To the "bitter disappointment" critic, you need to listen to the playing, through the less than less than perfect sound. I remember the first time i heard an old old recording, i had a similar reaction. But in the end this helped me, i began to listen to the playing instead of what the engineer's wanted me to hear. In this age of robot super virtuosoism, these aged discs, despite their sound, are a breath of fresh air, you are essentially listening to a performance with little to no editing(beside the reduction of background noise.) If what you want is simply the music, go buy a discount disc of some no name pianist playing what you want, but you seem to care who is playing and that makes me wonder if you can really hear what makes a great pianist. Maybe you should stop listening to those people who told you so and think for yourself. The funny thing is, the sound on this isnt even that bad by historical standards. If you cant get over this, you are going to be depriving yourself of a lot of great playing i.e Cortot, Moiseiwitsch, Furtwangler, early Richter, etc. Open your ears, pal.