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Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaivioli_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic is both aggessive and lacking in texture at the same time, the worst of both worlds. Bernie's cutting system is what I would call Low Resolution -- the harmonics and subtleties of the sound are nowhere to be found.

See all pressings of Tchaikovsky's music in stock


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Guonod / Borodin / The World of Ballet Vol. 2 / Gibson / Ansermet

  (Item #: varioworld_fame) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

This British pressed Decca compilation has SUPERB RCA Golden Age sound on side one and something very close to it on side two. Even though the album was recorded by Decca, it's got a heavy dose of Living Stereo Tubey Magic coursing through its vinyl veins. It is my belief that there will never be a modern reissue of this recording that could even begin to capture the beauty of the sound found on this LP. Both sides have Demo Disc qualities.

See more entries in our Classical Commentary series


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Philips Classical Recordings

Must They All Be So Thick, Dull and Opaque?

  (Item #: phillips) 


Most Philips records are much too thick, dull and opaque to be taken seriously, by us anyway. In this respect they have many sonic attributes in common with Londons from the '70s and '80s.

Dropping the needle on the Ravel Piano Concertos with Haas, however, was a wonderful surprise. It's big and spacious throughout, with no trace of smear on a piano that is solid and clear. This is a difficult combination to achieve in our experience, the kind of sound we tend to rave about. It sounds right, and when the sound is as right as it is here, the wonderful piano music of Ravel can truly work its magic.

See more entries in our Classical Commentary series


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Ravel / Rachmaninoff / The Reiner Sound / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ravelreine_2183_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

There is simply an amazing amount of TOP END on this original pressing. Rarely do I hear Golden Age recordings with this kind of ENERGY and extension up top. This is of course one of the reasons the Classic reissue is such a disaster. With all that top end energy, Bernie's gritty cutting system and penchant for boosted upper midrange frequencies...

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Ravel's music


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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Classic Records Mono Debunked

  (Item #: hendraxis_classic_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

One of the worst things the dummies at Classic ever did. Flat and dry with no tubey magic whatsoever. It positively screams "CHEAP REISSUE."

See all of our Jimi Hendrix albums in stock


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Holst, Steinberg and The Planets

A Shootout Years in the Making

  (Item #: holst_2014) 



In July of 2005 we noted on the site that Hot Stampers for this album were discovered, and interested parties should watch the site for killer copies in the coming months. Obviously we didn’t know at the time that the number of coming months would be THIRTY TWO. That's how long it would be before we could offer our loyal customers truly Hot Stampers, but hey, good things come to those who wait, right?
See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Holst's music


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Stravinsky - The Song of the Nightingale

Thoughts on the TAS Super Disc List

  (Item #: stravsongo_tas) 



Some thoughts on The Absolute Sound’s Super Disc List and one of its more famous members: Stravinsky’s Song Of the Nightingale with Reiner.
See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Stravinsky's music


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin

Classic Records Reviewed and Recommended

  (Item #: ledzeI_classic) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records Heavy Vinyl LP reviewed.

Considering how bad (or at best mediocre) the average copy of the first Zep album sounds, let's give credit where credit is due and say that Bernie's remastered version on Heavy Vinyl is darn good (assuming you get a good one, something of course that neither I nor you should assume).

It's without a doubt the best of all the Classic Zeppelin titles, most of which were none too pleasing to the ear.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums


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Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: nash_songs_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

I've listened to Nash's first solo outing countless times over the last thirty years, even more than Crosby, Stills and Nash's first album. As I was listening to the Classic pressing I recall thinking "Wow, I don't remember that sound being there; this version is so much better I can hear things I never heard before!" Well, owners of this album (all five of you) will certainly hear things you never heard before, because some of the tracks on this album have been remixed and some of the instruments re-recorded! How about them apples!

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Graham Nash's albums


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Brahms Violin Concerto

Is the 1s Pressing Always the Best?

  (Item #: brahmvioli_1903_myth) 



This early Shaded Dog pressing of a 1958 recording has surprisingly good Super Hot stamper sound on side two. On the second side the sound opens up and is very sweet, with the violin becoming much more present and clear. The whole of side two is transparent with an extended top. Usually the earliest Living Stereo titles suffer from a lack of top end extension, but not this one.

Maybe the 1S is that way. For some reason audiophiles tend to think that the earliest cuttings are the best, but that's just another Record Myth in our experience, easily refuted if you've played hundreds of these Living Stereo pressings and noted which stampers sound the best and which do not.

See more commentaries as well as our in stock recordings featuring the violin


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Classic Pop Vocal

  (Item #: BR_popvocal) 


Classic Pop Vocal albums

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My-Fi Versus Hi-Fi

  (Item #: fidelity) 



We went wild recently over a marvelous copy of the Ted Heath record you see pictured. Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound was positively uncanny. This was vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you'll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve upon it.

This is our kind of sound. It's also important to keep in mind that our stereo seemed to love the record. (Stereos do that.) Let's talk about why that might be the case.

Our system is fast, accurate and uncolored. We like to think of our speakers as the audiophile equivalent of studio monitors, showing us exactly what is on the record, with nothing added and (hopefully) nothing taken away.

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Led Zeppelin - II

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeII_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

An absolute DISASTER -- ridiculously bright, ridiculously crude, in short, a completely unlistenable piece of garbage.

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings as a "reference". After all, the Classic pressings are considered by many -- if not most -- audiophiles as superior to other pressings. What could be sadder?

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums

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Rimsky-Korsakov - The Tale of Tsar Saltan

Speakers Corner Debunked

  (Item #: rimsktaleo_speakerscorner) 



Sonic Grade: C

We cracked open the Speakers Corner pressing shown here in order to see how it would fare up against a pair of wonderful sounding Londons we were in the process of shooting out a while ago. Here's what we heard in our head to head comparison.

The soundstage, never much of a concern to us at here at Better Records but nevertheless instructive in this case, shrinks roughly 25% with the new pressing; depth and ambience are reduced about the same amount. But what really bothered me was this: The sound was just so VAGUE.

See more of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


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Five Star Classics

  (Item #: BR_fivestar) 


Hot Stamper copies of album that received Allmusic's top 5 Star rating

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Jethro Tull - Aqualung

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: jethraqual_classic_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

By the time the guitars at the end of the title track fade out you will be ready to take your heavy vinyl Classic and ceremoniously drop it in a trashcan. (Actually, the best use for it is to demonstrate to your skeptical audiophile friends that no heavy vinyl pressing can begin to compete with a Hot Stamper from Better Records. Not in a million years.)

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Jethro Tull's albums


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Table / Arm / Cartridge Set-up Advice

  (Item #: set-up) 



Click here for advice on how to go about adjusting tracking weight, VTA, azimuth and the like.

This link will take you to more advice for improving the sound of your playback.



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Records We've Played Vs. Records We've Heard

What's the Difference?

  (Item #: playing_vs_hearing) 



Please note that we should, but often don't, make a vitally important distinction between two words we tend to use interchangeably on the site. There is a difference between the sound of records that we've played and the sound that we've heard.

The stereo, the listening room, our cleaning technologies and who knows what else are all undergoing constant changes. This means that we may have played a better pressing in the past but couldn't hear it sound as good as it does now. The regular improvements we make in all areas of playback make sonic comparisons over time all but meaningless.

See all of our large orchestral recordings in stock


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Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA)

A Few Moments of Experimentation Can Really Pay Off

  (Item #: paganvioli_vta) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically adjust your VTA.

Experimenting with the VTA for this record we found a precise point where it all came together, far beyond whatever expectations we might have had at the time, which revealed a violin floating between the speakers, an effect that as audiophiles we appreciate for the magic trick that it is.

See more commentaries as well as our in stock recordings featuring the violin


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Tchaikovsky / Piano Concerto #1 / Richter / Karajan

Another Audio Myth Exploded

  (Item #: tchaipiano_myth) 



The original Large Tulip early pressings are the best on this record, right?

Nope. It’s just another Record Myth, as explained in the commentary for our recent Hot Stamper 2-pack. That pair of pressings was all the proof we required to back up our contention that either label can be the best on this classic DG recording. Original is better? Again, not so much. Original can be better fits more with our experience.

See all pressings of Tchaikovsky's music in stock


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Paganini / Violin Concertos 1 & 2

Fenn Music Debunked

  (Item #: paganvioli_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

Not long ago we managed to get hold of the Heavy Vinyl pressing from Fenn Music in Germany. A well known record dealer on the web (you may recognize the style) had this to say about it:

Stunning Reissue Of EMI ASD 440 Recorded In Stereo In 1961. This Recording Featuring The Royal Philharmonic Conducted By Alberto Erede Provides Convincing Proof, If Any Were Needed, That Menuhin Was One Of The Great Violinists Of The 20th Century.
See all pressings of Paganini's music in stock


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Sibelius / Finlandia / Mackerras

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sibelfinla_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

Classic Records, as expected, ruined this album. Their version is dramatically more smeared and low-rez than this pressing, with almost none of the sweetness, richness and ambience that the best RCA pressings have in such abundance. In fact their pressing is just plain awful, like most of the classical recordings they remastered, and should be avoided at any price.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Sibelius' music


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Sibelius, Liszt, Dukas et al. / Bernard Herrmann Conducts

London Phase 4 Debunked

  (Item #: sibelberna_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing.

While preparing for a Finlandia shootout recently we happened to drop the needle on this album, a 1977 Phase 4 recording made in Kingsway Hall and engineered by Arthur Lilley. We could hardly believe how bad it sounded. The multi-miking is the worst I have ever heard! We like lots of Phase 4 recordings -- especially those of Bernard Herrmann -- but this is definitely not one of them.

See all Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


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The Fantasy Worlds of BH and HP

Decca Vs. London

  (Item #: herrmfanta_decca) 



There’s a reason this record is on the TAS List of Super Discs -- if any LP should be called a Super Disc, this one should. (With Phase Four sound you might even call it a Super-Duper-Disc.)

But Harry is, not atypically, rather misinformed about the catalog number and country of manufacture. He exclusively admits the Decca pressing to his list, and that is clearly contrary to our experience in general as well as our findings for this shootout . The best Decca pressing we played rated no better than a B+ for either side. That’s five -- count them, five -- sonic grades lower than the A Triple Plus sides of our best London copy.

See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock

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Holst - The Planets

Testing with Mars and Saturn

  (Item #: holstplane_emi_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of The Planets.

Mars on the first side and Saturn on the second present serious challenges for any vinyl pressings you may own.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Holst's music


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Setup Discs, Part Two

Dialing in the Anti-Skate

  (Item #: setup_antiskate) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

This is a superb Demonstration disc, but it is also an excellent Test disc. The sound of the best copies is rich, full-bodied, incredibly spacious, and exceptionally extended up top. There is a prodigious amount of musical information spread across the soundstage, much of it difficult to reproduce. Musicians are banging on so many different percussive devices (often at the back of the stage, exactly where they should be) that getting each one's sonic character to clearly come through is a challenge -- and when you've met it, a thrill.

If you've done your homework with VTA, Azimuth, Anti-Skate and Tracking Weight, this is the record that will make clear just how much you've accomplished.

More pressings of Bizet's music in stock.

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Venice - Solti

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: varioovert_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

Classic Records remastered LSC 2313 (VICS 1119) and even the people that like the sound of Heavy Vinyl complain about it, so you can imagine what we think. What a piece of garbage. Smeary and shrill, it gives no indication of the beauty that is on the tape.

See all of our Living Stereo albums in stock


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Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic of LSC 2222 is all but unlistenable on a high-resolution system. The opacity, transient smear and loss of harmonic information found on their pressing drives us right up the wall. Who can stand that sound? All the way back in 1994, long before we had anything like the system we do now, we were disparaging the "Classic Records Sound" in our catalogs. With each passing year -- 18 and counting -- we like it less.

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The Music of Leonard Bernstein

Hot Stampers Revealed

  (Item #: bernsmusic_stampers) 



Looking to pick up a Hot Stamper locally on your own? Easy -- all the best Decca and London copies (British only of course) are 1L on both sides. I suppose it's only fair to point out that all the worst copies are 1L on both sides, the reason being that all the copies are 1L on both sides, regardless of how they sound. And here you thought we were actually trying to be helpful.

But we are being helpful. We're being honest with you. Stamper numbers are often misleading. They're misleading in the same way that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The numbers only tell a part of the story, and more often than not they tell the wrong part of the story. No matter how much audiophiles and record collectors want them to, the numbers simply cannot tell you whether the record you have before you, the one with the "right" stampers, is actually a good pressing. Only cleaning it and putting it in a shootout with other copies can do that.

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Witches’ Brew on Classic Records

Is This Really An Audiophile Record?

  (Item #: variowitch_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

I've long held that the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl remaster (scandalously it's on the TAS List of Super Discs) is nothing less than a crime against music lovers and audiophiles of every stripe. Boosting the bass and highs and adding transistory harshness is the last thing in the world Witches' Brew needed.

At the risk of insulting some of you out there, if you think the Classic Records version of this album sounds good, your system must be very dull and bass shy, or you must like really hi-fi-ish sound.

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Sibelius / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sibelvioli_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked. Classic did this title on heavy vinyl in the '90s, which is only fitting since it is one of the better Heifetz recordings. As expected, their version was awful, as bad as LSC 1903, 1992, 2129 and others too numerous to list.

See more commentaries as well as our in stock recordings featuring the violin


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Moussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mousspictu_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The shrillness, the hardness, the sourness, the loss of texture to the strings, the phony boosted deep bass -- this is the kind of sound that makes my skin crawl. After a minute or two I’ve had it. And the performance is dreadful as well.

HP put this on his TAS List? Yes he did!

See all Pictures at an Exhibition


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Prokofiev / Symphonies No. 1 ('Classical') & 7 / Previn / LSO

  (Item #: prokosym1_emi_0213) 



This White Hot Stamper pressing (on BOTH sides!) contains one of my favorite performances of the Classical Symphony, and it also carries the distinction of having the best combination of sonics and performance that we have ever heard on vinyl. (There is a recording by Previn and the LA Phil from 1986 with a performance To Die For; unfortunately it comes with the kind of mid-'80s tear-your-head-off-digital shrillness that makes the CD medium the worn out joke we analog lovers know it to be.)

The First Symphony happens to be one of my favorite classical works of all time, right up there with The Planets and Pictures at an Exhibition. I wouldn't want to go to a desert island without all three.

This WHS pressing has exceptional transparency and dynamics, allowing the energy and precision of the performance to shine through. Truly a sublime recording that belongs in any music collection, whether you're a fan of classical music or not.

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Bach / Sonatas & Partitas For Solo Violin / Martzy

  (Item #: bach_sonat_1012) 



This Minty British "Sitting Angel" pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, reproducing accurately the sound of a solo violin in what sounds to us like a fairly lively and resonant rehearsal hall. Perhaps accurately is not the right word, since obviously none of us have ever set foot in whatever room the music was recorded in. "Realistic" might be a better choice in that regard, since the sound is believable for what we would expect that room might have contributed to the sound we hear on the pressing in hand.

Interestingly, the sound on side two is a tad better than side one -- the violin is more present and warm, the room less resonant (in a good way).

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Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: griegpeerg_2012_reviewed) 



Sonic Grade: C+

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.

See all pressings of Peer Gynt in stock


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Tchaikovsky / 1812 Overture / Reiner (LSC 2241)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchai1812o_2241_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

HP put the Shaded Dog pressing (the only way it comes; there is no RCA reissue to my knowledge) on his TAS List of Super Discs, and with good reason: it's wonderful!

But for some reason he also put the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl reissue on the list, and that record's not even passable, let alone wonderful. It's far too lean and modern sounding, and no original Living Stereo record would ever sound that way, thank goodness.

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Matthew Sweet - 100% Fun

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sweet100pe_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked. Our Zoo label pressing MURDERED the Classic heavy vinyl reissue. It’s no contest. This is not the easiest record to reproduce, but if you have a big dynamic system, it will really ROCK.

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The Brahms Violin Concerto

Unplug or Suffer the Consequences!

  (Item #: brahmvioli_test) 



The massed strings here, such as those found at the opening, are close miked and immediate in the "Mercury recording style." Your electricity better be good when you play this record, because it presents a test many of you will have trouble passing at even moderate levels.

We've often encouraged our readers and customers to go about unplugging things in their homes in order to test the effect of clean electricity on their playback systems. The opening of this record is a perfect example of the kind of material with which everyone should be testing in order to hear these changes. I'd be very surprised if the strings on this record don't sound noticeably better after you've unplugged a few things in your house, the more the better. The effect should not be the least bit subtle. It's certainly not subtle in our system.

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Ravel, Saint-Saens et al. / Tzigane, Havanaise / Kyung-Wha Chung

  (Item #: raveltziga_7073_0512) 



This 1977 London original English pressing of violin showpieces has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which came as a bit of a shock to us after playing side one, which is as congested and opaque as one would expect from such a late London recording. Side two is fabulous -- full-bodied, rich and sweet. Even though it may have been recorded in 1977, the engineer is Kenneth Wilkinson, and the hall is Kingsway -- not many bad recordings can be attributed to either.

But bad mastering or bad pressing quality are surely not the fault of either; when the record doesn't come out of the oven right, the sound is going to suffer, and the sound on this side one is insufferable all right. But side two is GLORIOUS; it has wonderful music played with the greatest skill and feeling.

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Brahms / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner (LSC 1903)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brahmvioli_1903_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic reissue of LSC 1903 is a disaster: shrill, smeary and unmusical.

The best Heifetz records on Classic were, if memory serves, LSC 2734 (Glazunov), LSC 2603 (Bruch) and LSC 2769 (Rozsa). They aren't nearly as offensive as the others. If you can pick one up for ten or twenty bucks, you might get your money's worth depending, I suppose, on how critically you listen to your classical records. The CDs are better for all I know. That's probably the first place to go, considering Classic's generally poor track record.

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The Who - Who’s Next

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: who__whosn_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: B-

At one time we did not recommend this record but now we do! Without going into the sordid details, let''s just say this record sounds pretty good. The acoustic guitars are especially sweet and silky for a modern reissue. The sound is better than most of the pressings of Who's Next I've ever played. Clearly this is is one of the better Classic Records rock records. (It's the only Who record they've done that we carried. The others are awful.)

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock albums by The Who


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The Who - The Who Sell Out

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: who__whose_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame Pressing

Not our idea of good sound. The only Classic Who record we ever carried was Who's Next, which is actually pretty good -- we gave it a B. (I suspect it would earn a much lower grade now; we had lower standards for Heavy Vinyl back then.)

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock albums by The Who


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Stravinsky / The Firebird / Dorati

Classic Records 45 RPM Debunked

  (Item #: stravfireb_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

A customer alerted me to a review Wayne Garcia wrote about various VPI platters and the rim drive, and this is what I wrote back to him:

Steve, after starting to read Wayne's take on the platters, I came across this:

That mind-blowing epiphany that I hadn't quite reached with the Rim Drive/Super Platter happened within seconds after I lowered the stylus onto the "Infernal Dance" episode of Stravinsky's Firebird (45 rpm single-sided Classic Records reissue of the incomparable Dorati/LSO Mercury Living Presence recording).
See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Stravinsky's music


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Muddy Waters Folk Singer

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: waterfolks_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C+

Kills that muddy MOFI, which I must confess I used to like. Things have changed, that's for sure. The MOFI is thick and fat sounding, with much less transparency than this Classic.

Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.

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Neil Young - Greatest Hits

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: younggreat_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

MF loved it, we of course hated it, so what else is new? If you think this record sounds good, one thing is certain: you don't own many good sounding Neil Young records! You might not own any, but don't feel bad; not many audiophiles do, if the experience of my audiophile friends is any guide.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Neil Young's albums


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Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: rimskscheh_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

In 2009 or 2010, during our testing of the TT Weights turntable products, the record I played again and again -- close to a hundred times over the course of two days -- was a wonderful White Dog pressing of LSC 2446. The sound was glorious, some of the best reproduction of large orchestra I have ever heard.

See all the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzehouse_classic_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked.

We can describe the sound in two words: ridiculously bright. Honestly, what more need be said?

Over the years we have done many Led Zeppelin shootouts, often including the Classic Heavy Vinyl Pressings for comparison purposes. After all, these Classic LPs are what many -- perhaps most -- audiophiles consider superior to other pressings.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Led Zeppelin albums


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Classic Records

First Three Classical Releases
Debunked

  (Item #: classic_180_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame Pressings, Every One

I’m reminded of the nonsense I read in TAS and elsewhere in the mid-’90s regarding the reputed superiority of the Classic Records Living Stereo reissues. After playing their first three titles: 1806, 1817 and 2222 (if memory serves), I could find no resemblance between the reviews I read and the actual sound of the records I played. The sound was, in a word, awful. To this day I consider them to be the Single Worst Reissue Series in the History of the World.


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Holst / British Band Classics Vol. 1 / Fennell

  (Item #: holstbriti_50088_0611) 



A distinguished member of our Unconventional Hall of Fame.

This RARE Super Hot Stamper Mercury Mono original pressing has the kind of BIG, LIVELY, tonally correct sound that not one out of fifty mono records we play can lay claim to. If more mono records sounded like this one I wouldn't be so down on mono all the time.

But they don't. Most mono records sound SMALL. When you have big speakers, set far apart and far from the back wall, in a pretty good sized room, small is just not the sound you want to hear! Especially when it comes to classical music. I want a front row seat, and this record is a first class ticket to one.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock pressings of Holst's music


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Columbia Classical LPs

So Many Are So Bad -- How Can This Be?

  (Item #: columbia_c) 



Columbia classical recordings have a tendency to be shrill, upper-midrangy, glary and hard sounding. The upper mids are usually nasally and pinched; the strings and brass will screech and blare at you in the worst way. If Columbia's goal was to drive the audiophile classical music lover screaming from the room, most of the time they succeeded brilliantly. Occasionally they fail. When they do we call those pressings Hot Stampers.
See more entries in our Classical Commentary series


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