# Composers: Anatoly Konstantinovich Liadov, Camille Saint-Saëns, Cesar Franck, Franz Liszt, Johann Strauss II, Malcolm Arnold, Modest Moussorgsky, Paul Dukas
# Orchestra: Minnesota Orchestra
# Conductor: Eiji Oue
# Vinyl (1998 / 2014)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 16
# Label: Reference Recordings | RM-2510
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (2.96GB), 24-bit/96kHz (1.45GB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (377MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory / File Post
There aren’t enough superlatives to adequately describe the sound quality on this album. If you’ve been considering checking out a 192k rip but weren’t sure which one to try… this is the one.
My first classical rip at 192k.
From the Label:
Ghosts, goblins, merlins and demons run amok in this program of internal orchestral favorites! Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra light a fire under these colorful symphonic poems, captured in dazzling quality by Grammy-winning engineer and audiophile legend Keith O. Johnson. An explosive orchestral tour de force!
For many years, RR has been searching the world over for the best possible vinyl mastering, plating and pressing facilities so they could re-enter the LP market. They now have a production chain that allow them to produce LPs to meet their high standards and satisfy their customers’ demands, who have been waiting for these LPs for a long time!
One of Reference Recordings’ all-time favorites – the original 1998 CD release is on “The Absolute Sound Super Disc List.” Half-speed mastered with no compression, and available for first time on 45rpm 200g virgin vinyl!
Assembling the Team
Disc mastering is done at half-speed to insure maximum accuracy. The lathe system has custom electronics by Nelson Pass. The simple signal path contains no compression, equalization or unnecessary circuitry. RR chief engineer and technical director, “Prof.” Keith Johnson consulted on the design of the system and helped with the rebuilding of the lathe and electronics, which is owned and operated by long-time mastering expert Paul Stubblebine. “Prof.” Johnson has pronounced it equal to the challenge of our master tapes!
Once successful results were achieved in disc mastering, Reference Recordings faced the difficult task of choosing the best plating and pressing facility to manufacture the discs. Fortunately, the new Quality Record Pressings plant in Salina, Kansas was coming on line, and they felt that waiting for this plant to open was well worth it. A crack team of experts was assembled to design and run the plant, employing many unique techniques and features that clearly set QRP apart from all other pressing plants. The 200-gram deluxe vinyl pressings from QRP are truly exceptional.
Multiple Configurations for Reference Mastercuts
Depending on program lengths, some releases are cut at 45 rpm, some at 33-1/3 rpm. Some are single discs, some double. All feature deluxe gatefold jackets crafted by Stoughton Printing. An unusual feature of new RR masterings is called the “FDS finish”: the end of each side will have a 30-second band of silent grooves before the “pull-away.” No one today uses a record changer, and the silent grooves allow time to lift the arm before the always-somewhat-noisy tie-off. (Some 1950s vintage Capitol Full Dimensional Sound pressings sported this feature.) RR founder, J. Tamblyn (Tam) Henderson deserves special recognition for identifying the value of this unique production feature and reintroducing it with the new Mastercuts.
Note: half-speed mastering involves a capturing process in which the original recording master is played back at exactly half of the recorded speed. A sequenced cutting lathe is then timed at exactly half of the playback speed. This process allows twice as much time to carve a groove that accurately represents the sound on the master tape. Half-speed mastering allows for cleaner reproduction and also permits extended high frequency response, extending into the ultrasonic region.
…should be listened to with caution by anyone with a heart condition. – Paul Festa, salon.com
Enjoy equally sensational sonics in a disc of demonic influences, including Liszt’s serious Mephisto Waltz and Dukas’s comic masterpiece The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Oue is a born showman, and the orchestra is certainly willing – the dramatic ending to Franck’s Le Chausseur Maudit packed full of virtuosity, while the brass is superb in Malcolm Arnold’s Tam O’Shanter. – David Denton, The Yorkshire Post
This is an intriguing concept; eight pieces with a hellish subtext in one package. It’s mostly successful, but it could have been wholeheartedly recommended were it not for a few minor issues. As always from this source, sound quality is incredible. The dynamic range is huge and all sorts of wonderful little details come out that you never knew were there. The orchestra, one of the most underrated in America, plays stupendously.
Without question, Eiji Oue is a very fine conductor. Anyone who thinks Vanska deserves all the credit for putting Minnesota on the musical map needs to look at what has been a stellar roster of talent over the years. Oue’s outings on disc with the orchestra are all remarkably similar; great playing, great sound, great repertoire, repeat.
The Arnold is very fine, the Saint-Saëns gorgeously realized, and the Franck really is a welcome rarity and a fine piece. Additionally, having the Liadov on such a program is unexpected, while the Strauss is equally surprising but a great way to end the disc.
Simply put, Oue gets exactly what he wants from his excellent players, and the sound enhances everything considerably. If this diverse and well-done program appeals, by all means test your speakers with it. – Brian Wigman, classical.net
01 – Mephisto Waltz #1
02 – Danse macabre
03 – Baba Yaga
04 – Night On Bald Mountain
05 – Tam O’Shanter
06 – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
07 – The Accursed Huntsman
08 – Lucifer Polka
Jorja Fleezanis – violin solos
All vinyl is cleaned on a VPI 16.5
Technics SL1200-MK5 (modified)
– Rega RB300 arm with RB700 wiring
– Michell Tecnoweight
– SoundSupports armboard
– Trans-Fi Audio ResoMat
Audio Technica AT33PTG/II
AVID Pellar preamp
RME Hammerfall 9632 ADC
Processing: Sound Forge 10, ClickRepair (manual mode only), iZotope RX2
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