Exceptional Classical and Orchestral Pressings Available Now
Sonic Grade: F
A Hall of Shame pressing and another Reference Record reviewed and found wanting.
In all the years I was selling audiophile records, one of the labels whose appeal escaped me almost completely was Reference Records. Back then, when I would hear one of their orchestral or classical recordings, I was always left thinking, “Why do audiophiles like these records?”
I was confused, because at that time, back in the ’80s, I had simply not developed the listening skills that today make it so easy to recognize their faults. I thought other audiophiles must be hearing something I wasn’t. I could not put my finger on what I didn’t like about them, but now, having worked full time (and then some!) for more than twenty years to develop better critical listening skills, the shortcomings of their records, or, to be more accurate, the shortcomings of this particular copy of this particular title, took no time at all to work out.
My transcribed notes for RR-22:
- Lean / No weight
- No Tubey Magic
- Blurry imaging when loud
- No real depth
- Hot tonal balance
Does this sound like what you are looking for in an audiophile record?
Shouldn’t you be looking for audiophile quality sound?
Well you sure won’t find it here.
This link will take you to some other exceptionally bad records that, like this one, were marketed to audiophiles for their putatively superior sound. On today’s modern systems, it should be obvious that they have nothing of the kind and that, in fact, the opposite is true.
We’ve just started a list of records that suffer from a lack of Tubey Magic like this one, and it can be found here.
A PUBLIC SERVICE
We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.
You can find this one in our Hall of Shame, along with more than 350 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.)
Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another. The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the all-too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.
When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good pressing, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much less excusable.