[The review reproduced below was written in 2010. Recently I have played copies of these Crystal Clear organ recordings and been much less impressed.
The ambience is a fraction of what it should be, and the reason I know that is that the vintage organ recordings I play have dramatically more size and space than these audiophile pressings do.]
A classic case of Live and Learn. As we like to say, all these audiophile records sound great sitting on the shelf. When you finally pull one out to play it, you may find that it doesn’t sound the nearly as good as you remember it, and that’s a good thing. That’s a sign you are making progress in this hobby.
Ten years from now, if during that time you’ve worked hard on your stereo system, room, electricity and all the rest, your Heavy Vinyl pressings will have flaws you never knew were there.
Our customers know what I am talking about. Some have even written us letters about it.
Our old review, mea culpa
- White Hot on both sides, a DEMO DISC quality organ Direct to Disc recording
- Full, rich, spacious, big and transparent, with no smear
- The size and power of a huge church organ captured in glorious direct to disc analog
- We’ve never been fans of Crystal Clear, but even we must admit this recording is Hard To Fault
Are we changing our tune about Audiophile records? Not in the least; we love the ones that sound right. The fact that so few of them do is not our fault.
The methods used to make a given record are of no interest whatsoever to us. We clean and play the pressings that we have on hand and judge the sound and music according to a single standard that we set for all such recordings. Organ records, in this case, get judged against other organ records. If you’ve been an audiophile for forty years as I have, you’ve heard plenty of organ records.
Practically every audiophile label on the planet produced at least one, and most made more than one. Some of the major labels made them by the dozen in the ’50s and ’60s, and many of those can sound quite wonderful.
Who made this one, how they made it or why they made it the way they did is none of our concern, nor in our mind should it be of any concern to you. The music, the sound and the surfaces are what are important in a record, nothing else.
Richter was making recordings of this caliber for London in the ’50s. Clearly the direct to disc process is not revelatory when it comes to organ records (or any other records for that matter), but finding vintage Londons with quiet vinyl that sound as good as this disc does is neither easy nor cheap these days, so we are happy to offer our Bach loving customers a chance to hear these classic works sounding as good as they can outside of a church or concert hall.
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue (J.S. Bach)
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (J.S. Bach)
Toccata Fom the Symphonie Concertante (J. Jongen)
Wikipedia on Virgil Fox
Virgil Keel Fox (May 3, 1912–October 25, 1980) was an American organist, known especially for his flamboyant “Heavy Organ” concerts of the music of Bach. These events appealed to audiences in the 1970s who were more familiar with rock ‘n’ roll music, and were staged complete with light shows. His many recordings made on the RCA Victor and Capitol labels, mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, have been re-mastered and re-released on compact disc in recent years. They continue to be widely available in mainstream music stores.