Sheffield Lab Direct To Disc Album Reviews
With respect to Sheffield Lab direct to disc album reviews I would like make a brief comment at the outset about some of the recordings. I am aware that some listeners, including myself, have felt that some recordings, which were done in fairly dead studio conditions and churches, etc. have at times, resulted in a more analytical type recording with limited ambience. However, they provide an outstanding recording of the instrument(s), group or orchestra and allow you to really see, feel and appreciate the realism of that performance. Some performances may also seem a little ‘strained’. Well if you had to play perfectly with no mistakes for up to 4 or 5 tracks non stop..….you may be a little strained too. But what outstanding musicianship!
Here are the Sheffield titles that I own, several of which are on both vinyl and CD. The currently available CD versions are taken from the original analog master safety copies, Umatic digital copies or an original vinyl disc (Mastered from vinyl by Seth Winner). I marked those that are, or were, on the Absolute Sound Super Disc List with TAS.
S9, S10 and all the LAB series were Direct to Disk while the ST & TLP vinyl series were from 2-track tape. I am not aware of any albums that were made commercially available before S9.
Lab 1 Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues Volume III TAS
Lab 2 I’ve Got the Music in Me – Thelma Houston + CD from umatic digital copy
Lab 3 The King James Version – Harry James & His Big Band TAS
Lab 4 Brahms Variations and Fugue
Lab 5 Discovered Again – Dave Grusin TAS
Lab 6 Harry James…Comin’ from a Good Place
Lab 7 Wagner -Erich Leinsdorf Conducting The LA Philharmonic LAPO TAS
Lab 8 Prokofiev – Excerpts from the Ballet Romeo And Juliet LAPO TAS
Lab 9 Confederation – McNeely, Levin and Skinner
Lab 10 Michael Newman – Guitarist TAS
Lab 11 Still Harry After All These Years – Harry James TAS
Lab 12 New Baby – Don Randi and Quest TAS
Lab 13 Growing Up in Hollywood Town – Amanda McBroom TAS + KLH Research & Development Release + CD from analog two track master
Lab 14 Sheffield Drum Record TAS
Lab 15 West of Oz – Amanda McBroom
Lab 16 Italian Pleasures – Michael Newman Guitar TAS
Lab 17 Tower of Power Direct + CD from analog two track master
Lab 18 Strauss, R and Dvorak Violin Piano Steinhardt – Mayorga TAS
Lab 19 Schubert Piano Sonata in A – Jerome Rose
Lab 20 Sheffield Track Record TAS
Lab 21 The Name is Makowicz – Adam Makowicz TAS
Lab 22 Mozart Serenade, Grieg Four Lyric Pieces Chicago Symphony Winds TAS
Lab 23 James Newton Howard and Friends TAS + CD from analog two track master
Lab 24 Stravinsky Firebird, Debussy Afternoon Faun Leinsdorf – LAPO
Records are evaluated in the following technical areas:
- Vinyl surface noise – (not pops & clicks)
- Dynamic Range
- Stereo Imaging
- Image depth/perspective
- Overall frequency response
Rating will be kept simple, 1 to 5: 1 as poor and 5+ as outstanding.
Finally I will comment on the overall feel or visceral impact of the recording and may at times comment on the musicianship. However, not being a musician this will truly be how my ‘gut’ feels based on the overall emotional impact and performance of the track.
At the conclusion of the Sheffield series of reviews I will continue with my other D2D discs and then move on to re-released audiophile albums, the 180/200gram and 45RPM re-releases, that I have recently purchased; and yes, some are quite spectacular.
Note: All records have been cleaned at least twice on my Nitty Gritty vacuum cleaner (review coming soon), and remember, these Sheffield albums are 30 to 46 years old!!