As I am the balance engineer of this recording I would like to respond to Johnno's suggestion that there is not the same effort into making the stereo sound as good as into making the surround sound good. That is not the case. And we at Polyhymnia, when we make SA-CD recordings, bring in almost all cases a full surround monitoring set up. In which we also take great care of the stereo re-production. We do make two recordings now and spend time to get the surround right as well as the stereo, judging both during the recording. This is different from before (when we did stereo only), but with the DSD recording system we always use a minimum of 8 tracks so that we can choose different mike set ups for stereo and surround. Sometimes the same tracks are used but mixed differently, but always both formats share the same careful approach to quality. In this particular recording we worked in the Studio 5 of the Cultural broadcasting company in Moscow, a venue we make a lot of recordings the last few years, both for Pentatone and Caro Mitis. This recording took place in the same period as the Jurowski RNO disc of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, and a similar microphone set up was used.
Although I do not want to say that Johnno misjudges the stereo sound, I cannot but wonder if his critic of the stereo is not influenced by the fact that he heard this recording in surround first. ("despite the fact that, overall, that(stereo) system would have better technical specifications than my friend's system (surround)"). As it is my experience that certain aspects he refers to in the sound, will never be reproduced as well in stereo as they can be reproduced in surround. With a well set up surround system and well recorded surround recording you can always beat the sound quality of a well recorded stereo recording. And though I feel very strongly about this and also enjoy the greater fidelety that surrounds offers me during recordings I still always try very hard to also make the stereo sound optimal. By the way we just returned from yet another group of sessions in this Studio, Shostakovich Symphonies 5 and 9 with Kreizberg and RNO and Tchaikovsky's Violin concerto,Valse-Scherzo and Serenade mélancolique, played by Julia Fischer, RNO and Kreizberg (to be coupled with works for violin and piano by Tchaikovsky) for Pentatone. And a recording of Haydn with Alexei Utkin and the Heremitage Chamber Orchestra, with the hobo concerto and the symphonia concertante for violin, hobo, bassoon, cello and orchestra for Caro Mitis. All of these recordings I enjoyed because of the great playing and of the fact that the acoustics of this studio is marvellous and can bring these different works to life in just 'the right way'. (Took great care in the stereo sonics too!!)