I knew such a thing was possible, yet finding a nut crazy enough to do it ...ahem...I meant distingushed connoisseur not deterred by the cost and most probably never even break even - is an entirely different matter. He is lucky not to have me as consultant for old equipment restoration, as it would not have been mere "10 times the purchase price" to ressurect those old analog beauties - LoL !
Seriously, chapeau to Mr. Hutchinson for bringing it alive, although it is beyond my reach to buy such records in anything like quantity. I might treat myself to one if and when I feel a special achievement on my part deserves such self-reward.
Yes, cost no object, I would have gone similar path - but cost IS an object. I agree that ultimate system is Hollow State Device ( tubes, valves, "lampe"
in coloquial slovenian audio lingo ) - but in real world, solid state is more cost efficient and unless you can afford the very best of the very best hollow state, say a system above 50 K, you are better off with solid state. Just to stop " I think I can put together HSD system for under a grand" type replies - meant is the level of quality that is at least the equal of anything solid has to offer, even where HSDs are at their technical disadvantage(s). And that does cost dearly indeed. OTL power amps actually capable of some serious output, not singledigitpointsomething watt jobies requiring horns one can park own house within to be practical in terms of frequency and dynamic range.
Cruel fact - one can get ears "accustomed" to digital ( and by digital I mean especially CD or 44,1 kHz 16 bit PCM ) - and not miss "anything". I had to
completely stop listening to CD for two months before I re-acquired the perception to diferentiate analog from digital reliably - meant is analog and digital recording from vinyl. And this bussiness unfortunately does go even lower - to CD/MP3 "I do not hear appreciable difference"; even some very high quality cans here on head.fi get commented upon via listening to MP3s - brrrrrrrr....! Or at least comments that a certain very high end HP/IEM does not "sound too horribly with MP3s" are not all that uncommon. I am not in concert hall or recording on daily basis - but often enough to know the real thing and how insufficient 44.1/16 PCM, let alone MP3 is.
On the other hand - MP3 recording done with minimalist miking can sound surprisingly natural and certainly much better than what even sometimes audiophile labels are issuing. If recording is multimiked and overmastered, , the end format on which it is finally issued does not matter much. Remember, those old analog recordings owe much of their excellence to the mere fact there was no more "advanced" equipment available - if it were, somebody would sure be tempted to use "features" that most usually lead to lesser sound quality. It was bare bones, but HIGH QUALITY carefully used and operated bare bones - 2 -3 track recorders, simple low mic count setups; compare that to a typical multimiking of a symphonic orchestra in XY channels of today, where it is practically possible to single out almost every member of the orchestra and mix/master/re-mix ad libitum ad nuseaum - till the actual artist is the person doing mastering and not musicians themselves.
Multimiking did not come into being because of its superiority but because it allows clever producer to cut costs of the recording considerably. You have to position a simple mike setup JUST RIGHT - and that time required for mike setup also counts into the fee that has to be paid to the musicians, not only the time they play once you found your sweet spot. Try that with any top orchestra today - after seeing the "price list", there is hardly anyone capable of financing such an endavour, regardless how well intended and noble such recording attempt might be. Unfortunately, it all boils down to money. The times and spirit of late 50s, when memories of WWII were still fresh, the enthusiasm of everyone concerned is something that today just can not be duplicated - not only did we fail to see the decline in recording quality despite of or because of improved or "improved" equipment, the degree of consciousness and dedication of the musicians themselves is no longer, despite increase of knowledge, at that level. I am glad there are still proverbial exceptions proving that rule.
A word of caution: if you are sensitive enough to think you would be able to discern the quality of the new vinyl recordings mentioned above, played on equipment that does them justice, in case you can not afford it all, STAY WELL CLEAR - not even go to demo if per some miracle available. Because landing back in real world within your own reach might well prove to be painful indeed. It is much the same as with super cars - how many 20 years olds have their own Ferrari or ( insert your dream car here ) while they are still young and crazy enough to really drive it close to its limit - at 60 or so one is no longer capable and willing of doing things like that anymore, Ferrari or non Ferrari. My own experience of the sort while I was 19 is Beveridge
electrostatic speaker - no matter what I am listening to, after the initial "wow" that short demo of 34 years ago starts creeping in..."...how would it sound on the Bev's..." - EVERY time, without exception, whenever listening to some premium currently available equipment worthy enough to trigger that sensation.
You might argue that Bev http://www.bevaudio.com/products.html is available again. It was $ 7500 or so in mid/late 70s. Considering the inflation, it was approx the equivalent of current price that is not far removed from the six figures. EU did severe its electrical regulations - meaning no more Bev imported in Europe, even if and when you have the money. 2 m tall 200 kg (or so) heavy speaker system , with built in dedicated valve amps at 1500VA ( watts , written here as Volt Amperes much more appropriate considering the electrical nature of the speaker load - pure capacitor, with the inevitable US power plug and lack of CE certification ) would be a formidable trick to sneak through the customs. As it stands, it is the closest equivalent of Mission Impossible I can think of . Even if I win the lottery.
This thread has proven to be much more exciting than it appeared at the first glance. I do not have either time or wish to add much more; hope you have been able to realize things are a bit more complicated than mass media at any given point in history would want lead you to believe. I also warned you really good reproduction might be habit forming - list of the Bev users will tell you they were/are musicians first, celebrities second -because being great musicians in the first place.