Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Readers' Poll: Most Surprising and Disappointing Discoveries

Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories about your best classical LP bargain finds!  For this week's poll, we would like to ask:


Which classical LPs were some of the biggest surprises for you?  There are different ways to look at his question.  For example, were there albums that you picked up on a whim but that turned out to be hidden gems?  Were there albums that you found in the bargain bin for cheap, only to discover later that they were rare and valuable records?  Or were there albums that, simply put, just surprised you?  An LP with the same music on both sides?

Conversely, which classical LPs ended up being the biggest disappointments?  Were there albums for which you paid decent money, thinking that they'd be gems, but instead they turned out to be duds?  Albums that on the surface had a lot of potential but failed to live up to expectations?

13 comments:

  1. DG Archiv English Concert/Trevor Pinnock (mostly Digital) - especially his Handel..whether ~10p from Auction -or 99p @Charity Shoppe - a blessed relief from invariably stodgy German 1960's performances or flippant/poorly played Philips ECO/Raymond Leppard's.

    Digital LP's for sound quality/mastering improvements - at least for a setup that's not tweaked to make dodgy old LP's 'sound good'.

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    1. Never bought many digital LPs, so now have to consider. Salvatore's sound floor is the key to assembling system otherwise one can end up with a setup optimized for dodgy old LPs. Just audtioned well liked Nelson Pass Aleph Ono phono stage and much preferred my tube Loesch preamp. The sound/noise floor was far superior with the Loesch on some later prize solid state Nonesuch LPs. Still not sure about the whole cartridge output versus head gain trade off. I want high dollar step up transformers, but I sure don't want to pay for them and change phono stages just to try them. Moving magnet with much lower phono stage gain may work well. Friends MM 5842/5842 phono stage directly into amps with just precision stepped input level controls sounded very promising after brief listen the other day.

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  2. Interesting choices, Tin Ear.

    Most of my surprises have been bargain bin records, $1-2 Philips 1960s-1970s releases or London Stereo Treasury reissues that have matched or bettered the sound of their original bluebacks. $1-2 EMI Classics for Pleasure reissues have also been surprises, namely my Markevitch Stravinsky Rite of Spring and Kogan Beethoven Violin Concerto. Many of my disappointments have been records for which I overpaid. Many of them have been documented on this blog. SAX 2517. SAX 2510. SAX 2352. SAX 2388. Records that made me quickly realize that there is often little correlation between price and sound quality and that there can be much greater satisfaction as a collector in finding enjoyable records for low cost than trying to be a label completist.

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    1. Well: someone has to do it!
      The Markevitch CFP still has a better-sounding s.2.
      My reason for just choosing the Pinnock was, that if you restrict yourself to LP then there's another quarter-century of performance-practice/orchestral-playing improvement - not to mention technical aspects: Baroque is an extreme example of how 'dated' (near intolerable) many/most vinyl-era intepretations now sound.
      But, presumably, the original question was too wide: how about:
      "listening to which LP's have given you actual 'goosebumps'" (if any) - because that's the Litmus Test - can LP even achieve that (78 playback can..).

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    2. Love baroque and older music.

      Are you saying the LP format does not give you goosebumps? Which formats do you favor? Local collector Russian Mike loves mono chamber music and "optimizing" his system for it (you'd love it, not!!)

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    3. That's being lazy!
      How about it as a separate topic - & where you 2 nominate LP's (if there are any) in such a category - and not just because they display 'wonderful/gorgeous' sonics (via a posh system).

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  3. Agree highly with Tin Ear. Many of the best recordings of late I own I paid US $5 or less for, been raining London UK and Dutch FFRR Stereo, UK London Stereo Treasury, Philips, Archiv, Harmonia Mundi, 6 eye Columbias, the odd RCA LM and LSC Shaded Dog and White Dog, and so much more for so little. Bought a nice load of Classical LP discs for less than $5 the whole haul.

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    1. Bargain buys are always the best! Are you in a big city that has a good record scene?

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    2. I live near a medium size city with a very fine record scene. And a decent number of audiophiles per capita.

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  4. 50 pence got me the Kempe dvorak 9th on mono hmv alp 1623. I was amazed by how good it sounded, so amazed in fact that I digitised it to flac files and you can have them if you want.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17525699/kempe%20dvorak%20sym9.zip

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  5. just got both CFP lps of the Brandenburgs by the Virtuosie of England, they sound fantastic! Fast performances, in sonic terms they might be the best I have of this music on lp.

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    1. Wow, nice find. I haven't heard those performances before. I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying them!

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