March 3, 2017
SS: Still Sealed Label: Everest Catalog Number: SDBR 3065-45 Product Condition: NEW
This auction is for an UNRELEASED, STILL SEALED, NUMBERED (7 of 20), 45rpm 3LP Test Pressing Box Set. This set consists of 3 single sided discs, for optimal sound performance, of the Classic Records 200gram reissue of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92” with Josef Krips conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. This title was planned, but never released as a 200g set at 45rpm on clarity vinyl, thereby making this an ultra collectible set.
These highly collectible test pressings are from the first stamper. Test pressings reflect the closest you can get to the lacquers and hence have a special collectible value and store of value.
Only a very small number of these unreleased sets exist and thus this is a special opportunity to hear your favorite title on Classic’s 200g Super Vinyl Profile at 45 rpm – it doesn’t get any better than this! Set packaged in original box with artwork. Each disc is packaged in a white jacket.
ULTRA RARE item… Good luck!
Background on Classic 200g Super Vinyl Profile
In 2003, Classic Records launched its now famous Signature Blue Note Mono reissue series.
As part of that series Classic developed an “authentic” 200 gram LP profile that replicated that of an original Blue Note record from the 1950’s. Comparing a test pressing on the new profile versus the same title on the normal 180 gram pressing it was discovered that the 200 gram version sounded significantly better. The 200 gram pressing sounded louder, with more definition and solidity of notes across all frequencies and there was more detail – particularly low level detail like room or hall sounds, pages being turned, musicians whispering and automobile sounds outside the studio all became easier to identify. At first it was speculated inside Classic Records that the extra weight resulted in the better performance as no one could come up with a better answer given that the stampers were the same as well as the vinyl pellets used on both 180g and 200g pressings. One day, Michael Hobson, the founder of Classic Records was discussing this unexplainable sonic discovery with the Legendary Mastering Engineer and Sheffield Records founder, Doug Sax when Doug, without hesitation stated “Ah Michael you’ve discovered the difference in a flat versus conventional profile”.
Puzzled, Hobson asked for an explanation which Sax described as going all the way back to 1950’s mono pressings and what happened when stereo records came out in the early 1960’s. Sax explained that in the 1950’s when mono records had no vertical modulation (only lateral), pressing PolyVinylChloride PVC (plastic) records were more easily pressed on “Flat Profile” dies fitted to the pressing machines since the grooves on the mono stampers were all the same height (no vertical modulation). The molten vinyl was able to flow evenly across the stampers and fill properly during the molding (pressing) of the record. The problems started when stereo record cutting came into vogue producing stampers that had variable height grooves sticking up across the diameter of each stamper. Using the older mono pressing dies resulted in tremendous problems getting the areas between grooves of different heights to fill properly – a groove that is in front of another taller one often got passed over by the flowing molten vinyl resulting in “non-fill” which was audible and thus a “defective” record. Pressing plants don’t like to press defective records and are always looking for high pressing yields or a s few rejects as possible. To solve the problem, the engineers developed a new pressing die profile which tapers from the center of the die, flattens in the middle of the diameter and then tapers again toward the outside of the die. The new profile was “concave” rather than flat. When you put a flat stampers onto the concave dies the stampers distort and are no longer flat – the grooves are no longer perpendicular across the stamper and by association across a finished vinyl pressing. This new die profile created “back pressure” on the flowing vinyl and solved the “non-fill” problem with stereo pressings and resulted in higher yields which was great for pressing plants and good for record companies who wanted good prices on pressings. The problem was and still is that the new profile records don’t sound as good as they could because they are not flat across their profile. Using a micrometer across the diameter of a 1950’s mono records reveals that the thickness is virtually the same across the record’s diameter from center label to outer edge but not so for a newer stereo profile pressing which is convex across its diameter resulting from the concave profile dies / distorted stampers. This is the dirty little secret that Classic had rediscovered was known to old school experts like Doug Sax who founded Sheffield Labs in the 1970’s. After the discovery, Classic Records never looked back and all of its releases and re-pressings after 2003 were on the new 200 gram Flat Profile dies that were specially made for Classic. Some years later Classic discovered that the very same profile was used by JVC in Japan to produce the legendary UHQR pressings for Mobile Fidelity which are well known to sound better than the conventional Mobile Fidelity pressings of the same titles – it all makes sense now. The long and the short of this is that Classic 200g Super Vinyl Profile (Flat Profile) pressings are as good as it gets for proper playback without groove distortion from non-flat pressings – Period.
Background on Everest Pressings
In 2006, Classic Records returned to its roots in Classical reissues by licensing the infamous Everest catalog that had never been given the proper treatment on LP outside of the three DCC Stokowski reissues transferred to vinyl from analog masters (non-35MM titles) just before DCC ceased operation. Michael Hobson, recalling how good the Vanguard CD reissues, transferred from the original 35MM tapes, sounded, having received rave reviews from Harry Pearson at The Absolute Sound, decided to undertake the task of reissuing 26 titles from the Everest 35MM recordings done by Bert Whyte in the late 50’s and early 60’s during the same period Mercury was recording to 35MM film. Unlike the Mercury 35MM recordings, that received praise for their fidelity on LP, Everest never achieved equal acclaim. In fact, most of the Everest LP’s, outside of a few of the early dowel sleeve originals, were not very good sounding and often had noisy surfaces. Hobson reasoned that the disappointing Everest LP’s were the result of poor transfers originally and that the fantastic sounding CD reissues were a testament to the fact that the recordings were in fact, similar to the legendary Mercury recordings that Everest had patterned their recordings after. So the job of cutting LP lacquers directly from the nearly 60 year old 35MM session masters began. First, Classic Records retained the services of Len Horowitz from the History of Recorded Sound in Los Angeles to refurbish a vintage 35MM playback machine that could be slaved to the Classic “ALL TUBE” cutting system at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood. With machine in place, including custom made “tube” playback electronics installed, the arduous job of transferring from the edited 35MM session tapes began. In many cases, the tapes had to be degassed for weeks at a time before they could be played back without shedding an excess of oxide which would gum up the three track heads and require the side to be recut again and again to get a clean pass. Hobson, Horowitz and Bernie Grundman worked for three years to bring 20 of the 26 titles to full release with six titles, which were cut, remaining unissued at the time Classic Records was sold to Acoustic Sounds in 2010. Hobson reminisces that this was Classic’s crowning achievement in that, despite enormous difficulty during the transfers, the true sound of Everest had, for the first time, been revealed on Classic’s “Flat Profile” 200 gram records. Classical LP lovers could finally hear the majesty and the extended low level fidelity that 35 MM recordings had always been touted as having but failed to deliver fully on vinyl LP transfers. Everest could now take its place among the companies from the “Golden Age” of recording – names such as Decca, Mercury, RCA and EMI and Classic Records, having had a hand in that renewed status, could end as it had begun.