Labels We Love – RCA Living Stereo

TAS List Thoughts about Festival – Harry, This One Is Out of Phase, Man!

More orchestral music conducted by Fritz Reiner (1888-1963)

TAS List Thoughts about Festival


Harry Pearson put this on his list of the best Classic Records RCAs.

If you can reverse your absolute phase this record actually sounds fairly decent. Do you think Harry knows to do that, or even how to do it? I have my doubts. [He’s gone now so the point is moot, but I maintain it’s the rare reviewer who grasps these kinds of issues with anything approaching the depth and understanding required to be informative and accurate.) 

Prokofiev / Symphony #5 / Martinon (LSC 2272) – Reviewed in 2010

More Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Symphony #5 / Martinon (LSC 2272)


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

This rare Shaded Dog pressing has an absolutely AMAZING side two. It’s transparent, with sweet (yes, for the Prokofiev 5th!), smooth and rich strings. Listen to how natural the woodwinds sound on this side 

Side two here is the fluke, since most of the time this record sounds terrible. But now we know how well engineered it really is. We have the copy right here to prove it! (more…)

Julian Bream – The Art of Julian Bream

More Classical albums

Julian Bream


  • You’ll find stunning sound on this vintage RCA Living Stereo pressing, with both sides winning our recent shootout and earning Triple Plus (A+++) grades for their superb sonics 
  • These sides are wonderfully full-bodied and natural, using State-of-the-Art All Tube Living Stereo recording technology that was so advanced in 1960 it could transport a living, breathing Julian Bream directly from his studio into your listening room, 59 years later (!)
  • The set list comprises mainly baroque arrangements for classical guitar, including an especially lovely version of Ravel’s ‘Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte’


Various Artists – Destination Stereo – Our Shootout Winner from 2015

More Living Stereo

Destination Stereoo


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

Side one is White Hot, with some of the best 1959 Living Stereo we’ve ever heard. Explosive dynamics, HUGE space and size, with unerringly correct tonality, this is a Demo Disc like no other. When “in -the-know” audiophiles discuss soundstaging and depth, they had better be talking about a record that sounds like this. Shockingly real – proof positive that the cutting systems of the day are capable of much better sound than we normally assume. 

This reasonably quiet RCA Shaded Dog LP has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND on BOTH sides. It is without a doubt THE best sounding copy we have ever heard*. (more…)

Shostakovich / Sym. No.1 / Age of Gold Suite / Martinon

More Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Sym. No.1 / Age of Gold Suite / Martinon


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

Triple Plus on side one for the Symphony No. 1 – the sound is extraordinarily big, lively, clear and above all Tubey Magical. Side two is nearly as good, with all the same attributes, as rightly befits a true Golden Age Classic from 1959. Recorded in KINGSWAY HALL with the London Symphony, this Decca licensed title has orchestral sound to rival the best you’ve heard.

Both sides of this wonderful pressing are simply phenomenally good sounding, with size and scope the likes of which you rarely hear on record. (more…)

Favorite Beethoven Concertos / Heifetz & Rubinstein / BSO – Reviewed in 2007

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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


The first LP of this disc is the equivalent of LSC 1992 and sounds AMAZING. The mastering is right on the money. (more…)

Rosemary Clooney – Rosie Solves The Swingin’ Riddle!

More Rosemary Clooney


  • An outstanding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
  • These sides are rich, sweet and Tubey Magical with wonderfully breathy vocals and lots of space around all of the players
  • “The pair made the most of their first collaboration, devising a program of 12 standards that combined Riddle’s pugnacious yet intricate arrangements with Clooney’s warm, grand vocals to create a swing record with feeling… Vocalist fits together with orchestra like hand in glove…” – All Music


Stravinsky / Song Of the Nightingale / Reiner – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

More Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) 

Song Of the Nightingale / Reiner 


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

The Hot Stamper pressing has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND for the Stravinsky piece that takes up side two, the one on the TAS Super Disc List. The sound is BIG and BOLD, stretching from wall to wall, and so transparent you can clearly hear all the way to the back of the stage and then some. Trust me, few Shaded Dog pressings sound like this one!

Normally we list this record under Prokofiev, but, as usual, the Prokofiev side of this copy is not very good sounding. (In fact I’ve never liked the sound of Reiner’s Lt. Kije. It always sounded hard and sour like a bad DG to me.) (more…)

Ravel / Concerto in G / Munch – Reviewed in 2010

More of the music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Concerto in G / Munch


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

This is a wonderful sounding performance of Ravel’s Piano Concerto, originally available on Shaded Dog (LSC 2271) and overflowing with Tubey Magical Living Stereo sound from 1958. The Victrola here is from 1964, and may or may not sound better than the average original RCA pressing. LSC 2271 is not a record we run into every day, so comparisons would be speculative to say the least.

What we can tell you is that our Victrola here is big, spacious, transparent and clear, with dead-on tonality throughout.

The overall sound seems to lack weight at first but with continued listening it appears to be the result of the orchestration being “lighter”, more appropriate to the jazz influences in the music. If you like Gershwin this piece will be right up your alley. (more…)

Dick Schory – Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp – Our Shootout Winner from 2016

More Dick Schory

More Music for Bang, Baa-room and Harp


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

This one is absolutely As Good As It Gets on side one. It’s a real treat to hear such a crazy assortment of percussion instruments with this kind of amazingly clear, high-resolution sound! It’s just bigger, richer and clearer than any side we can remember playing. 

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs, and rightfully so. It certainly can be a Super Disc, but only when you have the right pressing. This is one of the Demo Discs on the TAS List which truly deserves its status when, and only when, you have the right copy. (The typical copy is quite good, but it sure doesn’t sound like this.) Nothing else in our shootout could touch it. And it’s IN PHASE. Many copies are not.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

Top end, plain and simple. It’s the RARE copy that really has the incredible extension of this side two. The space, the clarity, the harmonic complexity — perhaps one out of ten copies will show you a side two such as this. (more…)