Kunzel/CSO – 1812 Overture 1982 Telarc 200 gram UHQR JVC test pressing LP


Free U.S. shipping!  A U.S. UHQR audiophile test pressing of Tchkaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, pressed by JVC in Japan.

1 in stock


Offered for sale is a 200 gram test pressing copy of the limited edition UHQR audiophile issue of Tchkaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Orchestra, issued by Telarc in 1982.

Note: This is the infamous audiophile record that nearly every turntable is incapable of playing.

About this copy: The copy of 1812 Overture is a 1982 pressing by JVC, pressed for Telarc.  While the album was technically a U.S. release, the disc was pressed in Japan using JVC’s proprietary “Supervinyl” compound.

Side 1: Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture
Side 2: Tchaikovsky – Capriccio Italien and Cossack Dance

The released album was sold in a box with two inserts.  This copy is in a plain white single-pocket cover with a sticker that reads “SAMPLE RECORD  NOT FOR SALE DGQR 10041 A-14 B-16 UHQR.”

The matrix numbers appear to be the same as those of the released version of the LP.

The plain white cover is VG+, with slight ring wear at the bottom edge and a small tear where a sticker was likely removed.

The 200 gram test pressing disc is M- and looks unplayed.  Clean disc!

The stock copy is fairly rare; we’ve only had two copies for sale since the original 1982 release.  This is a beautiful copy of an infamous classical recording and the only test pressing of this LP that we’ve ever seen.

Background: In 1978, Telarc Records began recording classical music using digital tape, and one of the first pieces chosen was Tchkaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

In the early days of digitally recorded music, everyone was excited about dynamic range, or the difference in sound level between the quietest passages in a piece of music and the loudest passages.  Digital recordings were said to offer dramatically improved dynamic range compared to analog recordings, so what better way to demonstrate this than to record a piece of classical music that was scored for cannons?

The standard-issue pressing of 1812 Overture by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Orchestra soon became the biggest-selling title in the Telarc catalog.  The original release, issued as a standard-weight LP, included a warning on the cover about playback volume and how playing the record at too high a volume could possibly damage equipment, particularly speakers.

In 1982, Telarc decided to take this experiment a step further by issuing 1812 Overture as a limited edition Ultra High Quality Recording, or UHQR.  Most record collectors are familiar with the term, as Mobile Fidelity released eight titles in the UHQR format in the early 1980s, and Analogue Productions is now using the process to release high-quality LPs.

The UHQR format was a heavy, 200 gram disc with a “flat” profile – the record’s playing surface was uniformly flat, unlike most LPs, which are thicker in the middle and outer edge than they are across the playing surface.

Originally, this format was not proprietary to Mobile Fidelity; the term “UHQR” and the “Supervinyl” used to press it actually belonged to JVC in Japan.  JVC pressed UHQR titles for Mobile Fidelity, Telarc, and Reference Recordings.

This particular title was mastered by the late Stan Ricker, who also mastered a number of early titles by Mobile Fidelity.

Telarc had an unknown number of UHQR copies of 1812 Overture pressed by JVC, and these were sold in a numbered, limited edition.  While the pressing quality is impeccable, the problem for many buyers is that most turntables proved unable to track the groove when the cannons fired at the end of side one.  A few super high end turntables with meticulous adjustments will play it, but most won’t.  The record usually plays perfectly well until the cannons arrive, and then the needle tends to jump out of the groove.

Telarc was well aware of this problem, and the insert that accompanied the stock UHQR pressings had the following text:

WARNING: The recording of the powerful 1812 cannons was made at the maximum level possible from the original digitally recorded master.  Under the best conditions tracking the grooves presents an incredible challenge.  Playback at high volume could result in severe damage to speakers and other playback equipment.  No attempt should be made to play this record on other than the most sophisticated audio equipment in absolutely perfect adjustment.  See suggestions for equipment set-up and playback inside this booklet.  TELARC ASSUMES NO LIABILITY FOR DAMAGE TO THE RECORD OR CONSUMER’S PLAYBACK EQUIPMENT.

Over the years, this record has become well known in audiophile circles, due to the fact that hardly anyone has a system that can actually play it.

Over the years, we’ve heard this album played on an Empire 398, a Rega Planar 3, a Goldmund Studio, a Versa Dynamics, and an SME 30/2 turntable.  None of them could track the cannons.  Perhaps your turntable will.

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Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Telarc
Catalog Number:
Year of Release: 1982
Format: Stereo
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Additional information

Weight 14 oz
Dimensions 12.4 × 12.4 × 0.25 in