Top Engineers – James Brown

Beethoven / Septet / Members of the Vienna Octet

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

More Records on Decca and London

  • With outstanding grades on both sides, the sound here is realistic and natural, if not DEMO DISC quality
  • With outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides, the sound on this import pressing is classic Decca from 1959 – rich, smooth and completely free of the hi-fi-ish qualities some audiophiles seem to admire by the likes of Reference, Telarc, Wilson and the like
  • This record was cut by real Decca engineers and in 1969 they certainly still knew what they were doing
  • Both sides are full, rich, spacious, big and present, with very little smear and a very healthy dose of Tubey Magic
  • At the right level, the level at which these instruments are heard in performance, the sound is tonally right on the money
  • We’ve been raving about this album forever, first on Blueback and on UK Stereo Treasury, and now on Ace of Diamonds – all three can be superb
  • If you are looking for a shootout winning copy, let us know – with music and sound like this, we hope to be able to do this shootout again soon

We normally do not put as much effort into finding top quality pressings of chamber music as we do for the large orchestral works favored by audiophiles (or at least the audiophiles who are willing to spend the money to buy our records), works such as Scheherazade and The Planets. However, if more of them sounded as good as this one we would be more than happy to do just that. (more…)

Beethoven / Symphony No. 5 – Solti

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

More Classical and Orchestral Masterpieces

  • This big and lively vintage London pressing of Beethoven’s masterpiece boasts superb Double Plus (A++) sound from top to bottom
  • It’s also fairly quiet at Mint Minus Minus, a grade that even our most well-cared-for vintage classical titles have trouble playing at
  • Good weight to the brass, huge hall space, wonderfully textured string tone – it’s all here and more
  • A top performance from Georg Solti and the Vienna Phil from 1959 – it’s classic Solti: fast-paced, exciting and powerful
  • This is Beethoven played with gusto – Solti brings this music to life like no other conductor we know of (with the exception of Dorati, perhaps)
  • Watch out for Solti’s later releases for Decca – they usually have an obvious shortcoming which we cannot abide in our classical recordings

We like our recordings to have as many of the qualities of Live Music as possible, and those qualities really come through on a record such as this, especially when reproduced on the full-range speaker system we use. It’s precisely this kind of big, clear, yet rich sound that makes audiophiles prize Decca/London recordings above those of virtually all other labels, and here, unlike in so many areas of audio, we are fully in agreement with our fellow record loving audiophile friends.

You may have noticed that Beethoven’s symphonies rarely make it to the site. There’s a reason for this: most of the recordings of them don’t sound very good. We are happy to report that, at least when it comes to the Fifth, that problem has been solved, by this very record in fact.

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Beethoven / Septet In E Minor / Members of the Vienna Octet

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

More Records on Decca and London

  • With outstanding grades on both sides, the sound here is realistic and natural, if not DEMO DISC quality
  • Both sides are full, rich, spacious, big and present, with no smear and a healthy dose of Tubey Magic
  • At the right level, the level at which these instruments are heard in performance, the sound is perfection
  • We’ve been raving about this album forever, on Blueback and on UK Stereo Treasury – both can be superb

We normally do not put as much effort into finding top quality pressings of chamber music as we do for the large orchestral works favored by audiophiles (or at least the audiophiles who are willing to spend the money to buy our records), works such as Scheherazade and The Planets. However, if more of them sounded as good as this one we would be more than happy to do just that. (more…)

Rossini-Respighi / La Boutique Fantasque / Solti – Reviewed in 2010

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

This London Mono Radio Promotion Copy is a stunner! DEMO QUALITY SOUND.

They even knew it back then — it was given the Hi-Fi Record Of The Month award! This orchestration and the sound of this music is ideal for audiophile listening.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice that closes out side two has slightly better sound by the way — it’s quite good.

Mozart / Piano Concerto No. 27 / Backhaus / Bohm

Lovely music. Superb sound, one of the rarest of the London records. I haven’t seen one of these in close to twenty years. 

Performed with The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Karl Bohm, this record also features the Piano Sonata in A-major.