the opening bars, Quartetto Italiano distinguish themselves as eminent interpretors of Debussy. Their phrasing emphasizes the oceanic swell of this music in a completely convincing way… The Ravel quartet also receives an outstanding treatment: atmospheric, rythmically secure and supple.
The sound is quite up front which I find appealing.
Very highly recommended!