Massenet / Le Cid – This Blueback Was Awful

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Jules Massenet (1842-1912)

Hot Stamper Classical and Orchestral Imports on Decca & London

Sonic Grade: F

Don’t buy into that record collector/audiophile canard that the originals are always the best sounding pressings.

This original Blueback pressing — true, we only had the one, so take it for what it’s worth — was a complete disaster: shrill, with no top or bottom to speak of, the very definition of boxy sound.

Our current favorite for sound and performance is the one Fremaux conducted for EMI in 1971.

It had been on the TAS List for some time, but we confess we didn’t bother finding out how good it was until about five years ago when it became clear to us what a wonderful conductor Louis Fremaux could be.

Here are some other Hot Stamper pressings of TAS List titles that we like.

Back to London

The sound of the London original you see above was much too unpleasant to be played on high quality modern equipment. There are quite a number of others that we’ve run into over the years with similar shortcomings.

A stereo that looks like the console below — or one that sounds like an old console even though it has new components, there are plenty of those out there in audiophile land — is perfect for all your Bad Sounding Golden Age Recordings.

Or you could get that old console sound by powering your system with the Mac 30s you see below. They are very good at hiding the faults of old records (and plenty of new ones too).

Our Pledge of Service to You, the Discriminating Audiophile 

We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a free public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.

You can find this album in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (Some records in the Hall of Shame have sound that was passable but the music was not up to our standards, or some combination of the two.  These are also records that audiophiles can safely avoid.)

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