Due to someone who recently mentioned this LP, and what a great recording it is, I decided it was time to give it a listen. I hooked up my SET 300B, tube preamp and phono stage, Garrard 401, Dynavector arm, and Zu Denon 103R, and was just floored at what I heard. Since I've been terribly lazy lately, I haven't listened to vinyl much at all recently, so it came as a shock to hear again how good a great slab of vinyl can sound.
I don't recall my digital front end ever getting my attention like this did. Shame on me for being so lazy. I've learned my lesson, and I will treat myself to much more analog in the future.
Absolutely! Doug Sax was the genius behind Sheffield Labs and it was his brother that designed the tube preamplifier that Doug used. Doug even built his own crossover for his Tannoys. They would have used Doug’s Tannoys back in those days. Doug Sax only switched to Active ATC in later years, long after his reputation was already well established.
Doug didn’t just have golden ears - I think we all can hear the genius of what Doug did. I believe the genius is connecting what you hear to a positive action to enhance sound quality. We can all recognize the superior quality of Doug’s work, however, only a genius like Doug could take something and know how to tweak it and make it sound as good as it possibly could. In the case of the D2D, Doug would set up everything for optimal sound and it worked so well.
My favourite is the sizzle on Blues Stay Away from me.
With your phenomenal setup it is quite possible you hear it just in the way Doug intended!
I have the Sheffield CD. It is kind of a cool sound. I think Sheffield is a nice label, some good music recorded for the enjoyment of the listener. I also have the Thelma Houston and the Pressure Cookers LP and an Amanda McBroom CD.
As shadorne mention Tannoy speakers which I know you have Dan. That reminded me, when I first got this music it was enjoyed on my 1977 Tannoy Chevoits. Maybe there was some synergy there.
Would that all in the music recording/mastering/pressing industry, inherited the ears and talents of Doug Sax(RIP). Sheffield’s I’ve Got The Music In Me, Growing Up In Hollywood Town and The King James Version, are my most prized/cherished vinyls(love those boxes, too). Especially, when I’m in the mood to test my system’s dynamic range. They were limited/numbered editions(the Direct To Discs, anyway). Sucks, that you lost them(divorce can be akin to virgin rape). Just about impossible to find unmolested/cherry replacements, for a lot of things. Sheffield made tapes of their D2D sessions and when the D2D stampers wore out, released some of what they called their Sheffield Treasury records. Perhaps you can find some of those and get back most of the enjoyment. ie: https://www.discogs.com/label/226373-Sheffield-Treasury
Here’s another excellent, extremely dynamic(virtually 0 compression) recording(D2D/45 RPM), from Crystal Clear(remember them?): https://www.discogs.com/San-Francisco-Ltd-San-Francisco-Ltd/release/638481 If you want to test your system’s Bass response, find Crystal Clear’s, ’The Fox Touch’, Vol 1. The Ruffatti pipe organ, in Garden Grove, Calif. is KILLER(Especially on Toccata and Fugue in D Minor).
@rauliruegas - I love the way they captured the auditorium's acoustic, too. Immense, with glorious Sabine Constants(a well designed venue). If you care for New Orleans style Jazz, at all, try the San Francisco Limited vinyl.
@marqmike - I haven’t raised the roof yet, with Thelma/Pressure Cooker, but- I did manage to crack a plaster/lath wall. It was probably a little weak, to start with, though. No lack of dynamic bottom, on that disc, either!
While I haven't compared all Sheffield Labs D2D, When I compared the "Treasury" Lp's to the D2D's that I had, well, I found the Treasury Lp's somewhat lacking. Especially in dynamics. It is true that Sheffield used a digital tape deck to back up the recording sessions as said before, the D2D stampers had a very limited life. I have listened to some of the Sheffield Cd's, which I thought sounded quite nice, but didn't have the D2D Lp's to compare with.
@mr_m - ".... I found the Treasury Lp’s somewhat lacking. Especially, in dynamics." YEP, not quite as good as their D2Ds, but- still had much of the Sax/Sheffield touch intact. I have couple of their demo CDs, but- prefer the Treasury presentations. No comparison(CDs), to the D2Ds(alas). I certainly do miss that excellent team and their vinyls!
As the OP, I have to tell "The Rest Of The Story". Back in 1970, I had friends that had an R'nR band (who didn't back then), and also a remote recording studio. They were recording a junior college jazz band concert. Instead of using headphones, they had a pair of custom built Tannoy 12" MG's, with a modified Crown amp, along with their mixing gear and tape recorder, in an adjacent bare-walled classroom. This was my introduction to Tannoys.
Much to my amazement, when I walked from the auditorium to where the monitoring was being done, I could swear the sound was the same from live to the monitoring station. That was when I was first convinced that Tannoys were for me.
You may ask,what does this post have to do with this thread? When I played the King James Version the other night, it reminded me of that night so long ago in Santa Barbara, it was so close to what you would hear at a live jazz concert.
I'm not saying it was a perfect reproduction of a live band, but it was close enough to remind me of that event in Santa Barbara ca 1970.
Before I heard the playback of the Harry James LP again the other night, I was seriously considering venturing into acquiring a single ended 845 amp for a bit more power. Then, I asked myself, if this amp can perform this well, in this large room, with these speakers, do I really need to replace it? Is there something else in the listening chain that needs upgrading, perhaps in my digital front end?
I don't know. I do wish all my LPs would sound this good, but that's not in the offing. Maybe a new DAC?
Those Edison discs sound remarkably good, considering what they had to work with. What I heard back in '70 was a far cry from what Edison had to offer (consider how many great recordings Rudy Van Gelder made in the 50's and 60's).
Those listeners back in the early 1900's were not at all sophisticated, so I can well imagine they were mightily impressed with Edison's discs. As we all know, recordings using quality tape machines, along with great mics, mixer, etcetera, can sound spectacularly live (as can great D2D LP's).
Dan !!!! right on man I used to get in trouble a bit when delivering new systems in early 80’s I would include one ( or more ) of six Sheffield discs all as mentioned by others here and of course the Wagner and Prokofiev and of course Dave Grusin ( Cowboy songs my fave )
all the work of recording and musical genius.
I think you are on Widbey Island, you are welcome to a listen to my Aesthetix Pandora sig DAC in your system sometime. I have friends to visit on the Island.
Hello Jim, thank you for your post. Whereabouts do you live in The Great Northwest? I would welcome you to my modest home and system, and hearing a quality DAC like the Pandora would no doubt be quite informative for me.