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  • Sheffield Labs Direct-to-Disc LPs

    Is it just me or are these albums the most over rated recordings in the history of high-end audio? Perhaps the definition of audiophile LP? Except the sound ain't so great for the most part either? I've got the lot of them and can't tell you the last time played a Sheffield D2D. Outside of the two (Newman and Track Record) listed in another thread. And even those come with caveats.

    The classical titles are perhaps the worst of the lot sounding like a really bad Burt Whyte recording. Distant and drier than the Sahara Desert.

    Plus the low end in all of them is messed up. Just boomy, wooly and ill defined. Like a bad tube amp. Musically, most are meh at best.

    The one I totally never got were the Moscow sessions. Maybe the idea of Americans playing Russian music and vice versa was cute but the end result was awful. Bleh......
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

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    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
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    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    I only own one, Harry James - Coming From A Good Place (LAB-6), and from what I remember its a dammed nice sounding LP. I haven't played it in some time since Harry James is not my particular cup of tea. I like the music but its not on the front end of my play list. I guess I'll have to drag it out and listen to it again.
    Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
    https://www.edsstuff.org

    Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
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    • #3
      Originally posted by EdAInWestOC View Post
      I only own one, Harry James - Coming From A Good Place (LAB-6), and from what I remember its a dammed nice sounding LP. I haven't played it in some time since Harry James is not my particular cup of tea. I like the music but its not on the front end of my play list. I guess I'll have to drag it out and listen to it again.
      My memory of the Harry James was it was ear bleed city.
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        there were several harry james lps on sheffield
        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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        • #5
          Re: the thread, I agree with Myles, the Sheffield catalog stinks. The only two discs I own that I really value are S-9 (first modern era direct disk) and the drum record.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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          • Rob
            Rob commented
            Editing a comment
            S9 "missing link" is my least favorite, the only reason to keep it was for the cool picture of the Neumann cutting lathe on the jacket cover. The drum record is good for assessing system performance, for me it has limited utility.

          • JCOConnell
            JCOConnell commented
            Editing a comment
            S-9 isn't musically or sonically great, but it is collectable because its the disc that kick started modern direct disc recording. The drum and track records are musically boring in my opinion, but they do sound impressive.

        • #6
          I think I have all three of the Sheffield Harry James D2D Lps. I haven't listened to them in 35 years. Shows you how much I am into them. Don't recall the sound but my gear has changed since then anyway.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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          • #7
            When we remastered the Drum and Track album, Winston thought it was too dry as well. That's when I added more of the room sound into the mix.

            http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-sh...c-mw0002010814

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            • #8
              Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
              Is it just me or are these albums the most over rated recordings in the history of high-end audio? Perhaps the definition of audiophile LP? Except the sound ain't so great for the most part either? I've got the lot of them and can't tell you the last time played a Sheffield D2D. Outside of the two (Newman and Track Record) listed in another thread. And even those come with caveats.

              The classical titles are perhaps the worst of the lot sounding like a really bad Burt Whyte recording. Distant and drier than the Sahara Desert.

              Plus the low end in all of them is messed up. Just boomy, wooly and ill defined. Like a bad tube amp. Musically, most are meh at best.

              The one I totally never got were the Moscow sessions. Maybe the idea of Americans playing Russian music and vice versa was cute but the end result was awful. Bleh......
              I disagree, I've owned all of them and still have many of the titles. I'm not hearing the boomy bass per se its also system dependent (I know S5s can sound boomy if the record has strong bass). A lot of the electric bass on those records has a 'phat tone' but that was the sound in the 70s. most of the Sheffield artist were L.A. session musicians from the period, Lincoln Mayorga's arrangements can sound like hokey chase music from a bad cop drama (at least the ones I used to watch) that was the style then. I think the Dave Grusin is great, "cripple creek breakdown" is an awesome cut, on a good system the kick drum during the solo has jump factor in spades. The Thelma Houston is excellent as are most if not all the Harry James and the Tower of Power too. James Newton Howard and friends--with half of the players from Toto--is some of the best rock-synth/keyboard on record not to mention the dynamics are demo grade. I wont guarantee you'll like the tunes but for sheer SQ of a rock group in a studio it has no peer.

              As for the Moscow sessions I like them too but they're not really Sheffield recordings in the strictest sense, KOJ of Reference Recordings engineered them using Dave Wilson's R2R recorders (Curl electronics?). The other D2D discs of classical recordings with Leinsdorf are on the boring side, but as we all know capturing a full symphony orchestra is difficult at best esp. when you have Wilkies' recordings to compare to. The Newman guitar records are great and it doesn't surprise me you like them as you're student learning the instrument.

              Comment


              • #9
                I have many of them. I still love Dave Grusin "Discovered Again" and "James Newton Howard and friends". I have several copies of Discovered again (different takes) and they are all slightly different....Amanda McBroom, Thelma Houston, and Harry James kinda get on my nerves unless I am in the mood. I think the Lincoln Mayorga Disks sound pretty good but the music choices are sleepy....
                Primary 2 channel stuff: Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.3, Pass Labs X600.5 amps, Aerial SW 12 subs, True Sound Works Ultimate Apogee Divas, Dunlavy SC4s, VPI HRX Reference w Avenger mag drive and Reference footers, Gimbal Fatboy, Yamaha GT2000 for Mono, Miyajima Kansui, Miyajima ZERO, Fidelity Research MC-201 & 202, VPI ADS, Vendetta Research SCP-1, Audio Note UK- 3.1X II balanced DAC, Meridian Sooloos, Western Electric Speaker wire, mostly diy balanced interconnects, Furutech Power Cords

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                • #10
                  I have a vast number of them- many that I bought back in the day, along with all of the ones in the (late Chuck Lamonica's) collection that I bought some years ago. I haven't listened to them in years- my issue wasn't SQ for the D2D ones (though if I revisited some of them I could probably pick a bone) but the material. To me, The Missing Linc is classic example--I remember hearing this played to death back in the early '70s in top audio salon in Pittsburgh, Opus One.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    My main complaint with Sheffield D2D LPs has always been the noise. My next complaint is the actual music. I no longer have any desire to play James Newton Howard and Friends which is really part two from the Track LP which I also have no desire to play anymore. I find much of the music boring even if it checks off your particular audiophile check boxes. How many times can you really listen to the Sheffield Drum album? I gave up in the 1980s. I honestly can't remember the last time I wanted to play a Sheffield D2D LP.
                    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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                    • #12
                      I have most of them and like the Leinsdorf Stravinsky and Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet the most. Please read J.Gordon Holt's review of the Stravinsky LP (https://www.stereophile.com/content/...direct-disc-lp). It reflects my thoughts of this record to a tee. But I like the Prokofiev even more. Yes it's dry but it was recorded in the (large) studio so it should sound dry. This is one of my referece discs that can show system's capability. Perhaps I like this LP also because the sound reminds me of the sound of the orchestra in a smaller concert hall in my home city. It shows - extremely clear most instruments of the orchestra in their full glory, from the lowest to the highest registers, their positions, timbres, dynamic properties.....etc. Try to listen once to the finale at high volume. There is a part when (I think) six different instruments play six different melodies at the same time at ff or fff level. I rarely hear systems that are capable of reproducing this part properly, that is, to allow the listner to easily(!) follow all six melodies without the strain.

                      And don't forget all Sheffield Lab LP's were cut with the Teldec (not RIAA) equalization as Myles wrote once on WBF... If that is true and you don't have a phono stage like Zanden, D'Agostino, Audio Research, FM Acoustics...etc, that have different eq options, you are not playing these LP's properly.
                      Source: Kuzma XL DC/4Point 14 inch/CAR60; Phono: Zanden 1200 Signature; Tuner: Magnum Dynalab MD-108T Signature; Line Stage: Zanden 3000 Mk2; Power amp: Lamm 1.2 Reference; Speakers: AlsyVox Botticelli; Grounding: Tripoint Troy Elite NG; Cable system: Cardas Clear Beyond; Stands: Finite Elemente Master Reference & Master Reference Heavy Duty; Power strip: Cardas Nautilus; Power filter: P.I Audo: BUSS Depot; Acoustics treatment: Svanå Miljöteknik AB (SMT);

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                      • #13
                        Sheffield D2D releases vary considerably in quality, at least to my ears. The Sheffield LP I always come back to is Harry James, "The King James Version" (1976). Love the whole record. First cut is a stone killer: "Corner Pocket" (Freddie Green / Count Basie / Ernie Wilkins). Turn it up to 11. Dynamic range to blow you out of the old Maxell listening chair, and then it trickles down to Basie-style, diminutive piano as a well-deserved respite from the testosterone of HJ & band. Of course, you've got to have a taste for big band music of the masculine variety. The whole record is a kickass example of American big band power delivered to the front rows: a brilliant-if-unfashionable sonic boom from a supremely confident era.
                        Lyra Kleos SL, Dynavector XX-2MKII, VPI JMW 10.5i, VPI Aries, VPI SDS, ModWright PH-150 Reference Phono, Sony HAP-Z1ES server, McIntosh MR80, McIntosh C2300, McIntosh MC352, Vandersteen 5A, PS Audio P10, Bright Star Audio Rack of Gibraltar. Cables: Shunyata Cobra Ztron IC, PS Audio Statement AC, Synergistic Research AC, Harmonic Tech Silver Phono, Cable Research Labs Silver IC, Audioquest Gibraltar bi-wire.

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                        • JCOConnell
                          JCOConnell commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I'll have to see if I can dig this one out. I love big band music.

                      • #14
                        Back in the 1980s you weren't considered a real audiophile unless you had some of the Sheffield D2D records in your collection. At the time they sounded very dramatic and dynamic compared to the mass produced LPs of the era.

                        The Dave Gruisin "Discovered Again" was my favorite - an amazing and ubiquitous demo record. "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow" was a test for midbass with those lifelike drum hits, not to mention the sparkle of the percussion. And decent music, too.
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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by mkuller View Post
                          Back in the 1980s you weren't considered a real audiophile unless you had some of the Sheffield D2D records in your collection. At the time they sounded very dramatic and dynamic compared to the mass produced LPs of the era.

                          The Dave Gruisin "Discovered Again" was my favorite - an amazing and ubiquitous demo record. "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow" was a test for midbass with those lifelike drum hits, not to mention the sparkle of the percussion. And decent music, too.
                          I remember "Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow" was the theme song of the TV show "Baretta", starring Robert Blake as a detective who had a cockatoo (not a sparrow) as a pet. Quite a popular show in its day in the '70's. Of course, Robert Blake became quite infamous later in his life.

                          Larry
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