Loading...
  [ LOGIN/REGISTER ]   [ MY ACCOUNT ] Items in the shopping cart: 0    Current total: $0.00
   
Left space

Advanced Products Search
Keywords :
 
Price Range : $ ~ $
Manufacturer :
Category :

Found : 115   Display : 1-100
Page :
1 · 2
    << · < Prev · Next > · >>
Sort by:







Super Hot Stamper

Bernard Herrmann
The Fantasy Film World of...

  (Item #: herrmfanta_1907) 

Our Price: $129.99

  • This early British London pressing has excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • On the best copies, you can hear the power of the orchestra live in your listening room
  • The soundfield is big, open and transparent, with the kind of size and spaciousness that may just leave you in awe
  • A superb Phase 4 recording by Arthur Lilley taking advantage of the legendary acoustics of Kingsway Hall
See all of our Bernard Herrmann albums in stock


  more Info











Adam / Giselle / Karajan

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: adam_gisel_6251_2010) 



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

This Dutch Import is the best sounding copy I have ever heard. It is dead silent and rich!

Big spacious hall sound. Lovely mid-hall perspective. Very smooth and sweet. You can listen to music like this for hours and never get tired -- the opposite of your typical Classic Records pressing.

More Orchestral Music on London


  more Info











Albeniz / Iberia - Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: albeniberi_2017) 



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

The sound of this copy is so transparent, undistorted, three-dimensional and REAL, without any sacrifice in solidity, richness or Tubey Magic, that we knew we had a real winner on our hands as soon as the needle hit the groove.

We were impressed with the fact that it excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, pulling the listener into the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)


  more Info











Albeniz / Suite Espanola / De Burgos

Our Shootout Winner from 2006

  (Item #: albensuite_2006) 



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

This London LP from 1968 has some of the MOST DYNAMIC SOUND I have ever heard on a classical recording. The sound here is BIGGER and BOLDER than any pressing of this record I’ve ever played. The dynamics are absolutely startling in their power here. To be fair the other copy we have on the site has a more extended top end, which is a shortcoming that this copy has -- it's a bit rolled off in the extreme highs. But that other copy lacks weight, so that the orchestral climaxes are thin and feel strained.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)


  more Info











Albeniz / Suite Espanola / De Burgos

What to Listen For

  (Item #: albensuite_wtlf) 



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

Wow, is this record ever DYNAMIC! I would put it in the top 2 or 3 percent of the most dynamic recordings we have played over the course of the last twenty five years. It also has tons of DEPTH. The brass is at the far back of the stage, just exactly where they would be placed in the concert hall, which greatly adds to the realism of the recording.

More of the music of Isaac Albeniz


  more Info











Azimuth, VTA, Anti-Skate and Tracking Weight

We Got to Live Together

  (Item #: Azimuth) 



With a shout out to my man Sly!

In this listing you can find commentary and advice about tonearm azimuth adjustment, Ansermet’s recordings, Speakers Corner 180g pressings, and more.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall


  more Info











Bartok / Piano Concerto No. 3 / Kertesz / Katchen

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: bartopiano_6487_2009) 



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

This Super Rare original London pressing has EXCELLENT SOUND and lovely music. The piano is especially well recorded, with the orchestra exhibiting the patented lovely, rich, rossiny string tone, with tons of depth and spaciousness to the sound. This is the first copy of the album I have run into, and my first exposure to the Bartok Piano Concerto, which is actually wonderful.

More Classical Music on London


  more Info











Beethoven / Famous Beethoven Overtures / Munchinger

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: beethfamou_6053_2011) 



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

This British London Blueback original pressing has better than A+ Hot Stamper sound on both sides. The music is lively and well-played, as one would expect from the venerable Karl Munchinger leading the Vienna Phil.

The sound is quite good but very different for each of the two sides. For more on the sound please see our notes below.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











Beethoven / Piano Sonatas / Backhaus

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: beethsonat_6535_2008) 



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

CS 6535. This is the best sounding Backhaus LP I've ever heard. The piano is natural and full bodied, as would be expected from the Decca engineers of the day. They were still making good records in 1967, when RCA had gone Dynagroove.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











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

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: beethsepte_6132_2012) 



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

We rarely put the effort into finding top quality pressings of chamber music that we do for the large orchestral works favored by audiophiles, works such as Scheherazade and The Planets. However, if more of them sounded as good as this one, and played as quietly, we would be more than happy to do just that.

My first note on side one is "HTF" -- Hard To Fault, for the sound was both rich and sweet, with easily recognized, unerringly correct timbres for all seven of the instruments which are heard in the work. The legendary 1959 Decca Tree microphone setup had worked its magic once again.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











Beethoven / Symphony #1 and #8 / Ansermet

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: beethsym1-8_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper side one London Whiteback LP (CS 6388) gives you a wonderful sounding Beethoven First Symphony. It's rich, sweet and Tubey Magical in the tradition of all the best Ansermet recordings from the era.

Unfortunately the second side with the 8th Symphony is awful -- hard, shrill and definitely not worth your time.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











Beethoven / Symphony #6 (Pastoral) / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beethsym6_6160_2016) 



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

In our opinion this is the best sounding Beethoven 6th Symphony ever recorded. It is the most beautiful of them all, and has long been my personal favorite of the nine Beethoven composed.

Ansermet's performance is clearly definitive to my ear as well. The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, possibly of all time; more amazing sounding recordings were made there than any other hall we know of. There is a richness to the sound that exceeds all others, yet clarity and transparency are not sacrificed in the least.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











Beethoven / Symphony No. 9 / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: beethsymp9_2016) 



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

The is the best recording of the Beethoven 9th Symphony we have ever played here at Better Records

Ansermet's performance is clearly definitive to my ear as well. The gorgeous hall the Suisse Romande recorded in was possibly the best recording venue of its day, possibly of all time; more amazing sounding recordings were made there than any other hall we know of.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











Beethoven / The Emperor Concerto / Backhaus

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: beethemper_6156_2010) 



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

Another top London, recorded with more of a mid-hall approach, and smooth sound that reminds me much more of a live concert than most records. This is a demo quality disc, if what you are demonstrating is the kind of realistic piano sound and natural, relaxed presentation found in the concert hall. These may not be qualities that all audiophiles appreciate, but we sure as hell do.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











Beethoven/ Piano Concerto No. 3 - Gamba

  (Item #: beethpc3_gamba) 



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

CS 6096 Blueback LP. This is one of the RAREST and BEST Londons I have ever heard. I think this is the first copy I ever played and it's absolutely WONDERFUL. The sound is London at its best. What's especially striking is the quality of the piano -- it's absolute perfection. The quiet vinyl actually lets you hear the quietest piano parts clearly, no mean feat when it comes to Golden Age recordings. I don't know of a better Beethoven 3rd -- this one sets the standard for me.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven


  more Info











Berlioz / Music Of Berlioz / Martinon

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: berlimusic_15031_2011) 



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

This English Stereo Treasury pressing (on an odd lookinig Orange label, with handwritten stampers I have never seen before) has a SUPERB side two and side one is almost as good! The original release is London CS 6101 and I doubt most copies of it would sound this good.

This is Classic Old School Decca sound, rich and smooth with an exceptionally wide and deep soundstage. All the instruments are clear and have good texture, which is what one rarely hears on the most early pressings, which tend to be thick and dark. A little more top and this side two would have earned the full Three Pluses.

More of the music of Hector Berlioz


  more Info











Bernard Herrmann on Vinyl

These Four Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: herrmann_bernard) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Bernard Herrmann that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place on our site, in your collection, and might even belong in a Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Hot Stamper pressings of Bernard Herrmann's Music

Various Pressings of Bernard Herrmann's Music We've Reviewed



  more Info











Big Speakers, Loud Levels and More Power to the Orchestra

  (Item #: mussopictu_6177) 



The darker brass instruments like tubas, trombones and french horns are superb here. Other Golden Age recordings of the work, as enjoyable as they may be in other respects, do not recreate the full weight of the brass, probably because of compression, limiting, tube smear, or some combination of the three.

The brass on this record has a power like no other. It's also tonally correct. It's not agressive. It's not irritating. It's just immediate and powerful the way the real thing is when you hear it live. That's what really caught my ear when I first played Ansermet's recording.

More Pictures at an Exhibition


  more Info











Bizet & Saint-Saens / Carmen Fantasie / Ricci - Gamba

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: bizetcarme_6165) 



This London Whiteback LP has DEMO DISC sound like you will not believe, especially on side two, which earned our coveted A Triple Plus rating. The sound is warm, sweet and transparent; in short, absolutely GORGEOUS. We call it AGAIG -- As Good As It Gets!

As this is one of the Greatest Violin Showpiece Albums of All Time, it is certainly a record that belongs in every right-thinking audiophle's collection. (If you're on our site and taking the time to read this, that probably means you.) Ruggiero Ricci is superb throughout.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


  more Info











Bizet & Saint-Saens / Carmen Fantasie

This Is Why You Must Do Shootouts

  (Item #: bizetcarme_wtlf) 



Ricci’s playing of the Bizet-Sarasate Carmen Fantasie is OUT OF THIS WORLD. There is no greater performance on record in my opinion, and few works that have as much Audiophile Appeal. Which is why I've had a copy of this record in my own collection for about fifteen years marked "My Demo Disc". But this copy KILLED it. How could that be?

It just goes to show: No matter how good a particular copy of a record may sound to you, when you clean and play enough of them you will almost always find one that's better, and often surprisingly better. Shootouts are the only way to find these kinds of records. Nothing else works.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


  more Info











Bizet / Symphony in C Major / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: bizetsymph_2012) 



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

This London pressing of Ansermet's 1961 recording has SUPERB Super Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides. The Symphony in C, which takes up the whole of side one, is BIG and LIVELY, which is just the kind of sound that makes us swoon here at Better Records. Live music IS big and lively, so why shouldn't the best records be? The bottom end has real power on this copy, the way live music does.

We like our recordings to have as many Live Music qualities as possible, and those qualities really come through on a record such as this when reproduced on the full-range speaker system we use.

More of the music of Georges Bizet (1838-1875)


  more Info











Borodin / Sym. No. 2 / Tchaikovsky / Francesca Da Rimini / Varviso

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: borodsymph_6578_2012) 



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

This London Whiteback pressing (CS 6578) has SHOCKINGLY GOOD sound; in many ways it deserves to be called a Demo Disc. It has at least one quality that one virtually never hears on an audiophile reissue: a smooth, natural top end. This record only sounds correct and "real" at louder volumes, in the same way that a live orchestra often sounds a bit lifeless in the quiet passages, only to get exciting, big and powerful when the score calls for it. For this to happen on record you need real dynamics and tonal neutrality.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall


  more Info











Borodin / Symphonies 2 & 3 / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: borodsymph_6126_0712) 



This White Hot Stamper pressing has DEMO QUALITY sound of the HIGHEST ORDER on fairly quiet vinyl no less. We've long considered the album one of the greatest of all the Decca / London recordings, but this pressing takes the sound beyond even our high expectations.

There is simply nothing in the sound to fault. Where is the slightly dry and midrangy quality in the upper strings that so many Londons from this era suffer from? It's nowhere to be found on this side one. And it's not as though our stereo was hiding that quality, because some of it creeps into the sound on this very side two (which is why it earned a slightly lower grade of A++).

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall


  more Info











Brahms & Dvorak / Hungarian & Slavonic Dances / Reiner

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: brahmhunga_15009_2010) 



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

GOOD SOUND and QUIET VINYL on both sides of this British Stereo Treasury pressing -- this one beat out some of our Blueback pressings! This one gives you more extension both up top and down low than the typical pressings. It's not the most impressive record in the world, but it's a nice step up from most copies out there and the vinyl is quiet.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


  more Info











Brahms / Hungarian Dances / Dvorak / Slavonic Dances

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: brahmhunga_6198_2011) 



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

The London pressing of this music used to be on the TAS List but appears to have been dropped at some point over the years. Not that I would notice what comes and goes on HP's list, as I do not hold it in as high a regard as most audiophiles I have met over the years. For some reason there were those who tended to think it definitive or consistent. I can assure you it is neither.

The Brahms here (side one) is nothing special on this copy, but the Dvorak is SUPERB, sounding much better than the other Bluebacks we played and the Stereo Treasury copies as well. With Reiner at the helm both sides are lively and fun.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


  more Info











Brahms / Piano Concerto #1 / Curzon / Szell

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: brahmpiano_6329_2006) 



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

This is a Near Mint London Whiteback Import LP with an excellent side one. Side one sounds about as good as this record can sound -- smooth and sweet with a natural top end and plenty of deep bass. Side two is not quite as magical.

More of the music of Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)


  more Info











Brahms / Variations And Fugue On A Theme By Handel / Katchen

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: brahmvaria_6158_2008) 



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

Near Mint copy with excellent sound! Superb piano tone for these solo pieces and very quiet vinyl add up to a wonderful listening experience. This surprisingly quiet British vinyl is going to be hard to beat by other Golden Age labels. (Finding solo piano recordings on RCA or Mercury from this era that play quietly is practically impossible.)

More of the music of Johannes Brahms


  more Info











Brahms and Dvorak / Serenades / Kertesz

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brahmseren_6594_2011) 



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

This London Whiteback LP (CS 6594) has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, which is where the Dvorak Serenade for 10 wind instruments, cello and bass can be found. It has lovely space and depth, with dead on tonality and lots of Tubey Magic.

If you love the sound of wind instruments (and who doesn't? British Band Classics springs immediately to mind as one of the most enjoyable classical recordings I own), then this just may be the classical chamber recording for you.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


  more Info











Britten - The Suites for Cello / Rostropovich

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brittsuite_6617_2011) 



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

This solo Cello recording on London from 1970 has Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides, with a cello that might not be realistically portrayed, but is certainly portrayed POWERFULLY.

Honestly, we kid you not, the cello occupies all the space between the speakers, which, being about seven feet apart, makes for a cello that's seven feet wide!


  more Info











Britten / Debussy / Schumann / Cello Sonatas / Rostropovich

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: brittsonat_6237_2011) 



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

Both sides of this promo London Blueback pressing of piano and cello music have SUPERB sound. If you're a fan of the cello, the piano, or chamber works in general, you will have a hard time finding a better sounding recording than this.

Notice especially that there is practically no smear on the piano -- the notes are clear, with their transients fully intact, something one rarely hears anywhere but in the live setting. The tonality of the piano is also correct from top to bottom.

But the real surprise here is how unusually natural the cello sounds -- more like the real instrument and less like the typical recording of it.


  more Info











Britten / Piano & Violin Concertos / Richter

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: brittconce_2011) 



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

This London pressing has Super Hot Stamper sound on side two, the Violin Concerto side. Here the violin sounds superb -- rich, sweet and natural. The brass on this side is HUGE, which is a bit shocking for a later London from 1971. Once you get past the '60s the sound of most Londons is opaque and flat (which describes perfectly far too many Londons with Solti at the helm), but not so here. The stage is as deep and wide as any vintage Golden Age recording we've played recently, and we've played plenty.


  more Info











Bruch / Scottish Fantasia - Oistrakh / Horenstein

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: bruchscott_fame) 



CS 6337. This Minty looking London Whiteback LP has THE MOST AMAZING SCOTTISH FANTASIA I have ever heard! Folks, it doesn't get any better than this. I would say this is one of the five best sounding violin recordings I have ever heard. Interestingly, the violin sound that we typically put up with is found on side two of this very album. It's easy to forget that there are actually records that sound like side one, and that side two really isn't the way an orchestra is supposed to sound.
More of the music of Max Bruch


  more Info











Chabrier / Espana & Rimsky-Korsakov / Argenta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: chabrespan_6006_2013) 



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

This London Whiteback (CS 6006) TAS List Super Disc really IS a Super Disc, with SUPERB SUPER Hot Stamper sound on both sides. It easily bested the Blueback we put up against it, and most of the pressings of Ansermet's performance on London/Decca that we like (CS 6438).

What this album has going for it over the London/Decca with Ansermet is an out of this world Capriccio Espagnol, with the kind of orchestral color and excitement that rivals the composer's Scheherazade and arguably exceeds it, compressing as it does its bright orchestration into fewer than 15 minutes of unalloyed brilliance.

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


  more Info











Chabrier / Orchestral Music / Ansermet

Our Four Plus Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: chabrorche_2016) 



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

The Espana side earned our rare and coveted Four Plus (A++++) Sonic Grade - Wow! Monstrous size and dynamic power thanks to the brilliant Decca engineering of Roy Wallace. Without a doubt the most spectacular sound we’ve ever heard from CS 6438.

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


  more Info











Chabrier / Orchestral Music / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: chabrorche_2009) 



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

This side one has some of the loveliest classical music reproduction we’ve heard around here in ages. Man, this has it all going on: it’s super clean and clear, tonally correct from top to bottom, and it has the full weight of the orchestra down low. The string tone is so sweet and silky I have to say it’s AGAIG -- As Good As It Gets. We've only heard one other copy that was worth the coveted Three Pluses on side one that this LP earned. If you want a classical record to TEST your system, if you want a classical record to DEMO your system, you will have a hard time finding a better pressing than this one for both.

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


  more Info











Chabrier / Orchestral Music / Ansermet

What to Listen For

  (Item #: chabrorche_wtlf_2016) 



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

On many copies the strings are dry, lacking Tubey Magic. This is decidedly not our sound, although it can easily be heard on many London pressings, the kind we've played by the hundreds over the years. If you have a rich sounding cartridge, perhaps with that little dip in the upper midrange that so many moving coils have these days, you will not notice this tonality issue nearly as much as we do. Our 17D3 is ruler flat and quite unforgiving in this regard.

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


  more Info











Chopin and Delibes / Les Sylphides / Maag / PCO

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: chopilessy_2005) 



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

A dynamic and excellent pressing. This record has lovely string tone. Lots of tubey magic. Not one of the rarest Londons, but certainly one of the most enjoyable.

[This is a very old commentary so take it for what it's worth.]

More of the music of Frederic Chopin


  more Info











Debussy / Images Pour Orchestre / Argenta

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: debusimage_15020_2012) 



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

Presenting Super Hot Stamper sound on side two of this Stereo Treasury LP, which is where this superbly performed, wonderul sounding Iberia can be found. Although lacking in orchestral weight, from about 200 cycles up this copy is perfection. In its own way -- especially on systems with not a lot of firepower down low -- this side two qualifies as a Demo Disc.

See more of our spectacular orchestral recordings in stock


  more Info











Debussy / Images Pour Orchestre / Argenta

Reviewed in 2013

  (Item #: debusimage_6013_2013) 



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

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Side two (with Iberia) is simply amazing. It''s more natural than the famous Reiner performance. Argenta brings out the folky quality of this music.

Side one is nothing special. The real magic is on side two.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


  more Info











Delibes / Coppelia / Ansermet

A Superb Mono Pressing

  (Item #: delibcoppe_9027) 



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

DEMO QUALITY SOUND for this early London Mono pressing.

Side one of this record sounds incredible! The sound is absolutely top notch. Check out the brass -- it has the solid weight of the real thing. [This is a very old commentary so take it for what it's worth.]

More of the music of Leo Delibes (1836-1891)


  more Info











Delibes / Coppelia / Ansermet

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: delibcoppe_2201_2010) 



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

Very good sound from the Master Ballet Conductor, Ernest Ansermet, with only a few slightly bright passages marring an otherwise wonderful recording.

More of the music of Leo Delibes (1836-1891)


  more Info











Elgar/ Pomp & Circumstance / LPO / Solti

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: elgarpompa_7072) 



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

Near Demo Quality. Solti is magnificent here. This record has even better sound than the famous Barbarolli. Another Wilkinson/ Kingsway winner.

It would be demo quality if it were recorded in '67 instead of '77; it doesn't quite hang together in the climaxes the way an earlier recording would.


  more Info











Falla / El Amor Brujo & El Retablo de Maese Pedro / Argenta

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: fallaelamo_2012) 



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

The famous Ansermet recording of El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter's Puppet Show) has been mastered on this London Stereo Treasury Import LP to near PERFECTION. This is High Fidelity Audiophile Demo Disc Quality Gold, with bells, drums, voices, trumpets, strings, woodwinds and more, all sounding so real it will take your breath away. This Golden Age tape has been mastered brilliantly with "modern" mastering equipment (from the mid-'60s, not the low-rez junk they're forced to make do with these days), giving you, the listener, sound that only the best of both worlds can offer.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


  more Info











Falla / El Retablo de Maese Pedro / Argenta

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: fallaelret_6028_2007) 



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

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND!

The Falla work here is demonstration quality. It's the reason people love this record. This LP is incredibly rare, especially in NM condition.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


  more Info











Falla / Nights In the Gardens of Spain/ Argenta

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: fallanight_6046_2011) 



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

DEMO QUALITY SOUND from 1959 on this famous TAS List Super Disc recording. This copy of CS 6046 has an especially good Falla side, with Super Hot Stamper sound and fairly quiet vinyl. The Rodrigo side is no slouch either, earning a grade of A+, although it could certainly use more top end (which was the case last time we did a shootout with this title as I recall).

The Falla side is amazingly natural sounding; the string tone is Right On The Money, something that cannot be said of most vintage Living Stereos and Mercury pressings.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


  more Info











Falla / Three Cornered Hat (Complete Ballet) / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: fallathree_6224_2017) 



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

This London is energetic, dynamic, spacious, transparent, rich and sweet. James Walker was the producer, Roy Wallace the engineer for these 1961 sessions in Geneva's glorious Victoria Hall. It's yet another remarkable disc from the Golden Age of Vacuum Tube Recording Technology,

We were impressed with the fact that this pressing excelled in so many areas of reproduction. The illusion of disappearing speakers is one of the more attractive aspects of the sound here, allowing the listener to inhabit the space of the concert hall in an especially engrossing way.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


  more Info











Falla / Three-Cornered Hat / Argenta (CS 6050)

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: fallathree_6050_2010) 



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

Falla's Three-Cornered Hat is positively WONDERFUL on this copy (A++), and the Sinfonia Sevillana by Turina on side two is every bit as good! The second suite on side one is particularly lovely -- check out how rich and full the sound is. Side two has a HUGE soundstage, as wide as they come. The sound is very rich and full of audiophile colors -- this is the kind of record that you're going to love playing for your audio pals!

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


  more Info











Falla / Three-Cornered Hat / Argenta (CS 6050)

This Copy Sure Was a Letdown

  (Item #: fallathree_cs_6050) 



Sonic Grade: F

This London original pressing with 1K/1K stampers was so bright, dry, and shrill I could hardly stand to listen to it for more than the half a minute it took to realize it was not going to get any better. It's bad enough to go right into our Hall of Shame.

The copy we had back in 2010 was a very good sounding record. You can read all about it below.

More of the music of Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)


  more Info











Gilbert and Sullivan / Pirates of Penzance

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: gilbepirat_lon_2009) 



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

EXCELLENT sound on EVERY side, which means it is truly a Demo Disc. On virtually every side it has the kind of rich, sweet Decca/London sound over which we audiophiles have been known to drool. It's nothing short of AMAZING on the White Hot side -- so lively, rich and HUGE. This is a Top London pressing in every way.

And it just so happens that such superb sonics are found on a lowly budget reissue, the Jubilee London label, pressed in Holland no less! Thank goodness we don't judge records either by their labels, their country of manufacture or their pressing era.

More Gilbert & Sullivan


  more Info











Glazounov / The Seasons / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: glazueaso_6509_2014) 



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

This London Whiteback LP (CS 6509) has a Super Hot Side Two, flowing with Decca / London richness and sweetness. As we've said on the site many times, the London pressings with catalog numbers that start with 6400 and 6500 are some of the best recordings we've ever played.

Side two gives you that sound. There are two lovely Concert Waltzes that complete the program and they are just wonderful here, with quiet vinyl to boot.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Victoria Hall


  more Info











Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2005

  (Item #: griegpeerg_sts_2005) 



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

This is overall the best sounding pressing of the Fjeldstad / LSO we have ever played, with BETTER than Super Hot Stamper sound on both sides. For those of you who know your Londons, when you see the label on this LP you will no doubt be shocked: This is the last pressing in the world that one would expect to sound good.

Of course we here at Better Records don't give a sh*t about any such conventional wisdom / collector bias. We like audiophile quality sound and we don't give a damn where we find it. Up against the competition this copy was superb in practically every way, excelling with orchestral size, weight and energy like virtually no other.

More Edvard Grieg


  more Info











Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad

Not Sounding So Good This Time Around

  (Item #: griegpeer_6049_2016) 



Sonic Grade: F

The originals we played in our recent shootout were bad enough to go right into our Hall of Shame.

We've loved the Blueback pressings in the past. This time, not so much -- too crude and opaque with jello for bass.

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)


  more Info











Grieg / Peer Gynt / Fjeldstad

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: griegpeer_6049_2011) 



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

One of the greatest records in the London catalog. As you may have read elsewhere on the site, the Londons to me have the best overall sound of any Golden Age label. As good as RCA and Mercury were, the Londons are more consistently sweet, tonally correct, dynamic and natural sounding. This is a perfect example.

More of the music of Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)


  more Info











Haydn / Symphonies No. 22 & 90 / Ansermet

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: haydnsym22_2012) 



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

Nearly White Hot Stamper sound (A++ to A+++) for side one of this early British Stereo Treasury pressing, which should not come as too much of a shock -- this is after all a vintage Golden Age performance by Ansermet and L'Orchestre de La Suisse Romande, a 1966 recording from the glorious Victoria hall in which so many of our favorite recordings were committed to analog tape through the all-tube chain Decca had perfected.

More of the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)


  more Info











Holst / The Planets / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: holstplane_6734_2010) 



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

This 2-pack boasts White Hot Stamper sound on side two for the Mehta Planets. Yes, it IS possible. Side two shows you what this record is actually capable of -- big WHOMP, no SMEAR, super SPACIOUS, DYNAMIC, with an EXTENDED top. It beat every London pressing we threw at it, coming out on top for our recent shootout. Folks, we 100% guarantee that whatever pressing you have of this performance, this copy will trounce it.

But side one of this London original British pressing was awful. We wrote it off as NFG after about a minute; that's all we could take of the bright, hard-sounding brass of War.

More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


  more Info











Holst / The Planets / Mehta

Sealed with the Pioneer Booklet

  (Item #: holstplane_6734_pioneer) 



Factory Sealed CS 6734 with the super rare Pioneer spacecraft booklet inside the shrink!

A customer of mine who saw that we had a sealed Planets recently told me about this copy, which I offered to sell for him at an admittedly high price, knowing that there's a very good chance this is the last such copy on the planet. I have never seen one before, and I remember when this record came out, so probably few were made with this special booklet included. I'm guessing it has about a dozen pages or so, and probably talks about the Pioneer mission to Jupiter.

More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


  more Info











Ibert / Divertissement / Martinon

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: ibertdiver_2011) 



This London LP has a very good A+ to A++ side two. Lively and not too bright with nice space and clarity, the Jeux D'Enfants is very enjoyable. Le Rouet D'Omphale (the Spinning Wheel) which follows is even better! Natural and dynamic with rich strings, the tonality is wonderfully balanced.

Performed with the Paris Conservatory Orchestra under Jean Martinon, this record also features Bizet's Jeux D'Enfants and Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre and Le Rouet D'Omphale.

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens


  more Info











JS Bach / Organ Music / Richter

  (Item #: bach_organ_6173) 



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

This London Whiteback pressing of CS 6173 has SUPERB SOUND! Like its brother, CS 6172, recorded by Richter in 1954, probably on the same day, the sound of this early stereo 2 mic recording is amazingly spacious and rich.

Here's what I said about 6172; You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician manage to do.

More of the music of JS Bach (1685-1750)


  more Info











JS Bach and Liszt / Organ Music / Richter

Reviewed in 2007

  (Item #: bach_organ_6172) 



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

This is a Minty looking London Red Label LP with Virtually No Sign Of Play (VNSOP).

You can feel the cool air in the hall! Some audiophiles buy organ records to show off their subwoofers. Records like this can do that but records this good have musical qualities far beyond simple demonstrations of bass reproduction. Karl Richter understands this music perfectly and makes it come alive in a way I've never heard any other musician.

More of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach


  more Info











Kodaly / Hary Janos Suite / Kertesz

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: kodalharry_6417_2010) 



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

This is a SUPERB recording, a real sleeper in the world of audiophile pressings. The sound is BIG, BOLD and DYNAMIC as practically any classical record you can name. And the distortion level is vanishingly small as well.

This British pressing has an AMAZING SIDE ONE (A++) backed with an excellent side two (A+), both on very quiet vinyl! I'm a big fan of this music and here's a pressing that really delivers. Side one of the album has the complete Suite, and with Super Hot Stamper sound this copy is guaranteed to knock you out. One of the top Kertesz recordings on London.

More of the Best Recordings Made in Kingsway Hall


  more Info











Liszt - Les Preludes / Wagner - Various / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: lisztlespr_6529_2013) 



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

This London UK pressing (not the Decca as shown in the picture) vinyl from 1967 has Hot Stamper sound on both sides. Some of what we've always liked about Decca/London from the period (mid- to late-'60s, in this case 1967) can be heard on this pressing: transparency; the texture on the strings; the natural timbre of the instruments.

These London pressings are quite hard to find in our experience. The music is wonderful throughout, perhaps the reason that so few of these have found their way to the record bins here in L.A.

More of the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)


  more Info











Liszt / Sonata in B Minor & Other Pieces / Curzon

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: lisztsonat_6371_2011) 



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

This Super Hot Stamper solo piano record is 1963 Decca recording technology at its finest (or would be if we had ten copies to shoot out and could find the White Hot Stamper pressing hidden among them). As it is, we are happy to have found this one, Super Hot on both sides, an amazingly realistic representation of a piano. You will have a hard time finding better.

And the music, especially on side two, is compelling and wonderful. This is classical music that will engage you at the deepest and most serious level. Widely considered Liszt's masterpiece, in Curzon's forceful hands it is not hard to understand why.

More of the music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886)


  more Info











London Orchestral Records from the '70s

And the Problem of Opacity

  (Item #: straualsos_6978) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning records.

The average copy of this 1976 recording has that dry, multi-miked modern sound that the '70s ushered in for many of the major labels, notably London and RCA. How many Solti records are not ridiculously thick and opaque? One out of ten? If that. We're very wary of records recorded in the '70s; we've been burned too many times.

And to tell you the truth we are not all that thrilled with most of what passes for good sound on Mehta's London output either. If you have a high-resolution system these recordings, like those on Classic Heavy Vinyl we constantly criticize, leave a lot to be desired.

More orchestral music conducted by Georg Solti


  more Info











Mahler - Symphony No. 4 - Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: mahlesym4_6217_2017) 



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

Deep bass; rich, smooth strings, lots of lovely hall space - this copy was right up there with the best we heard, and clearly won the shootout for side two. You will hear immediately why this side two could not be beat - it's wonderful.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

More recordings engineered by Kenneth Wilkinson

More recordings made in Kingsway Hall



  more Info











Massenet / Le Cid / Martinon

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: masselecid_2011) 



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

Superb Super Hot Stamper sound for Les Patineurs, and the Le Cid is just a step behind at A+ to A++. We had a copy of the famous Greeensleeves pressing for our shootout, along with a number of Londons, and this Stereo Treasury had the highest overall sonic grades of all of them. The original Blueback pressing -- true, we only had the one, so take it for what it's worth -- was a complete disaster: shrill, with no top or bottom to speak of.

More of the music of Jules Massenet (1842-1912)


  more Info











Massenet / Le Cid / Martinon

This Blueback Was Awful

  (Item #: masselecid_6058) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing. Don't buy into that record collecting / audiophile canard that the originals are always better.

The original Blueback pressing -- true, we only had the one, so take it for what it's worth -- was a complete disaster: shrill, with no top or bottom to speak of.

See more of Massenet's music


  more Info











Mendelssohn / Scotch Symphony / Maag

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: mendescotc_6191_2011) 



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

Both sides of this record have that classic Decca chocolatey, rich, sweet sound. It''s not for everybody, it''s probably not the sound one would hear in a concert hall, but we love it and so do many audiophiles.

The performance here by Maag is legendary and definitive. The sound is perfectly suited for this music, with massed strings to die for. This is classic Tubey Magical Decca orchestral sound. If you want immediacy, buy a Mercury. If you want luscious, rich string tone, this London should be right up your alley.

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


  more Info











Mendelssohn and Bruch / Violin Concertos / Ricci / Gamba

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mendevioli_6010_2011) 



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

One of the great London violin concerto records. With a Super Hot Stamper copy such as this one, the Mendelssohn here has DEMO QUALITY SOUND!

In Ruggiero Ricci's hands both works are nothing short of magical (although the Bruch never sounds especially good in our experience). If you want to know why people drool over Golden Age recordings, listen to the violin on side one. If you're not careful you may find yourself drooling too.

More London Classical Records


  more Info











Mozart / Complete Wind Music Volume 2 / Brymer

Reviewed in 2004

  (Item #: mozarwind2_6347_2004) 



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

This record plays NM and sounds superb! A great London title.

This record includes Serenade in E Flat, Divertimento in E Flat and Divertimento in F and K.

See more of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


  more Info











Mozart / Notturno in D Major For 4 Orchestras / Maag

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mozarnottu_6133_0311) 



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

This London title has long been a favorite of ours here at Better Records, and this Blueback copy does not disappoint (except in the area of condition, see the notes below). Side one, much like the amazing Mozart record we listed today, is spacious and three-dimensional like you will not believe. I would rank it in the Top Five Per Cent of all classical recordings in respect of those qualities. You can hear into the soundstage on this pressing like few recordings you own, we guarantee it.

  more Info











Mozart / Quintet - Piano + Winds & Trio

  (Item #: mozarquint_6109_vta) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your chamber music recordings.

This is a handy record for VTA setup as well. Listen for fullness and solidity, especially in the piano, although a rich, full sounding clarinet is a joy here as well.

More Mozart


  more Info











Mozart / Quintet - Piano + Winds & Trio

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: mozarquint_6109_fame) 



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

Yes, you can expect to find White Hot DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND on side one of this Blueback pressing (CS 6109), possibly the best sound Decca/London ever achieved in the chamber music format. It's hard to imagine these five instruments sounding much better than they do here. And the sound for the Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Viola on side two is nearly as good, earning a sonic grade of A++.

The record is vastly underrated in the famous Moon/ Grey book. No doubt they had a mediocre stamper -- how many copies of every title could they possibly have played? -- but this is anything but.

  more Info











Mussorgsky - Ravel / Pictures at an Exhibition / Ashkenazy

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussopictu_6559_2011) 



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

This original London pressing of the solo piano version of Pictures has uncannily natural piano reproduction, which is why we are awarding this side one our highest sonic grade, A Triple Plus.

The fact that the recording takes place in Kingsway Hall in 1967 no doubt plays a large part in the superb sound. The hall is bigger here than on other copies, the piano even more solidly weighted, yet none of this comes at the expense of the clarity of the playing. There is no smear, allowing both the percussive aspects of the piano and the extended harmonics of the notes to be heard clearly and appreciated fully.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


  more Info











Mussorgsky et al. / Night On Bare Mountain CS 6785 / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: mussonight_6785_2012) 



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

Released as Romantic Russia by Decca in 1967, this London can also be found with a different cover and a different catalog number, CS 6503.

DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side one -- in some ways. Don't go looking for the Tubey Magic of an earlier era. What you get instead is super-low distortion, full-bandwidth sound with deep powerful bass and more transparency than most later Londons.

Solti is clearly the man for this music! He's on fire with this fiery material. THIS is the way you want to hear Russian Orchestral Showpieces -- played with verve and dynamically ALIVE.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


  more Info











Mussorgsky, Borodin, et al. / Orchestral Showpieces / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: mussonight_2011) 



This London Whiteback LP recorded in 1967 (CS 6503) has DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side two. Solti is the man for this music! He's on fire with this fiery material and the London engineers do him full justice -- at least they do on side two. (Side one has a long scratch and cannot be played.)

Don't go looking for the Tubey Magic of an earlier era. What you get instead is super low distortion, full bandwidth sound with deep powerful bass and lovely transparency. THIS is the way you want to hear Russian Orchestral Showpieces -- played with verve and dynamically ALIVE.

More of the music of Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)


  more Info











Offenbach / Gaite Parisienne / Gounod / Faust Ballet / Solti

A Waste of Money

  (Item #: offengaite_6216) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing.

Great cover, awful sound.

More of the music of Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)


  more Info











Offenbach et al / French Overtures - Ansermet

Reviewed in 2009

  (Item #: offenfrenc_6205_2009) 



This Minty London Blueback LP has a WONDERFUL Tubey Magical Super Hot Stamper Side One. I have never heard this music sound better. Of course Ansermet is exactly the right conductor for these light and colorful orchestral pieces; the performances are uniformly superb.

But as audiophiles we want to make sure the sound is what it should be, and here side one does not disappoint. The string tone is perfection. I defy anyone to find a Heavy Vinyl reissue with string tone even remotely as good. In my experience there simply is no such record.

More of the music of Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)


  more Info











Paganini / Caprices / Ricci

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: pagancapri_6163_2011) 



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

This London White Hot Stamper pressing has DEMO QUALITY SOUND on side two! Sound of this calibre is nothing less than SHOCKING. If you like the sound of solo violin -- and who doesn't -- you will have a VERY hard time finding a better sounding recording of it than this. That's assuming you can get your Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA) dead on the money, not something every audiophile can manage. If you can, lookout -- you are in for a sonic treat.

More of the music of Niccolò Paganini


  more Info











Paganini / Violin Concerto 1 & 2 / Ricci (LL 1215)

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: paganconce_2010) 



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

This is one of the MOST AMAZING VIOLIN RECORDINGS in the history of the world. For sheer violin virtuosity it doesn't get any better than this. Ricci and London in the early '50s cannot be beat! This is a true Demo Disc with music of the highest caliber, and I'm betting whoever takes this one home will be THRILLED.

Both sides are dynamic, full-bodied, lively and sweet. This is a vintage London mono recording of the '50s and consequently has some limitations in terms of bandwidth and of course soundstage, but the luscious midrange more than makes up for both. The violin is REAL in a way that few other recordings manage to make it.

More recordings featuring the violin


  more Info











Prokofiev / Scythian Suite & The Prodigal Son - Ansermet

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: prokoscyth_6538_2006) 



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

This is a London Whiteback LP with SUPERB SOUND on both sides. It's immediate, dynamic, very low distortion, spacious, and relatively sweet. The bass deserves special mention here. You rarely hear recordings from the '50s and early '60s, the kind of LPs that were mastered with tubes of course, having this kind of truly deep punchy bass. As this album was recorded in '67 and mastered relatively soon thereafter, the cutting equipment capable of inscribing deep bass onto a slab of vinyl was widely available. For this piece of music it's almost mandatory to get good solid low end.

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


  more Info











Rachmaninoff / Concerto No. 2 / Katchen / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rachmconce_2011) 



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

Folks, what we are offering here is THE SLEEPER Hot Stamper pressing of all time. Side one earned an amazingly good grade of A++ with side two every bit as good. The buyer of this album is going to be SHOCKED when he sees what pressing it is.

For those of you who cherish pressings for their best sound and performances -- as opposed to the typical audiophile collector who prefers the "right" original labels on his records, of course produced only in the "right" countries -- this is the record for you.

More of the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)


  more Info











Ravel & Dukas / Bolero & Sorcerer’s Apprentice / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: ravelboler_6367_2014) 



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

We are rarely able to find quality recordings (or performances) of either Bolero or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, so this pressing comes as an especially welcome addition to the classical offerings on the site.

The sound is clear, with wonderful depth to the stage. As a rule, the classic '50s and '60s recordings of Ansermet and the Suisse Romande in Victoria Hall are as big and rich as any you may have encountered. These recordings strike us as the ideal blend of clarity and richness, with depth and spaciousness that will put to shame 98% of the classical recordings ever made.

More of the music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)


  more Info











Ravel / Daphnis et Chloé / Monteux / LSO

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: raveldaphn_6147_0213) 



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

Nearly White Hot Stamper sound on this superb London Blueback pressing make it quite possibly the best complete Daphnis et Chloe we have ever heard.

Both sides here are BIG, with the space and depth of the wonderful hall that the LSO perform in. From my research it appears that John Culshaw may have produced the album, which surely accounts for the huge size and space, not to mention quality, of the recording. The sound is dynamic and tonally correct throughout. Without more copies on hand we feel it's best to hold back half a plus on the sonic grade. That said, it's clearly the best Daphnis et Chloe we've ever heard.

More of the music of Maurice Ravel


  more Info











Ravel, Falla, Weber & Berlioz - Alborado..., Bolero, more

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: ravelboler_6077_2011) 



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

Side two here has a SUPERB sounding Bolero, and an EVEN BETTER Alborado del Gracioso, possibly the best we have ever heard. True A Triple Plus sound.

As you probably know, Bolero is very hard to find on vinyl properly performed with audiophile quality sound. The sound of Bolero here is excellent: very natural, not harsh at the end where the trombones comes in, and the not too compressed. (This is probably the biggest problem with most recordings of the work. Compression makes the quieter parts ravishingly open and clear, and positively ruins the climax with distorted compressor overload.)

More of the music of Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)


  more Info











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

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: raveltziga_7073_2012) 



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

This 1979 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.

More of the music of Maurice Ravel


  more Info











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.

More Orchestral Recordings


  more Info











Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade - Ansermet - Paris

Not the Ansermet Recording You Want

  (Item #: rimskscheh_paris) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing.

In our experience this is not the recording of the work to buy, on either Decca or London. Of the two recordings by Ansermet, we much prefer the one made with the Suisse Romande to that of the Paris Conservatoire.

See more of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


  more Info











Rimsky-Korsakov / Christmas Eve Suite / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rimskchris_6036_2011) 



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

This Blueback original pressing has EXCELLENT Hot Stamper sound on BOTH sides, with both sides earning grades of A+ to A++. The sound is rich and Tubey Magical in the finest tradition of London / Decca.

The Christmas Eve suite takes up the entire first side, with three shorter pieces comprising the second. Rimsky-Korsakov's exotic orchestrations, much like those found on his wonderful Scheherazade, are pure audiophile ear candy from first note to last.

More of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)


  more Info











Rimsky-Korsakov / Scheherazade / Ansermet / Suisse Romande

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: rimskscheh_6212_2015) 



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

We did a monster shootout for this music in 2014, one we had been planning for more than two years. On hand were quite a few copies of the Reiner on RCA; the Ansermet on London (CS 6212, his second stereo recording, from 1961, not the earlier and noticeably poorer sounding recording from in 1959); the Ormandy on Columbia, and a few others we felt had shown potential.

The only recordings that held up all the way through -- the fourth movement being THE Ball Breaker of all time, for both the engineers and musicians -- were those by Reiner and Ansermet.

More music conducted by Ernst Ansermet (1883-1969)


  more Info











Rimsky-Korsakov / The Tale of Tsar Saltan / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: rimsktaleo_6012_2011) 



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

This London Whiteback pressing contains a stunningly BEAUTIFUL Tale of the Tsar Saltan Suite. The sound is gorgeous. With a little more top end extension (check out our commentary about the triangle below) and more definition to the bottom end -- it would have been very hard to beat.

It's clearly one of the great Demo Disc Quality recordings from the Golden Age (or any age for that matter), with everything that a top Golden Age Orchestral recording should have: all the magic; all the timbral and harmonic subtlety; all the sweetness and warmth; all the Tubey Magical richness.

See more of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


  more Info











Rimsky-Korsakov / The Tale of Tsar Saltan / Ansermet

What to Listen For - The Triangle

  (Item #: rimsktaleo_6012_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your pressing of the album.

This is a work that makes extensive use of the triangle, and I don't know when I've ever heard a better recording of that instrument. (I think there are actually two being played.) It's incredibly sweet, detailed and extended, without calling attention to itself in an unnatural manner. When you hear it, you know it, and I'm hearing it in my head as this is being written.

See more of the music of Rimsky-Korsakov in stock


  more Info











Rossini / Overtures / Maag / PCO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: rossiovert_2013) 



The London and Decca original pressings are the best, right?

Not in our experience. We think that's just another Record Myth.

This Stereo Treasury pressing of Maag's 1958 recording is shockingly good in many ways. It sure doesn't sound like a budget reissue. If anything it sounds more original than the originals we played against it!

More of the music of Ottorino Rossini (1879-1936)


  more Info











Rossini-Respighi / La Boutique Fantasque / Solti

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: rossilabou_1010) 



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!

More of the music of Ottorino Rossini (1879-1936)


  more Info











Ruggiero Ricci / Solo Recital

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: riccisolor_6193_2011) 



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

EXCELLENT SOUND and quiet vinyl on both sides of this London LP featuring the great Ruggiero Ricci performing solo violin pieces! Side two in particular has a sweet, clear top end that really shows you the detail in the violin. Side one is transparent and tonally correct but a bit dark, without all the clarity and sweetness of side two. Still, a very good side at A+ to A++.

Violin sonatas by Stravinsky, Bartok, Prokofiev and Hindemith.

More Classical Music on London


  more Info











Saint-Saens / Symphony #3 / Mehta

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: saintsymph_6680_2011) 



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

This British London pressing is the winner of our recent shootout. We had three London pressings, all the same stamper numbers if I recall correctly, and this is the only copy to have Super Hot Stamper sound on either side. Side two is actually quite nice, with lovely texture to the strings. The sound is transparent and natural, two qualities that are in short supply on most of the recordings Mehta did with the L.A. Phil. in our experience.

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens


  more Info











Saint-Saens on Vinyl

Four that Didn't Make the Grade

  (Item #: saint-saens) 



These are just some of the recordings of the music of Saint-Saens that we've auditioned and found wanting. Without going into specifics we'll just say these albums suffer from poor performances, poor sound, or both, and therefore do not deserve a place on our site, in your collection, and may even belong in our Hall of Shame.

A Free Service provided to the Audiophile Public, courtesy of Better Records.

Hot Stamper pressings of Saint-Saens's Music

Pressings of Saint-Saens's Music We've Reviewed



  more Info











Schubert / Octet / Vienna Octet

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: schuboctet_2012) 



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

Very good sound and very quiet vinyl on both sides of this London Whiteback LP! Side one is rich and sweet with nice space and soundstaging, but it could use more texture and top end. Side two fares a bit better in those areas. Both sides play mostly Mint Minus. There may be better sounding copies out there, but I doubt there are many quieter!

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


  more Info











Schubert / The Trout Quintet / Curzon / Vienna Octet

Original Versus Reissue

  (Item #: schubtrout_6090_2013) 



This unusual 2-pack combines two very different pressings from very different eras to create a complete performance of The "Trout" Quintet with SUPERB Super Hot Stamper (or better) on both sides. One pressing, the one shown, is from the early '60s; the other is from 1982. How could an imported budget late reissue beat a superb Golden Age pressing on any side you ask? Well, the answer to that question is provided by the records we will send you.
More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


  more Info











Schubert / The Trout Quintet / Curzon

Live Sound Versus Chesky Sound

  (Item #: schubtrout_6090_wtlf) 



What I hear on this pressing is sound that is absolutely free from any top end boost, much the way live music is. There’s plenty of tape hiss and air; the highs aren’t rolled off, they’re just not boosted the way they normally are in a recording.

A few years back I had a chance to see a piano trio play locally; they even perform a piece by Schubert. The one thing I noticed immediately during their live performance was how smooth and natural the top end was. I was no more than ten feet from the performers in a fairly reverberant room, and yet the sound I heard was the opposite of what passes in some circles for Hi-Fidelity.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


  more Info











Schumann & Grieg / Piano Concertos / Lupu / Previn / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: schumpiano_6840_2008) 



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

This is an EXCELLENT SOUNDING London pressing of the famous TAS list LP. I've never heard a quieter copy. Usually these are noisy as hell and this one plays dead quiet most of the time, and Mint Minus the rest. HP was right: the Grieg here has the best sound. The piano is amazingly well recorded; the sound is rich and powerful. The orchestra sound better on the Grieg as well; it's slightly more compressed and leaner on the Schumann side.


  more Info




Found : 115   Display : 1-100
Page :
1 · 2
    << · < Prev · Next > · >>

Right right-line
  | NEW TO THE SITE? |  CONTACT US   |