Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

March 12th, 2023



Deutsche Grammophon Announces "The Original Source" AAA Reissue Series

14 titles to be issued in 2023 cut directly from 4-track masters

In 1970 DGG developed quadraphonic 4 channel tape recording, featuring left, right and rear channel "surround" channels. The tapes were edited using traditional splicing techniques and then down mixed to 2 channels for standard record production, since QS and SQ quad LP technology hadn't been fully developed and when it was DGG chose to not issue LPs in either of those competing formats.

For these new reissues, DGG decided to cut directly from the 4 track 1/2" master tapes, which of course, saves a generation and should produce superior sound. But that required them to configure a 4 track playback deck with a "preview head" to direct the lathe in advance of the signal—everyone reading this knows all about this.

Emil Berliner Studios, under the direction of Rainer Maillard, in cooperation with DGG built such a machine for this series.

DGG 4 track analog tape recorder with preview headThe newly developed 4 track playback deck with "preview head"

The releases are mixed "live" to stereo as the lathe operates. This will be the first time these 1970s era recordings have been released cut directly from the 4 track master tapes. You can learn more about this in greater detail on the Original Source website.

According to the March 3rd online press release:

"An initial selection of 14 Original Source albums will be released over the course of 2023, starting with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 (Wiener Philharmoniker/Carlos Kleiber); Mahler’s Symphony No. 5(2 LPs – Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan); Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet (Amadeus Quartet, Emil Gilels, Rainer Zepperitz); and Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps (London Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado). These first four will be issued on 2 June 2023."

Optimal will press on 180g vinyl and package them in deluxe gatefold jackets.

Other albums scheduled for release during 2023 include, among others:

  • BRAHMS: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Emil Gilels · Berliner Philharmoniker/Eugen Jochum

  • MOZART: Piano Concertos Nos. 25 & 27 Friedrich Gulda · Wiener Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado

  • VERDI: Messa da Requiem Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan

I've known about this series since last September when DGG asked me to participate as "patron of the series". Of course I agreed and I also promised to not divulge anything about this series until it was announced. That occurred on March 3rd. I was not given notice about this, nor has anyone at the label contacted me about it since last September.


  • 2023-03-13 12:03:53 AM

    Come on wrote:

    Sold out at the time of press report seems normal meanwhile for AAA releases.

  • 2023-03-13 02:06:27 AM

    Mike Monaco wrote:

    I was able to order this one -- Emil Gilels, Amadeus Quartet & Rainer Zepperitz Schubert: Klavierquintett A-Dur “Forellenquintett” D. 667 (Original Source).

    I hope it's one in the series, the description sounded correct. Michael, please let me know your opinion, especially if this is incorrect (I hope to not steer others wrong).

    Here's a link that should work:

    • 2023-03-13 03:43:58 AM

      bwb wrote:

      I ordered that one too, now all are sold out

      • 2023-03-13 01:57:30 PM

        Kim Petersen wrote:

        In the DG shop all 4 records are still available.

        • 2023-03-13 03:31:36 PM

          Come on wrote:

          Seems they were just kidding when setting them “sold” in between. They probably wanted to say “now hurry up buying if you don’t want to see this happen” ;-)

          • 2023-03-14 11:54:32 AM

            Kim Petersen wrote:

            Well, it had that effect on me :-)

  • 2023-03-13 03:45:55 AM

    bwb wrote:

    Hope they are released as digital surround.. shame to have the recordings in surround and not release them that way

    • 2023-03-13 04:06:10 AM

      Sloan Lamb wrote:

      A bit off-topic here perhaps but I have discovered that DTS-Neural decoding of SQ sources is amazing. I use it to listen to, say, the (Australian) SQ version of Dark Side of the Moon and the separation is comparable to the recent discrete, digital versions.

  • 2023-03-14 12:57:35 AM

    Mats Gunnars wrote:

    Very excited about this project. Had a big scare yesterday when the sold out posts came up. Was able to order today.

    As to Optimal, I’ve found my copies come out pretty much perfect after a good deep cleaning (roughly following the original Tracking Angle article steps) with L’Art du Son on a Loricraft.

  • 2023-03-14 03:53:06 AM

    Michael Kaye wrote:

    Just ordered the Carlos Kleiber Beethoven 7th! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Kleiber divides the 1st and 2nd violins and Beethoven's "proto stereo" scoring in the finale has never been surpassed in any recording of the 7th. It's thrilling. Can't wait.

  • 2023-03-14 02:19:47 PM

    Nels Ferre wrote:

    I was able to preorder all 4 from the DG Shop. Looking forward to June. Thanks for the heads up Michael.

    • 2023-03-14 03:55:23 PM

      Charles Kirmuss wrote:

      Very cool! I have been collecting QUAD records from Technics in Japan. A while back a US musician made a quad recording of her Moog recording and provided a 4 channel adapter. Thanks for the update!

  • 2023-03-15 04:55:27 PM

    NLak wrote:

    Was about to order but stopped, the total includes the European VAT, but when I entered my US address and proceeded to checkout the total was the same. That shouldn't be happening, on other European sites the VAT prices are removed the moment the US address is entered. Will wait

  • 2023-03-15 05:38:27 PM

    Roscoe wrote:

    Will these LPs be available here in the U.S.? The shipping cost from DG to the U.S. is almost the cost of a single album. Prohibitively expensive.

    • 2023-03-15 10:38:56 PM

      cracking resonance wrote:

      Hahahaha, finally it's the other way around. Typically all and everything is launched in US with ridiculous shipping cost to Germany, Tax and Import to come on top of the anyway long process. Sorry, guys it's just fair for some albums to have it the other way around, too.

      • 2023-03-16 04:01:33 AM

        Roscoe wrote:

        You're right, I was just wondering. If I were buying all four the shipping would be less painful. Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.

  • 2023-03-15 10:40:48 PM

    cracking resonance wrote:

    "sold out"? not at all, it's all on pre-order, because the albums were "launched for pre-order". normal availability and no gimmicks. based account does it for - same shop system.

  • 2023-03-16 05:29:42 PM

    Georges wrote:

    If it's the same recording (1975-76 in that order of appearance on the disc), I have C. Kleiber's 2003 4-channel SACD of L.V.'s 5 & 7 symphonies from L.V. Beethoven. It can be found for around $5.50. But it's still good news this vinyl reissue strictly for fans.That said, the price seems dissuasive to me.

    • 2023-03-16 11:43:07 PM

      NLak wrote:

      I have to agree with you, while I have all of them on vinyl (and CD), the price is quite high for me to purchase the whole series. Cannot figure out why they charge the VAT for non-European purchases.

      • 2023-03-17 01:35:01 PM

        Georges wrote:

        Charging VAT to non-EU buyers is totally illegal (even without it, it's still expensive, but you can make the effort). Also the shipping costs (end of surface mail ?) ruin any activity between the continents, no more trade is possible with Japan or the USA for me and my collector friends. Since around 2007, analog in general and vinyl in particular has become a luxury good. And it's sad for a cultural product bought largely by young people. I'm almost ashamed to have a $50 cartridge (I bought them with huge discounts). So I gave away a Shure with new diamond to a delighted buyer of one of my old low-end turntables.

  • 2023-03-17 12:36:34 AM

    Jeff Richards wrote:

    I think the VAT comes off once they actually charge and ship to the USA. I’m pretty sure that’s how it worked when I preordered the Bernstein Mahler box. The charge isn’t complete until it’s ready to ship

    • 2023-03-18 01:43:46 PM

      NLak wrote:

      Maybe I’ll try, but like others have mentioned the price is quite high, although I did pay $100 for the Kertesz Esoteric vinyl, soon to be released. But if I want to get all of them, and I do have all of the original pressings already, it can become quite expensive. Like Georges wrote above, the prices for vinyl started to catapult upwards at an exponential rate after 2007, it has now become a luxury product.

  • 2023-06-10 12:13:11 AM

    Nels Ferre wrote:

    I received my shipment- bought all 4. Beethoven’s 7th Symphony sounds really good. So far, I’m pleased and this one at least is well worth buying.