Fiedler is wonderful here, which is to be expected. What’s unusual about this Red Seal is how good the sound is. It’s extremely transparent and tonally correct. It sounds to me like a flat transfer. Some tubey colorations would be nice, especially in the louder passages. The sound also lacks a bit of weight in the bottom end. But these faults are mostly made up for by the tremendous clarity and freedom from distortion that this pressing has. I doubt if the Shaded Dog has those qualities.
This is an EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD SOUNDING Shaded Dog pressing with fairly quiet vinyl. What’s surprising about this is how transparent and low distortion it is. Just as with Destination Stereo (LSC 2307), the excerpts here frequently sound better than they do on the original complete performances. Rubinstein’s piano is solid and clear sounding, which is rarely the case, especially for his Beethoven concertos. Those almost never sound good, but the excerpt here for Concerto #3 is excellent.
This is overall the best sounding pressing of the Fjeldstad / LSO we have ever played, with BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. For those of you who know your Londons, when you see the label on this LP you will no doubt be shocked: This is the last pressing in the world that one would expect to sound good.
Of course we here at Better Records don’t give a sh*t about any such conventional wisdom / collector bias. We like audiophile quality sound and we don’t give a damn where we find it. Up against the competition this copy was superb in practically every way, excelling with orchestral size, weight and energy like virtually no other.
This is to be expected from a recording of its renown. What was not to be expected was the actual pressing that delivered those sonic qualities
We’ve loved the Blueback pressings in the past; this time not so much (too crude and opaque with jello for bass.(more…)
The strings are RICH in the best Living Stereo tradition, but unlike so many classical pressings we play, the tubey magical string tone comes with virtually no tube smear. The textures and overtones are fully intact. This side may in fact be pretty much as good as it gets; we don’t have enough copies to know just how good the recording can be, but it can’t be too much better than this, because this side puts most Golden Age classical recordings to shame.
This side one earned a grade of A++ (or better).
Side two, which contains the third movement of the Grieg and the complete Liszt Piano Concerto no. 1, is not quite as rich as we would have liked. It’s cut lower than side one, so turn up the volume if you want it to come to life. It’s also not nearly as transparent. We grade it about A Plus — a step up over the average Shaded Dog but not the equal of this wonderful side one.(more…)
This Shaded Dog pressing has exceptionally lively and dynamic sound on side two, which earned an A++ grade and plays quietly to boot! The sound is BIG and BOLD enough to fill up your listening room and then some. Side one is strong as well earning an A+ grade and also playing quietly. The piano is clean and clear, and the strings are rich and textured, It’s practically impossible to find a Rubinstein record that plays Mint Minus, but this one does! And his performance of this wonderful work is superb, as is his performance of the shorter coupling works on side two (which actually have the best sound here).
Living Stereo MAGIC. This is wonderfully recorded music. It has a very natural orchestral perspective and superb string tone. It also boasts a correctly-sized piano, which is quite unusual for Rubinstein’s recordings. (more…)
The Fjeldstad has long been one of our favorite performances of Peer Gynt here at Better Records.
This record is handy for VTA set-up as well, a subject discussed below in our listing from 2010.
The sound is excellent for a modern reissue*, but in the loudest sections the orchestra can get to be a bit much, taking on a somewhat harsh quality. (The quieter passages are superb: sweet and spacious.)
So I adjusted the VTA a bit to see what would happen, and was surprised to find that even the slightest change in VTA caused the strings to lose practically all their rosiny texture and become unbearably smeared.
This is precisely why it’s a good heavy vinyl recording for setting up your turntable. If you can get the strings to play with reasonably good texture on this record you probably have your VTA set correctly.(more…)
One of the greatest records in the London catalog. As you may have read elsewhere on the site, the Londons to me have the best overall sound of any Golden Age label. As good as RCA and Mercury were, the Londons are more consistently sweet, tonally correct, dynamic and natural sounding. This is a perfect example.
Amazing DEMO QUALITY SOUND. This is the best sounding copy of this record I have ever heard! Side two is astonishingly good: there’s nothing like it.
The original RCA Living Stereo pressings we played in our 2014 shootout were not competitive with the best Deccas and London reissues.
Original is better? In our experience with Finlandia, not so much.
The record you see above is yet another wonderful example of what the much-lauded Decca recording engineers were able to capture on analog tape all those years ago. The 1961 master has been transferred brilliantly using “modern” cutting equipment (from the early-’70s, not the low-rez junk they’re forced to make do with these days), giving you, the listener, sound that only the best of both worlds can offer. (more…)