‘That happy feeling’: Horch House master tape copies win over reviewers

Bert Kaempfert’s album, ‘A Swingin’ Safari’, was recorded in Hamburg’s Polydor Studio in 1961/62. At 50+ years old, the original master tape isn’t quite what it used to be. But now, thanks to master tape experts Horch House, this aged recording has been brought back to life and faithful copies of the ‘refurbished’ master are now available on reel-to-reel tape. Reviewers for The Ear and Hi-Fi Pig took a listen.

“If you’ve been seduced by the unique, analogue excellence of a quality reel-to-reel tape machine, you’ll know the need to feed your passion,” writes Clare Newsome in The Ear.

And if it’s the ultimate excellence you’re after, then clearly nothing beats an original master tape. Sadly, unless you own a record label, are a billionaire or have an uncle who was Leonard Bernstein’s manager, then dream on!

But there is hope. Says Newsome, “the closest you’re likely to get is one of Horch House’s pre-recorded tapes”.

Austria-based Horch House was created specifically to bring the magic of analogue master tapes to audiophiles and music lovers worldwide. Long negotiations with music publishers have been involved, followed by painstaking research into the absolute optimum equipment and processes to capture that magic and deliver it via direct, fully licensed and approved copies.

These are pure analogue recordings taken directly from the master tape and treated to a painstaking ‘soft refurbishing’ process to restore them to their original glory (there’s no remastering involved here). The recordings are then faithfully copied to reel-to-reel tape, audiophile-grade vinyl and several high-resolution digital formats.

The album ‘A Swingin’ Safari’ was known in America by the title of the second track, ‘That Happy Feeling’ – which is precisely what it delivers. “The depth of detail, size of soundstage and sheer authenticity of the performance is astonishing,” writes Newsome. “You start to feel part of the recording – as if you could jump in and join the chorus…”.

“Think of it as a hand painted copy of the Mona Lisa. It’s not the original, but it’s bloomin’ close,” concludes fellow reel-to-reel aficionado Janine Elliott in reviewing the album for Hi-Fi Pig.

Read Clare Newsome’s review for The Ear

Read Janine Elliott’s review for Hi-Fi Pig

Find out more about Horch House and browse the full catalogue of master tape copies at www.horchhouse.eu