Reference Recordings

Does anybody find Reference Recordings truly high fidelity?
In orchestral music, their perspective seems to be from the rear balcony of the auditorium.
 I’ve always thought if my system improved I would hear what many critics rave about.
But now I’ve come to the conclusion they are just dull and washed-out recordings with no sound staging and lots of bass.  Even with the HDCD setting available on my Oppo 105 the sound still is distant and watery.
Is it just me, or do others feel this way?
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With my transport/DAC the sound is no better.

Have you tried this one?

It always sounded pretty good to me.  Must refresh memory.

I think many of their earlier works were very good. I have not been as enthused by a lot of the later recordings which I have and rarely refer to.

I agree with twoleftears re Arnold's overtures as well as his disc for Bands. I thoroughly enjoy Coplands Symphony #3, which I consider an audiophile's wet dream.

Something of theirs I have really enjoyed over the years is the 'Tempest', a ballet in 2 parts by Paul Chihara. They recorded this in analog as well as digital to show the differences, or lack there of in the two formats. I've had both...frankly couldn't care less. It's the music!
Thanks for the recommendation.  
May try it.
Once you get used to the RRs the sound is not so bad, but nothing like the raves of some critics
I've found most of the RR's, of which I own quite a few, to be uninteresting. I prefer to seek out really great recordings from the Golden Era of recordings. And ... that isn't limited by a steady diet of RCA's and Mercurys either. :-)

FWIW, a few other Reference Recordings I think highly of -

1) Copland - Appalachian Springs Suite (OV for 13 instruments)

2) Menotti/Barber Concerts for Violin & Orchestra

Both were recorded by Prof Johnson with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.

On the subject of Prof Johnson and the art of recording in the late 50’s, Professor Johnson’s Astounding Sound Show, if you can play vinyl and your interested (research on Google) this recording is a hoot! My house is still reverberating from the African drums cut - I used to love to bring the house down with this. :-)
@newbee - newb, which of his recordings is a hoot, with African drums? Ah, you fixed it. Thanks, I have that one on a shelf, will have to pull it out. 
I have many of the old ones Prof did- one of my favorites, sonically, is the Three Penny Opera.
As you probably know, he went to hi-rez digital a while ago. I got the chance to learn about some of his recording techniques in connection with a Doug McLeod album which has a lot of very quiet passages--

Whart, Revised! But I thought all you guys were clairvoyant and would just know these things. :-)
Some of their vinyl releases have issues.
I have quite a number of RR on vinyl.  Absolutely love the Hindemth and Arnold albums.  Beautiful music wonderfully recorded.  RR jazz offerings from Mike Garson, Tim Brock, The Blazing Redheads are fun tunes in killer sound. The Garson Oxnard Sessions LPs do have an unusually distant perspective however.
Copland #3 added to my shopping list.  Who can resist after that description?
You may find a big improvement with more volume. Many excellent recordings are made to be played at a louder,more realistic levels.  For this a good stereo system is a big benefit. 
Actually louder is not necessary more realistic. Higher Dynamic Range, on the other hand, is more realistic. That’s why people are up in arms over the loudness wars. The sound is already too loud. Hel-loo!
IMHO, none of this stuff is realistic, only just a poor facsimile of the real thing. That said, IME some systems do sound better at higher volumes at doing the soundstaging tricks, etc. However, with systems not properly set up or constituted, the sound is just loud (magnified) distortions which make you want to turn the volume down (or off). 
Which reminds me, all systems get too distorted when turned up past a certain level. And there are a number of reasons for that. Some much less obvious than others. 👻 That’s why there’s no substitute for dynamic range.
Reference Recordings do require more volume.  Only until I got a more powerful system did they have any quality at all.  But STILL, they are recorded too distantly in orchestral settings for my taste.
I have a RR Lp. of Jim Brock's "Tropic Affair."  It's a good recording, but as some have said you have to turn up the volume a bit. I would think this is because of lack of compression which is a good thing. I do notice that some passages get quite quiet at times, but when something comes up with a bit of explosive dynamic, it can get quite loud in a hurry. There is a total lack of reverberation with this recording giving it a natural ease to it. Smooth highs and mids with strong controlled bass. Hope this doesn't sound like a review, just an opinion. YMMV.
@mr_m  +1.  I'm a big fan of "Tropic Affair".  Everything you said is spot on!
Perhaps my favorite label.
Two of my all time favorites are:

symphonic dances
(orch. Respighi)


Holidays & Epiphanies
...the music of RON NELSON