I can recommend a pair of Direct to Disc LPs, both on Crystal Clear Records and both widely
available on the used vinyl market - "The Fox Touch" volumes 1 and 2 by Virgil Fox. Recorded by Bert
Whyte in what is now the Crystal Cathedral in California, and cut to disk by Stan Ricker. You will
rarely hear this much detail and frequency spectrum in a pipe organ recording. Because the cathedral
had movie-theater style seats carpeting, it wasn't a massive echo chamber with 10+ second decay
time. So Whyte was able to move the mics out far enough to get really nice balance on the pipes but
also get the dynamics and details of Fox's playing without the sound being swallowed up in a muddy
There was also digital recording made at these sessions, using Soundstream equipment. The takes not
used for the direct-to-disc records (ie those not approved as master takes) were released as "The
Digital Fox" both on LP and early-era poor-sounding CD.
Except for the fact that Stan Ricker did such a good job cutting those Crystal Clear records, I
wouldn't recommend pipe organ music on vinyl. The instrument runs against all the limitations of the
medium. The European way to do it back in the LP heyday was to cut at very low average levels, roll
off the deep bass and press on very quiet vinyl. The American was usually to push the limits of
cutting and playability and end up with groove distortion, especially at the end of sides. Of my old
LPs, the most consistently un-distorted were the Columbia E. Power Biggs recordings, but they also
sounded somewhat muffled.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Schroth" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 12:22 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Quality pipe organ recordings
> Can anyone recommend a couple of well recorded and produced pipe organ CD's. I have a couple of
> older ones that I picked up from a friend, but I'm not sure if I like the quality of the
> recordings. They sound a tad flat and muffled to me.
> Thanks for any recommendations.
> John Schroth
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