Some person on some audiophile forum might feel obligated at some point to explain to you, benighted soul that you are, that the old classical records you and other audiophiles revere are so drastically compromised and limited that they just can’t sound any good.
It’s just a fact. It’s science. Technology marches on and has left those old records collecting dust on the ash heap of history.
That’s why the audio world was crying out for Bernie Grundman to recut those Living Stereo recordings from the ’50s and ’60s on his modern cutting equipment and have RTI press them on quiet, flat, high-resolution 180 gram vinyl, following the best practices of an industry that everybody knows has been constantly improving for decades.
But for those of us who actually play these records, there is little evidence to support any of these statements of “fact.”
However, the above sentence only makes sense if the following four conditions have been met for the person judging the new pressings against the old ones:
- He or she has a good stereo,
- A good record cleaning system, and
- Knows how to do shootouts using his or her
- Well developed critical listening skills
If you have spent much time on this blog, you have probably read by now that the first three on this list are what allow you to develop the fourth.
The best classical recordings of the ’50s and ’60s, similar to the one you see pictured here, were compromised in every imaginable way.
Yet somehow they manage to stand sonically and musically head and shoulders above virtually anything that has come after them, now that we have high quality equipment on which to play them
The music lives and breathes on those old LPs. When playing them you find yourself in the Living Presence of the musicians. You become lost in the music and the quality of the performance.
Whatever the limitations of the medium, they seem to fade quickly from consciousness. What remains is the rapture of the musical experience.
That’s what happens when a good record meets a good turntable.
We live for records like these. It’s the reason we all get up in the morning and come to work, to find and play good records. It’s what this site is all about — offering the audiophile music lover recordings that provide real musical satisfaction.
It’s hard work — so hard nobody else seems to want to do it — but the payoff makes it all worthwhile. To us anyway. Hope you feel the same.
The One Out of Ten Rule
If you have too many classical records taking up too much space and need to winnow them down to a more manageable size, pick a composer and play half a dozen of his works. Most classical records display an irredeemable mediocrity right from the start; it doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear it.
If you’re after the best sound, it’s the rare record that will have it, which makes clearing shelf space a lot easier than you might imagine. If you keep more than one out of ten you’re probably setting the bar too low if our experience is any guide.