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Thread: Opus Kura – Casals Bach Cello Suites 78 Transfers (2010 Re-Master)?

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    Default Opus Kura – Casals Bach Cello Suites 78 Transfers (2010 Re-Master)?

    Opus Kura released a CD of Casals playing the Bach Cello Suites in 2003 and then a 2010 re-master of the same recording (which says “2010 Re-Master” on the front in red). I don’t know why Opus Kura re-mastered it or how these two versions sound different from one another. I’d like to know the opinion of people who have heard the 2010 version on CD. And ideally a comparison by people who have heard both the 2003 and 2010 versions. The original 2003 version was very well received. But I can’t find one thing about the 2010 re-master.

    While I’m not crazy about a “ridiculous” amount of crackle, clicks, pops, and especially swish, my priority is much, much more in the way the cello sounds than the amount of surface noise. I’ve heard some low resolution internet samples and uploads of the Opus Kura 2003 version and from what I could tell through the low resolution and my very mediocre computer speakers I liked the sound of the cello very much on their original 2003 release. I thought the cello had great presence, detail, and realism. But I haven’t heard the 2010 re-master at all.

    I’m concerned that they may have done something in this 2010 re-master that altered the sound of the cello to something I won’t like nearly as much as the 2003 version. And I’m wondering if I should be trying to track down the original 2003 version (before it was re-mastered in 2010).

    So again, I’d love the opinion of anyone who has heard the 2010 re-master, and ideally a comparison from people who have heard both the 2003 and 2010 versions.

    Thanks.

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    Did you Google to see if there were any reviews of the 2010 release? A reviewer might have made that comparison

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    Yes. I've Googled it to the point of actually pulling up a user review on Japanese Amazon and running it through around 6 different Japanese to English translators. That was the only thing I saw on the internet after a ridiculous amount of searching that even mentioned the 2010 re-master. Some translators seem to have him saying the 2010 has more noise, and others seem to be saying it has less. The English translation is barely comprehensible where it matters. But mostly my searches pull up a few old posts in forums. And never a word about the 2010 version.

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    I don't suppose that you've tried a streaming service?

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    I'm not going to be of much help here. I've heard virtually every transfer of these recordings dating back to the LP era, except for the 2010 Opus Kura transfer (which I can't seem to find on Amazon).

    IMO, the 2003 Opus Kura is the best transfer I've heard. As usual, there's a lot of surface noise, but the cello sounds like a cello. Nearly as good is Seth Winner's Pearl transfer, but it's OOP and hard to find. The latest EMI transfer and the Naxos are both good, although not on the same level as Opus Kura and Pearl - but they're easily available and cheap. Avoid the first EMI transfer.

    Frankly, I doubt that Opus Kura did much to the sound, although it's possible that they found pristine 78's for a new transfer. Speaking of Pristine, their transfer of these recordings is one of their poorer efforts.

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    The labels don't spend a lot of time on these. They quickly round up the elements from the collectors they usually get stuff from and do good transfers, but they don't spend a lot of time on the restoration. I used to do this for my own CD label, but I would only work on stuff that I had really good shellac on, and I would take a long time getting the transfer perfect. I made no money, but I did some very good transfers that other labels saw fit to pirate!
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
    AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I did some very good transfers that other labels saw fit to pirate!
    I don’t suppose it would help if I said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Seriously, in a twisted way it is very complimentary, but obviously that’s really awful that your transfers were stolen. It’s sickening.

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    Senior Member bobleflaneur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Avoid the first EMI transfer.
    As well as the second EMI transfer. Hadn't heard about the recent one -- I'm glad to hear they've improved on those dreadful attempts.

    I haven't heard the either Opus Kura, and I haven't hard as many transfers as Bill, but I'll second his view that the Naxos is quite a bit better than the early EMI efforts and that the Pearl is slightly better than the Naxos. (It's oddly layed out though -- ordered by recording date.)

    This will depend on your receptivity to surface noise -- Winner's Pearl transfers allow a bit more than Obert-Thorn's Naxos transfers but also find just a bit more richness to the cello tone. But whatever filtering was applied to the Naxos is subtle enough that I might even prefer it on some days or with some equipment, or if I'm listening to all of them in a row and start to get fatigued by the background crackle. The transfer's certainly nothing like the crude overfiltering jobs EMI has been known to apply.
    Last edited by bobleflaneur; Sep-25-2018 at 16:44.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I've heard virtually every transfer of these recordings dating back to the LP era, except for the 2010 Opus Kura transfer (which I can't seem to find on Amazon).
    I can tell you why you can’t find it on Amazon, or through any other seller in the U.S. I’ve spoken with the sole distributor of Opus Kura for the U.S. and they told me that they haven’t had any Opus Kura in stock for over a year (their decision). This is why retailers like Amazon, H&B Direct, Arkiv Music, etc. have it listed as Currently Unavailable or Back Ordered. Why Opus Kura doesn’t seem to care that their sole distributor for the United States chooses not to stock their products I can’t imagine. You’d think they’d find another distributor.

    Anyway, I emailed Opus Kura who suggested I try Presto Classical in the UK. I ordered it from them and received it in 17 days (the 2010 version). Unlike the U.S. distributor who hasn’t been supplying any Opus Kura to U.S. retailers for a long time, the distributor for the UK seems to stock the entire Opus Kura catalog.

    And I'll just add that Opus Kura told me that the Casals Bach is their all-time best seller with over 30,000 units sold.
    Last edited by DFlat; Sep-30-2018 at 00:48.

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    Thanks for your responses. I’ve had the Naxos version for a long time, which I think can actually sound pretty good. The cello tone isn’t quite natural, and it can sound oddly distanced, but my ears adjust, its clean sounding, and I’ve enjoyed listening to it over the years. I’ve never heard the Pearl, but I have heard the 1988, 1997, and 2003 EMI transfers on CD (thanks to the library), and haven’t liked any of them; especially the first two.

    As for the Opus Kura 2010 Re-Master. After one complete listen I think it sounds very good. Much more forward and present than the other transfers I’ve heard. The cello tone sounds natural, and I can pick up harmonic overtones that I don’t hear in the Naxos. You can hear more detail. I don’t find the surface noise intrusive. In fact, I can’t say that I hear much in the way of pops and crackle. Mostly it’s hiss which I really don’t find bad at all. I do find it bass heavy. But I can get rid of that easily by simply lowering the bass with the tone control to varying degrees depending on the suite. And lowering the bass this way doesn’t seem to have any negative effect on the overall cello sound.

    I’m really glad I picked it up.
    Last edited by DFlat; Sep-30-2018 at 00:45.

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