Yep, can't beat the Thirties and the Fifties for the great stuff. Although
the Forties experienced, ah, world problems (and union ones too!), there
were several blazing-bright recordings of live events.
On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> By the way, for the late-era LPs that are paper thin but otherwise
> high-quality vinyl, just use a good thick rubber turntable mat and a
> spindle clamp. That should tame rumble and assure good tracking on any
> decent turntable/cartridge system.
> One other general point I didn't make below is that it's debatable whether
> superior music-making was being done in the classical world in the 70s and
> especially the 80s. The "golden era" conductors were either dead, retired
> or ancient. Guys like Andre Previn were the first liners. If you're used to
> a Reiner, Toscanini or Bernstein, that generation of conductors won't do.
> Elsewhere, the last of the old-timers were holding on too long (i.e. late
> years Karajan, Detroit Symphony era Dorati, etc). In the U.S., musical
> tastes were changing so orchestras and their musicians unions were under
> great financial stress. The smaller labels like Telarc were recording in
> places like Atlanta and St. Louis, and do those performances really stand
> up to the best of the "golden era," no matter how good they might sound?
> RCA and Sony/Columbia were still doing big-budget recordings of operas and
> Mahler symphony cycles in the 80s, but they weren't as common as earlier
> times. So, in the new-issue classical LPs, collectors may not prefer the
> updated performances, the digital recordings or the general way the art was
> The best news for collectors and those interested is this -- you can find
> late-era classical LPs all over the place, generally dirt-cheap. Many
> barely-played or unplayed examples lurk in your record store's dollar bins.
> So you can grab up a bunch, listen and form your own judgments.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Clark Johnsen" <[log in to unmask]
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:58 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] late LP era classical records
>> Everything you say here comports with my own observations. (Good work!)
>> I'll just add that, back in the day we were told by most of the, ah,
>> experts that rate conversions had no effect on the sound because it was
>> in the digital domain, i.e. numbers, so it was just a matter of *easy
>> arithmetic* to get it right.
>> Even then I laughed.
>> On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 2:09 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>**
>> I tend to agree with Roger that there were some very good-sounding
>>> classical LP records made in the 1980s. There were some good reasons,
>>> however, why this era is shunned by some collectors.
>>> 1. many people don't like the sound of early digital recordings, period.
>>> From 1979 onward, many and then most new classical LPs were made from
>>> digital masters. The classical labels wholeheartedly embraced digital
>>> recording early. So the same mentality that left some without a CD player
>>> well into the 1990s would lead them to hate digital-master LPs.
>>> 2. this also carried over into the reissue market. Labels would make
>>> digital masters for early CDs (we know how good those sounded, by and
>>> large) and then cut a "New Improved Digital Remaster" LP. Collectors by
>>> large didn't like these reissues one bit, no matter how good the vinyl
>>> 3. there were reissues like Mercury Golden Imports which didn't sound
>>> anything like the originals, although they were pressed on very quiet
>>> vinyl. There were also reissues of mono content mastered to fake stereo
>>> all the quiet vinyl did was show how bad fake stereo sounds.
>>> 4. I've heard conflicting stories about the Angel issues of EMI material.
>>> One version says that EMI would send over NAB-EQ dubs for Capitol to cut.
>>> The other story says EMI would send over CCIR master tapes and Capitol's
>>> cutting guys would EQ around their NAB playback curve. Either way, I
>>> with David Burnham that some of those Angel reissues don't sound right.
>>> contrast, as I understand it, some, many or most of the London reissues
>>> Decca material were pressed from either plates or laquers made in
>>> If I recall correctly, some of the manufacturing was done in Canada, but
>>> maybe that was only the sleeves?
>>> 5. Columbia and RCA reissued a few classic titles using gimmicks like
>>> half-speed mastering and heavy vinyl. Some of them sounded OK, but I
>>> reading a lot of bad comments about RCA not sounding like the original
>>> Living Stereo records.
>>> 6. the final net-net for late-era USA vinyl was it was paper-thin and the
>>> sleeves were often cheaply made. Production was sloppy, so you'd get
>>> sleeves folded over and having scratched the record in process.
>>> records were less than common. Stuff from record clubs was even worse, a
>>> step down in quality.
>>> There are some cases with the early digital recordings, where the
>>> LP sounds much better than the CD. The main reason for this would be
>>> sample-rate conversion equipment and early CD mastering in general. For
>>> instance some people very much prefer the early Columbia 3M Digital
>>> on their original LPs vs the Masterworks Digital CDs of the late 80s.
>>> for Telarc and RCA early digital recordings made with the Soundstream
>>> system. By about 1985, many original recordings were "born" at
>>> so there shouldn't have been any bitrate conversion issues. However,
>>> used its proprietary 48k/18-bit system throughout the 1980s, and EMI may
>>> have used its higher-than-CD-resolution well into the 80s. I think RCA
>>> Soundstream for quite a while, too.
>>> Finally, you got some specialized audiophile LP reissues, for instance
>>> Decca on Mobile Fidelity and various Polygram material out of Japan, that
>>> was of very high quality.
>>> Many of these comments run parallel in the jazz world. Stuff "Newly
>>> Digitally Remastered" and then put on a newly-cut LP usually didn't sound
>>> better than originals. This was especially true with Columbia reissues of
>>> 78's where someone had gone nuts with CEDAR and destroyed any ambience or
>>> room-tone in the original recordings, plus lopped off the entire top end.
>>> In the rock world, there are definitely cases of fast-selling albums
>>> later remasters (required because so many copies had been sold that new
>>> laquers and plates were needed) sound better than original pressings.
>>> are also plenty of the opposite. In general, record-club versions sounded
>>> worse if they weren't pressed from original parts (and they usually still
>>> did because they'd be pressed on warped paper-thin noisy vinyl). The
>>> overall quality of rock LPs suffered when duped cassettes became the
>>> mass medium in the late 80s. LP releases of new albums just about stopped
>>> by the time CDs outsold cassettes.
>>> -- Tom Fine