The violini is the most difficult instrument to record, and when digital sound came in during the Eighties, music lovers were dismayed by the edgy, glassy harshness of violin recordings, both solo and orchestral. Compared to the warmer, more natural sound of the best LPs, the advent of CDs was a huge step backward. Upgrades into 20-bit and 24-bit technology improved matters somewhat, but only now, with SACD, are we back to violin recordings that don't make you wince.
This classic pairing of Brahms and Tchaikovsky concertos with Heifetz and Reiner was always in good sound, despite the early recording dates, 1955 and 1957 respectively (the Tchaikovsky being the far superior one sonically). I bought this hybrid SACD to play in normal two-channel CD format, and it is impeccable. There is still a hint of wiriness in Heifetz's tone in the Brahms, but the Tchaikovsky sounds completely natural. Heifetz is far from my favorite violinist, but he deserves the best sound possible, and for the time being at least, he has it.