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Cannonball Adderley - Somethin’ Else

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: addersomet_classic) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

There are certainly some incredible sounding original pressings of this album out there, but who has the resources it takes to find one? Most of the original Blue Notes we come across these days turn out to have mediocre sound, and many of them have severely damaged inner grooves. Even the mintiest looking copies often turn out to be too noisy for most audiophiles, Blue Note vinyl being what it is.

This is of course why the hacks at Classic Records did so well for themselves [until they went under] hawking remastered versions of classic albums pressed on new, quieter vinyl.

More Cannonball Adderley


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Chet Atkins / Chet Atkins in Hollywood

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: atkininhol_1993_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as nothing special, tonally fine but low-rez and lacking space, warmth and above all Tubey Magic. I don't think I've ever played an original that didn't sound better, and that means that the best grade to give Classic's pressing is probably a D for below average.

More Chet Atkins


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Burt Bacharach - Casino Royale

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: bachacasin_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

Casino Royale under the sway of Bernie's penchant for bright, gritty, ambience-challenged sound? Not such a good match. There is no reissue, and there will never be a reissue, that will sound as good as a good original. (And I hope it would go without saying that most copies cannot begin to do what a real Hot Stamper original can.)

See all of our Burt Bacharach albums in stock


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Beethoven - Symphony #5 - Monteux

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: beethsym5_1103_classic) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as being quite good. At the time we wrote: "One of the better Classic Records classical titles." and we'll just have to stick with that for now, since we haven't played the record in more than ten years.

More Living Stereo


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Beethoven / Symphony #4 / Monteux

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: beethsymph4_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as none-too-impressive, playing into my natural prejudice against early Living Stereo recordings and Classic Records themselves.

More music by Ludwig van Beethoven


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Beethoven / Violin Concerto in D / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: beethvioli_1992_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

It is an airless fraud, a cheap fake reproduction that's incapable of fooling anyone with two good ears, a properly set up stereo and a decent collection of Golden Age violin concertos.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


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Brahms / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner

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.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


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Dave Brubeck - Time Out

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: brubetimeo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

When we did a shootout for this record way back in October of 2007 we took the opportunity to play the Classic Records 200 gram pressing. Maybe we got a bad one, who knows, but that record did not sound remotely as good as the real thing (6 eye or 360, both can be quite good). The piano sounded thin and hard, which was quite unexpected given the fact that we used to consider the Classic LP one of their few winners and actually recommended it.

More Dave Brubeck


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Bruch / Scottish Fantasy / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: bruchscott_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

It should go without saying that a good original pressing kills the Classic reissue, and the Classic version is one of the better Classics. Still, it's no match for the real thing, not even close. The Classic is airless, smeary and low-rez, which means that all the subtleties of the music and the performance will be much more difficult to appreciate. For $30 it's not a bad record.

More of the music of Max Bruch


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Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: burremidni_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Pretty flat and lifeless. You would never understand why audiophiles rave about this recording by listening to the Classic Records pressing.

We played it up against our best, and as expected it was nothing to write home about. Since Rudy has remastered and ruined practically all the Blue Note CDs by now, you will have your work cut out for you if you want to find a good sounding version of Midnight Blue. This sure ain’t one.

More Kenny Burrell


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Chabrier / Espana and more / Paray

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: chabrespan_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

I much prefer Ansermet’s performances on London to those of Paray on Mercury. I know of none better. The famous Classic pressing of the Mercury is a grainy, gritty, shrill piece of crap.

More of the music of Emmanual Chabrier (1841-1894)


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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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Crosby Stills & Nash - Crosby Stills & Nash

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: B-

Nice enough I suppose, but where’s the Midrange Magic?

The Classic 180g version was a revelation when it came out years ago. Bernie actually cut it pretty darn right. However, his mastering chain cannot compete with the one used on the best original pressings.

The evidence for this is overwhelming. There simply is no Bernie-Grundman-cut record that is the equal of the best pressings not cut on his current chain that I have heard over the years. (His old cutting system, the one that cut Stardust and Blue and much of the Contemporary catalog, was KILLER. Wonder what happened to it?)

See more of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's albums


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VTA Adjustment on Crosby Stills and Nash

Using the Classic Records Heavy Vinyl LP (2005)

  (Item #: crosbcrosb_vta_200) 



This listing contains commentary about VTA adjustment for 200 gram vinyl, using the CSN track Helplessly Hoping.

Helplessly Hoping is a wonderful song with plenty of energy in the midrange and upper midrange area which is difficult to get right. Just today (4/25/05) I was playing around with VTA, having recently installed a new Dynavector DV-20x on my playgrading table (a real sweetheart, by the way), and this song showed me EXACTLY how to get the VTA right.

More Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young


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David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name...

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: crosbifico_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

What do you get with Hot Stampers compared to the Classic Heavy Vinyl reissue? Dramatically more warmth, sweetness, delicacy, transparency, space, energy, size, naturalness (no boost on the top end or the bottom, a notable failing of the Classic); in other words, the kind of difference you almost ALWAYS get comparing the best vintage pressings with their modern remastered counterparts, in our experience anyway. The Classic is a nice record, a Hot Stamper is a MAGICAL one.

More David Crosby


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Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Classic of LSC 2222 is all but unlistenable on a highly resolving system. The opacity, transient smear and loss of harmonic information and ambience found on Classic's pressing drives us right up the wall. Who can sit through a record that sounds like that? 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.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: fitzgclaph_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Long time customers know that I have been raving about this album for more than a dozen years -- ever since I first heard it in fact. I consider it the finest female vocal album in the history of the world. I could go on for pages about this music. Suffice to say this is a record that belongs in every human being’s record collection. Just not the Classic Records pressing of it.

More Ella Fitzgerald


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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel

Debunked

  (Item #: gabrigabr1_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another addition to our Hall of Shame from one of our favorite whipping boys here at Better Records, the late but hardly lamented Classic Records.

Bernie Grundman's mastering approach for the first PG album is a disaster -- brighter and cleaner, which turns out to be precisely the wrong sound for the music.

More Peter Gabriel


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Peter Gabriel on Classic Records

Some People Have No Business Reviewing Records

  (Item #: gabripeter_reviewer) 



This commentary was written after a review I spotted online prompted me to crack open one of the Classic Records 200 gram Peter Gabriel titles and play it. Let’s just say the results were less than pleasing to the ear. Bernie Grundman had worked his "magic" again and as usual I was at a loss to understand how anyone could find his mastering in any way an improvement over the plain old pressings.
More Peter Gabriel


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Genesis - Nursery Cryme

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: genesnurse_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Classic Heavy Vinyl pressing is a smeary lifeless mess next to one of our Hot Stamper pressings.

More Genesis


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Gershwin / Concerto in F / Boston Pops (LSC 2586)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: gershconce_2586_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

I must admit Classic did a passable job with this one. The two things that separate the good originals from the reissue are in some ways related. Classic, as is their wont, boosted the upper midrange, and that, coupled with their transistory mastering equipment, makes the strings brighter, grainier and yet somehow lacking in texture and sheen compared to the originals. Once you recognize that quality in the sound of a record it's hard to ignore, and I hear it on every Classic Record I play.

More of the music of George Gershwin


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Gounod - Ballet Music from Faust - Gibson

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: guonofaust_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

Classic Records did a passable job with LSC 2449, one of their better efforts, but of course it has almost none of the sweetness, richness and ambience that the best RCA pressings have, and they have them more often than not in abundance. Their version is not awful, like most of the classical recordings they remastered, and considering that the original goes for many, many hundreds of dollars, might be worth picking up at a reasonable price.


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Coleman Hawkins and Clark Terry - Back In Bean’s Bag

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: hawkibacki_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

We're not the least bit embarrassed to admit we used to like their version very much, and happily recommended it in our catalog back in the day.

Like many Classic Records, the master tapes are so good that even with their mediocre mastering -- and pressing: RTI's vinyl accounts for at least some of the lost sound quality, so airless and tired -- the record still sounds great, at least until you get hold of the real thing and hear what you are missing.

More Coleman Hawkins


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Coleman Hawkins - Hawkins! Alive!

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: hawkihawki_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The copy I auditioned back in 1995 had Hawkin's horn sounding squawky and sour. We never carried it. I liked many of their other jazz titles -- they did a better job with jazz than any other kind of music -- but this was not their finest hour. Unless I got a bad copy, always a possibility.

More Coleman Hawkins


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Jimi Hendrix - Axis: Bold As Love

Classic Records Mono Debunked

  (Item #: hendraxisb_classic_records) 



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."

More Jimi Hendrix


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Classic Records Has an Epiphany

UHQRs Actually DO Sound Good!

  (Item #: hobson_1) 



Mike Hobson finally figured out why his pressings often don't sound good and/or are noisy. We'll let him explain it. If you want the whole story (which goes on for days) you can find it on the Classic Records web site. While you're there, remember the sound.

One day, while out for a run, I had an epiphany and rushed home to dig out a JVC pressing from the 1980's pressed for Herb Belkin's Mobile Fidelity. The Mobile Fidelity UHQR pressings were always revered as sounding better than the standard weight pressings from JVC – but why I thought? To find out, I cut a UHQR pressing in half and guess what I found? First, it weighed 195 grams and IT WAS A FLAT PROFILE! I cut a 120g JVC pressing in half and found that it had the conventional profile that, with small variations, seems to be a record industry standard and is convex in it's [sic] profile – NOT FLAT.

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Illinois Jacquet - Illinois Jacquet

Classic Records - Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: jacquillin_17033_classic) 



Sonic Grade: C or Better

My guess is this is still a fairly good Classic Records jazz album. Years ago we wrote the following:

"This is actually one of the best Classic Jazz albums they released back in the '90s. Both the music and sound are excellent. Jacquet is one of the creators of the big soulful tenor sax sound. I don't know of anyone who does it better."

We can't be sure that we would still feel the same way. My guess is that this is still a good record if you can get one for the 30 bucks we used to charge.

More Illinois Jacquet


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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.)

More Jethro Tull


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Lalo / Symphonie Espagnole / Hendl (LSC 2456)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: lalo_symph_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

The Classic Records Heavy Vinyl pressing is a good example of exactly what NOT to do with a recording such as this. Their version is intolerably aggressive. Who in his right mind can listen to a record that sounds like that? You better have some VERY dull or muffled speakers. In a system with properly working tweeters this record would be all but unlistenable.

More Living Stereo


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin

Classic Records Reviewed and Recommended

  (Item #: ledze1_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 we found none too pleasing to the ear.

More Led Zeppelin


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Led Zeppelin - II

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze2_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 to be superior to other pressings. If you don't believe me go to the forums and read for yourself.

More Led Zeppelin


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Led Zeppelin - III

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze3_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Ridiculously bright and harsh, we are proud to say this was one of the Classic Zep releases that we never carried on the site (along with II and Houses, both of which stink).

More Led Zeppelin


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Led Zeppelin - IV

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledze4_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

It wasn’t that long ago that I thought the Classic Records 180 (later 200) gram pressing was the king on this title. In late 2006 I wrote: You can hear how much cleaner and more correct the mastering is right away... Folks, I must have been out of my mind. I wasn’t out of my mind. I just hadn’t gotten my system to the place where it needed to be to allow the better original pressings to sound their best.

More Led Zeppelin


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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.

More Houses of the Holy


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Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeinthr_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A classic case of Live and Learn. After finishing our first shootout for this album in August of 2007, our faces were sure red. We used to think the Classic version was pretty decent, but the best originals SLAUGHTER it! We had never done a shootout for this album before that. We didn’t feel up to the challenge, because the typical pressing tends to be miserable -- gritty, grainy, hard sounding, congested mids, dull, and so on.

More In Through the Out Door


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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzephysi_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

Tonally correct, which is one thing you can't say for most of the Zeps in this series, that's for sure. Those of you with crappy domestic copies, crappy imported reissues and crappy CDs, which is pretty much all there is of this recording, will not know what you're missing.

More Led Zeppelin


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Led Zeppelin - Presence

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: ledzeprese_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: D

This was one of only three Classic Records 180 (later 200) gram titles that I used to recommend back in the day.

Now when I play the heavy vinyl pressing I find the subtleties of both the music and the sound that I expect to hear have simply gone missing. These days the Classic just sounds second-rate compared to the real thing. You can adjust the VTA of your rig until you're blue in the face, you'll never get the Classic to sound better than passable.

The average original pressing is better, and that means Classic's version deserves a sub-standard grade of D.

More Led Zeppelin


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Liszt, Enesco, Smetana / Rhapsodies - Stokowski

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: lisztrhaps_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The lower strings are wonderful on the original -- wall to wall, with that rosiny texture we love. I wrote at the time -- this is twenty or so years ago -- that the Classic pressing took that rich, dark sound and brightened it up, naturally ruining it in the process. Cellos and double basses just don't sound like that. On the best pressings of LSC 2471 their timbre is Right On The Money. Of course, that's is the real thing, not some audiophile rebutchering.

Now if you're a Classic Records fan, and you like that brighter, more detailed, more aggressive sound, the original is probably not the record for you.


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Mendelssohn & Prokofiev / Concertos / Heifetz / Munch

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mendeconce_2314_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Heavy Vinyl Classical LP debunked.

Classic Records ruined this album, as expected. Their version is dramatically more aggressive, edgy and smeared than the better vintage pressings. In fact it's just plain awful, like most of the classical recordings they remastered.

More of the music of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)


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Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: mussopictu_classic_records) 



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!

More Pictures at an Exhibition


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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!

More Graham Nash


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Roy Orbison - Crying

Reviewed in 2003

  (Item #: orbiscryin_classic) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP reviewed. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in 2003 when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

"This is actually a very good sounding record, unlike the first Orbison that Classic did. It's also a better album."

More Pop & Jazz Vocal LPs


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Roy Orbison - Sings Lonely and Blue

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: orbissings_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Can’t recommend this one. It’s too bright. The DCC LP of Orbison’s material is dramatically better. I’ve had some discussions with some audiophiles who liked this album, and I’m frankly surprised that people find this kind of sound pleasing, but if you’re one of those people who likes bright records, this should do the trick!


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Prokofiev / Love for Three Oranges Suite / Dorati

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: prokolovef_90006) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Dreadful sound. The Mercury series on Classic is a disaster.

Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs.

More of the music of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)


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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 positively guarantees that the Classic Reiner Sound will be all but unplayable on a proper system.

More of the music of Maurice Ravel


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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 more of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


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The Royal Ballet - Gala Performances

Classic Records Repress - Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: royalgalap) 



Sonic Grade: C or Better

Probably a fairly good Classic Records album. When I played this record years ago I thought it was one of the better Classic RCA titles. You can be sure it won't sound like the original -- no Classic record does -- but it might be pretty good all things considered (since the original sells for well over a thousand dollars!). Ansermet is the king of the ballet here and the Decca engineers do him proud.

Classical music conducted by Ernst Ansermet


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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 our good pressings, 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 anything other than a nominal price.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Sibelius / Violin Concerto / Heifetz

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sibelvioli_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Classic Records LP debunked. Classic remastered this title in the '90s -- it's 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.

More of the music of Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)


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Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: simonbridg_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C

Not Bad, But Hot Stampers Rule

What do the best copies give you? They’re the ones with textured strings in the orchestral arrangements. The string tone on the average copy is hard and steely. (The Classic 200 gram pressing suffers from a case of slightly steely strings. Play it yourself and see.) When the strings are blasting away at the end of the title song, you want to be able to hear the texture without the strings sounding shrill and edgy. This is no mean feat, for the record or the stereo.

More Simon and Garfunkel


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Frank Sinatra - The Voice

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: sinatthevo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

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

There is a boatload of TUBEY MAGIC to be heard on the original pressings, due no doubt to the fact that they are mastered with tube equipment, but not much on this Classic repress.

More Frank Sinatra


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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 of Stravinsky's music


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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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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!

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)


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Tchaikovsky / Symphony #6 (Pathetique) / Monteux

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaisym6_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as none-too-impressive, playing into my natural prejudice against early Living Stereo recordings and Classic Records themselves.

Keep in mind the Shaded Dog originals of this recording are awful too, as we make clear below.

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


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Tchaikovsky / Violin Concerto / Heifetz / Reiner

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: tchaivioli_2129_classic) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Classic is both aggessive and lacking in rosiny string 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 simply never make it to the vinyl.

More of the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky


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Various - Balalaika Favorites

Classic Record Debunked

  (Item #: variobalal_90310_classic) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

It's been quite a while since I played the Classic pressing, but I remember it as unpleasantly hard and sour.

More Mercury Recordings


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Various Composers / Ballet Music From The Opera / Fistoulari

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: varioballe_2400_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

Classic Records ruined this album, as one would have expected. Their version is dramatically more aggressive, shrill and harsh than the Shaded Dogs we've played, 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.

More Living Stereo


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TAS List Thoughts about Festival

Harry, This One Is Out of Phase, Man!

  (Item #: variofesti_tas) 



Harry Pearson put this on his list of the best Classic Records RCAs.

If you can reverse your absolute phase this record actually sounds fairly decent. Do you think Harry knows to do that, or even how to do it? I have my doubts. [He's gone now so the point is moot, but I maintain it's the rare reviewer who grasps these kinds of issues with anything approaching the depth and understanding required to be informative and accurate.)

More orchestral music conducted by Fritz Reiner (1888-1963)


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Verdi, Rossini, et al. / 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 Classic's 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.

More Living Stereo


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Various Artists - Witches’ Brew on Classic

Whose Idea of an Audiophile Record Is This?

  (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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Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

Classic Records Reviewed

  (Item #: waterfolks_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: C+

Kills that muddy MOFI, which I must confess I used to like. Things have changed, that's for sure. The Mobile Fidelity is thick and fat sounding, like most of their awful Anadisq releases, 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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Ben Webster - And ’Sweets’ Edison

Classic Records Repress - Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: webstandsw_classic) 



Sonic Grade: B?

Probably a fairly good Classic Records jazz album. Both the music and sound are excellent.

The right Columbia pressing will kill it, but it's probably a fairly good value if you can get one for the 30 bucks we used to charge.


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The Who - Tommy

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: who__tommy_classic) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

The Classic Tommy is bass shy. It could have had amazing bass, like their Who's Next, but it doesn't. Why, I have no idea. The overall sound is thin, so thin that we immediately knew there was no point in carrying it (back in the bad old days when we carried Heavy Vinyl). The only Classic Who record we ever carried was Who's Next; the rest of them vary from mediocre to dreadful.

More Tommy


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The Who - Who By Numbers

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: who__whoby_classic) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP reviewed.

It's not just bass that separates the Real Thing from the Classic Reissue. It's WEIGHT, fullness, the part of the frequency range from the lower midrange to the upper bass, that area that spans roughly 150 to 600 cycles. It's what makes Daltry's voice sound full and rich, not thin and modern. It's what makes the drums solid and fat the way Johns intended. The good copies of Who's Next and Quadrophenia have plenty of muscle in this area, and so do the imports we played.

More 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 lower grade now; we had lower standards for Heavy Vinyl back then.)

More by The Who


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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.)

More by The Who


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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.

More Neil Young


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Frank Zappa - Hot Rats

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: zappahotra_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Classic Records LP debunked.

As for the Classic here, we have only one question: This is analog? You could’ve fooled me. And somebody’s been messing around with the sound of the drums on the new version -- a certain Mr. Frank Zappa no doubt. He really did the album a disservice.

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


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