Vinyl Review: Dave Grusin Discovered Again – Sheffield Lab 5 – Released 1976
Vinyl surface noise: 3+ (not pops and clicks)
Dynamic Range: 4
Stereo Imaging: 4
Image depth/perspective: 4
Overall frequency response: 4
- A Child Is Born
- Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow
- Sun Song
- Captain Bicardi
- Three Cowboy Songs:
- Git Along Little Dogies
- The Colorado Trail
- Cripple Creek Break-Down
- Adeus A Papai
There is a very interestng note on this album regarding its playback. The note says, that in order to obtain the best transient response, both the left and right hand phases should be inverted. Quote:
“AUDIOPHILE NOTE: For optimum transient response and spatial clarity, we recommend that the polarity of BOTH channels be reversed at the speaker terminals (+ output terminal on power amplifier to – terminal on speaker and vice versa), however this procedure is not necessary for perfectly satisfactory playback”
Generally speaking your ears are insensitive to phase unless it is dynamically changing or is abruptly changing at particular frequencies. USUALLY phase inverting an entire signal chain results in no audible difference as your ears are not supposed to be sensitive to absolute phase……..but I was happy to try this in order to be proven wrong. Read on for the results.
I have to be honest and say that I had never heard of David Grusin until this album, nor after it, even though he has written film scores and played on many famous performers shows in LA. From Ballads to Jazz this album sounds excellent with Mr. Grussin and his four hand selected accompanying musicians for bass, guitar, drums and percussion.
This is a well recorded light jazz album with a couple of more lively tracks thrown in like S1T2, S1T4 and S2T3 which could easily be used as demo tracks. Unfortunately the surface noise was a little higher than I would have liked and have come to expect from Sheffield lab pressings.
First order of business, did the phase reversal do anything? Maybe!! I played each track on side one, one at a time, phase reversing it and listening to it again. I have to be careful here as I was wanting to hear a difference. This is what I heard and it was very subtle on my system with my old ears:
- S1T1. No real difference , the piano might have been a little more open.
- S1T2. The drum kit seemed to be more dynamic and I rated it 4+ from a 4.
- S1T3. The Piano seemed a little more open.
- S1T4. The kit seemed a little more open.
I did not repeat this test for side two. This is in no way conclusive that the phase reversal did what the jacket said it would. However, there seemed to be some credence to the jackets assertions, I do not know why, and it certainly didn’t do any harm.
There was no apparent compression on any tracks but as most of the tracks were what I would classify as, gentle jazz for late night lightning, the overall dynamic range was not extensive. The piano, bass and double bass were all tight and clean, the double bass providing an excellent solo on S2T2. S2T4 was Mr Grusins’ piano solo and I have to say it was just about in my room. Depth of image was limited and only really apparent on the kit, while stereo imaging was pin-point and solid for all instruments, especially Mr Grussins’ piano. The drum kit, on the more lively racks listed above, really came to life and added some real impact and dynamics to those tracks.
The recording is not what I would use as D2D demonstration material to impress somebody except S2T3. However, it clearly shows off the engineering skills of the Sheffield team, D2D recording and the musical capabilities of Dave Grusin and his hand picked musicians.
If you like this style of jazz its a worth while addition to you collection.