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Beethoven - Symphony #9 - Solti

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beethsym9_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Bright phony string tone, MoFi's trademark sound for classical recordings. Anyone who has ever attended a concert knows that strings in real life simply do not sound anything like they do on these MoFi records.

The London pressing of this recording is no great shakes either; any pressing should be avoided.

More music by Ludwig van Beethoven


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Borodin, Glinka & Mussorgsky / Romantic Russia / Solti

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: borodroman_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

A well-known reviewer has many kind things to say about this pressing, but we think it sounds like a hi-fi-ish version of a '70s London, which means it's opaque and the strings are badly lacking in Tubey Magic. The bass is like jello on the MoFi, unlike the real London which has fairly decent bass.

More orchestral music conducted by Georg Solti


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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.


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Holst / The Planets / Solti / LPO

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: holstplane_solti) 



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

This is a fairly quiet, excellent sounding Decca in the Box Purple Label British import LP. This is the same performance, the same recording that Mobile Fidelity remastered (510), but, thankfully, this copy sounds A WHOLE LOT BETTER!

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


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Holst / The Planets / Solti / LPO

MoFi (and UHQR) Debunked

  (Item #: holstplane_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: Regular MoFi LP: F / UHQR: D

Both Hall of Shame pressings.

We recently auditioned an excellent sounding Decca Purple Label British import LP, the same performance, the same recording that Mobile Fidelity remastered (#510), but, thankfully, it sounded A WHOLE LOT BETTER!

I just listened to both and a catalog of the faults of the MFSL pressing would be quite lengthy. I won’t waste your time listing them. Although this recording is not perfect, the Decca pressing shows it in its proper light.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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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


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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



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Mahler / Das Lied Von Der Erde / Solti / CSO

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: mahledasli_555_2006) 



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

This Minty Decca pressing from 1972 sounds WONDERFUL -- another Kenneth Wilkinson/ Gordon Parry triumph.

This recording is part of the Solti Decca Silver Jubilee, celebrating the 25th year of Solti's collaboration with Decca.

(He started in 1947!) The Beethoven 9th on the TAS List, one of the all time great Beethoven recordings, is also part of that series. Judging by those two records, it appears that Decca still had their act together in 1972, long after other labels were producing garbage.

More of the music of Gustav Mahler


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Mahler / Symphony No. 1 / Solti

Reviewed in 2010

  (Item #: mahlesym1_solti) 



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

This is a Minty Decca Black and Silver LP.

The sound is AMAZING and the record plays Mint Minus or better. This is my favorite Mahler 1st. Guaranteed to trouce the Decca 180g pressing or your money back.

See more of the music of Gustav Mahler


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Mahler / Symphony No. 1 / Solti

Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: mahlesym1_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: C+

A fairly good Speakers Corner Decca. We haven't played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "C+" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. The right "real" pressing should be dramatically better sounding in every way. They almost always are.

See more of the music of Gustav Mahler


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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)


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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)


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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)


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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)


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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)


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Stravinsky - Le Sacre du Printemps - Solti

Speakers Corner Reviewed

  (Item #: stravlesac_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

A fairly good Speakers Corner Decca.

Years ago we wrote the following: "Wow! What a performance! What dynamic full bodied sound! To be fair, I pulled out my original London, one of those awful mid-'70s English pressings that are never quiet, and yes, some of the ambience on the original is missing here on the new version, but everything else seems right: dynamics, tonality, the frequency extremes (including some pretty awesome deep bass)."

Can't be sure we would still feel that way but I'm guessing this is a good record if you can pick one up at a cheap price.

More of the music of Igor Stravinsky


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Stravinsky / The Rite of Spring / Solti

Reviewed in 2008

  (Item #: stravriteo_6885_2008) 



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

This is an amazing recording, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, far better than the Decca heavy vinyl reissue that came out in the 2000s.

This record is extremely dynamic; full of ambience; tonally correct; with tons of deep bass. Because it's a more modern recording, it doesn't have the tubey magic of some Golden Age originals, but it compensates for that shortcoming by being less distorted and "clean". Some people may consider that more accurate. I don't know if that is in fact the case, to be honest with you.

More of the music of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)


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Verdi / Rossini / Overtures and Intermezzos / Solti

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: varioover_1119_2016) 



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

This White Hot Stamper Plum Victrola pressing has GORGEOUS Tubey Magical Analog sound the likes of which you may have never heard. Yes, it's that good! Recorded in England by Decca in 1959, with Solti at the helm of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the music herein was originally released on the album Venice, LSC 2313, with a lovely die-cut cover. Six years later, still clearly in the Golden Age of Tubes, it was reissued on Victrola, and it would be hard to imagine it sounding any better than it does here. (We keep a noisy Venice as a ref but it sure doesn't sound like this pressing.)

More Living Stereo


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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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