"Speakers Corner Records revives classical music powerhouse with new |
Decca labal reissues!
Much can be said about Decca. About how the record label founded in
Britain in 1929 grew to be such a classical genre powerhouse, revered
by audiophiles for superlative sound and masterful performances.
That reverence extends to the Decca vinyl reissues produced by
Speakers Corner Records. Through the decade from the early 1990s
through the early 2000s, Speakers Corner reissued about 100 Decca/
London label titles. (British Decca sold its records in the United
States under the label London Records).
But in 2002 the relationship between Speakers Corner and Decca ended
when Decca closed its recording center in London, and their cutting
engineer, Tony Hawkins, retired. The Decca cutting equipment was also
sold to an unknown buyer and the tape library was moved to Germany.
Fast forward to 2012 and a relationship that was as natural as a pint
and chips has rekindled. Audiophiles will reap the benefits of these
new Decca reissues from Speakers Corner — the culmination of an effort
to reproduce as close to the original recordings as can be made,
involving not just the original master tapes but also the original
cutting machine and the original engineer. Let's delve deeper.
In order to ensure the high quality that Speakers Corner is known for,
the company took on the Herculean task of getting the tapes, the
equipment and the cutter — "the material, the machines and the man" —
to the same place at the same time.
It started with the equipment. By fate or coincidence, AIR Mastering,
a London mastering studio [founded by Beatles producer, George Martin,
in 1969] specializing mostly in analogue audio engineering,
independently purchased the Decca cutting machine and related
equipment — the first "M." AIR and Speakers Corner have collaborated
on other projects in the past.
Next up, the second "M" — the material. The unique Decca mastering
In mid-2011 Speakers Corner was able to start the mastering process
tapes were being stored at the German Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG),
and they were willing to make the tapes available. Now all that was
needed for success was the commitment of the last "M", the man. That
man being Decca';s cutting engineer, Tony Hawkins, who
enthusiastically joined on to the project.
like the old days: From the very original analogue master tapes on
Decca equipment, cut by a Decca engineer. It's as original as a
recording reissue can get!"