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  • Some Mercury Records Trivia for Collector and Fans!

    One of my friends pointed out that his Mercury 90060, theoretically an early Mercury release, was a RFR-1 pressing. (for those not in the loop, Mercury's up to around 262 or so, at the point where Phillips took over operations were FR-x pressings (Fine Recordings), manufactured for them by RCA at their Indianapolis plant). After that, the Mercury pressing were made at their Richmond plant and had a RFR-1, etc. matrix number. Of course after that, the quality of the sound went down with the M, CTFR, etc. pressings. As it turned out, everyone in the group (five of us) all had RFR pressings despite this supposedly being an early Mercury release.

    So just thought it might be interesting to post Tom Fine's response to the question:

    "Hey, I checked SR90060 and you guys are right! It must be a case of a stray catalog number filled it
    later for some reason. I checked the label-copy books, which tells the release dates. Sure enough,
    released 3/62, deleted from the catalog 8/64. So probably only one pressing. I thought the pressing
    moved to Richmond later than 3/62, but apparently not. Philips moved to consolidate operations
    quickly, apparently. Given the cover notes welcoming the new MSO conductor, this was probably
    Skrowaczewski's first release on Mercury.

    As for the recording, it's OK. Northrop was cavernous and thus the recording results are
    dry-sounding (the space was so large, not much audio content came to the back sides of the
    microphones, just dissipated out into the cavernous space). There's a bit more tape hiss than usual.
    It's made late enough to use three Schoeps M201 mics."
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 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, 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
    Everything that you will ever want to know about Mercury :-)
    Complete Mercury Living Presence Discography with Cover Images

    Comment


    • #3
      Some more interesting information about the early Mercury (and Decca) and points out the need to know the chain of custody before comparing any releases.

      "245, the Gabrieli album, is an interesting case. The sides are cut right to the end of usable real
      estate, and you need a very good arm and cartridge not to get distortion from tracking error.
      However, the original LP is the closest to the first generation source (35mm magnetic film). The
      Golden Imports reissue was from a 2-track second-generation tape. The master film was lost sometime
      between 1965 and 1990, and the 2-track tape is also missing, which is why this was never reissued on
      CD. There is what's probably a 3rd generation dub tape in the vault, but it wasn't even considered
      for release. In some cases both my mother and I have had to work with second-generation tapes
      because that's all that's left in the vault, and it's a non-optimal situation to say the least.
      Mercury never used second-generation "cutting masters" like RCA, Columbia and EMI. Only Mercury and
      Decca always cut LPs from first-generation edited session tapes. Maybe also DGG in the early stereo
      days, when they were recording directly to 2-track. By that measure, yes a few RCA and Columbia also
      were first generation (their first year or two of stereo recording, before they went to multi-track
      session tapes), also EMI."

      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 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, 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.

      Comment


      • #4
        While we're talking about Mercury...

        I was just over at Presto Classical (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/), looking to fill in some gaps in my MLP CD collection, when I discovered, to my surprise, what looked like some brand new Mercury releases on CD and download. These include titles that never appeared in the '90s-era series (Dorati's Eroica and Tchaikovsky Suites, a large number of Dupre recordings, some monos), plus some from that series (Paray's Saint-Saens Organ Symphony) listed as "Remastered 2015" -- in each case, these came without the additional couplings from the earlier CD series, with the original artwork -- in other words, looking to resemble the LPs as closely as possible. Although these come with less music per disc than the earlier CDs, they also carry a correspondingly lower price ($10.25 versus $15.25).

        For example, here's the "new" version of Paray's Saint-Saens (I should note that they also carry the '90s CD with the Mass for Joan of Arc): http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/M...esence/4788989

        This is the first time I've heard anything about a new CD remaster series of the Mercs, and, as presented, it seems to be flying under the radar. Does anyone else know more about these?

        ON EDIT: After further research, it appears as if many of these were included in the Collector's Edition 3 box set, so that would explain their appearance. I'm still puzzled about the Paray above, since that was already part of the MLP CD series, and is clearly marked as a new remaster.
        Last edited by regnaD kciN; 02-28-2016, 09:02 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Recordings by Wilma and Company were excellent.

          The FR series were the ones first pressed by Victor, whiched usually contained the A2 mother and the I for Indianapolis, and the later ones were the the hand written RFR, and the Columbia pressed CTFR series.

          With the RFR and the CTFR pressings is where we can see other the P17, or P23 markings in the runout area. These were the two lathes that George Piros loved to work on when cutting the lacquers from the edited master tape.
          Merc didn't use the process of making work dupes from the edited master. Wilma felt that removing one step would make for the better quality.
          Last edited by 1GDSM90; 10-01-2017, 08:40 PM. Reason: more info.

          Comment


          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            As also did Decca.

        • #6
          I have the first Merc Living Presence 1952 pressing, being the MG 50000 Pictures CSO Kubelik on a black and silver label. Plus most of the other CSO Kublick MG 50000 releases, and on the Maroon silver label.

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by 1GDSM90 View Post
            I have the first Merc Living Presence 1952 pressing, being the MG 50000 Pictures CSO Kubelik on a black and silver label. Plus most of the other CSO Kublick MG 50000 releases, and on the Maroon silver label.
            Thanks for the information. Glad to have you join us. I just checked through my old Merc monos and found four Kubelik CSO titles - the Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky Pathetique, Dvorak New World, and Schoenberg/Hindemith. All have Maroon labels. So it looks like the MG50000 you have is a rarity. I couldn't locate them, but I have a couple of the MG40000 series which also may have black/silver labels. Do you know anything about them?

            Coincidentally we just heard the CSO with Muti this past weekend in Berkeley, where they did three concerts. All but one piece (by their young resident composer Elizabeth Ogonek (who was with the orchestra), were strictly central European - from Mozart to Brahms. Muti has them sounding in fine form. Interestingly, Kubelik was kicked out of Chicago - a loss of a very fine conductor. His wiki article is quite informative. If he had stayed, we would have seen a major change in the history of classical recorded music. He left just before the beginning of the stereo era, so we missed many potentially great stereo recordings withe Kubelik and the CSO on Mercury. Instead, his successor moved them to RCA and he created his own legacy - Fritz Reiner.

            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

            Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by regnaD kciN View Post
            While we're talking about Mercury...

            I was just over at Presto Classical (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/), looking to fill in some gaps in my MLP CD collection, when I discovered, to my surprise, what looked like some brand new Mercury releases on CD and download. These include titles that never appeared in the '90s-era series (Dorati's Eroica and Tchaikovsky Suites, a large number of Dupre recordings, some monos), plus some from that series (Paray's Saint-Saens Organ Symphony) listed as "Remastered 2015" -- in each case, these came without the additional couplings from the earlier CD series, with the original artwork -- in other words, looking to resemble the LPs as closely as possible. Although these come with less music per disc than the earlier CDs, they also carry a correspondingly lower price ($10.25 versus $15.25).

            For example, here's the "new" version of Paray's Saint-Saens (I should note that they also carry the '90s CD with the Mass for Joan of Arc): http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/M...esence/4788989

            This is the first time I've heard anything about a new CD remaster series of the Mercs, and, as presented, it seems to be flying under the radar. Does anyone else know more about these?

            ON EDIT: After further research, it appears as if many of these were included in the Collector's Edition 3 box set, so that would explain their appearance. I'm still puzzled about the Paray above, since that was already part of the MLP CD series, and is clearly marked as a new remaster.
            I seem to remember Fiesta Mexicana with Fennell being pretty good.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi V3.0 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, 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.

            Comment


            • #9
              The 1952, Mercury MG-50000 Black/Silver release of the Pictures/Kubelik, single mic recording at Orchestra Hall, Chicago.

              Comment


              • #10
                Myles,
                I recall seeing catalogues with FRs of this recording. I remember Sid Marks mentioning a friend's copy he played that was more dynamic than his and that his friend's copy had grooves that ran up to the label. I always assumed that was an FR pressing.
                Jack

                Comment


                • #11
                  This black/silver release isn't even a FR Indianapolis pressing. Another factory pressed this one being the stampers used a MF coding.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by bassrome View Post
                    Myles,
                    I recall seeing catalogues with FRs of this recording. I remember Sid Marks mentioning a friend's copy he played that was more dynamic than his and that his friend's copy had grooves that ran up to the label. I always assumed that was an FR pressing.
                    Jack
                    I know they always say running into the label area always adds to inner groove distortion but damn if they aren't always the best sounding pressings. Take Shostakovich's Symphony #5 on Mercury for instance. Maybe you pay a little at the inner grooves for better sound elsewhere.
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 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, 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.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Do Like DDG used to do: try to have large runout areas to prevent this distortion.

                      Then, RCA with their Dynagroove magic. ..... (gasp)!

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Just checked my Mercury collection spreadsheet. Here are a bunch of recordings whose numbers should mean they have FR pressings, but don't. The lowest number is the Shostakovich that Myles posted last year - SR90060. Any record with SR90266 or above was not issued in FR pressings. All with SR90265 or below should have an FR pressing except the following (I have all but 18 of the SR90001 to SR90265 in FR pressings - so those definitely had FR pressings):

                        SR90060 Shostakovich Sym 5
                        SR90165 Hanson Sym 1
                        SR90189 Magic Bells
                        SR90212 Chabrier Music (Great Record)
                        SR90214 Smetana Music Dorati (I have a question mark on that one)
                        SR90218 Schubert Sym 8
                        SR90220 Gould West Point
                        SR90235 Liszt/Enesco Rhapsodies
                        SR90245 Gabrieli (mentioned earlier in the thread)
                        SR90246 Copland Appalachian Spring
                        SR90247 French Overtures Paray
                        SR90248 Dorati Symphony (rare HP TAS Superdisc)
                        SR90255 Tchaikovsky Sym 5
                        SR90259 Picchi Balli d'Arpichordo Puyana
                        SR90261 Donizetti Lucia Hts

                        Except for the last record, I have copies of RFR pressings of all the records on the list, including 3 as promos.

                        Disclaimer: At my age, I have absolutely no recollection of how I amassed this data of non FR early Mercuries. Most of my Mercury collection was done15 to 25 years and more ago. I'm pretty sure it is correct, but there definitely could be errors of both omission and commission. Those with big collections of early Mercuries can see whether they have FR pressing of any of these. Corrections happily accepted. BTW, I have two recordings which have an FR stamper on one side and an RFR stamper on the other.

                        I have not been a compulsive collector of original Mercuries and RCAs, like I have been of Decca and EMI. I generally found it much more difficult to find Mercuries in excellent to near mint condition, although I was fortunate to buy a fairly large collection of promo label early pressings which appeared to be unplayed or lightly played (at a quite good price)..

                        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

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by astrotoy View Post
                          Just checked my Mercury collection spreadsheet. Here are a bunch of recordings whose numbers should mean they have FR pressings, but don't. The lowest number is the Shostakovich that Myles posted last year - SR90060. Any record with SR90266 or above was not issued in FR pressings. All with SR90265 or below should have an FR pressing except the following (I have all but 18 of the SR90001 to SR90265 in FR pressings - so those definitely had FR pressings):

                          SR90060 Shostakovich Sym 5
                          SR90165 Hanson Sym 1
                          SR90189 Magic Bells
                          SR90212 Chabrier Music (Great Record)
                          SR90214 Smetana Music Dorati (I have a question mark on that one)
                          SR90218 Schubert Sym 8
                          SR90220 Gould West Point
                          SR90235 Liszt/Enesco Rhapsodies
                          SR90245 Gabrieli (mentioned earlier in the thread)
                          SR90246 Copland Appalachian Spring
                          SR90247 French Overtures Paray
                          SR90248 Dorati Symphony (rare HP TAS Superdisc)
                          SR90255 Tchaikovsky Sym 5
                          SR90259 Picchi Balli d'Arpichordo Puyana
                          SR90261 Donizetti Lucia Hts

                          Except for the last record, I have copies of RFR pressings of all the records on the list, including 3 as promos.

                          Disclaimer: At my age, I have absolutely no recollection of how I amassed this data of non FR early Mercuries. Most of my Mercury collection was done15 to 25 years and more ago. I'm pretty sure it is correct, but there definitely could be errors of both omission and commission. Those with big collections of early Mercuries can see whether they have FR pressing of any of these. Corrections happily accepted. BTW, I have two recordings which have an FR stamper on one side and an RFR stamper on the other.

                          I have not been a compulsive collector of original Mercuries and RCAs, like I have been of Decca and EMI. I generally found it much more difficult to find Mercuries in excellent to near mint condition, although I was fortunate to buy a fairly large collection of promo label early pressings which appeared to be unplayed or lightly played (at a quite good price)..

                          Larry


                          Had to check been so long. Yes my Shostakovich 5th on Mercury is a RFR pressing. Guess they may have scheduled its release early on but didn't release until later.

                          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                          ________________________________________

                          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                          -Doshi V3.0 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, 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.

                          Comment

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