The Royal Ballet – Gala Performances – on Classic Records

More Reviews of Classic Records Classical Titles

More Heavy Vinyl Commentaries 

Sonic Grade: C or Better 

Probably a fairly good Classic Records album. When I played this record years ago, I thought it was one of the better Classic RCA titles. You can be sure it won’t sound like the original — [almost] no Classic record does — but it might be pretty good all things considered. One thing to consider is that the original in clean condition sells for many thousands of dollars!

Here are a few commentaries you may care to read about Bernie Grundman‘s work as a mastering engineer, good and bad.


Heavy Vinyl Disasters 

Heavy Vinyl Mediocrities 

Heavy Vinyl Winners


  1. I have the Classic Royal Ballet Gala Performance (from when they were originally released). I thought the reissue was excellent until I got hold of a copy of the production master last year. Granted there is a difference between my record player (Modified Garrard 301 with new main bearing and platter/modified 3012/Ikeda 9TT) and my tape recorder (Nagra T-Audio with tube repro electronics), but the tape is far superior. The Classic reissue is brighter and less natural sounding. This might make the sound seem more clear and upfront at first, but on further listening, the tape sounds much more like refined. Dynamics is similar, which means an excellent effort on the part of the engineer who mastered the lacquer.

      1. To be fair, I have not listened to the original release. I have to say that of all the titles I own both on master tape and on LPs (I have very few modern reissue LPs), it is not even close. Most of my LPs were bought second hand as a student in the early 1980s in the UK, so mostly SXL, some ASD, SAX, Lyrita, Philips and DGGs. For rock, current releases of the time for Pink Floyd, LZ, Dire Straits etc. The differences between the original releases and tapes are usually one of resolution, frequency extension, transparency and dynamics but tonality is usually close, which is not surprising since almost all my tapes came from the original production or safety masters. Therefore, I gather the mastering engineer at the time did not do much Eq when cutting the lacquer from the distribution masters. For the few modern “audiophile” reissues I own, they tend to be more “hi fi” sounding; bright, upfront, seem more dynamic and usually much quieter vinyl. Unless one has the resources to find multiple copies of original releases and choose the best like you do, reissues is not a bad thing. I agree the engineers can do a better job, but unfortunately, most audiophiles (as opposed to music lovers) dig this kind of sound. So it is a matter of pleasing the customers.

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