Discussion:
DECCA 2012 CD Remastering of the Solti Ring?
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Peter
2017-06-15 03:27:54 UTC
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I would be grateful if someone would comment about the DECCA 2012 CD remastering of the Solti Ring? (Please note: I am NOT referring to the Blu-ray audio release)

How does this 2012 CD remastering compare to the first CD release of this Ring in the early eighties?

It is worth purchasing "again"?

Thank you for your kind interest and consideration.
m***@gmail.com
2017-06-15 03:35:41 UTC
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Post by Peter
I would be grateful if someone would comment about the DECCA 2012 CD
remastering of the Solti Ring?  (Please note: I am NOT
referring to the Blu-ray audio release)
 
How does this 2012 CD remastering compare to the first CD release of this
Ring in the early eighties?
 
It is worth purchasing "again"?
 
Thank you for your kind interest and
consideration.
This is probably the most comprehensive article

http://wagnersocietyny.org/Special%20Topics/Solti's%20Ring%20Remastered%202013-07-13d.pdf
wkasimer
2017-06-15 13:09:54 UTC
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Post by Peter
How does this 2012 CD remastering compare to the first CD release of this
Ring in the early eighties?
I suppose that it depends on how much money you have, how much you like Solti's RING, how often you play it, and what kind of equipment you have.

I'm not much of a Solti fan, but I've owned this RING in every CD incarnation (generally bought when I could find a bargain). On CD, the biggest difference is between the first (early 80's) CD issue and the 1997 box, which sounds both clearer and fuller, with less audible hiss. The 2012 remaster, which I have only on CD (it's the recently issued white clamshell box) sounds very, very slightly improved compared to 1997.

Assuming that you're listening via a decent audio system, the 2012 remaster is worth the minimal price being asked (as of this AM, it's $36 on Amazon). In addition to improved sonics, Decca fixed some rather inconvenient and unnecessary breaks in musical continuity in Gotterdammerung (these were fixed in 1997).
m***@gmail.com
2017-06-15 13:30:19 UTC
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Post by wkasimer
Post by Peter
How does this 2012 CD remastering compare to the first CD release of this
Ring in the early eighties?
I suppose that it depends on how much money you have, how much you like Solti's RING, how often you play it, and what kind of equipment you have.
I'm not much of a Solti fan, but I've owned this RING in every CD incarnation (generally bought when I could find a bargain). On CD, the biggest difference is between the first (early 80's) CD issue and the 1997 box, which sounds both clearer and fuller, with less audible hiss. The 2012 remaster, which I have only on CD (it's the recently issued white clamshell box) sounds very, very slightly improved compared to 1997.
Assuming that you're listening via a decent audio system, the 2012 remaster is worth the minimal price being asked (as of this AM, it's $36 on Amazon). In addition to improved sonics, Decca fixed some rather inconvenient and unnecessary breaks in musical continuity in Gotterdammerung (these were fixed in 1997).
I agree with the writers disbelief that all of the Solti Original Ring tapes are beyond repair. There are any number of recent year Decca releases where they went back to original tapes from even before 1958 when Rheingold was taped. . To think that all of these tapes, recorded over a seven year period, and a milestone in recording history are ALL in disrepair beyond fixing is just something I can't believe. I think it was cost cutting or some other reason they went back to the 1997 remaster as a source for the 2012 issue. I would not be surprised if they later find some miraculous way to use the original tapes and thus be able to charge again for this Ring. And I would buy it
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-06-15 13:53:47 UTC
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Post by wkasimer
I'm not much of a Solti fan, but I've owned this RING in every CD incarnation (generally bought when I could find a bargain). On CD, the biggest difference is between the first (early 80's) CD issue and the 1997 box, which sounds both clearer and fuller, with less audible hiss. The 2012 remaster, which I have only on CD (it's the recently issued white clamshell box) sounds very, very slightly improved compared to 1997.
Assuming that you're listening via a decent audio system, the 2012 remaster is worth the minimal price being asked (as of this AM, it's $36 on Amazon). In addition to improved sonics, Decca fixed some rather inconvenient and unnecessary breaks in musical continuity in Gotterdammerung (these were fixed in 1997).
I agree with the writers disbelief that all of the Solti Original Ring tapes are beyond repair. There are any number of recent year Decca releases where they went back to original tapes from even before 1958 when Rheingold was taped. . To think that all of these tapes, recorded over a seven year period, and a milestone in recording history are ALL in disrepair beyond fixing is just something I can't believe. I think it was cost cutting or some other reason they went back to the 1997 remaster as a source for the 2012 issue. I would not be surprised if they later find some miraculous way to use the original tapes and thus be able to charge again for this Ring. And I would buy it
I'm afraid I find it only too easy to believe that the originals are beyond repair. Good-quality tape at that time was immensely expensive, and frequently had to be wiped, spliced and re-used; we know from references in Culshaw's books that this was done with the Ring. Naturally this didn't enhance the lasting qualities of the tape. There is also the question of storage degeneration, almost inevitable with tape technology at that time, and its corollary magnetic "print-through". Of course some tapes survive well enough, but it's something of a lottery. Even the last real development of tape technology, videotapes, last on average less than ten years, though I have some which have survived for thirty or more.

As to the remastering, I prefer the 2012 CDs to both earlier versions. For me they're not so very different to the 1997, but sound less smoothed-off and artificial. However, I don't listen to them that often, because I very, very much prefer the BluRay to any of them.

Cheers,

Mike
m***@gmail.com
2017-06-15 16:05:47 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by m***@gmail.com
Post by wkasimer
I'm not much of a Solti fan, but I've owned this RING in every CD incarnation (generally bought when I could find a bargain). On CD, the biggest difference is between the first (early 80's) CD issue and the 1997 box, which sounds both clearer and fuller, with less audible hiss. The 2012 remaster, which I have only on CD (it's the recently issued white clamshell box) sounds very, very slightly improved compared to 1997.
Assuming that you're listening via a decent audio system, the 2012 remaster is worth the minimal price being asked (as of this AM, it's $36 on Amazon). In addition to improved sonics, Decca fixed some rather inconvenient and unnecessary breaks in musical continuity in Gotterdammerung (these were fixed in 1997).
I agree with the writers disbelief that all of the Solti Original Ring tapes are beyond repair. There are any number of recent year Decca releases where they went back to original tapes from even before 1958 when Rheingold was taped. . To think that all of these tapes, recorded over a seven year period, and a milestone in recording history are ALL in disrepair beyond fixing is just something I can't believe. I think it was cost cutting or some other reason they went back to the 1997 remaster as a source for the 2012 issue. I would not be surprised if they later find some miraculous way to use the original tapes and thus be able to charge again for this Ring. And I would buy it
I'm afraid I find it only too easy to believe that the originals are beyond repair. Good-quality tape at that time was immensely expensive, and frequently had to be wiped, spliced and re-used; we know from references in Culshaw's books that this was done with the Ring. Naturally this didn't enhance the lasting qualities of the tape. There is also the question of storage degeneration, almost inevitable with tape technology at that time, and its corollary magnetic "print-through". Of course some tapes survive well enough, but it's something of a lottery. Even the last real development of tape technology, videotapes, last on average less than ten years, though I have some which have survived for thirty or more.
As to the remastering, I prefer the 2012 CDs to both earlier versions. For me they're not so very different to the 1997, but sound less smoothed-off and artificial. However, I don't listen to them that often, because I very, very much prefer the BluRay to any of them.
Cheers,
Mike
I would agree with you IF we didn't have so much material from earlier than the Ring tapings which seems to have survived and from which the original analogue tapes were used for the latest CD incarnation - and these were run of the mill opera tapings not these recordings which were given special status from day one. I guess I just don't want to think that Decca could be that careless.
m***@gmail.com
2017-06-15 16:13:46 UTC
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Post by Mike Scott Rohan
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Post by wkasimer
I'm not much of a Solti fan, but I've owned this RING in every CD incarnation (generally bought when I could find a bargain). On CD, the biggest difference is between the first (early 80's) CD issue and the 1997 box, which sounds both clearer and fuller, with less audible hiss. The 2012 remaster, which I have only on CD (it's the recently issued white clamshell box) sounds very, very slightly improved compared to 1997.
Assuming that you're listening via a decent audio system, the 2012 remaster is worth the minimal price being asked (as of this AM, it's $36 on Amazon). In addition to improved sonics, Decca fixed some rather inconvenient and unnecessary breaks in musical continuity in Gotterdammerung (these were fixed in 1997).
I agree with the writers disbelief that all of the Solti Original Ring tapes are beyond repair. There are any number of recent year Decca releases where they went back to original tapes from even before 1958 when Rheingold was taped. . To think that all of these tapes, recorded over a seven year period, and a milestone in recording history are ALL in disrepair beyond fixing is just something I can't believe. I think it was cost cutting or some other reason they went back to the 1997 remaster as a source for the 2012 issue. I would not be surprised if they later find some miraculous way to use the original tapes and thus be able to charge again for this Ring. And I would buy it
I'm afraid I find it only too easy to believe that the originals are beyond repair. Good-quality tape at that time was immensely expensive, and frequently had to be wiped, spliced and re-used; we know from references in Culshaw's books that this was done with the Ring. Naturally this didn't enhance the lasting qualities of the tape. There is also the question of storage degeneration, almost inevitable with tape technology at that time, and its corollary magnetic "print-through". Of course some tapes survive well enough, but it's something of a lottery. Even the last real development of tape technology, videotapes, last on average less than ten years, though I have some which have survived for thirty or more.
As to the remastering, I prefer the 2012 CDs to both earlier versions. For me they're not so very different to the 1997, but sound less smoothed-off and artificial. However, I don't listen to them that often, because I very, very much prefer the BluRay to any of them.
Cheers,
Mike
I would agree with you IF we didn't have so much material from earlier than the Ring tapings which seems to have survived and from which the original analogue tapes were used for the latest CD incarnation - and these were run of the mill opera tapings not these recordings which were given special status from day one. I guess I just don't want to think that Decca could be that careless.
Also the fact that all FOUR are gone.
Mike Scott Rohan
2017-06-24 17:09:18 UTC
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Post by m***@gmail.com
Also the fact that all FOUR are gone.
Oh yes, those are good points. But while we do have a lot of masters from that era, there's just as much that hasn't survived -- including, I've been told, the mono versions made by Erik Smith alongside the stereo (they didn't trust mix-down then, apparently). They might have been badly stored and neglected due to the upheavals in the Vienna team during and after Culshaw's departure, or it may simply be that some suit or other considered them no longer necessary to conserve. That happened with TV programmes from that time; a college friend of mine (also a Wagnerian) has made a life's work of tracking down obscure, private or simply knocked-off copies for various archives. All things are possible, but I think that if the masters of such a recording were really in good enough condition, or even restorable, even recording executives would have seen the marketing potential of using them.

Cheers,

Mike

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