The reviews below will sound depressingly familiar to you if you have been in audio for as long as I have.
Sonic Grade: F
This Athena LP is now long out of print, but it received rave reviews when it was released. (We quote many of them below.) This album is a member of the TAS Super Disc list, but we found the sound awfully opaque, smeary, slow and compressed, the kind of bad “analog” sound that Doug Sax brought to the early AP releases.
The sticker on the shrink wrap of a previous copy had these quotes:
“…for this is the definitive symphonic recording to date.” – J. Gordon Holt/ Stereophile
“Wins ‘Best Record of the Year’ award against tough competition.” – Joe Hart/High End Audio Press & Music Review
“HP heard the Athena remastering of the Rachmaninoff and found it stunning. He could recommend it without reservation.” – Harry Pearson/The Absolute Sound #57
I guess things never change.
And doubtlessly he continued to refer to himself in the third person until the end.
Reviewer malpractice? We’ve been writing about it for more than 25 years.
From the Hi-Fi Facts on the back cover:
Recording equipment included an Ampex stereo vacuum tube recorder operating at 30 inches per second. Master lacquers were cut directly from the original master tapes directly feeding a vacuum tube cutting amplifier without gain riding, compressing, limiting, expanding, filtering, equalizing or noise reduction. Metal parts were not de-horned so that the high frequency and transient information would be preserved. Pressed on 100% premium quality virgin vinyl.
Mastered by Doug Sax.