The 13-CD box set issued by Audite “Edition Wilhelm Furtwängler – The complete RIAS recordings” has been considered “essential” in many Furtwängler aficionados’ collection, not least because of the good sound quality with the use of master tapes in the RIAS archive as sound source.
Audite has subsequently released another Furtwängler item of the Schumann Manfred Overture (1953) and Symphony No. 4 together with Beethoven’s Eroica. This 2-CD set has a high-resolution audio brother in the form of SACD, and we often heard the praise heaped on this release.
I guess I am not the only one who has been waiting for the release of SACD equivalent of the 13-CD box set, but such a big SACD box set will inevitably be expensive, and perhaps because of marketing reasons, Audite has yet to release one.
A recent promotion by Audite prompted me to revisit her website and lo and behold, I found a “marginally” high-res audio download option of this 13-CD set. I said marginal because the FLAC is in 24bit/48kHz only, but theoretically it should be an improvement on the 16bit/44.1kHz CD quality. The price is very reasonable too. A mere 20.43 Euro and you can get them all. (https://www.audite.de/en/product/13CD/21403-edition_wilhelm_furtwaengler_the_complete_rias_recordings.html)
It is a no-brainer for me. The sound is discernibly better than that of the CDs. Compared to the CDs, it seems that a layer of dust has been cleared from the overall sound picture. The most important thing is that the sound has not lost its body and richness, which regrettably is the problem in many new so-called high-res remastering these days. I am happy, to say the least.