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  • Decca Classical Reissues

    Continuing in Tim's vein, therie are five companies now reissuing the original Decca recordings on vinyl:

    ORG
    Testament (seems more in the opera vein)
    Decca
    Speakers Corner
    Analogphonic

    I've really only heard the Speakers Corner that I find a mixed bag. Has anyone heard the Decca reissues or interestingly anything from this new label out of Europe called Analogphonic? They say from the original master tapes but today that is meaningless. In addition, Analogphonic is also releasing titles from DGG and some other labels.
    High Quality Audiophile Vinyl
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    I have the Misa Criolla from Analogphonic. I thought it was very good. Eventually I got the original Philips. I didn't do a direct A/B but didn't think the reissue gave out too much from the original, if any at all.
    Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

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    • #3
      I looked at their listing of releases. Looks like the majority are DGG which I don't generally collect. They also have a fairly large number of Gary Karr recordings, I think mostly done in Japan (he's a virtuoso double bassist). According to my database, Decca didn't do the engineering. I have two or three of his records released on King Japan which was related to Decca.

      Also note that with consolidation into Universal Records, the Philips label has been subsumed under the Decca label and the old London label no longer exists, so great Philips artists like Mitsuko Uchida, is now a Decca artist. That shows in many of the albums, in their catalogue which are not Decca recordings, but have the Decca label.
      Page 1 - lower left hand corner - the Campoli is the only original analogue Decca recording (from 1959- engineered by Wilkie.)
      Page 2 - there are two albums on the bottom row which are labelled Decca, but were originally released by Philips.
      Page 5 - the four albums in the middle of the page are all originally Philips digital releases.
      Page 6 - The only album - Kyung-Wha Chung 'Con Amore' is a Decca digital release. I have the original in both London label and Korean Decca label. The album is very fine and quite expensive on the used market.

      So in the six pages of releases (41 albums) there are only 2 real Decca albums, one analogue and one digital. Both may be worth getting, I probably will get the Campoli to compare with my Ace of Diamonds reissue from the early '70's.

      Larry
      Last edited by astrotoy; 06-07-2016, 08:56 PM.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by astrotoy View Post
        I looked at their listing of releases. Looks like the majority are DGG which I don't generally collect. They also have a fairly large number of Gary Karr recordings, I think mostly done in Japan (he's a virtuoso double bassist). According to my database, Decca didn't do the engineering. I have two or three of his records released on King Japan which was related to Decca.

        Also note that with consolidation into Universal Records, the Philips label has been subsumed under the Decca label and the old London label no longer exists, so great Philips artists like Mitsuko Uchida, is now a Decca artist. That shows in many of the albums, in their catalogue which are not Decca recordings, but have the Decca label.
        Page 1 - lower left hand corner - the Campoli is the only original analogue Decca recording (from 1959- engineered by Wilkie.)
        Page 2 - there are two albums on the bottom row which are labelled Decca, but were originally released by Philips.
        Page 5 - the four albums in the middle of the page are all originally Philips digital releases.
        Page 6 - The only album - Kyung-Wha Chung 'Con Amore' is a Decca digital release. I have the original in both London label and Korean Decca label. The album is very fine and quite expensive on the used market.

        So in the six pages of releases (41 albums) there are only 2 real Decca albums, one analogue and one digital. Both may be worth getting, I probably will get the Campoli to compare with my Ace of Diamonds reissue from the early '70's.

        Larry
        I found the Gary Karr reissues curious as they were just reissued a year ago? Then I checked and think they are the same reissues from a year ago as they were remastered by Kevin Gray.

        One release that caught my interest was the Phillips/Decca Rossini recording. Nice performance but see it's DMM. I looked through the rest of the reissues and they are remastered by many people, some are DMM and some aren't and the albums are pressed at several facilities. Some are digital and some are analog. The two albums cut by Kevin Gray must be digital recordings.

        Sad thing about DGG--and like you don't have a huge amount in my collection--is that they were often great performances with mediocre sound. And like many labels, the earlier the pressing, the better. DGGs got shriller and shriller with each year. I often wondered what DGG listened to their recordings on?
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
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        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
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        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

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        • #5
          I have several of the Analogphonic DGG Bernstein Mahler symphonies that I bought together. It's not easy finding clean, new Mahler LPs, much less those from Bernstein and I was excited when these started coming out. If he hasn't released them yet, the plan is for the complete set from LB's 2nd (1980's) cycle which is sans Symphony #8. Original copies can be expensive and Mahler seems particularly popular in The East.

          The presentation and artwork is excellent, however, from what I experienced thus far, the records are a major disappointment. Take Mahler's 2nd for example, on two LPs. The sound of the recording is amazing with incredible dynamics and internal orchestral clarity. But the damn vinyl is noisey noisey. I don't take my assessment here as casual as I've gone through 4 new copies (at ~$60 a pop.) On the second LP there is a repeated low frequency thump that I take as a defect (no its not a subway) and this appeared on all 4 copies. If these records were quiet they would be amazing recordings to be cherished. I opened my copy of Mahler's 1st and it too was a disappointment. I know: wah wah wah.

          I checked out analogphonic.com and used their "Conact Us" page to send a v. polite note to them back in January of this year. I got a reply in March that was basically: "we're sorry, we do try, but we can do nothing to help, meanwhile buy more records from us."

          Here's where it gets interesting. The e-mail was from the anonymous "Analogphonic Team" but the sender's address was "[email protected]". Now if you go to "cnlmusic.com" you'll find a Korean music distribution company. Among the labels they distribute is not listed Analogphonic. I don't know what this means, but e-mail domains such as splat.com are usually associated with the splat corporation, etc. etc. Hmmmm...

          The claim is this series was pressed at Pallas, which certainly can do good work. Cutting at Emil Berliner Studios. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent. So all the words add up to high potential.

          I checked Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc, and yes, Amazon. Each accommodates customer reviews. Nada. Zilch. Be the first to review this item. Not a single commentary on any of the Analogphonic Mahler releases. Google "Analogphonic Bernstein Mahler review" and nothing. Eventually I found one comment at "Davey W's Vinyl Corner" that was positive. Go figure.

          They do have some desirable titles. It was a golden opportunity. Click click, springing eternal I am tempted to buy a fifth copy of the Resurrection Symphony in hope, but I bite my tongue.

          Bottom line is they've lost me.

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          • #6
            Hi Myles,

            Maybe I missed something but may I ask why you consider the Speakers Corner Decca reissues a mixed bag? I believe I own about 30-40 of them and never made an a-b comparison with my orginal Decca SXL's but generally speaking I really like them.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Audiocrack View Post
              Hi Myles,

              Maybe I missed something but may I ask why you consider the Speakers Corner Decca reissues a mixed bag? I believe I own about 30-40 of them and never made an a-b comparison with my orginal Decca SXL's but generally speaking I really like them.

              I'm with ya.... I haven't heard a SC Decca reissue I haven't like. I have around 20 of them. I have found a few mix sounding ones in the Mercury catalog from them. I think it's the tape/original recording...not a SC issue.
              Christian
              System Gear

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              • #8
                I have a classic reissue LP Firebird on mercury ( forget the conductor ), did SC do that one too and how does it compare?
                Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Audiocrack View Post
                  Hi Myles,

                  Maybe I missed something but may I ask why you consider the Speakers Corner Decca reissues a mixed bag? I believe I own about 30-40 of them and never made an a-b comparison with my orginal Decca SXL's but generally speaking I really like them.
                  The same mixed bag that we've discussed about most reissues. There are pros and cons to everything and it's great to have a quiet copy. A copy that's maybe a little more dynamic and certainly in the case of Decca, maybe $800 less than the original. But there's a lot that's also missing from the recording too.

                  For whatever the reason, the classical reissues just don't seem to hold up sonically (KOJ talked about how the tapes degrade after a week and more so after 6 months and I think that is part of the reason while the first pressing, all things being equal, is still the copy to own) to the original release. For instance, very few, if any reissues, seem to get the strings right. Almost all of them harden the strings. Then there's the manipulation that almost of all them do in the low end.

                  Of all the SC reissues, it was the Mercury releases that really lost the original's magic. The Deccas a little less so but they just don't have the information, airiness, etc. of the originals. The SCs are drier like the Ace Diamonds were compared to the original, just not as badly so. I think that the air is the first thing that goes on the tapes. Sometime the lack of air is mistaken for more instrumental focus. But that's me simply being a critic and I own a few SC where I don't have the original.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

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                  • #10
                    Echoing some of Myles comments, but sometimes with a different slant. I do have a few of the SC Decca reissues, when I didn't have the original (I have about 80% of the original SXL2000's and almost all (99%) of the SXL 6000 series. In some cases I later was able to get an original, so I have both the original and SC. Some originals were pretty expensive, although with few exceptions, I tried to stay under 100GBP for a record (most a lot less). However, that doesn't include the annual round trip air tix to London and hotel and meals :-) For those of you who are not as fanatical, the SC Deccas are a good substitute, and they always (almost always) in fine condition, while the originals are mixed.

                    My friend, long time Decca recording engineer John Dunkerley, told me once that he heard some of the SC Deccas and they were not his cup of tea.

                    I heard from Richard Foster IIRC that SC did have some problems with the earlier Decca reissues, but not the Mercuries. I have most of the original Mercuries, some like the Dorati Firebird, in great condition (white promo), but others have noisy vinyl and problems with groove distortion at the end of the sides (where Mercury normally cuts very close to the label). I like the SC and earlier Classic reissues of the Mercuries, even comparing them (which I have done for several) with originals. So Myles and I disagree here.

                    In any case, to get original Decca SXL2000's and early 6000's (basically wide band groove era) or original Mercuries FR (and RFR when they were the first pressings) it takes patience and persistance and $$. Starting with the SC versions is a good way to go, then if you like the performance, you can look for an original.

                    As far as tape goes, I have been surprised how good the 1 1/2 generation copies that Paul Stubblebine has done for Tape Project, even with 50 to 60 year old tapes. Even with KOJ's Arnold Overtures which is 20 years old, it is pretty spectacular. Now I know that Paul applies some of his engineering magic to some of the tapes, so we are getting better sound than the originals in some cases.

                    Larry
                    Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
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                    Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                    Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                    Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
                    Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
                    Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Myles and Larry for your replies. Haven't got my vinyl running at the moment - busy with a complete workover of my power distribution for both my systems - but your remarks have triggered me to do an a-b comparison as soon as my turntables are up and running again.
                      Last edited by Audiocrack; 06-10-2016, 06:18 AM.

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                      • #12
                        And Rockitman, maybe we have not been critical enough? Don't know if you have any original 2000 or 6000 series Decca recordings available? I own quite a substantial number of them although my collection is probably not as large as Larry's collection. I suppose I should have compared my original Decca's a long time ago to the Speaker Corner reissues.
                        Last edited by Audiocrack; 06-10-2016, 06:18 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Back to Analogphonic? Anyone have additional thoughts? I've asked my phonogram listserve group whether anyone knows anything about them. Funny that they are doing so many digital originals from Philips (relabeled Decca) and DG, especially given that they are called Analogphonic. Also they have three (actually 2.5) new albums of Johanna Martzy which are from SWR (not from her EMI recordings). The .5 is by Ida Haendel (both sides of the record are the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the same orchestra and conductor and Martzy as soloist on one side and Haendel as soloist on the other. I was lucky to hear Haendel play the Brahms Violin Concerto a few years ago in London at the St. Martin-in-the-Field church right off Trafalgar Square with Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in- the-Fields. We got late return tickets by chance and sat within 10 feet or so of Haendel at the front of the church.

                          Larry
                          Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
                          Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
                          Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                          Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                          Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
                          Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
                          Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by astrotoy View Post
                            Back to Analogphonic? Anyone have additional thoughts? I've asked my phonogram listserve group whether anyone knows anything about them. Funny that they are doing so many digital originals from Philips (relabeled Decca) and DG, especially given that they are called Analogphonic. Also they have three (actually 2.5) new albums of Johanna Martzy which are from SWR (not from her EMI recordings). The .5 is by Ida Haendel (both sides of the record are the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the same orchestra and conductor and Martzy as soloist on one side and Haendel as soloist on the other. I was lucky to hear Haendel play the Brahms Violin Concerto a few years ago in London at the St. Martin-in-the-Field church right off Trafalgar Square with Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in- the-Fields. We got late return tickets by chance and sat within 10 feet or so of Haendel at the front of the church.

                            Larry
                            Presuming you saw my msg #5 above - nothing has changed on my end. What is your experience with the Analogphonic label, hopefully better than mine as I like many of the titles they are reissuing, just not the implementations.

                            Ida is the EL34 of female violinists. :-)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tima View Post

                              Presuming you saw my msg #5 above - nothing has changed on my end. What is your experience with the Analogphonic label, hopefully better than mine as I like many of the titles they are reissuing, just not the implementations.

                              Ida is the EL34 of female violinists. :-)
                              Tima, thanks. Great metaphor for Ida. I've only bought one of their records, the Schubert Arpeggione with Maisky and Argerich. It was originally a Philips Digital recording, very hard to find on vinyl (now relabelled Decca, since the Philips label no longer exists). Maisky plays with a beautiful, rather restrained tone, and Argerich is Argerich. It is one of my favorite pieces and I wanted to hear what this performance sounds like compared with my favorites. I think the sonics are good, not spectacular. The Philips digitals, of which I only have a handful on vinyl, are not to my ear, nearly as good sonically as the early Decca digitals. Philips used the Sony PCM recorder while Decca did their own machine based on the JVC video recorder.

                              I interviewed Tony Griffiths who was the Decca engineer who developed their digital recorder and he told me that they had a big fight with Philips, who wanted them to standardize on the Sony machines, which Decca felt was inferior (44 vs 48kHz at the top, plus other reasons that I don't remember). Also Philips was willing to go to 14 bits, while Decca held firm at 16 bits - fortunately Decca won that battle.

                              I am thinking about getting the Martzy albums, which look like they are all from radio broadcasts and in mono. These seem to be all new issues, probably from some vault of tapes in Germany. Looks like the mastering was done at the Emil Berliner Studios in Germany which used to be part of DG.

                              One interesting thing, I was looking at the outer sleeve of the album and it said printed in Korea. Not sure what this means, but maybe Analogphonic is a Korean company.

                              Larry
                              Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
                              Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
                              Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                              Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                              Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
                              Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
                              Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

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                                More interesting history. Thanks!

                                About 'printed in Korea' ... That jives with the domain of their e-mail address (cnlmusic.com) which points at a Korean distribution company. Johanna Martzy reissued in Korea - the world keeps getting .... uh, different. :-)
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