Vinyl Review: Michael Newman – Classical Guitarist – Sheffield Lab 10

Vinyl Review: Michael Newman – Classical Guitarist – Sheffield Lab 10 – Released 1979




Vinyl surface noise: 4  (not pops and clicks)

Dynamic Range: 4+

Stereo Imaging: 4+

Image depth/perspective: 4

Overall frequency response: 4







Side One

  1. Torre Bermeja
  2. Fandanguillo
  3. Campanas Del Alba

Side Two

  1. Chaconnie

Recorded February 20 -23 1979 at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (Wylie Chapel) and The Mastering Lab. This classical guitar recording was the debut album for Michael Newman and was hailed by many reviewers as “The most perfect guitar recording to date”.

I have to assume that this classical guitar recital was close miked as there is little evidence of the Wylie Chapel ambience that you can clearly hear in any of Harry James’s performances recorded there. If anything, I noted it more between tracks as Michael turned the pages of music or adjusted his guitar, hearing just the faintest of reverb and echo from his surroundings.  That is not to say the recording is lacking in ambience, its just less than I would have expected.

The performance clearly has no compression and ranges from the quietest of string plucks to the most energetic full strumming.  The recording captured it all, from the soft sounds of his fingers moving over the strings and frets, to the squeal of his fingers as he quickly changes between chords, to him striking the guitars body. The pin point center image was open and full, with exceptional clarity, tremendous presence, and a detailed mid range and top. This provided a performance as close to having Michael in the room with you as is possible, without actually having him there. The only distraction was the vinyl noise that became apparent during very quiet passages.

The recording was perfect in every way, from the flawless musical performance, to the big and totally natural open sound of his guitar that Sheffield managed to capture.

I can certainly say that I understand why many reviewers, on its release, referred to it as “The most perfect guitar recording to date”.

The recording has tremendous presence, with S2T1, Chaconnie, providing quite a breath taking performance, you can really feel Michael’s passion for playing.

For those classical guitarists amongst us, and lovers of the classical guitar, this is a great recording and one worth adding to your collection. It would also make a good demonstration cut to show off your system.

Available on vinyl and CD from Discogs, and CD from Sheffield Lab.

See my other vinyl reviews here.