Saturday, December 17, 2016

Analogue Productions RCA/Decca Reissues ... Revisited

Greetings to all of you from snowy Boston!  It has been six months since our last post on this blog, and we apologize for the inactivity.  It has been a busy time for both of us, but we are hoping to gradually roll out some posts over the coming weeks.

Those of you who have been following us for some time may remember that 10 months ago, I posted my original review of the first two of Analogue Productions' reissues of some of the most sought after RCA/Decca Living Stereo recordings (LSC-2225 and LSC-2449).  While I was initially very pleased with how the records appeared out of the box, I discovered a couple of issues with the records that I expressed in my post.  First, while these LPs were marketed as being 200 gram vinyl, both of them weighed in at 180 grams.  Secondly, with the reissue of LSC-2449, the vinyl had some defect that caused a "wobble" in the sound.  Incidentally, AP subsequently recalled both of those reissues, stating that they were not of the quality that Chad Kassem had intended.  As subscribers to the series, we were told that we would be issued replacement records.  And so, we patiently waited.

Nine months later, they finally arrived.  Acoustic Sounds must've assumed that we held on to the original outer jackets, because both records arrived in QRP inner sleeves with no outer jacket.  Small matter, I suppose, though it was fortunate that both records arrived well insulated and unscathed from shipment.

First things first.  I weighed both LPs.  The reissue of LSC-2449 weighed in at exactly 200 grams, while the reissue of LSC-2225 weighed in at 215 grams.  Okay, a good start.

Next, I decided to play LSC-2449 first, since this was the one that had issues with "wobble".  I am pleased to report that the problem has been rectified.  The record plays very cleanly (a few occasional very soft pops excepted) and delivers at least the same dynamics, clarity, imaging, and soundstaging as my "defective" copy, but unhampered by any significant audible defects.  I think I still marginally prefer my Classic Records reissue of this album, which is a tad bit brighter sounding and packs a little more punch, but I am upgrading my original sound rating from 8+ to 9/10.

I was already very pleased with the sound of the first AP reissue of LSC-2225, but I figured I would see if this 200 gram copy sounded any different than the previous 180 gram copy.  I decided to do an A/B comparison using the Saint-Saens' Dance Macabre, the first track on side 2, as the reference work.  Honestly, I couldn't readily discern any sonic differences between the two.  I'll stand by my original sound rating of 10/10. 

So many thanks to AP for taking the time to repress these records and providing replacements free of charge to us subscribers.  I don't know what the release schedule will be for the remaining reissues in this series, but I am definitely looking forward to (hopefully) receiving them in 2017. 

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