Austria-based Horch House was created for the sole purpose of bringing the magic of original analogue master tapes to music lovers in a variety of formats – from reel-to-reel tape to various high-resolution digital formats, all fully licensed and approved. And the latest releases include some highly collectable classics:
Star Wars Original Soundtracks, Episodes 4, 5 & 6
A New Hope / The Empire Strikes Back / Return Of The Jedi
The most acclaimed and enduring film music in Hollywood history, composed by legendary five-times Oscar-winning composer John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. These unique collector sets are being released to coincide with the latest chapter in the saga, The Force Awakens.
Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
Recorded in 1974, this traditional arrangement performed by the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir delivers the distinctive ‘Orff sound’ in its full, uncompressed glory. Conductor Herbert Kegel is considered one of the best in contemporary music; Orff himself was an ardent admirer of his work.
The Planets by Gustav Holst
Performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conducted by William Steinberg, this is one of the most highly regarded performances of The Planets, often considered the definitive version. Holst was introduced to astrology by writer Clifford Bax while holidaying in Majorca with a group of English artists; he became a devotee of the subject and liked to cast his friends' horoscopes for fun.
The Reiner Sound: Ravel/Rachmaninoff
A giant of the classic RCA Living Stereo series featuring the unparalleled pairing of conductor Fritz Reiner with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. These ‘soft refurbished’ recordings now deliver unprecedented sound quality and showcase all the joys of RCA’s golden age: the early days of the stereo era when pure vacuum tube amplification helped produce recordings with unmatched fidelity and warmth, lifelike presence and midrange illumination. Packaging duplicates the original cover art including the Living Stereo logo, LSC numbers and Shaded Dog label.
One Second by Yello
A timeless album showcasing Yello's spacious, beautiful pop sounds with their sensuous Latin feel - from the shaking and grooving 'La Habanera' and the hauntingly beautiful 'The Rhythm Divine', to the noisy, growling 'Si Senor The Hairy Grill'. Released in 1987, the album also features both Billy MacKenzie and Shirley Bassey, the latter singing vocals on ‘The Rhythm Divine’.
Capturing the magic of master tape
To translate original analogue master tapes into faithful copies, Horch House’s sound engineers use a painstaking process that has been meticulously researched and developed in collaboration with some of the world’s leading experts (think of specialists whose client lists include Sir Paul McCartney and Abbey Road Studios and you get a sense of the level of know-how involved).
Given that all tapes age over time and most analogue masters are now between 30-80+ years old, Horch House’s skilled team has developed a bespoke ‘soft refurbishing’ methodology which, as an integral part of the copying process, restores an recording’s sound quality back to its original level. Sound engineer Christoph Stickel has a remarkable knowledge of the complex elements underpinning the audio quality of an analogue master tape, enabling him to assess, understand and restore a tape’s original quality and achieve the correct tonal balance according to whether it was recorded 30, 40 or 50 years ago. This is in stark contrast to any kind of ‘remastering’, which is most definitely not done.
Digital copies involve an equally painstaking approach. No computers are used; each file is created entirely ‘natively’, converting directly from the refurbished master tape copy into each format separately, never compressing from one format to another. Top-of-range studio-grade analogue to digital converters are meticulously fine-tuned to achieve the best possible result for each format. The difference achieved by this level of precision is clearly audible in the result and is a far cry from standard mass-produced digital music.
Pricing and availability
All new titles are available as reel-to-reel tapes and in three high-resolution digital formats: 24 bit/96kHz and 24 bit/192kHz each in WAV, and DSD in DFF. All are available to preorder now and will ship from 1st February (prices over the page…).