Mercury Living Presence Six LP box?

Hi MF: Recently UMG reissued the Mercury Living Presence Box Set, which consists of 6 LPs. Many websites including stated the LPs were pressed in Germany by Optimal. I have pre-order one set at before its release in the US market, the doubt part is the box set I received is pasted with small sticker indicating that it was “Made in Czech Republic”. Another doubt issue, since UMG have a ultimate pressing facility in Hanover, why they pressed this set title at Optimal ?

Appreciate if you could advice, thank you.




UMG's Berliner facility in Hanover has a mastering suite but not a pressing plant. Once we get our gallery functioning I'll post some pictures of my visit to the Hanover facility. If the set was pressed at the GZ plant in the Czech Republic, I wouldn't be concerned. Their pressing quality has proven to be uniformly high if the two Rolling Stones box sets pressed there are any indication.

However, if the discs don't have a "320" stamp in the "dead wax" area (indicating they were cut at the Berliner mastering suite) or at that of some other known mastering facility and just have the "GZ" stamp, I would be concerned because to the best of my knowledge, GZ does not have an analog playback chain and cuts exclusively from digital sources.

They certainly did a good job on the ABKCO box set using high resolution digital files, but I think people buying a Mercury Living Presence set are expecting analog, but with major label involvement, I wouldn't count on it!


detroitvinylrob's picture

I want one of those at my house!!! Yeah, that and the 6Lp box set.

Happy Listening!

GeorgeZ's picture


Hello Michael,

it is true, that we are focused on cutting from high resolution files thanks our new mastering system with Neumann lathes and PrismSound Orfeus AD/DA converters, but we DO have all analogue cutting paths as well.


Telefunken M15A 1/4-inch reel player with playback and preview heads + Neumann SP79 mastering console + Neumann SAL 84 rack + Neumann VMS-82 DMM cutting lathe. As you can see, no digital delay line and no converters.


Our tape players:

- 1/4 inch Telefunken magnetophon 15A for all analogue cutting with our first VMS-82 DMM lathe

- 1/4 inch Telefunken magnetophon 15 for all analogue cutting with our second VMS-82 DMM lathe

- 1/4 inch Telefunken magnetophon 15 for cutting with our VMS-70 lacquer lathe and a digital delay line

- 1/4 inch Studer A820 for audio recording and playback

- 1/2 inch Studer A80 for audio recording and playback

Jiri Zita
Premastering department
GZ Vinyl / GZ Digital Media

Bigrasshopper's picture


Micheal, I'm writing to try and clarify your impression of the 650D

in light of the publication of the 2012 Recommended Components list.

It seems that you prefer not to re-hash component reviews as some

others seems to, which could result in an endless review, so I'm not

asking for you to, especially since I think you have plans to revisit this

unit.  But I was surprised to find that the 650D was not listed as a

class A+.  Considering that two of the components that you compared

it to, do appear as class A+, and in many ways you seemed to prefer

it's  performance over the others, could give us a clue as to where this

unit falls short.   Is the lack of SACD a detractor in

it's placement ?

Im writing so I don't have to obsess over something as imperfect

as a component ranking list, but hey, there it is.

By the way, I did audition it in Boulder and found The soundstage

to be as you described - a U shape that I much prefer to a front row

perspective.   I think I'll bring along my Ayre qb-9 when I pass through

there again.  Given that my system shares their 802D  that should

help.  Like the Ayre I found the  worst artifacts  aren't emphasized,

but smoothed over, which I think on the whole,  is a good thing.  Good recordings seemed more deeply layered than what I get through the Arye and possibly wider.

  I was set to audition the Brincasti Dac from the dealer in Golden,

but when I mentioned that it would be a few months before I had the

funds he quickly backed out and cut short our conversation, what a

- -ick, though the  mistake was mine.

  Michael, I had e-mailed you a several months ago, just before your site

opened up and I apologize for dropping out.  I wonder if you ever did hear

back from the Abko label about any differences in sources between the box and single releases ?  

  Also, I did get a back issue for the TW Acoustic Raven AC table review from the analog corner.   Isn't about time we started seeing more of those?

Damn, I knew at the time I should have popped for his bigger table.

  I'm tempted to admit that the biggest mistake a new audio affectionado can make is  spending less than he 's able.


  Thank you,  Micheal, I really enjoy your site.

p.s. I do actually prefer the form factor for music reviews of your older

site.  Having everything in one monolithic row is far from ideal.  The advertising form factor and format that you seem to share with

other Stereophile sites does seem limiting.  I liked the alphabetical







    Michael Fremer's picture
    It's difficult to find posted comments on the site on the old system. It's just been updated and easier. I"m about to review the new outboard power supply for the 650D so I'll revisit it...
    Bigrasshopper's picture

    -Thanks. The nicest thing about the new system is being alerted to replies. Like just now. I'm still a fan of Music Angles alphabetical list / layout with cover art. More like flipping through a record shelf at Micheal's "Rotations" shop.
    How long will we have to wait for you to open your own record store -Micheal's Heavy Rotations- maybe in your "retirement". We'll bring our selections up to the spirited wiry old man behind the bi-speckles and register in anticipation of a consenting nod and sparkle or gentle remonstrations with a brief critique and helpful re-direction and a send you on yor way - "And don't miss tuesdays tutorial - proper thumbing techniques". Unless you've already designated an heir to your collection, it would a great way to re-distribute your "wealth" and your gospel, befor you make your ascension. It's never too early.
    As for the the Dac, I look foreword to it in reveiw, though I think I've moved on, leaning more to ladder type designs of late, but as they are something of a moving target you never know when I'll strike. I did hear the 650D, and it was nice, though that wood treated room at Listen Up Denver woudnt allow me to listen through it at higher volumes - ouch, it hurts my ears, at least with 802 diamonds (like mine) standing in for the Sonos Faber's. Makes you wonder if they treated the room with the Italian speakers in mind.

    Elubow's picture

    Mike- any info on this label releasing EMI reissues? They give no info on mastering. Have found many of their releases sub par and lacking analog warmth. Thanks.

    Michael Fremer's picture
    Supposedly cut from analog tape at Abbey Road but can't confirm
    Bigrasshopper's picture

    I have tied a couple of their titles and unfortunately, I have found the pressings to be on the noisy side. I'm trying to expand my music collection beyond classic rock and jazz and was a bit disappointed with my small sampling of these classical titles. Speakers corner has a large selection in this venue and while not always being over the top sonically, the pressings are almost always quiet. The Living Stereo's from QRP have been great on both counts, so I have been ordering them as they appear.

    bwright's picture

    Hi Mike,

    I just had my cartridge re-tipped at the factory, but unfortunately it now doesn't sound the same. Given the latest cartridges you've heard (and including a few of the tried and true classics), what would you currently pick in the $5000 range? I have a Brinkmann Bardo and Graham Supreme with a Nagra BPS phonostage.

    Many thanks,


    Michael Fremer's picture
    I liked the Transfiguration Phoenix, I like the Lyra Kleos SL (these are a bit under your $5K range but so what?). What cart did you have re-tipped that doesn't sound the same? Did you give it 40 hours break in and re-adjust the SRA as necessary?
    bwright's picture

    It was a Benz LP-S MR. I did a shootout at Music Lovers in San Francisco with a variety of manufacturers, and this model ended up sounding best in my system. A few months later I knocked the stylus off (the expletive that followed was heard across a five block radius) and thus sent it to the factory - it now sounds a bit warm and muddy in comparison to my previous listening sessions. Music Lovers installed the cartridge and adjusted the SRA, and I've listened to it roughly 30-40 hours.

    bobklute's picture

    I am planning on buying and re-building a Thorens TD-124 table and installing an Ortofon TA-series arm, which is avaialble in both 9 and 12-inch versions. In one Stereoophile column you had noted that a 12-inch arm is not always the best choice, so could you briefly review advantages and disadvanatages of the 9 vs. 12-inch arm length question?
    Thank you,

    jakobian's picture

    I hope this doesn't come off as blasphemous,but I have a very nice collection of period UK Beatles I have to liquidate . Also some rare jazz,Django's last recording owned by Barclay himself,original first pressing Undercurrent on UAJ etc.
    There is nit ONE credible site to sell high end vinyl on. E Bay and Discogs are an insult to audio. The Hoffman Forum is a vanity site etc.
    It would be great if AP and I don't mean the Associated Press to have for lack of a better term a way for audiophiles to buy,sell and trade vinyl of a certain calibre. When I say I have some UK Beatles Albums,I mean all first pressing on Parlophone and Apple. I have possibly the rarest stereo White Album known. There are so many details to all these albums. Matrices,mothers and stampers etc.
    fortunately it appears AP is very much into the Beatles and what I have to offer would appeal to many.
    I'm sure there are others as well.
    Hope to read you soon.
    All the best from San Francisco ( home of a baseball team that just lost game three of there series )
    Jake Gerber
    PS. This site is the best I've come across in respect to knowledgeable people ...

    stormcat's picture

    I have resherched the internet to find info on how to set up my old Sony PS LX-1 turntable. The tone arm does not have the weight balance knob but it has two set screws on the side of the tonearm. If you can help that would be fantastic. I;m afraid to play the vinyl until i get it set up correct.

    customdisplayboxes's picture

    Thank you for this insightful post! I appreciate the thorough research and clear explanations. This topic has always been a bit confusing for me, but you made it much easier to understand.