Mercury Living Presence box sets

I’m working on my second Mercury Living Presence box set. I continue to be amazed at the sonic quality of these performances. I believe they are at least as good as the RCA Living Stereos and the Decca’s from that time period. Remarkable what can be done with just three tube-based microphones. I’ll bet Wilma Cozart Fine and Robert Fine never thought their recordings would be held such high regard 66 years after their initial release, or that modern recordings would not surpass them .

Antal Dorati’s Firebird with the/London Symphony exemplifies the best of the Living Presence qualities. There is a superb sense of soundstage focus and tight image delineation. Instruments occupy easy discernible specific points in space.

Its too bad Deutsche Gramaphone and Columbia produced mostly indifferent sonics.

By the way, the first volume contains a lot of Janos Starker.


I’ll assume you are referring the the three LP box sets, vice the CD box set. Yes, they are very god, a bit more forward and alive sounding than the RCA Shaded Dogs. You may also like the Starker on Speakers Corner as well.

I agree, they are a bit more forward and dynamic. I love them. Oh, I only collect Cds. I bet they sound really special on vinyl.

The vinyl takes it up a few notches, :smile:

The thing that I find most interesting is that many of them (most? all?) were recorded on 35mm movie film.

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I know quite all Mercury LP recordings (in the classical music field). Incredible dynamics and straightforward image. The best of the best recordings for sonics quality is the Suppé album conducted by Paul Paray. There you get the common specificities of the Mercury sound signature, + an extra level of dynamics, and something not so common for this label : sharpness, transparency, clearness of the stage, especially when superposing the groups of instruments (strings, brass, winds, percussion) at highest volume, and keeping a crystal-clear intelligence. What is more, no warm-colored sound, but sthing neutral.
Try Light Cavalry Overture, you will understand what I mean. Most outstanding!!!

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Suppe & Auber: Overtures - Mercury Living Presence: 4343092 - Presto CD or download | Presto Music


Yep that’s it.
I heard it tonight, first time on my new Magnepan 20.7, that’s glorious.
On CD. I know that this recording is also available on SACD, but on second sale and overpriced (so I don’t own one).
But when I hear the exhibition sound on CD, the SACD must be +++++

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