Sonic Grade: D
You can find this one in our Audiophile Hall of Shame, along with more than 250 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. (On some Hall of Shame records, the sound is passable but the music is bad. These are also records you can safely avoid.)
This is what we had to say about the UHQR back in 2005 or so:
Having played this record all the way through, I have to comment on some of its sonic qualities. It’s about the most dynamic recording I’ve ever heard. This was the promise of digital, which was never really delivered. On this record, that promise has been fulfilled. The performance is also one of the best on record. It’s certainly the most energetic I can remember.
Now that we’ve heard the best pressings of the Alwyn recording on Decca, I would have to say that Alwyn’s is certainly every bit as energetic if not more so and dramatically better sounding as well.
In other words, in 2005 we had a lot to learn.
They only made 1000 of these, which makes it 5 times more rare than any MOFI UHQR. I had a sealed copy of this record on the site fifteen or twenty years ago. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a sealed copy, as open ones are hard enough to come by.
Stone Age Audio Sound
Telarc makes clean, modern sounding records.
To these ears they sound pretty much like CDs.
If that’s your sound, you can save yourself a lot of money simply by avoiding vintage Golden Age recordings, especially the ones we sell. They’re much more expensive and rarely as quiet, but — again, to these ears — the colors and textures of real instruments seems to come to life in their grooves, and in practically no others. We discussed the subject, as well as a few others, in the commentary you see below:
We include in this modern group analog labels such as Classic Records, Analogue Productions, Speakers Corner, Reference, Sheffield, Chesky, Athena and the like. Having heard hundreds of amazing vintage pressings, at this stage of the game I find it hard to take any of these labels seriously.
Twenty years ago, maybe. But twenty years is a long time, especially in the world of audio.
We started a list of records that suffer from a lack of Tubey Magic like this one, and it can be found here.