I believe the Emerson Quartet's set on DG is DDD. Sonically it's not as good as the Cleveland Telarc. Performace wise, it sizzles.
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Scott's ears are on target as to the Emersons' interpretations: very precise, extremely energetic, but also more than a tad bit post-modern.
While the Tokyo is certainly a classic set to treasure, if you insist on a set and only in DDD, I'd suggest you also search out the Vermeer (on Teldec). For my tastes, both the sonics and the interpretations of the Vermeer Quartet outclass the Cleveland, although I still listen to the Cleveland's versions.
If you aren't hunting for a whole set immediately, I suggest you definitely try (in DDD) the new set of Beethoven quartets still unfolding with the Takacs Q. Their 1st disc was the Op. 59 and Op. 74 quartets; that's been followed by the Op. 18. Don't know whether their late quartets, w/ Op. 95 and Grosse Fuge, is yet out; but I believe that is next on the list. Takacs is recording on Decca. Along with the Vermeer, the Takacs is my current fave rave.
Another group recording Beethoven in amazing sound which you might consider is the Leipziger Streichquartett on MDG, if you demand DDD. I'd also suggest you not avoid the analogue recordings; one can never own too many Beethoven quartet recordings. HAPPY LISTENING!
True,the Emersons don't follow accepted performance practice(I'm not a string player so take that with a grain of salt.).
The first six,the opus 18 set was from Beethoven's first period when he was absorbing influences from CPE Bach,Hadyn,and Mozart.
Starting with the three opus 59 quartets,LB found his own style.
The last five broke new ground. The more I listen to the ESQ's recordings of the last five,the more I like them. I agree with the previous posters who called them energetic.
May as well throw another 2 cents into the mix: the Alban Berg Quartet set of the later quartets is also very fine (this is DDD: the studio recordings. I'm not familiar with the live versions). But the best of all to many, including me, is pre-DDD, the Vegh set on Valois. Leg35al (how are you, Joyce?) is entirely correct about multiple versions of the quartets never being too many.
I'll weigh in with a vote for the Takacs as well. I heard their middle quartets for the first time just this week and was very impressed--love their Bartok too. For years I've enjoyed the Cleveland Quartet recordings and am not about to stop, but the Takacs is indeed special. Based on this thread, I'm eager to hear the Vermeer and Vegh as well--whether something is DDD or not doesn't matter much in my mind. There's many old Decca recordings that stand up sonically to what's being "waxed" today. I also enjoy going back to the old Italian Quartet Beethoven cycle on Philips, especially for the middle quartets--they had such grace.