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Herbie Hancock - Takin’ Off

A Cisco Record We Recommend

  (Item #: hancotakin_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: B-

The sound is SUPERB overall, with correct tonal balance and plenty of life. I was WAY TOO HARD on this album when it first came in. It’s playing right now and really swinging!

I just learned the secret to getting this one to sound right, and I am happy to share it with you. TURN IT UP!. When you get some volume going, the musicians really come to life on this album. It may sound crazy, but you need to play this one as loud as you would play your average rock record.

More Herbie Hancock


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Julie London - Julie Is Her Name

A Boxstar Bomb

  (Item #: londojulie_is_boxstar) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex / Boxstar.

One question: Where's the Tubey Magic?

We would never have pointed you in the direction of this awful Boxstar 45 of Julie Is Her Name, cut by Bernie Grundman, supposedly on tube equipment. I regret to say that we actually sold some copies, but in my defense I can honestly and truthfully claim that we never wrote a single nice thing about the sound of the record. That has to count for something, right?

See all of our Julie London albums in stock


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Brahms - Concerto No. 2- Reiner / Gilels

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: brahmpiano2_2281_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: C+?

Another Heavy Vinyl pressing from Cisco / Impex reviewed.

It's been quite a while since I played the Cisco pressing, but I remember it as being quite good. At the time we wrote: "The overall sound is smooth and spacious. The piano may lack the full weight of the live instrument, but that's RCA's fault, not Cisco's. If you can look past that you will find this to be one of the better Living Stereo reissues available today." and we'll just have to stick with that for now, since we haven't played the record in more than ten years.

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


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Jennifer Warnes - The Well

Cisco Debunked

  (Item #: warnewell_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex.

Some of the worst sound I have ever heard in my life, worse than The Hunter even, and that's saying something! It is records like this that make audiophiles the laughing stocks of the music world they too often appear to be (all customers and at least some of you reading this excepted). If this kind of crap is what they choose to play they deserve all the derision being heaped upon them.

More Jennifer Warnes


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Tsuyoshi Yamamoto - Midnight Sugar

Mastering at 33 Vs. 45

  (Item #: yamammidni_33v45) 



The 33 RPM versions were pretty darn amazing but these 45s take the sound of this recording to an entirely new level.

There are a couple of quite obvious benefits to mastering this music at 45 RPM. One is that Yamamoto tends to use his right hand in a percussive manner, which creates tracking problems on most any set up. At 45 RPM the mastering engineer is able to cut those transients, full of difficult to deal with harmonics, much more cleanly and accurately. The result is a sense of "ease" that you don't hear on the 33.

More Audiophile recordings


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Wes Montgomery - California Dreaming

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: montgcalif_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Heavy Vinyl pressing from Cisco / Impex reviewed.

Beware any and all imitations, even this one, which I admit I used to like somewhat. They barely BEGIN to convey the qualities of the real master tape the way the best pressings do. Our Hot Stampers exhibit huge amounts of ambience and spaciousnesss, with far more energy and the kind of "see into the studio" quality that only the real thing ever seems to have.

More Wes Montgomery


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Beethoven / Kreutzer Sonata / Heifetz / Rubinstein

Cisco Debunked

  (Item #: beethkreut_cisco_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex.

The Cisco pressing of LSC 2577 is not acceptable on any level. There is no violinist in front of you when you play their record. There is someone back behind your speakers under a thick blanket, and his violin sure doesn't sound very much like a real violin -- no rosiny texture, no harmonics, no real body. I am proud to say we rejected the record when it was released and never carried it. (The Cisco Peer Gynt was every bit as bad.)

More recordings featuring the violin


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Steely Dan - Aja

Cisco Debunked

  (Item #: steelaja_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex.

I’ve had the opportunity to play our Hot Stampers against the Cisco for friends on more than one occasion. The problem is, the more you listen to the Cisco pressing, the worse it sounds. We wanted to like it, but the more we played it, the more we realized just how wrong it was in too many important ways.

More Aja


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Dvorak & Glazounov - Violin Concertos - Milstein

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: dvoravioli_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: B or so

Some of the sweetest violin tone on heavy vinyl you will ever hear. For Heavy Vinyl this one gets a very high recommendation. The domestic originals we've played have been uniformly awful so pick up this Cisco pressing wherever you can find it if the price is right, assuming you can stand the lack of ambience and resolution that Heavy Vinyl consistently suffers from. To be honest, we have not played this record in many years and would probably like it much less now than we did at the time of its release.

More of the music of Antonin Dvorak


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Jennifer Warnes - The Hunter

Cisco Debunked

  (Item #: warnehunte_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing from Cisco / Impex.

Some of the worst sound I have ever heard in my life. An absolute disgrace, both sonically and musically.

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

More Jennifer Warnes


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Tchaikovsky - Serenade for Strings - Munch

A Cisco Recommended LP

  (Item #: tchaiseren_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: B

This Cisco 180 gram LP has Very Good sound. The original Shaded Dogs tend to be warmer and sweeter, but also more compressed and a bit smeary. This pressing is alive and present, although the string tone can be a bit steely at times. If you have a warm, tubey system this record may just be the ticket. If your system leans toward the dry and analytical, this is not the record for you.

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

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


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June Christy - Something Cool

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: chrissomet_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: C-

This is a decent Cisco LP, which has now long out of print. Audiophiles who love female vocal albums and pass on this one are missing the boat, because finding a better sounding original in clean enough condition to play is practically impossible these days. Of course if you already have a clean original you sure don't need to waste your money on this LP.

More June Christy


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Mozart / Symphony #35 / Witt / Jena

A Cisco Recommended LP

  (Item #: mozarsym35_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: B-

Hearing this performance from Thomas Nee and his orchestra is like hearing the work for the first time. It may be difficult to reproduce the magic in these grooves but wonderfully rewarding when you do. You won’t be bored! The sound is intimate and immediate; this is the record for those of you who appreciate more of a front row center seat. Count me in; that’s where I like to sit myself.

More of the music of Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)


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Prokofiev / Symphonic Suite of Waltzes / Gypsy Fantasy / Schweiger

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: prokosymph_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: B-

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 "B-" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

"Another superb choice from Cisco. These shorter pieces really come to life here. The sound has more hall than the Mozart title they did and every bit the lifelike tonality and transparency."

[UPDATE: None of Cisco's records turned out to be transparent in the least, so that's a big red flag right there. The music is quite good, so if you don't pay much you won't get hurt too badly by the mediocre sound.]

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


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Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5 - Bernstein

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: shostsymph_6115) 



Sonic Grade: B

This Cisco 180 gram LP has EXCELLENT SOUND. Without a doubt this pressing is a HUGE improvement over the majority of shrill originals. Robert Pincus, Mr. Record himself, loaned me his best original Columbia pressing for the shootout. Not surprisingly it sounded every bit as hard, shrill and aggressive as others I have heard. Sounds lovely in the quiet passages, but you better cover your ears in the tuttis.

That’s why you see so few Columbia classical LPs on our site; the sound is usually terrible, and almost always in the same way: boosted upper midrange/ lower highs.

More of the music written or performed by Leonard Bernstein


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Linda Ronstadt - Heart Like A Wheel

Cisco Reviewed

  (Item #: ronstheart_cisco) 



Sonic Grade: C

This pressing beats the typical Capitol LP, which is an aggressive, grainy piece of crap. Take my word for it: I easily have 30-40 copies of this album, and I can tell you from years of experience that it is extremely difficult to find good sounding pressings of this music. Cisco has done a service to the audiophile community by producing a very enjoyable LP of this, Linda’s masterpiece. It’s music that belongs in your collection. (If you have the bread, check out our Hot Stamper copies, guaranteed to kill any modern pressing -- including this one -- or your money back.)

More Heart Like a Wheel


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