_Composers – Bach

JS Bach and Liszt / Organ Music / Richter – Reviewed in 2007

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I’ve never heard any other musician. (more…)

JS Bach / Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Martzy – Reviewed in 2012

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach  

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This Minty British “Sitting Angel” pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, reproducing accurately the sound of a solo violin in what sounds to us like a fairly lively and resonant rehearsal hall. Perhaps accurately is not the right word, since obviously none of us have ever set foot in whatever room the music was recorded in. “Realistic” might be a better choice in that regard, since the sound is believable for what we would expect that room might have contributed to the sound we hear on the pressing in hand.

Interestingly, the sound on side two is a tad better than side one — the violin is more present and warm, the room less resonant (in a good way). (more…)

JS Bach / Sonatas & Partitas / Milstein

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Nathan Milstein performing 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This DG Italian Import 3 LP Box Set used to impress us for sonics but now, in 2014, it sounds like a good — but not good enough to recommend — DG pressing. Pick it up for cheap if you like these works, otherwise it’s probably advisable to pass.

JS Bach / Suite #2 / Janigro – Reviewed in 2007

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This is a 1S/ 1S Indianapolis pressing with A1 metal mothers from 1960 with sweet sound! Perfectly fitting for these Baroque pieces recorded in Italy.

This title is extremely rare. I haven’t seen one of these in about ten years. For those of you who are fans of this kind of music, you will find much to like here. (more…)

Jacques Loussier – Jacques Loussier Plays J.S. Bach Encore – Our Shootout Winner from 2010

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This is a Brand New, Unplayed Japanese 45 RPM Audiocheck Pressing with DEMO DISC quality sound! This is absolutely one of the best sounding jazz records we have ever played here at Better Records!

For those of you who are not familiar with the Audiocheck 45 RPM series from Japan, these are albums remastered at 45 with some material left off by necessity, since the maximum for each side is closer to 12 minutes than the standard LP limit of 20 minutes. (more…)

Ohm Stereo Imaging Demonstration Record – Reviewed in 2008

More Audiophile recordings

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This Ohm LP has tracks from some of the world’s finest superdisks such as Flamenco Fever, Hot Stix and For Duke. It also includes various selections from Vanguard. The last copy I played had SUPERB sound. A special note is the first track on side two performed by the PDQ Bach Ensemble — it’s truly DEMONSTRATION QUALITY. 

The record is pressed on Teldec Virgin Vinyl. The back cover features extensive liner notes, explaining what to listen for on each of these unique selections.

JS Bach / Suites for Solo – Cello Two and Five / Starker (SR90370) – Reviewed in 2010

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

EXCELLENT CELLO REPRODUCTION and MOSTLY QUIET VINYL on side one, where you get Bach’s entire Suite No. 2 for Unaccompanied Cello. Side two has excellent sound as well but the vinyl is noisy so take this one at a bargain price and hear how wonderful solo cello can sound when recorded and mastered for maximum effect, live in your listening room!

The sound of Starker’s cello here is HUMONGOUS — it’ll fill up your room, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling! It’s also tonally correct from top to bottom, a quality we heard on NONE of the new Mercury heavy vinyl reissues. The cutting is super low distortion on this later label copy as well. This copy will show you in short order why these Starker Mercury records are so highly prized.

These Starker records are legendary for their sound, not to mention Starker’s way with this music. If anybody can make Bach’s solo cello pieces capture your interest, Starker can. (more…)

Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor / Discovery / Welch

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This is an INCREDIBLY RARE Wilson Audio LP in IMMACULATE condition, with works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Widor and others. Click on the images of the record labels for a full track listing. This is actually an amazing sounding record. I’ve owned a copy for over 20 years. It’s some of the best sounding organ music with the deepest bass I’ve ever heard.

Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult – Our Shootout Winner from 2011

More of the music of Claude Debussy 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This Shaded Dog LP has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND, if what you’re demonstrating is not a Hi-Fi spectacular, but rather a sublime presentation of a truly sweet and natural string section of an orchestra, presented here on analog disc created more than fifty years ago.  

I can’t imagine a more beautiful record, both in terms of the programme and the sound. This record is a wonderful example of what the Decca recording engineers were able to capture on tape, and the RCA mastering engineers were able to master from tape. (more…)

Beethoven, Bach, Schubert / Heifetz, Primrose, Piatigorsky

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven 

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame

This Red Seal pressing of the famous 1961 recording (LSC 2563) has SUBLIME White Hot Stamper sound for one of the works contained herein, the Schubert. It’s so rich and sweet you may have a hard time believing it’s on a Red Seal LP. The originals we’ve played over the years sure never sounded like this! Perhaps it’s the thin vinyl that contributed to the shockingly good sound. Maybe, just maybe, RCA was right to start pressing thinner records in the ’70s. If they can sound this good, we should all be for it.

So often when we do these shootouts involving original pressings up against their reissue counterparts, it’s the reissues that sound rich, warm and tubey, and the originals that sound dry and boxy. If you haven’t noticed that in your own critical listening, play this record against any shaded dogs that you own and see which one is more Tubey Magical.

If you have your VTA set right, you might be shocked to find it’s this one. Don’t get us wrong; lots of these later RCA pressings are awful: thin, often with no top end at all. Flat transfers perhaps? Who is to say? (more…)