Which labels to look out for?

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by locky, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. locky

    locky

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    Seeking some advice to help my weekly scouring of charity shops for classical vinyl... Are there any recording labels that I should be looking out for or avoiding? Are there any which have a good reputation for quality or others that are cheap and nasty?
    Thanks
     
    locky, Sep 28, 2005
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  2. locky

    Coda II getting there slowly

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    cross reference from:Also sprach Zarathustra

    I think I picked this up on RCA "Camden Classics".

    The only clue anywhere is the recording date (1962), otherwise the sleeve is pure chocolate box (van Gogh - gold lettering etc.)

    It would seem that re-issuing back catalogue at a (percieved) lower price point has been around for a good while and though the originals are collectable the later versions are generally not and these are the ones in the charity shops.

    Did Decca use Ace of Clubs in a similar way?
     
    Coda II, Sep 28, 2005
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  3. locky

    tones compulsive cantater

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    Classical vinyl pre-CD was generally well recorded - indeed, just as CD arrived in the early 1980s, vinyl reached its zenith with the DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) technique of Telefunken, subsequently licensed by just about everyone. Teldec recordings of the late '70s - early '80s are therefore very good. Yellow tulip label DGs are generally good, as are the US specialist manufacturers Delos and Telarc. I have also stacks of good stuff from Decca, HMV, Argo, Eurodisc... in fact, I'm struggling to think of anything that you should specifically be avoiding. The only one I can think of is a Telarc recording of the 1812 with real cannon, where the disc was so heavily modulated as to verge on the unplayable by many arm/cartridge systems (back then anyway) - this one:
    http://www.telarc.com/gscripts/title.asp?gsku=0041&mscssid=3S7QN99P2TV58K9EDAJUNHH0AFSB9HQ2
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2005
    tones, Sep 28, 2005
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  4. locky

    griffo104

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    When it comes to vinyl I'm not a huge fan of Deutsche Grammophon pressings, thin nasty vinyl and always seem to be a bit bright on my system.

    The classics, especially from the late 50's and through the 60's, are Decca and EMI pressings although if these are in good nick they tend to cost a lot - you may get lucky.

    I've also got some very good Lyrita pressings which sound very good.

    Personally when collecting classical vinyl I've gone hunting for favourite composers rather than labels.
     
    griffo104, Sep 28, 2005
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  5. locky

    griffo104

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    I recently got one of these with some Telemann chamber music on - absolutely excellent.
     
    griffo104, Sep 28, 2005
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  6. locky

    TonyL Club Krautrock Plinque

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    I put together a pretty basic classical label FAQ over on pfm here – it is still very much a work in process, but has pictures of many of the UK labels. From a collector's (and audiophile) POV the main ones to hunt down are early Decca SXLs, HMV ASDs, Columbia SAXs, 'tulip' DGGs and RCA LSCs & SBs. Also don't ignore mono pressings, early HMV ALPs, Decca LXTs and Columbia 33CXs can sound wonderful and some are worth a lot of cash.

    Tony.
     
    TonyL, Sep 28, 2005
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  7. locky

    lordsummit moderate mod

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    DG are usually very good. It may be you just don't like the sound of German brass and wind!
     
    lordsummit, Sep 28, 2005
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  8. locky

    Mr.C

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    My friend lent me his original copy last week of this recording, and very demanding it is too (and good fun). The groove width is huge at the points of the cannon fire - the liner notes claim that the cannon shots contain frequencies down to 6Hz! My arm and cartridge managed to track is though (after some tweaking :) )
     
    Mr.C, Sep 28, 2005
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  9. locky

    Artikulat

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    No tracking problem with the CD of the same recording :) Great disc.......
     
    Artikulat, Sep 28, 2005
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  10. locky

    wolfgang

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    When I asked a friend 10 years ago this very same question, he said as long as the label mentioned the word 'Karajan' then buy without worries.
     
    wolfgang, Sep 28, 2005
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  11. locky

    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    How do you feel that advice has served you?
     
    alanbeeb, Sep 28, 2005
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  12. locky

    griffo104

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    It's happening too often with DG and my system at the moment. I got a Argerich Chopin/Liszt piano concerto record last week off ebay last week and it sounds dreadful - thin and bright sounding.

    I have some DG/Karajan Bruckner records and they sound the same but I put this down to the fact they were early digital recordings. I have a lot of Bruckner records and the Decca/CBS/EMI disks all sound very good. May be my system has a DG filter somewhere that I'm not aware of.

    At the same time as the Argerich disk I got hold of a Haydn Creation on Decca - put the record on and you just have to sit and listen, fantastic music and the pressing is immaculate and sounds so natural. Impossible to have as background music (which is how it should be).

    This made up for a couple of dodgy audiophile pressings (Classic Records) I've recently bought which were a bit disappointing.
     
    griffo104, Sep 29, 2005
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  13. locky

    wolfgang

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    It was a very good suggestion indeed.

    As long as you don't mind exposing yourself to the possibility of developing into yet another narrow-minded adoring fan of this cult figure. Next thing you know it you might be doing to a lot of this :argue: with everyone else who dare to think otherwise.
     
    wolfgang, Sep 29, 2005
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  14. locky

    Coda II getting there slowly

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    Sort of on this basis I recently picked up Karajan/DG copies of Mozart Requiem and Strauss Tod und Verklaerung/Four Last.

    Henceforth I shall do the exact opposite of the advice given above.
     
    Coda II, Sep 29, 2005
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  15. locky

    griffo104

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    Never quite understood the fascination with Karajan. When I first got interested in classical a friend told me a similar thing. I think 7 out of the first 10 classical recordings I bought had the word Karajan on - 8 years later I have 600 recordings but only 9 with Karajan which pretty much sums up what I think of his recordings.

    Listening only to music that Karajan conducted will mean you miss out on some wonderful music which he never went near - and he didn't venture that far away from the core repertoire.
     
    griffo104, Sep 29, 2005
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  16. locky

    tones compulsive cantater

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    I think it depends on which Karajan. In his younger days (and with the appropriate repertoire) he could be great. As he got older (and sicker? and more self-indulgent?), he waned. Think of the three Beethoven cycles on DG. The (roughly) '62 and '75 were excellent, the (roughly) '85 is best forgotten.
     
    tones, Sep 29, 2005
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  17. locky

    Basil

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    A couple or Karajan gems not to be missed are;

    Arnold Schoenberg - Verklärte Nacht

    Bedrich Smetana - Vysehrad & Die Moldau (Vltava) from the tone poems Ma Vlast

    A real shame he never recorded the complete set, at least I've never found a copy if he did!
     
    Basil, Sep 29, 2005
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  18. locky

    Alex S User

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    My best advice is to look at anything remastered to SACD by specialist labels and then hunt down the originals.
     
    Alex S, Sep 29, 2005
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  19. locky

    Paul L vinyl and valves mostly

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    I struggle to generalise with DG as I can relate to all comments. Perhaps unsurprising as I seem to have pressings from England, Germany, Italy, Austria and Japan (probably others too), 50s/60s/70s pressings, one or two black label, one or two 'privilige' - and a number of Tulip labels thankfully. They range from thin and bright to stunning (example of the latter being Stravinsky Rites of Spring). Decca always gets a lot of fuss but I can't say any of their labels have blown my socks off, good to very good I guess. Leaving audiophile specials and less common labels to the side (MFSL, TdP's Waterlily efforts, Lyrita) my favourite is probably Philips dutch pressings on red label. I did not seem to see a mention but I have been impressed.

    Over the years many labels and pressings have initially failed to impress, especially budget labels, only to find this turned upside down through system changes. An example being when I moved from solid state phono stages to 834P Deluxe and MC3 step-ups later on. With a number of albums I had relegated to the no-longer played pile, distortion/saturation that I assumed were pressing limitations have consistently opened up and become clean and dynamic. This has changed my enjoyment of a variety of pressings, labels and albums in general. As such, I am loathed to take anyone's opinion on labels seriously (including my own) as they have been turned upside down too often. Just when I think I've got it worked out something else comes into the equation.

    Paul
     
    Paul L, Sep 29, 2005
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  20. locky

    griffo104

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    I had a similar experience when I went from the Densen DP-02 drive to the Trichord Dino+. The amount of albums which suddenly opened up, both dynamically and in detail. I too had assumed this was down to the pressing but this subsequently appeared to be the phono - and no I didn't understand why.

    I have very few Philips recordings - for some reason but I do have a Dutch boxset of Beethovens' early quartets with the Italian Quartet (won't try and spell the correct name) - and it is a great recording.
     
    griffo104, Sep 30, 2005
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