Here are some good recommendations...
Living Stereo 60 CD Collection Box... Excellent, 1st choice.
Mercury Living Presence II
Charles Munch/Living Stereo and Dorati/Mercury are really outstanding conductors with top-class performances. I have many on single CD's.
Although, older recordings, these are how symphonies and concertos should sound; minimal mic's with concert hall ambience. Not like today's "close-miked" engineering techniques.
Hope it brings you into the world of Classical music.
Is it fair to characterise the Living Stereo set as coming from early stereo recordings, while Deutche Grammophone are much later?@erik_squires
RCA Living Stereo are earlier recordings, but from the review I read, the disks are from the remastered Redbook layer of the SACDs. Their catalogue was remastered to SACD and I have many Hybrid CDs which sound very good.
One thing about DG recordings, they were very inconsistent over the years and can be dry and flat sounding due to their multi-miking techniques. But, they contain some of the very best conductors and orchestras in the world.
And yes, these are later recordings than Mercury or Living Stereo.
With the early recordings, since remastering, I enjoy them immensely for the quality of performance and the open sound of the concert hall, with the only flaw being some tape hiss. (which has never bothered me since the performances are outstanding).
But, like you, I like to have some high SQ recordings to get the most out of my system.
Decca and Philips were considered among the best for sound quality. They had very talented engineers and Decca/Telefunken invented many of the recording technologies.
DG had a lot of really good sounding stuff back when they had the so called tulip label. Was that in the 50s and 60s?Yes, the records with the tulips on the label are considered to be the higher quality recording period; 50s and 60s.
The 1960’s recordings into the early 70’s are very good sounding stereo. It seems to me after DG became part of Polygram, their sound quality suffered.
But Decca and Mercury Living Presence were always superior in SQ.
DG was way behind other record labels in digital technology, so their 1980’s recordings were in a word, terrible. These were their early CD releases which had all the bad digital characteristics such as harshness, glare and their technique of close-mic’ing the instruments gave a sense of a closed-in soundstage.
Such a shame, because there were so many great conductors and orchestras signed to their label. That’s why there are so many remasters of DG CD’s.
Living Stereo box set!!!!! Bought it, then realized I already have all albums as SACDs, presented the bix to my daughter-in-law. Should I say more?... I grab ALL box sets coming out, but my second advice re the content would be Philips box, it is standing open next to my CDS3, so you may say its in "constant rotation". Mercury Living Presence, esp box 2 is for expanding our horizons.Sergio Celibidache box sets are something I will pack first running out from a burning house. Furtwangler's HUGE box I don't have to pack, its already in my car. Being mono it sounds awesome thru car stereo, just buy it and enjoy commuting! ;-)