Vinyl Review: New Baby – Don Randi and Quest – Sheffield Lab 12

Vinyl Review: New Baby-Don Randi and Quest-Sheffield Lab 12 – Released 1979


Vinyl Review: New Baby-Don Randi and Quest-Sheffield Lab 12

Lab 12. New Baby – Don Randi and Quest – 1979





Surface noise: 5+ (not pops & clicks)

Dynamic Range: 4+

Stereo Imaging: 5

Image depth/perspective: 4+

Overall frequency response: 4+






Side One

  1. Easy
  2. New Baby
  3. If You Need It

Side Two

  1. Norwegian Wood
  2. Little Children
  3. Funkin’ Around
  4. Salsalido

Recorded October 18 – 22, 1979. This was Sheffield’s first recording from their own Direct to Disc studios at MGM in Culver City. It received a GRAMMY NOMINATION for Best Engineered Album.

What can I say here but this album was flawless. From the non-existent vinyl surface noise and lack of any pops or clicks, to the totally open sound.  Any more open and the instruments would have fallen right through the vinyl! It’s not surprising that it received a Grammy Nomination for the Best Engineered Album.

All aspects of the recording were outstanding. Stereo imaging was at all times pin point, with great integration between the electric bass and kick drum. The kit being spread across the entire stereo image. Yes, perspective and depth was limited, but it’s a studio recording and I expect nothing less. The kit possessed terrific detail from the syn drums to the cymbals, cow bells and tom toms. Bloody awesome! In several of the quieter passages and solos you could clearly hear the refined synthetic reverb decaying; not a distraction or negative comment, just a statement about how open the entire recording was. I would have liked just a bit more punch from the kick drum and a little more bass, but I never adjust my default levels or add any EQ when reviewing albums. The mid-range and top end were very open and detailed at all times, with no hints of hardness or any unnatural frequency emphasis.

It was as quiet as any CD with only the white noise from my head amp being audible at times during quieter passages or between tracks.

The trumpet playing was spot on, as were all the flute, piano and sax solos. The whole recording (was it a recording or a live performance?) rocked. Excellent musicianship and an amazingly tight musical performance.

This album is a testament to what D2D can achieve, capturing a musical performance and all of the instruments without any intrusion from the recording process. I’ve said it before, but Sheffield Lab designed some great pieces of ‘wire with gain’, which in conjunction with their cutting skills produces exceptional recordings. Dynamics were first rate and every musical instrument was captured with all its nuances and detail  And compression? What compression?

If you are looking for a demonstration record to show what Direct To Disc can achieve , you have found it, right up there with Harry James Lab 3 and Lab 6.

Go buy yourself a copy TODAY!

Purchase vinyl and CDs from Discogs, and CDs from Sheffield Lab.

See my other vinyl reviews here.

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