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Discussion: Schubert: String Quartets Vol. II - Mandelring Quartett

Posts: 6

Post by Beagle April 19, 2005 (1 of 6)
I don't want to review this one (sound vs artistry are universes apart), but a quick comparison of this disc with the Praga/Prazak Schubert disc (Quint + SQ 7) is very flattering to the Praga engineers and not a recommendation of the Audite crew. The Praga disc is a miracle of warmth and depth, and the Audite is fingernails on chalkboard. That's a first impression; later listening may soften my view, but OUCH!

I get the feeling that everyone who fancies himself a sound engineer nowadays, thinks that SACD will allow him/her to create masterpieces on a level of the old LP magicians. Don't they listen before they call it a wrap? Or are they merely deaf from too many megabass pop recordings with audio at eleven?

Post by Windsurfer January 28, 2006 (2 of 6)
Beagle said:

I don't want to review this one (sound vs artistry are universes apart), but a quick comparison of this disc with the Praga/Prazak Schubert disc (Quint + SQ 7) is very flattering to the Praga engineers and not a recommendation of the Audite crew. The Praga disc is a miracle of warmth and depth, and the Audite is fingernails on chalkboard. That's a first impression; later listening may soften my view, but OUCH!

I get the feeling that everyone who fancies himself a sound engineer nowadays, thinks that SACD will allow him/her to create masterpieces on a level of the old LP magicians. Don't they listen before they call it a wrap? Or are they merely deaf from too many megabass pop recordings with audio at eleven?

I am glad I read krisjan's review and the above posting. Because I so enjoyed the Saint Saens Piano concertos I could easily have picked this up thinking the label could do no wrong - obviously that would have been a mistake!

Post by Arthur January 28, 2006 (3 of 6)
Beagle said:

I don't want to review this one (sound vs artistry are universes apart), but a quick comparison of this disc with the Praga/Prazak Schubert disc (Quint + SQ 7) is very flattering to the Praga engineers and not a recommendation of the Audite crew. The Praga disc is a miracle of warmth and depth, and the Audite is fingernails on chalkboard. That's a first impression; later listening may soften my view, but OUCH!

I get the feeling that everyone who fancies himself a sound engineer nowadays, thinks that SACD will allow him/her to create masterpieces on a level of the old LP magicians. Don't they listen before they call it a wrap? Or are they merely deaf from too many megabass pop recordings with audio at eleven?

A question for you Beagle: you say this disc is not as good as the Prazak. I reviewed the Prazac and mentioned a defect during the second track. I encountered it on four separate copies and a friend encountered it as well, so I doubt it was my system. Eventually I gave up on owning a copy. Now I'm starting to see it listed at US outlets as discontinued (and available dirt-cheap at the Berkshire Outlet). So my question is: did you encounter any defect problems? Should I try reacquiring this through Berkshire before it disappears altogether?
Thanks,
Bret

Post by Beagle January 28, 2006 (4 of 6)
Arthur said:
So my question is: did you encounter any defect problems? Should I try reacquiring this through Berkshire before it disappears altogether?

Arthur,

Presuming you mean track-2, the lachrimose Adagio of D956, the answer is NOPE, no audible 'pops', but YES, crawl across broken glass to get a copy. I can't vouch for the physical state of Praga Discs, but MUSIC + SOUND here are most excellent.

I do sometimes hear 'hic-cups' from SACDs, but never in the same place. I therefore am shopping for a new player, not new discs. I suspect that the memory chips may be imperfect.

My pref for the Prazak/Praga might be personal (I like warmth more than intensity, perhaps), and the Mandelring is a good disc, just not a GREAT DISC, as is PRD 250 191.

Post by Windsurfer January 28, 2006 (5 of 6)
Arthur said:

A question for you Beagle: you say this disc is not as good as the Prazak. I reviewed the Prazac and mentioned a defect during the second track. I encountered it on four separate copies and a friend encountered it as well, so I doubt it was my system. Eventually I gave up on owning a copy. Now I'm starting to see it listed at US outlets as discontinued (and available dirt-cheap at the Berkshire Outlet). So my question is: did you encounter any defect problems? Should I try reacquiring this through Berkshire before it disappears altogether?
Thanks,
Bret

Arthur,

For what its worth, My copy of the Prazac disc doesn't have any loud pops anywhere.

I wouldn't want to bet on discs of that Schubert obtained from the Berkshire Record Outlet however, not to say there IS anything wrong with them, but BRO often buy up overstocks and I remember a bunch of copies of the Lyrita LP of Yo Yo Ma playing the Finzi concerto. I bought three copies of it there, all of which had a pressing problem. My son obtained one from a store in London and what do you know? no pressing problem.

Of course I have many LPs and CDs from BRO that have given absolute satisfaction. But you mentioned a specific and frequent problem with the Praga Schubert. If the disc has truly been discontinued with BRO the only remaining source, the frequency of the problem in the remaining stock is unknown, however if BRO purchased the remains of the defective discs as apparently happened 20 some years ago with that Finzi LP, well....

Post by brenda January 29, 2006 (6 of 6)
I agree that the Audite sound on this disc is somewhat harsh and wirey but more significantly, the Mandelring's playing is only adequate. They miss both depth and warmth. Try playing this before listening to any of the "classic" recordings like the Italian and the mediocre quality of the M's interpretation will hit you forcefully. At best, a three star SACD, with failings in both sound and performance. I certainly won't be getting any future volumes.

Closed