The Cisco pressing of LSC 2577 is not acceptable on any level. There is no violinist in front of you when you play their record. There is someone back behind your speakers under a thick blanket, and his violin sure doesn’t sound very much like a real violin — no rosiny texture, no harmonics, no real body. I am proud to say we rejected the record out of hand when it was released and never carried it. (The Cisco Peer Gynt was every bit as bad.)
We’ve played dozens and dozens of good violin recordings. We have no problem recognizing good violin sound when we hear it. In the past our top Hot Stamper classical pressings would go directly to our best customers, customers who want classical recordings that actually sound good. not just the kind of Golden Age Recordings that are supposed to. Now that we are able to do more shootouts, we have enough classical recordings to make available to our many Hot Stamper fans.
This Super Hot Stamper pressing has superb RCA Living Stereo sound, with an exceptionally clear, solid, tonally correct piano.
We recently did a major shootout for all of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos, pulling pressings from the three major Golden Age labels — RCA, London, Mercury — and this Fourth came out near the top of the heap. Most pressings of Rubinstein’s Beethoven concertos simply do not have this kind of open, big and bold sound. Side one earned a grade of A++ and side two was actually a bit better at A++ to A+++. That makes this a very special piano recording indeed.(more…)
Another top London, recorded with more of a mid-hall approach, and smooth sound that reminds me much more of a live concert than most recordings do. This is a demo quality disc, if what you are demonstrating is the kind of realistic piano sound and natural, relaxed presentation found in the concert hall. These may not be qualities that all audiophiles appreciate, but we sure as hell do.
The reproduction of the violin here is superb — harmonically rich, natural, clean, clear, resolving. What sets the truly killer pressings apart is the depth, width and three-dimensional quality of the sound, as well as the fact that they become less congested in the louder passages and don’t get shrill or blary. The best copies display a Tubey Magical richness — especially evident in the basses and celli — that is to die for.
Big space, a solid bottom, and plenty of dynamic energy are strongly in evidence throughout. Exceptional resolution, transparency, tremendous dynamics, a violin that is present and solid — this copy takes the sound of the recording right to the limits of what we thought possible from Philips.
As we listened, we became completely immersed in the music on the record, transfixed by the remarkable virtuosity he brings to such a difficult and demanding work.(more…)
This is a lovely sounding record, with a smooth, natural top end, the opposite of a hi-fi spectacular. Some may find it dull, but it’s actually correct.
Monteux has a wonderful feel for this symphony. His Beethoven in general is actually quite good. This music belongs in any serious collection. String tone is everything in the Pastoral, and Living Stereo gives you the string tone rarely found elsewhere.
CS 6535. This is the best sounding Backhaus LP I’ve ever heard. The piano is natural and full bodied, as would be expected from the Decca engineers of the day. They were still making good records in 1967, when RCA had gone Dynagroove.
This British London Blueback original pressing has better than A+ Hot Stamper sound on both sides. The music is lively and well-played, as one would expect from the venerable Karl Munchinger leading the Vienna Phil.
The sound is quite good but very different for each of the two sides. For more on the sound please see our notes below.(more…)
Bright phony string tone, MoFi’s trademark sound for classical recordings. Anyone who has ever attended a concert knows that strings in real life simply do not sound anything like they do on these MoFi records.
The London pressing of this recording is no great shakes either; any pressing should be avoided.(more…)