Living Stereo SACD Releases

I just bought all of the latest SACD releases from RCA Living Stereo. They are all recordings off of the original 2 and 3 channel master tapes. I am just floored by the quality of the sound from these discs. Nothing fancy. No 5 channel reinterpretations. No compression, or "remixes." Just the original sound as originally recorded in the mid '50s early 60's. The Van Cliburn Tchaikovsky/Rachmaninoff and Heifetz Beethoven/Mendelssohn are particularly noteworthy.

There are about ten titles out so far. At about $10 each, some being two record sets on a disc, I have to say these are some of the best recordings I have ever heard out of my rig. I love my L.P. collection of the same titles but these just blow away the originals on my system.

Thought you all would like to know. Anyone else heard these yet?
If you are floored by these, you will be even more so with the Mercury Living Presence SACD's.
While I agree that the RCAs are quite good (I haven't compared them with the Classic re-issues yet), I echo Gaudio eek's post. I played the Morning Noon and Night in Vienna cut from the Mercury Suppe/Auber Overtures SACD for the NJ Audio Society meeting at my home on Sunday and actually got a big round of applause at the end of the piece. The edginess and stridency on big climaxes of the CD are gone, and you're left with music, and a lot of fun as well. Worth getting the whole set, even at a higher price than the RCAs.
Let's keep the hype about these recordings under control! These were, in their time, state of the art recordings, but that was about fifty years ago. Folks should know that they will hear tape/tube hiss and/or AC rumble on many of the discs (all I have to date). I would not discourage people from buying these historic discs, but if they want an audiophile demo disc they will be disappointed.
Yeah, Eldartford, but the magic of tubes used throughout the entire recording chain, classic vintage microphones, and a simple 2 or 3 channel mix creates an experience just not found on today's recordings.

Although I have not taken the plunge into SACD, the DCC Gold CD (standard redbook) of "THE SUMMIT" (Frank, Deano, and Sammy) has a magical quality that is quite unique when compared to the later solid state, multi-tracked, compressed/limited, and otherwise electronically manipulated recording chain. The original recording tapes were made in 1962, and still stand the test of time!
Fatparrot...Sorry to tell you, but compression and peak limiting can and was implemented with tube equipment. It is almost manditory when cutting an LP. You are right that early multitrack mixing was not the greatest idea, but it made the recording session a lot easier for the technicians and musicians. "Get it down on tape, several times, and we'll fix it later". The multitrack approach is much better when implemrented with modern digital recording tracks, where timing is exact and proper phase relationships can be maintained.

Unfortunately not all the master tapes "stand the test of time" some cases they have turned to dust and 7.5ips copies of the original 30ips masters, made several decades ago, were used to make the SACDs.

I repeat, these are interesting discs, but don't expect an audiophile's dream.
Eldartford, Eddaytona was liking the RCA Living Stereo Reissues. All we are saying is he would have appreciated the Mercury Living Presence even more. Frankly, I haven't listened to any MLP SACD that I didn't like, both in sound and performance. They make the RCA's sound almost "less smooth".
Were not some of these Mercury recordings done originally on 35mm. film stock so there was no compression..Tom
Or was it was Everest? I know I have some of these LP's around here that were recorded on film...They had the most glorious and extended highs..Tom
Tom, they were recorded using 35mm film stock. There's some interesting articles on the MLP website. I think they (the engineers) used Wilma Cozart-Fine's Ampex equipment to remaster the SACD's.
It's all there on the website.
..and yes, the highs are very extended but not edgy. The dynamic swings are also incredible.
I know some of the Mac era preamps had 3 chn capability, I suppose to use with a pair of K-horns and a single Belle Klipsch for the center. What was the play back source piece for the 3 channels ? I missed this era of equipment by a few years..Very intriguing concepts, center channel fill, greater dynamic range, lower distortion more extended highs,simple recording path..How long ago was that leap forward..Tom
Theaudiotweak...Center was always driven by a L+R mix signal. I did that for about 30 years, but what we have now is much better.

Regardless of how you make the master tape, compression/peak limiting is necessary when you cut an LP, along with LF blend, and the usual RIAA mutilation of the original signal. Much less of this is necessary for a digital disk.

What is meant by "35mm film stock"? Are we talking about optical recording? 35mm magnetic tape running at 30 inches per second was the usual medium for master tapes.
Mercurys prior to number SR90275 (approx) were recorded using analog tape, then 35 mm tape was used - but not exclusively. SR90282 was recorded on analog tape for example. So, many of the great Mercurys were recorded using analog tape. Cheers.
Of the RCA LS SACD's, I find the Ravel Daphnis & Chloe the best in performance and sound. It's also one that will not be replicated on Mercury.
Eldartford, a very insightful response to my post. Your facts are correct, but I must ad clarifications. We must assume that a good copy of the master tape exists at 30 i.p.s., and has not physically broken down over the years. A 7-1/2 i.p.s. copy is a poor substitute!

There are also TWO mastering procedures. The first takes place in the studio; the second takes place at the vinyl or digital medium pressing plant. Mastering for vinyl is modern alchemy, part science, part art, and part "hunch". Further audio processing (read that degradation of fidelity!) was necessary to cut a commercial vinyl record. Again, were not talking about a special pressing like a 45 RPM single-sided 12" disc(s). There are many less constraints when using the original old studio master tape (assuming a good state of preservation), and doing a MODERN digital pressing master, especially if tubes are used in the chain, as Steve Hoffman of DCC does.
Fatparrot...I can't cite the particular disc, but in at least one case the original 30ips tape was unplayable, but an excellent 7.5ips copy of the master was used. (From liner notes).

The original analog tapes probably used dbx noise reduction processing.