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Discussion: Beethoven: String Quartets Nos. 12 & 14 - Smetana Quartet

Posts: 7

Post by Beagle March 7, 2012 (1 of 7)
String Quartet No.12 in E flat major, op.127
1971, June 8-9, The House of Artists / Rudolfinum, Prague
Producer: Zdenek Zahradník
Engineer: Miloslav Kulhan

String Quartet No.14 in c sharp minor, op.131
1970, June 22-29, Supraphon Domovina Studio, Prague
Producer: Zdenek Zahradník
Engineer: Miloslav Kulhan

These recordings were originally released as Supraphon LPs. The personnel were the last and longest enduring configuration of Smetanovo kvarteto, recording from 1956 to 1988 -- from mono to CD.

Post by sunnydaler March 7, 2012 (2 of 7)
it's from PCM 24bit source.

Post by current93 March 8, 2012 (3 of 7)
IMHO 60 EUR is far too much for a 1971 recordings. Is it really that SACD material, package and mastering process (if there ever was one) cost so much?

Post by krisjan March 8, 2012 (4 of 7)
sunnydaler said:

it's from PCM 24bit source.

Not a chance. Denon were one of the early pcm recording pioneers and they did some recordings with the Smetana Qt and the Suk Trio in the early 1970's with their digital system in collaboration with Supraphon. At that time however, I'm not even sure they achieved 16 bit resolution let alone 24 bit. These recordings were eventually released on RBCD in the late 80's after CD took hold. Since I no longer have any of the RBCD's I bought at that time, I went searching for some specifics.

The link below (a Smetana Qt discography) indicates that the Smetana recording of LvB #12 is a pcm recording made in June, 1971. If that info is correct, it may be one of the first pcm commercial recordings ever made. However, the #14 was recorded a year earlier and appears to have been analog.

Post by sunnydaler March 8, 2012 (5 of 7)
I know it's analog recording. I think the word 'source' mislead you. But I just took the word from the linked page.

"Used high bit(24bit)/high sampling rate(96 or 192khz) sources made from analog masters." -
I used Google Translate and Japanese dictionary

Post by Beagle March 8, 2012 (6 of 7)
Interesting. Krisjan's website,, does say "House of Artists, Prag (digital)" but a parallel website with virtually the same information,, shows the slip-jacket for the LP: Supraphon 50 372. A note adds "Joint production of Denon & Supraphon" -- but would anyone, even in the heady first days of digital sound, record an analogue LP from digital masters? It seems more credible that Supraphon made analogue masters which Denon then digitised.

And, before the inevitable question gets asked: it's stereo not multichannel ;-)

Post by krisjan March 8, 2012 (7 of 7)
I think its likely that they had both analog and digital recorders going at the session (the belt and suspenders approach). What source is used for the new SACD - who knows.