Sonic Grade: F
Alto records did this title on 180 gram more than a decade ago, and it was a COMPLETE DISASTER. Those of you getting our catalogs in the ’90s when that record came around were warned not to buy it. I was lucky enough to own a very good original pressing of it at the time, which of course made it easy to recognize just how poorly the new pressing had been mastered.
No criticisms of the quality of the mastering were offered in the audiophile press however, none that I saw anyway.
And every major audiophile record dealer carried it. Funny how some things never change.
Famous in its Day
The Carmen Ballet Suite was deservedly famous in audiophile circles back in the ’70s. Even with the dubious equipment that a high-end stereo store might be running, this record would still sound shockingly good. It has so much “life” to it, so many interesting colors, and above all such three-dimensional spaciousness, it can make even bad transistor equipment, which is pretty much all there was back then, sound good. (The store I frequented carried the classic tube Audio Research electronics — that’s where I bought mine — but most stores were all transistor, and high-power transistors at that, not a sound I care to revisit. Would love to hear my SP3-A-1 again though.)