Eelco Grimm’s Favorite Recordings

The very first professional recording made with Grimm Audio’s DSD AD1 converter is now for the first time available as FLAC and DSD Downloads.

On this Thursday May 21st, in stunningly beautiful weather, we would be celebrating 30 years of Channel Classics with a vibrant garden party at Jared Sacks’ gorgeous home at the river Waal in the Netherlands. As a result of COVID-19, this celebration with music performed by Channel Artists surrounded by industry contacts and friends has obviously been cancelled. One of the best parties of the year we will have to miss out on! At least there is still hope for the big 30th Anniversary Concert on November 29th in the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, for which many of their artists are saving the date.

In order to find alternative ways to celebrate the anniversary with Channel Classics, I decided to present you one of their albums on a monthly basis. I will be writing about the albums that mean a lot to me musically and in terms of sound. And during that month you can buy these albums at an unprecedented discount at the Channel Classics website. The very first album in this series that I wanted to put in the spotlight was quickly determined: that could only be the “Complete Beethoven Sonatas & Variations” by Pieter Wispelwey and Dejan Lazić. I have very special memories of this.

BBC Music Magazine 5/5 stars:

“Above all these accounts, outstandingly recorded, communicate a level of vitality and spontaneity that is normally experienced in live concerts. From the very first bar of the F major Sonata one feels that Wispelwey and Lazić are re-examining each familiar phrase and finding new and infinitely varied ways of responding to Beethoven’s musical argument.”

Grimm Audio was founded in 2004 and our first product was a truly unique one: a fully discrete built DSD AD converter, consolidating everything that mattered from our many years of design experience. We had also endlessly refined it with listening tests to choose the best capacitors, resistors, etc.

Jared Sacks was our second customer of the AD1 and the “Complete Beethoven Sonatas & Variations” was the very first professional recording ever made with it, in December 2004 at the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven. When the SACD came out, our mouths fell open in amazement and we could not stop playing it. And not only because of the amazing sound, but also because of the really beautiful playing of Wispelwey and Lazić. Boy, these gentlemen can play! Virtuosic and lyrical, subtle and grand, and all with enviable clarity in the game. Lazić enchanted me from his first notes. It is Beethoven at its best. This is still one of my favorite recordings. Everything about it is good.

The sound of this recording is warm, defined and yet spacious, but what I immediately noticed was the incredibly stable piano sound. For the first time I heard a reproduction of a piano in which the converters had very low jitter during both recording and playback. It was before the Grimm LS1 loudspeaker, but I did have a CD player with a low jitter clock modification. To hear such a modulation-free piano sound fascinated me immensely. And still, after more than 15 years, it continues to intrigue.

Picture: Founder, Producer and Engineer of Channel Classics Records Jared Sacks in his mastering studio, with Grimm Audio’s LS1 speakers in the background.

We also used this recording a lot in the development of the LS1. With every step we took in the development of the LS1, including the last few years, this recording became more beautiful. The quality jump I heard with a then illegal DSD rip from the SACD via the MU1 was even breathtaking.

But why did I have an illegal rip? Well, it was one of the very few Channel Classics SACDs with no FLAC & DSD download available for purchase. Due to a technical problem that was unrelated to the AD1, Channel Classics never managed to releasing the FLAC and DSD downloads. Until now! At my special request, Jared was able to process the recording on the occasion of this blog series. And as a result, the Wispelwey & Lazić Beethoven Sonatas are now for the first time available as FLAC & DSD downloads.

I am delighted to be able giving you the opportunity to hear with your own ears why I enjoy this album so much. And temporarily with a whopping 30% discount, using voucher code: GRIMM01

Best wishes,

— Eelco Grimm
Creative director of Grimm Audio.

Picture: Eelco Grimm, also with a Grimm Audio LS1 speaker in the background.

Channel Classics is currently running a 30% storewide sale through May 31st. So if you have over 30 Euros worth of music in your shopping cart, use voucher code: 30YEARS

Coupon 30YEARS ends on May 31st
30% discount on everything at
* valid on all editions of all of the albums (SACD, CD & Downloads), when you spend over 30 Euros.

Coupon GRIMM01 ends on June 19th
30% discount on the Complete Beethoven Sonatas & Variations
* valid on all editions of the album (SACD & Downloads), no minimum spend.

Beethoven: Complete Sonatas & Variations

Pieter Wispelwey, violoncello
Dejan Lazić, piano


You can watch ‘the making of’ this recording here: