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White Hot Stamper

Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult

  (Item #: debusclair_1907_2) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • A KILLER sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides
  • These sides are incredibly rich, sweet and full-bodied yet still very clean, clear and spacious; Demo Disc sound throughout!
  • I can't imagine a more beautiful record, both in terms of the programme and the sound; this record is a wonderful example of what the Decca recording engineers (Kenneth Wilkinson in this case) were able to capture on tape
  • This is the exact same recording as the famous Living Stereo Clair De Lune, LSC-2326, but with a couple of extra tracks included
See all of our Debussy albums in stock


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Super Hot Stamper

Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult

  (Item #: debusclair_1907_1) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • A superb sounding copy with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout
  • These sides are rich, sweet and full-bodied yet still very clean, clear and spacious; Demo Disc sound throughout!
  • I can't imagine a more beautiful record, both in terms of the programme and the sound; this record is a wonderful example of what the Decca recording engineers (Kenneth Wilkinson in this case) were able to capture on tape
  • This is the exact same recording as the famous Living Stereo Clair De Lune, LSC-2326, but with a couple of extra tracks included
See all of our Debussy albums in stock


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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.


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Chopin / Fantasy - Impromptu, more / Philippe Entremont

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: chopifanta_2014) 



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

The subtitle of the album reads Philippe Entremont Plays Best-Loved Piano Pieces.

After hearing this one as well as another exceptionally good sounding copy, we would like to amend that to Philippe Entremont Plays the Hell Out of These Best-Loved Piano Pieces.

Truly this is an undiscovered gem from Columbia in 1966.

More of the music of Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)


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Classic Records

First Three Classical Releases
Debunked

  (Item #: classic_180_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Hall of Shame Pressings, Every One

I’m reminded of the nonsense I read in TAS and elsewhere in the mid-’90s regarding the reputed superiority of the Classic Records Living Stereo reissues. After playing their first three titles: 1806, 1817 and 2222 (if memory serves), I could find no resemblance between the reviews I read and the actual sound of the records I played. The sound was, in a word, awful. To this day I consider them to be the Single Worst Reissue Series in the History of the World.


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Debussy & Ravel / String Quartet - Julliard String Quartet

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: debusquart_2413_2005) 



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

Near Mint SUPER RARE Demonstration Copy Shaded Dog of this Debussy and Ravel string quartet recording.

I haven't seen a clean one of these in probably close to ten years. This record looks like it has been played very little.

The sound is also very natural. Not bright or close miked -- much more the way it would actually be heard in a smaller more intimate setting.

More Living Stereo


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Debussy - Iberia (Images Pour Orchestra)

Classic Records Debunked

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_classic_records) 



Sonic Grade: F

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

The Classic of LSC 2222 is all but unlistenable on a highly resolving system. The opacity, transient smear and loss of harmonic information and ambience found on Classic's pressing drives us right up the wall. Who can sit through a record that sounds like that? Way back in 1994, long before we had anything like the system we do now, we were disparaging the "Classic Records Sound" in our catalogs.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Debussy - La Mer - Munch

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: debuslamer_1041_2011) 



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

This late label Victrola pressing (VICS 1041) has EXCEPTIONALLY rich and sweet sound and a superb performance from Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony.

The richness of the strings, a signature sound for RCA in the Living Stereo era, is displayed here beautifully for fans of the classical Golden Age. It's practically impossible to hear that kind of string sound on any recording made in the last thirty years. It may be a lost art but as long as we have these wonderful pressings and the turntables to play them it is an art that will never be lost to us.

See more of Claude Debussy's music


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Debussy / Clair de Lune / Agoult

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: debusclair_2326_2011) 



A distinguished member of our Better Records Hall of Fame.

This Shaded Dog LP has DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND, if what you're demonstrating is not a Hi-Fi spectacular, but rather a sublime presentation of a truly sweet and natural string section of an orchestra, presented here on analog disc created more than fifty years ago.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Debussy / Iberia - Reiner

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: debusiberi_2222_2005) 



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

This is a wonderful sounding Shaded Dog pressing. Side two is especially dynamic.

This has long been considered one of the Living Stereo triumphs. The spaciousness and tonal correctness is legendary.

This copy does not have the prodigious bass of some that I've heard. The Classic reissue has plenty of deep bass, but it's shrill and hard and altogether unpleasant, so the better bass comes at a steep price.

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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


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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


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Debussy / Images Pour Orchestre / Munch

Reviewed in 2006

  (Item #: debusimage_2282_2006) 



A Living Stereo record from the Golden Age of Classical Recordings, in this case 1960.

DEMONSTRATION QUALITY SOUND! Iberia on side two sounds exceptionally good. It's also a better performace than the famous Reiner. Munch understands this music perfectly.

This recording has an extremely open, extended top end. If you can add a few dB around 50 cycles, you will have the best of both worlds.

More of the music of Claude Debussy


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Debussy / La Mer / Ansermet

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: debuslamer_6437_2015) 



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

We were impressed with the fact that this vintage London 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. Depth and transparency are key to losing yourself in the music, and this pressing offers plenty of both.

More Recordings from Victoria Hall


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Debussy / La Mer / Haitnik

Reviewed in 2011

  (Item #: debuslamer_2011) 



This early Philips pressing has very good sound and a SUPERB performance from Haitink. (Gramaphone, the "world's authority on classical music since 1923", raves about it.) Finding a quiet, good sounding La Mer is as difficult as finding a quiet good sounding Bolero. As popular as both of these works are, and considering how many times they have been recorded in analog, quiet vinyl and good sound are still the exception and not the rule, and that goes for Bolero especially.
See more of Claude Debussy's music


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Debussy / La Mer / Reiner

Reviewed in 2005

  (Item #: debuslamer_2462_2005) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame from 1961.

1S RCA Shaded Dog. This is an exceptionally good sounding copy, full of that RCA Living Stereo magic. Excellent performance from Reiner as well. On a work like La Mer the timbre of the instruments is critical to the enjoyment of the piece, as they often play solo and in small groupings. This record captures those qualities perfectly.

This record also includes Strauss' Don Juan, which never sounds good on this title and is best left unplayed.

More Living Stereo


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Debussy / Ravel - Piano Works - Moravec

Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: debuspiano_athena) 



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

This long out of print Athena LP is one of my favorite audiophile records of all time. It was recorded in 1967 and remastered by a real mastering engineer, Robert Ludwig, a man who knows the sound of an acoustic piano about as well as anyone ever will. He did scores of Vox recordings and knows the sound of classical music inside and out.

Athena, like Chesky, is an Audiophile BS Label of the worst kind; most of their stuff is ridiculously artificial sounding. This is the only record of theirs that I can recommend. You will have a very hard time finding these piano pieces sounding any better than they do here.

More of the music of Claude Debussy (1862-1918)


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Philippe Entremont - Ritual Fire Dance

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: fallaritua_2011) 



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

An undiscovered gem from 1967 on 360 Columbia! Side two of this record blew our minds with its White Hot Stamper sound. Musically and sonically this record is nothing short of wonderful. Who knew? You could play fifty vintage piano recordings and not find one as good as this!

Tchaicovsky, Liszt, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart -- these shorter pieces and excerpts were composed by those with the greatest gift for melody, men who've produced works that have stood the test of time, enchanting audiences over the centuries with works of such beauty and charm.

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


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Saint-Saens - Danse Macabre / Ravel, Debussy, Chabrier

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: saintdanse_2016) 



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

This White Hot EMI pressing has some of the loveliest orchestral music reproduction we’ve ever heard. Man, this copy sure has it going on: it’s super clean and clear, tonally correct from top to bottom, with all of the weight of the orchestra down low on both sides.

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 very copy.

More of the music of Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)


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Satie, Ravel, Debussy / The Impressionists / Herrmann

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: varioimpre_4224_2011) 



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

Presenting an exceptionally rare and very good sounding Decca Phase IV pressing (with the textured cover, ooh!), the first to ever hit the site. We have been on the lookout for this album for years and somehow cannot find any clean copies, other than this one of course.

Not to worry; this one will do nicely. Three of the six works here have SUPERB better than Super Hot Stamper sound. We went through them one by one and were rather surprised that the sound quality varied so much from track to track.

More Bernard Herrmann


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Stravinsky / The Firebird Suite / Freccia

Our First Reader's Digest Offering

  (Item #: stravfireb_rdg_2011_1) 



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

This is the first time a disc from a Reader's Digest box set has made it to the site, and we're starting off with a bang -- The Firebird Suite and La Mer are the two pieces on record 7 of the set, and both of them are knockouts. We have a devil of a time finding good recordings of either work, and to find SUPERB better than Super Hot Stamper sound (A++ to A+++) for both back to back on one disc is a surprise indeed.

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


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The Bloated Cello Sound Some Audiophiles Seem to Love

  (Item #: brittsonat_cello) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate any and all cello recordings you may own.

On this pressing we were a bit surprised by how unusually natural the cello sounded -- more like the real instrument and less like the typical recording of it.


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