I recently purchased Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2
SACD version by PentaTone Classics which has The Piano Concerto # 2 and Paganini's Theme. I was very disappointed with the performance and sound quality. Can anybody recommend a CD or SACD that has better sound? I have thought of the 4 cd box set of the 4 Piano concertos played by Stephen Hough as well as Earl Wild, but would prefer an excellend sounding # 2. Don't want the #1 & #4.
Any feedback would be sincerely appreciated.
The best Rach 2's are rated by most people by performance quality. If it happens to sound good, then it is a bonus.

I could recommend a few great ones, but I cannot comment on the sound.

My favorite Rach 2 by far is the 1971 Ashkenazy / Previn London Symphony recording on London/Decca.

If you get swept away by the performance you may forget about the sound.
Ashkenazy rules in Rachmoninoff! Symphonies, PC's w/Previn, solo piano, and two piano's w/Previn. Very good recordings as well. Now that thats out of the way.....

Listen to Hough before you buy. Despite all of the accolades, I found it a disappointing set. Performance and sonic's. Wild's set is well worth having, and its been an audiophile favorite for years.

My current favorite in 1 & 2 is by Andsnes/Pappano on EMI. Warning it is not soupy - its much more brisk than most, something I think Rachmaninoff's music can use..its romantic enuf with out the typical performances in which the conductors broadens it even more. FWIW, I think Rachmaninoff himself played his music much as I prefer.

If you want a beautifully played and sonically excellent recording, try Ogawa on BIS.
What about Van Cliburn on RCA Living Stereo SACD?
Van Cliburn and Ashkenazy are the two standards. I like both of those more than Rachmaninoff's own recording (which I have on 78!)

This is one of the pieces that I come back to over and over. The haunting melody that reoccurs in all the movements just kills me. Those who've heard it know exactly what I'm talking about. And that moment of silence at the very end of the last movement, right after the cadenza, just before the orchestra comes back in full force? Aaaaaaaaah.

I'd love to hear Bernstein play this. Does anybody know of a recording?
I have the Wild version with Horenstein/LSO on Chesky. It is a great performance, and sound is ok for a 40 year old recording. Check it out if you have the chance.
I second the recommendation of the classic Cliburn/Reiner performance on RCA Living Stereo, which has excellent sound, and I also recommend the Ashkenazy/Haitink digital version on Decca/London, which also has excellent sound. My recommendation among more recent versions would be Zimerman/Ozawa on DG (recorded in 2000)--again, excellent sound, and an eloquent performance.
Try Richter for Rach-2 and Horowitz for Rach-3 (both recordings). The sound is OK (except for Horowitz '30s recording) and the performance superb.
I also like the Richter on DG, a very idiosyncratic performance (he starts it slower than anyone and ends it up faster!). And Ashkenazy, of course, particularly the 1971 version Sugarbrie mentions from his first cycle. Forget sonics on this piece, the performance is what makes these worth getting.
For current 1CD version with best combination of Sound/Performance I like Zimerman/DG concertos 1,2.
I also like the new Hough/Hyperion complete set.

For older classic 1CD versions I like Richter/DG of course and Byron Janis/Mecury, also the remastered SACD hybrid of Van Cliburn/RCA sounds very good now, more relaxed style than Richter or Janis.

For older set I stick with the Wild/Chandos
More on my original post.....

The remastered Van Cliburn/Reiner/RCA hybrid Rach 2 is coupled with the famous Tchaikovsky 1 conducted by Kondrashin........even more reason to own even if not your top choice for Rach 2, sold at reduced price.

The Byron Janis/Dorati/Mercury Rach 2 now available as SACD hybrid coupled with perhaps even more famous version of Rach 3.......another essential version IMO.

Also again to agree with Texas Dave on the Zimerman/DG Rach 2 as great modern sound version.
Ashkenazy 1971 on Decca is the one i listen to. I have an original pressing. Glorious tube sound but avoid the digital remaster on Vinyl. I have one of those too. I have not heard it on CD though.
Telarc has a simply excellent and exciting/dramatic recording of this. Lorin Maazel/Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Horacio Guiterrez. It may not be to everyone's tastes but dramatic and powerful it is ( as well as an excellent recording).