Everyone have their RCA LIVING STEREO SACDs yet? Better grab 'em! Leontyne Price...

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Mastering Your Host

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    No excuse not to have all of these. I think there are like 50 of them or something. Not all are the last word in wonderful but most are amazing documents of the Golden Age of Recording. Many in three channel, all with a two-channel DSD mix and a CD mix as well. I think the price is down to a dime each now or something (OK, maybe like six bucks). Incredibly cheap for what you get. I would suggest getting them all and then buy an SACD player for them (even if you have nothing else on SACD).

    So many of these are so darn good that even if you don't dig classical, you might someday and then you'll wish you had grabbed these. I mean after all, when can you hear a pristine mastering in audiophile stereo of a 1954 recording featuring musicians long dead who learned their craft from teachers of the 19th Century? Listening to some of this stuff is truly like resurrecting the dead.

    I recommend you grab all of these (even the stuff you've never heard of) before they all go out of print.

    When you get the LEONTYNE PRICE disk (I call it "The Blue Album"), you'll see what your stereo is really made of. Start with #11-13 and go to #8 ("Un Bel Di Vedremo" or however it's spelled) as a demo to start. Those four selections. Crank your system to a realistic level (where she sounds about like she is right in front of you) and let it rip.

    First time I tried that my expensive system totally blew a gasket at the end of #8. I mean, sounded like firecrackers were exploding. I switched out my preamp and tried again. Worked but with clipping. I put my McIntosh MC402 in there and watched in wonder as it started at 20 watts and peaked out at 400 watts a channel at the end. It worked but just barely. Don't EVER think they didn't know what they were doing in the Golden Age because they really, really did. Amazing sound. The dynamics, tonality and performance on this Price disk would be a bargain at $50.00 let alone the $6.00 or so that it is now). Get it! Get them all.

    I'm sure a nice SH Forum member will give a link that shows all of the titles...

    Remember, I don't tell you to do much but these are essential. The recording quality varies from disk to disk (as it should, different orchestras, engineers, venues, etc.) but all are acceptable and some are head-scratching amazing.

    Trust me..

    If you want to see how they recorded these classical RCA-Victor LIVING STEREOs back in the 1950s check out this short movie:

    It's called "The Sound And The Story", Munch conducting in Symphony Hall, Boston, 1956. "Romeo And Juliet". I bet you classical buffs have this recording in your collection. I do too! Watch how they made it. You can see the stereo and mono Ampex tape machines going simultaneously, the neat RCA recording console, the way they placed the two stereo and two monaural microphones and the amazing looking RCA playback speakers. Notice later on how the metal parts are "cut" on a big dye cutter that is still marked "Victor Talking Machine Co. :love: :love: You will see how they cut the master tape onto a lacquer master and how the lacquer is turned into metal parts for the pressing of LP's, etc. It's quite fascinating.

    Watch it on your computer:

    http://www.archive.org/details/SoundAndTheS
    kevinsinnott likes this.
  2. Shakey

    Shakey New Member

    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Ok, thanks for the heads up Steve.
  3. detroit muscle

    detroit muscle Forum Resident

  4. TeacFan

    TeacFan Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Arcadia, Ca.
    Have a bunch & ordered more off of DeepDiscount during the curent sale that runs till Sunday. Some are on back order.
    carville likes this.
  5. Bronth

    Bronth Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Riga, Latvia
    Steve, you echoed my thoughts on these. :laugh: I'm planning to buy my first SACD (actually, universal) player on forthcoming Christmas, and these SACDs are on my wish list too. I've already got about 20 SACDs and DVD-As, but strangely none of these Living Stereo's, despite they are cheaper. So it's really the time. :wave: :righton:
  6. Am I the only one who prefers the eq on the cd, not SACD, versions?

    Sure the dynamics are compromised in the redbook 44.1 format but you can't have everything.

    Not to threadcrap but there are a lot more than 52 titles floating around "as cds", and they're
    pretty terrific as well. Some of the first classical I heard on cd that sounded GREAT was an
    RCA 'Symphony Fantastique' in a generic cover in the late eighties, it was recorded in 1954!

    I do like that the reissues properly restored the covers. That Charles Munch/Boston recording
    had a cover by the brilliant and very personable Richard Powers.

    (I attended SF conventions from 1976-91 and was good friends with a Powers collector who brought
    Richard to Nashville where we spent a fabulous, talkative day & evening together)

    Attached Files:

    kevinsinnott likes this.
  7. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    I love this series. Last weekend I took advantage of the $6.99 Deep Discount CD sale to get the last 6 or so that I was missing. Just last night I was playing Disc 1 of Berlioz Requiem. Haunting stuff...

    Great sound, great liner notes, true history on SACD!
  8. sherrill50

    sherrill50 Active Member

    Location:
    Mukilteo, WA
  9. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
  10. Dave Garrett

    Dave Garrett Active Member

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    This was posted recently in the previously-referenced thread, but for those who don't want to dig through that thread to find it:

    All 54 Living Stereo SACD titles

    I got the last 6 titles I didn't already have earlier this year when one of the usual online vendors had them on sale. I'd put off completing the collection for some time, but started to get concerned that they might go OOP in the near future.

    I'd also put off completing my Mercury Living Presence SACD collection until a couple of months ago, when I noticed that quite a few of those were already OOP. I thought I'd managed to track down all the ones I was missing, only to have a couple of orders cancelled due to the inability of vendors to fulfill those orders. I eventually got all of them with the exception of a single title, which as luck would have it appears to be the scarcest of the OOP titles, with the expected premium being asked on the secondary market. :(

    Edit: Oops, SamS beat me to posting that link by a couple of minutes.
  11. BITBANGER

    BITBANGER Active Member

    Location:
    Milford, CT.
    Cool video Steve, Thanks
  12. I have 29 of the 54 listed SACD titles on early RCA LSC shaded dog vinyl ... some great sounding recordings indeed! :thumbsup:
  13. JoelWat

    JoelWat Active Member

    Location:
    Dubai, UAE
    Living Stereo - WOW

    Sometimes that was all I could say after listening to these timeless gems. I have over half of this series and reviewed several of them on SA-CD.net. Steve, thanks for the kick in the pants...I need to make sure to acquire all. Some of these go for peanuts on amazon.fr and the joy you get from this music is priceless.

    Jw
  14. My favorite album of the entire Living Stereo Classical catalog is Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherezade", performed by conductor Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Original "shaded dog" vinyl pressings of this recording fetched obscene prices in collectors' circles for the past 47 years...for good reason! The 3-channel layer of the SACD is as close as we'll ever get to hearing the actual session master at home, so I treasure my copy of this as if they were classical music's crown jewels of the early stereo recording era...which they are!:love::edthumbs:
  15. dotwacky

    dotwacky Active Member

    Location:
    milwaukee, wi
    Probably a silly question, but I guess they have no plans to release Sounds In Space anytime soon?
  16. John Carsell

    John Carsell Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northwest Illinois
    I don't think they've issued any more titles in the last several years, so probably not. Wish they would issue "Sounds in Space" or some Chet Atkins titles.

    I played Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra just yesterday.

    Amazing dynamics and great early stereo for this 1954 recording.
  17. I have all but two of them and the Blue Album is one of my all time favorites. Tracks #8 Un bel di vedremo and #11 Vissi d'arte are the highlights for me.

    I will grab the two missing ones as soon as I can. :righton:
  18. Reader

    Reader Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Strawberry Fields
    I've got a bunch of these and have a bunch more I ordered about a week ago. I don't have the equipment to experience the sound the way Steve does but I've enjoyed what I've heard. Got just a few more to get. Does Best Buy still have these in stock at their stores? They did a couple years ago.
  19. docwebb

    docwebb Well-Known Member

    What a strange world we live in. Amazon has the disc of "Hovhaness: Mysterious Mountain"for $7.99.....or you can download the MP3 version for $9.99.
  20. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Very very hard to find in Best Buy stores. Safest bet is to order from Amazon.
  21. mewdisk

    mewdisk Member

    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for the reminder, will get a few more!
  22. fortherecord

    fortherecord Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    I wish they would do some of the British recordings done at Kingsway Hall, like Witches Brew.
  23. michael w

    michael w New Member

    Location:
    aotearoa
    Q- Is the RB layer on these SACDs better than the previous RB-only CDs ?
  24. Eddie Williamson

    Eddie Williamson Active Member

    Agreed. Great sticky. No reason an AUDIOPHILE shouldn't own at least a handful of these. Seven bucks??! My picks for the choosy:
    • Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue - Wild/Fiedler/Boston Pops Orchestra (all-American classic)
    • Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe (complete) - Munch/BSO (wow)
    • Rimsky-Korsokov: Scheherazade - Reiner/CSO w/ Sidney Harth (violin) (classic Living Stereo)
    • Saint-Saens: Symphony No.3 'Organ'/Debussy: La Mer - Munch/BSO (demo all the way)
    • Sibelius, Prokofiev, Glazunov Violin Concertos - Heifetz/Munch/BSO (the Sibelius of all-time, hard to pick just one Heifetz)
    • Strauss, R.: Music from Salome, Elektra - Borkh/Reiner/CSO (shame Welitsch did not sing on this, she was Salome)
    • Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninov Piano Concertos: Cliburn/Reiner/CSO (best-selling concerto recording of all-time?)

    And Leontyne Price!
  25. DaveN

    DaveN Music Glutton

    Location:
    Apex, NC
    I'd add the Heifetz disc of Beethoven/Mendelsohnn violin concertos.

    Honestly, Steve made the case as well as it can be done. Get all of these. They were a bargain at the original $10 per disc. For $6??? A no-brainer!
    Animal77 likes this.

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