Product: Simon and Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Record Company: Classic Records No. KCS-9914
Suggested Retail Price: $30 USD
Classic Records of Hollywood, California is one of a handful of companies that reissue classic albums on high quality vinyl. Unlike most all record companies, they use only the original master tapes. Most other record companies use "production copies", which are a either first of even second generation copies of the original master tape.
In addition, production copies are sometimes equalized, remixed, or have other production changes that make them sound nothing like the original master tape.
This is why Classic Records insists on only the original master tape, so listeners get the true sound. All releases are limited editions. If they have something that you want, do not wait or you may find yourself disappointed.
The people at Classic Records go to great extremes to produce a quality product. The record jackets are made as they were on the original album: the same weight of paper, the same finish of the jacket (i.e. glossy if original), and the jacket will be gatefold, if the first pressing was made that way.
Additionally, the albums are pressed at 180 grams, and the record label is correct for the date of the album. As an example, Columbia Records changed their label at least 3 times in their history, maybe more. Classic's reissue of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has the correct "360 Sound" label for 1970, the year the album was originally released. Nice touch.
The track listing for "Bridge Over Troubled Water" reads like a "Greatest Hits" album: The Boxer, Baby Driver, El Condor Pasa, Cecelia, and others, including, of course, the title track. A classic album, to be sure, but the quality of my "mass produced" CD made me question Classic Records' judgement. I really didn't think that this album deserved the "Classic Treatment" I was mistaken.
The sound differences between the regular CD release and the new Classic LP reissue are startling. The LP has far greater clarity, and is far more open and dynamic. Paul Simon's and Art Garfunkel's voices are much more real sounding, and the instruments, especially the acoustic guitars, sound much more natural. The differences while doing an A-B comparison between the Classic LP and the run of the mill CD release was like listening to the album in two different places: a fine home audio system (LP), and a fair quality car system (CD). There is no doubt in my mind (or ears) that the CDs are made from production copies, the difference in quality is that great.
The only quibble that I have about Classic Records has nothing to do with their albums. It's their (mostly) excellent website. And my quibble doesn't affect me, or anyone else in the U.S. The website will accept orders online, but only for shipping within the U.S. In Classic's defense, they do list distributors for other countries. Buyers will have to contact those distributors directly. A bit inconvenient, but well worth the extra trouble, considering the quality.
If you like Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and want to hear what it really sounds like, do yourself a favor and spend the cash. You won't be disappointed.
Copyright © 2000 Nels Ferré - http://www.tnt-audio.com