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British Band Classics Vol. 2

The First Classical Record I Bought as an Audiophile

  (Item #: holstbriti_golden_import) 



British Band Classics Volume Two was the first Mercury classical LP I ever bought. After hearing it at an audiophile friend's house I went down to Tower Records and found one in the bin. I think the price was $3.99 for the Golden Import pressing, which of course was the only one available. That was what I had heard, so I had no idea that the original even existed, let alone sounded better and would one day sell for many hundreds of dollars. This was the '70s, when you could walk into a record store and buy new records, and long before HP created a feeding frenzy for vintage Mercs.
More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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Holst - The Planets

Testing with Mars and Saturn

  (Item #: holstplane_emi_wtlf) 



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

Mars on the first side and Saturn on the second present serious challenges for any vinyl pressings you may own. Generally speaking, the White Hot copies tend to have a bit more top end extension, and/or more lower end weight. Let's get to the specifics of the two movements we feel are the best test for The Planets as a whole.

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Holst / British Band Classics Vol. 1 / Fennell

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: holstbriti_50088_2011) 



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

This RARE Super Hot Stamper Mercury Mono original pressing has the kind of BIG, LIVELY, tonally correct sound that not one out of fifty mono records we play can lay claim to. If more mono records sounded like this one I wouldn't be so down on mono all the time.

But they don't. Most mono records sound SMALL. When you have big speakers, set far apart and far from the back wall, in a pretty good sized room, small is just not the sound you want to hear! Especially when it comes to classical music. I want a front row seat, and this record is a first class ticket to one.

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


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Holst / British Band Classics Vol. 2 / Fennell

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: holstbriti_90197_2016) 



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

Side one big, full and dynamic, with horns and winds that are never screechy. (Side two of this first LP is very screechy and not at all to our liking.)

Side two of the second record has the sound of live music. Huge space, clear yet rich, this is the sound we were looking for!

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Holst / The Planets / Boult

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: holstplane_2011) 



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

This 1967 recording of the work has one very special quality that's not often heard on classical vinyl -- THE FEEL OF LIVE MUSIC. This is also something you will not often hear us say about EMI recordings from the late '60s and '70s. (Unlike HP and most audiophiles in the '70s, we find EMI's recordings leave a lot to be desired, lacking in warmth, with a thin, sour, overly clear presentation. Great for muddy equipment but bad news on higher resolution modern rigs.)

Super Hot Stampers on both sides means this Planets can take on any pressing you have of the piece and show you what you've been missing out on all these years.

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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)


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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.

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Holst / The Planets / Previn / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: holstplane_emi_2013) 



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

This Beyond White Hot Stamper Planets has Out Of This World sound on side two, where it earned a Four Plus sonic grade for its MINDBLOWING orchestral power, especially from the brass section, a subject we discuss at length below.

This is some of the best sound I have ever heard coming out of my two speakers, if not THE best. Side two of this very copy takes the recording to a level we had no idea was possible. Out of the fifty or so copies of The Planets we've played in the last decade or so, this is without a doubt the best side two of them all.

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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!

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Holst / The Planets / Steinberg

Our Shootout Winner from 2008

  (Item #: holstplane_2008) 



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

Side one here is AGAIG, as good as it gets. It shows the listener more of everything that's wonderful about this wondrous work. Side two is very nearly as good, and was only beaten slightly by one other copy in our shootout. This pressing gives you the complete work in the best sound we can find.

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Holst / The Planets/ Previn (2 45 RPM LPs)

Just Awful

  (Item #: holstplane_45) 



This Minty looking EMI 45 RPM Japanese Import 2 LP set with the OBI strip and Little Sign Of Play (LSOP) is widely considered one of the great Planets, but it's not, based on our playing of a copy we had years ago, which means it belongs in our Hall of Shame.

The best copies on British or Dutch EMI vinyl are clearly better than this "audiophile" pressing.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Holst, Steinberg and The Planets

A Shootout Years in the Making

  (Item #: holst_2014) 



In July of 2005 we noted on the site that Hot Stampers for this album were discovered, and interested parties should watch the site for killer copies in the coming months. Obviously we didn’t know at the time that the number of coming months would be THIRTY TWO. That's how long it would be before we could offer our loyal customers truly Hot Stampers, but hey, good things come to those who wait, right?
More of the music of Gustav Holst (1874-1934)


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