Telarc Records

I’ve been fascinated with Telarc for a long time because they always seemed unique to me (before they were acquired).

There are myriad labels who make stellar recordings but Telarc seemed different because they were often releasing CDs of well-known, top-tier ensembles and conductors.

Andre Previn, Lorin Maazel, Charles Mackerras, Seiji Ozawa, Rudolf Serkin, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh, Boston and so many other big names.

Anyway, I find it interesting that a small label like Telarc was able to sign so many big names while being known as an audiophile label.

I guess Reference Recordings fits into this category but they are much less prolific.

Any other Telarc fans or folks who never cared for Telarc’s sound?

I’m sorry, that although some Telarc recordings are quite nice, most sound somehow technical to me and as if they suffer from compression effects at high volumes. But (by high claims) mainly they sound rather flat, dry, harmonically reduced, non transparent and uninvolving to my ears compared with the very best like you named (Reference Recordings, 2L, Bluecoast, Northstar, Opus 3, Stockfisch, Turtle Records, Chesky, Yarlung etc.)

There are so many much better recording labels (also some worse for sure)…just compare with those and see if you also hear the difference.

Even some other labels who used the Soundstream recorder back then had clearly better sounding recordings imo (Delos, ProArte).

I agree with you that Telarc had great artists of classical and jazz genre contracted, which is most important.


Started collecting Telarc Records when they were actually records. Their first digital recordings (for LP & later CD) used Thomas Stockham’s Soundstream recording system which, for several reasons, including transformerless analogue circuitry, yielded better sounding digital recordings than other labels.

SACDs were produced from the original 16bit 50kHz Soundstream masters using the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording process. Transfer to DSD was done entirely in the digital domain through the Data Conversion Systems (dCS) 972 Sample Rate Converter with custom software, which preserved the original recording’s 25kHz frequency response and filtering characteristics

I own most of those recordings on LP, CD and SACD; many of those SACD’s sound as good or better than many in my collection; and I have a large collection.

One example, The Maazel/Cleveland “Pictures at an Exhibition” is one of the great classical recordings (performance and sound) of all time. The SACD is a good as anything I’ve heard from any other label.

That is impressive.

I’ve never heard a Telarc LP but you aren’t the first person who has noted they can be remarkable.

I think my favorite Telarc recordings are the Strauss works Previn did with Vienna but there are so many great ones.

One reason Telarc can sound like that is that it isn’t being played back at the correct volume. All recordings have an optimal volume because the ear has different sensitivities at different frequencies. Changing volumes is, in essence, doing EQ. Telarc recordings, for the most part, need to be played closer to a realistic level than many other labels. Try turning it up if a Telarc disc isn’t involving. At some level the sound blooms and becomes wonderful.

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Those are my 55 Telarc (quite a lot you might say, for the fact that it’s not my favorite label :wink: ) … and I also have this Mussorgsky SACD…so when I’m back at home in more than a week I’ll check it…

My most beloved Telarc is McCoy Tyner/Land of giants. A really great SACD musicwise and nice sounding. I also like Levi’s Shostakovich 5th as one of my my reference interpretation.

And I have Tchaikovsky 1812 and Loussier/Best also as FIM audiophile LP set, which sounds better than the SACD.

Im Open for recommendations as I didn’t listen to many of them for quite some time…but in general I have to confirm my impression…the other labels I mentioned sound far better imo.

I will try this with a few Ted…so far my impression was, that with higher volume the partly dry/technical sound increases rather than disappears. But there may be differences I don’t have present as I didn’t listen to a lot of them for quite some time.

Interesting your comment about compression as they do not use any at all and their DSD recordings on SACD are true DSD not PCM converted. The Telarcs sound great on my all PS Audio system with my B&W 800 Matrix speakers.

Previn/VPO; “Also sprach Zarathustra”/“Tod und Verklarung”, "and, “An Alpine Symphony” are first class. Heard the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall three times & these recordings capture much that is the glory of those massed strings & the rich, unique sound of the small bell, small bore, double piston, Vienna Valve horns. Sad that neither was released on SACD.

Ended up with 42 Telarc SACD’s. When Telarc announced they were closing shop I was able to add a dozen or so for under $9@


And captures the sound of rotary valve trumpets.

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That maybe was a bad expression…I meant the partly unpleasant/dry sound gets more obvious with higher volumes.

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It’s also important I speak of nouances…the sound is still on a high level…just not comparable to the very best imo.

I learnt, what‘s essential to me is often just nouances for many others :wink:

Jazznut: Quick, unrelated question. What application do you use to catalog your LPs and SACDs? The photos you posted look great.

Kindest Regards, Joel

On point.

It’s Jriver.

Here’s a couple worth hearing if the music is of interest. Great performances & recordings, without exception. Jarvi is simply one of the premier conductors of our time.







Thanks. I’ll try your suggested recordings as well.

The Shostakovich‘s string sound is a bit like „old digital“ sounded…less colorful, flat, not vibrant…but the interpretation is good imo. Anyway it was a hot recommended (for sound) recording in an audio magazine at the time.

Yes indeed, Järvi together with Currentzis are my current favorite conductors as their interpretations are always very interesting, even if they’re not the ultimate for each composer.

Aside of this Järvi is my favorite for Beethoven, Currentzis for Mozart (also his Mahler is great), just as I like very much Celibidache‘s Bruckner and Vänskä‘s Sibelius.

First, being a lover of Classical music, I know NOTHING about Telarc’s pop-oriented releases

I LOVE multichannel recordings, and Telarc’s are as good as any and better than most… Two of them I use and recommend as the most-transparent recordings of all time… One is ‘The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith’, SACD #SACD-60433, with Goldsmith conducting the London SO… Except for thin-sounding violins*, the recording is big, spacious, and natural sounding… Of course, the music is fabulous.

The second is ‘Grieg, Dvorak, Elgar’, SACD #SACD-60623… This has the Rotterdam Chamber O playing string suites by those composers… My fave is the Elgar Serenade…, o. 20, and when the sun, moon, my mood, the quality of my AC-power, etc., are all on, the recording and my system really do imitate the sounds of my sitting in a tall chair about five feet behind the conductor with those maybe-30 musicians playing for ME.

  • It is, after all, the LSO, and I’ve never felt the LSO was as great sounding as its London competitors, the LPO, Royal, and Philharmonia.