Friday, August 16, 2013

Jonathan Valin comments on the upcoming Analogue Productions' RCA reissues

I just got my latest issue of The Absolute Sound (issue 235), and there is a very nice article on page 139 written by Jonathan Valin (yes, THE Jonathan Valin who authored the RCA Bible) on the wave of Analogue Productions' reissues of some of the famed RCA Living Stereo classical records.  Apparently, these are supposed to sound significantly better than the originals, and they were all made from the original two- and three-track tapes.  Interestingly, Sony, who owns RCA, permitted Chad Kassem (the owner of Analogue Productions) to do this project under the condition that the mastertapes had to stay in their respective storage locations.  That meant that mastertapes stored in NYC had to remain in NYC and those stored in LA had to stay in LA.  I guess that wasn't a major problem!  These are the grades that Valin gave to some of the upcoming releases:

1. LSC-2183 The Reiner Sound A+
2. LSC-2201 Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition A+
3. LSC-2230 Spain A
4. LSC-2367 Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, American in Paris A++
5. LSC-2436 Respighi: Pines of Rome, Fountains of Rome A
6. LSC-2446 Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade A+

Based on this mostly positive review -- he recommended all of the Analogue Productions RCA reissues -- I think I may actually try to give one or two of these a shot.  Right now, I'm thinking maybe the Reiner Sound for starters.  I was surprised to see the Gershwin get an A++.  I've heard the original, which is nice, but I agree that the piano sounds a bit distant in this pressing.  I was also surprised to see the Respighi get only an A.  Valin, who does own the famous 1s/1s pressing, says that he believes the original has a sweeter string tone, though bass is quite powerful on the upcoming reissue.


  1. I think I will test the waters with that Gershwin. It was not reissued by Classic, so I only have the Chesky. With the comments and the A++ rating that one stands out to me. The rest I think I have on both Chesky and Classic except for LSC 2201. Chesky did Pictures at an exhibition, but it was the later LP, Power of the Orchestrs, a VCS, Victrola like pressing.

    I know I don't have top pressings in the originals for the Respighi and the Scherazade (white dog 23s/25s I thought on this one). I spotted the HPSoundings sight which is another nice article and resource:

    It's great to have HP (Harry Pearson) still about and the site has a new super disc list.

    Here is a link with pictures of the other planned releases:

    I will look forward to the Heifetz stuff. I bought the tube mastered Classic reissue of Tchaikovsky VC1 and did not like it, never bought any more of the Classic Heifetz or any reissues after that point. I don't have the Glazunov.

    The one title where I love the original is the Rubinstein Rhapsody. It will be hard to resist this reissue.

    Of course these are not the greatest RCA's! Those would be the ones recorded by Decca for RCA. They are conspicuously absent. Chad is amazing and I am sure once he has good sales on this first batch, he will acquire these.

    1. What do you think about this? I could get SAX 2519 -- semi-circle second pressing -- in EX condition for $19, but shipping is $17 from France. I'm on the fence, since I'm quite sure it's an Epic pressing.

  2. I show $250. Resell if you don't like and make $200. If you don't buy I'd give it a go. You should hit my logo sometime and checkout the email button (hint, hint).

  3. I was sent test pressings for two of these upcoming reissues; the Respighi and Bartok Concerto for Orchestra (to be released in the next batch, I gather). I have listened to both a couple of times and am still trying to get a handle on the sonics of each compared to the original Shaded Dogs (I have the 1S/1S Respighi and a 10S/9S Bartok). At $30 a pop, I think they are a decent value at least.

    Acoustic Sounds actually used my record cover photos for this reissue series on their website. I originally took the pics for my website, Shaded Dog (, which is a discography for RCA Living Stereo classical records.

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for checking out by my blog!

      There are a few of those Analogue Productions RCA reissues which I'm contemplating. If you have any more insight on these albums as you listen to the test pressings, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm thinking about the Reiner Sound. I owned an original shaded dog of that, but it was in VG+ condition. I'm hoping that the reissue might sound better. That 1S/1S Respighi of yours must be phenomenal!

      Wow, that's so cool that they used your cover photos! You've got a really nicely designed web site. I love how you have the thumbnail pictures of all the covers which you can just click on. Photos are of really high quality. What a great resource!! I just added myself to the email list!

    2. Watch out on test pressings. They will be a little different from the final product (mine are worse). 1s/1s Respighi will be hard to beat.

      Of course the hmv hound is much better: