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Readers Digest LP Box Albums

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Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby bauzace50 » 28 Feb 2012 17:03

Hi,

The boxed LP albums produced by Readers Digest were really great. At the time of their release, around the late '50s and 70s, they may not have been perceived for their true excellence. But playing them now is like discovering rich valuable treasures. They were excellent in terms of vinyl quality, recording techniques, artists, accompanying notes, packaging, and repertory.

I have the following boxes:

Treasury of Great Operettas
Music of the World's Great Composers
Festival of Light Classical Music
A Treasury of Great Romantic Music
The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven
The Romantic Rachmaninoff
"Romantic Piano Concertos" (alas, lost to termites!)

All of these were manufactured by RCA Custom Products Division. Most of them benefited form the RCA recording philosophy, and artists, of the "Living Stereo" era. And that, in itself, is close to the highest recommendation for any LP.

It refers to the company's golden era of:
John Pfeiffer (producer)
Lewis Layton (recording engineer)
Richard Mohr (producer), and their related counterparts in England, like:
Charles Gerhardt (producer)
Kenneth Wilkinson (recording engineer), and others who escape my memory.

A true Golden Era of music, recordings in stereo, and LP quality. =D>

"The Romantic Rachmaninoff" was obtained about six months ago, NOS (New Old Stock) on eBay. It features all the piano concertos of Rachmaninoff played by Earl Wild in truly inspired interpretations, and truly excellent RCA sound, where their "Dynagroove" labeling is seemingly absent from its ill notoriety. A true gem of an album!

Several of these boxes are available through eBay, and are recommended with highest esteem!

But there is an important CAUTION: physical condition of the LPs and the box.

All of the albums mentioned above are in my highest esteem, as top-drawer recordings and artistic quality. If you come accross these Readers Digest albums in good condition and manageable price, you'll have an apt acquisition from a true Golden Era of recordings and music!

Regards,
bauzace50
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby bauzace50 » 28 Feb 2012 18:12

Another important CAUTION:

I am vouching ONLY for the titles mentioned above. There are many more albums by Readers Digest in different genres. These include, for example, Elvis Presley, Boston Pops and MANY others, which I have not heard.
These have no comment from me.

Regards,
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby crofk » 28 Feb 2012 23:12

While I am not a big fan of classical or opera, I have bought some RD box sets to TRY to listen to and appreciate.
While I still don't like the music, the recordings and sound from these sets ahs all been terrific. I wish all my vinyl was as well made. On the average they are above average especially given the times .

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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby bauzace50 » 29 Feb 2012 01:30

kc,

Your perspective is appreciated! I can identify with that, and can say that I have one LP reissue of Miles Davis "Kind of Blue", with BOTH, the original off-speed side, AND the corrected-speed side. I listen, but have not gotten into it as yet. Same as the Heineken Jazz Festival we have yearly in San Juan. I have not been able to get into the music, despite living through the sweat-and-tears, and literally pressing the flesh.

I DO have the original LP of Rock Around the Clock with Bill Haley, and the Sheffield Drum and whatever Direct-To-Disc, also Dark side Of The Moon beautiful reissue, Campus Rumpus with Ray Anthony big band, and several Broadway ( Pajama Game, My Fair Lady, Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific...even the DVD version with Reba McIntyre), etc. And I still gravitate to the basic "so-called classical". My guess is that one gravitates to the "comfort zone" one has created for oneself.

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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby arielrod35 » 13 Jan 2013 00:33

I also own several case sets of Reader's Digest collections. I also agree that the quality of the prints are awesome. I have particular preference for a collection labeled in Spanish entitled "Musica Popular que vivira por siempre" (Popular Music that will live forever"). It contains 10 lps featuring international music for different moods or environments. I only regret that my siblings have not learned to appreciate these treasures, and my entire collection (1,000)lps may get lost away. :D :D
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby Brianev » 13 Jan 2013 01:16

Hi, I have about 20 box sets from RD, I was given them by a friend who had a family member pass away . I have cleaned a couple of them and they have sounded wonderful. First set is Gilbert & Sullivan operas, really great, and the next box was the Beethovan Chorale No9, again very impressive. So, I need to get them cleaned and played. But, the quality of the vinyl is impressive, not sure about weight, but think the Beethovan is around 200gm. Looking forward to the next set,
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby guitarded » 13 Jan 2013 03:53

"In the Groove With the Kings of Swing" is a great RD Box Set that can be found for really cheap.

I have found that Box Sets / Compilations are usually the best bet for cheap deals on nearly unplayed LPs. In nearly every shop I go, these are always cheap and clean as can be.
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby Brianev » 13 Jan 2013 14:15

guitarded wrote:"In the Groove With the Kings of Swing" is a great RD Box Set that can be found for really cheap.

I have found that Box Sets / Compilations are usually the best bet for cheap deals on nearly unplayed LPs. In nearly every shop I go, these are always cheap and clean as can be.


Thanks for the info, I will definitely look out for the set. I now have to take a written list with as I can't always remember what I am looking for.......another Senior Moment and worrying when you go out for records and come home with potatoes?
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby Guest » 13 Jan 2013 23:36

The Reader's Digest Beethoven symphonies, conducted by Rene Leibowitz, is quite a sought-after and expensive set (stereo version only). It was pressed by RCA and Decca.
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby Brianev » 13 Jan 2013 23:59

Hi all, I cleaned another box set today, just give them a listen. I thinks it's called "the greatest music" and has one album of each of the most popular classical composers(Strauss, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, etc) there are 8 albums in the box set, and on the Decca label. These were in pristine condition, but still cleaned them. The ones that I played sounded really good, well balanced and with a great spread of stage dimension. I particularly enjoyed the Bach, with Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, and the Cantatas, and the other half liked the Strauss album. I hope to get my Haydn box set cleaned for playing this week. But, the ones I have played have been stunning.
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby Sunwire » 30 Nov 2014 04:25

I recently found a Reader's Digest double-album compilation called "Country Gold" at a local thrift store. They sell 10 LPs for 99 cents, so this album cost me 9.9 cents.
It may be the best-sounding country LP I've ever heard. The pressing is very quiet and all aspects of sound quality are truly excellent. The choice of songs and artists is quite good, too. Often, compilations will include a lot of filler and hit songs re-recorded by 2nd or 3rd tier artists. This one has a couple of those but it's mostly the original artists singing their hits, sometimes alternate or live versions.
I compare it to another compilation I got at the same time (also an RCA Special Product, but not a Reader's Digest), which jams too many songs on each side. Dynamic compression is required to fit 12 songs on an LP side, so the sound quality is compromised. The Reader's Digest set doesn't do that. There are six songs per side. They also give detailed notes on each artist and song. It's really a high quality collection. I'll be looking for more!
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby CliveUK » 01 Dec 2014 00:25

I can recommend the box-set "Easy Listening with Bert Kaempfert & James Last". We had it as a family collection when I was young, but it got lost somewhere and I bought myself another used copy a couple of years ago, which is so good it was probably little played. The tracks must have been recorded in the 60s and early 70s, but most of the recordings are of extraordinary quality - full-range, crisp and dynamic.

http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=457401
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby circularvibes » 01 Dec 2014 00:59

If you like Canadian music, I can say that the Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray box sets are of audiophile quality, in my opinion. They are on quiet, and likely virgin, see through vinyl. There is 3 boxes I speak of. One of each artist, and a box with both. There is live Anne Murray content as well on one side. The only caveat is, carefully remove the records from the cardboard jackets and add poly inner sleeves to protect them or you will have scratches in short order.
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Re: Readers Digest LP Box Albums

Postby johnnywalker » 02 Dec 2014 03:15

If you happen upon selections from "The Great Men Of Music" series by Time/Life-RCA, it's also very good. I have recently obtained the Berlioz and Haydn sets at the thrift shop, and they are not only well-recorded and well-pressed, but they contain some of the benchmark recordings from the last century.
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